Captain America: A Case Study in Veteran Mental Health

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Character Overview: 

Analyzing superhero Captain America, who wakes up 70 years past his time after crash-landing on a war mission, Steve Rogers’ mental health struggles to rediscover his place in society can arguably relate in numerous ways to military veterans across the country today, and their potential experiences returning from service.

Steve Rogers is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s heroic protagonist from Brooklyn during World War II. In Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Steve attempts to enlist in the U.S. military multiple times, consistently rejected because of his health problems and frail physique. These attempts catch the attention of an American organization, the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR), who work to bring down the Nazi science division named HYDRA. Because of Steve’s morality and inner strength, he is selected for a top-secret Super Soldier program developed by Dr. Abraham Erskine and Howard Stark (The First Avenger, 2011). After gaining superhuman strength through the transformation, Steve becomes a war mascot, an American icon, and a key member in the fight against HYDRA. Known nationally as Captain America, Steve frees captured Allied POW’s and actively fights HYDRA in a variety of attacks (The First Avenger, 2011). Steve ultimately crashes into the Arctic during his final mission with the SSR in 1945, becoming frozen in ice and preserved for 70 years. He subsequently awakens as not only a surviving war veteran, but also as a soldier very much out of his time. This case study will analyze Steve’s recovery process throughout The Avengers (2012) and The Winter Soldier (2014), and speculate on the importance of recognizing similar struggles in military veterans today.  Continue reading →

What can Gollum from The Lord of the Rings teach us about Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)?

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Character Overview:

Most commonly recognized as Gollum, Smeagol is a Hobbit who becomes corrupted by the One Ring, and slowly loses his self-identity while an ulterior, nefarious second personality develops. Though he is widely known as the creepy character bloodthirstily whispering the words “my precious”, Smeagol’s original character was a relatively ordinary Hobbit living in The Shire with his family. Gollum’s persona is particularly interesting throughout the Lord of the Rings trilogy, since initially this character does not even seem to be human, but rather a repulsive creature. This case study will explore Smeagol’s slow recovering of his past, his split personality between two opposing identities, and how his behaviors can relate to the prevalence of psychosis today. Continue reading →

What can Marvel’s Loki teach us about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

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Character Overview:

Loki is the God of Mischief, adopted brother of Thor, and grows up as a prince of Asgard despite actually being a Frost Giant. As presumable through the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Loki is a troubled character who has had a difficult childhood, a lack of self identity, and a divorce from his birth culture. He is also a widely popular antagonist because of the underlying sense of goodness in him, despite his consistent tendencies of betraying those who trust him and being characteristically spontaneous. This case study will look into the psychological background behind Loki’s behaviors, and explore how his actions and tendencies affect maintaining healthy relationships and living a typical lifestyle.  Continue reading →

Comparing the LCSW, LMFT, LPCC, and Clinical Psychologist

mhaThe distinctions between LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist), LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor) and Clinical Psychologist (PsyD, PhD) have kept me baffled for months before I began the graduate application process. Having graduated with a B.S. in Clinical Psychology, I knew that I wanted to practice therapy, but this variety of options were overwhelming in the ways they differed and aligned. In this brief post I’ll summarize my understanding of the different licenses, and why I selected the LCSW path.  Continue reading →