To us he is no more a person
Now but a climate of opinion."
Zo, tell me about your mozzer.
When psychology comes up in media, it will almost always use the Freudian model – even though it's archaic and many modern psychologists don't subscribe to it. Even when other schools of psychology are featured, the imagery is almost always reminiscent of psychoanalysis, usually with a couch or chaise longue to complete the scene.
Freud's model (drastically oversimplified, of course) is that many psychological problems can be traced to interaction with one's parental figures or some interaction of the Id, Superego, & Ego, commonly known as the "Freudian Trio". The best way to cure someone was the "talking cure", where the patient is made to talk about his problem until it's out in the open and he can face it directly. It is somewhat less well known for its emphasis on the psychosexual stages of child development (including oral, anal, and phallic) and the persistent belief that people can only be considered to have gone through normal childhood development if, at the ages of 3-6 they were envious of their same sex parent and intensely desirous of a sexual relationship with their opposite sex parent, and that they healthily exited this stage by learning to correctly identify with the same-sex parent. Hey, look at that, it's all that nonsense about strong mothers and weak fathers turning people gay somehow. This is why we have the joking page quote up there. It wasn't only about your mother, though... it was just mostly about your mother.
Freudian psychology was the predominant model until the last quarter of the 20th century, particularly the 1990s (known among psychologists as the "Decade of the Brain"), when research started making many discoveries about the chemical imbalances that can be intertwined with various mental illness, leading to medication becoming a major form of treatment (either by itself or in conjunction with some type of therapy). Plus there's the simple fact that many psychological issues can have multiple different reasons for developing outside whatever family issues someone may have. If someone has post-traumatic stress disorder because they saw a fellow soldier die in front of them, talking about that one time their mother yelled at them as a kid isn't going to help with that. And that's without getting into the different types of therapy outside just talk therapy that can serve as a pathway to healing, much less all the different schools of thought behind them: your aforementioned soldier may find themselves in an art therapist's studio painting or making masks instead of sitting on a couch just talking, for example.
The prevalence of this trope comes from Freudian psychology just being more interesting for character stories. After all, it's not particularly interesting to diagnose a character with a mental illness and treat them with appropriate drugs — but you can get a lot more mileage if you spin that illness into a Freudian Excuse like having Abusive Parents or an Oedipus Complex. Furthermore, Freudian psychoanalysis and similar humanistic therapies lend themselves well to Character Development; they take time, but they also lead to contemplation, epiphany, and triumphant catharsis. And just because Freudian psychology is outdated doesn't mean it's entirely useless, and such therapy might still be actually useful for some individuals.
The ubiquity of this trope leads to many other psychology tropes deriving from TV-Freudianism, like the Freudian Excuse, the Freudian Couch (where the patient lies down and explains everything), and Psychological Projection. Freud Was Right is the extreme, where Freudianism is Flanderized into the idea that the subconscious id is our inner pervert, supplying an endless stream of crude sexual thoughts. And watch out for the Freudian Sex-- SLIP! We meant Slip!
A subtrope of Hollywood Psych, Psychosexual Horror, and Small Reference Pools. See also Carl Jung, Freud's contemporary and one-time apprentice, who provides the most popular alternative viewpoint until, again, the late 20th century.
- Batman: Black and White: In "In Dreams", Karen lies on a Freudian Couch while telling her psychiatrist about her recurring nightmare. He even looks a fair bit like Freud himself.
- In Marvel's Hanna-Barbera TV Stars series, a story has Undercover Elephant (a character from their 1977 series CB Bears) after a criminal called Pretty Boy Freud, a bodybuilder that doubles as a psychiatrist to lull his victims out of their synch. He fools Undercover Elephant into thinking he needs psychiatric help so he can make a getaway.
Undercover Elephant: ...And mom used to spank me with a tennis racquet. The kids all used to call me "ol' Waffle Britches!"
- In The DCU's Kid Eternity, the eponymous character, who can summon the spirits of the dead, brings in Freud and Jung to analyze him when he thinks he might be crazy. They spend so much time arguing with each other, each insult reflecting modern opinion of their theories, that Kid eventually figures himself out completely independent of them.
- Lucky Luke: One story has a proto-Freudian doctor visit the US to test his theory that all criminals trace their behavior back to a turning point in their childhoods. He demonstrates this by getting the criminals to talk about their childhoods, which leads them to start crying, return the loot they've stolen, and promise to live better lives from then on. Then he encounters the Daltons, who are quite proud of their criminal childhoods, and turns evil (although in the end he manages to cure Averell). Freud himself makes a cameo at the very end, as a terrified nanny tells Mrs. Freud what baby Siggy tried to get her to do.
