Comics

Psych Ward: Bruno Carrelli

In a time of personal turmoil, Kamala Khan's best friend reaches out for support!

Image for Psych Ward: Bruno Carrelli

While in country to continue this writer’s work with the so-called Midnight Angels’ psych assessments, I volunteered to help do intakes for a newly opened mental health practice in Wakanda’s largest city. This note summarizes one of those intake interviews.

Bruno Carrelli is a teenage adolescent male who presents as fairly healthy although he has recently experienced a significant physical trauma to his left hand. He declined to dive too much into that issue, asserting a healthy boundary by expressing he was not ready to discuss it beyond acknowledging its existence.

Instead the intake focused predominantly on the client’s interpersonal relationships and recent emigration to the country of Wakanda.

Like so many going through large changes—especially at his age—the client is struggling with ambivalence about the current direction of his life. On the one hand, living in Wakanda has opened up opportunities to him that he hungered for but never really believed would be possible, especially this early. He loves and appreciates the academic challenges he now faces and is excited about learning more about Wakanda and becoming integrated in the community around him.

On the other hand, he gave up the only place he had ever called home—Northern New Jersey—and all the comfortable familiarity that home offered him. Wakanda living is markedly different from Jersey living and the client is experiencing an understandable but still challenging level of adjustment difficulty.

Making matters worse is the changes his personal life has undergone during this period of transition.

For one, he was forced to end his relationship with his girlfriend Mike when he left the United States. In addition to being his first adolescent intimate relationship, he also identifies it as the first time in as long as he can recall he chose someone over the idealized “crush” he had on a close friend. He felt good not just because he cared deeply about Mike but also because he saw growth in himself for trading fantasy for reality. He now worries that finding himself in a new place with a community he does not yet fit in entirely, he might regress to old ways.

This is doubly the case because his idealized crush is the only person he knows well in Wakanda. However, she is also the reason he finds himself in Wakanda—not wholly by choice—in the first place. Regardless of his past romantic feelings towards her they have always been close friends. So the client finds himself psychologically pulled in several directions: he has unresolved feelings of anger towards her for the move, he wants to connect with her because they’ve always been friends and now they both could really use that support, but he also doesn’t want to connect too closely to her because he does not wish to repeat past patterns of idealization and limiting social opportunities for himself.

The writer offered validation and reassurance that the client’s reactions made sense given circumstances and were not unlike the kinds of experiences many people his age and slightly older begin to experience now as they enter a psychological phase of individuation and concrete transitions like moving on to college, leaving their home towns, and so on. The writer was sure to stress at the same time, however, that the client should ignore or suppress their distress and that everyone’s situation—no matter how similar to others before them—should be given care and attention.

As this writer does not live in Wakanda full-time, the client has been referred to Doctors G. Willow Wilson and Francesco Gaston for his next appointment on May 10. Their progress note will be located in file MS. MARVEL #18.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist once attended a prestigious science institute, but was told to go home because there was nothing more he could be taught.