There Are No Therapists

"His mom is dead, his dad was missing and presumed dead, he's running around with a military organization...it's not exactly conducive to therapy—and, of course, because itís TV, therapists donít exist."
Connor Jessup on his character Ben Mason from Falling Skies

In most fiction, there are no official systems in place to protect those who are psychologically vulnerable. Nobody is ever concerned that the kid who watched their parents die might be considering suicide, homicide, or fighting crime without due process. Fiction is full of Bunny-Ears Lawyers but this will be ignored so long as they're not crazy with axes.

This trope isn't saying the solution to every mental problem is to go to a head shrink; merely that there is an extreme amount of Genre Blindness regarding traumatic experiences, probably for the sake of convenience and drama. Remember, Fiction Is Not Fair in regards to characters.

Can be a Justified Trope, as you can hardly expect a rag-tag band of rebels in an oppressive dystopia to open up to a potential informant and a historical setting may predate therapy altogether. That being said, protesters in the Occupy movement have sometimes provided free healthcare systems which can include mental health care. Presumably a therapist must show some form of solidarity to be trusted.

May be an Enforced Trope out of a belief that fiction's more interesting that way, because the writers think poorly of psychiatry—or maybe because the characters belong to a culture which places the responsibility for an individual's mental state on their family and friends.

Sister Trope of Adults Are Useless.

Related Tropes

  • All Therapists Are Muggles: If the character is involved in The Masquerade and can't confess their trauma over fighting cyborgs or vampires to a therapist without ending up locked up and "treated" until they're exponentially more screwed up.
  • Dysfunction Junction: For stories (or works) where a main plot of the story is that all the characters in the cast are crazy.
  • Medicate the Medium: If you learn you have Psychic Powers, the last person you want to talk to is a therapist, as they will lock you up and drug you - either because they don't believe you or they do and have a standing order to suppress psychic powers.
  • Psycho Psychologist: They're making the situation worse.
  • The Shrink: Complete with Internal Subtropes for situations in which a character does go to a therapist but the therapist is unskilled, condemnatory, or otherwise problematic, and those in which this trope is averted when the character goes to a good therapist and gets the help they need.
  • Therapy Is for the Weak: If the character has been offered therapy, but rejected it.

In the case of children, there may be overlap with Social Services Does Not Exist. Can also overlap with The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Lampshaded in All Rounder Meguru as part of a critique of Japanese beliefs in stoicism over therapy.
  • Lampshaded in an episode in the English dub of Digimon Adventure 02. When Ken (who joined after a Heel Realization, having been the most insane villain they'd faced yet - yes, surpassing the Monster Clown) suggests that Wormmon talk to a therapist about his problems, Wormmon asks why he didn't talk to someone before becoming the Digimon Emperor?
    • Though this could be a subtle example of Values Dissonance, in the regards with how the Japanese deal with this.
  • Unintentionally Lampshaded in Rebuild of Evangelion when Kaji comments "Those kids are our last hope, who knows what they're going through?" Many Humongous Mecha series feature characters who clearly have flagrant psychological issues which are inexplicably overlooked so long as they are good pilots, which naturally never lasts for long.
  • Strikingly averted in Kyo Kara Maoh!, in which Ken Murata was sent to therapy as a child to help him cope with his Past-Life Memories and assert his own personal identity. He comes out of it reasonably well-adjusted, considering, and remains friends with his therapist.
  • Averted twice in Bokura no Hentai.
    • Marika is a trans girl in middle school at the cusp of puberty. After her voice starts breaking, with encouragement from friends, she comes out to her mother and asks to visit a therapist. After briefly staying home from school she returns living as a girl.
    • After the death of her daughter Ryousuke's mom has been in poor mental health. To help her Ryou began dressing up as his sister. Eventually his girlfriend catches him and gets him to explain why he's crossdressing. When she learns the truth she tells her parents who get Ryousuke's mom care for her problems. Ryou is sent to live with his dad but later he sees his mom in the hospital, who is recovering well.

