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There Are No Therapists

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"His mom is dead, his dad was missing and presumed dead, he's running around with a military organization... it's not exactly conducive to therapy — and, of course, because it's TV, therapists don't exist."
Connor Jessup on his character Ben Mason from Falling Skies

In most fiction, there are no official systems in place to protect those who are psychologically vulnerable. Nobody is ever concerned that the kids who watched their parents die might be considering suicide, homicide, or fighting crime without due process. Fiction is full of Bunny-Ears Lawyers but this will be ignored so long as they're not crazy with axes.

This trope isn't saying the solution to every mental problem is to go to a head shrink; merely that there is an extreme amount of Genre Blindness regarding traumatic experiences, probably for the sake of convenience and drama. Remember, Fiction Isn't Fair in regards to characters.

Can be a Justified Trope, as you can hardly expect a rag-tag band of rebels in an oppressive dystopia to open up to a potential informant and a historical setting may predate therapy altogether. That being said, protesters in the Occupy movement have sometimes provided free systems of healthcare and psychological care. Presumably a therapist must show some form of solidarity to be trusted. This trope could also be justified if the hero is a superhero or supernatural being since confessing to a therapist about their problems could potentially lead to the therapist guessing the superhero’s identity, which is something the hero would obviously be reluctant to reveal, or breaking the Masquerade. Of course, the solution for this would be to consult another superhero or supernatural who is also a therapist or something close enough to it in their civilian identity (like Marvel’s Dr. Samson, for example, though he’s more of a Psychologist/Psychiatrist than a Therapist) for the sake of professional courtesy and privacy, but the problem is that super therapists tend to be extremely rare, assuming they exist at all in the universe in question.

May be an Enforced Trope out of a belief that fiction's more interesting that way, because the writers think poorly of psychiatry — or maybe because the characters belong to a culture that places the responsibility for an individual's mental state on family and friends.

Sister Trope of Adults Are Useless and All Therapists Are Muggles. If there's a Psycho Therapist in the work, then the characters will likely wish this trope were played straight.

Related Tropes

  • All Therapists Are Muggles: If the characters are involved in the masquerade and can't confess their trauma over fighting cyborgs or vampires to a therapist without ending up locked up and "treated" until they're exponentially more screwed up.
  • Dysfunction Junction: For stories (or works) where a main plot of the story is that all the characters in the cast are troubled.
  • Medicate the Medium: If you learn you have Psychic Powers, the last person you want to talk to is a therapist, as therapists will lock you up and drug you — either because they don't believe you or they do and have a standing order to suppress psychic powers.
  • Psycho Psychologist: They're making the situation worse.
  • The Shrink: Complete with Internal Subtropes for situations in which characters do go to a therapist but the therapist is unskilled, condemnatory, or otherwise problematic, and those in which this trope is non-existent when the characters go to a good therapist and get the help they need.
  • Therapy Is for the Weak: If the characters have been offered therapy, but rejected it.

In the case of children, there may be overlap with Social Services Does Not Exist. Can also overlap with The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes.


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    Anime & Manga 
This trope is very much prevalent in Japanese culture, where mental health issues are heavily condemned and discriminated against.

  • This link on Anime News Network is a layman's discussion of the trope.
  • Lampshaded in All Rounder Meguru as part of a critique of Japanese beliefs in stoicism over therapy.
  • Lampshaded in an episode in the English dub of Digimon Adventure 02. When Ken (who joined after a Heel Realization, having been the most insane villain they'd faced yet — yes, surpassing the Monster Clown) suggests that Wormmon talk to a therapist about his problems, Wormmon asks why he didn't talk to someone before becoming the Digimon Emperor? It becomes Fridge Brilliance when one takes Values Dissonance into consideration; traditional Japanese culture tends to not mesh well with therapy.
  • Many Humongous Mecha series feature characters who clearly have flagrant psychological issues that are inexplicably overlooked so long as they are good pilots, which naturally never lasts for long. Neon Genesis Evangelion uses it as a jumping-off point for its own story about depression and abuse. In this case, the therapists don't exist because nobody who would create an organisation like NERV is either (a) particularly concerned with the well-being of their employees, or (b) particularly sane themselves (the fact that the actions of people who worked for NERV or its predecessor organizations — most notably Gendo, its commanding officer — are the cause of many of the pilot's problems in the first place doesn't help). Lampshaded in Rebuild of Evangelion when Kaji comments "Those kids are our last hope, who knows what they're going through?"
  • Gunslinger Girl: Subverted with Dr. Bianchi, whose job is to keep the cyborg girls functioning and advise their handlers how to handle them, but not to help the girls re-enter society.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • Played with in the original series. Kayaba did not create any sort of therapists for his death game, but the AI he programmed to design most of the world realized the players would need something, and so created a secondary program to fulfill that purpose. But Kayaba didn't want anything interfering with his players, so he quarantined the therapist program off where it could observe the players but not interact with them in any way. It eventually managed to escape and took the form of a young girl named Yui, then got herself adopted by Asuna and Kirito. She still occasionally demonstrates her therapist abilities, such as easily pushing someone she just met towards confessing her feelings for someone and quickly identifying various deep-seated issues.
    • Subverted with Shino, who did try to get therapy after her childhood trauma. The problem is that said childhood trauma involved disarming a shooter at a bank to protect her mother, and then shooting him in the ensuing struggle for the weapon. Japan's existing problems with therapy were compounded by the country's Does Not Like Guns culture; Shino didn't get any help from the professionals, and eventually turned to exposure therapy with GGO on a friend's recommendation.
    • Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online: Karen could probably use a therapist due to her body image issues, but the big one is Pito. She is a Death Seeker who is upset that she missed getting trapped in the SAO death game, and is obsessed with having real consequences for the games she plays. For a while, she was mostly fine since she had found a masochist to exercise her sadism on but eventually she relapsed and decided she'd kill herself if she died in the game. Karen even lampshades that if Goshi thinks she's going to kill herself he should go to the police or a therapist, but he brushes it off.
  • In EDENS ZERO, Hermit was used, betrayed, and abused horribly by a man who had presented himself as a kindly old scientist who wanted to help a planet full of androids, only to reveal himself as a Mad Scientist with a genocidal hatred against humanoid machines. While the scientist and his cronies are eventually arrested, by that time Hermit herself is an emotionally broken shell of her former self, and instead of offering any sort of support or therapy to help her get through it, the officers on the scene simply declare that she's too far gone and that the most merciful thing is to simply let her go off on her own to find a place to die. This being a Hiro Mashima work, it takes The Power of Friendship from the protagonists before she starts to recover.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • On the one hand, it's specifically mentioned that counseling is standard for any children of roughly middle school age. On the other hand, their quality varies, and it seems that after a certain point visiting them is optional.
    • Izuku Midoriya grew up Quirkless, had a Friendless Background, was mercilessly bullied by Bakugou for ten years (and continued to do so upon entering UA), was told to kill himself if he was desperate for a Quirk, yet desperately wants to be a hero to prove his worth to the world. It gets worse when he inherits One For All as his new power results in his limbs becoming broken to the point of paralysis. His Dark and Troubled Past has led to him developing low self-esteem, intense anxiety, and self-destructive tendencies. And not once has he ever stepped foot in a therapist's office.
    • Katsuki Bakugo's powerful Quirk gave him a huge superiority complex that the adults in his life did nothing to fix. He at least is a mild example; just spending time at UA, surrounded by people nearly as powerful as him, gives him important lessons in humility.
    • Shoto Todoroki's mother scarred him with boiling water in a Moment of Weakness over her abusive husband. While she got sent to a mental institution that is doing great things for her, Shoto and his siblings were left alone. It's hard to tell who needed therapy more: His siblings for being the unsuccessful results of a Super Breeding Program that were cast aside by the patriarch or Shoto himself for being a successful result and underwent Training from Hell since he was a child. Regardless, none of them got anything. Even worse, one of his siblings became a major villain.
    • Tomura Shigaraki is a Psychopathic Man Child, and the teachers quickly identify him as someone who never even got the basic counseling every child is expected to have. Of course, in his case, it's justified because he was "rescued" as a child by All For One and raised in isolation to brainwash him to All For One's purposes.
    • Himiko Toga is a result of the "varied quality" of counselors. Her Quirk gave her an obsession with blood, and rather than finding some way to control or manage it, the counselor and her parents told her it was disgusting and to hide it at all costs. Eventually, the stress of suppressing such a key part of herself caused Himiko to snap, and she went on a murder spree. If she had access to an even slightly competent psychologist as a child, she likely would have grown up entirely differently.
    • A lot of the adult Pro Heroes have their own set of issues but have yet to seek therapeutic support. The main examples would be All Might who's dedicated more than thirty years as being Japan's Number One Hero. This has led to Toshinori working non-stop maintaining the peace which has destroyed his internal organs due to various villain attacks, stifled any close relationships, and he now suffers from Imposter Syndrome as everyone and everything is tied to his hero duty. There's also Aizawa Shouta who was traumatized after witnessing the brutal death of his high school friend Oboro Shirakumo which led to him becoming a sadistic Sink or Swim Mentor who's willing to put his own students through literal hell, or even expulsion, just so they won't suffer the same trauma he did.
    • Supposedly, UA has Hound Dog who serves as the school's guidance counselor. Lamentably, none of the protagonists go to him for counseling, and all of his screentime is spent acting like a literal security dog while scaring everyone with his unintelligible speech.
  • Full Metal Panic! heavily implies that Sousuke has severe PTSD at the root of his more troubling behavior, which is eventually confirmed in "A Voice From the North Pole." Unfortunately, his legal guardian is a disillusioned Former Regime Personnel who's used to watching Shell Shocked Veterans get worse treatment after getting diagnosed and fail miserably at reintegration, so while Kalinin immediately recognizes Sousuke's case for what it is, he's at a loss for what to actually do for him. Which is partly why he betrays Mithril and aligns with Leonard—he wants to save Sousuke and Give Him a Normal Life, even if he has to kill him first.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man: It is utter nonsense that no one, not even his closest loved ones, has recommended (or forced) Peter Parker/Spider-Man to go to a psychologist to finally end his obsessive-compulsive need for self-sabotage.
  • As a general rule of thumb, if a therapist is in a superhero comic, they'll either be a hero's Secret Identity, a Psycho Psychologist, or a bit character shown trying (and failing) to rehabilitate a villain. The heroes themselves are almost never shown getting psychiatric help despite the vast majority having some serious emotional baggage.
  • Parodied in What If? v2 #2, where Daredevil murdered The Kingpin and went insane with guilt. While he's running around, he bumps into the Punisher. When he sees just how broken Daredevil's become, Castle actually recommends a psychiatrist and offers to take him there personally.
  • Justified in The Walking Dead; so far, no member of the group past or present has been a therapist. For all we know, there might not be any therapists left. Lampshaded by Sergeant Ford in issue 61.
  • In Batman: No Man's Land we see a gang member interviewing individuals begging for admittance to their shelter in the hopes of protection, shelter, and sustenance. One of the people being interviewed is a therapist, who finally sums up his profession thusly, "I help people who don't like each other get along." The gang member's eyes light up and he grins happily, "Oh yeah! We need that!"
  • Despite the apparent lack of them in the movieverse, Dr. Aphra of the Star Wars: Darth Vader series is mentioned to have seen one as a child who diagnosed her with psychological problems as a result of her estranged relationship with her father and the trauma of the Clone Wars. Didn't really seem to do her much good considering the company she keeps.
  • In Runaways, therapists probably do exist to help the kids deal with the fact that their parents were evil and one of their friends betrayed them, but the team avoids them due to their distrust of authority figures. This comes back to bite them in the ass in the last arc, as the team's long-simmering psychological issues all boil over and create a chain reaction that breaks them apart.
  • Marvel generally tends to avert this thanks to Doc Samson, a psychologist who also happens to be a superhero (specifically, a gamma mutate, this having Hulk-like capabilities, born out of his desire to help people).
  • Ultimate Spider-Man:
    • MJ is explicitly suffering from PTSD after Green Goblin throws her off a bridge. Peter even thinks that she should seek counselling, but worries that she wouldn't be able to talk about it without giving away his identity. Peter himself could probably use one as well.
    • Harry Osborn is seen in therapy in "Return of the Goblin" after previously having seen his dad burn his mom to death after becoming the Green Goblin. Unfortunately for Harry, the therapist is brainwashing him to believe his dad loves him, and to plant post-hypnotic suggestions that eventually make Harry turn himself into the Hobgoblin.
    • Zig-Zagging Trope in an annual, when Peter suffers a minor breakdown and tries to join one of the existing teams. After being turned away by the Fantastic Four, Johnny catches up and tells Peter that they're all in therapy themselves.
  • The 2018 DC Comics crossover arc Heroes in Crisis double-subverts this so hard it's not even funny. The first subversion is that this arc retcons that the superhero community created a safe location, called "Sanctuary", explicitly to defy this trope. The double subversion is that someone entered Sanctuary, massacred all of the superheroes that were in Sanctuary at that moment, and stole information on all other superheroes, which includes their secret identities, recordings they did where they confessed all of their darkest secrets, and extensive psychological profiles. If the arc doesn't end with them going back to believing that Therapy Is for the Weak, it'll be a miracle.
    • It gets subverted even harder due to the fact that the so-called "Therapist" was a computer program containing the so-called best qualities of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, who apparently thought that was enough to counsel multiple heroes and villains instead of finding doctors and therapists with actual qualifications. Even worse, Sanctuary's methods included keeping its patients isolated from one another and using virtual reality chambers to relive their respective traumatic moments. Lagoon Boy re-experiences the Titans East massacre over 300 times in what is clearly an attempt at self-harm until he basically grows numb, but the computer makes no effort to stop doing this despite the effect it's having on him. It eventually reaches a point where Sanctuary's abusive ineptness is exactly what caused all the deaths when weeks of isolation and degradation made Wally West suffer a nervous breakdown that accidentally unleashed a burst of energy killing everyone around him. By the end of the series, no point is made about any of this and the Trinity keep Sanctuary running exactly as it did before, never once acknowledging the damage it caused.
    • As of July 2021, the deaths at Sanctuary were retconned as a surge from the Speed Force which had nothing to do with Wally or any sort of mental breakdown. However, while the deaths are retconned thanks to the Speed Force, nothing is done about the fact that Wally did have a legitimate breakdown and the Sanctuary computer did mentally abuse and belittle all of the patients.
  • After the events of Civil War, Speedball of the New Warriors becomes heavily traumatized, even taking the new identity of Penance. He winds up in the Thunderbolts, where it's only after a screaming breakdown that Norman Osborn very reluctantly calls in an actual therapist (technically, they already have a psychologist on staff, but… uh, she's not the sort of person who'd be any help. Ever). Len Samson manages to help Robbie recover some of his sanity simply by getting him to watch rugby.

