Needs Help: There Are No Therapists

Total posts: [92]
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No we don't. All we have to carve out is Consistency. Does this trope happen, and does it happen with consistency?
Come on - that's not all we have to carve out. I can offer an counter-example regarding the consistency with which people use a certain item of furniture.

In this case, characters sometimes see therapists. They more often don't. When they do, there's always a purpose of some kind. When they don't, there may be meaning of some kind, but it's harder to pin down because we're tracking an aversion. People don't see therapists unless it serves the narrative - but people generally don't do anything unless it serves the narrative.
Sure, but all plot contrivances are not created equal. People don't itch unless it serves the purpose of the plot, but that's because it's something so mundane that unless it has a point, no one wants to see.

The therapy issue is more along the lines of fiction not evolving with the times. There are settings in which no therapists being around makes sense, as this is a relatively new soft science. However, in more modern settings, the lack of a therapist is a problem depending on how socialized your characters are, because therapy works. However, this trope is all about how the presence of a therapist is conspicuous.

For example, a serial killer like John Doe might not see a therapist because he doesn't want to. But Black Snake Moan involves a man single-handedly trying to fix a nymphomaniac and her equally-screwed-up fiance by chaining her in his house. That is something worthy of note, because it's consistent with the trope as it's portrayed.
Options mentioned so far:
- Remove as much misuse and natter as possible and attempt to clarify the definition
- Make There Are No Therapists YMMV
- Turn There Are No Therapists into a no-examples Supertrope with specific subtropes
- Turn Dysfunction Junction into a supertrope with examples (many of which overlap with There Are No Therapists, many more are zero context) and for subtropes have There Are No Therapists and other psych care tropes
Any other suggestions? Time for a crowner?

edited 4th Sep '12 11:46:50 AM by StarValkyrie

I think in fiction characters don't see therapists since it's more dramatic for them to have screaming breakdowns rather than have a sensible course of cognitive behavioral therapy.
[up]That's sort of the gist of Dysfunction Junction, I think.
That's 'everyone has a dark and troubled past, present and future' in the work. Like Main Character A has a troubled past, and B has schizophrenia and C has self mutilation issues and minor character Q has an abusive mother and the bit part janitor believes he's made of glass...

edited 5th Sep '12 3:23:05 AM by animeg3282

Although these two do go hand and hand. Everyone's parents are abusive, folks stop going to school and speaking due to sheer trauma, everyone's killing themselves...and no one takes a course of therapy.
Sure, you can have this trope without a Dysfunction Junction. When you have a character who's clearly suffering PTSD and everyone can tell and they're not getting any help for it, that's this trope. It's only a Junction if just about everyone in the work is off their rocker. And going the other direction, there's nothing about a Dysfunction Junction that says nobody is getting help — psychological therapy is a lengthy process, so you could easily have a story where everyone has crippling issues and some of them are getting help and others aren't but at the time of the story they're all pretty darn crazy.

Hey, speaking of which, what's up with that paragraph in Dysfunction Junction's description about watching shows about crazy people making the viewer crazy? Is that a joke? What the heck.

edited 5th Sep '12 8:29:38 AM by Escher

Yea, stupid complaining.
@Star Valkyrie:

I sent you a PM earlier about this, and I know you want to fix the therapy tropes, but doing so by launching tropes prematurely is NOT the way to fix things. As it stands, I think you put too many constraints on All Therapists Are Muggles, and thus you've made the trope less useful for helping to fix There Are No Therapists, and harder to understand.
Jeez, it's like pulling teeth in here trying to make any progress. Should it just stay as it is then?
Looks like we have a mess here. What are we going to do?
My suggestion is to redefine it to mean:

  • A setting which is either Like Reality Unless Noted, an alternate world equal to the modern one in scientific and social innovations, or a progressive future that:
  • Lacks therapy or any form of psychological recovery program
  • Never mentions said therapies/programs, despite having characters that would clearly benefit.
  • Makes said therapies/programs far less competent than they would be in real life.

edited 24th Nov '12 8:50:30 AM by KingZeal

[up]That's not a redefinition, that's what it is now. Except for the last bullet which usually fits better as either The Shrink (Type 2), Psycho Psychologist, or Therapy Is for the Weak. The problem is it still gets a ton of misuse from people saying "there are therapists in Work X, but..." and I don't know if there is actually any way of stopping that.
We can make a note telling people NOT to do that.

EDIT: And The Shrink covers both good AND bad psychologists/psychiatrists? That's ridiculous. That's part of the problem, right there.

edited 24th Nov '12 10:48:37 AM by KingZeal

42 Pig_catapult24th Nov 2012 11:06:01 AM , Relationship Status: GAR for Archer
Yeah, that last bullet point is a problem, I think. This is There Are No Therapists, not Therapists Are Useless. Although given the misuse, maybe getting Thereapists Are Useless YKTTW'd might help?

edited 24th Nov '12 11:15:08 AM by Pig_catapult

Because underscores break everything: Working link to my Troper page
I think we should merge and rename.
44 Pig_catapult24th Nov 2012 12:39:21 PM , Relationship Status: GAR for Archer
But then it'll get even more vague. "Therapists exist but can't actually do anything to help you" is a different trope from "Therapists SHOULD exist in this setting, but nobody in the work acts like they do".

edited 24th Nov '12 12:45:43 PM by Pig_catapult

Because underscores break everything: Working link to my Troper page
There's going to be a lot of overlap between the two.
46 Pig_catapult24th Nov 2012 11:01:51 PM , Relationship Status: GAR for Archer
How? Either therapists exist or they don't.
Because underscores break everything: Working link to my Troper page
You can have the awkward case of characters going to people who are former therapists, unorthodox therapists, unlicensed therapists, or whatever have you that do an passable-to-incompetent job. It still fits the "there are no therapists" line in the sense that they aren't, technically, therapists, but they also fit the "there are therapists but they suck" line in that they aren't completely absent either. In that scenario, real therapists exist, but for some reason the main characters go to the quack. It's not saying therapists don't exist, but it's not saying they're all incompetent.

I've seen that used a lot, though I'm at a loss for examples.
48 Pig_catapult25th Nov 2012 10:54:16 PM , Relationship Status: GAR for Archer
Even if no specific therapist is ever shown on-screen, if there is acknowledgement that the profession exists, then it isn't There Are No Therapists, period.

Social Services Does Not Exist and Department of Child Disservices have the exact same delineation. We are just missing a Therapists Are Useless trope.

edited 25th Nov '12 10:58:19 PM by Pig_catapult

Because underscores break everything: Working link to my Troper page
Welcome, traveller, welcome to Omsk
[up]I agree with this. If therapists are mentioned in-universe, then it's not this trope.
It does not matter who I am. What matters is, who will you become? - motto of Omsk Bird
Why is not mentioning therapists any more of a trope than not mentioning donuts?

Sorry, but I'm thinking the whole thing is Not a Trope.

Total posts: 92
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