There Are No Therapists aka: There Are No Psychologists
"His mom is dead, his dad was missing and presumed dead, heís running around with a military organization... itís not exactly conducive to therapy ó and, of course, because itís TV, therapists donít exist."
The Shrink: If a character does go to a therapist but the therapist is unskilled, condemnatory, or otherwise problematic, see The Shrink; versions 1 and 2. If this trope is averted when the character goes to a good therapist and gets the help they need, see The Shrink; version 3.
Unintentionally Lampshaded in Rebuild of Evangelion when a character 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.
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.
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.
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 2 of them where involved in brainwashing Naruto, the clan is on her shitlist at the moment.
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 definitelywithout 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 worsethan 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 reallyREALLYneeds 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. Although she discovers that it's not PTSD, as she was told, but a side affect of being shadow kissed.
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.
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.
Completely averted by M*A*S*H, in which Sidney Freedman is a recurring Type 3.
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).
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.
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...).
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.
In Something Positive there are many cases of this, sometimes lampshaded, but the one that stuck out most for me 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.
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.
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.
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.
Defied in Worm when Weld specifically requests therapy for the Brockton Bay Wards.
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.