In-universe - Create a secret lair for supers to have
individual therapy, just work on gaining their trust
Out of universe - Focus on interpersonal therapy
Hello Mrs. Parr, I’m Dr. Issues. - Well hello Doctor, it’s so
nice to meet you. Gosh, I just love your office. Tasteful
decorations, and *gasp* did your child make this?
My daughter, yes. - It’s beautiful. My daughter Violet is very
creative. My sons… are more into destruction.
Oh my daughter can wreck stuff with the best of them, don’t let
the artwork fool you. - That's children, I suppose. Especially when
you have 3 of them. And with powers to boot. One minute they're
playing nicely, the next minute there's a literal tornado in the
kitchen, the bathroom is sealed with a force field, and the lawn is
That sounds like a lot to handle. How do you manage? - Well the
older 2 I can talk to about things. It takes a while, but they get
it eventually. Jack-Jack, though, he's still a baby, and figuring
out his powers. And bless Bob, he tries his best to wrangle them
while I'm gone, but he gets frazzled so quickly.
Have you tried a babysitter? - Once. It did NOT go
Well, I’m not a couples therapist, but I am a happily married
man, and I’ve learned that an open and honest discussion about
expectations can help drastically reduce the stress in a marriage.
You two need to be on the same page. - Oh, we are. Well, some of
That’s better than none of the time. When does it work best? -
When we’re out there fighting the bad guys. Even after we took some
time off to raise the kids, when we got back to it, it was like no
time had passed. We were totally in sync with each other. Then we
get home, and…
And you’re off-base. - Yep. You know, we both have powers, but
sadly neither of us can read minds. That would make things a lot
I’m not sure it would. That could just lead to more unmet
expectations. The fact that you’re both powered doesn’t mean
anything when it comes to communication. You have to be upfront
about what you need and are willing to compromise on. You’re not
going to get everything you want, but unless you tell him what
you’re looking for, you’re not going to get anything. - I
know. But where am I supposed to find the time? And the energy? And
how do I figure out which thing to tackle first? Gosh, makes me
wish the Underminer would show up. At least I know how to solve
those kinds of problems.
Punching things in the face only gets you so far. Trust me, I
see it all the time in my line of work. -Well to be honest we never
thought we would get to be back to doing any sort of punching. Now
things have come full circle. It’s like one bad apple spoils the
bunch. Bob had the itch longer, but I got to scratch it in a more
sophisticated way once people saw that we could do good
But that doesn’t come close to translating to fulfilment.
Sometimes I have a three-part system that I view relationships:
love, work, and play. You’ve mentioned love, and work, but what
sort of recreational stuff do you have going on in your life? -Are
you kidding? Who has time for play when you have kids?!
Well, do you play with your kids? -Jack-Jack of
course, but those are things he needs to grow. Violet does her own
thing, and that’s becoming its own hurdle. Dash is just so fast
with everything...and I don’t mean his superpower.
That’s not really what I meant. It’s important to spend time
with your children, don’t get me wrong. However, you need some
adult time, either alone, with Bob, others that you can relate to
in the same sphere. -*pause* To be honest, that’s what being a
superhero was about. It used to be that blend. Help the world, help
ourselves. I know it’s changed, but...is it wrong to want it to be
that way again?
No, it’s not wrong to want things to be simple. What’s wrong is
ignoring the complexities in order to be able to cope. If that’s
how you’re looking at things, then you’ll never be able to fully
address the problem. Does that make sense? - Definitely. I won’t
reminisce too much. Those memories are a good part of what keeps me
going. I need to remind myself of why my life is the way it is in
the first place. This may sound harsh but...I didn’t dream of
things going this way.
In what way? -Actually...all of it. I planned for kids, but I
didn’t know if they would be like us. I wanted a home, but I never
knew we’d be a superteam. I wanted to make a difference, but I
didn’t think I’d be told to go into hiding...or come out again! I’m
not in a competition with Bob, but he always makes it sound like we
are to him. I know I’m going around the same points again...maybe
that’s the biggest problem. I see things my way, and I want my
family to see things my way. We don’t even have to agree.
Is that last part true? -*slightly defensive* of course it
I’m not trying to be provocative. I’ve learned that many
families have a competitive dynamic at baseline. There’s nothing
inherently wrong with that. But what is the goal of winning battles
when you don’t know what the war is? -Then I… I don’t want to
be right just to be right. I want Bob and the kids to agree with me
because they realize that I want what’s best for us. Maybe I
haven’t communicated that clearly enough. I can’t force them to do
what I want, and I don’t want that either. I guess I’m just looking
for a little more harmony, and I’m willing to take it however I can
Then you’re going to need to visualize what you want, and ask
each of them what they want, and put it all together into one
congruent package. Something you build together is more likely to
last than something you build separately and jam together however
you can. -This sounds almost exactly like dealing with
*playful sarcasm* Ding ding ding! We have a winner! You get to
mirror the construct of your hero team with your family life.
Perhaps this also touches the proper nerve about the nostalgia you
were raving about, too. -And what if Bob doesn’t buy it? What if
Violet shuts down? What if Dash...um...dashes? I think it’s a lot
to ask of people who don’t think on this wavelength to just go
along with this sort of thing like everything is just peachy all of
You’re right, I make no guarantees. Yet, just like you hinted
at, there’s a reason Bob connected with you in the first place. You
know that. He sees the strength you have on the inside. If he’s
like the countless others in a relationship, the ebb and flow
shifts in that way. I hope he’ll step up to the plate like you want
him to. -*melancholic, but actually hopeful* He’s told me when he’s
not strong enough...that let me know he gets it once in a
Ok...I actually think that family plan is the best course of
action right now. I’m not going to over complicate it. - *suddenly
serious* So who should I bring in next time for you to straighten
them out? Bob? I bet you’ll see how wrong he is about
That’s the opposite -And Violet needs to get in gear so she can
really start to impress for her career
I’m not a child psychia -And *whisper* I think Dash could use a
stimulant to help with that undiagnosed ADHD, am I
You’re kind of pushing...oh boy *clearly nervous* -*pause, then
laughing* relax, Doctor. I know better than that.
Don’t scare me like that! Too many people mean that stuff! -
Sorry, Doc. I don’t get many chances to crack jokes with new
people. Most of the people I meet these days are either stuffy
politicians trying to shake hands and lie, or bad guys who need a
fist to the jaw. But I like you. I’m glad this got set up. When
they told us we had to meet with a psychiatrist as part of becoming
superheroes again, I was skeptical. But we’re gonna do this again
OK then, looking forward to it. - And tell your daughter I love
her work. Maybe she can make something new before my next visit.
I’ll see if I can bring something from Violet… if Jack-Jack doesn’t
burn it or Dash rips it to shreds…
Thanks, that’s very kind. - Take care, Doc!
Recommended reading: go watch Incredibles 1 and 2
Next episodes: Black Mask, John Walker, Isaiah Bradley
Saving the world doesn't necessarily mean you go home happy. How's the mental health of your favorite superhero? A comic aficionado and a board-certified psychiatrist look at the various neuroses of your favorite heroes and villains and provide options for treatment.