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By Tim Stevens
Franklin Richards is a pre-adolescent boy who appears to be of average height, weight and build. The client was friendly and interactive with the writer despite the unfamiliarity of the situation and setting. Richards typically spoke in a normal tone and at a normal speed. However, when he spoke about a story or event he found particularly exciting, he would speak very quickly and until he was about out of breath. It should be noted that this is not out of character for someone of his level of extraversion at this age. Overall, the writer found the client to be expressive, intelligent and open about the events of his life.
Richards had been brought in for session by his parents, Reed and Susan Richards. The duo is better known as Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, one half of the super hero explorer team the Fantastic Four. As parents, they were concerned with how the level of unrest in their child's life,
both in terms of external (invaders from other dimensions, time traveling doppelgangers, Skrulls) and internal (difficulties in their marriage, little interaction with children his own age) stimuli, was affecting the boy's psyche.
Initial tests of intelligence, motor skills, and physical development revealed no developmental difficulties in the client. If anything, it appears that the client performs at an above-average level in most areas of his life. Even in socialization, he seems to be quite well-adapted, despite his very unusual childhood and limited circle of friends.
However, at the parents' behest, the writer probed into previous tragic events in the client's life, including, but not limited to, being kidnapped by his grandfather, being distant from his parents for a time during which he developed a familial bond with the child super hero family called Power Pack, the seeming death of his parents during the Onslaught crisis, the loss of his mutant powers and the recent impersonation of his mother by a Skrull. Richards was able to acknowledge these events and talk about them appropriately. The only event he initially outright refused to discuss was his
time in what he referred to as "hell." Eventually, though, he was able to reveal that he still experienced the occasional nightmare stemming from that event and that he had been able to seek comfort from his family at those times.
It is the opinion of this writer that despite the highly unusual day-to-day life of the client, he has hit the necessary developmental milestones and is showing no signs of unnatural mental distress or disorder at this time. The writer applauds the parents' instincts in getting their son evaluated and encourages them to check in occasionally in the future to ensure he continues to progress down this healthy path. Beyond that, the writer sees no need for the client to have regular sessions.
This having been said, the writer does have some recommendations for the Richards family. One is that their son is quickly approaching the age (if he has not already reached it) where it is important he discover interests and make connections outside his family. The Richards are encouraged to facilitate situations where this is a possibility. Preferably, the majority of them would involve "average" children, not those
already involved in super heroics. While his advanced intellect may make it difficult, perhaps going to school outside of the home would be a good way to begin this process.
Additionally, the writer urges the client's parents to consider counseling for their marriage. Despite the extraordinary threats that face this family on a regular basis, it is the opinion of staff that the thing that could prove most dangerous to the client's mental health is his parents' volatile marriage. It is important that the Richards find a therapist they feel comfortable with and begin to assess where their lives are and what shape their marriage is in. The roller coaster relationship may work for them, but it is unlikely to help their children in any way at all.
For further information on the client, staff recommends reading the file marked FANTASTIC FOUR #562, which has been prepared by Doctors Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch and will be available on December 10.
Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D who has experience in dealing with individuals who come from difficult home situations and have experienced traumatic events in their childhood.
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