By Tim Stevens
Scott Summers is a male in his early to mid-30s who appears to be in excellent physical health. He self-identifies as a mutant and, given the information in his file, despite a lack of blood test verification, there is no reason at this time to dispute such a notion. The client's posture, body language, and overall demeanor presented as far different then expected. Studying the notes from prior sessions with colleagues, Summers has painted as repressed, rigid, and prone to splitting—black and white thinking in which people and ideas are idealized or devalued, a common characteristic of Borderline Personality Disorder. Instead, the client seemed relaxed, affable, and quite open, at one time asking the writer to call him "Slim" instead of Scott or Mr. Summers.
The temptation is to interpret Summers' behavior as a sign that he has dealt with and overcome the psychological issues that accounted for his formerly closed off manner and it is possible that this is the case. However, given the quickness of his personality shift and his significant trauma history, this writer is not willing to draw that conclusion at this time.
In previous sessions, the client has disclosed that he was separated from his parents during early childhood when they were abducted and spent much of his developing years in an orphanage. He sustained a brain injury during the same period of time resulting in amnesia and, according to the thinking at the time, his later inability to "turn off" his mutant ability. He believed his parents to be dead for several years until he encountered his father who was now a "space pirate." His experiences in the orphanage were less than pleasant and he was able to discover some time afterwards that an enemy in his present life by the unlikely name of "Mister Sinister" had been using it to observe and
manipulate himself and his brother. When said ability manifested he was attacked by a mob and has spent much of his latter adolescence and adult life protecting a population that is largely mistrusting of him and his "kind".
In joining the mutant rights group known colloquially as the X-Men, Summers found a sense of belonging but also developed a series of unhealthy attachments. In Professor Charles Xavier he found a mentor and father figure, but idealized him to a point that no person could live up to. Subsequently, Xavier, being a flawed and fallible person, has let Summers down several times. His time with the X-Men has also further complicated his sibling relationship with his brother Alex Summers.
Finally, his romantic relationships have been marked by manipulation, disappointment, and death. Jean Grey, his second wife, was his first love. They had what was, by all accounts, a strong relationship until she apparently lost control of her powers and was forced to kill herself to protect those she cared about. Later, she came back to life through circumstances that the writer confesses not to fully understand. While she was deceased, the
client married his first wife, Madelyne Pryor and had a son. However, he rapidly distanced himself from her and left her upon Grey's return. She too later committed suicide.
In light of these events, it is not difficult to understand Summers' previous control orientation and propensity for black and white thinking.
Since the last session, Summers merged with a villain known as Apocalypse. Following his separation from Apocalypse, Summers was unsure of himself and his marriage suffered because of it. Later, he would engage in a psychic affair with a teammate, Emma Frost, and was discovered. This caused further strain on his marriage and upon Grey's (second) death, reconciliation seemed unlikely. Summers would subsequently begin a full fledged relationship with Frost. This new relationship, the client claims, contributed to his newfound ability to control his mutant powers. Frost, apparently, lifted the "psychic blocks" that were holding him back. The client also discovered he had another sibling who then killed one of Summers' teammates, was technically dead himself for a few moments, was tortured, and lost another long-time teammate while on a mission under his leadership.
Considering all of this, it is the opinion of this writer that the client's rapid personality shift is due to a case of PTSD and is not a stable change. While it is eventually the goal of the client's treatment to get him to a point where he can let go of himself and reduce his need to control everything around him, he is only there artificially at this time. As such, he may begin to manifest even worse difficulties if the most recent traumas are not processed in cognitive-behavior therapy.
As this was the client's first session with this writer, no goals have been set at this time. However, he has been urged to pursue cognitive-behavior therapy with the writer or another member of the staff as well as couple's therapy for himself and Frost. While it is not the opinion of the writer that Summers should be on any sort of medication at this time, he has also been given a referral to a psychiatrist for further evaluation. Finally, given Summers' significantly different presentation, this writer has suggested a second opinion for the client from someone else on staff to ensure that my diagnosis is not in error. The client has agreed to this recommendation.
Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D who has experience in dealing with individuals with PTSD.
Continue studying the case file of Cyclops on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.