By Tim Stevens
Sif presents as an adult female of above average height and physical fitness. Her clothing is unusual for the time and place, but this writer recognizes it to be culturally appropriate given Sif’s peers and social connections.
The client’s cultural background, in this case, is Asgardian. She self identifies as being a member of the group of beings who are part of the Norse pantheon of gods, a group that includes the Avenger known as Thor in their ranks. This writer continues to treat this assertion as accurate—as I have done with other clients who identify as gods, demigods, demons, deities, or immortals—but also is vigilant for signs of any behaviors that may suggest delusions, as religiosity is often present in schizophrenia.
The Sif that came into office for session presented as a significantly different individual than during our previous therapeutic relationship. Although she physically looked the same, her body language, her ways of interacting with the staff and her general demeanor all seemed to have drastically shifted.
Some change, it could be argued, would be understandable. In addition to the reality that individuals change over time, the client was also coming off some fairly significant tragedies in her life at our last meeting. In coming to terms with those tragedy, a difference in attitude or presentation would not be unexpected or necessarily a negative.
However, Sif, in this case, seemed to significantly more aggressive than this writer had ever observed her to be, beyond the point of “normal” change. She spoke in a more clipped and condescending manner, and seemed to be spoiling to fight with anyone and everyone she encountered.
In session, she spoke of frustrations with her homeland and of a desire to return it to a more impressive and stable state. She was evasive about changes in her demeanor but argued that those changes were good for her and her people. She also admitted to finding the act of not fighting for Asgardia, despite the desire of those around her to maintain the peace, to be cowardly.
In the one moment of therapy where she seemed unguarded and most honest, she confessed that she recently went through a new commitment that had left her with a hunger for violence that had heretofore been unknown to her. This writer’s offers to help her think critically about this “hunger” and begin to plan coping skills to do when the want is at its height were soundly rejected; attempts to make the argument that subconsciously she is seeking out therapy because she truly does wish to stop herself also fell on largely deaf ears.
While it is this writer’s recommendation that the client not seek therapy until she is truly ready to consider her own behavior and at least consider changing, Sif is interested in continuing. Her next appointment is scheduled with Doctors Kathryn Immonen and Valero Schiti on February 27. Details on the session can be found in the file JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #649.
Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens, MA is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Practicum Trainee who currently provides therapy and outreach at a state university.