Published June 6, 2017

Psych Ward: The Hulk

A changed Jennifer Walters attends her first therapy session.

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The client, Jennifer Walters, in addition to working as an attorney, has long acted as a super hero known as She-Hulk with an extensive history as an Avenger and solo adventurer. For years, she largely lived her life as She-Hulk and was happy to do so. This was but one contrast between her and her forever-conflicted cousin Bruce Banner who, even when he was in the so-called “Professor Hulk” form, struggled with revealing his—usually—green-skinned alter ego to the world.

All of this is important to note as prologue as the Walters who arrived for session was not tall, muscular, and green. Instead she presented as adult white woman of approximately average height and physical fitness. The client explained that she had suffered a traumatic physical injury that had, in ways not yet fully understood, altered her transformation process. Now, she rarely presents in her Hulk form—she is currently eschewing the addition of “She”—and when she does appears to be grey in color with bright green scars across her skin. She also described her presentation as more “out of control” and perhaps “feral” than her more recognizable green hued form.

The changes in her physical form and transformation process are not all that is different about her, she disclosed to this writer.

While she has, at times, struggled with fear and panic and for a brief time did experience moments of transformation like her cousin where she seemed to become more like a wild animal when particularly afraid, this period was a very short-lived part of her life and did not alter her overall presentation.

Now, however, she reports panic attacks and PTSD-like symptoms that result in what this writer is referring to as “micro transformations”—moments so brief that her physical changes are not even noticed by her but the results surround her. For instance, she might briefly dissociate in the midst of an attack only to realize the elevator keypad is smashed or that her hardwood floor has large finger sized divots in it.

Additionally, the client is processing feelings of grief stemming from the death of her cousin while she was in her coma. These feelings are complicated by the additional knowledge that a former teammate—Clint Barton aka Hawkeye—is the man responsible for Banner’s death and her feelings that perhaps Barton did it at Banner’s behest. She admits she has not grieved properly for her cousin and worries that it might be sometime before she is able to as she struggles to get “the rest of my life back on track.”

Given this writer’s role in assessing Barton’s fitness for trial, I have determined it may be unhelpful to the client to continue to work with me and have therefore referred her to Doctors Mariko Tamaki and Georges Duarte for further sessions. She will next see them on July 12 and their progress note can be located in file HULK #8 at that time.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist used to have a Hulk-like alter ego named the Raging Skull. It mostly just got him in trouble.