- The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye features psychologists Rung and Froid, based on Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud respectively, who bring up various tropes on psychology. But the comic otherwise averts the trope, with Rung being the competent one and Froid being portrayed as an unethical hack. Most psychological disorders (most notably Magnus's OCD) are treated rather than cured. Of course, it's hard to have lingering parental issues in a species who's reproductive method precludes them from having parents.
- Played for Laughs in A Crown of Stars: When Ching tells Shinji she wants to talk about his father issues and counsel him, she begins their talk by parodying Freud, complete with pipe and glasses:
"Zo, tell me about you fadda," she said with a terribly faked Vienna accent.
- The MLP Loops: Fluttershy tries to help Smaug with his issues.
Fluttershy: So tell me about your mother.
Smaug: My mother? My mother was the very living rock of Arda itself, and when I and the other dragons were spun from the earth we left it base and dulled!
Fluttershy: I see. And how does that make you feel?
Fluttershy: Right, let's start there...
- The New Retcons: So far as Elly Patterson is concerned, all therapy boils down to blaming the patient's mother for everything that's gone wrong with their life. Due to this, she doesn't approve of anyone going to therapy or getting any kind of psychological support. Such as when Deanna starts taking her kids to a therapist after they're traumatized by an apartment fire. (Note that Elly tends to blame everybody else for her own issues, suggesting that Psychological Projection is in play here.)
- In Apartment Zero, one of the neighbors tells Jack that he reminds him of a boy he was close to when he was in school. The neighbor speculates what Freud would have to say about that, and then it is implied that he and Jack get up to some very Freudian activities.
- In Batman Begins, Jonathan Crane is all over the place. He could well be a behavioral or biological psychologist, considering how he was using his fear gas. But the only psychology we see him actually deliver is total bullshit designed to get Rachel off his back, and that name-checks Jungian theories.
- In Bedtime Story (1964), Lawrence speculates that Freddy's misogynistic views come from a negative experience with his mother, possibly during his potty training.
- Used in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, by Freud himself. It's a problem he's uniquely equipped to deal with, as Ted's stepmother is only a few years older than he is.
- In The Cobweb, Stewart practices the old-school "talking cure". One possible justification is that the clinic is more of a mental health retreat and presumably wouldn't accept patients who actually need to be treated medically.
- Subverted in Forbidden Planet: When the captain asks Morbius what the ship's doctor meant by "monsters from the id," Morbius tells him that "id" is an obsolete term for a person's selfish and destructive urges.
- Subverted in Hellraiser: Inferno: As Detective Joseph Thorne gets more obsessed with the case, his captain orders him to see the precinct's psychiatrist. Joseph notes to his partner that he'll be off to talk about his childhood, but the psychiatrist's sessions are in fact very informal and he spends more time informing Joseph about the Cenobites.
- Inception deals with "projections" encountered in dreams and dismisses the TV-Freudian explanation that they're a part of the dreamer's subconscious. They're instead described as unexpressed fragments of the dreamer's personality, which is ironically a very Freudian view of dream psychology.
- Essentially all psychology was Freudian in 1946, which is why it's portrayed that way in Let There Be Light, a documentary about World War II veterans suffering from severe PTSD. Although the narration talks about physical causes for psychological disorders, the troubled soldiers are fixed mostly with the Freudian "talking cure", with some help from hypnosis and sodium amytal.
- In The Mask, Dr. Newman has a theory that people wear metaphorical masks to conceal who they truly are (i.e., their Id), with the eponymous Mask of Power unconcealing that repressed nature. It's both a Freudian and Jungian concept; the Id is part of the Freudian Trio, but Jung greatly expanded their roles.
- Averted by the Ingmar Bergman film Persona (1966), which has no Freudian psychology but is basically a catalogue of Jungian psychology, including an ultra-rare example of "countertransference" (basically, when the patient drives the examiner crazy).
- Played completely straight in The Snake Pit, where a psychiatrist cures a patient with a serious case of schizophrenia by using the classic Freudian "talking cure". No medication was required. This was Truth in Television at the time, as part of a movement in psychiatry, and what was called "schizophrenia" back then might today be defined as "depression" or "anxiety disorder".
- In the comedy What About Bob?, Dr. Marvin idolizes Freud to the point that he named his son Sigmund and his daughter Anna (the name of one of Freud's daughters and the one to follow him into psychoanalysis).
- Acts of the Apostles by John F. X. Sundman involves a bunch of Bill Gates-esque billionaires running around attempting to become self-actualized. It's supposed to be based on Freudianism, but modern psychology would consider all these guys bat-shit crazy.
