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"Ha, therapy is for losers. (Beat) I Made Myself Sad."
Zack, Echo Chamber

In this 'verse, the problem isn't that There Are No Therapists—the characters have just decided they're too cool for therapy. The concept of counseling, therapy, or treatment is discussed or brought up, but it's rejected.

The characters may feel this way originally, but usually slowly realize the value of therapy and come around. If they don't accept therapy, this will probably lead to a Warped Aesop. If they do, this will likely lead to Epiphany Therapy, and further visits are never brought up again. Another very common variation features the characters claiming this, not knowing that they're one Gilligan Cut away from bawling their eyes out on a couch. If it's a Police Procedural or military drama and the protagonist is required to see a pscyhologist before being returned to "active duty," then they'll demand that the psychologist just "sign the damn paper already."

In major examples, characters might actually say this trope word for word, and reject the idea of counceling despite intense psychological issues or self destruction. In minor examples, the characters will probably just insist that they can handle their problems, a therapist couldn't help with their super special problems, or that they're just too busy.

More prevalent among men than women.

Examples of Therapy Is for the Weak include:



"Therapy is for the weak!"


Comic Books

  • X Factor: Doc Samson is a psychologist, and the team members pretty much sneer at seeing him ... but they eventually come around.
  • In 52, Alan Scott refuses counseling after his daughter Jade's death and the Zeta Beam incident, because he thinks he must appear stronger than that for other heroes who have suffered during the same events.

Fan Works

  • Astral Journey: It's Complicated: After being sectioned, Melanie makes two escape attempts from the psych ward during the elevation period. She's sent back after both attempts, forcing Emma and Victoria to talk some sense into her.


  • In Analyze This, mob boss Paul Vitti thinks that therapy is for pussies and homosexuals, but due to extenuating circumstances he goes to see a therapist. He has this exchange with his therapist, Ben.

Paul: "If I talk to you and you turn me into a fag, I'm gonna kill ya, you understand?"
Ben: "Can we define 'fag'? Because some feelings may come up--"
Paul: "I go fag, you die. Got it?"
Ben: "Got it."

  • Will from Good Will Hunting is forced to see a therapist as part of a deal allowing him to forgo jail time for an assault. A troubled genius, Will treats the first few therapists he meets with contempt, but eventually begins to open up once Sean Maguire pushes back against his attitude.


  • Flowers in the Attic: This recurs.
  • Black Dagger Brotherhood: At first Zsadist steadfastly refuses to talk about his abuse, owing at least partly to the shame and unresolved guilt and horror, but not long before his daughter is born he begins talking privately to Mary—a trained therapist—and seems to be benefitting greatly from their sessions.

Live Action Television

  • On How I Met Your Mother, Barney refuses to go to therapy and instead sneaks into Lilly's kindergarten class to participate in "Feelings Hour".
  • Numb3rs: Don wants to the therapist to just sign the paper and get on with it. He has no interest in actually engaging. Eventually, the shrink brings him around.
  • Bones: Similar to the above example. The macho man Booth decides that Gordon Gordon Wyatt should just get him back on active duty and Sweets should just leave him alone. They both bring him around.
  • NCIS: Also similar to the NUMB3RS example. The team finally gets some long overdue therapy. It . . . seems to help. A little.
  • The Mentalist: It is implied that Patrick Jane believes that from the pilot. However, it later transpires that he actually saw one for a lengthy period after shutting down once he came across the corpses of his family, and benefitted from it.
  • Jack from 30 Rock, good God. One of his most famous lines:

I believe that when you have a problem you talk it over with your priest, or your tailor, or the mute elevator porter at your men's club. Then you take that problem and you crush it with your mind-vise. But for lesser beings, like curly haired men, or people who need glasses, therapy can help.

  • Gilmore Girls features the mild humourous version. Lorelai/Rory have both dismissed therapy as unnecessary, only to end up talking for hours or bursting into to tears and spilling their guts, respectively.
  • House: House has very litle faith in mental health.
  • In Scrubs, Turk concedes to Carla as far as attending their couples therapy, but refuses to actually say anything.
    • Carla later has this attitude about getting help for her postpartum depression. Jordan, however, emphatically denies it:

Jordan: You can't solve this through willpower, or positive thinking, or taking advice from a Hollywood actor and the dead science fiction writer he worships. You need some help.


Western Animation:

  • In an episode of King of the Hill, Bill tries to kill himself. Peggy suggests sending him to a therapist, but Hank only responds "He's not crazy, he's just suicidal".

Video Games

  • In Fallout: New Vegas, Corporal Betsy, one of a group of snipers, got caught and raped by a raider, and after escaping she went back to work like nothing happened. She didn't want to show any weakness to her battle buddies, so she didn't seek therapy, but convincing her that she does indeed need to seek therapy is one of the side-missions in the game.

Real Life

  • This is a major stigma for people with real mental health issues. Hollywood has so stigmatized therapy that the prevailing belief a lot of the time is that people who seek out therapy are just too weak to pull themselves out of it on their own.
  • This generally inverted in real life, especially for those who have gone through psychological trauma of some kind or are deep in denial. It takes a lot of guts to face your own problems. Therapy is for the strong.
  • General Patton publicly called PTSD sufferers "weaklings." It was a . . . different era.
    • Even now, the military has a rather...interesting relationship with therapy. On the one hand, modern armies are much better at screening out the mentally unfit and helping soldiers who've been through traumatic experiences. On the other hand, there's still a prevailing attitude of hostility towards the mental health profession, especially among the combat arms troops. The fact that visiting a shrink or taking anti-depressants is a good way to get one's security clearance called into question doesn't help matters.