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Psychologist Teacher

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"I've gotta run, but as soon as you're ready to talk about your family problems with an art teacher you can call me!"
Geoffrey Jellineck, Strangers with Candy's parody of this trope

In addition to teaching their subject matter, this teacher or professor solves all of their students' problems. Whether it's ordinary teen angst from a failed romance, addiction, bullying, a quarrel with friends, or dealing with divorcing parents, no problem is too small or too large to be handled by this benevolent, empathetic schoolteacher.

A type of Cool Teacher. Often the protagonist of a Save Our Students plot.

Compare with The Shrink. Definitely contrast Sadist Teacher. Not to be confused with a Psychology teacher.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Koro-sensei in Assassination Classroom knows that even in life there is a lot to teach his students, and does so far better than any teacher in-series. He even manages to mellow out the principal, who was willing to die for his philosophy about education.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: Kaho Mizuki occasionally gives clues to Sakura in her dealings with the Clow Cards. As a Miko, Kaho knows a thing or two about the supernatural, and uses her Shrine Bell to give Sakura a second chance at the Final Judgment against Yue and avert everyone losing their memories and relationships. Because of how much she knows, though, Syaoran is very suspicious of her for quite some time.
  • Kumiko in Gokusen is constantly trying to fix the problems in her delinquent charges' lives. Amusingly, she does this largely by employing the Yakuza moral code and getting into fights, but it goes beyond that.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: Mr. Onizuka kinda fits this trope but he is rough at times.
  • Subverted in Loveless, for while Ritsuka's sweet teacher Hitomi would like to solve all her students' problems, she's too shy to really do anything.
  • Takashi Hayashida of March Comes in Like a Lion tries to be one for his student, Rei Kiriyama. Aside from talking about shogi-related matters with him, he tries to help Rei out with some of his social and emotional issues when given the opportunity by imparting some of his wisdom so Rei has something to think about.
  • Inverted in Negima! Magister Negi Magi. The students help little Negi overcome all sorts of problems, from angst to Parental Abandonment.

    Fan Works 
  • Xavier and Dumbledore, as per canon, both are this trope in Child of the Storm. Xavier is this trope especially because a) he has a much smaller student body, allowing him to focus individually on each student, b) he's a telepath (though he doesn't pry, it's easy to get a general sense of what's bothering a student), and c) he actually is a psychologist.
  • In Star Wars: Lineage, Jedi who take a Padawan are expected to serve as a combination of mentor and Parental Substitute. Qui-Gon does a lot of this for Obi-Wan, and from what we see, Adi Gallia does this for Siri as well. In between running the Jedi Order, Yoda is always available to any of the Jedi for a heart-to-heart, though given that he switches between this trope, Stern Teacher, and Eccentric Mentor with almost no warning, his advice isn't always welcome.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dr. Sweeney in American History X chose to be the principal of a Venice Beach high school despite his high credentials and is a law enforcement liason on the local youth gang activity. He is familiar enough with the Vinyard family that he goes through some effort to turn the two sons Derek and Danny away from their Neo-Nazi racism, but he makes it clear that he's not a saint; his help is not unconditional and the Vinyards ultimately have to effect their own salvation.
  • Miss Johnson in Dangerous Minds. Arguably the whole point of the movie was that THESE kids needed a teacher like this, because they and the system had given up on them achieving anything in school (or afterward).
  • Mr. Keating in Dead Poets Society, especially to Neil, although it didn't exactly end well. Given that, ya know, Neil kills himself.
  • X-Men Film Series: In James McAvoy's words, Professor X is a social worker in addition to being a principal and a teacher. Charles cherishes everyone under his care, so he invests a substantial amount of his effort to aid his students in coping with their psychological issues (especially the ones caused—or at least exacerbated—by their mutations), and when possible, to find solutions for them. As a telepath, he can employ his empathy to ascertain what kind of nurturing works best on a particular youngster. By catering to their individual needs, Xavier steadily wins their affections, and he also becomes their paternal figure.

  • Mr. Merchant in Gene Kemp's Cricklepit School novels.
  • The Dresden Files's protagonist is this to Molly, his second apprentice. Most notably, he encourages her to reconcile with her parents.

  • Harry Potter:
  • Miss Honey, from Roald Dahl's Matilda: Subverted when Matilda realizes her teacher needs as much help (or more) as she herself does, and makes it her goal to help her. Double subverted with the ending, when Miss Honey adopts Matilda.
  • Also Miss Perumal, Reynie's tutor, from The Mysterious Benedict Society.
  • Notes on a Scandal had a clever subversion: Sheba initially tries to help Steven overcome his problems, but then starts to sleep with him instead. And later, it's revealed that he made up most of the aforementioned problems just so he could get closer to her.
  • In Eduard Limonov's The Other Russia, he describes some of the great leaders of the hippie movement and the new left, (for example the German left wing politician and "Kommune 1" leader Rainer Langhans, as well as Charles Manson) as well as himself this way. He wrote that most people enjoy your leadership and teaching if the first thing which is taught is to talk openly about feelings, needs and wants.
  • Apparently, Sweet Valley High couldn't afford a guidance counselor, because the kids all went to Mr. Collins, the English teacher, for advice.
  • The titular character in Tuesdays with Morrie.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: is television's Ur-Example, having actually started out on radio. In addition to having adventures of her own, she is regularly helping out her students - to the point where she is oft considered or even voted by the students to be the most popular teacher in the school. Most of her time seems to be helping series regular Teacher's Pet Walter Denton out with his problems. Less regular help goes to Walter's intelligent girlfriend Harriet Conklin (who rarely gets herself into trouble) or recurrent charactersStretch Snodgrass stay eligible for school athletics. The Movie Grand Finale sees Miss Brooks help Lonely Rich Kid Gary Nolan reconcile with his father. Miss Brooks also wins her Series Goal, marriage to Love Interest Mr. Boynton
  • About half the teaching staff in Boston Public, but Mr. Senate especially.
  • Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World. He tries to avoid it in the early shows, imparting life lessons begrudgingly outside of the classroom. After Mr. Turner disappears between seasons, Feeny fits this trope much more readily, having given up any semblance of trying to maintain a professional distance in his relationships with the main cast of students (to the point that, when he resists telling them he loves them in the Grand Finale, none of them believe him). It gets to the point that he gets upset after an incident involving Cory pushing his father, because nobody sought his advice about it.
  • Community:
    • Parodied with a Professor Whitman, who (in "Introduction to Film") devotes his classes to trying to get students to "seize the day.". He theoretically teaches accounting. It's also played straight to a degree, however, since for all that he comes across as a bit of a deluded clown, he's actually savvy enough to realize that Jeff, who has joined his class for an easy grade, is just coasting and has no real idea how to seize the day.
    • Averted with the actual psychology teacher Professor Duncan, who's completely apathetic to his students apart from Jeff.
  • Mr. Schuester in Glee would probably like to think he's this. In fact, though, the only student whose problems he's canonically shown to take much interest in or do much of anything about is Finn Hudson - who's basically Will's mini-me. He's less an actual Psychologist Teacher than a deconstruction of the trope.
  • Mr. Moore on Head of the Class.
  • Another one is the title character in the long-running Japanese drama San-Nen B-Gumi Kinpachi-sensei.
  • Miss Bliss from Good Morning Miss Bliss, the precursor to Saved by the Bell.
  • Mr. Kotter on Welcome Back, Kotter.
  • In The Wire, Prez tries to be one of these for his students (to the extent that he even starts taking home a neglected kid's laundry), but gradually realizes that he can't invest himself in them so much.
  • Subverted and deconstructed in Big School by Miss Postern (Catherine Tate) who strives to be seen as a Psychologist Teacher who is in tune with the kids, but is so self-centred and full of her own importance that she fails miserably.
  • Supernatural has an imperfect example with Mr. Wyatt in "After School Special". He's the first person to ask Sam what he wants in life and encourages him to pursue his own goals. However, he's oblivious to Sam's life as a hunter (and all that it entails), so he ultimately fails to provide long-term solutions to Sam's problems.

  • The teenaged Stephen K. Amos's teacher in What Does The K Stand For? is a parody of the trope. She's really excited when he comes out as gay, because she did a course on that and was looking forward to using it.

    Video Games 
  • Rean Schwarzer in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III ends up helping his students with their problems, some of them being personal, and others just needing some advice in life.
  • Subverted in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. Yuko appears to be the perfect teacher, with her students speaking of her in glowing terms and three of them being close enough to visit her in the hospital. During her first appearance, she literally saves your life and seems to be the one in charge. Unfortunately, it turns out she has a crippling lack of self-confidence that leads to her being effortlessly manipulated by Hikawa and then Aradia. The irony is that she could have been one of the strongest characters in the game, but ends up being the weakest.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY gives us three examples
    • Professor Ozpin gives Ruby encouragement when she is unsure of her role as a leader and encourages her to be a good leader as he had made many mistakes in his lifetime but making her leader was not one of them.
    • Professor Port gives Weiss a dressing down when she believes she should have been team leader inside of Ruby, and gives her a stern wake-up call about her bratty heiress behavior and encourages her to be the best person she can be rather than worry about being a good leader.
    • Professor Oobleck gives Team RWBY, minus Ruby, all Armor Piercing Questions to force them to reevaluate their reasons for being huntresses and think deeply on it, and later he works together with Professor Port and Taiyang to help Yang work through her trauma in Volume 4 after losing her arm.

    Western Animation 
  • Mr. O'Neil tries to be this in Daria, but his meek character and other flaws means he often fails miserably.
  • Parodied in the Family Guy episode 'Fast Times at Buddy Cianci Jr. High', which has Brian becoming the substitute teacher of the remedial class, where he inadvertently inspires the inner-city youths that they can achieve their dreams as long as their dreams involve low-paying, unskilled labor.
  • Professor Schneider in Gravedale High does this to all his monster students, getting involved in all their personal problems.
  • South Park:
    • Occasionally parodied with Mr Garrison, who has given terrible/misguided advice (to Stan, when he was worried about his gay dog Sparky), shown little concern for his students' problems and mocked them for it (when he found out Stan was being beaten up by his sister and not one of his parents), or "helped" them as part of his own, not so altruistic agenda (joining the intervention to send Cartman to Fat Camp "just so (he) could see the look on (Cartman's) face".
    • Also spoofed in "Eek, A Penis!" when Cartman teaches at an Inner City School in a parody of Stand and Deliver. He encourages his students to lie and cheat shamelessly, and counsels a tearful teenaged girl who has just discovered that she is pregnant to have an abortion, which is "like cheating life itself!"
  • Rather than thinking Jim is lazy like your by-the-books teacher, Strickler from Trollhunters could tell that Jim is simply distracted by his busy life and offers his council should he ever need it, and could even tell that Jim likes Claire and advices him to simply tell her instead of staring all day. Safe to say, Strickler legitimately cares about Jim to a degree, even after finding out that he was the new trollhunter.