Grounded, the ace Resistance pilot decides to visit a therapist.

Poe Dameron is an adult male who present as in above average physical health, a perception confirmed by his medical records.

While the client’s reputation precedes him, this is the first time this writer has seen Dameron in a professional setting. Given his status as arguably the best pilot of the Resistance and the numerous accolades he has received over the years, this writer does admit I experienced a certain level of celebrity gazing early in session. I did, however, quickly overcome this and was able to engage with the client in a therapeutically appropriate manner.

The client has been grounded by General Organa following a largely successful mission that nonetheless resulted in the death of a colleague and the loss, to the First Order, of the target they were pursuing. This therapist expected, therefore, that the presenting issue(s) would be related to grief and loss and possibly feelings of guilt and failure.

Initially, that is where the intake began. However, as session progressed, the client became more engaged and open and disclosed that actually what he found himself most concerned with was the General’s charge that he be more than the best pilot, that he find the one thing that would make him invaluable to the Republic and the Resistance.

Poe Dameron #15 cover by Phil Noto

We explored the notion of taking on a more active leadership role, of accepting himself as not just a man giving orders, but a figure of inspiration. The client confessed he had never seen himself in this way and even now struggled to see how others might. Additionally, it was not necessarily a role he aspired to. He loves being a pilot and being known as the best; why does he need to be more than that?

Together we discussed what it meant to him to be “the best” and what it would look like to, in some ways, sacrifice that for a new role—a role that would be both more and less than being the best pilot.

Overall, the client presents as smart and insightful. Although he does have some hesitance to disclose and was resistant at moments, overall he seemed engaged in the therapeutic process and open to the possibility of it being helpful to him.

Given my age and already heavy caseload, I referred Poe Dameron to my colleagues Doctors Charles Soule and Angel Unzueta, and Doctors Robbie Thompson and Nik Virella. His first session with them is scheduled for May 17 to be followed by a second session on June 21. The data for those will be uploaded to the memory units labeled POE DAMERON #15 and POE DAMERON ANNUAL #1 respectively.

Star Wars Tim Stevens is aware his continuity must be confusing. Just imagine that after the fall of the Empire, he found the Force, renounced his previous ways, and joined the Republic to make up for his past ethically dubious choices.

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Our therapist risks his life to profile the Dark Lord of the Sith!

It was my honor to serve The Emperor by psychologically investigating and observing the subject known as Darth Vader. My colleagues—former colleagues—argued against this as deeply unethical, but I know the Empire must come before all else. They stood for their foolish principles and paid the price. I, by far, prefer the rewards of our government as opposed to their punishments.

While the Empire, in its wisdom, did not allow this writer access to Vader’s medical records, it is clear that he is deeply unhealthy. He appears to have significant breathing difficulties and his movements suggest that he is not entirely organic at this point.

Despite his reputation for being a cold and distant figure, it is clear that he, in fact, possesses a wicked temper. He masks it with a flat affect and few words, but his days are marked by him lashing out with what this writer has discerned are some kind of “Force powers.” Although I did not see him kill anyone, there are more than a few rumors to that effect that seem accurate.

Additionally, the subject seems to have a deep inferiority complex. He is constantly plotting to prove himself better than everyone around me. Even as most of the Empire is quite obviously fearful of him, he cannot seem to help but need his worth affirmed by acts of mental and physical superiority.

I also have concerns about his level of focus. It seems that he has been placed in charge of many projects and yet I often noted him seemingly staring off into space for long periods of time. At times, I noted him whispering, “Soon…” or “I know you can feel the power beckoning you to me,” to himself but I have no idea what this might mean. However, I think it is worth investigating further, almost certainly.

To further back up my findings, I have suggested the Empire use Doctors Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli. I think you’ll find them similarly loyal and morally…flexible. They have June 21 available and will upload the data into the DARTH VADER #2 file.

The Star Wars Universe Tim Stevens is an ethically challenged therapist who loves a nice glass of blue milk now and then.

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Norrin Radd comes to therapy coping with a very human problem.