    Comic Books 
  • Parodied in What If? v2 #2, where Daredevil murdered the Kingpin and went insane with guilt. While he's running around, he bumps into the Punisher. When he sees just how broken Daredevil's become, Castle actually recommends a psychiatrist and offers to take him there personally.
  • Justified in The Walking Dead; so far, no member of the group past or present has been a therapist. For all we know, there might not be any therapists left.
    • Lampshaded by Sergeant Ford in issue 61.
  • In Batman: No Man's Land we see a gang member interviewing individuals begging for admittance to their shelter in the hopes of protection, shelter, and sustenance. One of the people being interviewed is a therapist, who finally sums up his profession thusly, "I help people who don't like each other get along." The gang member's eyes light up and he grins happily, "Oh yeah! We need that!"
  • Completely averted in the original Suicide Squad. Amanda Waller, despite her ornery and manipulative behavior, actually made sure Belle Reve Penitentiary had a full staff, including scientists, therapists, and even a priest, who were important side characters in the first half of the series.
  • Despite the apparent lack of them in the movieverse, Dr. Aphra of the Star Wars: Darth Vader series is mentioned to have seen one as a child who diagnosed her with psychological problems as a result of her estranged relationship with her father and the trauma of the Clone Wars. Didn't really seem do her much good considering the company she keeps.
  • In Runaways, therapists probably do exist to help the kids deal with the fact that their parents were evil and one of their friends betrayed them, but the team avoids them due to their distrust of authority figures. This comes back to bite them in the ass in the last arc, as the team's long-simmering psychological issues all boil over and create a chain reaction that breaks them apart.
  • Used egregiously in The Vision (2015); when the Avengers learn that Victor Mancha is a drug addict whose addiction has grown to the point that he's stealing from them in order to feed his habit, instead of getting him any counseling, they blackmail him into spying on Vision and his family. To say that this does not end well for anyone is a massive understatement.

    Fan Works 
  • Lampshaded in an author's note for the Mai-HiME fanfic Windows of the Soul:
    Sometimes I wonder whether it would be easier if I just had Shizuru see a psycologist. 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 specialized psycologists. Oh, wait. She blew them up. That's what she's guilty about.
  • A Crown of Stars: Discussed. When Shinji and Asuka arrive on Avalon, they meet Ching, who is actually a trained therapist. But she won't act as one unless one of them ask her to, and so she told them.
  • Escape From The Hokage's Hat has a subversion. While Tsunade helps Naruto deal with his issues, she only tries to help when Naruto allows her to considering how stubborn he is. She does however lament that it would've been nice to have a Yamanaka along to help but since two of them where involved in brainwashing Naruto, the clan is on her shitlist at the moment.
  • A Different Dursley Family: Averted. Petunia met one when she realized she was letting her jealousy towards Lily affect the way she treated Harry.
  • This is played straight later in the Gensokyo 20XX series, with the latter half taking place in the aftermath of nuclear war, in which case there was no way to deal with a then mentally ill Ran and very mentally ill Reimu, especially so in the latter case since finding a therapist would mean sending her to a Bedlam House, which are feared for due reason. This is subverted earlier in the series with Yukari, in which they aided in her recovery.
  • Higher Learning: Since neither of the pilots had any therapy in spite of their blatant psychological traumas and the pressure and distress associated with being Child Soldiers, Kaoru's plan to avert Third Impact was becoming his teacher and giving them therapy and counseling surreptitiously.
  • Lampshaded in Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness, the students of Hogwarts survived a year of genocidal torture and war, and all they have at the end are each other for comfort. The only thing the wizarding world at large tossed them is a bunch of nosy reporters. Everyone ended up learning to deal with his or her PTSD themselves. Some retreated into domesticity, some became lawmen, one became a vigilante serial killer, another became a drug addict, and everyone had nightmares.
  • Played with in the Italian remake of Battle Fantasia Project: on one hand, there's an implied lack of therapists outside Earth (the planet Magix had exactly one: Darcy. Sure, she was professional enough to make sure she couldn't abuse of it, but still...), and for a number of reasons the Magical Girls tend to avoid them; on the other, as soon as the fall of the Veil makes it possible the Oracle instructs the Guardians of Kandrakar to bring Ari's autistic son to Earth for therapy, neatly solving the mess of W.I.T.C.H.'s third story arc before it can start.
  • Discussed in Maleficent fanfic Your Servant Mistress. It takes place in a real life setting, so the main character can get treatment for her PTSD ... or could, if she was able to trust someone with her problems. Diaval mentions having seen a therapist in the past.
  • In Tangled Adventures In Arendelle, well, this is set in a period where therapy and psychology wouldn't be as developed. In fact, Eugene notes that Elsa has "many demons" from her past that she's still struggling with after the movie. However, the main cast does the best they can with what they can do, acting as friends and makeshift therapists to each other in order to help with their many problems.
  • Winx Club fanfics sometime have Darcy as the only decent one on Magix. In The Infinite Loops she boasts of being the best of the Magical Dimension... Before admitting that she's also the only one who knows what she's doing, and that she's only decent when compared to Earth therapists.
  • Doing It Right This Time: Averting this trope is the very first thing Misato sets out to do after returning to the past, ready to browbeat Commander Ikari into agreeing to it if necessary. He agrees without putting up even token resistance, much to her surprise, because what Shinji thinks of as "Operation Not Fuck Everything Up This Time" ultimately benefits him as well.
  • In Neon Metathesis Evangelion, it is Shinji who is hit by Arael's Mind Rape. Afterwards, Asuka fears he might become suicidal again and tells Misato as much. This is compounded by previous issues and a previous suicide attempt. However, neither of them even considers getting a therapist involved.
  • Splendidly averted in To the Stars with the Mahou Shoujo Youkai's Mental Health Division. As Magical Girls' powers are linked to their emotions, and as falling into despair can destroy their soul gems, with lethal results, the MSY has a vested interest in keeping its members sane. (Not to mention the damage a rogue, insane magical girl could wreak before she was stopped.) The fact that many Mental Health Division workers have some form of Telepathy or even Mind Control certainly helps their job.

