Needs Help: There Are No Therapists

Total posts: [92]
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Laconic says:
Therapists are inexplicably absent from the story universe when a character is struggling to cope with psychological or emotional issues that would require therapy in Real Life.

De-Natter still needed
Halfway finished but these folders still need work:
  • Comic Books
  • Tabletop Games
  • Video Games
  • Web Comics
  • Web Original
  • Western Animation

Split and/or Rethink needed
Examples are all over the place. Some can fit into the following tropes: Any basic aversions can be removed - only aversions that are especially notable should remain. Some groups of examples may or may not merit their own tropes (input needed):
  • "Plot powered by crazy": there are a lot of examples saying that a particular work runs on crazy and including therapists would defeat the whole plot (probably this is Dysfunction Junction, narrowly defined?)
  • there are also quite a few examples of works where someone who should know better takes advantage of a character's poor mental health at the moment, especially notable if the advantage-taker would normally be subject to duty of care procedures and would therefore probably be found at best Criminally Negligent for not having some sort of psych care and at worst might be found guilty of actually causing intentional distress and harm by using someone's psych vulnerability against them to manipulate them into acting a certain way. I'd put a YKTTW up about this asking for input but didn't get anywhere so probably these can just stay on this trope (or maybe that's what this trope should actually be instead?).

edited 24th Nov '12 10:35:59 AM by StarValkyrie

First post edited for clarity. Maybe it's not so scary now and people will (please, please please) help?
Agree fully, and a well-organized post. I think identifying tropes and splitting the page will solve the problem. As you said, "characters don't do X" is rarely specific enough to trope.
[up]Thanks. grin I just went through the extended definition to cut the rambling and remove the aversions that were confusing examples-posters so that's a step in the right direction at least.

edited 28th Aug '12 10:41:53 PM by StarValkyrie

I've cleaned 4 folders of natter now.

I've also added this instruction:
This trope is not the place to list every bad thing that happens to every character. It is not enough to qualify for this trope that characters have been through stuff that could cause serious issues; it must actually have caused serious issues with consequences noticeable to other characters AND still no one thought to get them psychiatric help.
I think it's necessary because I've had to delete several examples in the anime section alone where all kinds of bad things a character has been through are listed but then at the end of it, the character is described as well-adjusted or "not doing too badly".

Any suggestions for improvement?

edited 29th Aug '12 2:19:28 PM by StarValkyrie

6 Xtifr30th Aug 2012 12:46:47 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
The whole way its currently described makes it sound very YMMV-ish. Tropers may vary in how useful they think therapists are. Some may think that any minor trauma could be helped by therapy, while others may think that therapists are all in thrall to the evil clam god, and should be avoided no matter what.

I think should try to figure out how to make it more objective or, failing that, go ahead and make it YMMV. But I think it probably can be objective.

I think we should also clarify what counts as Justified Trope. Therapist Existence Failure seems like a bad reason. For historical fiction, it starts to fall into People Sitting On Chairs territory (unless you have time travelers or something). I think it might be justified if, say, the rebels know that The Empire monitors all therapists' mind-probe machines. (Or if the rebels know that all therapists are in thrall to the great clam.)

Also, the name sounds like Therapist Existence Failure, and I'm not convinced that is a trope at all.

edited 30th Aug '12 12:49:18 PM by Xtifr

Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
How's this for a new laconic definition, which can build into a non-YMMV main page:

"A character deals with psychological or emotional issues that would require therapy in Real Life."
[up][up]I actually haven't seen any historical examples as I've been cleaning so I don't think that's a misuse we actually have to worry about.

I definitely have seen examples where people ramble about the trauma a character has been through and say they should have seen a therapist but no one mentioned it and that's why I added the comment [up][up][up]. Do you think that comment is clear enough or could it be improved?

I do not think the whole trope is YMMV but could you explain what you mean by "Therapist Existence Failure" so I'm sure I know what you're saying?

edited 30th Aug '12 12:56:42 PM by StarValkyrie

[up][up]I think that's better, but it needs to go one more step to...

"A character deals with psychological or emotional issues that would require therapy in Real Life but therapists are inexplicably absent from the storyverse." or "Therapists are inexplicably absent from the story universe when a character is struggling to cope with psychological or emotional issues that would require therapy in Real Life."

... or something like that because the trope is about the inexplicable absence of therapists, not characters who need therapy (and that is probably the confusion that's led to the most misuse so it needs to be really clear).

edited 30th Aug '12 1:02:08 PM by StarValkyrie

10 Xtifr30th Aug 2012 01:16:12 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
[up][up]Er, Therapist Existence Failure: In Ancient Rome, There Are No Therapists.

YMMV: Little Jenny's goldfish died.

edited 30th Aug '12 1:16:42 PM by Xtifr

Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
[up]It looks to me from reading other Existence Failure tropes that that refers to when something is set up, going just fine, and then suddenly crashes and burns because of one thing (death of author, loss of last HP, suspect turns up dead). If that's the case, Therapist Existence Failure would imply to me that the lack of a therapist to deal with characters' issues derails the story... or am I mistaken about that? Because a major part of There Are No Therapists is that stories end up that way because it's more dramatic - as in there would be no story if the characters could cope well.

YMMV: It's not that bad. I realize the trope has some subjectivity, but I think clarification is all that's required, not moving it to YMMV.

edited 30th Aug '12 1:38:18 PM by StarValkyrie

12 Xtifr30th Aug 2012 03:43:43 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
[up]Therapist Existence Failure was just me being tongue-in-cheek. It certainly wasn't intended as a serious name proposal or anything.

Agree that it's better to clarify than to declare this YMMV. I'm just saying I think it needs clarification to avoid being too YMMV-ish.

I do think the name is bad, but I'm not sure it's bad enough to justify a rename. But we might want to hold off on cleaning examples until someone has a chance to take a look and get some idea of whether and how much this is being misused.
Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
[up]That's why I did the TLDR section in the first post. I've already cleaned Anime/Manga, Film, Lit, and Live Action TV. That's how I put together a summary because I wasn't going to survive having to read every example once to create a summary and once again to clean it. Anime/Manga alone was 12 single spaced word processor pages. Most of that was just people arguing. Hetalia had an entire page to itself of people saying "Russia, just Russia," and "This is SO Poland" (or whoever - I know nothing about Hetalia myself). I only removed a few examples and those were A) written in a contradictory way so I couldn't tell if they were straight or aversions or b)were where characters went through a lot of trauma but were still described as not doing too badly so those were YMMV, but I think the comment should hopefully cut down on that.

edited 30th Aug '12 6:52:38 PM by StarValkyrie

Natter and basic aversions are already creeping back in. sad

edited 3rd Sep '12 9:54:51 AM by StarValkyrie

What about adding a folder to There Are No Therapists for the aversions?
If a character sees a therapist that's not an aversion of Averted Therapy. It's a trope in itself. We've got a good YKTTW here, and I suspect that other therapy tropes exist.
[up]I know, and if someone has a suggestion for a pure contrast trope for this one, obviously we could move the aversions there and link it, but I can't come up with a tropeworthy contrast that's not Truth in Television and People Sit on Chairs and already deleted basic aversions are being added back in. So I'm wondering if the best way to deal with this problem isn't to try to force a solution but to organize the inevitable clutter.
I think the best solution is to create tropes for the various reasons a character might go or not go to therapy. Once that's done, there's no need for There Are No Therapists to exist.
[up] I don't think a trope for every reason a character does, can't, or refuses to go to therapy would do it. We'd still have tons left over under There Are No Therapists because by definition, therapists are inexplicably absent from those.

That said, a complete rethink of this issue might be best. Not every character needs therapy for their issues or would be in character if they went and that is a major shortcoming of having a There Are No Therapists trope - it implies that everyone with issues would end up in therapy if the writers weren't morons when actually a lot of Real Life people would try to cope on their own, self implode, call a friend for Dock Therapy, etc.
The "inexplicable" part is the current page's main weakness. If we can offer no reason behind something, it's Too Meaningless to Trope.
[up]But clearly there is a trend in fiction towards ignoring mental health problems which does represent a gap from reality and thus is not simply People Sit on Chairs. (The inexplicable refers to a complete lack of in-universe justification which is not to say there aren't lots of reasons outside the storyverse, some of which are mentioned in the trope definition.) This is a trend people notice and I doubt it would be more than a couple of weeks before this was back in YKTTW with someone saying "I can't believe we don't have this one yet." But maybe this could somehow be worked into a no-examples supertrope with specific subtropes that are not "X does not happen"?

edited 3rd Sep '12 3:15:09 PM by StarValkyrie

[up][up]I'm going through the examples now. Even with tropes for "plot powered by crazy" and Psych Breach of Duty, there's still some left over. Ex: 27 examples left in Anime but the Comic Books folder could be emptied.

What about Dysfunction Junction becomes the supertrope (with examples) with the existing subtropes relating to poor standards of mental health care in fiction plus a new subtrope similar to but more narrowly defined than Dysfunction Junction for examples where "the plot runs on crazy". I don't know. There are almost 800 wicks for There Are No Therapists and more than 1000 for Dysfunction Junction so it'll be a massive job no matter what.

edited 3rd Sep '12 10:20:45 PM by StarValkyrie

If we can offer no reason behind something, it's Too Meaningless To Trope.

No, that's not true at all. Just because we don't know the meaning behind a trope doesn't mean it isn't a trope.
Yeah, in the same way as "just because we have no page on something doesn't mean it's not a trope." But we need to carve out a meaning (or purpose, or consequence) to write the page.

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