As noted in previous session, while the client is most often known as The Silver Surfer, he is/was once Norrin Radd, a denizen of the planet Zenn-La. While he feels as though Radd was a previous form and not truly who he is, the clinic nonetheless notes him in his original designation. We do not wish to deny his current identity, but we also believe that his life as Radd, however in the past it may be, is part of what made the Surfer who he is and it should not be ignored.

Now, as in previous encounters, the client presents as deeply introspective as well as casually grandiose. He can be deeply unsettling to many as his mixture of largely affectless appearance and dissertations on the cosmic horrors of the universe is difficult to connect or engage with in ways that might feel meaningful.

That being acknowledged, this session found the client acting, to turn a phrase, in a far more human manner. He and his space faring companion, Dawn Greenwood—a human—recently returned to Earth to be present for the birth of her twin sister’s first child. While the duo encountered significant interference along the way, they did return very rapidly. However, what they came back to was not the exciting event they had anticipated.

Surfer, while no stranger to trauma, tragedy, or suffering, explained that he found himself at a loss as to how to help Dawn. She, he admitted, is his friend and may very well be the person he is closest to in all existence. And yet, he found himself utterly unable to meet her emotional needs at such an important moment.

As we explored his experience of the time since returning to Earth, he admitted that the Power Cosmic makes everything bigger and smaller at once. He can open himself up to the universe in such a way that nearly every feeling, every emotion, every sensation can be available for him to enjoy vicariously through another living being. He can find himself profoundly moved by the first steps of Shi’Ar and horrified by the actions of one Skrull might take against his brother.

And yet they feel so separate from him as well. The writer suggested it might be a bit like looking a friend’s slideshow of their vacation and seeing and appreciating all the sights, all the fun, but also being utterly unmoved by it and the client agreed. It was more clinical than experiential for him.

Silver Surfer and Dawn Greenwood by Mike Allred

Thus, when confronted, face to face, with raw true pain, he found himself adrift. While he watched his friend’s utter anguish, he felt confounded, overwhelmed, and distant all at once. This being he cared for more than perhaps anyone since the love of his life back when he was still Rann was in a state of emotional suffering. He possesses more power than nearly any creature on Earth. And still, all his ideas, all his plans to comfort her, felt utterly inadequate and incompetent in the face of her experience.

So he came to this writer to ask, simply, “What do I do?”

Alas, I had to tell him what I have to tell all kinds of clients—be they hero or villain, alien or human, super powered or standard issue, child or adult—every day. Some things are too big for us. Some things there are no answers for. Some pain cannot be spoken, or hugged, or joked away. Sometimes the only thing that can be done is to stand next to your friend, your spouse, your sibling, your loved one and say, “I’m here for you. As long as you need me, I’m here.”

The Surfer, for his part, found this response utterly unsatisfying; understandably so. I validated his experience of Greenwood’s pain and his experience of his frustration at my reply. I recommended a few books he may want to read. In the end, however, the client simply could not accept that what I offered could possibly be the “correct” answer.

I have therefore referred him to Doctors Dan Slott and Mike Allred who are experts in the field of grieving and support. The first session is scheduled for June 14 and the progress note will be found in file SILVER SURFER #12.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist is here for you. As long as you need him, he’s here for you, Power Cosmic or not.

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In the midst of great upheaval, Kamala seeks solace.

The client, Kamala Khan, presents as a girl in late adolescence in average physical health. She self-identifies as an Inhuman and has experienced the exposure to the Terrigen Mists and subsequent rebirth associated with Inhuman individuals. The client, however, did not grow up amongst Inhumans and has largely not embraced their traditions. Her exposure to Terrigen was not the result of the sacred ceremony but rather the recent reckless spreading of the Mists by members of the Inhuman community who were seeking to either protect themselves or create a more dominant presence on the globe.

