A character is going through a stressful time and find themselves talking with other characters that turn out to just be in their mind. They discover that by utilizing their conversations with an aspect of their own mind they are able to figure out problems if they didn't have someone to bounce ideas off of.
Compare All Just a Dream
, Companion Cube
and Tomato in the Mirror
- Subverted in A Beautiful Mind, where Nash's hallucinations were driving him to obsess over unseen signals in newspapers and he had to push them away to recover some element of sanity.
- Cast Away used this in an interesting way, as Chuck used the Volleyball "Wilson" as someone to talk to in an effort to keep his sanity. He maintains long conversations with it and at no point does the audience hear Wilsons side.
- Star Trek: Enterprise. Dr. Phlox had to spend time running the ship by himself while the human crew were in hibernation due to a harmful Negative Space Wedgie they had to pass through. Dr. Phlox imagined T'Pol was with him during times when she actually wasn't she was in hibernation with everyone else the whole time and that gave him the direction he needed in order to avert a crisis. A few episodes earlier he mentioned his species considered hallucinations to be evidence of a healthy mind trying to work something out.
- Ted from How I Met Your Mother was invited to spend time with Robin very late at night during a time when his Long Distance Relationship with Victoria was about to fall apart. Ted imagined Victoria in several different locations and whenever he started arguing with her she reminded him that she is only in his mind, so everything she was saying was something he already knew and was fighting against it. Interestingly, she points out a later discovery just as Ted was about to put the pieces together himself.
- Done very literally in an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, when Bashir was attacked by an alien and went into a coma. He found himself alone wandering around the station and select crew members he found turned out to be aspects of his mind (anger, fear, resentment, etc) while the alien was masquerading as one of them, hunting down the others in a form of Mind Rape. A part of this involved him trying to pick apart elements of his choices made in medical school and how he ended up on DS9. In addition, the station itself represented his motor functions and he needed to repair damage done to them in order to recover from the attack.