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Epiphany Therapy

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"By the honor of pep talks!"

Writers sometimes try to add depth to their characters by giving them some sort of psychological problem — always exactly one neatly-explainable problem. Maybe they hate men due to a previous abusive relationship. Maybe the memory of their dead little sister keeps getting them down. Or perhaps constantly having their girlfriend locked in a refrigerator causes them to drive potential lovers away due to fear for their safety.

After a while, writers may feel that the character has to lose this flaw. In Real Life, deep-seated psychological traumas take years to deal with and cure even in the best-case scenario, and most require a lifetime of treatment — mental scars are also forever, after all. In fictionland, however, There Are No Therapists; fortunately, Freudian Excuse, My Greatest Failure, the Heroic BSoD, Villainous Lineage, and Dysfunction Junction, can be cured with a simple Whoopi Epiphany Speech, growing Bored with Insanity, a friend telling them to cop on, confiding in someone about your Past Experience Nightmares, the strength or redemption offered by love, or sidekicks or True Companions showing them that The Power of Friendship cures all wounds. The writers thus resolve the issue over the course of a single episode (or movie) and call it Character Development, often at a cost of Willing Suspension of Disbelief. (On the plus side, this trope saves the audience a lot of time.)

Although this trope works well to provide closure and end a story of struggle on an upbeat note, it can be naive, even dangerous, to think that real-life psychological disorders are so simple. Oftentimes, diagnosing the root of a disorder is just one step on the way to recovery, which may well take years of hard work. Harmful patterns of thought and behavior (like suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, and self-harm) will not break apart just because the patient has logically located their source. Epiphanies can be great sources of clarity and joy but they may or may not last long in the daily grind of thought and action.

Frequently administered by a Warrior Therapist or Psychologist Teacher.

See also Armor-Piercing Question, Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere, Compressed Vice, Not Himself, Regained Memories Sequence, Reset Button, Snap Back, and We Want Our Jerk Back!. Definitely not to be confused with either Percussive Therapy or 'wall-to-wall therapy', though they both are known for resolving the situation pretty quickly, too (for very different reasons). Contrast with Mental Health Recovery Arc.

Failed attempts of giving this kind of therapy might come across as Activist-Fundamentalist Antics.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Across the entirety of Bitter Virgin, Hinako, who has suffered repeated rape at the hands of her stepfather, makes a few baby steps towards recovery, while acknowledging that she may never be free of her pain. Still, she considers the steps she has made, such as being able to begin a relationship with Daisuke, "miracles", which she never would have thought herself capable of.
  • Hikari Domina in Domina no Do! initially makes frequent use of Groin Attacks to "discipline" her future fiance Takeshi Tsuchie. Then her little sister Akari mentions that the sensation is akin to how it feels to use a hair-clip on her clitoris. A bemused Hikari tries doing just that.. and regrets it immensely. Combined with an incident involving a magical, fully-functional set of attached male genitalia of her own and a baseball bat to the nuts, and she stops hitting Takeshi there. She doesn't give up any of her other physically abusive behavior, though.
  • In Fruits Basket, all of the Sohma family have deep-seated emotional problems, and while Tohru helps a number of them quite a lot, progress is realistically slow. For example, in the manga, it seems like Tohru discovering Kyo's true form is going to be a case of Epiphany Therapy, but Kyo is largely unchanged in the next volume - just somewhat happier and more trusting of Tohru. He still has major issues around being the cat from the Zodiac.
  • Similar to Darth Vader below, this is what happened to Darth Yomi from Ga-Rei -Zero-. Basically, she experienced a barrage of trauma and this led her to slaughtering lots and lots of people. But she did realize how much she loves her little sister Kagura as Kagura killed her to stop her Roaring Rampage of Revenge, allowing her to die as herself. This is repeated in the final volume of the manga.
  • In Genkaku Picasso, the general result is that once Picasso has helped with a person's mental trauma, they get a burst of confidence and understanding and are shown a few days later taking steps to finish overcoming it. Some stories, particularly Hishida's do acknowledge that the person still has a lot of work to do in taking their step forward.
  • In Goddess Creation System Mingluan acts out because he's dissatisfied with being an inferior version of his older brother by engaging in hobbies he doesn't really enjoy while hiding his true self. When he overhears Xiaxi telling the story of the ugly duckling to a crying little girl it affects him deeply, causing him to take actions that are more in line with what he wants and what he's truly good at. It doesn't immediately make him happier, however, because it emphasizes his disconnect with his family.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: Hinagiku is fearful of loving someone because her parents abandoned her, and her older sister, when she was younger. When she falls in love with Hayate, he breaks her of the fear, but it's still presented as a strong influence in her life.
  • The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service tends to avert this. Most of the cast have some manner of psychological issue or other, and learning what caused it and confronting it gives, at best, some manner of closure that helps in the healing process. Notably, Sasaki is still actively seeing a therapist and taking antidepressants, a decade after seeing her family killed before her eyes and after the crew gives her the opportunity to forgive one of the killers to his face and exposing the other.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 has Louise Halevy, who has some deep-seated revenge issues, as well as having to overcome forced evolution into a telepathic Innovator and being partially mind-controlled by the Big Bad. At the end of the series she's caught up in the big telepathic "Understanding Field" and her boyfriend Saji manages to bring her back from the Dark Action Girl she'd become. However, two years later, she's still in the hospital getting treatment for PTSD, among other things, and while she's getting better, she's far from cured.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • During their fight at the sports festival, Midoriya lambasts Todoroki for only using the ice half of his fire/ice powers (because he inherited the fire powers from his father, who he hates), and how he's dishonoring everyone else by not giving it all. Todoroki manages to use his fire and ice powers together for the first time... but only for that fight. He doesn't manage it for the rest of the festival, and he tells his father that he needs to think long and hard about what this means for him. He gets better at it over the course of months.
    • Twice has the power of Self-Duplication, but can't duplicate himself anymore because he is terrified that he is actually just another copy. He also has severe paranoia and some form of Dissociative Identity Disorder. At one point he is conclusively proven not to be a copy, and he duplicates himself countless times to create an instant army to save his friends. However, it quickly becomes apparent that, while his ability to duplicate himself remains unlocked, this has made every other mental issue he has significantly worse. He's still paranoid, delusional, has trouble with his own identity, and is obsessed with protecting his friends. All his epiphany did was make him more dangerous.
  • In Naruto, for most of his life, Gaara has been hated by everyone around him for being a jinchuuriki, has had numerous assassination attempts upon him by his father and was forced to kill his uncle, the only person to show him sympathy (which was just an act). The Ichibi prevented him from being able to sleep, boosting his psychological trauma. He was very possibly the most Axe-Crazy, psychotic character in the series, certainly in Part I. Then he gets his ass kicked by Naruto and he has a few dozen episodes/chapters to let this sink in, though, he's just one of the guys. Then he becomes a stoic variation of the Kid-Appeal Character among the 5 Kages.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: This is what the last two episodes are about, but the otherwise straightforward dialogue is accompanied by such abstract visuals that people tend to classify it as a Mind Screw.
  • Parodied on Oruchuban Ebichu. Ebichu's alter ego, Ebichuman, is a combination superhero and marital counselor whose superpower is the ability to sense people's sexual hangups.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club, Tamaki does this to his grandma Shizue, revealing to the latter that his father had taught him about all the things she had loved, such as Japanese movies and shows, when she thought he didn't care for them. It helped his grandma realize that her son still loves her.
  • In Shugo Chara!, Nikaidou-sensei's Heel–Face Turn is encouraged by Suu's Remake Honey making his Shugo Chara that he thought he had killed (which threw him into an emotional breakdown) come back and talk to him. It leaves, but it is pointed out by Suu that he had said "See you again," and was therefore not gone forever.
  • In the Tona-Gura! anime, a turning point is reached when Kazuki views her own childhood diary and realizes that Yuuji hasn't changed; the young gentleman she remembered was a rose-colored fantasy. He was always playful and a bit rambunctious.
  • In When Marnie Was There, the encounter with Marnie helps Anna to overcome her deep-seated abandonment issues.

