By Tim Stevens
General Thaddeus Ross is a broad shouldered, healthy looking adult male in his late '50s. He presents as stern and reserved, repeatedly telling staff and this writer that he is "no nonsense." However, when the subject of his daughter is raised, the client becomes genuinely emotional and open about her. Similarly, when his son-in-law Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk, is spoken of, the General finds it extremely difficult to keep his emotions in check.
General Ross is attending sessions under orders from the U.S. Air Force and the Joint Chiefs following the defeat of military forces during what is being referred to in the press as "World War Hulk." While the client is clearly displeased with these orders, he is generally compliant. He answers questions in short expositional bursts and often declines to present more elaboration unless repeatedly prompted.
While it is the opinion of this writer that General Ross does not suffer from any specific Axis I or II diagnoses, the writer is also of the opinion that the client should continue with therapy for the foreseeable future. In recent months, dating back to his daughter's death, General Ross has shown signs of regression to past anti-social behaviors. His obsession with capturing or, more likely, destroying Bruce Banner has been reignited as the General sees Banner as the cause of his daughter's demise. This continues in the face of repeated assertions by a variety of experts that there is no such data to reinforce this claim.
In the past, it appeared that Ross had made peace with his son-in-law. This was first evidenced by his adoption of planned ignoring tactics when Banner became the Hulk. Later, it appeared that the client had even managed to strike up something resembling a friendship or familial bond with Banner. At the present, however, the General has directed such activities as the torture of Banner by fellow General John Ryker, which, to his credit, he eventually interceded in on behalf of Banner. This fixation on his son-in-law's destruction has made Ross erratic enough in the past that he has worked with the likes of the Leader and the Abomination and it is the concern of staff that this will be the case again.
At this time, General Ross has, by his own admission, not truly committed to his personal goals. While the writer has seen some progress on goal #1 (participate in activities not work-related), the others (step down from all Hulk related activities, allow self to feel emotions in a healthy manner, especially regarding daughter) have largely been ignored. Due to this, the writer will recommend to the Joint Chiefs that General Ross be suspended from his duties until such time as he demonstrates a commitment to himself and to therapy.
Additionally, staff is working with General Ross on developing a "Crisis Survival Kit" full of items and techniques designed to help him develop better distress tolerance skills. As the client has shown at least some interest in this, it is recommended that the development of said kit is accelerated.
Finally, the writer does recommend a consultation with a psychiatrist for the General, but does not expect that any pharmacological intervention is necessary at this time.
General Thaddeus Ross will next be seen by staff on June 13 in theatres everywhere.
Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D who has experience in dealing with individuals with PTSD and personality disorders.
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Read classic Hulk stories in Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited! Take pictures with a life-size Hulk statue at select theaters nationwide! Visit the official "The Incredible Hulk" movie site! Remember, "The Incredible Hulk" comes to a theater near you on June 13!