    Film 
  • In Star Wars, galactic medical science is pretty advanced ó when it comes to purely physical ailments. But the vast majority of the plot is driven by characters with glaring psychological problems who seem to have no formal support mechanisms whatsoever. The closest that the old Jedi Order had was Yoda, who generally seems to have counseled troubled Jedi to become The Spock and not allow their emotions to get to them. The Dark Side thrives thanks to this.
  • Subverted in The World of Henry Orient; when Marian first hears her new best friend Valerie leaves school early every day to see a psychiatrist, she thinks it's this shocking thing, especially when her mother and her mother's best friend Boothy act shocked when they hear the news. However, it turns out the only reason they were shocked is because of how young Valerie is (13 or so), and both of them each saw a psychiatrist briefly after their respective divorces.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: You'd think that Hank would try to get a therapist to help Charles with his depression and substance abuse, yet it doesn't happen. It could be justified that Xavier wants to avoid mental health professionals because it's suggested that he was treated like a schizophrenic patient as a child, and considering how a few psychiatric practices of the 1940's are viewed as unethical today, Charles has no desire to risk a repeat of his past experience.

    Literature 
  • Ward of Hurog has been Obfuscating Stupidity, and therefore is to be sent to an institution for insane nobles, a very nice and comfy place, from which, allegedly, many recovered patients returned to society. When he is brought there, it is with the intent to make him go crazy and stay that way. And he's not the only one getting that treatment.
  • Played with in every way in Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga. The main character is from Barrayar, a feudal militaristic culture where one is expected to go through hell and get over it without complaints and definitely without therapy, but his mother is from Beta Colony, a high-tech hyper-sophisticated and modern world where all is well-regulated and therapy is the normal response to any trauma or psychological issue. The trope is inverted in the first book for both worlds: Cordelia's awesome Betan therapists refuse to believe she is actually sane and wasn't brainwashed into falling in love with the enemy and she ends up having to run away, while it's revealed that Barrayaran therapy of the kind Bothari went through is possibly worse than the original trauma. In later books the trope is played straight (and Lampshaded by Cordelia repeatedly), especially where Barrayar is concerned. But it is thankfully averted for Mark after a book or two, because he really REALLY needs it.
  • Dr. Lense in the Starfleet Corps of Engineers series has a serious case of PTSD from the Dominion War, but specifically chose assignment to the DaVinci because the ship's complement is too small to have a counselor aboard. When Captain Gold finds out her performance as CMO is slipping, he tells her she can work out her issues with him as a sounding board or he'll have her downchecked for duty and booted off the ship pending a full psych workup.
  • The Red Vixen Adventures: On Foxen Prime anyways, foxens are supposedly more mentally stable on average than humans so they have very little experience helping those who do develop mental illnesses, House Darktail has to import a psychologist from Earth to help Sallivera with the trauma inflicted by her abusive ex-husband.
  • Averted in Vampire Academy. At first, Rose, Eddie, Christian and Mia just resume normal life after watching Mason die, but then Rose is sent to therapy after she starts seeing Mason's ghost. She discovers that it's not PTSD, as she was told, but a side effect of being shadow-kissed.
  • Averted in the Amber Brown books. After Amber's father breaks a major promise to her and she justifiably gets very upset and angry, he starts taking lessons from a counselor on how to be a better parent. They seem to work.
  • Averted in Venus Prime, where Sparta does see a therapist after her drug-fuelled rampage in the fourth book.
  • Defied in Dora Wilk Series, as both Szelma and Eryk mention going on therapy sessions to deal with their respective problems.
  • The Hunger Games: The districts don't largely seem to have therapists, leaving the traumatized victors to relive their nightmares yearly as they're forced to participate in the games (though it's implied that Katniss' mother was able to somehow gain access to one in order to get hold of drugs to treat her depression). Exploited by the Capitol to make them broken beyond repair and thus unable to fight back. Subverted in District 13: all refugees are given psychological help and local specialists do everything they can to get Peeta back to his old self after a Mind Rape. Before the final attack on the Capitol, soldiers are checked for possible psychological problems. (Johanna gets sent to a mental facility). Katniss also goes through therapy after her sisterís death.
  • Sweet Valley High: You would think that everything the twins and various other characters have gone though (trials for manslaughter, abductions, attempts on their lives, being stalked by identical impersonators) would qualify them for months and months of therapy. Nope, doesn't happen.
    • Big brother Steve also clearly needs one. Anyone so hung up on the memories of a long dead girlfriend that he can't bring himself to enter a new relationship is need of help.
    • This is played with Jessica's friend Lila. Following her near date rape, she goes to therapy at Project Youth (at first just going to get her dad to stop worrying about her), but becomes attached to the therapist there and accuses him of assaulting her when the fight breaks out at the Jungle Prom.
    • Played straight in The Sweet Life as Jessica and Todd (and Lila and Ken) are having marital problems but they don't see a therapist.
    • For that matter, neither do the Wakefield parents during their marital problems.
    • Other characters too-óEmily Mayer's family could certainly have used some counseling, Bruce could have, etc.
  • Averted hard in Magic Ex Libris where every Porter sees a therapist, and the therapist is a major character.
  • Also averted very hard in Room. When Ma and Jack escape, the police take them to a private psychiatric facility and they both receive plenty of counseling. Dr. Clay, their therapist, is The Shrink version 3 and a well-developed character. This doesn't happen in the film; they just get dumped back in Ma's childhood home with nothing more to be said.