    Comic Books 
  • The Martian Manhunter had a deep-seated fear of fire as his Achilles' Heel, which made the second most powerful being in DC Comics Earth vulnerable to matches. Thanks to some epiphany therapy with a flame-powered hottie, he managed to remove the fear... only to discover it was a mental block placed by the Precursors to avoid his species becoming psychotic fire demons drunk on power.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The Avengers: During Steve Englehart's run, the Vision has some identity issues and angst related to his being a synthezoid, which soon start messing with his powers. The minute he learns the truth of his origins, all this stops.
    • Dark Avengers: Cleverly averted. Norman Osborn pulls this on The Sentry to shake him out of an existential crisis, essentially just getting him to accept the "The Void" isn't real and he's in total control of his own life. Not only does this fail spectacularly, it sets up that Norman is transparently doing the same thing to his Goblin persona; trying and failing to convince himself that he's stable and will continue to be so as long as he keeps up the act.
    • The Incredible Hulk: Doc Samson uses this with Bruce Banner/The Hulk to merge their different personalities into one, creating the Merged/Professor Hulk. This was subverted though, as Samson had insisted on following up with regular therapy sessions, and Hulk kept skipping them. It might have stuck if he had followed the doctor's advice.
    • Ultimate X-Men: Professor Xavier helped a washed-up martial arts student become a competent fighter by telepathically fixing her mental blocks.
    • X-Factor: One issue has the team going to therapeutic with Doc Samson (the universe's resident superhero psychiatrist). It helps some of them a little and makes no difference to others. Then much of the original team goes back to him... and it's noted by Samson that they're significantly more messed up.
  • The Powerpuff Girls story "Bow Jest" (issue #20) had Blossom rendered helpless and lacking in confidence after Buttercup steals her hairbow. After Mojo Jojo steals it, believing it to wield some untapped power, Bubbles clocks him, takes the bow, slams it on Blossom's head, and lights a match under her butt about it. It works.
    Bubbles: It's just a stupid hairbow! You're still a Powerpuff Girl whether you have it or not!

    Comic Strips 
  • A cartoon from The Far Side features a therapist's technique for dealing with the fears of heights, snakes, and the dark...trapping a man in a darkened elevator suspended off a skyscraper roof and full of snakes.

    Fan Works 
  • Subverted in Black As Night: While Astrid helps Hiccup learn how to walk again after he losing his eyesight, this doesn't cure his depression or lacking confidence. She also learns that simply telling him to toughen up will render him immediately capable of standing up for himself.
  • Lovingly defied in Dæmorphing. Rachel understanding she has anger issues doesn’t fix them, nor does two allies dying in front of her to keep those issues from getting her killed. Tobias finding a real family doesn’t fix the damage his aunt and uncle did and Marco’s extra-strength PTSD doesn't go away with some eureka moment, just goes down to the level of the rest of the cast after extensive work with a therapist.
  • Zig-zagged in Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!. Izuku gets a huge boost in cheer and confidence after meeting All Might and completing his Quest for Identity, putting him back on the path to becoming a Hero. But he's still reeling from the trauma of nearly killing Bakugou by accident as a child. The mere sight of Bakugou walking into the Heroes vs. Villains exercise shirtless is enough to make Izuku's heart sink into a pool of shame and regret.
  • Defied and Deconstructed in Opening The Box: Sanji assumed that Usopp's self-confidence issues were solved by what happened at Enis Lobby, and is thrown for a loop when he's able to withstand Perona's Negative Hollows due to his natural negativity. His attempt to correct the issue by confronting Usopp only makes matters worse, as he ignores the sniper repeatedly stressing that he really does NOT want to discuss this right now, thanks.
  • A Robust Solution: After her unfortunate encounter with Nosey, Fluttershy spent four years convinced that she was innately unlovable. Rarity helps her out by pointing out that it's not a matter of her being unlovable, but that Nosey wasn't willing to open his heart and give her the love she deserved.
  • In Taaroko's Season 8, while arguing with Spike about what it means to be a champion, Buffy simultaneously realises that she no longer has any feelings for Spike and is ready for a relationship with Angel, even before Angel receives the Shanshu and becomes human.
  • Yesterday Upon The Stair: While few people believed that Izuku was capable of seeing ghosts, one of his counselors inadvertently helped him out much more than they realized by asking him just what exactly the ghosts he was seeing wanted out of him. This helped flip Izuku's perspective about his powers around; suddenly, these weren't horrifying apparitions, but people that only he was able to help.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Simpsons Movie, Homer gets an epiphany therapy from an old Eskimo woman and realizes that he's nothing without his family and therefore must save Springfield to get them back. Played bizarrely realistically in that this only helps his guilt complex, and even then he doesn't find closure until he's actually helped his family out; meanwhile, everything else wrong with Homer Simpson is still strong in his psyche.
  • Waltz with Bashir averts this trope, slowly unlocking the protagonist's memories of the First Lebanon War through conversations with both professional therapists and other soldiers who were with him during the war. Nevertheless, an epiphany does occur suddenly at the end when Ari finally realizes the meaning of his flashback hallucination: He was in Beirut during the Sabra and Shatila massacres.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the movie Airplane!, ex-pilot Ted Striker is unable to fly as a result of having led a disastrous air raid in the war. He's cured, and able to save the day, when he's told that one of the pilots who died on the raid, in his last words, approved of Striker's decision to continue the attack.
  • Parodied in the film Analyze This:
    • Mobster Paul Vitti has been seeing a psychologist and makes a breakthrough that leaves him in tears. Unfortunately, it comes at the worst possible time — he's in a gunfight with rival gangsters, and unable to fight back, causing his psychologist to say, "Paul, you have to channel all this nice grief into a murderous rage." At the end of the film, they both agree he still needs therapy.
    • Vitti repeatedly thinks he's cured after minor epiphanies (some of which don't necessarily apply) and leaves treatment despite his psychologist insisting that there's much more buried underneath. Of course, he ends up still screwed up.
  • In The Game (1997), Conrad (played by Sean Penn) signs his brother and film protagonist Nicholas van Orton (played by Michael Douglas) up for a game that helped bring him back from being bored and disillusioned.
  • In Good Will Hunting, after a long series of therapy sessions, the patient's emotional trauma stemming from years of abuse is cured by repeating the phrase, "It's not your fault" over and over until he starts crying.
  • Parodied in High Anxiety, where a climactic situation sent Mel Brooks' character into a childhood flashback, making him realize "I'm not afraid of heights, I'm afraid of parents!"
  • In Inception, Dom Cobb finally confronts the dream projection of his long-lost wife, accepting her demise. It makes sense in this case because he is deep inside his own mind and the deeper layers are said several times to be more influential on the person than the upper layers.
  • In Iron Man 3, Tony, who had been suffering PTSD and panic attacks throughout the movie is apparently cured when Harley asks him over the phone, "why don't you just build something?", which is enough of an epiphany to instantly snap him out of the panic attack he was having at the time and then appear to be fine for the rest of the movie.
  • The end of The Machinist, where Reznik finally accepts having killed a boy in a car accident, turns himself in to the police and at the very end is seen sleeping peacefully for the first time in a year.
  • Make Way for Tomorrow contains an excellent aversion: the adult children have the epiphany that they are unkind to their parents, but it doesn't change behavioral ruts they've been in for years.
  • In The Marriage Chronicles, the Masters submit the couples to increasingly more bizarre and extreme therapy in an effort to save their marriage. It seemingly works on two of the three couples, but the closing scene has a former patient, now divorced, suing the Masters for damaging her marriage with their antics.
  • Hitchcock averts it in Marnie. The film ends with the title character confronting the source of her myriad psychological issues, but it's clear that she still has a long, hard recovery ahead of her.
  • In Nell, the title character's fear of male sexuality can be cured instantly by going skinnydipping with Liam Neeson. It makes a bit more sense in context, but not much.
  • The President's Analyst is abducted by a Soviet agent but gets out of a forced defection by engaging him in friendly conversation and getting him to realize he only became a spy out of fear of his father, a high-up in the KGB who arrested his mother in a Stalinist purge. The analyst says he could probably cure him, but it would take years and he couldn't do it if he was sent to Russia.
  • In Fritz Lang's Secret Beyond the Door... (1948), the heroine (Joan Bennett) is able to bring her husband (played by Michael Redgrave) out of his psychotic frame of mind by revealing to him that it wasn't his mother who locked him up as a child after all.
  • Jamie in Shortbus claims to have had a sudden epiphany during his first therapy session with Sophia, who tells him that that kind of thing doesn't just happen and therapists don't hand out epiphanies like candy - most progress won't happen in a blinding flash of insight, and even when it does it typically only occurs after a lot of work.
  • In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, the villain uses Epiphany Therapy as a psychic power to gain control of people, basically earning their loyalty by helping them deal with their pain over past issues.
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader murdered thousands of Jedi and probably millions of other people over twenty years, stood by while the billions of inhabitants of Alderaan were killed, force-choked many of his own subordinates, tortured Han, and generally helped maintain a reign of terror over the entire galaxy, yet when he saw his son being electrocuted, he quickly decides he's been wrong all along and kills the Emperor.
  • The entire second half of Vertigo is a subversion. Scottie only overcomes his fear of heights after watching Judy/"Madeleine" fall to her death. Once again, his acrophobia prevented him from saving the woman he loved.
  • Hilariously played with in What About Bob?, where the title character, while tied up with explosives strapped to him, manages to turn the situation into a metaphor that gets him over his mental issues, while using a literal application of the metaphor to escape his situation. The "played with" part is that he never realizes he's actually in danger and believes the whole thing's a constructed roleplaying scenario designed to cause this sort of epiphany.
  • The Woodsman. Walter does have an epiphany, but that epiphany seems to be that Epiphany Therapy just doesn't happen, and he will take time to change but can overcome his demons as long as he doesn't give into them.


By Author:

  • Robert A. Heinlein:
    • In the short story "Ordeal in Space", the protagonist was accidentally cast into space, causing him to develop acrophobia and forcing him to give up space travel. He hears a kitten stranded on a ledge outside his room, nerves himself up to go out and rescue it, and finds that he can now stare into the night sky without fear.
    • In Starship Troopers, soldiers pass off "shaking" (a condition caused when a person is under combat stress for quite a while) as normal, but they often use hypnosis for a quick cure (it appears to be mixed with efficient counselors, too.)

By Title:

  • 1984 averts it. Winston recalls a traumatic experience and bemoans that recording it has done nothing to avert the pain he feels about it.
  • "Ailurophobe" by Anthony Boucher had the main character go through this therapy to cure his morbid fear of cats (he couldn't even stand to hear words including the syllable "cat"). Under hypnosis, he realized it derived from an early childhood incident when he nearly died because of an abusive nanny named "Kitty." He was cured of fearing cats; now he had a phobia of women. Ironic, since it was his fiancee who'd wanted him to get over the original phobia.
  • In The Dark Tower series' second book, The Drawing of the Three, Odetta / Detta seems to recover from Dissociative Identity Disorder (incorrectly called schizophrenia in the book) when her two personalities merge; this merged personality calls herself Susannah. Several books later, when Susannah is possessed by a demon, Detta comes back to help Susannah deal with it.
  • The Dragon Below: Dandra's magically-induced split personality disorder takes a few moments of internal conflict to resolve.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; the Total Perspective Vortex shows someone how insignificant they are in the universe, complete with negative effects, which are the destruction of the mind. It has no effect on Zaphod because he's the most important being in that universe as he's ended up in a fake reality by jumping out a window instead of using the door. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Discussed in the novel version of Flowers for Algernon, when Charlie and Alice watch a movie employing the trope. Charlie complains that the resolution is unrealistic, which — Alice points out — is a sign that he (Charlie) is learning to see beyond the surface of things. Note that Charlie may be drawing from his own experience, since his abusive childhood left him full of psychological issues (beyond the mental retardation that gets cured, that is) and he needs therapy for a realistically long time.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth: Flinx gets over his Wangst in record time in Flinx Transcendent, the Grand Finale of the series. This after spending the last... oh, six novels moping about how humanity doesn't deserve to be saved, he doesn't want to save it, and how his life sucks because he's a manufactured human rather than a natural one.
  • In Death averts this. Eve Dallas, the main character, begins the series plagued by nightmares, repressed memories, and other baggage you'd expect from a Dark and Troubled Past. Subsequent books see her slowly get better with the help of her True Companions, especially Mira and Roarke, but to date, she still struggles with the lingering emotional damage.
  • Kokoro Connect deals with a group of teenagers' emotional hang-ups. Often, they will appear to have dealt with an issue in one arc, only for it to come back with a vengeance a few arcs later and need to be dealt with again. In particular, it is suggested that Yui, while she gets a lot more confident over the course of the series, will have to continuously deal with her androphobia for years to come, possibly for the rest of her life.
  • In Piers Anthony's Mode series, a single telepathy-assisted Epiphany Therapy session in which Colene confronts a few specific traumatic experiences completely cures her major depression and other psychological problems. It's telepathy, after all.
  • Subverted in She's Come Undone. Dolores finally confronts her issues with her mother and believes she's cured. She's not.
  • In The Ship Who..., Kira is a Death Seeker who can't kill herself. Captured on a Cult Colony where everyone believes in death as a blessing, about to be sacrificed, Kira seems to go into a trance and allows herself to be taken away. Her ship Helva, who's struggled with the "death drive" herself, resorts to singing to her over the comm, Bob Dylan style the way Kira, a Dylanist, taught her. The cultists join in a Dramatic Choir Number as Helva improvises a sarcastic, savage song about longing for death which snaps Kira out of it and allows her to do what must be done. Mission Control berates Helva (Protest Songs are illegal as they are considered too persuasive) who snaps back that she's just performed rough but effective therapy on Kira. When Kira climbs back on board she regards herself as cured.
  • In Sword Art Online, Sinon has a severe phobia of guns in general (and the Type-54 "Blackstar" in particular) due to being a victim of armed robbery when she was eleven. She tries to conquer this phobia by playing a gun-based MMO, but it's only partially effective: she doesn't suffer from her phobia in-game, but it does little to counteract it in real life. By the end of the story, she gets some emotional catharsis that helps her a bit, and she's able to hold it together when faced with a model gun for a couple of minutes, but she still freaks out in private afterward.
  • The Trapeze series generally plays this straight, although the fact that it's much less Anvilicious about it than other series makes it easier to swallow.
  • In Warrior Cats, when Firestar fears that Scourge will crush the clans, he laments that there were always four clans in the forest, but Scourge is trying to change that. Then StarClan tell him that there were never four clans, there were always five. Cue Firestar realizing that StarClan is always with him and that while he has StarClan's support and the gift of nine lives, Scourge does not.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Rand al'Thor spent 12 books gradually going mad due to the taint of the Dark One on the male half of the True Source and also the influence of Lews Therin, the man of whom he is the reincarnation and who exists as a voice in his head, that man having been driven completely insane by the taint before his death. Then, when he begins to feel desolate and hopeless about the state of the world and almost kills his dad during a heated argument, he retreats to the top of the mountain that was created by Lews Therin's death throes and considers destroying the world with his awesome powers. Fortunately for him and the world, he suddenly realizes that he has an opportunity to right Lews Therin's wrongs, so he instead uses his powers to destroy the artifact that made it possible for him to destroy the world, spontaneously integrates a sane version of the Lews Therin personality, and spends the 13th book fixing the stuff he screwed up during Book 12 because he was too busy shutting himself off emotionally. The greatest epiphany he has during this moment is that there were never really two voices in his head — it was always just him. He would never hear the "voice" of Lews Therin again.
  • Pleasantly averted in Windhaven. Our heroine, learning why Val One-Wing is such a prick, decides to do something about it. This "something" amounts to finding him and telling him his own life story. His response is less than enthusiastic.
    Val One-Wing: What did you expect me to say, flyer? Did you think I'd embrace you, bed you, sing a song in praise of your understanding? What?
  • In The Witchlands, Safi has huge problems with being proactive and often prefers to ignore her problems until they become unavoidable. While she's been making strides to overcome this, when she has a near-death experience, the narrative explicitly calls it the epiphany that made her shift from being reactive to being active.
  • Played With in the X-Wing Series:
    • Kell Tainer starts out both stiff with terror at the man who killed his father (who, of course, is part of the squadron he joins) and with the nasty tendency to freeze up in panic when outnumbered in combat with teammates relying on him. He gets his epiphanies, finding that one, Janson is a Reasonable Authority Figure rather than prone to You Have Failed Me moments, and two, he'd met the love of his life in the squadron and he knows what would happen if he ran in a fight. They're no longer major issues. Still, he's always going to be uncomfortable around Janson, and he still gets the shakes and anxiety when he goes on missions.
    • Seemingly played straight with the team's approach to snapping Myn Donos out of his Heroic BSoD, but he still has severe issues that he only really overcomes after two more books' worth of trauma.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • Angel's descent into darkness and apathy in Season 2 is cured by sleeping with Darla, his sire and enemy in "Epiphany". Angel turned evil after sleeping with Buffy, so has been avoiding sex for years. He eventually sleeps with Darla as a Despair Event Horizon but when he fails to turn evil the morning after, realizes life isn't quite as bad and gets back with his friends.
      Gunn: So, you had an epiphany, did you? So, what you just wake up and "bang"?
      Angel: [smirking] Well, it was sort of the other way around.
    • In "Orpheus", we see how agonizing it is for the evil Angelus to be trapped inside the brooding but heroic Angel - he screams in horror when forced to relive a night when Angel saved a puppy. He quickly gets over this problem when he remembers that he can still torment Angel, no matter what happens in the outside world.
    • Angel also have an epiphany that is an aversion of Epiphany Therapy. He realizes that the fight against evil doesn't end because there's no big win — so you just keep fighting every day.
  • Bones:
    • Angela goes to Dr. Sweets for advice on how to deal with Hodgens now that she and he had broken up. Sweets recommended a full therapy regimen (starting with two sessions per week) but she pronounced herself "fixed" after talking with him for 2 minutes, with her doing most of the talking.
    • In the season 9 premiere, Brennan and Booth are barely speaking after their broken engagement (after Pelant blackmailed Booth into breaking it off) until Brennan finds the bar that Booth had been frequenting and meets Aldo, an ex-priest who was an army buddy of Booth's during his career as a sniper and was now a bartender. During their conversation, Aldo reminds Brennan of what Booth's Catholic faith means to him and that Booth still loves her as deeply as before. By the end of the episode, Brennan, who in the past had chafed at using the word "Faith" in any context, admits to herself and to Booth that she had absolute faith in him and that they will work things out.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy has a number of these moments:
    • In "Prophecy Girl", she overcame her fear of the Master, by getting killed by him. Killing him in return certainly helped.
    • When she immediately overcomes some issues simply because she confesses that the spell to re-ensoul Angel had truly worked and she sacrificed him anyway.
    • Buffy's character arc in Season 6 is an aversion of this trope. It takes her the entire season to get over the traumas of dying, being yanked out of Paradise, and then having to claw her way out of her own grave.
  • Doctor Who:
    • During "Amy's Choice", an artificially induced dream shared by the Doctor, Amy, and Rory helps Amy realize just how much she loves Rory. This overlaps with Love Epiphany, and while it forces her to confront the issue it does not magically cure her emotional baggage. In fact, she generally averts this trope, as she's been in therapy for much of her life (four therapists in total! She bit all of them) because she refused to accept the Doctor was a figment of her imagination, and still hasn't gotten over her trust and abandonment issues.
    • In "Vincent and the Doctor", they take van Gogh to the future to see that his art will be valued in the future, and to hear how highly he's esteemed. He leaves them overjoyed, and Amy insists they immediately go back to see what more he will have painted. When they get there she finds that he still committed suicide.
  • An episode of The Drew Carey Show was solved this way. Soon after Kate married a Navy pilot and moves to Guam with him, Drew goes several nights without sleep because he keeps dreaming about the love of his life he left him. It gets to the point where his insomnia is affecting his daily life, and eventually, his sister-in-law Mimi takes him to a junkyard and brandishes a shotgun. Drew thinks she's finally going to kill him, but she explains that she felt so sorry she had to do something. After shooting some garbage, Drew goes home realizing that no matter how much he loved Kate, it was never going to work between them as their past relationships were riddled with mistakes and other serious issues, so he decides that its best to just move on with his life, and finally gets some much-needed sleep.
  • Friends: The character's emotional issues - albeit treated in a light-hearted manner - are either consistently present or phased out through Character Development. Ross's jealousy and paranoia (caused by his wife cheating on him with another woman), stick around right until the final episode. Monica's insecurity from her emotionally abusive mother improves as she becomes happier with herself after falling in love with Chandler, but she still feels she has to be perfect at everything. Meanwhile, Chandler gets over his Commitment Issues, but it takes 4 seasons of him realizing he wants a relationship, 6 seasons of Monica supporting him, and numerous episodes dedicated to his freak-outs to get there.
  • Heading Out: Played for Laughs with a ditzy spiritualist therapist in Sue Perkins' sitcom ': "But don't worry, because your final session ends in three... two... one... CURED!"
  • How I Met Your Mother: When Marshall's very-much-loved fiance just up and left him one night to go to San Francisco, he spent a long time crying, sitting in his apartment in his underwear, and trying to contact her. The rest of the gang supports him and does various things to try and help him get over her, but to no avail. During a talk about the matter with Ted, Marshall has an epiphany and decides that he's going to stop being so pathetic and start living again. Ted narrates that then it didn't happen, because "that's not how life works." Next morning, something reminds Marshall of Lily and he's right back to pathetic. But a couple of weeks later, he takes the first step towards moving on, and Ted narrates that the only thing that can fix a broken heart is time.
  • In Kamen Rider Double, Shotaro after being driven insane with fear by the Terror Dopant, causing him to scream his head off at even the slightest noise, Philip basically telling him goodbye forever while leaving him a cryptic message on how to reverse it, Shotaro not only reverts to normal but allows him to breakthrough his instinctive fear of Ryubee/Terror, which had been planted during their first meeting and prevented him from confronting him throughout the series.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: In season 21's "Must Be Held Accountable," Rollins is kidnapped by a fellow NYPD officer who feels SVU mishandled his daughter's case. While trying to relate to him to deescalate the situation, Rollins recalls the time he hit on her and she turned him down, telling him she thought he was nice, and she "can't handle nice," as she's inherited the same low self-esteem that kept her mother in an abusive relationship with her father and has Amanda Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. She also confesses that she's terrified her two daughters will repeat the pattern, because they, like Amanda, believe they don't deserve to be happy. The trope isn't played entirely straight, as Amanda is actively in therapy—this episode starts with her being kidnapped from her psychiatrist's office—but this scene is meant to juxtapose against a scene in the previous episode with her therapist, which was Amanda resisting attempts to talk about her emotions.