- In Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars, Leonard is sent to a psychologist who insists that all of his problems in school stem from a deep-seated, secret hatred of his parents, and refuses to listen to Leonard unless he confesses all of his "problems". He also asks Leonard about repressed memories from when he was an infant. Of course, Leonard sees this as nonsense, but makes a bunch of stuff up to satisfy him.
- In Cell, the main characters theorize that the zombies running around killing people all had their ego and superego wiped out by a pulse of electromagnetism coming from their cell phones, leaving only the id, which was Freud's fancy way of saying "the part of your brain that just wants to kill and screw".
- In Chaim Potok's The Chosen, Danny's entire pre-university education in psychology involved reading Freud (in the original German). He assumes that Freud is the be-all-and-end all of psychology, but when he enters university (in the 1960s–1970s), he realizes that Freudianism has been completely jettisoned by academia and replaced with hard behaviorism. The culture shock, needless to say, is considerable.
- Mrs. Levy in A Confederacy of Dunces believes this, though she's pointedly quite incorrect. She took a correspondence course in psychology (which she failed) and constantly tries to apply her "knowledge" to her Henpecked Husband and Miss Trixie, a senile employee of Levy's company who just wants to retire in peace. Miss Trixie gets it especially awful; Mrs. Levy insists, against the complaints of both Mr. Levy and Miss Trixie herself, that what Trixie really wants is to remain employed so she could feel wanted. But there's a real Freudian moment when it's revealed that with the makeup and wig Mrs. Levy ends up applying to her, Miss Trixie looks almost exactly like Mrs. Levy's mother.
- In Crysis: Legion, Alcatraz is asked about how he saved a mother and child and snarks about how Freudian the situation is.
- Defied in Deep Six (1984) by Prof. Lugovoy, a biologic/cognitive psychologist critical towards Freudian theories.
- Haruhi Suzumiya:
- Played with when Kyon wakes up from a dream that ends with a kiss and cries, "What the hell?! Freud would have a field day with this!"
- Koizumi is fond of explaining Haruhi's and everyone else's behavior through Freudian psychology. However, he mostly stays clear of Freudian Excuses and seems to use Freud's actual theories, not The Theme Park Version.
- In Joanne Greenberg's autobiographical novel I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Deborah Blau is diagnosed as schizophrenicnote and hospitalized in a private facility. But she's lucky enough to have a Freudian analystnote , who is willing to listen to her and convince her to trust the reality around her.
- "Joey: A 'Mechanical Boy'" unsurprisingly uses this, since Bruno Bettelheim was a Freudian psychologist in real life. The story revolves around a boy who gets autism from his refrigerator mother and uses elaborate symbolism to express all his emotions. At one point in the story, Bettelheim is surprised by Joey's short-lived obsession with feces, since his "personality damage" predates the anal stage.
- One of the main characters of The Longing of Shiina Ryo is firmly convinced that Freudianism is the way to do psychology.
- Averted in The Manticore, the second novel of Robertson Davies' Deptford trilogy; the course of psychoanalysis the protagonist undertakes is explicitly described and depicted as Jungian.
- Dr Lilith Ritter in Nightmare Alley is very much of the Freudian school of psychology, which fits into the book's 1940s setting. She makes client Stan lie on a Freudian Couch where he can't see her or make eye contact with her and she constantly implies that his present psychological issues are due to his various childhood traumas, abandonment issues and troubled relationship with his parents, even indicating to him at the end that he wanted to have sexual intercourse with his mother and kill his father and has now transferred his sexual feelings for his mother onto her.
- Subverted in She's Come Undone when Dolores's psychologist wants to try a radical "reparenting" therapy with her and must fight the other more traditional Freudian therapists in the hospital to obtain permission.
- Parodied in Unseen Academicals: When Mr. Nutt has to psychoanalyze himself (It Makes Sense in Context), he uses a Freudian Couch and a "slight Uberwaldian accent." He also leads off with "Tell me about your mother".
- In Welcome to the NHK, Misaki tries to help Satou by interpreting his dreams based on a book about Freud. Satou sees through it and decides to fool around, describing a rather interesting dream.
- In Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series, human psychologists are stumped when trying to analyze the Race, whose species has a mating season, raise their children by the whole community, and don't even think about mating otherwise. They seem unable to analyze them outside the Freudian lens.
- In the drama Awake, Britten's therapists overwhelmingly spend their time applying dream analysis, which while fitting for the show is not widely used in real life. To be fair while Dr. Lee tries to tell Britten why his mind "invented" each scenario, Dr. Evans focuses more on what his dreams say about his current emotions.
- The Big Bang Theory:
- Leslie Winkle suggests Penny is escaping into the MMORPG Age of Conan as a result of sexual frustration. When Leonard disagrees, saying it is only to raise her self esteem and has nothing to do with sex, Leslie replies, "Everything has to do with sex."