    Live Action TV 
  • Some police procedural and military themed series try to avert this trope with special episodes focused on the main characters being forced to attend mandatory counseling sessions to determine whether they are fit for duty.
    • Person of Interest has the unique distinction of being both a standard procedural and an arc-based Sci-Fi Post-Cyberpunk Crime Drama series at the same time. When Reese goes to therapy in Season 4 as part of his police detective cover identity, his therapist is unable to properly treat his Chronic Hero Syndrome because of the secrets he has no choice but to harbor.
      • Also of note is the first therapist shown in the series isn't a therapist at all but is instead a psychopath hacker in a cover identity.
  • Averted in GARO's first season, and justified in the sequel. When Kaoru dreams about her father's picture book at the start of the series, she regularly visits a therapist who helps her to explain this dreams, and helps her with the weird things she suffers since discovering the existence of Horrors. The justified during the second season comes from the fact that the therapist was actually the Big Bad of the first season and tried to sacrifice Kaoru to bring the end of the world, which explains why she may not have desire to try therapy any time soon.
  • Averted multiple times over in The West Wing.
    • Josh is by far the most notable example. He is seeing a therapist at the beginning of the series (although he stops due to the political danger of a senior aide going to weekly therapy). After he is shot in the chest at the end of Season 1, Josh is mandated by Leo to meet with Stanley, a trauma therapist, due to him showing many, many significant red flags of PTSD, including yelling at the President over a minor issue. Josh attempts to shrug off his issues and deflect painful questions by being deliberately irritating and difficult, but Stanley is completely unfazed by his aggression and (after eight full hours of circling) gets him to admit that he didn't cut his hand on a glass as he previously claimed, butbroke a window in his apartment during a flashback. Stanley diagnoses him with PTSD, and tells Josh that he is not and will never be 'cured', but he can get better and recover over time.
      • Josh and Leo later have several vague conversations about Josh's PTSD, and two years after the incident, Donna calls Stanley to inform him of a shooting at the White House because she is worried about Josh's mental health, indicating that he is recovering, but is not the same as he was before.
    • Despite having both been sober for years, Leo and Hoynes continue to regularly attend AA meetings, emphasizing that addiction never goes away and has to be managed no matter how long you have been sober for.
    • After she is seriously injured in a bombing, Donna is extremely heavily implied to have PTSD, confirmed when Kate pulls her aside to ask how she is doing and offer to talk if Donna needs to - she doesn't force anything on her, simply volunteers her help. Donna thanks her and says that she knows she needs help, but isn't ready.
  • Completely averted by M*A*S*H, in which Sidney Freedman is a recurring Type 3.
  • Merlin (2008): Justified Trope in the case of Merlin. This is maybe a thousand years before therapy was even invented. In fact, Merlin himself may have had to invent therapy out of necessity to deal with everything he goes through. He's basically taken on the role of therapist to all of his friends (Fridge Brilliance as to why he grows more manipulative and darker over the series; he shoulders A LOT of baggage).
  • A surprising aversion in Continuum. Mostly, there's an implied All Therapists Are Muggles in play; the protagonist is from the future, so if she tried to talk about her problems, she'd get locked in an asylum. That's exactly what happened to another time traveler (though in fairness, he really was crazy, as evidenced by the fact that he didn't see anything wrong with chatting about being from the future). The aversion comes into play when Kiera strikes an officer in anger, and she finds out that her cybernetic Augmented Reality implant has a therapist AI built-in. He's briefly an inversion of All Therapists Are Muggles; he doesn't believe that they're really in the past and assumes she's had a psychotic break, but when he can't contact headquarters, he tables that issue and moves on to her real problems.
  • Averted on Friends. Ross sees one when he's struggling with anger issues and both Chandler and Monica mention that they've been to therapists and even discuss it in one episode.
    Chandler: I hate having to see the shrink. He's always "oh, maybe people will like you better if you like yourself better". Who needs that?
    Monica: You do!
    Chandler: I know.
  • Averted on The X-Files; therapists of varying kinds are seen. Scully sees a therapist at least twice to discuss her problems. Mulder sees one to be hypnotized into remembering the events of his sister's abductions, and eventually takes Scully there to be hypnotized into remembering one of her own abductions.
  • Averted in Castle. After Beckett is shot in the season 3 finale, she visits a therapist repeatedly over the course of the next season and it actually helps her a lot.
  • Star Trek tried to avoid this somewhat by instituting the position of "Ship's Counselor", but still ran into it on occasion. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager had excuses though: Ezri Dax was still in training when she was assigned as counselor, while Captain Janeway said in an early episode that Voyager hadn't been expected to need one (being that the mission they were supposed to have took place well within shouting distance of a major starbase, Deep Space 9). Chakotay (with his Vision Quest), Neelix (as Morale Officer), and Tuvok (using Vulcan meditation techniques) usually take up the role. It's also something of a Running Gag that actually seeing a counselor always makes the situation worse.
  • Normally played invisibly straight in Modern Family. Despite all the dysfunctional crap the family goes through, no one so much as implies some sort of professional help is needed. Not until Alex, stressed over a test, snaps at her own birthday party. The next morning, her parents are trying to figure out what to do (once again not even considering therapy), when Alex walks up and explains she's already found a psychiatrist with good reviews who is covered by their insurance, and she's scheduled an appointment with him later.
    Phil: She's like a self-cleaning oven...
  • Played every which way on ER:
    • Averted in some instances—Susan Lewis sees a therapist after losing custody of her niece to the sister who abandoned her, Doug Ross sees one (offscreen) after one of his one night stands O Ds and dies in the ER, Carol Hathaway refers to seeing one after her suicide attempt (and was probably required to as a condition of returning to work).
    • Subverted in one episode in which Luka Kovac appears to be talking to a therapist before it's revealed that she's a prostitute
    • But otherwise played straight with other characters and patients—Hathaway tries to get boyfriend Shep to see a psychiatrist to deal with his PTSD, but he outright refuses to go, or even admit he has a problem. Hathaway, as a result, breaks up with him. And numerous other characters never mentions seeing one despite the considerable upheaval in their lives and how badly they're dealing with it.
    • Often, the ER doctors will try to get patients who obviously need psychiatric help admitted to the psychiatric department (or psych, as they call it) only for these patients to be turned away for various reasons. These patients inevitably either come back, having harmed themselves or others, or turn up dead. Most notably, in the episode Be Still My Heart, Lucy and Carter call for a psych consult on a schizophrenic patient but are kept waiting long enough for the patient to have a psychotic break and stab both Lucy and Carter, ultimately killing the former and permanently damaging the latter both physically and psychologically—and while he sees one while in rehab, there's never any mention of him continuing to do so.
  • Averted in one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in season three, when Buffy was sent to see a school counsellor...only for him to wind up dead in the same episode. Buffy goes through a lot of shit that would mess anyone up for life; killing demons for a living, her entire relationship with Angel (which was at best emotionally abusive, and at worst dived right into stalker territory which she thought was perfectly OK) which lead to a lot of issues with Riley, her mother's illness, dying and coming back to life, her mutually abusive relationship with Spike... Yet she never got any counselling or therapy. The only reasonable excuse is that no one would believe her and think she's crazy (and considering she actually got put away by her parents at one point for trying to come clean...) but they didn't even try to find someone who knew about the demon world, or may have even been half demon themselves. Giles was employed by a whole organization of people who could've easily found someone to help.
    • Not just Buffy. The entire Scoobie Gang needed therapy at one stage or another. The entirety of season six could've been avoided if they'd actually sought out counselling.
    • They try to avert this again in season seven when Buffy becomes a school counsellor. But considering everything she's been through without getting any help and not exactly dealing with any of it in a responsible manner (e.g. having rough sex with Spike and beating him up in the previous season), it really doesn't work. She's simply not qualified, both professionally and mentally.
  • Luke Cage: Averted with Misty Knight. After roughing up Claire due to her near-death at the hands of Diamondback, Inspector Ridley makes her sit down with a competent police psychiatrist, and he gets her to admit her problems and deal with them.

