Sometimes, characters needs therapy to cope with what's happened to them, but the events they would need to talk about are part of some Big Secret
that would sound delusional to outsiders. Unfortunately, there are no therapists that aren't
To make matters worse, the character can’t or won’t creatively edit their story. Maybe to add insult to injury, the author finishes an adventure by winding back time so only this character remembers what happened or has them followed by a shadowy government agency charged with enforcing The Masquerade
Not a single therapist in the world is "in the know".
try and get the help you need anyways but your Muggle
therapist will probably get quite the wrong idea. Cue men in white coats wrestling you into a straight jacket.
You might even end up turning your therapist mad by revealing the secret
or by covering it up again
when you're done.
Options remaining: Go Ax-Crazy
, Join The Dark Side
, Die at your own hand
, Take the blue pill
, be Killed to Uphold the Masquerade
Sister trope of There Are No Therapists
. Compare with Cassandra Truth
and You Have to Believe Me
. May be caused by The Masquerade
, The World Is Not Ready
, or the Weirdness Censor
Anime and Manga
- Fakir and Rue from Princess Tutu could definitely use some therapy considering their issues, but they'd have to find a therapist who would be able to swallow the idea that part of their problems stem from being characters in a fairytale.
- Lampshaded regularly in the Harry Potter fandom to explain why the many characters with serious issues and traumatic backgrounds can’t get therapy.
- Oh God Not Again mentions that Cho Chang only got better after years of therapy, and she needed to edit her story, because all therapists are Muggles.
- Discussed in the Harry Potter fanfic "Reparations", Draco Malfoy is a therapist in the drug rehab wing of St Mungo's and argues that wizards have to have their own rehab because if wizards only had muggle therapists and groups, they would have to edit magic out of their accounts and that would sabotage the process and doom the patient to failure.
- Lampshaded in the author's notes of Windows of the Soul, a Mai-HiME fanfic that deals with Shizuru's lingering guilt over her actions late in the series and the implications they have for her relationship with Natsuki.
"Sometimes I wonder whether it would be easier if I just had Shizuru see a psychologist. The problem being, how does she say "I have a huge guilt complex over killing scores of people with my summoned demon named after the legendary Kiyohime" without being put in an asylum? Perhaps the First District has specialised psychologists. Oh, wait. She blew them up. That's what she's guilty about."
- In Marvel Comics there is one non-Muggle psychologist (Doc Samson) who apparently every super in the world goes to with their problems. Except not lately, because he has been evil and/or dead.
- The psychiatrist consulted in The Mask doesn't believe that the mask could have any supernatural properties.
- In the Film of the Book The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Peter and his siblings lived into adulthood in Narnia, a magical land inside a wardrobe, and now are stuck in a world that treats them as children so despite having problems like getting into fights and struggling to relate to other people, trying to explain those issues to a [[Muggle]] therapist would probably get them sectioned.
- Inverted in Blade 3: a famous psychologist goes on record on TV that Blade is crazy... only for it to be revealed he's a Familiar to the ruling vampires (basically their stooge).
- Played straight and subverted in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, in that one of the therapists trying to help the Freddy-plagued kids is actually willing to admit the possibility they and Nancy are faced with a supernatural threat. The other, unfortunately, assumes they're delusional and has one of them sedated: the worst possible outcome of this trope, under the circumstances.
- Inverted in Freddy vs. Jason: the mental-hospital staff in Springwood know damn well that Freddy is for real, and use Hypnocil and fraudulent institutionalization of witnesses to ensure that Freddy's potential victims remain Muggles. That way, the dream-stalking killer can't gain strength from their fear.
- The police psychiatrist in Terminator and the hospital administrator in Terminator 2 aren't for one moment going to take stories of time-traveling killer cyborgs seriously.
Live Action TV
- In Twilight, when Bella's erratic behavior after Edward leaves her borders on clinical depression, Charlie tried to get Bella to see a therapist. She refused, claiming that she couldn't tell a therapist about how the Cullens were vampires and she’d decided that therapy wouldn't work if she wasn't 100% truthful.
- Animorphs: The need for secrecy prevents any of the characters in this from seeking help, but the psychological ramifications of being in the sort of fight they're in are explored. The Animorphs have very interesting nightmares, and will do so for the rest of their lives. Cassie tries to act as a sort-of therapeutic substitute, but her success is limited.
- In one book, Marco lampshades the impossibilities of telling a professional therapist about their problems: "Hello, Doctor Freud? My dad's thinking about remarrying. See, he thinks my mom is dead, but she's not. She's actually a slave to an alien race trying to take over the planet. And did I mention that I'm fighting this alien invasion myself? That I do it by turning into animals? Say what? What size straitjacket do I wear?"
- In Torchwood, Suzie went to a support group to talk through her work-related issues but due to the need for secrecy, she had to drug her confidant to make him forget and unfortunately, this turned him into an Ax-Crazy serial killer.
- In “Doctor Who’’ Amy is twice sent to therapy when others find out what she’s experienced and can’t believe it’s real: in “The Eleventh Hour” because of her tales of The Raggedy Doctor, and in “The Big Bang” where all the stars have gone out and young Amy is the only person in the world who remembers them.
- In Being Human, Annie was abused by her fiance, forced to watch him be romantic with his new girlfriend (who was also Annie's old friend), and then found out that he murdered her. Unfortunately, Annie is dead and thus would have a bit of trouble making an appointment.
- Pretty much all the hunters in Supernatural have deep-seated psychological issues which go unaddressed apart from the occasional monster induced psychologically-convenient dreamscape. The reason they can't seek aid is nicely demonstrated by the episode "Sam, Interrupted" where they do go to a therapist and try to explain their problems. Shortly after they start into why they have these issues they get committed. (Fortunately, it was all part of the plan.)
- Subverted on an episode of Out of This World. Evie goes to therapy and brings her mom and dad, or at least, the glowing crystal that her alien dad communicates through. The therapist is very much a muggle but believes them and they appeal to doctor/patient confidentiality to keep their secret safe.
- Buffy sees a counselor in season 2 who has no idea about vampires and the like, though he turns out to be a pretty good counselor anyway, and figures out what her problem essentially is minus the supernatural elements. Then he gets killed by a Hulk expy.
- Averted briefly, however, in season 7 when Buffy herself becomes a counselor.
- Persona 3's cast is a group of teens who frequently go into a twisted, bloody version of their school and fight monsters by shooting themselves in the head with guns that shoot psychological trauma. Ken is so bad he was going to commit suicide after getting his revenge against a certain individual. But since no therapist would believe them about the Dark Hour, they’re on their own.
TRS thread here
(for There Are No Therapists