Published March 6, 2017

Psych Ward: Nova

For Richard Rider, returning to life has not been an uncomplicated thing…

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Richard Rider is a young adult male who appears to be of average to above average physical fitness. When last he met with this writer, he was active as a member of an intergalactic police force as the super hero Nova. Since his apparent death, the Nova Corps have largely been eliminated and his role as Earth’s Nova fulfilled by a teenager.

In fact, change was an overwhelming theme of the client’s therapy. He confessed that, while he could logically grasp that his physical death—which resulted in his consciousness being uploaded in the Worldmind, a sort of vast organic database that powers the Nova helmets, the part of the uniform that seems to endow the users with their power of flight, strength, and energy projection—he did not fully grasp how much time would seem to have passed. The client was able to acknowledge that chronologically it had actually been a fairly short time, but the changes to the world around him felt vast.

Despite achieving a sort of eternal life after his physical death, the client finds himself feeling more mortal than ever. Although he died and continued on—and in fact, now lives to tell the tale—he finds himself feeling incredibly vulnerable. The world seems additionally fragile as well to him and he points to the fate of several heroes—dead, replaced, turned villainous, gained children or replaced by younger protégés—as part of this experience.

Client also endorsed that he had been experiencing flashbacks and visual hallucinations including seeing others as sort of rotting, walking corpse versions of themselves. Client made it clear that these hallucinations reflect the kinds of things he saw in the Cancerverse and were not, for instance, daydreams about zombies.

Nova by Mike Deodato

Overall, Rider seems honest but hesitant to fully explore what is happening with and to him. When asked he feels or is worried if there might be physiological issues as well, the client became agitated and deferred.

We also explored the notion of feeling replaced by the new, younger Nova. Rider denied this stridently and pointed out how well they worked together. Therapist acknowledged this but suggested it was possible to both like and respect someone and still feel as though you’ve been replaced by them or resent the situation that has put you both together. The client refused to discuss this concept further.

Given client’s earlier success with it, this writer is working with Rider using Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) because it points out the thinking errors in the client’s cognition with an irreverence that he responds to. Given his experience with it, the therapist predicts the client will integrate activities like positive self-talk quickly into his day-to-day life and recover rapidly.

Given the fact that he literally died, this therapist has referred Richard Rider out for a consultation with experts in the field, Doctors Jeff Loveness and Ramon K. Perez. Their report will be available to review in files NOVA #4 and NOVA #5 which will be available on March 8 and April 5, respectively.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who is fine with death. Really. Just fine. Can we just stop talking about it?!