    Music 
  • Quadrophenia features the overlap with Adults Are Useless. Jimmy asks a therapist, vicar, and his mother in the very second song, but it doesn't do any good.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Jason of FoxTrot once took out three months of his teacher's therapy scrawling an needlessly long extrapolation of a formula on a blackboard and Andy mentions having gone to a therapist a few times, probably because of dealing with her family.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • This trope is literal in Furcadia as psychology has not been invented yet and magic generally only heals the body and not the mind. Several of the gods in this setting are also insane (oh, and like to wander among the mortals...).
  • Deconstructed in Blaze Union. We learn very early on that its Broken Hero, Gulcasa, has a lot of serious issues due to having been abused and abandoned by his parents, and he's only able to function because his childhood friends (who are also pretty much his adoptive parents) are there to act as amateur counselors for him. During the canon route of the game, Siskier dies, and this is really only just the start. Gulcasa blames himself for everything, and winds up with a raging case of PTSD which makes him so terrified of failure that he stops hesitating altogether and starts acting much more stoically. His remaining childhood friend and mentor mistake his symptoms for Gulcasa losing his humanity, as it was conveniently revealed that he's part demon. And they try to kill him, leaving Gulcasa a complete psychological wreck. The only people who even bother to try to help him have their own agendas, not to mention their own festering cesspools of mental-emotional trauma. In all likelihood, things wouldn't have gone quite so badly for Gulcasa and company three years later if someone had just gotten the poor kid a competent grief counselor.
  • Parodied in Alpha Protocol if Mike is played as a brutal, violent Jerkass to Madison. She'll ask him if he has ever sought professional help. He replies that he hasn't, because he killed all his therapists.
  • Key to the plot of Kinder; a running theme is that 'mind illnesses' are not recognized as a real problem in its world, instead attributed to things like "they're just lazy" or "they're just complaining for no reason." Naturally, this causes major problems. Yuuichi eventually states that there's probably worlds out there were 'mind illnesses' actually are recognized and treated more seriously.
  • Interestingly averted in The Last Door. There's buckets of crazy Mind Screw and just plain terrible things happening to the protagonist, Jeremiah, but he has a therapist who seems very concerned about him. An interesting touch considering the story takes place in the 1890s where therapy wouldn't be as accessible as it is today.
  • Night in the Woods Plays with this trope, there is indeed a therapist on Possum Springs, however, said therapist is also the only doctor in town, so he fills in roles of every medical field for the people in the town, including also orthodontist. The result is that he, while acting as a therapist for the town, is lampshaded by characters to be incompetent at it, with people who go to see him getting none of the treatment they actually need. Mae was one of those people, after the Killer Incident, she was sent to therapy with him, where she talked about her problems, which were clear signs of dissociation, his only treatment to her at the time was giving her a diary, instead of any treatment with medicine she might need.
  • BlazBlue ultimately invokes the question of whether the world's professional therapists chose to have their 2194 Christmas Ball in Ibukido, as the cast is largely a Dysfunction Junction with their own issues tormenting them. Even Kagura Mutsuki, the most well-adjusted of them, is a veteran of the Ikaruga Civil War with some mental stigma left over, and that's if his crotch rocket isn't hogging the blood. Even worse, of the characters who can actually dispense functional therapy, all of them have their own problems: Litchi is weighed down by her Guilt Complex regarding Roy Carmine (who we know as Arakune) and has gone so far as to mimic his corruption in an attempt to cure him herself; Makoto is trying to keep her personal Pandora's Box of racism issues shut; and Celica is utterly naive and has a bit of a martyr complex to go with it. And that is not to speak of Yuuki Terumi and Relius Clover, who not only are mentally unsound (Terumi moreso), but go around making everything worse. This might have the justifications in the way that compared to its predecessor Guilty Gear (which draws heavy influence in American music), Blazblue is very Japanese-themed, not only its anime influence, but also Japan's real life cultural aversion on psychology.
  • Initially averted in Fixation with the therapist Henry providing genuine help and support to the main characters, but after his death there doesn't seem to be anyone who replaces him and things go downhill for his former patients soon afterwards.