- Leonard's mother, who is supposedly a world-renowned psychologist but extrapolates from Howard's dependency on his mother and Raj's inability to talk to women that they're subconsciously homosexual. This is despite acknowledging that many of his theories are outdated.
- Or perhaps that incident subtly hints that Beverly is either A: not as bright as she thinks she is, or B: a ruthless manipulative bitch.
- Parodied in A Bit of Fry and Laurie, where two gentlemen claiming to be psychiatrists try to analyse one another under the pretense that the other is a deluded patient. Naturally, it quickly devolves into this trope:
"So lets imagine a line, shall we? Fear at one end, breasts at the other. Now where would you place your father on that line?"
D.I. Peter Carlisle: Ah, Freud would say that your jokes reveal a truth buried in your subconscious.
- Dr. Lance Sweets is the FBI psychologist assigned to evaluate Dr. Brennan and Agent Booth's working relationship. In addition to fulfilling every other annoying Hollywood Psych stereotype, he also relies heavily on Freudian language in his practice, referring to Oedipal attachments and various other discredited theories. It's no wonder Brennan constantly reminds us that she hates psychology, if this is the only type of psychology that she sees.
- On the other hand, in the same series, Dr. Gordon Wyatt, a psychiatrist, considers psychology to be a superstitious practice and uses an eclectic approach that does not even consider medication necessarily applicable to all situations (which it isn't).
- He also lampshades this trope when talking about retiring to become a chef:
- The fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured a psychology teacher who in one episode explicitly referenced Freud and the id. However, given that this was a first-year course, it could be she's simply going through the history of the field; since it occurs in Buffy's dream, it might also be a way of showing that Buffy's not doing too well in the class.
- Episode "Just Harried":
Phoebe Halliwell: So I just studied this in psych 101. Freud. You're the ID. Prue's inner desires. Which means that she is the ego. The control factor.
- Episode "Sand Francisco Dreamin'":
Tracer Demon: (after seeing that Phoebe has stabbed her nightmare creature, and thereby also hurt herself) Would Freud have a field day with this or what?
- Episode "Just Harried":
- Decidedly averted in Criminal Minds. While a lot of their cases revolve around sex and aggression that would have fascinated Freud, their methods are mainly cognitive/behavioral. In one scene Reid even states "Freud has been discredited but Jung still has his merits." in regards to the concept of accessing repressed memories through hypnosis.
- Episode "4x4":
Greg Sanders: No matter how hard you work to get big, there's always someone bigger.
Sara Sidle: It could be what keeps them going. Like Freud said, "Anatomy is destiny".
Greg Sanders: What do you think Freud would have to say about one of these being the murder weapon?
- Episode "Fur And Loathing":
Grissom: Well, Freud said that the only unusual sexual behavior was to have none at all.
- Yet another instance in which Freud was wrong! Being asexual may not be common, but it's not pathological...
- Well he would have been if he actually said that...
- Episode "Lab Rats" (although in this case Hodges is supposed to be coming across as pretentious).
Hodges: Freud's theory on the uncanny raises the point that as children we want the doll to come to life. But as adults, we are terrified by the idea. The doll could represent the uncanny that is feared. The Sandman.
- Episode "4x4":
- Desperate Housewives: In the episode "Pretty Little Picture", Bree's psychologist tells her that many of Freud's theories have been disproven (which pleases her).
Bree: I took psychology in college. We learned all about Freud. A miserable human being.
- Entourage episode "Strange Days"
Johnny Chase: Freud says there are no accidents.
- On Frasier (and Cheers before that), Frasier is a psychiatrist and is a typical Freudian like you'd expect him to be. However, his diehard Freudianism is often portrayed as a running gag, as nearly every other doctor is a behaviorist of some kind and dismisses his thinking.
- Frasier's brother Niles, also a psychiatrist, is a Jungian, and will occasionally comment on how Frasier's philosophy is well-suited for entertainment — such as his call-in radio show. But fans note that Niles often spouts neo-Freudian jargon rather than Jungian, and wonder if a real Jungian might accept Daphne's belief that she has Psychic Powers as part of the collective unconscious.
Niles: (filling in for Frasier on the radio) While my brother is a Freudian, I am a Jungian — so there will be no blaming mother today!
- Fraiser's ex-wife Lilith is a firm behaviorist who follows the works of Gestalt and will often mock both Frasier's and Niles' psychoanalytical beliefs.
Lilith: Congratulations, Frasier, you've done it again. You've led another unsuspecting innocent down one of your dark, dead-end Freudian hallways.
- Frasier receives a bust of Freud from a student as a gift. Then she explains that she gave it to him ironically, as obviously he knew that nearly everything Freud said had since been debunked. Frasier reacts as only Frasier can.
- Frasier has a Homoerotic Dream, and for a Freudian, the implications are obvious — so he turns to Niles for a second opinion that might be less threatening to his ego. Niles believes "all dream interpretation if Freudian" and just throws out a bunch of basic (and misapplied) Freudian precepts. Once Frasier "cracks" the dream, he has another one about Freud himself.
- In "Don Juan in Hell", Frasier starts hallucinating that he's being visited by his former lovers and gets cornered by the three women he married (or tried to marry, in Diane's case), only for a fourth to show up who doesn't necessarily fit the pattern:
Frasier: Mother! What are you doing here?!
Lilith: You have to ask? You're a Freudian.
- Frasier's brother Niles, also a psychiatrist, is a Jungian, and will occasionally comment on how Frasier's philosophy is well-suited for entertainment — such as his call-in radio show. But fans note that Niles often spouts neo-Freudian jargon rather than Jungian, and wonder if a real Jungian might accept Daphne's belief that she has Psychic Powers as part of the collective unconscious.
- Gilligan's Island: In some episodes, when Ginger assumes the role of psychiatrist, her first instinct is to ask the patient about things like their childhood. Of course, she's a case of I'm Not a Doctor, but I Play One on TV, so Hollywood Psych is probably all the psychology she knows.
- The Golden Girls features a few examples, although they're mostly zigzagged and never commit to Freud being completely correct:
- In one episode, Sophia, the Team Mom of the group, complains that she hates psychiatrists, as "they always blame the mother." Dorothy then points out that for women of their age, mothers were the people who children, and especially daughters, spent the most time with and learned from, given that fathers were nearly always working. As such it's to be expected that moms would have a large influence in their kids' lives.
- In "End of the Curse," Blanche starts going through menopause and flies into a hysterical depression. The other girls force her to see a psychologist, who largely subverts the trope by not focusing on Blanche's relationship with her mom; it's Blanche herself who brings it up as a reflection of her own fears of getting older.
- "Three on a Couch" features all four women going through talk-therapy with a professional psychiatrist, but he doesn't rely on any Freudian language, instead letting them discuss their problems and saying that it's their clashing personalities causing their issues, not any particular childhood grief.
- Rose worked as a grief counselor in the early seasons of the show and later revealed some Hidden Depths by remarking that she regularly reads psychology journals to keep up to date on the latest research. Her comments largely fall into the Freudian model ("There's a cognitive dissonance between her actual and ideal self which causes her to be practically dysfunctional"), and lead to a great Beware the Nice Ones moment when Blanche refuses to accept the idea that Rose could know anything about psychology:
Rose: I don't care what you believe. (Under her breath) Hypersexual bitch.
- Las Vegas averts this trope handily when a psychologist is evaluating the Montecito's employees. When he gets to Genius Ditz Belinda, she asks him what method of analysis he's going to use, then name-drops several methods before revealing she used to be a psych major.
- Dr. Huang on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is probably a more well-rounded television psychologist than most but he still will lean Freudian if it makes for good storytelling. Recognizing the trope, many episodes have someone else on the cast bring up the Freudian bit so Huang can correct them about advances in psychological theory. Basically if Freud is proffered by Huang it's treated as valid, if he's brought up by someone else it's outdated nonsense.
- In The Man in the High Castle, the exception proves the rule: Before he begins with a new patient, a Nazi psychologist explains that he does not base his work on Sigmund Freud because Freud had Jewish heritage. Instead, he goes by the works of Carl Jung, who was of "Aryan" stock as a Swiss.
- The recurring character of Dr. Sidney Freedman on M*A*S*H was very much a Freudian psychoanalyst; in one episode ("Dear Sigmund"), he even writes a letter to Freud himself... despite the fact that Freud died in 1939, which B.J. promptly lampshades.
- Cleverly parodied/subverted on Not Going Out: At Kate's insistence, Lee reluctantly agrees to see a Californian therapist for one session. After answering her questions with his typical hurricane of witty quips and innuendos, she says she'd like to talk about his mother, leading to this exchange:
Lee: Oh, here we go.
Lee: This is all the mum-fancying stuff.
Therapist: I never suggested you fancied your mother.
Lee: What, you saying she's ugly?
- Lampshaded in Patito Feo. When Carmen goes to see a Psychologist, it was an expy of Freud himself: bald hair, smoking pipe, beard, etc. She was taken to a Freudian Couch, even when a common chair was just fine. He reminds her all the time that she must not see him. And then...
Carmen: So, doctor, my problem is that I love...
Psychologist: No no no no. Tell me about your childhood!
- The Practice: In "Free Dental" a psychiatrist gives a Freudian explanation of how the defendant's crush fetishnote arose. This scene happens in 1999, when Freudianism had been abandoned by virtually all American psychiatrists for more than forty years.
