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Psycho Psychologist

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Seems legit.

"Yeah, but you know, he's a psychiatrist, so he's automatically a creep. I've seen movies. They all turn into super-sophisticated, Chianti-loving cannibals."
Det. Jake Peralta, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, "The Therapist"

Sometimes There Are No Therapists... and sometimes you'll only wish there weren't.

Mental illness or psychological trauma can be serious, damaging issues that may need many months, if not years, of serious and dedicated care from a highly trained and understanding professional. This trope is what happens when you take those professionals and add a sprinkle of Ax-Crazy, Torture Technician, and Manipulative Bastard. Psycho Psychologists are therapists who really should not be a therapist; at best they will display a criminally negligent Lack of Empathy with the patient and either grow callously frustrated with dealing with other people's problems, or give them horrible and often self-destructive advice; at worst, they will have sinister, ulterior motives and actively abuse the relationship, possibly making their hapless victim an Unwitting Pawn in some evil schemes, or perhaps deliberately sabotaging their fragile mental state out of sheer spite or sadism.

Expect them to be found at a Bedlam House and utilize electroconvulsive therapy, Lobotomy, Mind Rape, Brainwashed and Crazy and More than Mind Control too often, but they can also be found in more humanistic forms of therapy like counseling or Freudian therapy.

Psycho Psychologists aren't even limited to psychology-related settings. They may be recruited by the Big Bad to mastermind the Mind-Control Conspiracy; they might be employed by the Secret Police to create the Manchurian Agent; they may put their considerable skills and training to use as a Diabolical Mastermind. Or maybe the years of listening to other people's problems have simply driven them over the edge. The nuts and bolts of this trope is mostly a psychologist who is, quite simply, either evil or crazy, however they put their abilities to use.

Sub-trope of Mad Doctor, if they are psychiatrists, or Mad Scientist, if they are psychologists; see also The Shrink and Morally Ambiguous Doctorate. Compare with the evil variant of Warrior Therapist, who crushes your will on the battlefield, not the sofa. See also Orderlies are Creeps. In extreme cases, see Dr. Psych Patient, where a patient impersonates or is mistaken for a psychiatrist.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Black★Rock Shooter, school counselor Saya Irino is revealed to be this. She'll mentally break any student who comes for help in their living days. It's not without reason, though (It Makes Sense in Context): whenever someone's mind breaks down, an "Otherself" of that person will appear in the Mental World, embodying one's hard feelings and despair. In the past, Saya made a vow to help her old friend, Yuu (who got swapped mentally with Strength, her Otherself) to send opponents against the titular Black★Rock Shooter; a monster killing Otherselves to cure them. Now that Yuu is in the Other world, she is a target as well. Of note, it doesn't help that Saya herself also has an Otherself, called Black★Gold Saw.
  • In Durarara!!, Izaya Orihara is the Diabolical Mastermind variant.
  • In the first anime of Hunter × Hunter, Leroute is a psychologist who manipulates her patients into committing suicide and tries to break Leorio by talking.
  • In Monster, both Johan and Nina are the product of an elaborate psychology experiment to produce an Übermensch. While the doctor in charge of said experiment was an Anti-Villain who aborted it before it went horribly right (though, in Johan, it already had), the experiments continued in state-run orphanages throughout East Germany, and the guys in charge of those attempts fit this trope to a T. One of them is encountered after the experiments ended and, having run into Johan previously, horribly abuses his foster son because he is not more like him.
  • As the Big Bad of the second season of Psycho-Pass, Kirito Kamui is an effective and manipulative therapist with the charisma of a cult leader.
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena, Souji Mikage runs a therapy seminar which he uses to draw in students looking for psychological help and brainwashes them to try and kill Anthy Himemiya.
  • Professor Frank from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds is clearly more insane than any patient of the typical psychiatrist.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman features a lot of these, most likely due to psychology and madness being such an important part of the mythos.
    • Dr. Crane was a university psychologist studying the effects of fear on the human mind. He got kicked out after firing a gun in class and became the Scarecrow.
    • Post-Crisis, Hugo Strange is reinvented as a psychiatrist obsessed with analyzing (and becoming) Batman, who he views as an Übermensch. However, since Evil Cannot Comprehend Good, he believes Batman to be subconsciously driven by fantasies of power.
    • Dr. Harleen Quinzel was the therapist for the Joker and ended up falling completely in love with him, quickly becoming his sidekick Harley Quinn.
    • And then there is Dr. Jeremiah Arkham, who starts off as merely a well-meaning shrink with probably the worst assignment in the world (running Arkham Asylum); he eventually goes off the deep end and became the new Black Mask (although this appears to have been retconned into a temporary condition by the New 52).
    • As shown in Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, Amadeus Arkham — the guy who founded Arkham Asylum (and Jeremiah's ancestor) — was also nuts, murdering a patient who had raped and killed his wife and daughter. It's strongly implied that Arkham, if not Gotham itself, is somehow cursed, and that anyone who works there is going to be driven insane — Amadeus thought his family was haunted by an "evil Bat spirit" and performed occult rituals to bind it to the asylum, which he is ultimately incarcerated in himself.
    • For a time after joining the Arkham staff, Dr. Eric Border seemed to be a perfectly normal if slightly ineffective psychologist. In Batman: Endgame, the moment he stops taking the muscle relaxants and antipsychotics and washes off the hair dye and the skin makeup, the Joker's taken control of the asylum.
    • Following the destruction of Arkham Asylum in DC Infinite Frontier, Dr. Tobias Wear — the man behind the new Arkham Tower in Shadows of the Bat — is a con man with an utter contempt for the mentally ill, which of course he keeps quiet about while running the con.
  • Button Man: Harry's secret handler in the first album turns out to be a renowned psychologist — the same one he's relating his story to. Harry notes that he was especially interested in the gory details of the kills he committed on his orders.
  • Captain America: In comics from the 1960s and '70s, Cap periodically tangles with Dr. Faustus, a Genius Bruiser who prides himself on destroying Cap through the mind rather than the body. (In some ways, he serves as a dry run for Hugo Strange's transition from a generic Mad Scientist into one of these in Batman; Steve Englehart handled both.)
  • Deadpool issue #900 is about the man himself confronting a therapist who takes sexual advantage of a young girl patient, resulting in her being Driven to Suicide. Notably, this is one of the few times we see Deadpool go Tranquil Fury on a target.
  • Doctor Gross from Hack/Slash is a skinless psychologist specializing in physical and mental torture.
  • "Professional Help", one of the stories from Hellboy: Weird Tales, has Roger telling a shrink about a particularly distressing case he worked involving a baby giant, Nazi scientists, and a Black Metal cult. The shrink turns out to be an evil spirit who feeds on mental anguish. Roger knew this the whole time and quickly dispatches it, but he was hoping to get some closure while he was at it.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Doc Samson turns into this due to the Intelligencia, though this involves turning him into a Superpowered Evil Side.
  • Both versions of Margaret Love created by Frank Miller, spanning across multiple franchises.
    • The Love in Frank Miller's RoboCop, an adaptation of his early script for RoboCop 2, is Juliette Faxx's prototype, who not only has many of the same flaws Faxx had, but a God complex, is aligned with the Rehabs and helps them frame Murphy, and frequently engages in Cold-Blooded Torture under the pretext of it being therapy.
    • Miller would recycle the character's name and concept when he teamed up with Todd Mc Farlane for the Batman/Spawn crossover, where she was someone Al Simmons knew in his days as an assassin before he became Spawn, experimented on the homeless, and was willing to nuke the world in her attempts to take it over.
  • New Gods: Desaad, right-hand man to Darkseid, goes incognito as Dr. Dezard and provides evil therapy to (among others) Shilo Norman in the Grant Morrison run of Mister Miracle.
  • In Runaways, Molly's mother works as a speech therapist. She also happens to be an evil mutant with Mind Rape powers.
  • Spider-Man:
    • In #24 of The Amazing Spider-Man (Lee & Ditko), Mysterio manages to briefly convince Spider-Man that he's losing his mind, posing as a psychologist to convince him that the root of his problem is his Secret Identity. He would feel so much better if he confided in this friendly psychologist... What's really scary about this example in retrospect is that Mysterio has just about succeeded, until J. Jonah Jameson and Flash Thompson blunder into the house where the therapy is being conducted and where Mysterio has set up the illusions which made Spidey believe that he was hallucinating. When Jameson and Thompson see and react to the "hallucinations" as well, Spidey realizes that he's not crazy and that Mysterio's conning him — cue the beatdown.
    • In The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #180, Spidey furiously unmasks the Green Goblin to find not Norman Osborn, nor Harry Osborn, but rather Harry's psychologist Dr. Bart Hamilton. Under hypnosis, Harry had told Hamilton about his being the Goblin and where the Goblin's glider and costume were stashed, encouraging Hamilton to try a little supervillainy.
    • The largely forgotten villain Judas Traveller from The Clone Saga is a renowned psychologist and philosopher who claims to be an immortal, reality-warping mutant but is really just a regular illusion-casting one, though this still makes him dangerous and allows him to convincingly fake being more powerful. He takes over the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane and uses his powers to (amongst other things) screw with Peter's mind and separate Carnage from his symbiote.
  • Dr. Karla Sofen, aka Moonstone from Thunderbolts, is a supervillain psychiatrist. One of her favorite hobbies is manipulating depressed patients into committing suicide. She also obtained her powers by manipulating one of her patients (the previous Moonstone) into giving her their source (an alien gem).
  • Froid in The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye began hauling a Serial Killer with a taste for Mind Rape and a much more literal taste for chewing on Cybertronian brains around with him in order to study the guy in action. When he makes his return during the Mutineers arc, he starts egging on Getaway's Inferiority Superiority Complex to see what happens.
  • Wonder Woman villain Dr. Psycho is a crazed, misogynistic, Depraved Dwarf psychologist.