    Comic Strips 
  • Jason of FoxTrot once took out three months of his teacher's therapy scrawling a needlessly long extrapolation of a formula on a blackboard and Andy mentions having gone to a therapist a few times, probably because of dealing with her family.
  • Scary Gary: Downplayed. The main cast is in need of some serious therapy, and there are therapists around who could help them… with the key word being "could", as them being various monsters (and a decapitated living head in a jar) tends to scare people away.
  • In one series of strips from Peanuts, Sally struggles with fear of starting school, which is mentioned as a serious problem requiring "professional help", but the solution is not to take her to an actual professional, but Lucy's five-cent psychiatry booth. Lucy herself has even been known to play both sides of a therapy session rather than seek actual therapy.

    Fan Works 
  • Played with in the Italian remake of Battle Fantasia Project: on one hand, there's an implied lack of therapists outside Earth (the planet Magix had exactly one: Darcy. Sure, she was professional enough to make sure she couldn't abuse of it, but still…), and for a number of reasons the Magical Girls tend to avoid them; on the other, as soon as the fall of the Veil makes it possible the Oracle instructs the Guardians of Kandrakar to bring Ari's autistic son to Earth for therapy, neatly solving the mess of W.I.T.C.H.'s third story arc before it can start.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Subverted with Harry Dresden, among others, having been referred to Charles Xavier to deal with various issues. The Running Gag is that he's pretty much the only therapist (well, not the only, but certainly the best who's clued into the supernatural world). He also trained Harry Potter's main therapist in the sequel, Dani Moonstar.
    • Later on, in Ghosts of the Past a new therapist shows up, and he's likely even better than Xavier, given he has over two thousand years of experience in it, and offers multiple characters a session to work things out. Who is it? Why, it's Jesus.
  • Consequences of Unoriginality subverts this. Therapists do exist and Emeris is in desperate need of professional help. However the Mane Six are worried about the very real possibility of a therapist sabotaging his recovery out of spite, so they’re forced to try to handle the issue themselves while leaving professional therapy as a backup plan.
  • A Crown of Stars: Discussed. When Shinji and Asuka arrive on Avalon, they meet Ching, who is actually a trained therapist. But she won't act as one unless one of them asks her to, and so she told them.
  • The Desert Storm: Played both ways. Obi-wan Kenobi was never able to get enough time off to see the Jedi Temple's "Soul Healers" (a Jedi Medicorps branch specialising in mental health issues) during the Clone Wars because he was deemed too valuable to be off active duty for long enough, contributing to the spectacularly poor state of health he's in before he finds himself back before the Separatists were even a rumour. When "Ben Naasade" shows up at the Temple and talks his way into an audience with the Council it's obvious to everyone that he's been through the wringer, but the full extent of his issues doesn't come to light until a combination of bad luck, bad timing, and bad decisions cause several of his Trauma Buttons to be punched simultaneously. After nearly killing a fellow Jedi during the resulting PTSD flashback, Ben is placed on mandatory medical leave and assigned a Soul Healer, kicking off a very long but cathartic Mental Health Recovery Arc.
  • Doing It Right This Time: Averting this trope is the very first thing Misato sets out to do after returning to the past, ready to browbeat Commander Ikari into agreeing to it if necessary. He agrees without putting up even token resistance, much to her surprise, because what Shinji thinks of as "Operation Not Fuck Everything Up This Time" ultimately benefits him as well.
  • Lampshaded in Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness, the students of Hogwarts survived a year of genocidal torture and war, and all they have at the end are each other for comfort. The only thing the wizarding world at large tossed them is a bunch of nosy reporters. Everyone ended up learning to deal with his or her PTSD themselves. Some retreated into domesticity, some became lawmen, one became a vigilante serial killer, another became a drug addict, and everyone had nightmares.
  • Escape From The Hokage's Hat has a subversion. While Tsunade helps Naruto deal with his issues, she only tries to help when Naruto allows her to considering how stubborn he is. She does, however, lament that it would've been nice to have a Yamanaka along to help but since two of them were involved in brainwashing Naruto, the clan is on her shitlist at the moment.
  • This is played straight later in the Gensokyo 20XX series, with the latter half taking place in the aftermath of nuclear war, in which case there was no way to deal with a then mentally ill Ran and very mentally ill Reimu, especially so in the latter case since finding a therapist would mean sending her to a Bedlam House, which are feared for due reason. This is subverted earlier in the series with Yukari, in which they aided in her recovery.
  • Higher Learning: Since neither of the pilots had any therapy in spite of their blatant psychological traumas and the pressure and distress associated with being Child Soldiers, Kaoru's plan to avert Third Impact was becoming his teacher and giving them therapy and counseling surreptitiously.
  • The Infinite Loops: Zigzagged; because the baseline worlds are often unclear on the status of therapy, it can change significantly from loop to loop. In The MLP Loops, Rarity at one point has Blueblood committed to an asylum to make sure he won't interfere with her wedding—but she had to check to see if asylums existed this time first. In another loop, Twilight decides to defeat Nightmare Moon by giving her a much-needed therapy session.
  • Infinity Train: Blossomverse: The trope is played with, depending on the story and the protagonist. For Chloe Cerise and Goh, for example, their problems are exacerbated by the parents not even noticing (or actively caring) to see what is wrong with them or too busy with work to consider therapy. Professor Cerise was actually advised to take his daughter to a therapist...and refused, deciding it would be better if she was stuck in the Cerise Institute where her problems festered and ultimately led her onto the train and the destruction left in her wake. Whoops.
  • Is It Stronger To Break: Subverted. There are therapists in Paris, but the whole "supervillain who mind controls anyone who feels negative emotions" makes going to therapy within the city limits extremely risky. Justified in Marinette and Adrien’s cases, as a normal therapist simply isn’t equipped to handle their issues and seeing one would require them to reveal their identities. Tim suggests the possibility of Ladybug and Chat Noir sees one of the Justice League’s therapists.
  • Lampshaded in the Naruto fanfiction Jokes On You. The whole thing is kicked off when Naruto decides to become, of all people, The Joker, with the rest of Konoha driven insane by just trying to handle him. The narration points out that the lack of ninja psychiatrists in general use is both a big oversight and the root cause of all the trouble.
  • Juxtapose:
    • Subverted. Quirk Counsellors are a major part of a child's development in this world, and keeping a growing child in a good headspace about such a fundamental part of themselves is very Serious Business. Thus, it really puts Principal Nedzu on the warpath when he learns that Izuku's grade school had deemed his Quirk so worthless that he was treated as Quirkless and given no counselling.
    • Revealed to have been played with Katsuki's own childhood Quirk Counseling later on. As it turns out, even though he did get his own counseling, Adults Are Useless had been in play. Not only has Katsuki been left believing that his Quirk — and by extension, himself — was made for violence, their failure with Izuku has left Katsuki skeptical of counselors in general.
  • In The Kakashi Way, it's revealed that shinobi are supposed to get mandatory mind-healing sessions whenever they experience missions that have gone horribly wrong or other traumatic events. Unfortunately, Danzo ensured that Sasuke didn't receive any such sessions after the Uchiha Massacre, discreetly canceling them without Hiruzen's knowledge. Kakashi also refuses to attend therapy because he believes he doesn't deserve comfort.
  • Mastermind: Rise of Anarchy averts this, as it is revealed Tokoyami Fumikage was required to attend therapy after the training camp attack which had occurred back in the previous fic. Additionally, Aizawa had extended his visits after Hawks had defected to the League of Villains, ostensibly to help with the betrayal.
    • This is played straight with Uraraka, however, given she doesn't receive any therapy after having a knife held to her throat by Mastermind.
  • In A Mother's Touch, Yuya is clearly depressed and Yoko even tells Reiji in a later chapter that she's afraid that he could've been suicidal over how Maiami City treated him. It's implied that Yoko couldn't afford therapy for her son because Yusho's disappearance means she has to juggle multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet. Thankfully, her chewing out Reiji for his apathy has her gain plenty of money to avoid a potential lawsuit, and Yuya takes online therapy to deal with his daddy issues.
  • Of Patience and Pettiness: Played With; there is a counselor at Dupont who talks to the victims of akuma attacks. However, Marinette notes that they're horribly overworked, and wants to help establish a better system.
  • By the time Powdered Gold and Pottery begins, Shouto has been seeing a therapist for several years to cope with the way Endeavor raised him. He also has a service dog, Hiro. Zig-Zagging Trope in that not all adults and authority figures have been entirely supportive; at one of his previous schools, students harassed Hiro, and Shouto was blamed for 'distracting' them, forcing him to leave Hiro behind. When Nedzu and Aizawa prove to be more supportive, Shouto is honestly surprised.
  • Re:Coded: Unlike his canon counterpart, Yusaku didn't get any help for his trauma because they were hiding from the Knights of Hanoi. Like Yusaku, Takeru became a Hikikomori and has a lot of issues when Yusaku and Ryoken visited him in his hometown. They both learn how to cope with the trauma and live normally again after the Lost Incident with the help of friends and newfound family. The only one who did get into therapy is Jin, who was catatonic until Lightning recruited him.
  • Rise of the Minisukas:
    • When Shinji is showing signs of mental unbalance, Misato considers one of the Nerv's therapists...except that she does not know if they have therapists, and Ritsuko does not see a need to hire shrinks. Later, Rei explains Nerv's previous therapist was arrested for malpractice.
      "Then whom should I inquire about to understand myself?"
      "A therapist?"
      "NERV has lacked a therapist ever since the previous head therapist was arrested for illegally prescribing Methylphenidate to college students in Tokyo-2 who lacked requirements to be prescribed said drugs." Huh, that explains a lot actually.
    • General Taihou from the JSSDF thinks he can counteract Nerv's mentally unstable teenagers by hiring his own trio of seriously disturbed teen pilots... until Mana gleefully asks if her next mission will involve murdering someone. It turns out that she passed her psych evaluation because they do not have a base psychologist, and Taihou decides he needs to hire one to "decrazy" his pilots.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: Both Kokoa and Original Character Arial have very severe anger issues, to the point that they've nearly killed other people during Unstoppable Rages, Felucia even lampshades it in the case of the former, telling Kokoa point-blank she needs professional help.
  • Discussed in Second Chances when Loki returns to Earth to warn them of Thanos' coming. The various Avengers are all appalled that Asgard as a whole views therapy as something only the weak need and each of them suggests Loki see a therapist; that each of them either has seen one before or is currently seeing one helps convince Loki they have a point.
  • Subverted in Supergirl (2015) story Survivors. Kara goes to a therapist to help with her self-esteem, anger, and recklessness issues but it doesn't seem to be working.
  • In Tangled Adventures in Arendelle, well, this is set in a period where therapy and psychology wouldn't be as developed. In fact, Eugene notes that Elsa has "many demons" from her past that she's still struggling with after the movie. However, the main cast does the best they can with what they can do, acting as friends and makeshift therapists to each other in order to help with their many problems.
  • Unbreakable Red Silken Thread: Jasmine, Sammy, and Cameron have some serious issues; the girls because of Sammy being bullied by her sister for years, and Jasmine feeling impotent to help her; and Cameron because of his many years of social isolation. Instead of getting professional help, the girls are helped by Heather while Cody acts as a Big Brother Mentor to Cameron; fortunately, Heather and Cody's personalities and life's experience make them very good at this, effectively helping the girls and Cameron with their problems.
  • Subverted in Unfinished Business where after receiving therapy as Shen Yuan, Shen Qingqiu makes sure that his disciples would receive the closest equivalent in a Xianxia world.
  • The Vigilante Boss and His Failed Retirement Plan:
    • Izuku suffers from PTSD from all the bullying he faced growing up due to the systematic discrimination against Quirkless and Bakugou's treatment of him. And the fic started with him having suicidal ideation considering he tried faking a suicide attempt to scare Bakugou.His friends manage to help him deal with his inferiority complex and problems with accepting people and does become valued for his skills. But despite working with several teachers and going to a better school, no one has to see a therapist.
    • Sakura suffered from depression over her mother's death and still recovering from being a Hikikomori. Again no therapy.
    • By only using half his Quirk, Shoto is publicly self-mutilating himself to the point of risking his own health. Izuku tries to intervene and finally gets him to snap out of it during the Sports Festival final. Again, no therapist.
    • Once transferred to a more strict school, Bakugou's teachers recommend anger management therapy only to fall on deaf ears. The teachers at Yuuei finally defy this trope by assigning mandatory anger management, mandatory counseling, and remedial rescue training to Bakugou if the latter doesn't want to be expelled.
  • Lampshaded in an author's note for the My-HiME fanfic Windows of the Soul:
    Sometimes I wonder whether it would be easier if I just had Shizuru see a psychologist. The problem being, how does she say "I have a huge guilt complex over killing scores of people with my summoned demon named after the legendary Kiyohime" without being put in an asylum? Perhaps the First District has specialized psychologists. Oh, wait. She blew them up. That's what she's guilty about.
  • Winx Club fanfics sometimes have Darcy as the only decent one on Magix. In The Infinite Loops, she boasts of being the best of the Magical Dimension... Before admitting that she's also the only one who knows what she's doing and that she's only decent when compared to Earth therapists.
  • Lampshaded in the Young Justice fanfic With This Ring after the botched telepathic training exercise. The Team is given the chance to talk with Black Canary, but Paulphidian points out that she doesn't have any relevant qualifications beyond being an adult.note 
    Black Canary: The League felt that it might help if the team had someone to talk-.
    Paulphidian: Counselling? From you? Guy Gardner is trained as a counsellor with several years' experience working in criminal rehabilitation. You're a florist!
  • Discussed in Maleficent fanfic Your servant, Mistress. It takes place in a real-life setting, so the main character can get treatment for her PTSD ... or could if she was able to trust someone with her problems. Diaval mentions having seen a therapist in the past.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In The Initiation, Frances and Dwight forbade Kelly from receiving any form of psychiatric or psychological help after her trauma. When Peter starts analysing Kelly, Frances demands that she stop seeing him, but Kelly stands up for herself and refuses. It is eventually revealed that Frances and Dwight had reasons for never wanting Kelly to recover her lost memories.
  • Iron Man 3: Tony Stark is unambiguously suffering from PTSD after nearly dying during The Avengers (2012), and J.A.R.V.I.S. flat out tells him that he is having a panic attack. The Stinger shows that he is seeing a doctor about it... Bruce Banner. And beyond that, the scene is decidedly Played for Laughs, and there is no indication in the film or any subsequent MCU films that Tony ever seeks out professional help from a qualified source. The only character who gives him any kind of advice whatsoever is Harley, who tells him to "build something" to help him focus. While this could be an effective short-term solution to helping someone through a panic attack, it does essentially nothing to address the underlying causes of his PTSD. However, the movie treats it as a moment of Epiphany Therapy, as Tony doesn't have trouble through the rest of the film, the implication being he is completely cured. Actually, if Tony is suffering from undiagnosed PTSD, this puts a lot of what happens in later films into a quite different context...
  • It's a Wonderful Knife (2023): Winnie likely could have handled losing Cara, nearly being murdered and having to kill a Serial Killer better if she'd gotten to see a therapist. However, this possibility is never brought up, and her family tried to act like nothing happened. The whole plot might have been avoided if they'd been different.
  • Joker (2019): Double-subverted. Arthur is seeking out mental help, but he only has access to a social worker who can periodically sign him off on medication, and with how visibly overworked she is, she doesn't end up being very helpful. At the start of the third act, she informs Arthur that due to budget cuts, she's being fired and he'll be unable to get any treatment — psychological or medical. On their last meeting, she openly confides to Arthur how upset she is that she can't be of help, and how both of them were screwed over because the powers that be failed them.
  • M.F.A.: Well, technically there is, but the college counselor has steered women who come to her who have been raped against filing complaints, thus her true concern isn't their mental health but making it seem like there are no campus rapes. Noelle quickly stops seeing her, realizing this.
  • The Rage: Carrie 2: Subverted. Sue Snell is one of the main characters and also a survivor of Carrie's rampage in the original, who works as a school counselor. She attempts to stop Rachel from doing the same thing Carrie did. She doesn't survive the sequel, though.
  • In the second half of Shredder Orpheus, Linus is increasingly frustrated with Orpheus's depression and moodiness after losing Eurydice and tries to force the issue to no avail before realizing he needs help. The closest thing to a therapist the Grey Zone offers is a traveling oracle, and Orpheus agrees to see her in the hopes of finding a way back to Eurydice.
  • In Star Wars, galactic medical science is pretty advanced — when it comes to purely physical ailments. But the vast majority of the plot is driven by characters with glaring psychological problems who seem to have no formal support mechanisms whatsoever.
    • The closest that the old Jedi Order had to a therapist was Yoda. When Anakin went to him for help, Yoda had trouble because Anakin was lying about the nature of his problems; in the end, all Yoda could do was counsel him to become The Spock and not allow his emotions to get to him. Contrast in The Clone Wars when Ahsoka (Anakin's apprentice) had a problem and went to Yoda for help, but since she told him the truth, they were able to work through the issue in a more reasonable manner.
    • Apparently in the Star Wars universe, being a Jedi master is considered synonymous with being a good counselor. It's indicated in The Force Awakens that Leia and Han knew Ben was having mental problems, which was actually one of the main reasons Leia wanted him to train with Luke since she thought doing so would help him. In her defense, the Jedi are supposed to be spiritually sound philosopher warriors whose teachings are all about zen and balance and often involve meditation and self-contemplation, all things that can be good for a disturbed mind. Unfortunately, Luke is not a good therapist, and in fact accidentally makes things worse — after which, Luke could have used a good therapist himself!
  • They/Them (2022): Played with. The setting is a gay conversion therapy camp, where there is a therapist, Cora, but there might as well be none. Cora is hinted to even take sadistic pleasure in tearing down the queer kids at the camp, she goes through their belongings when they're out to find ways to tear them down, and cooperates with the "forbidden fruit" practice where they place a mole among the campers to see which ones get seduced and subsequently subjected to shock therapy.
  • The Whale: None of the characters receive any sort of therapy or counseling for their issues. Ellie in particular is never mentioned as having been sent to a mental hospital for her bad habits, such as smoking and abusing drugs.
  • Subverted in The World of Henry Orient; when Marian first hears her new best friend Valerie leaves school early every day to see a psychiatrist, she thinks it's this shocking thing, especially when her mother and her mother's best friend Boothy act shocked when they hear the news. However, it turns out the only reason they were shocked is because of how young Valerie is (13 or so), and both of them each saw a psychiatrist briefly after their respective divorces.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: You'd think that Hank would try to get a therapist to help Charles with his depression and substance abuse, yet it doesn't happen. It could be justified that Xavier wants to avoid mental health professionals because it's suggested that he was treated like a schizophrenic patient as a child, and considering how a few psychiatric practices of the 1940s are viewed as unethical today, Charles has no desire to risk a repeat of his past experience.

  • Defied by Jin and Meiling in Beware of Chicken. Although there's no actual profession of therapy in magical pseudo-ancient China, Jin as an Isekai protagonist from 21st century Canada understands the value of talking out your mental issues and seeking advice; and Meiling is simply a practical person with wisdom beyond her years. Most people in the setting believe that you face the heavens alone; they deliberately encourage their friends and disciples to open up to them and as a result, their whole social group has much better mental health than average.
  • The entire Dollanganger Series could have been avoided if the family had had some competent therapy. Interestingly enough, in If There Be Thorns, Cathy and Chris try to fix their son Bart's problems by taking him to a child psychologist. The first one actually has a few useful insights—for example, how Bart hates himself and thus finds it hard to believe his family genuinely loves him either. But Bart doesn't like that psychologist, and so they then take him to a second psychologist, and this one doesn't seem to yield much.
  • Defied in Dora Wilk Series, as both Szelma and Eryk mention going on therapy sessions to deal with their respective problems.
  • Grimly subverted in Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan. Domestic Abuse victim Mrs. Lamb is seeing a church counselor to cope with the situation, but her husband refuses to join her because he's a counselor himself and, due to his expertise in the matter, believes that it's Never My Fault. The protagonist is understandably unwilling to see him for counseling when her own problems arise.
  • The Hunger Games: The districts don't largely seem to have therapists, leaving the traumatized victors to relive their nightmares yearly as they're forced to participate in the games (though it's implied that Katniss' mother was able to somehow gain access to one in order to get hold of drugs to treat her depression). Exploited by the Capitol to make them broken beyond repair and thus unable to fight back. Subverted in District 13: all refugees are given psychological help and local specialists do everything they can to get Peeta back to his old self after a Mind Rape. Before the final attack on the Capitol, soldiers are checked for possible psychological problems. (Johanna gets sent to a mental facility). Katniss also goes through therapy after her sister’s death.
  • Ward of Hurog has been Obfuscating Stupidity, and therefore is to be sent to an institution for insane nobles, a very nice and comfy place, from which, allegedly, many recovered patients returned to society. When he is brought there, it is with the intent to make him go crazy and stay that way. And he's not the only one getting that treatment.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar series, Mindhealers are a thing, but they're consistently incompetent at seeing that Herald Trainees - teenagers with newly-awakening Psychic Powers who often come from a Dark and Troubled Past and are being trained to serve as agents of the Crown - get so much as five minutes of therapy. When dealing with Talia, they fail to give her therapy or psychic training, and her Gift goes out of control - a situation which the Dean later says "will go in the Records for sheer wrongheadedness."
  • The Laundry Files: Played painfully straight. The Laundry clearly shows concern towards the mental health of its employees, but the attitude of upper management is that alcohol and talking it out with one's peers is a better way of handling things than actual treatment. Some noise is made about the need for secrecy, but seeing as the Laundry has managed to hoover up people who have seen things man was not meant to know from nearly every walk of life, it seems strange that no psychiatrist ever came in contact with a survivor of an Eldritch Abomination attack. When Pete The Vicar joins up, it is ostensibly to do comparative theology, but his solid grounding in disaster psychology and experience dealing with people in various stages of distress leads to his becoming the Laundry's unofficial therapist, and his results are treated as an earth-shattering revelation by the higher-ups.
  • There are no therapists in Middle-Earth of The Lord of the Rings. Therapists do exist in the setting, but to get access to them you need to sail with the Elves beyond the circles of the world into the Undying Lands where the gods live, and so everybody who even briefly carried the One Ring over the course of the saga eventually joins the elves in sailing west to get the help needed to overcome the trauma of having carried the Ring. Mortals with non-ring-related trauma, such as Denethor's anguish at losing his son and stress over the war, go wholly unaddressed.
    • Tolkien wrote the Legendarium during a time where the mentally ill were sent away to not really be seen or heard from, so it's likely that he had no real frame of reference on how to address subjects like post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues. For his part though, as a veteran of World War 1, he did understand the concept of shellshock and how people who have fought in massive, terrible battles will still have trouble explaining how they feel to others.
  • Subverted in My Sweet Audrina; after she was raped, Audrina was taken to a psychiatrist, but the person apparently thought the best way to treat a traumatized child rape victim was through electric shock therapy and her father couldn't bear to put her through that. A bit of therapy could have also helped Vera and prevented the whole novel from happening in the first place.
  • Rob in An Outcast in Another World explicitly notes that Elatra doesn't have therapists. He even checks if there’s a Utility Class of that name – no dice.
  • The Red Vixen Adventures: On Foxen Prime anyways, foxens are supposedly more mentally stable on average than humans so they have very little experience helping those who do develop mental illnesses, House Darktail has to import a psychologist from Earth to help Sallivera with the trauma inflicted by her abusive ex-husband.
  • Schooled in Magic: In this world, a wizard who's mentally unstable does his damnedest to hide it instead of seeking help, because anyone else would suspect that the instability was a result of necromancy.
  • Dr. Lense in the Starfleet Corps of Engineers series has a serious case of PTSD from the Dominion War but specifically chose assignment to the DaVinci because the ship's complement is too small to have a counselor aboard. When Captain Gold finds out her performance as CMO is slipping, he tells her she can work out her issues with him as a sounding board or he'll have her downchecked for duty and booted off the ship pending a full psych workup.
  • The Stormlight Archive: There really are no therapists on Roshar, at least during the era the series takes place in; things might have been better in the days of the Silver Kingdoms. Standard psychiatric care is little more than "put the patient in a dark room with no stimulus so that they don't get worse." In Rhythm of War, Kaladin more or less invents the concept of therapy from first principles... and then refuses to attend the meetings himself.
  • Sweet Valley High: You would think that everything the twins and various other characters have gone through (trials for manslaughter, abductions, attempts on their lives, being stalked by identical impersonators) would qualify them for months and months of therapy. Nope, doesn't happen.
    • Big brother Steve also clearly needs one. Anyone so hung up on the memories of a long-dead girlfriend that he can't bring himself to enter a new relationship is in need of help.
    • This is played with Jessica's friend Lila. Following her near date rape, she goes to therapy at Project Youth (at first just going to get her dad to stop worrying about her), but becomes attached to the therapist there and accuses him of assaulting her when the fight breaks out at the Jungle Prom.
    • Played straight in The Sweet Life, as Jessica and Todd (and Lila and Ken) are having marital problems but they don't see a therapist.
    • For that matter, neither do the Wakefield parents during their marital problems.
    • Other characters too-—Emily Mayer's family could certainly have used some counseling, Bruce could have, etc.
  • Played with in every way in Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga. The main character is from Barrayar, a feudal militaristic culture where one is expected to go through hell and get over it without complaints and definitely without therapy, but his mother is from Beta Colony, a high-tech hyper-sophisticated and modern world where all is well-regulated and therapy is the normal response to any trauma or psychological issue. The trope is inverted in the first book for both worlds: Cordelia's awesome Betan therapists refuse to believe she is actually sane and wasn't brainwashed into falling in love with the enemy and she ends up having to run away, while it's revealed that Barrayaran therapy of the kind Bothari went through is possibly worse than the original trauma. In later books, the trope is played straight (and lampshaded by Cordelia repeatedly), especially where Barrayar is concerned.
  • Whateley Universe:
    • Even with a staff of four full-time counselors and assistance from ARC's therapists and Fubar, the school is all too aware that it still isn't enough, given the unique nature of some of the problems, especially for cases where their powers directly cause behavioral changes (as is often the case for Avatars, due to the passenger that shares their head). In addition, you have trauma cases like Pejuta, kids who have been rejected by their friends and families, kids who have been attacked by other mutants or hunted by Humanity First! and/or the Mutant Commission Office, kids who were subject to abuse due to their mutation, kids who were victims of more mundane, but no less tragic, forms of mistreatment (such as Jade or Circuit Breaker), and even cases of psychic, astral, or magical assaults (such as what Skybolt and Cavalier experienced). Just keeping them all going is a monumental undertaking.
    • The trope more fully plays out in the stories of those who didn't make it to Whateley, such as Imp, Lady Havoc, Conner Edwards, or Christine Manning, for whom there were few if any attempts to help, and those which did come, were too little, too late.
  • Defied in Worm:
    • The Protectorate has therapists on staff, and at one point Weld specifically requests therapy for the Brockton Bay Wards after the 8 Extermination arc, in which Aegis and Gallant died during Leviathan's attack. Taylor notes that having a proper support structure (including easy access to therapy) is one of the big advantages heroes have over villains.
      • That said, having access to therapists and actually making heroes go the therapy are still different things. When making the above request, Weld calls out his superiors for not proactively providing the teenage heroes with mental health support in the first place, considering what their lives are like. Plus it's mentioned that the PRT rotates therapists in order to prevent capes from being manipulated or taken advantage of, something that prevents building a trusting relationship, undermining the entire process.
    • Villains tend to both be unlikely to seek out therapists, and equally unlikely to find one willing to work with them. Presumably more wealthy villains like Coil could provide such services, but unsurprisingly most aren't interested in being a Benevolent Boss. The fact that powers almost exclusively come via Traumatic Superpower Awakening means that almost anyone with powers has some sort of extreme trauma in their past, and is specifically noted as one of the reasons that the word has so many more villains than heroes. This is without even getting into the sort of things capes deal with after getting their powers as well.
    • Then in the Sequel Series, Ward, the main cast are introduced by their shared therapist as part of a group therapy session.

    Live-Action TV 

In General:

  • Some police procedural and military-themed series try to avert this trope with special episodes focused on the main characters being forced to attend mandatory counseling sessions to determine whether they are fit for duty.
    • Person of Interest has the unique distinction of being both a standard procedural and an arc-based Sci-Fi Post-Cyberpunk Crime Drama series at the same time. When Reese goes to therapy in Season 4 as part of his police detective cover identity, his therapist is unable to properly treat his Chronic Hero Syndrome because of the secrets he has no choice but to harbor. Also of note was the first therapist ever shown in the series; he isn't a therapist at all but is instead a psychopathic hacker in a cover identity.


  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • Despite suffering from brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation, and what seems to be a total breakdown following all the trauma he experienced during and after Season 1, Fitz appears to be receiving zero help other than having his physical ailments kept from worsening. The fact that he's clearly experiencing vivid hallucinations, having increasingly violent mood swings, and generally withdrawing into isolation and madness is viewed with helpless sadness by the rest of the team, who can apparently do nothing other than watch him wander around the base in his own little world of Sanity Slippage.
    • While he does make a miraculous recovery by the end of Season 2, the lack of treatment for Fitz's underlying mental health issues does actually come back in Season 5. With reality warping around the Lighthouse thanks to a dimensional rift manifesting people's fears, Fitz begins hallucinating again but mistakes his visions for literal fragments of the other world, leading to him doing some arguably quite terrible things in the belief that his villainous "Doctor" alter ego from Season 4 has manifested as a separate person running around outside of his control, and not (as turns out to be the case) himself acting out the questionable impulses of a secondary personality.
  • In the Black Mirror episode "Beyond the Sea", astronaut David Ross is on a six-year mission when he is forced to watch his wife and children get massacred by a gang of Horror Hippies. Despite his severe trauma, Ground Control's only advice is for his fellow astronaut Cliff to leave him alone.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • In the episode "Beauty and the Beasts", Buffy was sent to see a school counsellor who gave her good advice... only for him to wind up dead, just like the last encouraging teacher she had. Buffy goes through a lot of shit that would mess anyone up for life; killing demons for a living, her entire relationship with Angel (which was at best unhealthily codependent, and at worst dived right into Stalking Is Love territory) which led to a lot of issues with Riley, her mother's illness, dying and coming back to life, her mutually abusive relationship with Spike... Yet she never got any counselling or therapy. The only reasonable excuse is that no one would believe her and would think she's crazy (and considering she actually got put away briefly by her parents at one point in the backstory for trying to come clean...) but they didn't even try to find a therapist who knew about the demon world or may have even been half demon themselves. Giles was employed by a whole organization of people who could've easily found someone to help, but given that a Slayer has a short life expectancy, the Watchers Council likely doesn't bother.
    • Buffy and Faith actually are mentioned as seeing a Watchers Council psychiatrist in "Doppelgangland" right after Faith accidentally killed a human being on patrol, but it's entirely offscreen, this person never surfaces again, and they were apparently both given a clean bill of mental health very quickly (which in Faith's case was a mistake) after filling in all the right answer bubbles on a huge set of printed tests, making it questionable if he was any good at his job or just thought that spreadsheets were the answer to everything.
    • Not just Buffy. The entire Scooby Gang needed therapy at one stage or another. Not only is there all the supernaturally enhanced drama they go through as they transition into adulthood, but Buffy's parents are divorced, Xander's are abusive, and Willow's are neglectful. The entirety of season six could've been avoided if they'd actually sought out counselling. In Buffy's case, it's particularly odd that her mom Joyce, who's otherwise a good parent (or at least the best parent the Scoobies have access to) didn't arrange for her to receive counseling after she and Hank divorced, and after Buffy infamously burned down the gym (to destroy vampires) at her previous high school; instead, Joyce just listens to tapes about how to relate to troubled teens.
    • When Joyce dies of an aneurysm in Season 5, Buffy's younger sister Dawn, who's still in high school, doesn't receive any counseling either. The only time she's called to see a guidance counselor is in one episode of Season 6, and the counselor is a vengeance demon in disguise who's there to manipulate Dawn into making a vengeance wish against her parental figures.
    • They try to avert this again in season seven when Buffy becomes a school guidance counsellor. But considering everything she's been through without getting any help and not exactly dealing with any of it in a responsible manner (e.g. having rough sex with Spike and beating him up in the previous season), it really doesn't work. She's simply not qualified, both professionally and mentally. The school principal was savvy enough to minimize the number of students who visited her; the job was really just a cover for keeping the local Slayer on retainer. Also this season, in "Conversations with Dead People", Buffy finally got a cathartic therapy session... in a graveyard, from a newly-risen vampire who used to be a psych major, right before staking him.
    • Finally in Season 10 (in the comics), Xander starts seeing a therapist who helps him immensely in letting go of his anger issues, Survivor Guilt, and the effects of his Abusive Parents. Of course, by that point it's become The Unmasqued World thanks to the events of Season 8, so he doesn't have to omit anything in their sessions.
  • Cheers: Cliff does try getting therapy for his obnoxious tendencies, but the doctor quickly starts abusing him because of his insufferability.
  • Subverted in Cobra Kai when Miguel takes note of Tory's increasingly aggressive behavior and mental instability, and urges her to seek help before she crosses a line and gets herself in serious legal trouble. She does not take it well.
  • Valence from Dans Une Galaxie Près De Chez Vous is there to avert the trope as the crew's psychologist, the crew just sees her therapies as worse than their trouble.
  • Played every which way on ER:
    • Subverted in one episode in which Luka Kovac appears to be talking to a therapist before it's revealed that she's a prostitute
    • But otherwise played straight with other characters and patients—Hathaway tries to get boyfriend Shep to see a psychiatrist to deal with his PTSD, but he outright refuses to go, or even admit he has a problem. Hathaway, as a result, breaks up with him. And numerous other characters never mention seeing one despite the considerable upheaval in their lives and how badly they're dealing with it.
    • Often, the ER doctors will try to get patients who obviously need psychiatric help admitted to the psychiatric department (or psych, as they call it) only for these patients to be turned away for various reasons. These patients inevitably either come back, having harmed themselves or others, or turn up dead. Most notably, in the episode Be Still My Heart, Lucy and Carter call for a psych consult on a schizophrenic patient but are kept waiting long enough for the patient to have a psychotic break and stab both Lucy and Carter, ultimately killing the former and permanently damaging the latter both physically and psychologically—and while he sees one while in rehab, there's never any mention of him continuing to do so.
  • Game of Thrones: Yara Greyjoy truly loves her brother Theon, but when when they're in Volantis in Season 6 and he still has PTSD from his years of mental and physical torture by Ramsay Bolton, she tells him that if he doesn't want to live he should just kill himself, or he should keep going — though she does apologize for being a little insensitive. This might seem kind of blunt to us, but in the behind-the-scenes videos, the showrunners directly explained that "Yara isn't a trained psychotherapist", most people in Westeros don't really know about PTSD, and the Ironborn in particular are more blunt than others, so they felt that it would be untrue to her background if she weren't kind of blunt in this scene.
  • The Good Place: While there aren't any therapists because no one in paradise is supposed to need one, there is Janet.
    Janet: Well, my job is to make your experience here in the afterlife more enjoyable, so I will try to help you. I am going to need some time to read every book ever written about human psychotherapy. [half-second pause] And now I've done that, so let's begin. Have a seat. [chimes]
    [a chair and a couch have appeared, as well as a table between them with a plant and a box of tissues upon it; Tahani and Janet sit]
    Janet: [wearing glasses and holding a note pad] Hi. I'm your therapist, Janet.
  • El internado: Las Cumbres: For a Boarding School specializing in "problem students", the staff-to-student ratio at Las Cumbres is very low. There doesn't seem to be any counselors or anybody qualified to deal with addiction or mental health issues, beyond the school doctor who issues prescriptions. And he is collaborating with Darío Mendoza in testing potent drugs on the students.
  • Lost in Space (2018): The show plays with this trope in a couple of ways.
    • Judy, the oldest child, suffers a traumatic event early on that leaves her with severe PTSD for two episodes. While psychotherapy is not among the talents of the Robinson family, her father, John, who is a military veteran, offers her emotional support. However, she rejects it, partly out of resentment towards him and partly out of a fear of looking weak. Instead, she gets over her trauma by saving herself from yet another dangerous situation, not something generally recognized as a treatment in the professional field.
    • Dr. Smith poses as a psychologist as part of her cover story; she offers counseling sessions as a means of worming her way into the other characters' confidence and learning their secrets. Worse, at one point she uses this scheme to intentionally manipulate a character into violent behavior by exacerbating their trauma.
  • Merlin (2008): Justified Trope in the case of Merlin. This is maybe a thousand years before therapy was even invented. In fact, Merlin himself may have had to invent therapy out of necessity to deal with everything he goes through. He's basically taken on the role of therapist to all of his friends (Fridge Brilliance as to why he grows more manipulative and darker over the series; he shoulders A LOT of baggage).
  • Normally played invisibly straight in Modern Family. Despite all the dysfunctional crap the family goes through, no one so much as implies some sort of professional help is needed. Not until Alex, stressed over a test, snaps at her own birthday party. The next morning, her parents are trying to figure out what to do (once again not even considering therapy), when Alex walks up and explains she's already found a psychiatrist with good reviews who is covered by their insurance, and she's scheduled an appointment with him later.
    Phil: She's like a self-cleaning oven...
  • The Professionals. In "Wild Justice", Bodie and Doyle are undergoing a full evaluation — both physical and psychological — to determine their fitness for duty. Their boss Cowley mentions that a CI5 agent costs more time and money to train than an airline pilot; they are regarded as highly-trained specialists who must be at the peak of their condition. A dispute arises with the psychiatrist on the evaluation team who thinks that Bodie is suffering from a death wish. He's not—he's planning to murder someone to avenge a former colleague.
  • The Smoke starts out with firefighter Kev Allison being injured in a fire and the child he was trying to save dying. It's suggested that Kev see a therapist after all he's been through, and at first it seems like he is, but then the therapist turns out to be an Imaginary Friend. (The fact that attending therapy wasn't outright required in the first place given everything he'd been through seems odd).
  • Star Trek tried to avoid this somewhat by instituting the position of "Ship's Counselor", which was the role of Star Trek: The Next Generation main cast member Deanna Troi, but still ran into it on occasion. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager had excuses, though: Ezri Dax was still in training when she was assigned as counselor, while Captain Janeway said in an early episode that Voyager hadn't been expected to need one (being that the mission they were supposed to have was a search-and-capture that took place well within shouting distance of a major starbase, Deep Space 9). Chakotay (with his Vision Quests), Neelix (as Morale Officer), and Tuvok (using Vulcan meditation techniques) usually take up the role. It's also something of a Running Gag that actually seeing a counselor always makes the situation worse. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds adds a new complication with Pike and La'an—they can't seek therapy for issues related to their bouts with Time Travel because Temporal Affairs told them it would mess up the timeline and don't have anyone on their staff whose job it is to help people traumatized by anything they've seen on their journeys through the timeline.
  • Played literally straight in The Tribe as it's a world without adults. And a very large portion of the cast could seriously do with one.

  • Quadrophenia features the overlap with Adults Are Useless. Jimmy asks a therapist, vicar, and his mother in the very second song, but it doesn't do any good.

  • In In Strange Woods, Peregrine offhandedly mentions counseling after Jacob's death, but none of it helped. By the time she makes plans for the Final, everyone else has moved on and expects her to do the same.

  • Bleak Expectations:
    • Parodied, when Pip Bin becomes traumatised after a long period being tortured by his arch-nemesis while his family was of no help. The psychiatrist he goes to makes the situation worse, and it all turns out to be part of a plan by said nemesis to steal Pip's fortune.
    • And again when Harry Biscuit and Pippa start experiencing marital difficulties. Since this is Victorian England, marriage counselling is, in Pip's words, "not as advanced as it is now" (where "now" means turn of the 20th century). Harry is shouted down for daring to suggest that as a man he feels anything, and Pippa is told as a woman, science "proves" she cannot think. The marriage falls apart.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: Played extremely straight. There are a lot of characters in the universe suffering from all sorts of mental issues, but the setting seems to be completely devoid of any form of metal health care at all, leading to a lot of Shell Shocked Veterans and more than a few leaders who are outright insane.
  • Inverted in CthulhuTech. The New Earth Government recognizes the inherent mental stability problems resulting from battling things from beyond the stars with Black Box technology created from things man was not meant to know, and as a result, they have an extensive psychiatric care infrastructure that puts anything in reality to shame.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Several of the Primarchs and a great many of their sons desperately needed a more structured kind of counselling than the tried and tested "pick a convenient baseline human or nearby Astartes and monologue to them about your emotions" method, particularly in cases like Perturabo, whose martyr complex and emotionally uptight nature led to an increasingly obsessive resentment of everyone else. Nor did it help that the people helping Lorgar through his personal crisis were already secret cultists of the dark powers who took advantage of his vulnerability to lead him to those gods instead of the one who had rejected him.
    • Oddly enough, averted in some cases: Ciaphas Cain mentions that some soldiers who'd gone through a particularly bad experience (gunning down allied troops to protect their Tau passengers to prevent sparking a war) had talked with the regiment's chaplain and seemed to be doing better for it.

  • I and You: Caroline points out that Anthony should really go see a professional to help deal with the trauma of seeing a kid his age die right in front of him at his basketball game, and wonders why everyone let him go home to work on an English assignment with her like nothing had happened. Anthony brushes her off, but it turns out that the reason no one tried to reach out to him afterwards was that he was the dead boy.

    Video Games 
  • Parodied in Alpha Protocol if Mike is played as a brutal, violent Jerkass to Madison. She'll ask him if he has ever sought professional help. He replies that he hasn't because he killed all his therapists.
  • BlazBlue ultimately invokes the question of whether the world's professional therapists chose to have their 2194 Christmas Ball in Ibukido, as the cast is largely a Dysfunction Junction with their own issues tormenting them. Even Kagura Mutsuki, the most well-adjusted of them, is a veteran of the Ikaruga Civil War with some mental stigma left over, and that's if his crotch rocket isn't hogging the blood. Even worse, of the characters who can actually dispense functional therapy, all of them have their own problems: Litchi is weighed down by her Guilt Complex regarding Roy Carmine (who we know as Arakune) and has gone so far as to mimic his corruption in an attempt to cure him herself; Makoto is trying to keep her personal Pandora's Box of racism issues shut; and Celica is utterly naive and has a bit of a martyr complex to go with it. And that is not to speak of Yuuki Terumi and Relius Clover, who not only are mentally unsound (Terumi moreso) but go around making everything worse. This might have the justifications in the way that compared to its predecessor Guilty Gear (which draws heavy influence in American music), Blazblue is very Japanese-themed, not only its anime influence but also Japan's real-life cultural aversion on psychology.
  • Deconstructed in Blaze Union. We learn very early on that its Broken Hero, Gulcasa, has a lot of serious issues due to having been abused and abandoned by his parents, and he's only able to function because his childhood friends (who are also pretty much his adoptive parents) are there to act as amateur counselors for him. During the canon route of the game, Siskier dies, and this is really only just the start. Gulcasa blames himself for everything and winds up with a raging case of PTSD which makes him so terrified of failure that he stops hesitating altogether and starts acting much more stoically. His remaining childhood friend and mentor mistake his symptoms for Gulcasa losing his humanity, as it was conveniently revealed that he's part demon. And they try to kill him, leaving Gulcasa a complete psychological wreck. The only people who even bother to try to help him have their own agendas, not to mention their own festering cesspools of mental-emotional trauma. In all likelihood, things wouldn't have gone quite so badly for Gulcasa and company three years later if someone had just gotten the poor kid a competent grief counselor.
  • Fire Emblem has had a lot of instances where a therapist could have changed so many things:
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War takes the cake for causing a hell lot of psychological damage to the parents and children from the past and future parts. Some of the villains gleefully go out of their way to make life for the heroes a living hell.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses follows rather closely to Jugdral (mostly because Jugdral was used as an inspiration for Three Houses) with the many playable characters who start out as teenagers:
      • There's Edelgard, who was tortured as a young child and forced to take a second Crest.
      • There's Dimitri, who was traumatized by the Tragedy of Duscur that ended with his whole family slaughtered. Notably, this event became a source of worry from his closest friends: people judge him for having Dedue as his closest ally despite him being from Duscur and being nothing but very loyal to him; and Felix has nothing but utter contempt for him by calling him "the boar" and outright pointing out that Dimitri's friendly behavior is nothing but a facade he puts on to hide his merciless nature. Needless to say, when Dimitri finds out that a close friend of his was the one who murdered his family, the rest of the Academy Arc leaves him as a psychopath bent on gleefully killing the culprit. Besides a few comments here and there, basically no one wants to bother giving him some emotional support even while he suddenly talks just to mention his cynical wishes and excitement to murder anyone getting in his way. In fact, you can't even Support with him because he's too much into deep end to care about sitting for tea. This behavior carried over for 5 years (directly leading to a dark Adrenaline Makeover), though he eventually gets better if his route was pursued.
      • Bernadetta has an abusive dad who locked her in a basement and lashed out at her whenever she stepped out of line and caused her to basically squeal in fear and beg for her life any time any other person shows up from nowhere to talk to her. She's always trying to find a way to stay the hell away from him and is perfectly happy being holed up at Garreg Mach to relax. For added Dramatic Irony, her father is the corrupt Minister of Religion of the Adrestian Empire.
      • Despite how much of The Pollyanna he is, Sylvain hides some dark secrets: he absolutely abhors how women only care about eloping with him because of his Crest giving them a chance to become royalty and have influence by having a child with his Crest. Corruption runs deep in Fodlan that he hasn't had a real relationship with the random women he woos on a daily basis.
  • This trope is literal in Furcadia as psychology has not been invented yet and magic generally only heals the body and not the mind. Several of the gods in this setting are also insane (oh, and like to wander among the mortals...).
  • Most of the plot of God of War could've been avoided if Kratos and the Olympians bothered to sit down and discuss their grievances instead of answering to every slight with cataclysmically Disproportionate Retribution. Zeus, in particular, cannot stop himself from taunting, insulting, and belittling Kratos and overall making him suffer as much as possible at every turn over a prophecy that he's unwittingly steering Kratos towards fulfilling. Hell, the first game alone starts because Kratos would rather have the gods magically remove his nightmares of himself killing his wife and daughter than talk to someone about it.
  • Played with in Injustice 2, where in Intro Quotes Ryan Choi/The Atom suggests that some characters seek therapy. Yet as most of these characters are insane or heavily mentally troubled (such as the Red Hood), none take him up on the idea. Red Hood outright calls murdering criminals his therapy.
  • Key to the plot of Kinder; a running theme is that 'mind illnesses' are not recognized as a real problem in its world, instead attributed to things like "they're just lazy" or "they're just complaining for no reason." Naturally, this causes major problems. The Big Bad Yuuichi, who turned to evil as a result of his hard home life, eventually states that there's probably worlds out there where 'mind illnesses' actually are recognized and treated more seriously.
  • In LISA, it appears that Lisa and Brad never received any form of therapy for their severe trauma, as suggested by the fact that Lisa commits suicide at a young age, and by the time the game's events take place, Brad is still traumatized to the point of substance-dependency and hallucinations.
  • Night in the Woods plays with this trope. There is indeed a therapist on Possum Springs, however, said therapist is also the only doctor in town, so he fills in roles of every medical field for the people in the town, including also orthodontist. The result is that he, while acting as a therapist for the town, is lampshaded by characters to be incompetent at it, with people who go to see him getting none of the treatment they actually need. Mae was one of those people. After the Killer Incident, she was sent to therapy with him, where she talked about her problems, which were clear signs of dissociation. His only treatment to her at the time was giving her a diary, instead of any treatment with medicine she might need.
  • A lot of the problems in OMORI might've been avoided if the title character had received even a lick of professional help, though it's justified since the only "help" would come from a crazy technicolor Dream Land that's more insane than he is. And then the justification goes out the window when we learn that Omori is the alter ego of Sunny, who lives in the real world and is clearly not right in the head after the death of his sister four years ago. There's more to the story than it seems, but even for those not privy to the Awful Truth, apparently someone decided that Sunny seeing his big sister dead before he even turned thirteen was not worth counselling. Presumably, Sunny himself avoids seeing a therapist because he believes he would have to confess accidentally killing Mari and end up in jail, or he fears it would get out and his loved ones would hate him for it.
  • Persona 5:
    • Even after Kamoshida's horrifying crimes come to light, there's no sign of any sort of mental health services at the school for its students, many of whom are doubtless deeply traumatized, one to the point of Attempted Suicide.
    • Due to her harsh Dark and Troubled Past, Futaba Sakura became a full-time shut-in. Even if Sojiro had brought a doctor to see her, she just wouldn't go out of her room to receive treatment. The team manages to heal her by helping her face and defeat her inner fears of a false cognition within her mind. They then decide to help her get used to living outside her home by spending time with her. It works.
  • Twisted Wonderland: It's become something of a fandom joke that Yuu is basically Night Raven College's resident therapist because everyone there has issues and there doesn't seem to be an official school psychologist.
  • There is not a single major character in Undertale who couldn't be reasonably theorized to be mentally ill, but none of them ever mention therapy. Notably, Sans and Napstablook probably have depression, and Alphys is explicitly straight-up suicidal. They do get help... from an ambiguously aged (but presumably preteen) kid.
  • Justified in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. Even though quite a few of the Resistance are in serious need of therapy, including (but by all means not limited to) B.J, Grace, and Wyatt, they are also wanted fugitives in a world dominated by Those Wacky Nazis, who in real life considered mental illness and physical disabilities to be executable offences. For instance, there was a mental health hospital in the prequel - and then the Nazis purged the hospital, shooting most of the patients in their beds and the doctors when they started fighting back.
  • For the residents of Keves and Agnus in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, this is justified, since they're artificially aged up in stasis tubes to fight in wars and only have a lifespan of 10 years, meaning there would be little time for them to vent their issues, especially after it's revealed that the characters are reincarnated every time they die with no old memories. However, therapy would've really helped a member of the City, who does have a natural human lifespan, that being Shania. Aside from Hollis, who only specializes in physical treatment and maternity, the City has no known medical professionals, much less mental health professionals, and because Shania's mother viewed her as a failure child for wanting to create artistic projects and not help with Aionios' Forever War, she grew to be self-resenting and see life as inherently worthless. Sena comes close to setting Shania on the straight and narrow thanks to her rousing speeches to her, but one manipulation from Moebius later, and Shania's nihilism and self-hatred come to a boiling point when she comes within a hair's breadth of destroying the City and successfully manages to kill herself.
  • Justified in Yume Nikki, as the protagonist is a hikikomori that adamantly refuses to leave her room to see a therapist, despite being in dire need of one.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney: Quite a few characters are pretty obviously in need of somebody to help them deal with their post-traumatic stress:
    • Miles Edgeworth witnessed the murder of his own father at the age of nine after being trapped in an elevator in an earthquake and is shown to have panic attacks in earthquakes even as an adult. He also avoids elevators whenever possible, a major inconvenience considering he works on the tenth floor of a building. He even believed himself to be the murderer having nightmares about it nearly every night until proven innocent.
    • Ema Skye witnessed a murder at fourteen, and is still shaken from it two years later. Her sister, who takes care of her, is pretty well-off, so it's not inconceivable that she could get a therapist.
    • Athena Cykes is the closest aversion in the entire series, being an attorney who specializes in reading and addressing abnormal emotions, but even she bears emotional scars so deep that she's one of only two characters to show black Psyche-locks. She was a witness to the murder of her mother as a child and watched as one of her students was convicted of the crime, studying law in the hope of proving his innocence. She didn't know that the accused man had framed himself to save his mentor's daughter from a false conviction, since the murderer was a spy whose true identity was a complete mystery.
  • A therapist actually does appear in Daughter for Dessert, but she proves to be a quack in her only appearance.
  • In Fate/stay night, Shirou is suffering from a form of PTSD where he feels the need to protect people at the cost of his own well-being due to being one of the few survivors of the Fuyuki Fire. This causes trouble a few times, including Shirou shielding Saber from a strike from Berserker, which should've horrifically killed him if it weren't for Avalon.
    • Kirei Kotomine qualifies as this. He feels no empathy for people (including his "loved" ones, such as his father and wife), except that he enjoys bringing pain and death to them (including people who love him)... and he hates it. In the prequel Fate/Zero, Gilgamesh exploits this by telling Kotomine to embrace it, leading to where he is in the present. Considering his father was somewhat aware he had issues and his wife was aware of it, you'd think that he'd have seen a therapist sooner or later.
  • Becca from Melody is studying psychology... so why didn’t she see a psychologist herself to deal with her crippling shyness?

  • Rita received physical therapy while in recovery with the Cave Dwellers after her surgery. She mentions having to relearn how to walk and talk.
  • Rita, Lara, and all members of the hunters' tribe with a sociopathic brain type are taught to recognize emotions in others and gain control over their own emotions — developing "cognitive empathy" in lieu of the emotional empathy they lack — in order to function properly in society. Years of this therapy instill a subpersonality Note  that "controls" the sociopath's violent nature, molding natural-born killers into guardians and leaders.
  • In Something*Positive there are many cases of this, sometimes lampshaded, but the one that tends to stick out most is when Davan never gets help after being raped by a woman he was attracted to. Sadly this is probably Truth in Television for many rape victims, especially male ones, and especially when the rapist is a woman. That example is possibly justified, given his in comic discussion of the subject. Sadly this attitude is also Truth in Webcomics too.
  • Played with in Spacetrawler. The I.A. Starbanger does have a Therapy-bot, but he's terrible: his therapy consists solely of telling patients that their feelings are irrational. Eventually, Martina realizes that one of her crew desperately needs treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, so she replaces Therapy-bot with a qualified therapist—the bartender bot.
  • Played with in FreakAngels comics. Sirkka is the local equivalent of a psychologist and helps abuse victims and people mind raped by Mark. Her own love life, on the other hand, is a total mess. Other Freakangels are not much better with the group consisting of The Ophelia, an Ineffectual Loner, a Knight Templar, a guy driven crazy by his own guilt, A God Am I wannabe and a few other dysfunctional personality types. Some hide it better than others. In the end, they all get a quick therapy from Arkady of all people and Luke is fixed on his own request. Even Mark seems to be much more sane. It is implied that their problems didn't magically disappear, but they will eventually get over their issues with some love and hard work. They are True Companions after all.
  • Zig-zagged in A Loonatic's Tale. There are, in fact, therapists, they're even major characters in the comic, but they have a whole host of psychological issues all their own which may or may not prevent them from actually doing their patients any good (at least one is too apathetic to do his job, so he just medicates them into oblivion). On top of that, most of them reckon that, since they're therapists, they're immune to psychological disorders, and wouldn't need help even if they weren't.
  • Zig-zagged in Better Days. After Fisk hits his principal with a baseball bat for trying to rape his mother, the police officer who arrives on the scene gives Fisk the number of a child psychologist for him to meet with to deal with the trauma of the situation. The chapter ends with Fisk meeting the psychologist and, when asked how he feels, gives a very frank explanation of how he felt completely justified in what he did, even if he knows he shouldn't. The psychologist smirks and draws a dollar sign on her notepad, implying that she is just interested in milking money out of his case. Shortly after though, it's shown that Fisk is continuing with his therapy sessions and that they're very helpful in helping him deal with being coerced into sex with Nikki, a young girl who was sexually abused by her father. The psychologist also helps out by investigating Nikki's home life, learning that her dad is a wanted criminal, and having Sheila keep Nikki out of the way on the day the police plan to raid her home.
  • Zig-zagged in Sexy Losers: talk radio couples counselor Dr. Lovetalk typically gives advice that is well-meant and intelligent, but completely inapplicable to the situations of her callers.
  • In It's Walky!, while the series mostly played it for laughs, the lack of mental health treatment for the Abductees is palpable and, in the end, tragic. The idea that the best way to help some 600-odd young adults with superhuman powers who have been repeatedly been abducted by aliens, experimented on, subjected to bizarre forms of torture, and then had most (but not quite all) of their memories of the events erased, is to separate them from friends and family, arm them with high-tech alien weaponry, give them secretive police powers, and let them loose on their abductors, should have been enough to make the original Big Boss' head explode at the thought of the liability he'd be taking on. The subject did get a few lampshades hung on it, but it really was incredibly reckless by Real Life standards.
  • Played with in Dominic Deegan. Both Szark and Snowsong go to the Aberthast Cathedral to get mental help after their introductory arcs, the characters generally do talk about their problems and take actions to work through them in a safe way and therapy in general is mentioned to exist in the setting. But neither Dominic nor Luna, the two people with the most mental burdens, are shown actually going to one. This eventually catches up to Dominic when he has a public breakdown and comes dangerously close to undergoing a full magical meltdown.
  • Legostar Galactica introduces Counselor Alice Tolman fairly early in Season 1 specifically to avert this, but she's got a number of issues of her own and Angrius points out that she has no one to turn to.
  • Played for Drama in the autobiographical Joe vs. Elan School. All of Elan's "therapies" are handled by students and staff who have no professional qualifications of any kind. Chapter 11 explicitly mentions that the school's attack therapy wasn't overseen by any licensed professionals.

    Web Original 
  • Goes both ways in Brave New World Universe: The original character, Arachnya desperately needs a therapist at one point — her father is murdered because of who she is, and she resorts to drinking to dull the pain. She's fifteen years old. She doesn't get professional help.
  • The Dream SMP is a Dysfunction Junction where almost every member has experienced some form of trauma and has to cope with it through their own means, healthy or not. Justified by the fact that no one there is a qualified psychiatrist and even Puffy, the one person who has decided to take up the role of therapist, has her own problems that effectively take her out of the role for the time being. This ultimately becomes deconstructed and Played for Drama, as the resident Woobies, Destroyers of Worlds and jaded idealists, Wilbur and Quackity, would not have spiraled so badly or turned out this way if they had received psychological help for the trauma they had experienced.
  • This trope is deconstructed in Funny Business, in that the character who desperately needs psychiatric attention is hiding any indication that something's wrong. In other words, the only reason there are no therapists is that the patient doesn't want to go to one, which is sadly Truth in Television for some victims of depression.
  • Linkara discusses this in his review of House of M, disgusted by the fact that a deeply troubled and hurting Scarlet Witch is instead sent away to Xavier and Magneto's care where six months of psychic powers doesn't help her at all and the only recourse seems to be to put her down. While he agrees that that may be a last resort, he can't stand the fact that there doesn't seem to be any kind of doctor — heroic or muggle — who could help people out, though he quickly points out Doc Samson and asks why he wasn't brought in, either. He does it again with Heroes in Crisis, which he rips apart the fact that, instead of actual doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists, Sanctuary is run by an AI that supposedly has the "best traits" of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman.
  • The Nostalgia Critic used to mention going to a therapist a lot, but that stopped, probably because the character was getting more and more damaged and it was funnier that way. In fact, a running gag among multiple reviewers is their constant danger of insanity due to the bad things they are "forced" to experience. Plenty of reviews have gags where the reviewer pops "happy pills" like they were candy, chugs from a bottle of booze, or is forcibly restrained by men in white coats. Some have even tried to destroy the world in a bout of rage. Spoony deserves special mention as a full-on insane convicted serial killer.note 
  • Pirates SMP: Alluded to on Day 36, following the server-wide event "In Too Deep". After investigating the Whirlpool and watching Aimsey get Killed Off for Real with most of the server, Acho asks the Travelling Merchant if there's anywhere around to get therapy or get drunk. The Merchant directs star to the tavern in town, with no further mention of getting anyone any psychological help.
  • Played with in Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Canon characters traumatized by the events of a story to a degree beyond what a simple memory wipe can fix are sent to FicPsych for more significant treatment. Agents are also heard of going there after particularly bad missions, but therapy for them is only enough to get them back onto the field instead of fixing whatever innate problems they had before signing up.
  • Played with by the Freelancer Program of Red vs. Blue, which has the Counselor as its number two leader. Only problem is that he doesn't actually care about mental health, only whether or not the Agents are at their peak in terms of combat ability. Agent Washington, implied to have spent considerable time with him after being driven insane by Epsilon, is afterwards notably more efficient, less empathetic, and only recovers a semblance of normality by taking over for Church as the Gulch's self-appointed Straight Man.
  • RWBY is set in a world with both advanced medical technology and soulless beasts known as Grimm that are drawn to negative emotions and have regularly destroyed kingdoms in the past. Despite this, therapy doesn't seem to exist. When Yang hallucinates Mercury attacking her and shoots him in the leg, General Ironwood and Velvet both react to this by saying that it's "normal" for Huntsmen and Huntresses to hallucinate sometimes and the only consequence is that she's banned from the tournament. When Yang falls into a deep depression after losing her arm, Taiyang is unable to help her. While nearly every character has mental problems and trauma, none of them suggest therapy or anything similar. The closest thing the world has to therapy is the Blacksmith, an entity from another dimesnion that was created by an omnisicent divine tree for the purpose. When Ruby tries to kill herself in that dimension, the Tree takes her and brings her to the Blacksmith who gives her magical Epiphany Therapy. There might be some justification to this, as the world is a battleground for a Secret War against Salem whose primary tactic is to use her opponents' emotional flaws against them and sow fear and hatred among the populace. It's possible that she sabotaged or else destroyed any developments in psychiatry as a threat to her plans.
  • Syera of Springhole considers this a harmful trope because it makes it harder for people to realize they can get help for their problems. But xe also recommends showing the way therapy works in real life (i.e. not a magic cure that fixes everything immediately).

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • Zig-zagged as Ooo is a very strange place with a lot of even stranger people, but there actually are mental health services for those who need them. For a lot of the earlier episodes, however, this trope was played straight, with people such as Lemongrab and Ice King basically just being dealt with when they caused trouble and ignored when they didn't. Both of them have now been getting a lot more help.
    • Played straight with Finn, since There Are No Human Therapists. He has a mental vault he puts his traumatizing moments in and has been through plenty of experiences being the hero of Ooo while also being the Morality Pet to Princess Bubblegum and Marceline.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Double Subversion thanks to most of the adults being useless — the school's counselor Mr. Small is a recurring character, but he almost always makes things much worse.
  • As Told by Ginger:
    • Lampshaded in one episode where Ginger becomes jealous of Darren's new relationship with Miranda. Of course, she didn't technically see a psychologist.
      Ginger: It's just that Dr. Phonsfeelings said—
      Darren: Whoa, you went to see a therapist?
      Ginger: Not exactly. She was on Channel 9.
    • Said TV psychologist appears in another episode and causes more problems when Ginger starts freaking out that her mother is still single.
    • And inverted in another episode where Ginger is sent to the school psychologist because she writes a poem about a girl who wishes to disappear. Everyone assumes Ginger has suicidal intentions because of this, but she's actually fine.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes: Hank Pym fakes his death, then goes around with a new personality and calling himself Yellowjacket, who is much more ruthless and prone to violence. Everyone is aware that is unhealthy, but no one mentions therapy.
  • Infinity Train: People typically go into the Train if they're going through some sort of trauma which can range from grief of losing a loved one, going through a divorce, or the death of a pet lizard. And yet there's no signs of actual therapy in that universe that could easily fix these problems instead of stranding people in a Death World for months or even years on end.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: At first characters would go through one-episode events caused by old traumas or mistakes and not have it commented on, to the point that several villains had Freudian Excuses that only got so bad because there was no one to help them. However, mental health improves over the course of the series. Princess Celestia tasked one of the main characters with reforming a villain, Princess Cadance is known to reignite a couple's love, and Twilight Sparkle helped to rehabilitate a former cult leader. Even the B-plot Cutie Mark Crusaders have moved into the field of cutie mark advice — and given that ponies consider cutie marks a huge part of their identity, that can be considered some form of therapy. Perhaps most importantly, Princess Luna visits ponies in their dreams (especially foals) and helps them work through whatever problems are giving them nightmares. Note that the villains with Freudian Excuses all suffered their trauma long before Luna was freed from being Nightmare Moon, and we see several foals who could have easily gone in the same direction without her help.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: Zig-zagged. Although initially mistaken for a Superpowered Evil Side, over the course of the series, it becomes more and more clear that TKO is born not of evil, but of psychological problems, and is essentially an embodiment of things that KO refuses to accept about himself. Nobody comments on the fact that the kid has multiple identities, nor do they suggest that he get help — KO instead deals with this on his own, with mixed results. The repressed anger issues which are a major part of what TKO resulted from are, to some extent, addressed — his mother tried to teach him ways to deal with said anger when he was younger, and his disregarding those methods is more-or-less the reason why TKO exists — but nobody helps with or talks about his issues much beyond that. Ultimately, KO manages to figure things out on his own and undergo a Split-Personality Merge at the end of the series.
  • The Owl House: It's canon that Luz has ADHD, implied that she suffers from a social anxiety disorder and struggles with her mental health in general. All of which greatly impact her life. There is also no indication that anyone in her life ever thought she would benefit from professional help. Not when her father dies. Not when she has well-documented difficulties socializing. Not when her behavior becomes increasingly disruptive and dangerous to herself and those around her. Nothing. When it is decided that something needs to be done, the only solution anyone has is to send her away to camp hoping it will "fix" her rather than try to diagnose and treat her obvious mental health issues.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: There's a reason that one of the fandom's most popular memes is "My Baby Needs Advanced Therapy".
    • The Horde is particularly bad about it; Catra's issues are basically just left to fester and develop into full subscriptions until she goes screaming off the deep end and tries to end the world.
    • Likewise, Hordak has no access to professional help in the Horde after he incorrectly believes that Entrapta betrayed him and spirals into a depression in "Coronation".
    • Bright Moon is a far healthier environment by any measure, but it is telling that neither her True Companions nor her liege lady give any thought to seeking a professional's help in keeping Adora's martyrdom complex, self-esteem issues, and PTSD symptoms down to a dull roar.
    • Even Bow suffers from this, confessing that he's sick of always being upbeat and working to keep the gang together when he's got his own problems to deal with and is exhausted by battles and bickering friends.
    • Similarly, Glimmer gets shoved into a position of high authority while still grieving the loss of the most important person in her life, and then people are surprised when this turns out badly. It turns out that a couple of hugs from your True Companions are no substitute for actually learning how to deal with grief constructively.
  • South Park: Double Subversion in that there are numerous mental health officials, but they are generally depicted as incompetent and misguided at best and sociopathic and manipulative at worst. This is best demonstrated in "Ass Burgers", where Stan does not receive the help he needs for his depression because everyone was so stupid that they misinterpreted it as a sign of Asperger's Syndrome.
  • Averted in Star Trek: Lower Decks as the USS Cerritos has Dr. Migleemo on board, even if he’s a little too happy with the food metaphors. It’s downplayed in the episode "The Inner Fight" as Tendi suggests sending Mariner to Migleemo to figure out why she’s on a self-destructive bender, but there’s time as they've been assigned to find and retrieve disgraced cadet Nick Locarno and they need a distraction before Mariner takes over and goes nuts.
  • The Tick: Subverted with Big Shot, a parody of nineties antiheroes in general and The Punisher in particular. In "The Tick vs The Ideamen", he is a clearly unstable maniac who riddles random things with bullets until they resemble skulls; the Tick warns him that "Guns and superheroes don't mix. Seek professional help." When he reappears in "The Tick vs The Tick", he has been to therapy and, while he still has anger issues, he has them under control and is overall a calm, stable man who even invites the other Tick to attend his group sessions to work out his own issues.
  • The Transformers: The episode "Webworld" is about the Decepticons finally getting sick of Galvatron being insane and sending him to a planet whose hat is curing the mentally ill. Galvatron just ends up ravaging the planet.
  • Winx Club: Played with. The Trix are sent to a place where they are supposed to be reformed, but it only manages to tick them off even more.
  • Young Justice (2010): Zig-zagged. Black Canary is a trained therapist and is often shown having sessions with the superhero teens after traumatizing events, as well as mandatory routine checkups.
    • When Arsenal begins to suffer from serious issues that have interfered with their missions more than once Nightwing benches him, which is pretty much the same as telling him he's off the Team until he can deal with his personal demons. Although this gets somewhat subverted in that no one thought to have him counseled by Black Canary before he joined the Team, despite it being clear he was still deeply traumatized over getting kidnapped, having his arm chopped off, being put in cryogenic stasis, replaced with a clone, and thought to be dead by just about everyone to the point he actually tried to murder Lex Luthor for revenge and came damn close to doing it.
    • She also counsels the children (and grownup driver) who were on the school bus that Klarion the Witch Boy hijacked into a journey through space and time in Season 4.
    • Finally, she gets Beast Boy to admit that he needs help after his Trauma Conga Line throughout the previous seasons finally catches up with him and he alienates everyone around him until M'gann strong-arms him into going to therapy.

Alternative Title(s): There Are No Psychologists, There Are No Psychiatrists