- The Prisoner (2009): 2 has 6 speak to a psychologist, 70, so he can find out what drives 6's desire to escape the Village. 2 later visits 70 and mockingly talks about his own psychological problems, before deriding it all as Freudian mumbo jumbo.
- Averted in Raines. Raines brings up Freud at his first therapy session, but Kohl says that she's a Jungian.
- Rake: Cleaver seems to think so, making comments which invoke Freud to his ex-wife Wendy, who's a psychiatrist. It's averted with her actual techniques however.
- Avoided by Tony's Series 2 episode of Skins, which is very much a study in Jung rather than Freud (it's all about Tony's quest to rediscover his anima, or something).
- In The Sopranos, Tony's sessions with Dr. Melfi occasionally touch on Freudian concepts (such as hinting at a sexual attraction toward his mother). But he doesn't accept Freudianism or the idea that he has to talk his problems out, especially given that he has to keep his sessions a secret:
Tony: I had a semester and a half of college, so I understand Freud. I understand therapy, as a concept. But in my world, it does not go down!
- Star Trek: The Next Generation:
- Data visits a holodeck version of Freud when he starts having nightmares and tries to make sense of their meaning. Holodeck Freud immediately jumps to father issues, but Data notes that he never met his father. Nor does he have a mother. Subverted when Data informs Troi of his session with the good doctor-she's very distraught as psychological theory and research has advanced hundreds of years since his era (it would be the equivalent of asking a Holodeck version of Isaac Newton for help on a paper on the physics of starships). When he leaves, she says "Next time, please come to me before you see Sigmund."
- In "Frame of Mind," Troi actually quotes Jung. Her style is usually fairly Rogerian, however.
- Parodied in Canadian TV series Student Bodies, as the protagonist, cartoonist Cody Miller, is called out for his frequent usage of Freud in his cartoons because "it's the only (psychologist) he can draw."
- In Two and a Half Men, All of Charlie's womanizing — and all of Alan's failures thereof — are attributed to their mother issues. It's so extreme that at various points, Charlie is infatuated with a woman with the exact personality of his mother, and Alan and Charlie have a sibling rivalry over an older woman whom Charlie's psychiatrist is convinced is a mother figure.
Charlie: You were conditioned as a child to seek Mom's approval. You're still seeking Mom's approval and you make every woman in the world a substitute Mom.
Alan: But what about you? We had the same mother.
Charlie: Well, I handle my conditioning in a different way. I have casual and often degrading sex with my substitute Moms — but we're talking about you and not me so forget I said that.
- Vienna Blood: This series is set in Vienna in 1907 and 1908 when and where Dr. Freud was basically inventing Freudian psychology. Max the young psychiatrist is a huge fan. His boss Professor Gruner is emphatically not. In Season 2 Max has gone into private practice as a classic Freudian, complete with couch for his patients.
- The spoken lines in Thomas Dolby's "Hyperactive!"
"Tell me about your childhood..."
"So how long have you been having these...delusions?"
"Please, tell me more about your mother..."
- Eugene O'Neill's play Mourning Becomes Electra—itself a modernized (circa The American Civil War) adaptation of Aeschylus' The Oresteia—is swarming with Freudianism. Lavinia (the modern equivalent of Electra), just for starters, won't shut up about how much she loves her father, and won't hear anything against him.
- In the 1933 Broadway musical Pardon My English, the main character is examined by a sextet of sex-obsessed psychoanalysts named Adler, Jung and Freud.
- Subverted in Grand Theft Auto V with Michael's Psycho Psychologist Dr. Friedlander, who has a bust of Freud in his office and asks Michael about his sexual habits every session. However, the narrative makes it plain as day that he's a complete fraud and he ends up getting murdered by either Michael or one of his other patients as a result.
- The Persona series also uses Jungian psychology heavily.
- The name of the series and its core gameplay mechanic come from Jung.
- Philemon, one of the most important entity in that universe (particularly the first two games) is derived from Jungian psychology.
- Jungian shadows play important roles in the games, particularly in Persona 4, in which each party member (other than the protagonist) confronts theirs in the collective unconscious, another Jungian idea in order to obtain their Persona. Shadows also show up as every enemy in Persona 3 and Persona 4, save for a few bosses.
- Lampshaded in Persona 3, as you can find books about psychology and psychoanalysis in your dorm.
- The concept of Arcanas bear striking similarities to Jungian Archetypes.
- The final boss of Persona 2: Innocent Sin consists of Nyarlathotep deciding to have some fun by taking the form of a tentacle monster made up out of all five of the characters' fathers. (Naturally, all five have some kind of father issue. Lisa for example has a strict Japanophile father, Eikichi is subtly rebelling from his dad, Tatsuya's was fired from his job and just accepted it, Maya feels like her dad abandoned her and her mother for his job, and Jun's father was considered insane by everyone, leading to him making up a perfect dad, which Nyarlathotep became to manipulate Jun.)
- Persona 2 does have some Freudian elements, most notably the fire at the shrine causing Repressed Memories and the characters overcoming some of their problems while fighting their Shadows.
- Psychonauts uses the "collective unconscious" as a sort of world hub of sorts when travelling across the mindscape-it's mostly used to access minds you've already visited when you can't personally harass the person it belongs to and hit 'em with a psycho-portal again.
- In Sam & Max: Freelance Police we have Sybil's Psychotherapy, where according to Sybil, Sam's dream including Sybil means we has a thing to his mother.
- Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines contains some Conversational Troping of this, when we visit the mansion of Dr. Alestair Grout, a Malkavian (read: "batshit insane") vampire, whose old audio diaries the player gets to hear, where Dr. Grout criticizes Freud and Freud's ideas. Not only was Grout a contemporary of Freud's during his living existence, but he apparently supported even older and more outdated ideas. (He at one points speaks with melancholy about the loss of the classical sanitarium.) Of course, Grout is insane and his primary motivation has always been curing his own condition.
- A subversion of this is Xenogears, which is pretty famous for using Jungian psychology. Though it does use a good amount of Freudian psychology as well.
- In El Goonish Shive, Susan's four Good Angel, Bad Angel manifestations appear and come to unanimous agreement about her feelings. Then, Susan's Logic refers to Susan herself as Ego.
Dan: Psychology majors, take note. This is how your mind actually works.
- In Homestuck, Rose is interested in psychology and brings up Freud now and then, though she admits early on that Freud is totally discredited, and it mostly only comes up because Dave has a very intriguing tendency to say extremely Freudian things without realizing it. The fact that he and Rose turn out to be siblings (thus making suspect all the jokes Dave used to make about Rose's mom to freak her out) and that later they actually meet a young, attractive alternate version of their mother probably doesn't help.
TT: We've already established that all of your dreams are packed with enough homoerotic symbolism to lift Freudian theory from the ashes of discreditation.
- Discussed in Level 30 Psychiatry where Dr. Gardevoir notes that Freud's theories are outdated but because her job is treating fictional characters and due to Small Reference Pools most problems end up being Freudian she has to use them.
- Philler Space: One arc has Philler split into three beings: his id, ego, and superego.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has a guy seeing a first-year psychiatry student who interprets every part of his dream in sexual terms.
- In Umlaut House 2, a giant aggregate id gains sentience (ego?), and has to be imparted with a superego to cease to be a threat.
- American Dad!: During the episode "A Pinata Named Desire" Roger and Stan have been relentlessly competing, Hayley tells them to just f*** and get it over with because of their repressed sexual urges (which just screams Freudian). Steve asks her how her Psychology 101 class is going and she replies that it's only day three and she already understands how the whole world works.
- Hayley is amusingly proven somewhat right when the pair end up simulating sex on stage during a play and afterwards are instantly friendly toward each other.
- Animaniacs: Done with Dr. Scratchansniff, the Warners' "p-sychiatrist."
- In The Beatles episode "Hold Me Tight," The Statue of Liberty leaves Ringo misty-eyed because "the old girl looks just like me mum waiting for dad to come home with his paycheque."
- Looney Tunes:
- At one point in "Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare", Bugs Bunny played psychiatrist to the Tasmanian Devil: "Zhust relaxing und telling me about your id ven you vas a kid, ja?"
- In "Freudy Cat", Sylvester has a nervous breakdown after another encounter with Hippity Hopper the "giant mouse" (actually a baby kangaroo), and Sylvester Jr. takes him to a Freud-like psychiatrist to talk about Sylvester's previous encounters with Hopper.
- A Pinky and the Brain Christmas: Pinky notes that the elf costume Brain's wearing makes him look like Sigmund Freud. Brain's reply is that he's Jungian. They meet the actual Freud, who is portrayed as a leader in hypnosis therapy. It still hits on a little of what Freud would apparently develop, but at least at the time it's state of the art techniques.
- In Time Squad, there's an episode where the main trio have to convince Freud himself to use this type of psychology instead of hypnotism. It's parodied at the end, when Freud starts analyzing dreams from people in an audience:
Deputy: Uh, I dreamt I was a watermelon.
Freud: You hate your mother!
Deputy: Oh yeah...