The client, nonetheless, bears the Inhumans no ill will and, in fact, has generally been excited to receive powers through her exposure. As a lifelong fan of costumed crime fighters—she confesses one of her favorite creative outlets was writing fan fiction about the likes of the Avengers—she welcomed the abilities with generally open arms and adopted the name Ms. Marvel as an homage to her favorite hero who now operates under the title of Captain Marvel.

Additionally, the client indicates she received some level of self-validation from the experience. Long feeling just a step out of place with her more Americanized—and typically not religious—peers as well as her religiously observant Muslim family, finding out she was an Inhuman gave a frame to those feelings. Of course she felt different than most of the people in her life; she was different than them.

However, the past few months have brought a steady stream of challenges that have left her feelings toward her super powers decidedly more ambivalent.

For instance, the internal super hero conflict over an Inhuman who apparently had some capacity to see the future—although not always in clear ways—led to the client becoming disillusioned with Captain Marvel who came out as a fierce advocate for using the Inhuman’s visions to stop crimes and limit disasters. Khan, on the other hand, saw the potential for a wide range of abuses in the name of safety and, moreover, could not stomach Captain Marvel’s strong-arming of those that disagreed.

On a more personal level, a villain was recently able to find out Khan’s true identity, something that endangered her family and friends as well as herself. The fallout has done much to damage her friendship with Bruno Carrelli, who she often refers to as her best friend.

Ms. Marvel #19 cover by Nelson Blake II

The client’s life, however, has not been without positives. After being widely accepted by the super hero community, she has found a niche with a collection of teen super heroes that call themselves the Champions. Additionally, she has begun to act as a mentor for another young super hero—Moon Girl—an opportunity she has felt honored to receive.

Overall, the client is psychologically and physically helpful. She is, however, also an adolescent and an adolescent super hero at that which means that tumultuous times will be her norm for the near future, if not beyond.

In addition to defining herself beyond her previous idols, she must also define herself beyond the decisions of her parents including in ways that involve her cultural touchstones and religious beliefs. While Kamala seems to love both aspects of her life, she will not necessarily choose to live or worship in the exact same way as her family and coming to terms with that reality will be a process for all involved. Similarly, she will need to decide what her principles are and how strongly she needs to adhere to them to feel like she is being honest with herself and others

The business of being a crime fighter can breed cynicism and lead to significant trauma. It will be important over the course of the client working with this writer to give her a toolbox of skills to promote resilience. This does not mean she will necessarily never deal with depression, anxiety, trauma, or more but rather that when she does, she will have a set of skills that will aid her in limiting the scope of her symptoms and improving her recovery rate.

Given that the client is seeking longer term but less intensive therapy, it was determined that she would be better served by Doctors G. Willow Wilson and Marcos Failla. She will visit them for next session on June 14. Their progress notes will be available in file MS. MARVEL #19.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist remembers what it feels like to be adolescent. Perhaps remembers a bit too well considering how old he is turning this week.

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Delve into the disturbed mind of the former Green Goblin!

Despite years of therapy, including with this writer, Norman Osborn maintains he has no formal diagnoses. He rejects the diagnosis given to him by me during the last time he saw me regularly and insists any and all mental health issues were owed to his exposure to the so-called Goblin Serum and not to any kind of organic mental disorder. Additionally, since his brain’s ability to interact with the Serum has been inhibited, he no longer demonstrates any of his previous symptoms.

Some of this is accurate—the hallucinations no longer seem present, he no longer exhibits an almost compulsive laugh reflect that is set off by mentions of Spider-Man, his family, or the Daily Bugle. He no longer uses the wide range of medications to manage his mental health either, suggesting that, indeed, the Serum had a deleterious effect on his mental health.

However, all his symptoms are not eliminated. He is still prone to anger and violence when his will is questioned or his plans derailed. He still harbors an intense hatred for those he views as having opposed him. The obsessive zeal to succeed or “win” also seems intact at this time. Given the opportunity, it is not hard to see Osborn developing and exposing himself to some experimental chemical cocktail in the quest to defeat Spider-Man or to best a business rival. This supports the notion that the client almost certainly has an Axis II diagnosis—Antisocial Personality Disorder—and likely an Axis I one as well—bipolar disorder seeming most likely.