  • Averted in Fallout: New Vegas. Almost every doctor you encounter in the Mojave Wasteland seems to have at least a rudimentary grasp of clinical psychology, and several quests are about helping people get therapy to get to grips with traumatic events.
  • Justified in Yume Nikki, as the protagonist is a hikikomori that adamantly refuses to leave her room to see a therapist, despite being in dire need of one.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Comics 
  • In Something*Positive there are many cases of this, sometimes lampshaded, but the one that tends to stick out most is when Davan never gets help after being raped by a woman he was attracted to. Sadly this is probably Truth in Television for many rape victims, especially male ones, and especially when the rapist is a woman.
  • Played with in Spacetrawler. The I.A. Starbanger does have a Therapy-bot, but he's terrible: his therapy consists solely of telling patients that their feelings are irrational. Eventually, Martina realizes that one of her crew desperately needs treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, so she replaces Therapy-bot with a qualified therapist—the bartender bot.
  • Played with in FreakAngels comics. Sirkka is the local equivalent of a psychologist and helps abuse victims and people mind raped by Mark. Her own love life, on the other hand, is a total mess. Other Freakangels are not much better with the group consisting of The Ophelia, an Ineffectual Loner, a Knight Templar, a guy driven crazy by his own guilt, A God Am I wannabe and a few other dysfunctional personality types. Some hide it better than others. At the end they all get a quick therapy from Arkady of all people and Luke is fixed on his own request. Even Mark seems to be much more sane. It is implied that their problems didn't magically disappear, but they will eventually get over their issues with some love and hard work. FreakAngels are True Companions after all.
  • Zig-zagged in A Loonatic's Tale. There are, in fact, therapists, they're even major characters in the comic, but they have a whole host of psychological issues all their own which may or may not prevent them from actually doing their patients any good (at least one is too apathetic to do his job, so he just medicates them into oblivion). On top of that, most of them reckon that, since they're therapists, they're immune to psychological disorders, and wouldn't need help even if they weren't.
  • Averted with a vengeance in Material Girl. As the story gets darker and the Cerebus Syndrome kicks in, Noah's parents go from joking about taking him to a therapist to forcibly strapping him into the car and dragging him to one. However, because of the Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane nature of Noah's crossdressing behavior, even the therapist is stumped.
  • Zig-zagged in Better Days. After Fisk hits his principle with a baseball bat for trying to rape his mother, the police officer who arrives on the scene gives Fisk the number of a child psychologist for him to meet with to deal with the trauma of the situation. The chapter ends with Fisk meeting the psychologist and, when asked how he feels, gives a very frank explanation of how he felt completely justified in what he did, even if he knows he shouldn't. The psychologist smirks and draws a dollar sign on her notepad, implying that she is just interested in milking money out of his case. Shortly after though, it's shown that Fisk is continuing with his therapy sessions and that they're very helpful in helping him deal with being coerced into sex with Nikki, a young girl who was sexually abused by her father. The psychologist also helps out by investigating Nikki's home life, learning that her dad is a wanted criminal, and having Sheila keep Nikki out of the way on the day the police plan to raid her home.
  • Averted in Sleepless Domain, where a registration pamphlet explains that registered magical girls all get their own therapist/counsellor.
  • Zig-zagged in Sexy Losers: talk radio couple's counselor Dr. Lovetalk typically gives advice that is well-meant and intelligent, but completely inapplicable to the situations of her callers.
  • Averted in L's Empire when Blumiere is forced to get some therapy after his second Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum. Hypnotherapy, to be precise.
  • Level 30 Psychiatry is naturally an aversion. The whole dang thing is about video game characters getting therapy for all the weird stuff they get into.
  • In It's Walky!, while the series mostly played it for laughs, the lack of mental health treatment for the Abductees is palpable and, in the end, tragic. The idea that the best way to help some 600-odd young adults with superhuman powers who have been repeatedly been abducted by aliens, experimented on, subjected to bizarre forms of torture, and then had most (but not quite all) of the their memories of the events erased, is to separate them from friends and family, arm them with high-tech alien weaponry, give them secretive police powers, and let them loose on their abductors, should have been enough to make the original Big Boss' head explode at the thought of the liability he'd be taking on. The subject did get a few lampshades hung on it, but it really was incredibly reckless by Real Life standards.

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Critic used to mention going to a therapist a lot, but that stopped, probably because the character was getting more and more damaged and it was funnier that way.
    • In fact, a running gag among multiple reviewers is their constant danger of insanity due to the bad things they are "forced" to experience. Plenty of reviews have gags where the reviewer pops "happy pills" like they were candy, chugs from a bottle of booze, or is forcibly restrained by men in white coats. Some have even tried to destroy the world in a bout of rage. Spoony deserves special mention as a full-on insane convicted serial killer.
  • This trope is deconstructed in Funny Business, in that the character who desperately needs psychiatric attention is hiding any indication that something's wrong. In other words, the only reason there are no therapists is because the patient doesn't want to go to one, which is sadly Truth in Television for some victims of depression.
  • Defied in Worm when Weld specifically requests therapy for the Brockton Bay Wards after the 8 Extermination arc, in which Aegis and Gallant died during Leviathan's attack.
    • Up to then, however, this was played straight among the heroes of Brockton Bay (while being averted in the world at large) - while making the above request, Weld calls out his superiors for not having any sort of psychiatric help already in place.
    • For obvious reasons, villains tend not to seek out therapists, and for equally obvious reasons there aren't many therapists who are willing to deal with villains who could decide to attack them at any moment. Combined with the fact that many capes have serious psychological issues already, this helps to explain the prevalence of villains in the setting.
  • Goes both ways in Brave New World Universe: The original character, Arachnya desperately needs a therapist at one point her father is murdered because of who she is, and she resorts to drinking to dull the pain, she's fifteen years old. she doesn't get professional help.
    • Averted in the spin-off Ride the Whirlwind, one of the main characters and his group of heroes is actually pretty desperate to get a very powerful Chosen,Ricki, some help after she has a mental breakdown. Too bad, she's a runaway, has a phobia doctors, is being hunted by people with very big guns, and will create a tornado if she panics. They eventually find someone to help her.
  • Averted and played straight at the same time in Void Domain. No therapists have shown up thus far, but one professor of the local Wizarding School has offered to act as one or to find one for Eva. Presumably other characters as well.
  • Averted in Heroes Save The World, where at least the kids working with PALATINATE are meeting with therapists.
  • Played with by the Freelancer Program of Red vs. Blue, which has the Counselor as its number two leader. Only problem is that he doesn't actually care about mental health, only whether or not the Agents are at their peak in terms of combat ability. Agent Washington, implied to have spent considerable time with him after being driven insane by Epsilon, is afterwards notably more efficient, less empathetic, and only recovers a semblance of normality by taking over for Church as the Gulch's self-appointed Straight Man.