  • Leverage: the premise of "the White Rabbit" in the episode "The White Rabbit Job" is that you can rearrange someone's personality if you just find the one defining event in their life and get them to reexamine it. It works, too.
  • Averted on Lucifer. When Lucifer has a breakthrough epiphany that he hates himself, he skips out of Dr. Linda's office thinking that he's cured. As Dr. Linda tries to explain, identifying the problem is only the first step. Sure enough, his self-loathing, that he can't hide anymore, manifests itself as he is unable to control his powers, and ultimately his devil face (and wings) can't be hidden either.
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • Parodied in the episode where Hal thanks a psychiatrist for curing his sons, the guy starts spluttering that they've turned up many problems that need to be discussed - but they're out the door already.
    • In another episode, Lois concerend that Jaimie, now two years old, hasn't spoken his first word yet, so the pediatrician recomendes she talk as much as posible in order to encourage Jaimie to talk. Lois goes from talking about her day to day activities, and eventually starts to talk about her insecurites, and then realizes that her issues stem from the harsh criticisms she received while being raised by Ida. Lois decides that she will not pressure Jaimie to conform to her standards and says he can speak when he's ready. As soon as Lois out of earshot, Jaimie finally speaks his first words: "shut up."
  • M*A*S*H: In The Billfold Syndrome, a young medic becomes amnesiac, unable to remember even his own name. In order to treat him, Sidney has to take him back to the moments before he lost his memory. As he suspected, the medic went through something so traumatic (witnessing the death of his brother in a mortar attack) that his mind essentially wiped itself rather than deal with the memory. Once Sidney helps him confront the trauma, the rest of the man's memory returns.
    • In the finale, Hawkeye is sent to a mental hospital after exhibiting bizarre behavior. It turns out that shortly before the behavior started, he was involved in a horribly traumatic incident for which he blamed himself, and the bizarre behavior was the subconscious impact of the repressed memory.
    • In general, this is a common tool in Sidney's arsenal. Since pretty much all of the patients he works with have some form of combat-related trauma, it's often necessary for them to consciously process it in order to begin healing, especially if (as in the previously-mentioned cases) the patient has repressed the memory. It doesn't miraculously make them okay, but it puts them on the road to getting there.
  • When Monk realized the source of his pathological hatred of nudists, he got over it. This means he doesn't impulsively and immediately accuse them of any and all crimes. He still is visibly disgusted and goes out of his way to avoid them.
  • MythBusters host Adam Savage has struggled for years with a well-known fear of bees. Much to his annoyance, it made him the guinea pig for multiple phobia myth experiments. Then they tested a myth of bees glued to a laptop flapping their collective wings to make it fly. Working with a single bee in their lab, he learned to admire their individual strength and by the final test, he admitted being completely over his fear.
  • In NYPD Blue Detective Diane Russell is convinced to go sort-of undercover, getting close to her old boyfriend who's involved with organized crime. Forcing herself to tolerate uncomfortable sexual advances brings up memories of her being molested by her father, which leads to a tear-filled breakdown. The aversion comes from that later on there are scattered mentions that she sought out professional help afterwards and is going through long-term therapy.
  • In Red Dwarf it's been long established that Rimmer's neuroses are partly the fault of his emotionally distant and controlling father, who never said he was proud of him and used to stretch him on a rack so he'd be tall enough to join the Space Corps. In the episode "The Beginning" he learns that this man isn't his father at all and this almost instantly cures his self-doubt.
  • The Sopranos: Tony frequently experiences epiphanies in therapy, but they never "take". He always reverts back to form, sooner or later.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Lt. Barclay had a paralyzing fear of transporters, as revealed in the episode "Realm of Fear". During that episode, his fear is compounded when he discovers a living organism within the transporter field. The same story had O'Brien reveal that he once had a fear of spiders, but now kept a pet tarantula.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Averted in "It's Only A Paper Moon". Nog is suffering from PTSD and retreats into a holosuite fantasy. While the holosuite character of Vic Fontaine does force Nog to openly confront why he just can't handle reality right now, Nog is not instantly cured; in fact, he straight out admits he's not okay, "But I'm going to be".
  • Supernatural averts this so much it gets annoying after a while. In All Hell Breaks Loose, Dean seems to be crawling out of his self-loathing pit of despair and having a bit of hope but when it comes to the next episode? He's telling Sam how the prospect of being dragged down to hell is like a light at the end of the tunnel. And in Dream A Little Dream Of Me, he makes a beautiful revelation about how his Dad was an absolute arsehole but fast-forward to four episodes later and he's back to being the devoted, scared-out-of-his-mind soldier. As of late season 4, he appears to finally be thinking about making some progress, being outright told that for all his problems he doesn't have license to whine quite so much, and gently mocked for taking such a depressed mindset. It is partially valid, but the writers seem to have realized that no matter how much it is he can't keep whinging, and the multiple Epiphany Therapies may be having an effect.
  • Subverted in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Kimmy's arc for Season 2 is realising that many of her dysfunctions are due to unresolved hostility towards her mother for neglecting her and failing to protect her from the the Reverend. She finally seeks her mother out and they have a big argument which ends with them recognising each other's positions and reconciling... and then Kimmy accidentally realises that her mother is also the cause of other hangups that she hadn't even thought to blame her for. She has an Imagine Spot about starting to yell at her mother over it... and then doesn't, but cordially says goodbye. Getting some long-overdue catharsis was probably necessary for her healing process, but it's not going to fix all her trauma in one go.
  • Wiseguy. Frank McPike and Roger Loccoco decide to snap local kingpin Mark Volchek out of his phobia of death by recreating the final scene of his favourite horror movie so it has a happy ending. Mark Volchek refuses to accept this and storms out the door, only to run into someone who he thought had been killed in an earlier episode. Not surprisingly, Volchek faints. He does get better though. Somewhat.