As prior, the client presents as though he has a strong educational background and privileged life. He continues to be combative and resistant in session, rejecting nearly every observation, no matter how slight, offered to him. He enjoys talking about himself but resents any attempt to steer the stories or question his viewpoint on the matter.

What is most distressing, however, is not the client’s seeming lack of progress. It is the manner of his arrival and subsequent attitude towards therapy. Despite coming on his own without anyone or anything compelling him to do so, he seems to actively resent his time in session. He also rejects goal setting, be they specific—give up criminal activities—or general—reduce overall level of stress. And yet, week in and week out, the client arrives promptly in the office.

Given his history, it seems foolish not to treat the client. On the other hand, he is, in many ways, not really in therapy at all right now. If I did not think the client’s threat to others was so inherent to his character, I do confess I would have discharged him already. However, if there exists a potential that his desire for therapy is authentic and he is just engaging in some rather intense self-sabotage, I cannot, in good conscience, not at least attempt give Osborn the help he obviously needs.

Still, ethically, I cannot let therapy continue to progress in this manner. Therefore, Osborn is being referred to Doctors Dan Slott and Stuart Immonen for a further evaluation and the hope that perhaps different therapists may yield different results. Session will take place on May 10 and the progress note will be available for review in file AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #27.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who wishes he had done the patented Osborn hair before he shaved his head.

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Everybody has a therapist in LA—so why not Kate Bishop?

The client, Kate Bishop, is returning to therapy after a period of time away. Sessions are being conducted via a secure Skype setting as the client is currently located in Los Angeles. What paperwork that has been needed to be signed has been faxed to an associate of this office and signed in person and held there until this writer picks it up in person the next time he is on the West Coast.

The client continues to present as being in above average physical fitness and reports no significant changes in physical health or recent injuries. Given her choice of activities—Hawkeye, a costumed vigilante and private investigator—it seems unlikely she has sustained no injuries between when she last met with this writer and now, but whatever bodily trauma she has experienced does not seem to have created lasting physical consequences.

The client has largely disengaged herself from her family’s money but continues to present as someone used to and educated in a high socioeconomic status world. Nonetheless, she seems to have adapted well to the reduction in her financial status and articulates no anger or bitterness regarding it.

Finally, in comparison to our last series of sessions, Bishop has seemingly integrated emotion more easily in her life. While she still indicates she does tend to favor thinking over feeling the gulf between the two has shrank and that bears out in her affect. As with all changes, this seems to have carried both positive and negative consequences, but overall she seems happy about the change.

The client’s return to therapy was prompted by an interaction with a peer/mentor she identified as Jessica Jones. Jones herself recommended calling this writer as well. In the interaction, Bishop finally admitted to Jones—and possibly herself—her real change in location and current motivation stems primarily from her father’s disappearance. In giving words to this reality, the client has experienced significant ambivalent feelings she is struggling to properly process.

After “losing” many people in her life—via death, time travel, maturation, or team disbanding—Bishop clearly places a high priority on staying connected with those she cares about. So on this level, her father’s disappearance has been a tremendous struggle for her.

On the other hand, the client also has a highly developed sense of morality and her father ran aground of that morality. In violating it, he threw their whole relationship into doubt for her. Since that time, neither has addressed or attempted to address the issues. Therefore, it remained a psychologically open wound for Bishop.

His apparent mysterious vanishing has thus left her angry, disappointed, worried, scared, and confused. Even if the client has done a better job with emotions as of late, the set of feelings is proving very hard for her to sort.

Given her previous therapeutic experience, we are starting with radical acceptance. She has experienced the technique with this writer before and it is my feeling that the sooner she can come to terms with the realities of “My dad is not the man I thought he was and wished him to be,” and “My father is gone and no one knows where or why” the sooner we can begin to address the feelings below them.