    Western Animation 
  • Played with in Winx Club: The Trix are sent to a place where they are supposed to be reformed, but it only manages to tick them off even more.
  • Lampshaded in As Told by Ginger in an episode where Ginger becomes jealous of Darren's new relationship with Miranda. Of course, she didn't technically see a psychologist.
    Ginger: It's just that Dr Phonsfeelings said—
    Darren: Whoa, you went to see a therapist?
    Ginger: Not exactly. She was on Channel 9.
    • Said TV psychologist appears in another episode and causes more problems when Ginger starts freaking out that her mother is still single.
    • And inverted in another episode where Ginger is sent to the school psychologist because she writes a poem about a girl who wishes to disappear. Everyone assumes Ginger has suicidal intentions because of this, but she's actually fine.
  • Zig-zagged in Young Justice. Black Canary is a trained therapist, and is shown having sessions with the teens after seriously traumatizing events. When Arsenal begins to suffer from serious issues that have interfered with their missions more than once Nightwing benched him, which is pretty much the same as telling him he's off the team until he can deal with his personal demons.
  • Zig-zagged in Adventure Time. Ooo is a very strange place with a lot of even stranger people, but there actually are mental health services for those who need them. For a lot of the earlier episodes, however, this trope was played straight, with people such as Lemongrab and Ice King basically just being dealt with when they caused trouble and ignored when they didn't. Both of them have now been getting a lot more help.
    • Played straight with Finn, since There Are No Human Therapists. He has a mental vault he puts his traumatizing moments in and has been through plenty of experiences being the hero of Ooo while also being the Morality Pet to Princess Bubblegum and Marceline.
  • Averted in the Arthur episode "Shelter From The Storm". The Brain starts having anxiety and becomes increasingly stressed after a hurricane hits their town. His parents send him to a therapist, voiced by Idina Menzel, to help his issues. After the end of his session he thinks he's "cured" but is told by his therapist that dealing with anxiety takes time, made obvious by the fact Brain is triggered by the rustling of wind. She teaches him techniques to deal with his anxiety and in the end he confronts his fears.
  • Subverted in The Tick with Big Shot, a parody of nineties antiheroes in general and The Punisher in particular. In "The Tick vs The Ideamen", he is a clearly unstable maniac who riddles random things with bullets until they resemble skulls; the Tick warns him that "Guns and superheroes don't mix. Seek professional help." When he reappears in "The Tick vs The Tick", he has been to therapy and, while he still has anger issues, he has them under control and is overall a calm, stable man who even invites the other Tick to attend his group sessions to work out his own issues.
  • Gradually subverted in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. While at first characters would go through one-episode... episodes and not have it commented on, the presence of a literally barking mad pony being chased by doctors at least implies a mental hospital. Said pony was later seen being given a home by a nurse, presumably recovered. Also, Princess Celestia tasked one of the main characters with reforming a villain, Princess Luna literally helps foals in their nightmares, Princess Cadence is known to reignite couple's love, and Twilight Sparkle has offered to rehabilitate a former cult leader. Even the B-plot Cutie Mark Crusaders have moved into the field of cutie mark advice—and given that ponies consider cutie marks a huge part of their identity, that's saying something.
    • Interestingly, all the above examples were shown after the escape and rampage of the Mad God Discord. And there have been multiple references to spells that affect the mind, some of which were shown on-screen...
  • In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, Hank Pym fakes his death, then goes around with a new personality and calling himself Yellowjacket, who is much more ruthless and prone to violence. Everyone is aware that is unhealthy but no one mentions therapy.
  • One episode of The Transformers, "Webworld", was all about the Decepticons finally getting sick of Galvatron being insane and sending him to a planet whose hat is curing the mentally ill. Galvatron just ends up ravaging the planet.


Alternative Title(s): There Are No Psychologists, There Are No Psychiatrists

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheRearEnoTheRapists