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The Shrink
The mental health field is a complicated one. And fiction writers aren't necessarily fond of complicated real-life concepts. That's why you get tropes such as All Psychology Is Freudian. When even that is too much, you'll see There Are No Psychologists.

But that's obviously quite unrealistic. There are, in fact, psychologists and psychiatrists in this crazy world of ours. And this trope is dedicated to the portrayal of them in fiction. There are three general portrayals:

  1. The Harmful Shrink: Whether this doctor is evil or simply so stupid that he or she hurts the patient, The Harmful Shrink is the worst kind of psychologist. He's cruel and lacks any empathy with his patients. He might be working with the enemy. He'll frequently violate the sacrosanct concept of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality. Expect him to shovel pills down the patient's throat. Shrinks who are less actively malign will still tend to cultivate dependence on themselves in their patients for the purpose of getting more billable hours, even if their therapy is no longer necessary or doing more harm than good. A particularly common subset is grief counselors who do all they can to make sure their patients never recover from their losses and keep going to grief counseling forever.
  2. The Well-Meaning, But Dopey And Ineffective Shrink: Usually liberal and possessed of extraordinary amounts of empathy, this doctor really wants to help you. He'll spend hours listening to your problems. He'll try to avoid pumping you full of psychotropic drugs. But he just doesn't get it. His failing is usually due to a surfeit of compassion. Dr. Love here just can't quite fathom the concept that his patients are anything but great people suffering from problems beyond their control. Frequently seen in the Law Procedural, where he is suckered by the defense into testifying that the brutal and murderous man on trial is crazy and can't be punished, or in Speculative Fiction, diagnosing the hero as insane for reporting (genuine) monsters/ghosts/etc.
  3. The Awesome Shrink: Exactly What It Says on the Tin. But even within this group there are different varieties of Awesome Shrink. He can be compassionate and understanding where everyone before has been cruel to the protagonist. Alternatively, he provides the character in question with the kind of Tough Love he's always needed. Regardless, he's always smart, almost always cool and never resorts to drugs when they're not needed.

Sillier examples of the first two types are often portrayed as bearded men with Viennese accents.

Some works feature psychiatrist characters who bounce back and forth between these categories or multiple psychiatrists who cover different types. And, as always, keep in mind that these categories are somewhat simplified. Not every character is going to fit precisely in one of the three types.

Also, all three types are Truth in Television, which is why seeking therapy in Real Life is sadly so difficult: the people most in need tend to be the least equipped to be good mental health consumers - which is required to get the most out of therapy by knowing what kind of therapy you need and finding a therapist that is awesome (and not the first or second variants, or incredibly judgmental/unable to empathize with one's lived experience) Ending up with the awesome variant on the first try is often not possible even for the financially well off who can choose whomever they want, much less for someone just stuck with whomever their insurance/public assistance will pay. This is one reason why some people might choose to go without therapy, even people with major disorders.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Harmful 
Anime and Manga
  • Sword Art Online: Not intentionally harmful, but the therapists that Sinon is mentioned to be seeing to deal with her Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are certainly not helping her any. The reason being that Sinon happened to kill the robber with his own gun, and these being Japanese therapists, they tend to treat her as though she's committed an unforgivable sin by doing so, despite it being in self-defense, which is not helpful for her mental state.

Comic Books
  • Dr. Crane of the Batman franchise was a university psychologist studying the effects of fear on the human mind. He got kicked out and became a villain.
    • Hugo Strange may count as well, especially in the The Batman incarnation. Also Harley Quinn's origin, as detailed elsewhere. Batman writers hate psychiatry.
    • Not only is Arkham Asylum a Cardboard Prison, very little effort seems to be made towards treating the inmates (which should be done with someone who is legally declared mentally ill) so there likely aren't many competant psychiatrists in Gotham. Batman is known to despise Dr. Arkham, both for the bad security at the place and what happens inside.
  • Professional Help, One of the stories from Hellboy: Weird Tales, has Roger telling a shrink about a particularly distressing case he worked involving a baby giant, Nazi Scientists, and a Black Metal cult. The shrink turns out to be an evil spirit that feeds on mental anguish. Of course Roger knew this the whole time and quickly dispatches it, but he was hoping to get some closure while he was at it.
  • Dr. Karla Sofen, aka Moonstone, is a supervillain psychiatrist whose powers are unrelated to her profession. One of her favorite hobbies is manipulating depressed patients into committing suicide.
    • Moonstone was mentored by Doktor Faustus, an enemy of Captain America who's made a career out of committing Mind Rape.
  • In Seven Soldiers: Mr Miracle, Shilo Norman's therapist Dr Dezard is, as the name suggests, really Desaad, whose "therapy" is actually priming people to be hosts for the Anti-Life Equation.

Film

Literature
  • Karev's friend in Shaman of the Undead is, beside a psychologist in Muggle world, the "oblivion sower", meaning he can literally erease other people's memories and manipulate them to his wish. Oh, and he turns out to be Big Bad of the books, being person who turned Karev into the Mirror Demon.
  • Dr. Hilarius in Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49. Prescribes and takes massive doses of LSD. Has other issues as well.
  • Hannibal Lecter is a cannibal and Serial Killer.
  • Rare example of the Harmful Shrink as one of the good guys: Dr. Vail, psychologist for Dream Park in The Barsoom Project, lacks empathy and is willing to risk others' sanity in order to protect the Park (because where else would he have absolute control of subjects' experiences?). Be very glad he's on the hero's side, because what he does to the villains in the end ain't pretty....
  • Psychiatrist William Haber in Ursula K. Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven. He also appears in the Film of the Book.
    • He's a Well-Meaning, but Harmful Shrink, who believes Utopia Justifies The Means (using his patient to rewrite reality).
  • Dr Myra Lark in "You Don't Have To Be Mad..." and other Diogenes Club stories by Kim Newman. Described in the character sheet of Secret Files of the Diogenes Club as more interested in the uses of the mentally disturbed than in curing them. Also her superior in "You Don't Have To Be Mad..." Dr I. M. Ballance.
  • Dr. Lewis Yealland from The Regeneration Trilogy considers his shell shocked patients "degenerates whose inherent weaknesses would have lead them to break down in civilian life anyway" and uses electroshock therapy to break them and doesn't care whether or not they break down again or kill themselves.

Live-Action TV
  • In Dexter Dr. Emmett Meridian is a psychiatrist who subtly manipulates his patients, all women, and convinces them to kill themselves. Of course, Dexter signs up for a session with him to get closer and finds himself revealing more about himself than he initially intended.
  • The unsub in the Criminal Minds episode "Scared To Death", who murders his patients using their worst fears.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus had several sketches with psychiatrists, most of them mad.
    • Hamlet meets a series of fake psychiatrists who only want to talk about sex ("You've got her legs up on the mantelpiece...").
    • A milkman psychiatrist who makes pat diagnoses of patients' problems without first obtaining their full medical history.
    • Mr. Larch, a psychiatrist who calls himself on the phone.
  • In an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, there was a psychiatrist that manipulated his patients into investing stock for another patient of his. He even managed to manipulate one into killing himself.
    • Another one had a therapist who gave a paranoid but harmless man a form of "therapy" that basically amounted to torture, turning him into a homicidal psychotic.
  • Forever Knight had yet another therapist who hypnotized her patients into committing homicide. (The painting of Bedlam in her waiting room was a tip-off something was wrong.)
  • Dr. Foster from Skins is a particularly extreme example.
  • A few episodes of Murder, She Wrote had them, sometimes as the murderer, sometimes as a Red Herring. Others had Type 2s set up to look like Type 1s as a Red Herring.
  • Dev Cvetic in the opening series of ER, suffering from his own issues, becomes more and more reckless and cavalier with each episode before Susie finds him dictating his own issues into a tape recorder.

Music
  • The title character from "Dr. Jerome, Love Tub Doctor" by The Bogmen, who uses psychotherapy, hypnosis and a hot-tub to seduce patients.

Theatre
  • Dr. Rook, the jailhouse shrink in One Touch of Venus, is not as harmful as the police lieutenant wants him to be, but still somewhat hostile and a little insane.
    Rodney: I'm not the loony one—you are!
    Rook: That's what they all say.

Video Games
  • One of the main villains in L.A. Noire, Dr. Harlan Fontaine, is shown to be a brilliant psychologist and "doctor to the stars". However, when one of Dr. Fontaine's students, Courtney Sheldon, is in a fix and wondering what to do with some military surplus morphine, Fontaine says he'll take the morphine off his hands and of course, he gives the money he receives from it to a corrupt conspiracy that has people burning down housing estates to collect the insurance money. He also manipulates an ex-patient to burn down two families' houses, forcing them to sell their land.
  • The villain in BioShock 2 is Dr. Sofia Lamb, a brilliant psychiatrist who believes Utopia Justifies the Means. She uses her skills to manipulate patients and the entire city of Rapture into becoming part of the "Rapture Family," which is just an elaborate ruse designed to obscure the fact that she's using the inhabitants to further her crazy agenda.
  • Alice: Madness Returns gives Dr Angus Bumby, whose 'therapy' consists of getting his patients to forget their pasts so he can use them as child prostitutes. He also burns down the protagonist's house to cover his tracks after raping her sister. His Karmic Death is justified.

Web Animation
  • The Counselor from Red vs. Blue. His job is to manipulate the Freelancers, AIs, and soldiers in whatever way the Director wants, their actual mental health needs be damned.

Western Animation
  • Danny Phantom: The Emotion Eater Spectra disguised herself as a therapist and deliberately made her student patients more miserable in order to feed off their negative emotions.
  • Darkwing Duck saw a therapist at least twice - both turned out to be Quackerjack in disguise, using it as a ploy to mess with his head.
  • Plankon once passed himself off as a psychiatrist as part of a Batman Gambit to get Sponge Bob Square Pants to tell him the secret Krabby Patty recipe.
    • That episode was particularly hilarious since Plankton's psychiatrist alias was Peter Lankton or "P.Lankton". Also...
      SpongeBob: Huh, you're shorter than I expected. I guess that's why they call you "shrink"! (Rim Shot)
  • The Simpsons: A therapist attempted to cure Homer of his Bart-strangling obsession (or at least make him understand it's not acceptable to strangle children) by having somebody strangle Homer all time. When Homer was "cured", the therapist said the road of recovery was far from over but had a change of mind when Homer confessed to have lied about having insurance.

    Well-Meaning, But Dopey And Ineffective 
Anime and Manga
  • In Loveless Ritsuka has one of the well-meaning but useless kind.

Comic Books
  • Dr. Long in Watchmen - the psychiatrist who attempted to analyze Rorschach.
  • Dr. Harleen Quinzel in Batman. Tried to cure the Joker of his madness, but failed so spectacularly that she's now as nutty as he is.
    • Let's face it-almost every doctor who works at Arkham Asylum is like this, judging by their success rate with Batman's enemies.
      • Except for the ones who are crazier than the patients.
  • Otto von Himbeergeist from one Lucky Luke album, who tries to cure the Daltons. While his diagnosis is usually right on-spot, he doesn't manage to turn them. And then, he gets the idea that he should've started a career in crime rather than in academics...
  • Rung from Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers and Transformers: More than Meets the Eye. He is a genuinely highly trained psychologist, but his patients are often so badly messed up that the best he can manage is keeping them technically functional. That said, all of his patients we've met do seem fond of him.

Literature
  • The Bad Seed has a non-professional example in Monica Breedlove. A fan of Freudian psychology, she likes to psychoanalyze people for fun; she diagnosed her gardener as a paranoid schizophrenic and herself as loving her brother. Despite how much knowledge she has about psychology and human nature, her arrogance and constant talking blind her from being able to apply it in a real situation, and she is unable to see the chaos that is going on right under her nose.
  • Dr Fairbairn, the psychotherapist who Child Prodigy Bertie Pollock sees in the 44 Scotland Street series by Alexander McCall Smith. He insists on interpreting what Bertie says to fit his theories, rather than adjusting his theories to fit what Bertie says. As a result, he is completely unaware that Bertie just wants a normal childhood.

Film
  • The Terminator movies have Dr. Silberman, who considers himself too sane to buy into Sarah's apocalyptic foreknowledge delusions.
  • Sophie in Shortbus is a "couples counselor" who doesn't like it when people call her a "sex therapist" (who ironically herself, can't have an orgasm).
  • Dr. Simms from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors genuinely wants to help the Elm Street kids, but her refusal to acknowledge the supernatural threat only puts them in worse danger.
  • Dr. Gravis in Synecdoche, New York.

Live-Action TV
  • One served as a kind of "inexpert witness" for ISN in the Babylon 5 episode "The Illusion of Truth". He seems nice enough, but has no idea what he's talking about (he misidentifies Stockholm Syndrome as "Helsinki Syndrome") and is being hauled out to provide propaganda against the heroes by what is basically a fascist government's PR wing.
  • John Watson's therapist, Ella Thompson, in Sherlock is not blatantly idiotic, but doesn't seem all that useful, believing that John's shaky hand and psychosomatic limp is because he's suffering from PTSD, when, in reality, it's the boredom of civilian life that is causing him depression. However, John at least seems to trust her enough to go back into therapy with her following Sherlock's (ostensible) death.
    • Ditto for Louise Mortimer in The Hounds of Baskerville: while she genuinely cares about Henry Knight, she doesn't realise that the delusions she believes he's suffering from are caused by witnessing the brutal murder of his father and then being regularly dosed with an experimental psychotropic drug.

Music
  • Fred Freud in the song of the same name by Lee Hazlewood attempts to cure his patients by prescribing classical music.

Role-Playing Games
  • Dr. Nicholas Saran in Dino Attack RPG truly meant well, but he had some... difficult cases. For one thing he could never quite get enough time with Kate to really get to the heart of her trauma. Pharisee on the other hand constantly refused any kind of counseling from him, though he might have gotten some spiritual counseling from Dr. Noomi Shaw. The best he got to a successful counseling session was with Rex, which happened entirely off-screen.

Video Games
  • The therapist in Phantasmagoria 2. While it's good to see a horror game avert There Are No Psychologists, she's extremely useless around a patient who obviously needs a lot of help working through his issues.
  • You can find tapes in Batman: Arkham Asylum chronicling the doctors' attempts to treat all the supervillains in the asylum. The shrinks try their best, but damn are they out of their leagues. Killer Croc points out in his very first tape that he knows what the doctor is doing, it's not going to work, so stop trying or I'll eat you.

Webcomics
  • Tip from Skin Horse is a psychologist. He tends to be a type 2: well-intentioned, but a little too reliant on therapy puppets and self-help books. And he's been known to storm out after insults to his fashion sense.
    • It's stated in-universe that Tip is a psychologist not a therapist. It's like going to a Doctor with a PHD in biology instead of a Medical Doctor. They know the general idea on how to treat it but not the exact details.

Western Animation
  • Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist was about a psychologist. He was more of the second variety, with occasional flashes of competence.
  • In the Batman universe, Harley Quinn was a psychiatrist named Dr. Harleen Quinzel at Arkham Asylum before the Joker lured her to a life of crime. She was the well-meaning, dopey type.
    • On that note, Dr. Bartholomew of Arkham Asylum genuinely wants to help as demonstrated in the episode Dreams in Darkness. But he's naive at best...
  • Dr. Scratchensniff of Animaniacs. He's had some success with humans, but none at all when attempting to "de-zanitize" the Warner Brothers (and the Warner sister).
  • Dr. Marvin Monroe of The Simpsons.

    Awesome 
Comic Books

Film
  • The Snake Pit features Dr. Kik, who is friendly and gentle, and who succeeds in curing the young woman in his care of schizophrenia.
  • In Analyze This (and its sequel, Analyze That), Billy Crystal plays an Awesome Shrink to whom Robert De Niro's mob boss character grows too attached.
  • In Good Will Hunting, one of the major characters is the Awesome Shrink (played by Robin Williams).
  • Dr. Luther in The Three Faces of Eve.
  • The psychologist or psychiatrist in The Stepford Wives. (The original, at least.) You just know she's not going to believe it.
  • Dr. Chase Meridian in Batman Forever, played by Nicole Kidman, is a very rare example of a heroic psychiatrist.
  • Dr. Loomis from the Halloween movies is awesome in a different sense. One gets the sense that he would be doing great work in his chosen profession if one of his patients hadn't turned out to be Michael Myers.
  • Dr. Jaquith, Claude Rains's psychiatrist character in Now, Voyager.
  • Dr. Jack Mickler in Don Juan DeMarco. Compassionate, competent, and knows when to leave well enough alone. Johnny couldn't have found a better replacement father.
  • The President's Analyst - James Coburn plays a psychiatrist so good he's recruited for the title role - toward the film's end he gets out of a forced defection by getting his Soviet captor to realize, through seemingly innocuous conversation, that he only became a spy out of fear of his Stalinist father.

Literature
  • Sigmund Freud himself in The Dracula Tape.
  • Dr. Berger in Ordinary People. Judd Hirsch's portrayal of him in the film adaptation has been cited by Psychology Today as one of the most positive portrayals of the psychiatric profession on film.
  • In I Am the Cheese, the main character spends every other chapter or so relating his life experiences to a psychologist at a sanitarium.
  • Susan Silverman in the Spenser series. She plays with this a bit, commenting on "crazies" and "nuts" occasionally when discussing her job with the title character, but it is obvious she is making light of her profession's commonly perceived tendency toward Type 1 and 2. She is otherwise portrayed as extremely caring and dedicated to her clients.
  • Doctor Nolan in The Bell Jar, who builds up a relationship of trust with Esther and ultimately improved her condition enough that she could feel hopeful again. Based on the author's real-life experiences.
  • Mr Nutt, polymath genius in Unseen Academicals, heroically psychoanalysis himself.
  • Rivers from The Regeneration Trilogy is tirelessly kind and patient with the Shell-Shocked Veteran s he helps to come to terms with their war experiences.
    • Rivers' friend Henry Head is also suggested to be one of these along with some of the other doctors at Craiglockhart
  • The unnamed psychiatrist in Cut (by Patricia Mccormick). The entire book is narrated in the second person to her, and is about the protagonist's recovery, which is obviously due to the shrink's involvement.
  • Professor Mmaa's Lecture has dr. Sigismund Kraft-Durchfreud, a termite caricature of dr. Freud. He is a genuinely competent doctor, if not exactly an "awesome" one.
  • In The Dresden Files Ghost Story, ectomancer (a man who can speak to spirits and have control over them) Mortimer Lindquist is this for the ghosts of those who died. He helps them deal with what is holding them back so they can move on. Those who cannot move on, he helps them control themselves and not become dangerous creatures.
  • Amity Sheridan from Geoph Essex's Jackrabbit Messiah comes into her own as a kind of Action Shrink by the climax of the book. Once Lieutenant Springer helps her get out of her own head a little, Amity's professional experience and great instincts help save the day more than once, showcasing her careful analysis and empathetic people skills to do everything from figure out how to "restore" Jack's powers to getting a former enemy to switch sides.

Live-Action TV
  • Aaron Sorkin's a big fan of shrinks. Adam Arkin played Awesome Shrink Stanley Keyworth in The West Wing, where he helped Josh overcome the trauma of being shot.
    • We can also assume that Abby Jacobs, Dan Rydell's shrink from Sports Night, was going to continue being awesome if the show had survived.
    • And continued in The Newsroom with Will Mac Avoy's therapist Jack Habib, played by David Krumholtz.
      • "Why are you fucking around with me?"
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit adds forensic psychiatrist and FBI profiler Dr. George Huang to the cast late in season 2. Dr. Huang's pretty awesome, though his observations do not go unchallenged.
  • Both of Adrian Monk's shrinks in Monk are awesome. Dr. Kroger, always has advice that's relevant and helpful. Granted, Monk isn't always very good at following that advice, but still. Dr. Bell, Monk's shrink beginning in season 7, is equally awesome.
  • Tony Hill from Wire in the Blood is an awesome psychologist. Though most of his screen time is devoted to second guessing criminals, rather than curing people. He's so good one crazy hoodoo doctor was convinced that Tony was a witchdoctor too, and the ending suggests they died from hallucinating a swarm of flies suffocating them. And sometimes it appears he might not be quite right himself.
  • Dr. Sweets on Bones, and before him Stephen Fry as Dr. "Gordon Gordon" Wyatt. Both are treated as the Ineffectual Shrink at first but ultimately prove to be very helpful.
  • Sidney Freedman, a recurring guest character on M*A*S*H. The "best TV shrink ever", according to Psychology Today.
  • Dr. Molly Clock in Scrubs. Oddly, she's rather quirky herself.
    • Or Dr. Cox's shrink from "His Story".
    • Dr Hendrick, Sacred Heart's grief counselor, is portrayed as a great counselor, but is nonetheless seen as smug and annoying by the main characters, even when it's them he's helping.
  • Dr. Kate Heightmeyer in Stargate Atlantis.
  • Dr. Samantha Kohl in Raines. Anyone capable of making any progress with someone like Raines has to qualify as an awesome shrink.
  • Major Grace Pedersen, the Australian Army psychiatrist serving with the ISAF medical unit in Combat Hospital.
  • Dr. Lee Rosen of Alphas, who is also arguably the main character.
  • JAG:
    • Lieutenant Commander Jordan Parker, Romantic False Lead to Harmon Rabb in season 4.
    • Lieutenant Commander Vera McCool, counseling at first reluctant Sarah Mackenzie twice onscreen in season 9 & 10. Mac is reluctantly ordered by Admiral Chegwidden to see a psychiatrist in "Take It Like a Man", following changes in behavior after the events in "Persian Gulf". At first the therapy seems to be ineffective, but when seen in the season 10 episode "The Four Percent Solution" it proves to be effective.
  • Dr. Edna from Season 4 of Mad Men. She manages to be awesome for Sally (her actual patient) and more stealthily for Betty, who was the victim of a Harmful Shrink in Season 1.

Theatre
  • In the musical Lady in the Dark, Dr. Alexander Brooks analyzes Liza Elliott's musical Dream Sequences and discovers the roots of her nervous disorder in her childhood memories.

Video Games
  • Dr. Kauffman in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. He may be quite cynical and confrontational at times, but it's all for the patient's own good in the end.

Webcomics
  • Dr. Corrine from Questionable Content. A particularly amusing/intelligent quote of hers:
    "Just go out and bang some dude" is one of the phrases you will never hear a psychiatrist say. Other such phrases include "I think the heroin is doing you a lot of good," and "jesus [sic], no WONDER your mother never loved you."
  • Kili, a shaman who is also a therapist, in The Dragon Doctors.

Web Originals
  • Psyche in Thalia's Musings. She helps the goddess Artemis work through issues from her abusive childhood, which lets Artemis finally acknowledge her love for Athena and begin a relationship with her.

Western Animation
  • Dr. Bliss, the child psychologist who helped Helga in Hey Arnold!.
  • Morty Storkowitz on Birdz does a good job in taming Mr. Nuthatch. In the course of 13 episodes, Mr. Nuthatch goes from a nervous-wreck coward to being much more confident (though still eccentric). There's even a slight role reversal as Mr. Nuthatch ends up convincing Morty that he shouldn't be afraid to sing.

    Multiple types, variable types, etc. 
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Anime and Manga
  • All the shrinks in Monster, who range from realistically successful to vaguely psychotic.
  • Lux-Pain therapist, Honoka Hino, is a psychiatrist in addition to the school's nurse. She does seem to successfully council a few people, like Takuya Inoue. However, later in the game she is infected by a mental parasite after Hibiki Kiryu goes into a coma, and wonders if he'll ever wake up. She reveals she also used to council a terminally ill girl who asked her to smile, then died. If you don't remove the parasite, she snaps, goes into the hospital and kills him, then is gunned down mercilessly by the police. She ends up needing more therapy than practically anyone in the game. And that's says a lot.

Comic Books
  • Dr Jeremiah Arkham in Batman varies between Type 1 and 2 Depending on the Writer. He was originally created by Alan Grant as a B. F. Skinner type who believed in "controlling" his charges, then shifting to a touchy-feely shrink who let them wear their costumes if it made them feel better, before going through a period where he was a costumed villain himself. His ancestor Amadeus, who founded the Asylum, is currently appearing as a Type 2/3 in All-Star Western but it's a Foregone Conclusion that he becomes a Type 1, since it's built into the Asylum's history.

Fan Fic

Film
  • In Annie Hall there is an amusing Split Screen scene showing Alvy and Annie at their respective shrinks, who simultaneously ask them how often they make love. Alvy replies, "Oh, hardly ever...two, maybe three times a week." While Annie says, "Oh all the time, at least two or three times a week."
  • Neil Gordon from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Mostly an Awesome Shrink, but subverts it when he's willing to use drugs (Hypnocil) to aid his patients.

Literature
  • A major theme in Erica Jong's Fear of Flying.
  • Ditto Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint.
  • Sir Roderick Glossop is a rather complicated example. Sometimes he would qualify as harmful because of his tendency to see mental illness everywhere and his belief that Bertie should be institutionalized. Of course since this is Wodehouse its Played for Laughs. Later on he becomes more of a dopey ineffectual shrink specifically in his use of “The Glossop Method” where he gives a patient whatever it is they want (alcohol for instance) in the hopes that they will get sick of it and therefore cease to be addicted. Needless to say it doesn’t work.
  • Doctor Gordon in The Bell Jar is the "Harmful" type. He behaves indifferent and cold to Esther in her therapy sessions and ultimately botches electroshock therapy, giving her a traumatic fear of the procedure. He is based on the author's real-life experiences. Doctor Nolan, however, is much better, administering electroshock therapy properly and helping Esther recover.

Live-Action TV
  • In the German crime comedy Dr Psycho, police psychologist Max Munzel seems like an example of type 2 and is treated as such by his police colleagues and wife, but he is far less incompetent than his personality would suggest.
  • Frasier. Obviously. Both Frasier and Niles tend to oscillate between types two and three.
  • Libby from LOST, who is usually Type 3, but occasionally dips into Type 2.
  • House's psychiatrist in Season 6 is apparently awesome but actually violates so many therapeutic heuristics (ex. don't judge your patient, and picking up a newspaper and ignoring him may make for dramatic effect or comedy in someone twisted mind but is certainly not realistically helpful), it's no wonder House finally got fed up and walked out.
    • Given the fact that he actually somewhat managed to at least temporary help House - who as a person would be the worst ordeal for any therapist - we may consider him plain awesome.
  • The premise of the television show The Sopranos is that main character and mob boss Tony Soprano starts seeing a therapist. Dr. Melfi actually is a very skilled therapist, and is able to help him through some of his issues. However, later episodes indicate that he may well be a sociopath and beyond actual rehabiliation, and the biggest effect of therapy for Tony has been helping him seem normal (as normal as a mob boss can be).
  • Paul Weston in In Treatment, played by Gabriel Byrne, is a compassionate, savvy and well meaning doctor who has a lot of issues on his own and starts to see a therapist himself, Gina Toll, his old mentor, which adds a new complex relation to his life.
  • Dr. Craig "Huff" Huffstodt (played by Hank Azaria) from Showtime's HUFF.
  • It's still too early to call, but Archie Hopper in Once Upon a Time seems to skate between Types 2 & 3. Like the rest of the cast, he suffers from a nasty case of identity amnesia and tends to be an Extreme Doormat when it comes to Regina's abuse...well, until he grew a spine in the fifth episode. Considering he was Jiminy Cricket, it's probably not a good idea to tell him to violate matters of conscience.
  • Dr. Hartley in The Bob Newhart Show. None of his patients get any better.
  • Ezri Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. She starts out not being that good, but she figures out how to treat Garak's claustrophobia before the end of the episode. Granted, she has a huge amount of issues herself, on top of having been in training just a few weeks before her transfer.

Newspaper Comics
  • Lucy van Pelt of Peanuts. At 5˘ a session you presumably get what you pay for.
  • A common gag in The Far Side. One of the more famous ones is a therapist who puts in one patient's notes, "Just plain NUTS!"
  • A very, very common setting for The New Yorker magazine cartoons. A typical example shows a guy at home saying to his parakeet, "You came up in therapy today."

Web Comics
  • For a couple of years in Dykes To Watch Out For, Mo saw a shrink named Anya whom she adored. Therapy has also been a Running Gag throughout the strip, referencing how near-obligatory therapy seems to be for lesbians, and Sparrow in particular was a full fledged therapy junkie for about the first 10 years (even showing her entering couple therapy with her girlfriend of three months. There was also a character appearing on the calendars (but not in the strip, aside from her initial appearance in a really early strip) named Cleo Baldshein, a "guerrilla therapist".
  • Dr. Gardevoir serves as the only psychiatrist to a world inhabited by video game characters. She's seen to be calmly dealing with a Creeper repeatedly exploding but dreads being in the same room as Ellis. She also seems to have given herself a Split Personality when trying self therapy.
  • Doctor Angstrom in Broodhollow mostly seems to be the sensible, intelligent, good-advice variety, though he has been known to rename psychology terms so he can say he discovered them.

Western Animation

Video Games
  • Dr. Penelope Young from Batman: Arkham Asylum sits at a nebulous point between types 1 and 2. Her intentions are good, but the experiments she performs — and which Fridge Horror indicates she intends to perform, given she thinks that her subjects would need a Psycho Serum like TITAN to survive them — are clearly less than benevolent. She is cool-headed and rational, yet her effects at treating or even diagnosing the patients at Arkham are absolutely useless. This is compounded by the fact she has a rather egregious case of Arbitrary Skepticism, which means she refuses to believe that, say, Killer Croc is a cannibal (despite this being a well-documented aspect of his behavior by the police- and him being a 15 feet tall crocodile man) or that the Ratcatcher does have a borderline psychic ability to communicate with rats (then later demanding he remove the rats from the interview room). Admittedly, in this last case, metahumans are a rarity in Gotham, but at least three well-known cases — Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Clayface — are not only famous, but actually kept in Arkham. Summing up just how terrible she is at performing even a basic diagnosis; Dr. Young actually comes to the conclusion that Jonathon Crane, aka The Scarecrow, is harmless and would be a great asset to the TITAN project... as a researcher. Oh, and she later finds out that the whole project was funded by The Joker.
    • For that matter, she thought Batman's "multiple disorders" were driven by, as detailed from bonus material in the collector's edition of the first game, genetic predisposition and substance abuse. It doesn't help she's getting her info from the inmates themselves. Although, she's wondering if the inmates are his real peer group, something Joker, Riddler, and Scarecrow believe as well.
  • Mass Effect 2 brings us Yeoman Kelly Chambers, the de-facto ship's shrink on the Normandy. She has all the training and background to be a psychologist, and is very compassionate towards just about everyone. Her actual position aboard the ship is closer to The Profiler, giving Shepard advice on how to best deal with his varied teammates, and she is also assigned as Shepard's personnal assistant.
    • Mass Effect 3 reveals that while she was aboard the Normandy, she was keeping her boss, The Illusive Man, informed with updated psychological profiles on Shepard to better allow Cerberus to manipulate him/her towards their goals. She is in such a bad emotional state after the events of the second game, that if you get angry at her over it, she will be Driven to Suicide.
  • Isiah "Pube Head" Friedlander, Michael's shrink in Grand Theft Autov is a cross between Types 1 and 2. He gets paid (increasingly large sums) by Mike to listen to his problems, cuts him off mid-breakthrough, and attributes everything to denial or sociopathy. Friedlander's idea of group therapy is letting the parents scream at each other while the kids sit there awkwardly, and during his final session with Michael, he reveals that he's getting his own TV show. Luckily enough, he dies before he gets to sell Mike's secrets.


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