    Comic Strips 
  • One Gahan Wilson cartoon has a psychiatrist scribbling down, not notes on what his oblivious patient is saying, but something like "I, Doctor Herman Schultz, am GOD and can solve all of mankind's problems!"
    • Another has the psychiatrist saying "When did you first become aware of this imagined 'plot to get you,' Mr. Potter?" while quietly beckoning a couple of creepy cloak-and-dagger types into the office.

    Fan Works 
  • Androgyninja's A Dose of Venom sees Sakura sent to a mandatory evaluation after the events of the previous work. Unfortunately, Ishino has no interest in actually helping her, asking a series of leading questions before trying to convince her that Mind Walking is a standard part of psychological evaluations. And when Sakura calls his bluff, he Mind Rapes her anyway, desperately trying to uncover any information he can use to justify locking her away.
  • In Ghosts of Evangelion, Asuka's former therapist, Dr. Kotetsu, was a creep who molested and sometimes raped his patients. He tried to rape Asuka and he almost drove her to suicide.
    Asuka glared at her. "Fine," she said. She closed her eyes, remembering that night. "He put his hands on me," she whispered, her voice shaking with rage. "He acted like he was doing me a goddamn favor by paying attention to me." She opened her eyes, her gaze fixed on some point past Misato's shoulder. "I couldn't believe it. He was supposed to be helping me, you know? You sent me there so he could help me, and he…" She shook herself, set her jaw, and continued on.
  • The Star Trek: Voyager fic Institutionalized sees Captain Janeway basically deal with one after Voyager returns to Earth; the counselor in question won a lawsuit against Starfleet some time ago and used that to basically bully her way into a position where she is in charge of her own facility and can hold various 'security risk' Starfleet officers as patients, continually delaying and denying alternative appointments that might move patients out of her are. The counselor attempts everything from basically Gaslighting Janeway in minor ways (such as claiming Janeway's forgotten the other woman's name rather than Janeway never being told the name in the first place) to falsely diagnosing Janeway as suicidal (she just bruised herself trying to get out of her straps) or trying to convince her that Chakotay is an abusive stalker (Chakotay tried to break into the facility to rescue her). Fortunately Janeway had enough contacts that she is only there for a week or so before Admiral Paris is in a position to help secure her release.
  • Miraculous: The Phoenix Rises gives us Dr. Nicole Cho, a student aid and head of the guidance office who cares more for asserting dominance than actually giving a damn about the students' mental health.
  • A Moth to a Flame, The Core acts as a surprisingly benevolent version of this to Marcy, although this is to mold her into a more ideal vessel than actually solve her legitimate psychological issues, many of which it's responsible for in the first place.