Kate Bishop will visit with the above referenced associates, Doctors Kelly Thompson and Michael Walsh on May 3 and then return on June 7 to see Doctor Thompson again, this time with Doctor Leonardo Romero. All scales and intake paperwork will be completed then. Details of these sessions will be found in HAWKEYE #6 and HAWKEYE #7 respectively.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who is sure he’d fit right in in ol’ Los Angeles. What with his pallor and c-level character actor looks.

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On the run, Ben Reilly may be beyond even Peter David’s help!

This session was a fill-in session for the client, Ben Reilly, while his therapists—Drs. Peter David and Mark Bagley—were away on a conference. Arrangements were made in advance with this writer for me to pick up their critical cases during this interim including Mr. Reilly.

Ben Reilly is an adult male who presents with unusual scarring that he reports is a degenerative condition—not entirely different than the apparently common condition to clones created by Dr. Mile Warren. The client denies any of the mental health issues that are commonplace for those Warren clones including changes in personality and interference with cognitive and emotional processing.

However, Dr. David’s results suggest otherwise. On a recent progress note, he reported, “I would say that at this point Ben Reilly has no idea who he is.”

“To his mind, the only reason he is considered a villain is because he had a plan that Spider-Man thwarted,” David elaborated. “As far as he’s concerned, he’s a misunderstood good guy. Except anyone standing outside of him is driven to the conclusion that he has become disconnected from reality. It’s hard to determine whose reality is the genuine one.”

This writer would find little to quibble with in Dr. David’s description after this session.

In person, the client presents as superficially charming with a quick wit and a gift for holding a conversation. Any attempts to move him beyond the superficial, however, quickly reveal the client is putting on little more than a very good show.

Unlike both Kaine and Peter Parker—genetic identicals to Reilly—the client seems to lack either’s sense of self-reflection. On the one hand, this limits the tremendous guilt Parker often feels and the reflexive self-hatred Kaine falls prey to. On the other, it makes Reilly arrogant and unable to contemplate the perspectives of others when it comes to his desires and plans.

The client’s refusal to allow himself to be given a physical exam is disquieting. While there are plenty of external signs—physical and psychological—of the ravages of the degenerative condition, it is impossible to estimate exactly the internal damage, especially to his brain. Without that key information, we are unable to know if his current condition is stable, if he may improve, or—most likely—exhibit increasing antisocial behavior and physical deterioration.

While most individuals with mental health issues are as safe as the average person, given Reilly’s past behaviors and his abilities, any worsening in his condition could very well make him a threat to others and himself.

Unfortunately, without physical documentation or expressed homicidality or self-harming behaviors, this writer—and his other therapists—can only recommend hospitalization to the client, leaving the ultimate decision up to him.

Ben Reilly will return to Doctors Bagley and David’s schedule on May 24. Details of that session can be found in file BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #2.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who’d love to blame his failing looks on some kind of clone degeneration but, alas, he’s an original.

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Even the head of the Shi’ar Empire can use someone to talk to!

Kallark is a male exterrestrial who presents as a humanoid in excellent physical fitness with a blue hued skin tone. According to the client, his coloration is perfectly normal amongst his people and not at all cause for any kind of concern.

Kallark works as part of the Imperial Guard of the Shi’Ar Empire, what he states is the most prestigious role in all of Shi’Ar military and law enforcement. In trying to conceptualize it, the closest comparison we hit upon is a Bronze Star recipient who became a Secret Service agent guarding the President and also happened to be famous and featured prominently in videos, print ads, and art work celebrating government works. Additionally, he has been identified as the Praetor of the Guard, which is like everything already listed plus being a general. Because of this role, he is more commonly referred to as Gladiator and confesses that he recognizes himself more by that name than his birth name.

Groomed nearly from birth to have a place in the Guard, the client has frequently struggled against his dedication to honor and loyalty and his own personal beliefs. Although it has happened rarely, he has on occasion stood against the current rule of the Shi’Ar because he believed the Emperor or Empress was going against the greater good. The client explains he has always felt a deep ambivalence about these moments and even when he felt he ultimately made the right choice, he was unable to resolve those emotions for some time after.

The client also served for a time in a leadership role himself. Although he rejects the notion that he was an Emperor, he did essentially fill that role after the mutant Vulcan forcibly seized control of the Shi’ar government and then was seemingly slain, leaving a power vacuum in his wake. Unfortunately, Kallark was unable to keep the Shi’Ar from falling under an opportunistic Kree government who took advantage of their rivals’ time of disarray to best them in combat.

However, in the time since, somehow—Kallark has a difficult time remembering exactly how, only that there was a tremendous conflict of some kind, one that might have involved the whole of the galaxy—things have returned to a more familiar state for himself and the Shi’Ar people.

The client reports finding himself in emotional conflict once again. A group of space farers he describes as rather “unreliable” has turned to him and the Shi’Ar for help in opposing a recently ascendant figure in galactic politics known as Mother Entropy. The official position of the Shi’Ar, however, is not to oppose or be drawn into conflict with her.

Despite having no reason to question this governmental decision, he finds himself uneasy with it and wondering if, perhaps, his government is making the wrong choice.

Therapy, therefore, is focusing on a few different goals. The first of these is helping Kallark establish a sense of self that includes service to his government without making him feel like he only exists to serve. Much like children as they grow into adulthood must establish separate whole identities from their parents to truly achieve maturation, so too must the client from the Shi’Ar government. Second, we are working on developing decision making skills that will help the client foster a better sense of ease with his choices and a more morally consistent life. Finally, we are working on developing interpersonal skills so he has the ability to explain his choices to others in a manner they may understand and even, perhaps, persuade them to agree with his choice.

As the client is a resident of another entire planet, working with this writer on a consistent basis may be difficult if not impossible. Therefore this therapist has referred him to Doctors Jim Starlin and Alan Davis. Their first session is scheduled for May 24 and their session note will be located in the file GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: MOTHER ENTROPY #4.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who doesn’t mind traveling to work with a client but draws the line at intergalactic roundtrips.

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The former problem student prepares for his next step!

Quintavius “Quentin” Quire is a male who presents as being in his late adolescence and in healthy physical shape. He is a self-identified mutant with ties to the mutant rights group the X-Men. Although he is mostly known by his given name, he has also been called “Kid Omega.”

The client was dropped off at the office by Thor with her ordering our staff, “You talk to him!” It should be noted that this is not the ideal start of a therapeutic sentence. However, Quire and this writer have a pre-existing relationship and he seemed to agree to a session without coercion so I did sit with the client.

When we last worked together, the client was a student at the Jean Grey Institute. In the time since, he has graduated, joined the X-Men, quit the X-Men out of conflicts with Wolverine, joined the Hellfire Club and seized control of it as the White King, and then quit that as well, going into isolation.

Despite all these changes, Quire presents in much the same way as when we first worked together. He recycled his lines about his distaste for psychology and psychologists, talking therapy, and his assertion that what I practice is “junk science.”

However, when the therapist began to dig into the series of rapid changes the client had recently experienced, his affect changed and it became clear that he was struggling to maintain his typical presentation.

Somewhat begrudgingly he disclosed the boredom that characterized his time with the Hellfire Club which left him confused and agitated. He had always felt he deserved power and leadership and when he gained it he found it rather empty and unfulfilling.

We also explored his complex feelings towards Wolverine, someone he characterized as an individual who only sought to make Quire act his worst just so he could say to the client, “See? Look how bad you are.”

Finally, he confessed he had gained some knowledge—although he was very vague about how or what—of his own death and the experience had shaken him. The therapist’s attempts to dig deeper only resulted in the client becoming more disconnected and dismissive of the session.

Therefore, I moved away from a past focus to a present orientation. The client briefly explained that Thor had been attempting to convince him to help with a re-emergent Phoenix Force. The client presented with anger and bluster at this point. He insisted on his independence and that he would not answer to anyone or follow orders from anyone, not even the “so-called God of Thunder herself.” While the client allowed that, yes, the Phoenix Force would be the biggest challenge he had ever faced and yes, he was aware what it had done, at various times, to Jean Grey and Emma Frost, he refused to admit to or even acknowledge the possibility he had any fears about it.

Abandoning the attempts to get the client to open up and knowing from previous experience he was rarely moved by the needs of others, this writer finally appealed to the client’s sense of self-preservation, arguing that if he faced Phoenix he may be hurt or killed but if he failed to, he’d make enemies of gods and likely would only be delaying an inevitable death by Phoenix, one that he would be less prepared for than this face off.

Given the rather resistant nature of the client, this writer is referring the client to Doctors Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman who have more experience with working with “wielders and victims of the Phoenix Force.” Their follow-up sessions will occur on April 26 and May 17. Session notes can be found in file MIGHTY THOR #18 and MIGHTY THOR #19

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who will never grow tired of people telling him psychology is not real science.

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Before facing a new foe, the team takes time to bond closer together!

The space-faring team known as the Guardians of the Galaxy—a self-appointed title with no formal rights or responsibilities—came to our office with a request that our staff help them improve the ways in which they interact and work with one another. After meeting with the entire team and each member individual, what follows below is the program of workshops we are presenting to them to address their stated needs.

Recognizing Leadership- The Guardians—like so many groups of diverse people who consistently are placed in stressful situations—sometimes struggle with the chain of command. They can be prone to disrespecting those in leadership roles, rejecting plans to do things on their own, or—either consciously or not—failing to step up and seize a leadership position when necessary. This workshop seeks to empower all members to be both good leaders and good team members and better recognize when the time is to be one or the other.

Communication is Key!– Continuing from the theme above, even when roles are clear and understood, there are moments where it is necessary to convey disagreement, ask for clarification, or express feelings of being underappreciated. When such times come and the people involved are unprepared to communicate their needs, wants, opinions, or facts clearly and concisely, it can cause great strains on team cohesion. This breakout session will teach the Guardians how to decide when and where it is appropriate to raise objections, express feelings, or ask for more information and the best way to do that in a number of scenarios. This session is high in role plays and tends to be a lot of fun for all involved!

Resisting All-Powerful Beings– A relatively new addition to our staff, the Stepford Cuckoos are full of great tips and tricks on how to take on impossibly powerful cosmic beings without losing one’s head. Some past participants have found this workshop to be “overly aggressive” but we have been working on improving that aspect of it because we believe in the content.

Stress as Friend…and FOE!– Space travel in and of itself can be a mental and physical stressor. Add in evading hostile attempts to destroy your space craft, landing on worlds unlike ones you have ever seen before, and a wide range of violent encounters from hand to hand combat to small nuclear arms—and beyond—and you have a situation where your heart may be getting a workout all day every day. This three hour two session workshop helps participants recognize “good” and “bad” stress and how they can affect us all similarly and differently.

Mastering Your Brain– Once the Guardians have the psychoeducation about stress presented above, this breakout session will give them the tools to deal with it. Increasing their range of coping skills by reviewing mindfulness and distress tolerance techniques will help these adventurers be more effective at their jobs and in their personal lives. Another participation heavy group that participants seem to find just find delightful.

Telling Stress to Go Boom– We are outsourcing on this and cannot speak to its validity. However, the Guardian known as Rocket insisted on discussing “the therapeutic benefits of making stuff blow up” or “no deal,” so we found what we believe to be one of the better instructors in this area, a Mr. Paul Denning. We look forward to seeing his approach in action and possibly adding it to future retreat programs.

Trust Me!– This classic series of rapport building and trust exercises is everyone’s favorite breakout group and for good reason! Any team worth its weight in the crushing responsibility of knowing you are the only thing standing between the universe and a being that seeks to enslave every living creature and reduce freedom to nil cannot help but “graduate” from this one feeling closer than ever to be one another.

The retreat begins with Doctors Jim Starlin and Alan Davis on May 3 and runs every Wednesday through the end of the month. You can review the program as it progresses in the file GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: MOTHER ENTROPY!

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who loves a good breakout sesh.

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