- The Venture Bros.: Done mostly straight when Doctor Orpheus goes inside Dr. Venture's mind. He encounters the Eros and Thanatos drives, which take the forms of Master Billy Quizboy and Pete White, and the id, ego, and superego, who all look like various incarnations of Dr. Venture (Id resembles Venture when he was a young boy, Ego looks a lot like Rusty as himself, and the Superego bears a similarity to Rusty's dad).
- Psycomedia: This podcast does its best to invert this, presenting real psychology and using Freud as a swear-word.
- Many haredi (fanatically ultra-Orthodox) Jews to this day avoid psychotherapists and psychotherapies because they associate the entire field with Freud, an avowed atheist. Instead, they will consult a rabbi for counseling. Less commonly, for cases most of us would recognize as psychosis, haredim will call a rabbi who specializes in kabbalistic exorcism.
- A "kabbalistic exorcism" is described, sympathetically, in Robert Anton Wilson's The Historical Illuminatus: The Earth will Shake. Even the Jewish scholar who delivers the exorcism is inclined to see it pragmatically as a sort of psychodrama that effectively "shocks" the sufferer back into normality, while acknowledging the religious content does no harm either. However, the subject lapses back into psychosis later in the book and kills himself.
- Many Christian denominations feel the same way, leading some to become psychologists who are licensed but place their knowledge in a Biblical context, rather than a secular one. Unfortunately, this can lapse into pseudoscientific territory, such as "conversion therapy." Similar therapies aimed at making transgender people identify with their birth-assigned sex have also been used, causing controversy, and are banned in some parts of the US.
- Most of the field of psychology in Argentina is Freudian in nature. It is also the case in France too. More precisely, Jacques Lacan had a big influence in psychology there. Basically, he brought back Freud's work and modernized it (things are more complicated, though), so most of these psychologists would call themselves 'Freudian-Lacanian' instead of simply 'Freudian', so it's sort of a subversion. But while he is quite well-known there, chances are you had never heard of him if you are from elsewhere.
- It is also deconstructed with regards to autism, for example, as many psychoanalysts refuse to recognize the numerous studies proving that it is completely physiological in nature and meet opposition from parents because they often have their kids taken away on the grounds that their bad parenting is the supposed cause under Freudian thought and put in mental hospitals for psychotherapy that DOES NOT WORK. However, there are some psychologists who do attempt to reconstruct it (sorta) by taking these discoveries and other scientific approaches into account, and discarding older theories.
- Freud is important to the history of psychology so he often shows up in Psych 101 even if the teacher doesn't like him (especially in the history of psychology). Try to get through a unit in a psychology book without his name coming up.
- In academia, his importance in the basic 101 of psychology (i.e. the only course people who don't go into psychology any further will take), means that Freud is taken more seriously in the humanities and literature department than in the psychology department (inversely, a lot of writers and novelists intentionally introduce Freudian themes into their writings, which leads to further Freudian criticism on the part of the academics). The psychology applied in sociology, gender studies and other tangentially related fields can be biased towards basic Freud, whose denial of a genetic/uninfluenced impact on behavior fits the Society Is to Blame approach most sociology teachers take perfectly.
- For the same reason, the reasoning of the Internet Cold Reader and Armchair Psychologist is almost always Freudian.
- The criticism toward Freud will, paradoxically, create a die-hard core of believers in those few universities where Freud is still taken seriously. While almost every psychology education in Sweden will focus on giving a patient practical advice on how to cope with negative tendencies, the two colleges where Freudianism is still being taught foster an atmosphere of being under siege.
- Harold Bloom (whose "Anxiety of Influence" theory of poetry owes a great debt to Freud) argues in The Western Canon that Freud is best read as a literary essayist and critic, particularly of William Shakespeare.
- Some psychologists today are neo-Freudians, taking a very liberal approach to his ideas and combining them with those of Lacan, D.W. Winnicott, Melanie Klein and even hard-scientific (cognitive and behavioral) influences.
- This article explains "Why Freud Still Matters Even Though He Was Wrong About Almost Everything." Essentially, although Freud's major ideas such as the Oedipus Complex and the ego/superego/id have been long since discredited by academic researchers, the underlying concepts, such as the fact that we're driven to some extent by our unconscious minds, are still the scientific basis for all psychology.
- This trope is practically dogma among some ultra conservativesnote despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that it is in complete contradiction to the true situation, in order to claim how rotten the modern liberal world is. This likely has something to do with the aforementioned humanities professors.
- Not even physical conditions were safe! In the 1930's to 50's it was believed that asthma was a psychosomatic illness and the wheezing was the suppressed cry of a child to its mother. Resulting in asthma being treated through psychotherapy rather than, you know, helping make sure the patient breathes. Science Marches On, indeed.
Oh, but how rude of me, Doctor, you asked about my mother. Well, I guess it all started when...