  • Elvenquest: Spoofed in the case of Lord Darkness, whose Bad Boss tendencies are pegged as being the result of childhood trauma. He goes and confronts the source, a bullying sorcerer/dietician... and remains a bad boss, much to his henchman's dismay. As Darkness explains, he has moved on from the trauma. Now he hurts minions because he enjoys it.

  • In Next to Normal, Diana, who suffers from bipolar disorder and severe depression due to a long-ago traumatic incident, goes through two therapists, countless meds, a suicide attempt, and ECT before having her epiphany - the trauma she suffered couldn't be totally cured by treating her mentally; she needed to let her soul heal. This is not a straight example because Di's solution to this is to leave her family and go live with her parents for a while, to try to stand without the crutch of her husband (who has also been suppressing the same trauma), the bitterness of her daughter (who feels jaded and unloved, and scared of ending up like Di), and the constant reminder of the event that scarred her. She's clearly scared of leaving but is convinced it's the only way she can distance herself and let go. In another twist of the trope, she had the epiphany all on her own and acted against her therapists' pleas to continue treatment. Basically, Diana has the epiphany but is not cured. She just found the strength to try. We don't know whether it ends up working or not.

    Video Games 
  • Averted in Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. Each of the original romanceable characters has their own issues, and it takes a lot of time (and sensible dialogue choices) for whomever you choose to deal with his/her problems, let alone move past them. If you continue the romance through Throne of Bhaal, this even becomes a Defied Tropeyour love interest is forced to confront a wraith masquerading as someone from his/her past that strikes at their deepest fear or doubt. Some of them even say that it will take more than comforting words or a good snuggle to help them get over it.
  • Averted and deconstructed in Celeste. At the beginning of Chapter 6, Madeline and Theo have a heartfelt conversation by a campfire following their adventures in the Mirror Temple. After they both open up to each other, Madeline feels confident enough to confront Badeline, the manifestation of her unhealthy mental state. She then has a dream where she flies up to see the northern lights with golden feathers, (a new mechanic in the game) where she sees Badeline, and tells her that she doesn't need her anymore, and says that doing this will set them both free. This seems like it would lead to something good, but it goes HORRIBLY wrong when Badeline goes insane and furiously holds Madeline captive with her tentacles. In a desperate attempt, Madeline tries to get rid of her by doing what she did two chapters earlier to curb a panic attack with the feather trick, but this fails hard, with Badeline ultimately slicing the feather in half, followed by throwing Madeline back down to the base of the mountain into a pit of crystals.
    • The final chapter from the "Farewell" DLC is all about this. Despite Madeline having mostly conquered her demons while climbing Mt. Celeste, Granny's death and the fact Madeline didn't get to say goodbye ended up causing her to have a relapse of her depression. She ends up having constant dreams about ascending the mountain and bringing Granny back to life, while Badeline rightfully points out this is emotionally and mentally self-destructive and she needs to finish grieving and move on. Madeline ignores this and they end up separating while Madeline figures that out on her own.
  • Final Fantasy VII as a whole has a subversion.
    • It's apparently played straight in the first game, where Cloud, who has endured all sorts of Mind Rape and other horrors, has a Journey to the Center of the Mind that works as epiphany and he comes out of it in his right mind and ready to defeat Sephiroth. ...Unfortunately, as sequels to the game show, this burst of assurance is temporary and fragile, and comes crashing down times afterward, because what Cloud needs is a combination of time and skilled psychiatry. It's a fairly accurate portrayal of how epiphanies in therapy work in real life—the patient's sudden realization may boost their mood and performance for a while, but without continued work with professionals, it doesn't last.
    • Cloud's plight is made worse due to new trauma that is piled on him in the form of Geostigmata, specifically his own and that of his adopted ward Denzell. His inability to help Denzell coupled with his own agony make him feel like even more of a Failure Hero. It takes the need to rescue Denzell, Marlene, and other children from the Remnants, the return of his True Companions (including Aerith and Zack in spirit form), the removal of his Geostigma, and the opportunity to beat the crap out of Sephiroth again for Cloud to finally start getting better.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening's downplays this in supports. While issues are typically resolved by an A-rank support, it doesn't truly resolve and will tend to repeat itself if the issue appears in other supports. Some of them, such as Lon'qu's gynophobia, are justified.
  • Mass Effect; Commander Shepard can encounter quite a number of traumatized and emotionally disturbed individuals, and has the opportunity to talk almost all of them into getting professional therapy... or committing suicide. Shepard him/herself can be played this way, depending on the player. "I did what I had to."
  • Psychonauts zigzags the trope. On the one hand, Raz helps quite a few characters get over their psychological hangups in a day... perhaps Justified in that he's literally entering their minds and beating said hangups to a pulp. On the other hand, some characters have ongoing problems that can't be so easily solved: Milla's nightmares (though they are at least under control), and all of the patients at Thorny Towers still seem quite unbalanced, even if they've improved somewhat.
  • Parodied in the "Therapy Wars" sidequest of South Park: The Fractured but Whole, where the estranged Tweek and Craig go to couples counseling. They mend their bond after beating up a bunch of other kids who represent their relationship problems.
  • Zigzagged but largely falling on the side of aversion with Stardew Valley. A lot of the people you meet have surprisingly deep issues, and befriending them does not magically fix them; at best, getting closer lets them open up to you more (and thus you find out more about their problems) and you can be there for them when needs be. Marrying a Broken Bird can be hit-and-miss; Sebastian gets some much-needed direction in his life and gets some appreciation from his family for once while Abigail finally has the freedom to follow her dream, but Shane still suffers the consequences of long-term alcoholism.
  • In The Suffering, it takes Torque the length of the entire game to come to terms with his psychological issues as he slowly figures out what sort of person he is and his fragmented past. Oh, and fights a giant monster representing his psychological trauma, because it's just that kind of game. Even then, when the sequel rolls around, it turns out he's not actually cured, and facing the demons of his past causes a relapse. It still doesn't take years, but it's hardly an instant "have an epiphany and you're better" cure.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, Guy has an intense phobia of being touched by women. He eventually recalls the suppressed memory of the incident leading to his phobia and gets a little better, but he's by no means cured. He can temporarily overcome it if, say, one of his female friends is dangling over a cliff and needs someone to pull her back up, but that's it.
  • Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2. After losing his Healing Touch in the heat of an operation, and being unable to get it back, Derek goes back to his first hospital to get help from old friends. Long story short, they push him real hard and he gets it back. Status Quo Is God.

    Visual Novels 
  • Several times in the Ace Attorney games:
    • Initial antagonist Miles Edgeworth has a near-breakdown in court (after Phoenix acquits him of a murder he's been framed for) because he's convinced he accidentally shot and killed his father fifteen years prior. Phoenix is able to demonstrate that it was Manfred von Karma, Edgeworth's mentor, and the shock makes him completely rethink his life and decide to find a way to prosecute for noble reasons.
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, Athena Cykes also has a breakdown in court because she believed she'd killed her mother — she remembers stabbing someone in her mother's lab, at any rate. Again, Phoenix connects the clues to pin the blame on the rightful culprit, freeing both Athena and an innocent man who confessed to the crime to protect her. To increase the irony, Edgeworth was the one who pushed her until she unlocked her repressed memory of the stabbing.
  • Tokimeki Memorial 4 has Okura Miyako. While she initially seems just fine, when the protagonists ask her out on a date, then wonders about a rabbit-doll she carries around and later makes a joke about how she'll become a great wife, due to her wonderful cooking, to some guy in the future, she completely breaks. Her dialogue revolves mostly around things she and the protagonist did as kids, showing how important is it to her. Miyako breaks when she feels that the protagonist only asked her out on a date as a joke and realizes that he has forgotten, or doesn't care about, their childhood events and that they made the rabbit-doll she carries around together. At this point, Miyako breaks and flat-out goes Yandere on the protagonist, making him fight the rabbit-doll if he goes on a date with another girl, purposefully cooks him terrible food and gives it to him to eat, and overall talks in a very creepy tone of voice. The protagonist must date her for a prolonged time when this happens, but the big change comes in one scene where Miyako lost the rabbit-doll's button eye next to the river and is frantically searching for it. The protagonist "heals" Miyako by telling her that, since they can't find the button, they should give up and rips a button off of his high school uniform and that she should use it for the doll's new eye.

  • Domain Tnemrot has Angel who gained suicidal thoughts while captured by Morris. Despite being free and even beating up Morris at one point, she still has issues about getting in the ring.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Here is an aversion. Resident Mad Scientist Tedd has some severe psychological hangups as a result of being teased and bullied for most of his life for being a "girly-man", not to mention allegations that he's gay for his Heterosexual Life Partner, Elliot. Thus, despite the fact that he often goes on a Gender Bender just for kicks, and the fact that he should be bisexual when in female form, being intimate with boy-Grace causes him to panic even when he's transformed into a girl. However, when Grace figures out the source of his hangup — which he hadn't even realized himself — she reminds him that this realization in itself does not solve the problem:
      Grace: Kissing boy-me was a very loving gesture, but identifying the issue doesn't instantly free you of it...
    • A minor example with Susan. Her years of hating men were erased by spending one evening Gender-Swapped. She'd been having second thoughts before then and she'd made male friends who, Tedd's Chivalrous Pervert tendencies aside, were very moral people. That night ended up being the moment she truly accepted people could be cheating jerkasses regardless of gender.
    • In a light-hearted, played for laughs example, one NP story has Sarah deciding that she wants to be less concerned with nudity. Having Grace around will probably do that. Despite this, she keeps getting deeply embarrassed whenever Grace shows up topless or nude. Grace reassures her by saying that just because you want to stop feeling a certain way, feelings aren't convenient and don't just shut off like that. A cultural taboo that you've been raised with from birth is a very difficult thing to shake off psychologically.
  • In Questionable Content, they make mention of this trope when Faye finally explains why she gets so defensive.
    Faye: Therapy helped, but it's the equivalent of breaking your leg — you can walk when you get out of physical therapy, but you can’t run a marathon right away. I can function as a human being right now, and even have friends, but I can't handle a relationship.
    Marten: Couldn't we just make out now and worry about everything else later?
    Faye: Sure, if you want to trade one night of fun for me freaking out, running away, and never coming back.
    Marten: Well shit. I was almost letting myself hope that you'd be all "Man, it sure feels good to get all that off my chest! Let's go have sex!"
    Faye: If trauma were that easily dealt with, psychologists would work pro bono.
    • Played straight when Hannelore comes back from a journey to find herself and had an epiphany a week into shoveling yak poop that her OCD obsessions with cleanliness didn't matter - poop was poop, it needed to be shoveled even if she was grossed out, so being grossed out didn't matter.
  • Weak Hero:
    • After a year of avoiding rooftops due to associated trauma, Gray is forced to fight against Wolf atop one. Though initially too shaken to fight, he eventually gains his Heroic Second Wind and comes out victorious. This, coupled with a previous heart-to-heart with Ben where he opened up for the first time about said trauma, allows Gray to overcome his phobia.
    • Fighting against Jake re-awakens Ben's deep-seated trauma from losing horribly against Donald Na, as Jake gives Ben the similar sense that he simply can't be beaten. However, Ben's growth as a person since he fought Donald prompts him to approach the fight from a different perspective, and it's because of this that he's able to overcome his fear and emerge victorious against Jake.

    Western Animation 
  • Played for Laughs in the Adventure Time episode "Crystals Have Power". Jake swears off violence after having a flash-back to a childhood trauma where he accidentally hurt his brother Jermaine in a sparring match, only for his dad to tell him "You're going to hurt everybody!" This hampers Jake's attempts to save Finn from some extra-dimensional crystal monsters until Jake receives a vision of his father explaining what he meant:
    Jake: But Dad, you said I'd hurt everybody!
    Jake's Dad: Yeah, everybody...
    Jake: I dunno, Dad, that doesn't really help me.
    Jake's Dad: Everybody who is evil, Jake. Try letting me finish next time, hmm, yeah?
    Jake: Oh. Well, I'm over it, then!
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • During the episode "The Beach", the villains have vented their individual examples of Freudian Excuse and are now feeling much better. So good in fact, that they gleefully trash the house and attack the guests of the cool teens who snubbed them. Interestingly enough, the only one in the group who never actually gets over the problem that gets brought up in the episode is Azula, who seemed to be completely at terms with it. In the final episodes, it causes her epic Villainous Breakdown. Zuko, on the other hand, didn't get over his issues with that situation at the beach either. Uncle Iroh had been working on him for the entirety of the previous two seasons, but he froze before taking the step that would've taken him completely through his Heel–Face Turn. He finally completes it a few episodes later.
    • "The Guru". Aang, in order to master the Avatar state, has to unlock a series of chakras by letting go of various Earthly, negative emotions, such as his grief over being The Last of His Kind, and the fear of failure against the Fire Lord. Every one of these takes about twenty seconds. The next season shows that he hasn't truly conquered any of them. By the time of Legend of Korra, we learn that he never got over his The Last of His Kind issues. He had three children and the only one he didn't neglect was the only airbender.
  • Bob's Burgers: In "House of 1000 Bounces", Bob freaks out when a pigeon gets into the restaurant. It turns out he has a fear of pigeons that stems from an incident when a flock attacked him while he was exploring an abandoned house. Linda and Teddy realize Bob is describing a scene from The Birds, and point out his fear is caused by garbled memories of watching the movie as a kid and getting freaked out by that scene; as Linda puts it, "You think you're Tippi Hedren!" By the end of the episode, Bob is over his fear and comfortable enough around pigeons to give a bath to one that got covered in grease.
  • Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles had Dizzy being claustrophobic. With their survival on the line, the team's resident psychic "removed" her claustrophobia and made her a badass again. It's a pretty dangerous procedure (as they point out to her before she consents to it) and they wouldn't dare try it if their lives weren't on the line. So instant psychic therapy isn't exactly an easy way out, just a fast one.
  • Transformers: Animated: "Thrill of the Hunt" sees Shell-Shocked Veteran Ratchet sits down for a long talk with Optimus, and the subject was never raised again. Then Transwarped rolls around, more traumatic Flashback Stares ensue, and it is abruptly revealed that everything is not okay.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The show defied this in "Sleeping With the Enemy" and "Lisa's Belly": in the former, Lisa explaining that her body image issues are a long-standing problem that can't be solved overnight (though from the next episode we never hear of them again...). In the latter, Lisa and Marge both come to terms with the fact that the hurtful things ingrained in our psyches can be mitigated, even if they never truly go away.
    • It's parodied in the episode where Marge is cured of her fear of flying. The therapist declares her phobia cured when they dig up one embarrassing incident from her past, and then brushes aside several much more traumatic flying-related memories ("Yeah yeah yeah, it's all a rich tapestry.") When she tries to move on to discussing the very obvious marital problems Marge is having, Homer barges in and ushers her out the door.

Alternative Title(s): Single Issue Psychosis