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Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Nova

The Human Rocket struggles with his evolving role in the Nova Corps and more.

By Tim Stevens

Richard Rider is a young adult male who appears to be of average-to-above average physical fitness. He serves as part of an intergalactic police force and is known here on Earth as the super hero Nova. He has attended session in astral or energy projection form as he is off-planet at this time. The writer has evaluated this approach and considers it as valid as therapy by telephone or Internet-based approaches, if not more as the projection is very clear and thus extremely capable of providing body and facial language hints as to what the client is feeling but not necessarily saying.

Currently, the client is ensnared in an ongoing cosmic conflict between several warring factions. This, however, is not the specific cause of his seeking out therapy. Instead, he has chosen to do so because of the rapid large changes this and recent prior incidents have brought into his life.

As the client explained, he was, up until recently, mostly viewed as a young adult hero,--like his contemporaries, the New Warriors-who was good at what he did, but probably not ready for the "big time." However, in the past several months, he has been elevated to the point of near legend for his exploits as a cosmic war hero. This shift could be overwhelming for anyone, but he also was made the vessel to the Worldmind, an entity that fuels the Nova Corps, during this time. Although the Worldmind now exists separately, the situation became untenable when it was taken over by the malevolent planet Ego, nearly killing Rider in the process. While the client recognizes that his separation from the Worldmind is for the best, he does miss that status quo and is struggling to maintain the heights of heroism he has achieved.

Recently, the client lost track of his brother, Robbie Rider, a fellow Nova Centurion. Due to old grievances and the influence of the Ego-controlled Worldmind, the two's last interactions were not pleasant ones and the client finds himself consumed by overwhelming emotions of guilt, sadness, anger, and fear. He wants to set things right with his brother both for this and for the years Robbie felt as if he was in his super hero older brother's shadow and is worried that the opportunity will never come. He also does not know how to face his parents if he is unable to find his

brother, finds him deceased, or is unable to reconcile with him.

Further complicating this search is that several of the new Nova Corps recruits like Robbie have been found dead while others are looking to the client to lead them and avenge the deaths of their teammates. The client, on the other hand, feels too consumed by his concern for his brother and is worried that he may cause more of his comrades to die.

Therapy has been focusing on managing these powerful emotions to a point where they do not overwhelm Rider's judgment. The writer has used Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) because it points out the thinking errors in the client's cognition with an irreverence that Rider responds well to. While there remains much work to do before the process is complete, the client has nicely begun to integrate the helpful self talk into his day-to-day life and has reported that it is somewhat effective in helping him overcome his stress.

The client did miss his last appointment without explanation. During the last session, he mentioned that he believed he had located his brother, so the writer thinks that his skipped session might have something to do with that news.

Richard Rider is next scheduled to attend therapy with Doctors Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Kevin Sharpe on September 23. Further information on this session can be found in file NOVA #29.


Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D. who has experience in helping individuals better regulate their emotions.

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