    Film — Live Action 
  • The Appointments of Dennis Jennings: Dr. Schooner really couldn't be a worse therapist. Sure, Dennis is irritating, but doodling during a session is bad, having the doorman to the building sit in for you when you can't make Dennis's appointment is bad, mocking Dennis while in the company of friends is really bad, and dating Dennis's girlfriend is mega-super-bad.
  • Asylum (1972 Horror):
    • The former head of the asylum, Dr. B. Starr, underwent a complete mental breakdown and attacked his deputy Rutherford. Starr now believes himself to be someone else and is incarcerated in the secure wing. Dr. Martin's task is to determine which of four patients in the wing is really Dr. Starr. He's actually Max, the orderly — or rather, he's killed the real Max and has taken his place.
    • Dr. Rutherford is a comparatively downplayed example. He's lost hope that his patients can be treated, considering them so incurably insane that the only option is to lock them away and leave them to their delusions. In Byron's case, he decides that the best treatment for him would be a lobotomy. Dr. Martin rightly calls him out for treating his patients so unethically.
  • In Batman Begins, Johnathan Crane (a.k.a. the Scarecrow) helps convicted mobsters avoid jail time and get transferred to his Asylum, via testifying for the Insanity Defence on their behalf, where they help him perform his twisted experiments and poison Gotham's water supply on behalf of Ra's sl Ghul; essentially, he is a Psycho for Hire. He returns in The Dark Knight for a cameo where he peddles his toxin as drugs, and again in The Dark Knight Rises when he becomes the Hanging Judge for Bane's dictatorship over Gotham.
  • One of the earliest examples is the eponymous Doctor in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, depending on your point of view. In Francis' ostensible delusion, Caligari is the director of an asylum who uses his position to manipulate the somnambulist Cesare to do his bidding.
  • Dr. Ronald Pendleton of Choose may have had the best of intentions, but having mental ward patients hold a puppy and then offer them increasing amounts of money, then their freedom, if they snap the puppy's neck may not have been the best of plans.
  • Cure: Kunihiko Mamiya isn't a practicing psychologist, but he was a student, and currently uses his knowledge to hypnotize others into becoming murderers.
  • In Dark Corners by Ray Gower, the protagonist Susan Hamilton attends the sessions of a creepy psychologist Dr. Woodleigh, who turns out to be a serial killer and murders her.
  • The therapeutic hypnotist in Dead Again starts out as obnoxious comic relief but turns out to be the Big Bad in the end.
  • The Dead Center: Dr. Forrester is a psychiatrist with a kind heart, but has problems communicating his emotions and is willing to break the law to help his patients. While he's very good at what he does, it's pretty obvious the others — especially his boss — are starting to get sick of him. Once word gets out about how he illegally admitted a catatonic patient into the emergency psych ward, things go south quickly. After all, he basically kidnapped, drugged, and assaulted a helpless patient. The staff thinks Dr. Forrester has gone crazy, but he's trying to kill John Doe before the demon that's possessing John's body can be discharged from the ward and kill again.
  • Played with in the Dr. Mabuse film series:
    • In the original Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler one of Dr. Mabuse's identities (possibly the "real" one) is as a psychoanalyst, and he drives one of his victims to suicide while supposedly giving him therapy.
    • In The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Mabuse has apparently died in a hospital for the criminally insane, but his organization is mysteriously starting up again. In fact, his psychiatrist, Dr. Baum, has been "taken over" by Mabuse's personality and is committing the crimes. It's deliberately unclear if this is due to Baum spontaneously going mad, to post-hypnotic suggestion by Mabuse, or to actual spirit possession.
    • In Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse, one of Dr. Mabuse III's identities is as Dr. Jordan, a psychiatrist.
  • Part of The Reveal in Gothika. It turns out that Doug used his position as the head of a mental institution for women to allow himself and his partner-in-crime to rape several of the patients.
  • Subverted in Hellraiser: Inferno. The precinct psychiatrist Dr. Paul Gregory initially reveals himself as the Engineer killer when Joseph finds his wife and child frozen to death in his home. It's actually Pinhead in disguise and is further implied to have made up the doctor's identity to begin with, as he is the one to inform Joseph of the Lament Configuration's origins.
  • High Anxiety: Nurse Diesel and Dr. Montague of the Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous are dangerously insane. They hire a killer to murder anyone who gets in their way.
  • A mild example: The shrink in Local Hero brazenly insults client (later former client) Mr. Happer, stopping at nothing to get the message across, looking to confirm some unstated hypothesis of his. Happer eventually calls for him to be shot dead.
  • The Marriage Chronicles has the Masters, a charming couple who use attempted drowning, electric torture, and revelation of dark secrets in an attempt to save the marriages of their patients.
  • In The Matrix Resurrections, Neo's therapist turns out to be a sentient computer program like Agent Smith who is keeping him trapped in the Matrix.
  • Mermaid Down has Dr. Beyer, head of the Beyer Psychiatric Facility for Women, which looks like a pleasant suburban house but is actually a Bedlam House. Beyer is a sadist who delights in tormenting the women under his power with Electric Torture and punishment boxes. He's also a serial killer who dissects people alive.
  • Miracle on 34th Street: Dr. Sawyer is a selfish, bitter man who fancies himself a brilliant therapist when his job is merely to give psychological evaluations to Macy's employees. He actually convinces a kid that his Nice Guy behavior is the result of a Guilt Complex. He later conspires to have Kris Kringle institutionalized, first when Kringle questions him on his own sanity, and when Kringle smacks him on the head over his treatment of the boy. Mr. Macy later does the right thing and fires him.
  • Nightbreed: At first, Dr. Philip Decker seems like a concerned psychologist who feels obliged to report Aaron Boone to the authorities for all the apparent murders that Boone committed during his blackouts. He prescribes Boone some medication to keep him from having another episode until he turns himself in. Turns out that the drugs are actually hallucinogens, Decker is the real killer and has framed Boone for his own crimes.
  • Perfect Assassins: Dr. Samuel Greely is a shrink who wants to take B.F. Skinner's experiments to the next level. To do this, he kidnaps children, locks them in a box, electrifies their only way to get food, prevents them from having any meaningful human interaction, and conditions them to become assassins.
  • Juliette Faxx from RoboCop 2 is pretty crazy as when she's given control of the RoboCop project, she decided to look into death row inmates for viable candidates and decides on Cain, a known deal cult leader and murderer — and is overjoyed when, after she put his brain into the RoboCop 2 body, he survives an attempt to destroy him, even after he'd been massacring people.
  • In Scissors, the protagonist (played by Sharon Stone) stabs a would-be rapist with scissors, then spends several days locked up in an apartment with a dead man stabbed to death with scissors. In the last scene, her doctor reveals that he wanted to drive her completely insane to frame her for murdering his wife's lover. Fortunately, she retains enough sanity to slip out and lock the doctor and his wife in this inescapable apartment.
  • Shock: After murdering his wife, psychiatrist Dr. Richard Cross has Janet Stewart, the only witness to the crime, committed to his private sanitarium under the pretext of treating her nervous collapse. Once under his care, he first attempts to drive her permanently insane and then, when that fails, tries to murder her.
  • Shock Treatment's tight-knit sibling medical team Drs. Cosmo ("Mac") and Nation McKinley run the quack and dangerous reality TV show/mental asylum Dentonvale, administering traumatic treatments at the behest of their sponsor and supported by no real research or diagnosis.
    Mac: You need a bit of... Ooh, shock treatment/Gets you jumping like a real live wire!
  • Side Effects is an interesting case. Dr. Siebert is shown to be a pretty competent, even well-regarded therapist in her everyday work. However, she is revealed to be a co-conspirator with one of her patients on an elaborate scheme to murder the patient's husband and make it look like a psychotic episode, which can't exactly be called a shining example of medical ethics.
  • Dr. Emil Breton from Sisters (1973) stalks his former patient/ex-wife obsessively and uses drugs and hypnosis to control her and supposed threats to her alike.
  • Blue in Sucker Punch, the male psych nurse in the asylum where Babydoll's father dumped her. Not only is he running something on the side, faking papers for lobotomies for money, he also goes even more psycho after Babydoll is lobotomized, and it creeps him out so much that he doesn't even want to rape her like he was planning on doing.
  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the psychiatrist at the mental hospital where Sarah Connor is being held against her will is more concerned with using her to bolster his own career than treating her. (Not that she's insane, but everyone quite reasonably thinks she is.) However, in The Terminator, he's mostly just smug, maintaining that Kyle was delusional instead of believing his crazy story about time-travelling robots.
  • Dr. Stevens, the government-enlisted therapist for the local prison in Trust No 1, is part of a larger conspiracy involving the Pentagon, with methods including gaslighting and false imprisonment.
  • Bob from What About Bob? may be an incredibly clingy and annoying patient, but Dr. Leo jumps to murder attempts pretty quickly, and that's only after some pretty obvious failures as a therapist to set up and enforce boundaries.
  • A Haunting at Silver Falls: Larry's father, Dr. Parrish, is a very pushy psychologist who spends more time grilling Jordan than listening to her. When he finds that she's seeing the ghosts, he pressures her into visiting the convicted Wyatt Dahl, claiming that every other girl has stopped seeing the ghosts afterward. Due to his awkwardness when Jordan asks if she can meet with those girls, it's implied that he may be working with Anne and Kevin. At the very least, he has no sense of Patient Confidentiality, and forces her to talk in front of her aunt, uncle, and Larry. In the sequel, Larry's mother also turns out to be a psychologist — and a far more responsible one at that.

  • Dr. John "Night Tripper" Havilland in Because the Night by James Ellroy, who manipulates his patients into both suicide and murder For the Evulz.
  • Doctor Gordon in The Bell Jar, who behaves indifferent and cold to Esther in her therapy sessions and ultimately botches electroshock therapy, giving her a traumatic fear of the procedure. Based on the author's real-life experiences.
  • Dr. Hilarius in Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49. Prescribes and takes massive doses of LSD. Has other issues as well.
  • Dr Myra Lark in "You Don't Have to Be Mad..." and other Diogenes Club stories by Kim Newman. Described in the character sheet of Secret Files of the Diogenes Club as more interested in the uses of the mentally disturbed than in curing them. Also her superior in "You Don't Have To Be Mad..." Dr. I. M. Ballance.
  • Dream Park has a rare example of the Harmful Shrink as one of the good guys. Dr. Vail, psychologist for Dream Park in The Barsoom Project, lacks empathy and is willing to risk others' sanity in order to protect the Park (because where else would he have absolute control of subjects' experiences?). Be very glad that he's on the hero's side, because what he does to the villains in the end ain't pretty...
  • Dr. Mark Ahriman in False Memory Mind Rapes his patients into committing crimes/very creative suicides, and occasionally actually rapes them. It's all for his own entertainment. He also has an obsession with eyes, tears, and misery in general. When his victims cry, he licks their tears.
  • Referenced in Jack Chalker's Four Lords Of The Diamond series, when one of the protagonists meets a psychiatrist who wears glasses as an affectation, on a world where all health issues are instantly fixed, including imperfect eyesight. He thinks to himself that he has yet to meet a shrink who didn't need to see one.
  • In Stuart B. McBride's Halfhead, Dr. Westfield is a female psychiatrist much like Hannibal Lecter. Prior to the book's start, she "treated" mentally ill children, but was really turning them into serial killers. Eventually she was caught and subjected to the titular treatment, which is essentially lobotomizing the subject into a mindless slave. However, the treatment failed her after a few years for mysterious reasons, causing her to seek revenge for everyone she blamed for her sentence. She first had problems due to not having the right drugs (or a face), but fixed them, then started overdosing, causing her to complain about how they "filled my head with buzzing bees and broken glass!".
  • Dr von Blimenstein in Tom Sharpe's novel of apartheid South Africa, Indecent Exposure, applies two different clinical standards depending on whether she's dealing with white or black mental illness.
  • Psychiatrist William Haber in Ursula K. Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven. He also appears in The Film of the Book. He's a well-meaning, but harmful shrink, who believes Utopia Justifies the Means (using his patient to rewrite reality).
  • Miss Frisch in Losing Christina is a psychologist personally working alongside the Shevvingtons to help enforce the idea that the girls she examines are mentally disturbed. She was the one who helped put Valarie away in a mental hospital and tries to have a one-on-one with Christina, lucky a kind teacher saved her at the last minute.
  • Peter Teleborian from the Millennium Series was Lisbeth Salander's state-assigned childhood therapist. He reported that she was a seriously disturbed sociopath and a danger to society, and testifies to that to the police and in court, but while Salander was indeed disturbed she was no sociopath- he gave that report because she refused to speak to him, and resisted her attempts to control him, to which he responded by strapping her to her bed for days on end, and psychologically torturing her. He's also a pedophile and it's implied that he had been abusing most of the other children in his care, and he's arrested after the police find thousands of child pornography photos on his computer. He is probably the person who did the most damage to Salander's life which, given all the horrible people she had in that life, really is saying something.
  • All of the psychologists in Mission Earth are, as per author L. Ron Hubbard's views, either trying to murder their patients, sexually exploit them, or turn them gay as part of a Nazi conspiracy to destroy America.
  • Dr. Holmes and Dr. Bradshaw, the psychologists in Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, end up as this from different angles, and they're easily the most despicable characters in the book.
  • Dr. Lilith Ritter in Nightmare Alley is a particularly manipulative example of this trope: she's a ruthless seductress who cares nothing about her code of ethics and sleeps with her patients as well as using the confidential information she gains in their sessions against them to coerce and blackmail. In the introduction to the 2010 reprint of the novel by New York Review Books, the journalist Nick Tosches even calls her "the most viciously evil psychologist in the history of literature".
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has Nurse Ratched. The Black Boys are not quite mental health professionals, but their jobs involve working with mentally ill people, and they may need help a lot worse than the patients.
  • Olive Farina, a Conspiracy Theorist from the Repairman Jack novel Conspiracies, was convinced by her incompetent shrink that she'd been the victim of Satanic ritual child abuse. It never happened, but her "therapy" implanted false memories that destroyed her relationship with her parents and reduced her to a paranoia-plagued wreck.
  • Saving Max has Dr. Fastow, who has been testing experimental drugs on Max that cause violence and lability.
  • In Shock Point, Cassie's Wicked Stepfather is a psychiatrist who makes money enrolling teens in a clinical trial for the behavioral modification drug Socom. He forges the signatures of parents who won't consent and gives it to teens without their knowledge. When the drug turns out to cause delusions and suicidal urges in a minority of patients, Rick hides the information from the authorities. Cassie discovers evidence of Rick's crimes, but before she can get an adult to take her seriously, Rick plants crystal meth in her room so her mom will send her to Peaceful Cove, an abusive reform school, which Rick hopes will keep her out of the way until she turns eighteen.
  • John Melvin from Sunny Randall's Shrink Rap, who lures women into relationships with him before he kills them. His ex-wife Melanie Joan is still heavily scarred by her experiences with him and hires Sunny as a bodyguard to keep him away.
  • The Silence of the Lambs: Hannibal Lecter almost goes without saying. Lecter, the brilliant, cultured, refined, and charming psychiatrist and Renaissance Man, and also Ax-Crazy cannibalistic Serial Killer known as the Chesapeake Ripper and, later, Hannibal the Cannibal. He murdered one patient and fed him to his dinner guest because of his terrible flutist skills (though he was also apparently tired of his whining in sessions), and another he drugged and convinced to slash his own face with a piece of glass and feed the flesh to his dogs; though, granted, the first was a Jerkass Victim and the second was a psychopathic pedophile. He had dozens of other victims, but it's unlikely any of the rest were his patients.
    • It was also believed by Jack Crawford that Lecter encouraged his patients to perform acts of violence as a way to amuse himself.
  • Simon Ark: In "The Treasure of Jack the Ripper", the killer is a cold, emotionally distant and, as is ultimately revealed, deeply disturbed behavioural psychologist. Simon speculates that her mind was unbalanced by discovering she is a descendant of Jack the Ripper when she was too young to properly process the information.
  • Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger has a relatively light-hearted example: Doctor Pickell aka Doctor "Pickle" thanks to his pickle ornament. Pickell uses the pickle to hypnotize people to get rid of the problems they go to him to treat, but he also implants a Trigger Phrase that gives them entirely new issues just For the Evulz. One of the rare examples of a psycho psychologist actually getting caught, he had his license revoked... whereupon he became the school's guidance counselor.
    He cured people with sick minds. Although Doctor Pickle had a pretty sick mind himself.
  • The Wheel of Time: During the Age of Legends, Kamarile Maradim Nindar was a world-famous therapist, who used both her mastery of the One Power's mind-related weaves and her considerable skill and knowledge in human psychology to spectacularly cure many people of severe mental illnesses. However, she was a sadist and secretly made her treatments more painful than necessary. When it was revealed, she escaped the trial and joined the Dark One, becoming the exact opposite of her public persona, making people crazy and turning them into slaves.
  • Zones of Thought: Flenser in A Fire Upon the Deep is the psychological equivalent of an Evilutionary Biologist, thanks to the hive-minded nature of his species. He creates hive-minds of every possible configuration in order to see what will happen to their members, and the result is usually temporary or permanent psychological damage. He does take his science seriously, though — he's willing to raise a new mind entirely on positive reinforcement, not out of any love for it, but because he's genuinely curious what effects such an upbringing will have.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Agent Carter episode "A Sin to Err", it is revealed that Dr. Ivchenko, whom the SSR has "rescued" from the Soviets, is the psychiatrist running the Black Widow program of Child Supersoldiers. He then demonstrates his ability to hypnotize people into committing suicide and murder, which shines a completely different light on his patient's suicide during the "rescue".
  • American Horror Story: Asylum has Dr. Oliver Thredson, a psychiatrist who was appointed by the court to evaluate Briarcliff's latest patient, the suspected Serial Killer Bloody Face. He is kind and compassionate... except that he is the real Bloody Face, and that he set up Kit Walker as his patsy and ensnared Lana Winters as his latest victim. Dr. Thredson also has no qualms about using his medical expertise to torment the two of them after his plans went awry.
  • Angel: The episode "Sense & Sensitivity" has Allen, a milquetoast "sensitivity trainer" who is foisted upon Detective Lockely. He engages the police in passing around a "talking stick" and decreeing "no judgements". The stick is actually a cursed totem, reducing the officers to weepy neurotics and allowing the prisoners to bust free. Unfortunately, in the process of roughing Allen up, Angel touches the talking stick as well.
    Doyle: [grumbling] I think we've found "Mr. Sensitivity".
    Angel: Uh-uh! He was here all along, just waiting to come out. Boy, what our parents do to us, huh?
  • Babylon Berlin: Dr. Schmidt (aka Anno Rath) is an Ambiguously Evil psychoanalyst who genuinely helps Gereon and his other shell-shocked patients, but also puts his talents at the disposal of gangsters, dabbles in sinister occultism, may be manipulating Gereon via hypnotic suggestion, and is developing a Psycho Serum based on amphetamine.
  • Leonard's mother, Beverly Hofstader, on The Big Bang Theory. Serving as an older counterpart to the borderline-Asperger's of Sheldon, she has zero compassion for her subjects and merely bats them around like a cat with mice. She even used her infant son as a test case for her book, Needy Baby, Greedy Baby.
  • The Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode "The Therapist" features one as the villain of the week.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Dr. Maggie Walsh is a government spook who masquerades as Buffy's professor of psychology in the forth season.
    • Dr. Platt from "Beauty and the Beasts" is actually a subversion (surprisingly, given the nature of the series). He smokes at school, sprays air freshener around his office to cover it up and is quirky enough for Buffy to open up about her being a Slayer and her relationship with Angel. All in all, he comes off as a kind and insightful Reasonable Authority Figure and is therefore horribly murdered by the Monster of the Week, the abusive boyfriend of another patient.
    • "Normal Again": A competent therapist in real life would most certainly not encourage a patient to kill their imaginary friends, which serves as a big indication that the asylum reality is a hallucination caused by the demon's venom.
    • In "Conversations with Dead People", Buffy is nonplussed to discover that the grave she's been patrolling all night belongs to an old classmate, a psych major named Holden Webster. As a warm-up for their inevitable duel to the death, the vampiric Holden offers to psychoanalyze Buffy — and we cut to Buff reclining on a flat tombstone like a couch. While he does intend to kill her and uses the analysis to get under her skin — which he's pretty up-front about — his Affably Evil nature ("Buffy, I'm here to kill you, not to judge you") and genuine insight mean that his analysis actually helps Buffy explore her issues and deal with them. This makes The Reveal that he was sired by Spike (under the control of the First Evil), who is a prominent user of the same technique in his own right (though not an actual psychologist), somehow fitting.
  • Burn Notice: Dr. Anson Fullerton, leader of the conspiracy that burned Michael, is a CIA psychiatrist who has built up a network of burned spies in order to do off-the-books operations. He also uses his psychology skills to great effect in manipulating people, particularly Michael.
  • Chucky: We learn late in Season 2 that Dr. Mixter was Chucky's psychiatrist when he was a child, and that she deliberately stomped out the flicker of good in him, guaranteeing that he'd grow up to be a Serial Killer, all because she found his innocence boring. This effectively makes her the Greater-Scope Villain of the entire franchise.
  • Columbo:
    • Dr. Ray Fleming from "Prescription: Murder" is a psychiatrist who seduces one of his patients and convinces her to be his accomplice in the murder of his wife. He is one of the few to catch on to Columbo's act of Obfuscating Stupidity and the only one to do so almost immediately. In a conversation with Columbo, he implies that he thinks of himself as a kind of Übermensch, entitled to kill his wife because he could get away with it; he later admits that he would probably have killed his accomplice girlfriend at some point too, and perhaps continue the pattern of murder that he had begun, making him Serial Killer in the making.
    • In "A Deadly State of Mind", hypnotherapist Dr. Mark Collier kills his patient/lover's husband to protect the book he is writing using her, then has her cover for him, even "implanting" instructions in her mind during a therapy session.
  • Criminal Minds:
  • In Dexter, Dr. Emmett Meridian is a psychiatrist who subtly manipulates his patients, all women, and convinces them to kill themselves. Dexter signs up for a session with him to get closer and finds himself revealing more about himself than he initially intended.
  • The Diagnosis: Murder episode "Delusions of Murder" has Dr. Gavin Reed as the villain. Reed uses his hypnotherapy as a way of sexually abusing his female patients, having done enough of this to induce miscarriage in one. When his soon-to-be-ex wife threatens to release this information as a way of getting everything she can out of Gavin in her divorce, he murders her and sets up one of the women he's "treating" to take the fall for it. His wife is a more downplayed example, as she is also a therapist and... well, see why she gets murdered above.
  • Evil (2019): Leland Townsend is a forensic psychologist in league with actual demons. As such, he uses his knowledge to push unstable people into committing murder and label innocent ones with falsified diagnoses which destroy their lives.
  • Can Manay of Fi is a manipulator and abuser, driven by obsession and a desire for control. He installs spy cameras to monitor his neighbor (and later girlfriend) around the clock. He assaults his lover and threatens her with a sex tape when she tries to alert another woman to his true motivation. He burned his ex-girlfriend's face when he learned she was meeting with her ex-husband, and later killed said woman with his bare hands for threatening to reveal his crime. He is prone to violent confrontations, gaslights those he claims to care about, uses those who consider him a friend for his own gain, and treats his employees like shit.
  • At the end of the Forever episode "Skinny Dipper", it turns out that the episode's antagonist, a mentally ill man named Clark Walker, was actually manipulated by his therapist. Henry's own therapist, Dr. Lewis Farber, gives Henry some key information, which may or may not have been true but was clearly designed to manipulate Henry into thinking that Walker was his immortal stalker, Adam. Adam was actually the one manipulating them both all along, terrorizing and traumatizing Henry, culminating in tricking Henry into killing Walker, after which he revealed that "Dr. Farber" was actually Adam himself.
  • Forever Knight had yet another therapist who hypnotized her patients into committing homicide. (The painting of Bedlam in her waiting room was a tip-off something was wrong.)
  • Gotham is crawling with these, which handily explains why billionaire Bruce Wayne can't get decent mental health care for his outstanding issues. One outstanding example is Dr. Marks, who hypnotizes patients into becoming serial killers. There are also those who use the methods without the advanced degree to go with it, like Jack Gruber aka Buchinsky, who brainwashes victims with improvised electroshock, and Gerald Crane, current bearer of the Scarecrow legacy.
  • Hannibal: Double Subverted. While Hannibal Lecter is clearly a Manipulative Bastard, evil genius, and serial killer, in the first few episodes he's an absolute professional when it comes to actually dispensing psychiatric advice. It's only in later episodes that he crosses into this territory by gaslighting Will Graham, and it's for very specific reasons — until the second season, as we get some extra glimpses of what really went on during Will's sessions. It isn't just Will, either — Hannibal's advice to at least two other patients (Randall Tier and Margot Verger) was driven purely by his own curiosity and propensity for chaos and not for the benefit of their mental health.
  • Hunter (1984): Dr. Bolin from the pilot episode, who is hired by Captain Cain to make psychological assessments of all his officers, in particular Hunter himself so Cain has grounds to fire him for being "unstable". It later turns out that Dr. Bolin is a Serial Killer who is being treated by another therapist for sociopathy. In fact, he specifically picks out women because they resemble his therapist.
  • L.A.'s Finest: Duke Ingram is a military veteran and therapist who has a therapy retreat to help fellow veterans with PTSD. He's actually using it to recruit many as assassins.
  • This has been a common recurring feature in the Law & Order franchise:
    • Law & Order:
      • In the episode "Promises to Keep" a psychiatrist forms a sexual relationship with a young man in her care and convinces him that he needs to kill his girlfriend. Dr. Olivet is so repulsed by all of this that she pushes Schiff to prosecute the shrink as well as the killer. The young man goes to prison while the psychiatrist only loses her license.
    • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
      • In one episode, a man is beaten so hard that his testicles rupture by his daughter's school guidance counselor, on the grounds that he had not accepted his daughter being transgender.
      • The episode "Conned" features a yandere psychiatrist who took advantage of her teenage patient, tried to manipulate him into staying with her once she got pregnant, and broke him up with his new girlfriend by calling her parents and telling them he was a rapist before drugging and kidnapping him. When the detectives finally catch up with her, she claims that their "relationship" was the healthiest she ever had and that she was previously attracted to abusive men. The episode makes a point of averting Double Standard Rape: Female on Male, with multiple people pointing out that what she did is just as wrong as it would be with a male psychiatrist and an underage female patient.
      • Yet another seduced several of her teenage son's friends, then literally cried "Rape!" when he walked in on her with one of them, prompting the kid to shoot his friend to supposedly defend his mother. During the trial, she proceeded to lie through her teeth and claim that he had an oedipus complex and actually acted out of jealousy.
    • Law & Order: Criminal Intent:
      • In an episode there was a psychiatrist that manipulated his patients into investing stock for another patient of his. He even managed to manipulate one into killing himself.
      • Another one had a therapist who gave a paranoid but harmless man a form of "therapy" that amounted to torture, turning him into a homicidal psychotic.
      • In yet another, a forensic psychiatrist who testifies for the DA has his girlfriend's brother-in-law killed for molesting his daughter. Which the guy wasn't even guilty of.
  • Lie to Me: In the episode "Do No Harm", a psychiatrist kidnaps a few children who were her clients.
  • Lois & Clark:
    • Lex Luthor's vengeful ex-wife is a Daily Planet columnist who peddles pop psychology advice. The columns are actually subliminal messages instructing Metropolitans to hate Superman. Go figure.
    • Lois has sessions with several paid psychiatrists, and nearly all of them turn out to be evil.
      Lois Lane: I haven't had the greatest luck with psychiatrists.
      Dr. Friskin: Oh? You've spent some time in therapy?
      Lois Lane: Oh, no. It's just that the last psychiatrist that I saw had an exact double of me made and tried to have me killed.
      Dr. Friskin: And how did that make you feel?
    • A season later, Lois becomes stricken with amnesia and falls under the care of a certified weirdo who tries to brainwash her into marrying him. It nearly works, but the amnesia wears off, and Lois ends up kicking him in the groin.
  • Midsomer Murders:
    • Subverted in one episode in which the psychologist is perfectly sane — her three teenaged-and-younger children are the murderers who go after any man who talks to their mother, including their father (died in a "climbing accident") and Barnaby.
    • One early episode has a psychiatrist use a patient's extremely depressing backstory for his award-winning novel. The patient is not amused and murders him for it.
    • One episode has a former police officer who quit the force to become a psychologist to treat a lord she'd arrested for the murder of his wife, and as such is idolized by Barnaby. The lord's wife was a Gold Digger who slept around with several men, including the psychologist's husband, so she murdered the wife and framed the lord. Decades later, she ends up murdering her own husband when the investigation starts up again, and after Barnaby arrests her, he doesn't exactly overexert himself to prevent her from jumping under a train.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus has several sketches with psychiatrists, most of them mad.
    • Hamlet meets a series of fake psychiatrists who only want to talk about sex ("You've got her legs up on the mantelpiece...").
    • A milkman psychiatrist who makes pat diagnoses of patients' problems without first obtaining their full medical history.
    • Mr. Larch, a psychiatrist who calls himself on the phone.
  • A few episodes of Murder, She Wrote had them, sometimes as the murderer, sometimes as a Red Herring. Others had The Shrink set up to look like a Psycho Psychologist as a Red Herring.
  • Dr. Jeremy Batewell from Profit uses his skills at hypnotism to molest his female patients. Jim Profit uses recordings of this to blackmail the doctor into psychologically destroying a rival and committing her to an asylum in a perpetually drugged-up state. Jim later exposes the Doctor and "rescues" his rival, leaving her in his debt, and others questioning whether her legitimate-if-dedicated investigation into Jim was the result of the Doctor's handiwork all along.
  • Doctor Michelle Banks from Revenge (2011) institutionalized and psychologically abused an innocent and mentally healthy girl in an exchange for a cushy private practice. Years later, the girl gets her revenge by stealing copies of the unauthorized videos which Banks made of her patient's sessions, showing them at a public gathering, discrediting her, then kidnapping the doctor and locking her in a shipping container for a day.
  • Raising Hope: Lucy's father is shown to have more than a few screws loose himself, and he married one of his patients, while continuing to "treat" her. It's little wonder that Lucy is so messed up.
  • In Sisters, middle sister Georgie's therapist convinced her she had been molested by her father, then convinced her to turn her back on her disbelieving family. Ironically, had he been correct, this would have been an appropriate reaction, but his sole reason for doing all this was to seduce her. Her attempts at filing a complaint prove futile and he tauntingly suggests that she seek professional help. When she finally catches him in the act (after sending in youngest sister Charlie as a Honey Trap), she pulls an Ironic Echo and says the same thing to him. Given the high likelihood that she's not the only woman he's done this to, she's probably right.
  • Dr. Foster from Skins is a particularly extreme example, seeing as he's a Stalker with a Crush wants to break Effy Stonem down to virtually a Blank Slate to rebuild as he likes.
  • Smallville:
    • Reformed criminal Alicia Baker finds herself being stalked by her old doctor from Belle Reve sanitarium (yes, Smallville had its own Arkham), who is jealous of Clark Kent's affections.
    • A couple seasons later, an escaped Phantom Zone prisoner tries to take over Clark's body by creating a hallucination where the prisoner is a doctor trying to cure Clark of his delusions — supposedly, after Clark's real parents died, he made up an imaginary world where he is an invulnerable alien.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: Dr. Tristan Adams from "Dagger of the Mind" is a brilliant psychologist well known for revolutionizing Federation penal colonies, including the facility on Tantalus IV of which he is the director. However, Adams eventually became corrupt, using a Neural Neutralizer to brainwash the colony's staff and inmates under the guise of rehabilitaing mental patients.
  • The Supernatural episode "Asylum" features the ghost of one of these, haunting his old asylum and inducing insanity in anyone he touches.
  • One episode of Trace features a married couple of psychologists who kidnap children, put them in orphanages, and monitor their parents' wealth before asking for a ranson (they need to understand whether the parents can pay huge sums or not).

  • The title character from "Dr. Jerome, Love Tub Doctor" by The Bogmen, who uses psychotherapy, hypnosis and a hot tub to seduce patients.
  • Suggested with Dr. X from Queensryche's "Operation: Mindcrime" album, although it's unclear if he actually has any claim to the "doctor" title or is just a self-taught brainwasher.

    Myths & Religion 
  • According to a certain group we shall not name due to controversy and not wishing to get our pants sued off, all psychologists are automatically this, brainwashing humanity and repressing our inner divinity.

    Oral Tradition 
  • The stock character of asylum-themed anecdotes in Russian Humour.
    Psychiatrist: ...But, of course, he's nuts. Because the REAL Napoleon Buonaparte is ME!
    Psychiatrist: ...What, you eat coffee cups for breakfast and only leave the handles? My, my, you must be mentally ill... because the handle is the tastiest bit!
  • In Polish stock jokes (at least Andrzej Sapkowski's stories mentioned it as such), the "What's the difference between..." riddle says that the difference between an asylum's staff and patients is that the former get to sleep in their own homes.
  • A madman in an asylum is brought for a psych evaluation:
    Psychiatrist: Why did you decide to start singing "Deck the Halls" while doing jumping jacks at three in the morning?
    Patient: Because God told me to!
    Psychiatrist: I said no such thing!

    Tabletop Games 
  • JAGS Wonderland:
    • Big Pharma is a secret conspiracy being run from the lower chessboards with the ultimate purpose of 'curing' human will to live and triggering the mass suicide of the entire human race. Individual psychologists also operate support groups encouraging denial (and thus self-destruction) among the Unsane.
    • Dr. Nothing from the "Fall of New York" setting supplement for Fast Company, the action rules for the system. This guy specializes in crushing the dreams of those who seek to make a difference in the Wretched Hive that New York has become. In addition to his skills as Fast Company (which makes him as badass as any player character), he likes to Break Them by Talking as well as other dirty social tricks.
  • A Dragon article about Heinfroth's Manual of Methods; a spellbook constructed by a Psycho Psychologist in the Ravenloft setting, with spells like submersion treatment, shock treatment and lobotomize, as well as advice on gaslighting and experimenting on living brains.
  • In New Vindicators, one of the seven Fallen Seraphim, Abaddon, has a disguise as a psychiatrist operating out of a complex called the Spider. He provides therapy for the young New Vindicactor students, keeps his daughter (and mother of some of his kids) locked up, and Mind Rapes at least one person with illusions of their loved ones.
  • In City of Mist, the case Broken Glass features a whole organization of these who specialize in Break Them by Talking with the goal of driving Rifts into suicidal self-loathing.

  • Dr. Rook, the jailhouse shrink in One Touch of Venus, is not as harmful as the police lieutenant wants him to be, but still somewhat hostile and a little insane.
    Rodney: I'm not the loony one—you are!
    Rook: That's what they all say.
  • In The Physicists the head of the sanatorium (Fraulein Doktor Mathilde von Zahnd) is revealed to be this.

    Video Games 
  • Alice: Madness Returns gives an especially twisted example in Dr Angus Bumby, whose 'therapy' consists of getting his patients to forget their pasts so he can use them as child prostitutes. He also burns down the protagonist's house to cover his tracks after raping her sister. His Karmic Death is justified.
  • In Angels of Death, Doctor Daniel "Danny" Dickens is Rachel Gardner's therapist, but there is clearly something wrong with him, as he is a Serial Killer with an eye fetish and the Big Bad who uses his position to recruit fellow killers (including Rachel) for the Tower.
  • Die Anstalt: Dr. Wood, who can, if mishandled, end up messing with the player character psychiatrist.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
  • The villain in BioShock 2 is Dr. Sofia Lamb, a brilliant psychiatrist who believes Utopia Justifies the Means and that Individuality is the root of all evil. She uses her skills to manipulate patients and the entire city of Rapture into becoming part of the "Rapture Family," which is just an elaborate ruse designed to obscure the fact that she's using the inhabitants to further her crazy agenda.
  • Doctor X of The Cat Lady abuses his position as head of the hospital's psychiatric ward to hold female patients involuntarily, conduct interviews to learn their weaknesses, and ultimately murder them so that he can pose their bodies to look like classic art pieces.
  • Doctor Marcel, of Edna & Harvey. He devised a treatment intended to make unruly children into obedient ones, but in practice is robbing them of their childhood. It gets even worse in the sequel, where after being crippled in the ending of the previous game, he snaps and attempts to manufacture stuffed dolls that brainwash children into being completely submissive to adults.
  • In The Exorcism of Annabelle Sunray, The Preacher becomes head of The Church, which doubles as an acclaimed orphanage and counseling center for troubled orphans, and completely scraps their prior humanitarian curriculum. The Preacher then replaces it with a system of deliberately abusing patients physically and psychologically, doing things like Blaming the Victim and telling them that they are being punished by God or forcing them to drink ipecac and vomit, in order to keep them traumatized and dependent on The Church so that the government will keep paying him for his job.
  • Grand Theft Auto V gives us Isiah Friedlander, Michael's psychologist. He's basically an expy of the LA Noire counterpart; popular and famous, but also corrupt and abusive to his patients. Experts in Real Life have summed up his negative-view treatments as "the wrong syringe, not even trying to fix things", which is justified by the exorbitant amounts of money Michael pays him (per session) to keep his mouth shut. And then he reveals his plans to blab about it anyway. ON A PRIME-TIME TELEVISION SHOW. At this point, you have the option to kill him. If you do it's revealed that he also published the details of Michael's sessions in a best-selling book, giving him the pseudonym "Marky De Santos". Summed up by Trevor:
    Michael: Ah, hypocrisy, Franklin: Civilization's greatest virtue!
    Trevor: Jesus, your therapist has a lot to answer for.
    Michael: I know, I still hate myself. But hey, at least I know the words for it now.
  • One of the main villains in L.A. Noire, Dr. Harlan Fontaine, is shown to be a brilliant psychologist and "doctor to the stars". However, he's corrupt to the core and very Pragmatic Evil, with an emphasis on evil. His prescriptions to said stars consist of 10% interactions with stereotypical abusive racists and 90% heroin/coke/whatever is expensive and degrading. When one of Dr. Fontaine's students, Courtney Sheldon, is in a fix and wondering what to do with some military surplus morphine, he offers to take the morphine and then uses it to participate in a corrupt conspiracy that has ex-veterans with PTSD burning down housing estates so they can seize the land it's built on, which was pre-planned by the government to be used to build what would eventually become Los Angeles' famous highway system, thereby holding the government's development plans for L.A. hostage for millions. And THEN he kills Courtney with a lethal injection. He also forces an ex-patient to burn down two families' houses, forcing them to sell their land. Eventually, his malpractices screw him over when said ex-patient is driven insane by his deconstructive therapy, and opts to kill him while Harlan is busy attempting to murder one of his other patients.
  • In Lunarosse, the real identity of the Illusion Master, the Big Bad, turns out to be Dr. Dario Naumov, Corlia Davis's therapist, who has been destroying her story/Constructed World out of petty revenge that she didn't love him back (never mind how unprofessional doctor-patient relationships are).
  • Night in the Woods demonstrates an example who isn't actively malicious in his intent with patients, but he does show that incompetence can be equally dangerous. Namely, Dr. Hank, the town's general medical practitioner, makes "keep a journal" and "repress your issues" into every therapy solution, which leaves protagonist Mae Borowski incredibly ill-equipped to deal with her own dissociation and psychosis, leaving her to viciously attack another child and later drop out of college when her symptoms flared up and frightened her away.
  • Persona 5 Royal has its new Arc Villain, Dr. Takuto Maruki. Unusually for this trope, they're a Well-Intentioned Extremist and Affably Evil and are motivated by a genuine desire to end everyone's pain. Unfortunately, this takes the form of imposing a Lotus-Eater Machine on reality where everyone's deepest desires come true, and their Palace takes the form of a psychological research facility where anyone who could even be considered vaguely unhappy is sent for "treatment". Flashbacks in the dungeon reveal that they're not the most mentally stable themselves, partly due to past tragedy and partly due to an unnatural Persona awakening.
  • In Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh, Dr. Marek is a complete psycho who runs a downright hellish mental asylum and tortures his patients. He's in league with a Corrupt Corporate Executive and sacrifices his mental patients to be consumed by interdimensional aliens. He even bugged his colleague Dr. Harburg's phone to keep tabs on Curtis.
  • Dr. Mathias Kohl, Talos I's counselor in Prey (2017), is a downright scumbag who was more interested in using his position of power and trust to antagonize people while spying on their mental state on the behalf of Alex Yu. He repeatedly pokes people's triggers seemingly for laughs, forcing poor Dr. Calvino to look at an artist's rendition of a Phantom that was haunting Calvino's nightmares and tries to make Morgan take an unknown pill when Morgan expresses distress at the missing spots in their memory.
  • Subverted in Psychonauts with Dr. Loboto, who resides in a spooky abandoned mental institution, is thoroughly insane and evil, and messes with people's brains (that is, he extracts their brains to power psychic tanks). He's actually a dentist.
  • Sheng-Ji Yang, the Chairman of Human Hive in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, had an education in psychology (along with many other areas) before the mission's takeoff. He's implied to have used his knowledge to cheat on psychology tests when applying, and that's before starting his personality cult on Planet.
  • Dr. Killjoy from The Suffering, whose "unorthodox" methods more often than not resulted in death of the patients of the asylum on Carnate Island.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines gives us Alistar Grout, Primogen of Clan Malkavian. He's been spending centuries trying to cure his "unique condition"... and often does it by doing some very non-APA-approved research on those with mental disorders. Oh, and he's such an old-school shrink, he thinks Freud was too touchy-feely.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Therapy with Dr. Albert Krueger, the titular doctor uses his therapy sessions to get new recruits for his dream eater army, killing patients he deems unsatisfactory.

  • In Dr. Frost, Professor Moon turns out to be one, talking several people into committing suicide for his experiments.
  • Twisted Tropes: The strip summarizes the Kickstarter project Personal Space. The astronauts of the Colony Ship describe their personal issues to an AI therapist AMI, who is hacked by Actaeon Entertainment to spy on them and stealthily escalate conflicts while it's being broadcasted in a "Truman Show" Plot.
  • Unholy Blood: Sahan works as a school therapist. He uses this position to take in abused and neglected teenagers and then warp them into bloodthirsty vampires by preying on their insecurities.

    Web Original 
  • The Joker Blogs: The Nolan trilogy-style reimagining of Harley Quinn's origins considerably deemphasizes both the Mad Love aspect and the quickness of the flip as seen in the comics, deconstructing/reconstructing the story as that of a young ambitious psychiatrist at Arkham wanting to make her fame by treating a legendarily deranged inmate, only to encounter (and subsequently be slowly turned by) a nihilistic, anarchistic, terroristic Hannibal Lecter.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Mr. Small is the school's counselor but really needs therapy more than any of his students. Especially in the first season, where he often showed himself to be violently bipolar. Seasons two and three had him more as spacey and paranoid.
  • Hugo Strange from The Batman. As chief psychiatrist of Arkham, he's more interested in finding out how the criminal mind works than actually curing it, going so far as to sabotage his patients' progress as "tests" (which goes some ways towards explaining Arkham's revolving door). He soon develops an obsession with Batman and begins orchestrating even more (potentially) deadly "experiments" for his research.
    Strange: I had to put my treatment to the test, Batman. You know, to see if the criminal mind can ever really be cured.
  • Batman Beyond:
    • Spellbinder turns out to be the psychiatrist at Terry's high school — he uses his position to hypnotize his young patients into aiding him in stealing from their wealthy parents.
    • Dr. Wheeler from "The Last Resort" is the sadistic head of a treatment facility aimed at torturing and brainwashing the students who get sent there.
  • Danny Phantom: The Emotion Eater Spectra disguised herself as a therapist and deliberately made her student patients more miserable in order to feed off their negative emotions.
  • Darkwing Duck saw a therapist at least twice. Both turned out to be Quackerjack in disguise, using it as a ploy to mess with his head.
  • Family Guy: In one episode, Peter visits a fifties-era insane asylum to find his missing mattress. They're greeted by a doctor who has them all committed for things like being friends with minorities or being crippled.
  • The Mask: In "Shrink Rap" Stanley decides to get rid of the mask by giving it to psychologist Dr. Neuman. But when Neuman gives in to temptation and tries on the mask, it takes him over and turns Neuman into a looney psychotherapist. Mask-Neuman proceeds to go around accusing people of having "Ipkissa Maskosis" and subjecting them to such bizarre treatments as wedgie straitjackets, the whole time while mixing the Mask's cartoony antics with his usual deadpan, professional demeanor. Mask-Neuman goes so far as to team up with Dr. Pretorious in order to save Edge City from the supposed outbreak of madness (when really Pretorious is plotting to blow up the city to provide illumination of a distant alien planet), and it's up to the now-powerless Stanley to stop him.
  • In Metalocalypse, after the band gets in a fight on stage, their manager hires Dr. Twinkletits (pronounced "twink-LET-its") to provide group therapy for them, but the doctor goes on to intentionally make them emotionally dependent on him. Midway through the episode, it's revealed that this isn't the first time he's tried to take over a band in this way, and he actually killed the last one, when he calls their corpses to gloat about being hired by the more popular Dethklok.
  • In the South Park episode "City Sushi" Butters gets a therapist due to his supposed multiple personality disorder, who turns out to be both insane and abusive to Butters.
  • Plankton once passed himself off as a psychiatrist as part of a Batman Gambit to get SpongeBob SquarePants to tell him the secret Krabby Patty recipe.
  • Parodied (of course) in one episode of The Tick. Theoretically, the therapist was helping Tick get over his phobia of the Monster of the Week, but he seemed far more interested in seeing Tick wrestle with his assistant Taft in various costumes.
  • Downplayed in Young Justice (2010). Hugo Strange (see above) is the psychologist at Belle Reve and ultimately turns out to be working with the Light to take control of the facility, but as far as we know, he never actually uses his counseling to harm or manipulate the inmates (many of whom are in on the plan anyway).


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Psycho Therapist


Dr. Reinhard

Dr. Reinhard, the game's Big Bad is a staff member of Sunny Meadows mental institute for the criminally insane.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / BigBad

Media sources: