The mental health field is a complicated one. And fiction writers aren't necessarily fond of complicated real-life concepts. That's why you get tropes such as All Psychology Is Freudian. When even that is too much, you'll see There Are No Therapists.
But that's obviously quite unrealistic. There are, in fact, psychologists and psychiatrists in this crazy world of ours. And this trope is dedicated to the portrayal of them in fiction. There are three general portrayals:
- The Harmful Shrink: Whether this doctor is evil or simply so stupid that they hurt the patient, The Harmful Shrink is the worst kind of psychologist. They’re cruel and lack any empathy with their patients — and may even be working with the enemy. They’ll frequently violate the sacrosanct concept of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality, and you can expect them to shovel pills down the patient's throat. Shrinks who are less actively malign will still tend to cultivate dependence on themselves in their patients for the purpose of getting more billable hours, even if their therapy is no longer necessary or doing more harm than good. A particularly common subset is grief counselors who do all they can to make sure their patients never recover from their losses and keep going to grief counseling forever.
- The Well-Meaning, But Dopey and Ineffective Shrink: Usually liberal and possessed of extraordinary amounts of empathy, this doctor really wants to help you. They'll spend hours listening to your problems. They'll try to avoid pumping you full of psychotropic drugs. But they just don't get it. This shrink’s failing is usually due to a surfeit of compassion. Dr. Love here just can't quite fathom the concept that their patients are anything but great people suffering from problems beyond their control. Frequently seen in the Law Procedural, where they get suckered by the defense into testifying that the brutal and murderous man on trial is crazy and can't be punished, or in Speculative Fiction, diagnosing the hero as insane for reporting (genuine) monsters/ghosts/etc.
- The Awesome Shrink: Exactly What It Says on the Tin. But even within this group, there are different varieties of Awesome Shrink. They can be compassionate and understanding where everyone before has been cruel to the protagonist. Alternatively, they provide the character in question with the kind of Tough Love he's always needed. Regardless, this doctor is always smart, almost always cool, and never resorts to drugs when they're not needed.
Sillier examples of the first two types are often portrayed as bearded men with Viennese accents.
Some works feature psychiatrist characters who bounce back and forth between these categories or multiple psychiatrists who cover different types. (Fictional works by therapists and from the therapist's point of view tend to portray therapists sympathetically but as rather less idealized than type 3, knowing that even a good therapist has their own problems and insecurities, as everyone does.) And, as always, keep in mind that these categories are somewhat simplified. Not every character is going to fit precisely in one of the three types.
Also, all three types are Truth in Television, which is why seeking therapy in Real Life is sadly so difficult: the people most in need tend to be the least equipped to be good mental health consumers — which is required to get the most out of therapy by knowing what kind of therapy you need and finding a therapist that is awesome (and not the first or second variants, or incredibly judgmental/unable to empathize with one's lived experience). Ending up with the awesome variant on the first try is often not possible even for the financially well off who can choose whomever they want, much less for someone just stuck with whomever their insurance/public assistance will pay for. This is one reason why some people might choose to go without therapy, even people with major disorders.
- Sword Art Online: Not intentionally harmful, but the therapists that Sinon is mentioned to be seeing to deal with her Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are certainly not helping her any. The reason being that Sinon happened to kill the robber with his own gun, and these being Japanese therapists, they tend to treat her as though she's committed an unforgivable sin by doing so, despite it being in self-defense, which is not helpful for her mental state.
- Dr. Crane of the Batman franchise was a university psychologist studying the effects of fear on the human mind. He got kicked out and became a villain.
- Hugo Strange may count as well, especially in the The Batman incarnation. Also Harley Quinn's origin, as detailed elsewhere. Batman writers hate psychiatry.
- Not only is Arkham Asylum a Cardboard Prison, very little effort seems to be made towards treating the inmates (which should be done with someone who is legally declared mentally ill), so there likely aren't many competent psychiatrists in Gotham. Batman is known to despise Dr. Arkham, both for the bad security at the place and what happens inside.
- 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 that feeds on mental anguish. Of course, Roger knew this the whole time and quickly dispatches it, but he was hoping to get some closure while he was at it.
- Marvel Comics' Dr. Karla Sofen, aka Moonstone, is a supervillain psychiatrist whose powers are unrelated to her profession. One of her favorite hobbies is manipulating depressed patients into committing suicide.
- In Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle, Shilo Norman's therapist Dr. Dezard is, as the name suggests, really Desaad, whose "therapy" is actually priming people to be hosts for the Anti-Life Equation.
- In The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), Crown occasionally attends sessions with a psychologist (played by Faye Dunaway) who holds him in open scorn and repeatedly laughs in his face when he bares his innermost feelings to her.
- In There's Something About Mary, Ben Stiller's character is intently talking to a psychiatrist who is paying no attention at all, then hears a couple of words out of context and makes a pat diagnosis of latent homosexuality.
- In David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch, the protagonist tries consulting Dr. Benway (Roy Scheider) about his wife's addiction to his bug spray. His method doesn't help much, and he turns out to be just as crazy as everything else in the movienote .
- Miracle on 34th Street uses one as an antagonist in the original film and most of its remakes. In the original, Sawyer isn't actually licensed to do anything except handle employment screenings, but he uses his office to practice psychiatry anyway. He immediately hates Kris because the man starts pointing out all of Sawyer's issues during the screening and tries to get Kris fired. When that fails, he basically starts tormenting Alfred the janitor by conducting off-the-books psychiatric sessions with him and filling his head with any number of false diagnoses. Kris confronts Sawyer over it and in the process thumps him on the head with his cane… leading to Sawyer finally having the leverage he needs to get Kris committed to Bellevue, thus allowing him to try and conceal his fraudulent practices from his employer.
- Undergoing Adaptational Villainy, in addition to being Gender Flipped, the Dr. Kafka seen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is this type, experimenting on Electro once he's brought to Ravencroft to test the limits of his powers and clearly enjoying every moment of it.
- M.F.A.: After being raped, Noelle visits the college counselor, who seems sympathetic and understanding. However, she has a hidden agenda of dissuading girls from officially reporting attacks so the college can maintain its record of having no sexual assaults on campus.
- Karev's friend in Shaman of the Undead is, besides a psychologist in the Muggle world, the "oblivion sower", meaning he can literally erase other people's memories and manipulate them to his wish. Oh, and he turns out to be the Big Bad of the books, being the person who turned Karev into the Mirror Demon.
- Dr. Hilarius in Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49. Prescribes and takes massive doses of LSD. Has other issues as well.
- Dr. Hannibal Lecter, in addition to being a psychiatrist, is also a cannibal and Serial Killer.
- 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...
- Psychiatrist William Haber in Ursula K. Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven is a Well-Meaning, but Harmful Shrink, who believes Utopia Justifies the Means (using his patient to rewrite reality).
- 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.
- Dr. Lewis Yealland from The Regeneration Trilogy considers his shell-shocked patients "degenerates whose inherent weaknesses would have lead them to break down in civilian life anyway" and uses electroshock therapy to break them and doesn't care whether or not they break down again or kill themselves.
- Sunny Randall has a case involving a shrink that… well… He convinces his 'clients' that their "issues" are based on trust issues, so what they need to do is trust him, by letting him drug and 'seduce' them. Yeah. (Sunny herself sets up sessions with a different shrink to help with her research to try to catch the scumbag, in a "compare and contrast" way — to make sure something is going on — and ends up with a bonus of actually working through some of her own personal relationship issues regarding her ex-husband.)
- Arnold, Marion's ex-therapist in Requiem for a Dream. When she was his patient they slept together, and she winds up sleeping with him again for money, which proves a traumatic experience for her.
- In Dexter, Dr. Emmett Meridian is a psychiatrist who subtly manipulates his patients, all women, and convinces them to kill themselves. Of course, Dexter signs up for a session with him to get closer and finds himself revealing more about himself than he initially intended.
- The unsub in the Criminal Minds episode "Scared To Death", who murders his patients using their worst fears.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus had 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.
- In an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, 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 basically amounted to torture, turning him into a homicidal psychotic.
- 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.)
- Dr. Foster from Skins is a particularly extreme example.
- Dev Cvetic in the opening series of ER, suffering from his own issues, becomes more and more reckless and cavalier with each episode before Susie finds him dictating his own issues into a tape recorder.
- In the first season of Mad Men, Betty visits a shrink to talk through some of her housewife ennui. When Don calls the doctor later that night, the psychologist matter-of-factly reveals everything Betty told him in their session. The implication is that psychologists in the 50's and early 60's have these conversations with their patients' husbands all the time.
- Dr. Ike Herschkopf in The Shrink Next Door facilitates a relationship with his patient, Marty Markowitz, that is eerily reminiscent of Domestic Abuse. Also, some of his other patients imply that he's done this before.
- On Sisters, middle sister Georgie begins seeing a shrink to help her deal with her anxiety and depression. During a session, he asks her if she's ever been sexually abused, as it's often a cause of the symptoms she's experiencing. She denies it, but that very night, she has a flashback of her father touching her inappropriately. Within weeks, she's not only certain that her father repeatedly molested her, she accuses her mother of turning a blind eye to it, her sisters of being in denial when they repeatedly deny being abused themselves, and her husband of being unsupportive, cutting them all out of her life, all with her psychologist's encouragement. He soon seduces her under the pretext of curing her of the Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality she's developed because of her memories and they embark on an affair, only for him to cruelly dump her when she leaves her husband for him, telling her that it meant nothing to him. Completely discombobulated from this, she's even moreso upon watching her youngest sister Charlie, a doctor, examine her son and suddenly realizes that the flashback that started everything was of her father examining her as well (he was a doctor, too). She's horrified to realize that the entire thing was a ploy by her therapist to isolate her from her loved ones and get her into bed. Her attempts at filing a complaint are futile, but he's caught when Charlie goes to see him and he eventually tries to do the same thing to her.
- Star Trek: Picard: Q assumes the identity of one (complete with goofy Viennese accent) with the goal of undermining Renée Picard's confidence and preventing her from flying her mission.
- The title character from "Dr. Jerome, Love Tub Doctor" by The Bogmen, who uses psychotherapy, hypnosis and a hot-tub to seduce patients.
- Bleak Expectations:
- In series 3, Pip Bin becomes a reclusive miser due to a prolonged period of torture mixed with his family being utterly useless and completely lacking in sympathy. While there, he's visited by a Caduceus Harshsmacker, who deliberately plays on Pip's fear of cheese, and turns out to be working for Mr. Benevolent to scam Pip into giving up all his money.
- In series 4, Harry Biscuit and Pippa Bin go to a counsellor due to a rift in their marriage brought on by Pippa turning evil. Since this is a demented parody of Victorian England, the minute Harry tries speaking, he's shouted down because as a man, he must feel nothing, and when Pippa tries, she's shouted down because she's a woman.
- In the Our Miss Brooks episode The School Board Psychologist, a dangerously incompetent psychologist tries to force Miss Brooks, Mr. Boynton, and Mr. Conklin to find another line of work.
- 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.
- 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, when one of Dr. Fontaine's students, Courtney Sheldon, is in a fix and wondering what to do with some military surplus morphine, Fontaine says he'll take the morphine off his hands, and of course, he gives the money he receives from it to a corrupt conspiracy that has people burning down housing estates to collect the insurance money. He also manipulates an ex-patient to burn down two families' houses, forcing them to sell their land.
- The villain in BioShock 2 is Dr. Sofia Lamb, a brilliant psychiatrist who believes Utopia Justifies the Means. 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.
- Alice: Madness Returns offers 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.
- Michael's shrink in Grand Theft Auto V is not "evil" so much as he is greedy, condescending, and utterly uninterested in truly helping Michael and his family.
- The main character of Night in the Woods sees a therapist, Dr. Hank, which is good, since she's clearly mentally ill and is suffering some sort of nervous breakdown. Unfortunately, Dr. Hank is utterly worthless as a therapist — his only method seems to be "write it down in a journal." If his patient were someone else, he'd just be Ineffective, but when you find out Mae's mental problems led to her putting someone in the hospital, nearly getting herself killed multiple times, and having the aforementioned nervous breakdown, which in turn led to her dropping out of college, he's officially crossed into harmful territory. Another character mentions having seen him for her drug problem, but finding him to be useless as well, and only getting clean when she changed doctors.
- The Counselor from Red vs. Blue. His job is to manipulate the Freelancers, AIs, and soldiers in whatever way the Director wants, their actual mental health needs be damned.
- Though it's more of an Informed Ability, Nappa in Dragon Ball Z Abridged. He's a big, meat-heated brute that slaughters the heroes towards the end of the Saiyan Saga, and he mentions that he has a degree in child psychology… with an understandable minor in pain.
- 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.
- Plankon 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.
- That episode was particularly hilarious since Plankton's psychiatrist alias was Peter Lankton or "P.Lankton". Also…
- The Simpsons: A therapist attempted to cure Homer of his Bart-strangling obsession (or at least make him understand it's not acceptable to strangle children) by having somebody strangle Homer all the time. When Homer was "cured", the therapist said the road of recovery was far from over, but had a change of mind when Homer confessed to lying about having insurance.
- The Venture Bros.: In a flashback, young Rusty Venture attempts to talk about his problems of being a boy adventurer to his father, Dr. Jonas Venture Sr. (who is acting as his therapist at the time), but the man is completely absent for the session, even sneaking back in and pretending to have been present the whole time while his son talks. Even worse, Jonas dismisses Rusty's problems, calling him ungrateful for all the opportunities he's been presented and blaming his father for his problems. Needless to say, this soured Rusty's perception of therapy later in life.
- In Loveless, Ritsuka has one of the well-meaning but useless kind.
- Doc Samson in the Marvel Universe. His good intentions often lead to poor results:
- He actually managed to merge various versions of the Hulk in one personality, but lied about the result being the real Banner.
- He was the Hulk's shrink during the Pantheon saga. In the end, Banner completely fell apart and Fury commented that Samson was acting more like his own patient.
- His regression therapy of the Punisher was hijacked by a third party and led to Castle going berserk and seemingly killing Nick Fury.
- In his own limited series, he tried Talking Down the Suicidal, only for said suicidal to jump when Samson was done talking.
- Dr. Long in Watchmen — the psychiatrist who attempted to analyze Rorschach.
- Dr. Harleen Quinzel in Batman. Tried to cure the Joker of his madness, but failed so spectacularly that she's now as nutty as he is.
- Let's face it — almost every doctor who works at Arkham Asylum is like this, judging by their success rate with Batman's enemies.
- Except for the ones who are crazier than the patients.
- One particularly shining example was the annoying straw-liberal one in The Dark Knight Returns who declared the Joker to be cured and released him from Arkham on live TV. The Joker responded by gassing everyone in the studio, shrink included, with his laughing gas.
- Let's face it — almost every doctor who works at Arkham Asylum is like this, judging by their success rate with Batman's enemies.
- Otto von Himbeergeist from one Lucky Luke album, who tries to cure the Daltons. While his diagnosis is usually right on-spot, he doesn't manage to turn them. And then, he gets the idea that he should've started a career in crime rather than in academics...
- Dr. Blink: Superhero Shrink, at best, has a mixed track record. For example, he helped Captain Omnipotent get over his perfectionist overachiever tendencies due to his underlying survivor's guilt, but then the Captain ended up being oblivious and indifferent to everything around him as a result.
- Miss Phelps in Luann. As the high school guidance counselor, she's regularly described as inept, by both Word of God as well as the other characters. After the cast graduates, she becomes a therapist and is shown as being just as terrible at that job.
- The Loud House story What You Wish For, there is Dr. Matthews, who comes over to help Lori when the rest think Lincoln doesn't exist. He's not helpful, but he's no more than a nuisance.
- The Terminator movies have Dr. Silberman, who considers himself too sane to buy into Sarah's apocalyptic
- Sophie in Shortbus is a "couples counselor" who doesn't like it when people call her a "sex therapist" (who, ironically herself, can't have an orgasm).
- Dr. Simms from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors genuinely wants to help the Elm Street kids, but her refusal to acknowledge the supernatural threat only puts them in worse danger.
- The psychologist or psychiatrist in The Stepford Wives. (The original, at least.) You just know she's not going to believe it.
- Though, despite Joanna's fantastic story, she did eventually grasp that Joanna might be in danger from her husband and advised her to get her kids and leave.
- In A Bad Case of Stripes, several psychologists come over to try and cure Camilla's stripes, but neither of them are successful.
- The Bad Seed has a non-professional example in Monica Breedlove. A fan of Freudian psychology, she likes to psychoanalyze people for fun; she diagnosed her gardener as a paranoid schizophrenic and herself as loving her brother. Despite how much knowledge she has about psychology and human nature, her arrogance and constant talking blind her from being able to apply it in a real situation, and she is unable to see the chaos that is going on right under her nose.
- Dr Fairbairn, the psychotherapist who Child Prodigy Bertie Pollock sees in the 44 Scotland Street series by Alexander McCall Smith. He insists on interpreting what Bertie says to fit his theories, rather than adjusting his theories to fit what Bertie says. As a result, he is completely unaware that Bertie just wants a normal childhood.
- Sam the Cat: Detective: In The Maltese Kitten, Sam talks with a psychiatrist's cat who fancies herself as a psychiatrist and the business partner of her owner due to how she "settles" nervous clients and leads private support groups of cats with anger issues and catnip addictions. She thinks that Sam is having delusions about being a detective and takes a while to answer his questions.
- One served as a kind of "inexpert witness" for ISN in the Babylon 5 episode "The Illusion of Truth". He seems nice enough, but has no idea what he's talking about (he misidentifies Stockholm Syndrome as "Helsinki Syndrome") and is being hauled out to provide propaganda against the heroes by what is basically a fascist government's PR wing.
- John Watson's therapist, Ella Thompson, in Sherlock is not blatantly idiotic, but doesn't seem all that useful, believing that John's shaky hand and psychosomatic limp is because he's suffering from PTSD, when, in reality, it's the boredom of civilian life that is causing him depression. However, John at least seems to trust her enough to go back into therapy with her following Sherlock's (ostensible) death. On top of that, while she misdiagnoses the source of his problems, she does encourage him to write a blog about his life, providing the motivation for Watson documenting the rest of the series (much as the original character documented his experiences with Holmes for magazines).
- Ditto for Louise Mortimer in "The Hounds of Baskerville": while she genuinely cares about Henry Knight, she doesn't realize that the delusions she believes he's suffering from are caused by witnessing the brutal murder of his father and then being regularly dosed with an experimental psychotropic drug. In her defense, nobody would have reason to suspect that given it was all classified, and Sherlock himself wasn't thinking of it until he experienced the Hound as well.
- Moonbase 3: Dr. Helen Smith is such a straight example of this particular version of the trope that it borders on parody. She has empathy to beat the band, but she really isn't very good at her job.
- In "Departure and Arrival", she does not treat the matter of Harry Sanders' erratic behaviour with the seriousness that it deserves — though Caulder found that she was not at fault in that instance. Things get worse from there.
- In "Behemoth", she failed to take any notice of Heinz Laubenthal's similarly erratic behaviour.
- In both "Achilles Heel" and "Outsiders", she is blind to the strange patterns of behaviour and relatively obvious warning signs displayed by two emotionally disturbed men as she is too distracted by her attraction to them. She does realise that they have problems but believes that they are of the kind that can be solved by her kissing them.
- Fred Freud in the song of the same name by Lee Hazlewood attempts to cure his patients by prescribing classical music.
- Our Miss Brooks: In "The School Board Psychologist", the psychologist is well-meaning but overworked and dangerously incompetent. He recommends that Mr. Conklin, Miss Brooks and Mr. Boynton are all psychologically unfit to work at the school and should be immediately dismissed.
- Dr. Nicholas Saran in Dino Attack RPG truly meant well, but he had some… difficult cases. For one thing, he could never quite get enough time with Kate to really get to the heart of her trauma. Pharisee, on the other hand, constantly refused any kind of counseling from him, though he might have gotten some spiritual counseling from Dr. Noomi Shaw. The best he got to a successful counseling session was with Rex, which happened entirely off-screen.
- The therapist in Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh. While it's good to see a horror game avert There Are No Therapists, she's extremely useless around a patient who obviously needs a lot of help working through his issues.
- You can find tapes in Batman: Arkham Asylum chronicling the doctors' attempts to treat all the supervillains in the asylum. The shrinks try their best, but damn are they out of their leagues. Killer Croc points out in his very first tape that he knows what the doctor is doing, it's not going to work, so stop trying or I'll eat you.
- A psychologist analyzes the protagonist of Daughter for Dessert. She badly screws up, not realizing that his "childhood memories" that he tells her are obvious BS. She’s a little off as well, given that she walks into the diner with no intention of ordering anything.
- In Mystic Messenger, the characters most in need of psychological help (Rika and Saeran) do see therapists, but the therapists are depicted as completely unable to help them. Apparently in the world of Mystic Messenger, multiple therapists are so incompetent that they couldn't tell that a clearly-suffering patient was mentally ill and a broken person just needs The Power of Love from their twin brother to heal instead of useless therapy!
- Tip from Skin Horse is a psychologist who tends to be well-intentioned, but a little too reliant on therapy puppets and self-help books. And he's been known to storm out after insults to his fashion sense. It's stated in-universe that Tip is a psychologist, not a therapist. It's like going to a Doctor with a PhD in biology instead of a Medical Doctor. They know the general idea on how to treat it, but not the exact details.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent: Reynir awoke to his mage powers after ending up Little Stowaway to an expedition in a Forbidden Zone. It just so happens that The Medic Mikkel, who is basically the team therapist by default, is a Flat-Earth Atheist and Religion is Magic is one of the reasons Reynir has powers in the first place. The setting includes ghosts that are only visible to mages and capable of sucking the life out of human beings. The expedition including another mage and Reynir's own slowly developing powers are the only reasons the crew has yet to have any casualty by them. One of the stronger ones heavily implied that if Reynir returned home, it would follow Reynir there and kill all his loved ones. Meanwhile, Mikkel looks exasperated if Reynir mentions ghosts and calls Reynir's attempts at protective runes "decoration", all while otherwise genuinely caring about everyone's well-being, both physical and psychological. After the aforementioned threat to his family, Reynir resorts to using one of the two mages he can contact via Talking in Your Dreams as a sounding board, despite actually not knowing him that well (the one he's actually travelling with dislikes him, has No Social Skills, and doesn't speak his language in the waking world).
- The eponymous Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist is mostly of this type, albeit with occasional flashes of competence.
- In the Batman universe, Harley Quinn was an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist named Dr. Harleen Quinzel prior to her falling in love with the Joker and following him into a life of crime. As you might expect, she was basically this type of shrink.
- Arkham's head psychiatrist Dr. Bartholomew genuinely wants to help, as is demonstrated in the Batman: TAS episode "Dreams in Darkness". But he's naive at best…
- Dr. Scratchensniff of Animaniacs. He's had some success with humans, but none at all when attempting to "de-zanitize" the Warner Brothers (and the Warner sister). (Maybe it was a little easier for him treating Wakko for his coulophobia.)
- Dr. Marvin Monroe of The Simpsons.
- In Winx Club the Trix were hauled off to what basically was a criminal asylum after the first season ending. While the treatment usually works, the only thing they did to the Trix was to traumatize them into being even worse out of spite (to be fair, it looked more like brainwashing by overdose of extremely cute things than a legitimate medical treatment, and the Trix simply hate cute things).
- A psychiatrist works at Helen's school in Martha Speaks: When Martha the talking dog phoned him up by accident, he thought she was a woman under a delusion that she was a dog.
- Dr. Atsuko Chiba, and specially her alter ego, the titular heroine from Satoshi Kon's Paprika. A very competent rogue psychiatrist, no less. She uses classified technology not yet approved for public treatments to access and navigate the dreams of her patients. Who needs couch therapy sessions when you can just channel the surreal logic of the dream world to literally navigate towards the source of the problem? Her colleagues are not nearly as adventurous, but are also pretty competent in their own right, except Osanai, whose collaboration with the villain puts him straight in "Harmful" territory.
- Dr Ashley Kafka, also of the Marvel Universe and specifically Spider-Man. The Ravencroft Institute she founded feels like the writers were making a specific attempt to avert Bedlam House. It didn't last, because subsequent writers assumed that a mental institute filled with supervillains had to be Arkham in all but name — the Ruins of Ravencroft miniseries in particular given it a horrific history that more than rivals Armadeus Arkham's story, though it has since been reformed, and Kafka remains a skilled and concerned therapist.
- Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise, at least by repute. He can be helpful, however, he often leaves a number of his students as a boiling mass of neuroses (e.g. Scott Summers) and his default is to seek control, even by force (e.g. Jean in the Dark Phoenix Saga and Scott in Avengers Versus X Men).
- Child of the Storm:
- Charles Xavier is a legendarily skilled therapist, with a Running Gag being that everyone in the superhuman sphere is referred to him. Among others, he helps Dresden come to terms with his pyrophobia after almost losing his hand, coaxed Jean out of her near-death experience as a child, and works through the issues of the Red Room prisoners, most especially Maddie Pryor a.k.a. Rachel Grey, Jean's Separated at Birth twin.
- Harry ends up with the so-far unseen Doctor Dani Moonstar, former student of Xavier, whose work is cited as one of the main things keeping him sane in the sequel and helping him to cope.
- The Desert Storm: Ylar Kala is a Soul Healer (the Jedi’s version of a shrink) who has Ben as her patient after his TSR is identified. She’s both patient and open-minded when talking with Ben about his past traumas, and does her best given the circumstances to help him recover.
- Ghosts of Evangelion: Dr. Okada was Shinji and Asuka's therapist for several years after Third Impact. He is actually efficient and good at his job.
- Dr. Caitlin Flanders, in Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, mostly manages to help Samantha Shepard through her issues. She also assists Jackie and Sarah. In-Universe the reason this works is due to her extensive training in both psychology and psychiatry paying off (including handling non-Human sapient species). She does note, however, that certain situations do exceed what she was educated in.
- In Supergirl (2015) fic Survivors, Dr. Jessica Ryan, Kara Danvers's therapist is determined and patient and does her best to help Kara come to terms with her Survivor Guilt, PTSD... issues.
- Dr. Sandy Wong in the Person of Interest fic A Field Guide to Common Birds in New York City (by Toft) is sensible, careful of her patients' information and preferences, and not thrown by all the weird things that John Reese (ex-CIA assassin, current vigilante) tells her about his life and problemsnote . And when Reese comes to her with the expectation of ending therapy, she calmly points out that while she's open to discussing it, he's only solved one of his problems, not all of them, and she's willing to stick it out for however long he needs her.
Wong: You came to me because you have a stressful, dangerous, and isolating occupation and a history of trauma that has led to an almost total detachment from your emotional well-being that you wanted to undo. ...I'm committed to helping you heal for as long as I am useful to you, or to helping you transfer your care to another therapist you can trust.
Wong: How are you feeling?
Reese: Like I'll probably be dead before I'm less of a goddamned mess.
Wong: It takes time, John. Does this seem like a use of your time that will help you to be both functional in the way that you want to be, and as happy as you can be under the circumstances?
Reese: ...Yeah. It does.
Wong: Well, then, let’s keep at it.
- The Snake Pit features Dr. Kik, who is friendly and gentle, and who succeeds in curing the young woman in his care of schizophrenia.
- In Analyze This (and its sequel, Analyze That), Billy Crystal plays an Awesome Shrink to whom Robert De Niro's mob boss character grows too attached.
- In Good Will Hunting, one of the major characters is the Awesome Shrink (played by Robin Williams).
- Dr. Luther in The Three Faces of Eve.
- Dr. Chase Meridian in Batman Forever, played by Nicole Kidman, is a very rare example of a heroic psychiatrist.
- Dr. Loomis from the Halloween movies is awesome. One gets the sense that he would be doing great work in his chosen profession if one of his patients hadn't turned out to be Michael Myers.
- Dr. Jaquith, Claude Rains' psychiatrist character in Now, Voyager.
- Dr. Jack Mickler in Don Juan DeMarco. Compassionate, competent, and knows when to leave well enough alone. Johnny couldn't have found a better replacement father.
- The President's Analyst: James Coburn plays a psychiatrist so good he's recruited for the title role — toward the film's end, he gets out of a forced defection by getting his Soviet captor to realize, through seemingly innocuous conversation, that he only became a spy out of fear of his Stalinist father.
- Dr. Lowenstein from The Prince of Tides.
- Dear Zindagi: Jug is the Awesome type. He immediately positions himself as different from other stuffy therapists by wearing jeans to a conference and is able to draw Kaira completely out of her shell by movie's end through meaningful anecdotes and metaphors, outings alongside the shores of Goa, and just being able to understand her and her issues. He's so good that Kaira falls in love with him by film's end but he correctly rebukes her.
- Sigmund Freud himself in The Dracula Tape.
- And likewise in The Seven Per Cent Solution.
- Dr. Neblin, John's unfortunate therapist in I Am Not a Serial Killer. While in session with him, John remarks that therapists are "so open-minded [he] sometimes wondered how they kept anything in there", implying that he sees Neblin as more of an ineffective type, but he's one of the few people who consistently believes in John and genuinely tries to help him, even answering a phone call at 2am and coming to get John because he sounds like he's in trouble.
"Listen to me, John." said Dr. Neblin, more serious and intense than I'd ever heard him. "Listen to me. Are you listening?"
I squeezed my eyes shut and gritted my teeth. "It's not John anymore, it's Mr. Monster."
"No, it's not," said Neblin. "It's John. It's not John Wayne, or Mr. Monster, or anybody else, it's John. You're in control. Now, are you listening to me?"
I rocked back and forth. "Yes."
"Good." He said. "Now pay very close attention: you are not a monster. You are not a demon. You are not a killer. You are a good person, with a strong will and a high moral code. Whatever you've done, you can get through it. We can make it right again."
- Dr. Berger in Ordinary People. Judd Hirsch's portrayal of him in the film adaptation has been cited by Psychology Today as one of the most positive portrayals of the psychiatric profession on film.
- In I Am the Cheese, the main character spends every other chapter or so relating his life experiences to a psychologist at a sanitarium.
- Susan Silverman in the Spenser series comments on "crazies" and "nuts" occasionally when discussing her job with the title character, but is otherwise portrayed as extremely caring and dedicated to her clients.
- Doctor Nolan in The Bell Jar, who builds up a relationship of trust with Esther and ultimately improved her condition enough that she could feel hopeful again. Based on the author's real-life experiences.
- Mr Nutt, polymath genius in Unseen Academicals, heroically psychoanalyses himself.
- Rivers from The Regeneration Trilogy is tirelessly kind and patient with the Shell Shocked Veterans he helps to come to terms with their war experiences.
- Rivers' friend Henry Head is also suggested to be one of these along with some of the other doctors at Craiglockhart.
- The unnamed psychiatrist in Cut (by Patricia Mccormick). The entire book is narrated in the second person to her, and is about the protagonist's recovery, which is obviously due to the shrink's involvement.
- Professor Mmaa's Lecture has Dr. Sigismund Kraft-Durchfreud, a termite caricature of Dr. Freud. He is a genuinely competent doctor, if not exactly an "awesome" one.
- In The Dresden Files' Ghost Story, ectomancer (a man who can speak to spirits and have control over them) Mortimer Lindquist is this for the ghosts of those who died. He helps them deal with what is holding them back so they can move on. Those who cannot move on, he helps to control themselves and not become dangerous creatures.
- Amity Sheridan from Geoph Essex's Jackrabbit Messiah comes into her own as a kind of Action Shrink by the climax of the book. Once Lieutenant Springer helps her get out of her own head a little, Amity's professional experience and great instincts help save the day more than once, showcasing her careful analysis and empathetic people skills to do everything from figure out how to "restore" Jack's powers to getting a former enemy to switch sides.
- Manifestation: Dr. Patricia Caldwell, the psychiatrist Gabby Palladino visits throughout the book.
- Dr. Minerva, Craig's therapist in It's Kind of a Funny Story.
- Mary Russell's psychiatrist in the backstory; Mary uses the coping skills she learned from Dr. Ginzberg to deal with her own guilt and trauma throughout the series, help a traumatised child, and restore the memories of a witness.
- The Amy Virus:
- When Cyan starts having trouble focusing in class and her grades start to slip, she decides to set up regular appointments with the school psychologist, Dr. Ngo, to help figure out what's going on. He becomes a big confidant of hers and he's the one who helps her realize that the autism her parents supposedly "cured" her of as a preschooler with a quack diet has never gone away.
- Cyan's friend Renate is a former bulimic, so she sees a Eating Disorder therapist once a month to guarentee she won't relapse back into it.
- Dr. Jessica Yamada of Worm. Literally saves the world by talking Glastig Uaine all the way from going on an unstoppable rampage to being a hero. And she helps them all while secretly thinking of them as frightening inhuman monsters. Sequel Ward shows she's not perfect, but still a highly effective therapist who's under a lot of pressure.
- "Dr. Davidson" in The War Against the Chtorr is able to help the series' very messed up protagonist James McCarthy. Davidson has a "condition" that leads him to conduct all sessions remotely; it's even possible he's some form of AI.
- Aaron Sorkin's a big fan of shrinks — they tend to be of the tough love, teller-of-hard-truths type.
- Stanley Keyworth in The West Wing is probably the best example of this. He is called in by Leo to meet with Josh, who is very resistant to the idea, and tries to deflect the difficult questions asked of him with anger and snarkiness. Stanley is not at all fazed by his aggression, and eventually pushes Josh into admitting that he didn't cut his hand on a glass, but instead broke a window in his apartment while having a flashback to the shooting. Josh is diagnosed with PTSD, and Stanley makes it very clear that he is not "cured" and requires much more treatment.
- Two years later, when the White House is shot at, Donna expresses concern over Josh's mental health and calls Stanley, telling Josh that he's on the line if he needs to talk to him (implying that while Josh's disorder is under control, it is not completely gone from his life, and is something that he still occasionally struggles with).
- We can also assume that Abby Jacobs, Dan Rydell's shrink from Sports Night, was going to continue being awesome if the show had survived.
- Continued in The Newsroom with Will MacAvoy's therapist Jack Habib, played by David Krumholtz.
"Why are you fucking around with me?"
- Stanley Keyworth in The West Wing is probably the best example of this. He is called in by Leo to meet with Josh, who is very resistant to the idea, and tries to deflect the difficult questions asked of him with anger and snarkiness. Stanley is not at all fazed by his aggression, and eventually pushes Josh into admitting that he didn't cut his hand on a glass, but instead broke a window in his apartment while having a flashback to the shooting. Josh is diagnosed with PTSD, and Stanley makes it very clear that he is not "cured" and requires much more treatment.
- The Walking Dead (2010), for a grand total of one episode, gives us Eastman, a former prison psychiatrist. It is through his help and teachings of Aikido that Morgan, who was extremely unhinged at the time, was able to find inner peace and become the badass Martial Pacifist he is as of Season 6. At first, he captures Morgan and keeps the man in a cage, snarking on occasion and trying to converse with him. The cage wasn't even locked! As time goes on, Morgan slowly begins to calm down as Eastman continually dissuades his "Clear" mindset. Unfortunately for Morgan, Eastman gets bitten when Morgan freezes up at the walker that he had killed coming for him.
- While it's never really mentioned beyond her first appearance, Denise was also a psychiatrist. This allows her to get through to the Wolf when she's held hostage by him, at the very least managing to get him to do a Heel–Face Turn and save her when Alexandria is overrun. Later on, she tries to give an inspiring speech to Daryl and Rosita to push them to better their personal lives, before being unceremoniously shot through the eye... by Dwight... with Daryl's crossbow.
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit adds forensic psychiatrist and FBI profiler Dr. George Huang to the cast late in season 2. Dr. Huang's pretty awesome, though his observations do not go unchallenged.
- Both of Adrian Monk's shrinks in Monk are awesome. Dr. Kroger always has advice that's relevant and helpful. Granted, Monk isn't always very good at following that advice, but still. Dr. Bell, Monk's shrink beginning in season 7, is equally awesome.
- Tony Hill from Wire in the Blood is an awesome psychologist. Though most of his screen time is devoted to second guessing criminals, rather than curing people. He's so good one crazy hoodoo doctor was convinced that Tony was a witchdoctor too, and the ending suggests they died from hallucinating a swarm of flies suffocating them. And sometimes it appears he might not be quite right himself.
- Dr. Sweets on Bones, and before him Stephen Fry as Dr. "Gordon Gordon" Wyatt. Both are treated as the Ineffectual Shrink at first but ultimately prove to be very helpful.
- Major Sidney Freedman, a recurring psychiatrist character on M*A*S*H. The "best TV shrink ever", according to Psychology Today.
- Dr. Molly Clock in Scrubs. Oddly, she's rather quirky herself.
- Or Dr. Cox's shrink from "His Story".
- Dr Hendrick, Sacred Heart's grief counselor, is portrayed as a great counselor, but is nonetheless seen as smug and annoying by the main characters, even when it's them he's helping.
- Dr. Kate Heightmeyer in Stargate Atlantis.
- Dr. Samantha Kohl in Raines. Anyone capable of making any progress with someone like Raines has to qualify as an awesome shrink.
- Major Grace Pedersen, the Australian Army psychiatrist serving with the ISAF medical unit in Combat Hospital.
- Dr. Lee Rosen of Alphas, who is also arguably the main character.
- Lieutenant Commander Jordan Parker, Romantic False Lead to Harmon Rabb in season 4.
- Lieutenant Commander Vera McCool, counseling at first reluctant Sarah Mackenzie twice onscreen in season 9 & 10. Mac is reluctantly ordered by Admiral Chegwidden to see a psychiatrist in "Take It Like a Man", following changes in behavior after the events in "Persian Gulf". At first the therapy seems to be ineffective, but when seen in the season 10 episode "The Four Percent Solution" it proves to be effective.
- Dr. Edna from Season 4 of Mad Men. She manages to be awesome for Sally (her actual patient) and more stealthily for Betty, who was the victim of a Harmful Shrink in Season 1.
- Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has the above-mentioned Dr. Silberman, but his counterpart is the awesome Dr. Boyd Sherman. Not only does he accurately assess John as suffering from PTSD, he also thinks Cameron might have Asperger's Syndrome, he tries to get Sarah to talk (good luck), and sorts out an AI question the geeks can't. Unfortunately, it ends badly for him.
- Dr Julia Ogden becomes this from Season 5 of Murdoch Mysteries, having previously had an interest in psychology but mostly been The Coroner.
- While Dr. Noelle Akopian in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend ultimately falls short of being awesome (as mentioned below), later seasons introduce Dr. Daniel Shin, who proves himself to belong more fully in the awesome category by actually getting through to Rebecca and correctly diagnosing her with borderline personality disorder.
- Dr. Linda Martin in Lucifer tends to have the right idea about what actually troubles the other characters and what would actually help them (getting them to listen to her is another thing, though), and is just generally arguably the most ethical and well-adjusted person on the show.
- Dr. Gibbon in The Singing Detective, an outstanding example in that he forces Marlowe to confront the fact that his problems are not with the world, but with his own feelings of guilt and self-loathing about something he did when he was a child, which he shouldn't go on beating himself up about.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: After Buffy's suspension from Sunnydale High is overturned it's on the condition that she attend regular sessions with the school's therapist. She's initially reluctant, but once she meets Mr. Platt he turns out to be a genuinely supportive figure. He picks up on the fact that there's things she can't talk about (namely Slayer duties) but instead of demanding she open up he works around it to empathise with the root issues (her fraught romantic relationship). Just as Buffy works up the courage to open up about more of her issues the Villain of the Week kills him.
- In the John Finnemore's Double Acts episode "A Flock of Tigers", a psychologist on her way to a conference meets a man on a train who just cannot imagine fictional things and cures him within the space of half an hour, without him asking or even realising it.
- The Pardoners' Guild of Wraith: The Oblivion pretty much have to be good, as their purpose is to help wraiths keep their Shadow under control, and being harmful or useless is a good way to ensure the Shadow takes permanent control, turning the wraith into a Spectre — assuming the would-be Pardoner doesn't fall themselves.
- Princess: The Hopeful: Menders are those Princesses whose Calling is to make the broken whole and remove suffering from the world, and they are just as ready to deal with mental wounds as with physical.
- Dr Ashley Ellis in Freedom City is closely based on Dr Ashley Kafka, above. The notes on customising Providence Asylum for your game says that the staff may be interpreted as anything from "trying their best" to "more disturbed than the patients", except her.
- In the musical Lady in the Dark, Dr. Alexander Brooks analyzes Liza Elliott's musical Dream Sequences and discovers the roots of her nervous disorder in her childhood memories.
- Dr. Kauffman in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. He may be quite cynical and confrontational at times, but it's all for the patient's own good in the end.
- Dr. Edward Roivas of Eternal Darkness. Quickly opens up to the prospect of Eldritch Abominations trying to destroy the human race and sets into motion a series of events to get his granddaughter to successfully learn about and stop them. Not even dying keeps him at bay.
- Kili, a shaman who is also a therapist, in The Dragon Doctors.
- Dr. Corrine from Questionable Content. A particularly amusing/intelligent quote of hers:
"Just go out and bang some dude" is one of the phrases you will never hear a psychiatrist say. Other such phrases include "I think the heroin is doing you a lot of good," and "jesus [sic], no WONDER your mother never loved you."
- Psyche in Thalia's Musings. She helps the goddess Artemis work through issues from her abusive childhood, which lets Artemis finally acknowledge her love for Athena and begin a relationship with her.
- Animal Behaviour takes place at a group therapy session for Civilized Animals run by Dr. Leonard Clement, a therapist who happens to be a dog. His patients all respect him except for newcomer Victor the ape, until Dr. Clement helps Victor have a breakthrough regarding his anger management issues.
- Morty Storkowitz on Birdz does a good job in taming Mr. Nuthatch. In the course of 13 episodes, Mr. Nuthatch goes from a nervous-wreck coward to being much more confident (though still eccentric). There's even a slight role reversal as Mr. Nuthatch ends up convincing Morty that he shouldn't be afraid to sing.
- In season 2 of DuckTales (2017), we get Mr. Jones who's revealed to be Donald's anger management counselor. While Jones is only a minor character, his significance comes from how he deconstructs the reasoning behind Donald's anger while also helping him channel his Hair-Trigger Temper into protective instincts after he became Huey, Dewey and Louie's new guardian.
- Hey Arnold! has Dr. Bliss, the child psychologist who helped Helga in "Helga on the Couch".
- The Legend of Korra:
- Zaheer, of all people, in Season 4; when Korra comes to him to try and overcome her PTSD, he reaches out to her and genuinely helps her recover fully so she can battle Kuvira.
- Katara also plays this role in Korra Alone, counselling Korra as she helps her through physiotherapy, and proving to be essential in helping Korra start her recovery.
- Earlier, Lin Beifong is directed to a therapist to help her deal with her issues with her sister, which are bad enough that they're making her physically ill. It's a difficult treatment, but it works. Interestingly, the method used is not psychotherapy, but acupuncture therapy using needles and metalbending.
- When Starlight Glimmer becomes student counselor for the Friendship School in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, she proves to be incredibly good at the job. Most of her episodes involve finding a work/life balance or having to manage other responsibilities with her job, but she never has any trouble being a valuable counselor appreciated by the students.
- Dr. Wong from Rick and Morty is an insightful therapist who's able to fully analyze the eccentric and self-destructive persona of Rick and explains how he and his family can improve from their chaotic behavior. Summer and Morty genuinely appreciated her counseling after their first session. Beth and Jerry ended up turning her into a pseudo marriage councilor after they got back together. And most surprising of all, Rick actually started to appreciate her advice in season 6.
- Dr Jeremiah Arkham was originally created by Alan Grant as a B. F. Skinner type who believed in "controlling" his charges, then shifting to a touchy-feely shrink who let them wear their costumes if it made them feel better, before going through a period where he was a costumed villain himself.
- Dr Joy in Arkham City: The Order of the World was a well-meaning and possibly even effective shrink, until she became the only Arkham employee to survive its destruction. She is now so determined to help at least one of her charges that she ends up letting Ten-Eyed-Man stay with her, and gradually begins going along with his delusions, to the point where other former Arkham patients she speaks to are worried about her.
- Rung from The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers and The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye stradles the line between ineffective and awesome. He is a genuinely skilled, highly trained psychologist, but his patients are often so profoundly messed up from eons of war that the best he can manage is keeping them technically functional. That said, all of his patients we've met do seem fond of him.
- Dr. Wang in The Stalking Zuko Series is an effective therapist who immediately figures out Jet. He forces Jet to reflect on why he's accusing "Lee" of being a Fire Nation spy and points out that his theory has no evidence and almost gets Jet to perform a Heel Realization. But Dr. Wang ends up being ineffective due to Jet's denial of his own issues, Jet being forced into therapy by Lee and Smellerbee, and Jet's self-reflection making him realize that he has evidence for "Mushi" being a firebender as opposed to "Lee".
- In Solitude, there's a therapist that is both ineffectual and harmful: as a child, Light Yagami's parents made him see a therapist for his abnormal and less than social behavior he exhibited while grieving for his grandmother. This therapist, though well-meaning, makes things even worse: Light, being the genius that he is and too clever for his own good, takes away the lesson from their session together that he must appear normal at all costs, and as a result, he doesn't report it when he's raped by his father's coworker. So while his parents think the therapist is a miracle worker and that Light is magically "cured" of his antisocial tendencies, Light has just got better at faking it and has also acquired a seething resentment towards the rest of the world. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what's going to happen when a certain Artifact of Doom falls into his hands…
- A Diplomatic Visit: Discussed in the first chapter of the fourth story, The Diplomat's Life. Several have tried to treat Cozy Glow who was arrested as a threat to Equestria and currently resides in a cell under Canterlot Castle, but been unsuccessful and given up because she's just that bad.
- A Flower's Touch: Aerith is assigned a therapist, who starts off as leaning toward the well-meaning but ineffectual side to gradually becoming more effective as time goes on, seemingly learning from causing a major breakdown, as she learns just what kind of case she has on her hand with not just one, but two lives worth of trauma.
- In Annie Hall, there is an amusing Split Screen scene showing Alvy and Annie at their respective shrinks, who simultaneously ask them how often they make love. Alvy replies, "Oh, hardly ever… two, maybe three times a week." While Annie says, "Oh all the time, at least two or three times a week."
- Neil Gordon from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Mostly an Awesome Shrink, but subverts it when he's willing to use drugs (Hypnocil) to aid his patients.
- In Something Wicked, Brittany Murphy plays her last role as one for the main character, her sister-in-law. She does manage to figure out she's the real villain who's manipulating everyone, but not soon enough for it to matter.
- In The Dead Center, Dr. Forrester is shown to have a kind heart and is very competent at psychiatry. On the other hand, he will resort to breaking the law to get his patients the care he thinks they needs. It puts a strain on his professional relationships, and it's shown that outside of work, he's an emotionally-withdrawn loner. He admits the catatonic John Doe into the ward because he knows that such a patient would likely get dumped in a corner somewhere and be forgotten. He does this without doing any consent paperwork or even running it by Dr. Gray — his boss — who had just told him that all his cases had to be approved by her. This is illegal, and ends up coming back to haunt him. While he figures out what's really going on with John Doe pretty quickly, he had to resort to secretly hypnotizing and drugging him to make it happen. Dr. Gray is furious when she finds out what's been going on. It's not just about the personal betrayal, but the professional fallout. She's completely right to think that Dr. Forrester basically kidnapped, drugged, and assaulted a helpless patient. Had the whole Demonic Possession situation not happened, John Doe's family could've easily sued the hospital.
- A major theme in Erica Jong's Fear of Flying.
- Ditto Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint.
- Sir Roderick Glossop is a rather complicated example. Sometimes he would qualify as harmful because of his tendency to see mental illness everywhere and his belief that Bertie should be institutionalized. Of course, since this is Wodehouse, it's Played for Laughs. Later on, he becomes more of a dopey ineffectual shrink specifically in his use of “The Glossop Method”, where he gives a patient whatever it is they want (alcohol for instance) in the hopes that they will get sick of it and therefore cease to be addicted. Needless to say, it doesn’t work.
- Doctor Gordon in The Bell Jar is the "Harmful" type. He behaves indifferent and cold to Esther in her therapy sessions and ultimately botches electroshock therapy, giving her a traumatic fear of the procedure. He is based on the author's real-life experiences. Doctor Nolan, however, is much better, administering electroshock therapy properly and helping Esther recover.
- Dr Charles Roley in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Taint is an odd mix of "well-meaning but ineffective" and "harmful". He has no idea what's actually going on, and the theory he's basing his treatment on is about 80% nonsense, but even beyond that, it's not clear how much he's actually trying to cure his patients, and how much his main concern is using them to prove the theory. He's prone to explaining how everything he's doing is to help them in a way that suggests he's trying to convince himself as much as anyone.
- Parker in Marty Pants is a classmate of Marty's with aspirations of being a real psychiatrist, with Marty being her favourite subject.
- Isaac Asimov's "Breeds There a Man...?": Dr Gottfried Blaustein, a psychiatrist, is hired by the Atomic Energy Commission to help one of their top scientists overcome their suicidal tendencies.
Dr. Gottfried Blaustein was small and dark and spoke with a trace of an Austrian accent. He needed only a small goatee to be the layman's caricature of a psychiatrist.
- The Suitcase Kid: Andy goes to see a family counsellor with her parents a few times throughout the book, whose role is to mediate between Andy's parents (which they definitely need) and decide how they can best support Andy through their divorce. Although Andy is reluctant to open up to her and finds her condescending, she's well-intentioned; she manages to negotiate for Andy to alternate weeks at each parents' house rather than forcing Andy to choose and tries to explain to them how difficult the divorce is for Andy.
- In the German crime comedy Dr. Psycho, police psychologist Max Munzel is far less incompetent than his personality would suggest.
- Frasier. Generally speaking the show portrays Frasier as an intelligent, ethical psychiatrist who genuinely wants to help people, somewhere between types two and three (the limitations of his work providing advice on a radio show for a couple minutes at a time come up a lot). But since Frasier was a long-running sitcom, the main character could go back and forth between all three categories depending on the needs of the week's episode. Part of the show's premise was the irony inherent in a brilliant psychiatrist who dispenses excellent advice to strangers, but cannot figure out his own neuroses or his screwed-up familial relationships.
- Niles, for his part, is mainly an Awesome Shrink, though again that can vary depending on the episode.
- House's Season 6 gives Dr. Darryl Nolan, House's psychotherapist manager when he goes to rehab. On the one hand, he actually violates so many therapeutic heuristics (ex. don't judge your patient, and picking up a newspaper and ignoring him may make for dramatic effect or comedy) and thus may seem like he would not do a good job to anyone. On the other hand, he has shown this attitude mainly with House, who upon his first days at the rehab, he began psychologically harassing everyone else. As such, one could see Dr. Nolan giving House a taste of his own medicine and indeed, it did look like Dr. Nolan did set House on a better path, at least for a while. Anyone capable of winning against House and getting that concession deserves recognition in of itself.
- The premise of the television show The Sopranos is that main character and mob boss Tony Soprano starts seeing a therapist. Dr. Melfi actually is a very skilled therapist, and is able to help him through some of his issues. However, later episodes indicate that he may well be a sociopath and beyond actual rehabiliation, and the biggest effect of therapy for Tony has been helping him seem normal (as normal as a mob boss can be).
- Paul Weston in In Treatment, played by Gabriel Byrne, is a compassionate, savvy and well meaning doctor who has a lot of issues on his own and starts to see a therapist himself, Gina Toll, his old mentor, which adds a new complex relation to his life.
- Dr. Bob Hartley in The Bob Newhart Show. No matter how many breakthroughs they have, none of his patients ever seem to get any better.
- On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deanna Troi's competence and effectiveness seem to go back-and-forth, depending on whether the writers want her to simply sense feelings and state the obvious or provide a significant insight and do something constructive about it.
- Ezri Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. She starts out not being that good, but she figures out how to treat Garak's claustrophobia before the end of the episode. Granted, she has a huge amount of issues herself (not least having very recently gained an entirely new second personality with numerous lifetimes of experience in addition to her own), on top of having been in training just a few weeks before her transfer.
- Dr. Noelle Akopian of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is in a rather unfortunate position, being smart, compassionate, and mostly separated from all the drama and thus able to be objective… but having Rebecca for a client. In any other romantic comedy, she'd be the Awesome kind, but since she's counselling the Romantic False Lead, her (good) advice falls on deaf ears, forcing her into the role of the Ineffective shrink, and an Ignored Expert. By the second season, she's realized that Rebecca will never take her advice, and only bothers because she needs money for a new kayak. Further proving that she'd normally be the Awesome kind, when it looks like Rebecca might finally be having a breakthrough, Dr. Akopian is thrilled, cancelling her next few appointments so she can talk to Rebecca longer that day, and immediately stops snarking and starts trying to guide Rebecca towards the realization that being with Josh won't make her happy. Unfortunately, Josh shows up at that exact moment and proposes. Cue Rebecca forgetting all about her breakthrough, and a Big "NO!" from Dr. Akopian.
- Lucy van Pelt of Peanuts. At 5¢ a session, you presumably get what you pay for.
- A common gag in The Far Side. One of the more famous ones is a therapist who puts in one patient's notes, "Just plain NUTS!"
- A very, very common setting for The New Yorker magazine cartoons. A typical example shows a guy at home saying to his parakeet, "You came up in therapy today."
- Dr. Penelope Young from Batman: Arkham Asylum has good intentions, but the experiments she performs — and which Fridge Horror indicates she intends to perform, given she thinks that her subjects would need a Psycho Serum like TITAN to survive them — are clearly less than benevolent. She is cool-headed and rational, yet her effects at treating or even diagnosing the patients at Arkham are absolutely useless. This is compounded by the fact she has a rather egregious case of Arbitrary Skepticism, which means she refuses to believe that, say, Killer Croc is a cannibal (despite this being a well-documented aspect of his behavior by the police — and him being a 15-foot-tall crocodile man) or that the Ratcatcher does have a borderline psychic ability to communicate with rats (then later demanding he remove the rats from the interview room). Admittedly, in this last case, metahumans are a rarity in Gotham, but at least three well-known cases — Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Clayface — are not only famous, but actually kept in Arkham. Summing up just how terrible she is at performing even a basic diagnosis; Dr. Young actually comes to the conclusion that Jonathon Crane, aka The Scarecrow, is harmless and would be a great asset to the TITAN project... as a researcher. Oh, and she later finds out that the whole project was funded by The Joker.
- For that matter, she thought Batman's "multiple disorders" were driven by, as detailed from bonus material in the collector's edition of the first game, genetic predisposition and substance abuse. It doesn't help she's getting her info from the inmates themselves. Although, she's wondering if the inmates are his real peer group, something Joker, Riddler, and Scarecrow believe as well.
- Miss Naenia, a Winter Name that manifests as a Creepy Changing Painting in Cultist Simulator, is a mystical, ambiguous example. In the short term, she's great; she can help the player character manage Restlessness and Fascination, ensuring they won't be Driven to Suicide or Go Mad from the Revelation, respectively. She's also supporting the Ghoul protagonist in their quest to become a memory-eating Humanoid Abomination, so there's that.
- Dr. Delara Auzenne from Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is well-meaning and compassionate towards Task Force 29 staff she is in charge of psychologically examining and providing counsel to. She never loses her cool or professional attitude when Adam treats her with obvious distrust and snarkiness, and often voices concerns over the well-being of him and other agents. She is revealed to be a high-ranking Illuminati member who currently serves as The Mole assigned to monitoring Adam Jensen and reporting directly to Big Bad Lucius DeBeers, and might also have been involved in tampering with Jensen's memory.
- Isiah "Pube Head" Friedlander, Michael's shrink in Grand Theft Auto V, gets paid (increasingly large sums) by Mike to listen to his problems, cuts him off mid-breakthrough, and attributes everything to denial or sociopathy. Friedlander's idea of group therapy is letting the parents scream at each other while the kids sit there awkwardly, and during his final session with Michael, he reveals that he's getting his own TV show. Luckily enough, he dies before he gets to sell Mike's secrets.
- Mass Effect:
- Mass Effect 2 brings us Yeoman Kelly Chambers, the de-facto ship's shrink on the Normandy. She has all the training and background to be a psychologist, and is very compassionate towards just about everyone. Her actual position aboard the ship is closer to The Profiler, giving Shepard advice on how to best deal with his varied teammates, and she is also assigned as Shepard's personal assistant.
- Mass Effect 3 reveals that while she was aboard the Normandy, she was keeping her boss, The Illusive Man, informed with updated psychological profiles on Shepard to better allow Cerberus to manipulate him/her towards their goals. She is in such a bad emotional state after the events of the second game, that if you get angry at her over it, she will be Driven to Suicide.
- Mass Effect: Andromeda has Dr. Lexi T'Perro, the Tempest's resident sawbones, who has some psychiatric training. She's also got a poor bedside manner, difficulty socializing, and most of the crew do what they can to avoid her. Fortunately, Ryder's crew are (relatively) sane and don't require psychiatric services… except for Peebee. When Lexi tries talking to her if Ryder kills Peebee's abusive ex-girlfriend, Peebee angrily rebuffs her, and Lexi asks Ryder to try in her stead.
- The Royal Updated Re-release of Persona 5 has Dr. Takuto Maruki, a shrink that is hired by Shujin Academy to try to save their PR after it is revealed that Suguru Kamoshida was abusing the members of the volleyball team. He is highly effective and proves popular among the student body, and becomes a Confidant of your playable character. However, it also turns out that he has gained the ability to use his cognitive powers to warp reality, and the end-game of this new version of the game involves trying to place the entire world into a Lotus-Eater Machine in which everyone lives out an idealized life.
- Double Homework:
- Mr. Adler pretty much spent the whole springtime trying to convince the protagonist that the life outside his room was worth living. He failed, needless to say.
- Subverted with Dr. Mosely. While she succeeds where Mr. Adler failed, and conducts counseling sessions with the student in her summer school program, she isn’t really a school counselor. She has an entirely different agenda…
- Lux-Pain therapist, Honoka Hino, is a psychiatrist in addition to the school's nurse. She does seem to successfully counsel a few people, like Takuya Inoue. However, later in the game, she is infected by a mental parasite after Hibiki Kiryu goes into a coma, and wonders if he'll ever wake up. She reveals she also used to counsel a terminally ill girl who asked her to smile, then died. If you don't remove the parasite, she snaps, goes into the hospital and kills him, then is gunned down mercilessly by the police. She ends up needing more therapy than practically anyone in the game. And that's saying a lot.
- Doctor Angstrom in Broodhollow mostly seems to be the sensible, intelligent, good-advice variety, though he has been known to rename psychology terms so he can say he discovered them.
- For a couple of years in Dykes to Watch Out For, Mo saw a shrink named Anya whom she adored. Therapy has also been a Running Gag throughout the strip, referencing how near-obligatory therapy seems to be for lesbians, and Sparrow in particular was a full fledged therapy junkie for about the first 10 years (even showing her entering couple therapy with her girlfriend of three months. There was also a character appearing on the calendars (but not in the strip, aside from her initial appearance in a really early strip) named Cleo Baldshein, a "guerrilla therapist".
- Dr. Gardevoir serves as the only psychiatrist to a world inhabited by video game characters. She's seen to be calmly dealing with a Creeper repeatedly exploding but dreads being in the same room as Ellis. She also seems to have given herself a Split Personality when trying self-therapy.
- Kiley in Ménage à 3 is only a student, not a qualified therapist — but she nonetheless takes it upon herself to act as a shrink to several other members of the cast. She then sometimes achieves awesome (if risky) results (her use of an Armor-Piercing Question on Sonya was a little mean, and her relationships with Matt and DiDi were totally unprofessional), though at other times she veers toward "Dopey And Ineffective".
- Doctor Lovetalk from Sexy Losers would be a good radio sex therapist if her advice actually reflected the needs of her callers. As it is, they're either dishonest about their problems, or have interests too strange and disgusting even for her.
- Counselor Alice Tolman from Legostar Galactica is generally Dopey And Ineffective, with her own myriad host of personal issues getting in the way of being a helpful therapist, but she has pulled off the occasional Awesome move, like helping Larry find a non-destructive outlet for his innate Blood Lust.
- Dr Wahnsinnig in Ozy and Millie would probably be the Awesome Shrink if left to her own devices, but the constraints of the school system mean that she's Well-Meaning But Ineffective, although not dopey, spending most of her time having to accept Blatant Lies from The Bully and the Alpha Bitch, while unable to help their victims.
- Dr. Hugo Strange practices in the Belle Reve supervillain penitentiary throughout most of the Young Justice episode, "Terrors", but at the end, it's revealed that he's been working for the Big Bad organization "The Light", and masterminded the nearly successful mass supervillain prison break. He then takes over as warden when it fails, giving The Light control over the prison for the largest collection of super-criminals on the planet. Batman fans probably saw this coming a mile off.
- Kaeloo gives us Jean Guillaume the psychotherapist. He's sometimes shown to be useful and effective, and provides Kaeloo with good advice. On the other hand, when Mr. Cat comes to his office for help, all he does is hold a lengthy conversation which winds up being more like a casual conversation between two friends and is not even remotely helpful. At one point they even make fun of Kaeloo while she's sitting right next to them.
- In "Death" from Hoops, Dr. Brooks is called in to Lenwood High as a grief counselor following two deaths in quick succession: first that of the school's former basketball coach and then of a delivery guy who gets set on fire by a candle trying to deliver food to Ben at Lamonte's funeral. Unfortunately for her, she's not able to do her job because she ends up spending most of her time at the school having to listen to tales of the messed-up personal lives of the school's adult staff. Then, when she does get some actual students in her office, they admit they were only there to waste some time once the last bell of the day rings. At the end of the episode, she is herself killed by another delivery guy trying to get food to Ben.