As we come to the end of May and close out Mental Health Awareness Month, we here at Geek Girl Authority felt it was only right to highlight a few of our favorite fictional mental health professionals. Though these characters aren’t real, the help and advice they offer is. Sometimes, you just need an outside opinion on a situation, sometimes you need a little help processing life, and sometimes you need medical balancing. No matter which camp you fall into, talking to a therapist or a counselor is nothing to be ashamed of. The stigma behind seeking a mental health professional is something that needs to be left in the past. We are doing our part by showcasing these fine people and the advice they have to give.
Counselor Deanna Troi (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
“As ship’s counselor, you have to get them to talk about things they don’t want to reveal.”
Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) cares for an entire spaceship of people while also balancing other ship’s duties. Being half-Betazoid, she has a slight advantage with her natural empathic abilities, which allow her to sense and “read” her patients’ emotions and intentions (with their consent, of course). She can suss out what her patients really need and help guide them to it. However, this ability is only a tool in her belt, something she has lived with and honed all her life. Counselor Troi doesn’t rely on her natural gift, though; she has a degree in psychology that makes her more than qualified to sit her position aboard the Enterprise. In this short scene with Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), Deanna has lost her empathic abilities thanks to an encounter with a new species and suffers a minor crisis of self. While contemplating what to do, stay as counselor or leave the ship, she has a self-realization while explaining the role of a counselor or therapist. It is this interaction and explanation that makes Deanna the perfect opening to this list of fantastic therapists.
Guinan (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
First, let’s acknowledge that Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Guinan is not a licensed therapist/counselor/mental health professional. However, she is a bartender and bartenders are notoriously known for being excellent soundboards to one’s personal problems.
Guinan is also El-Aurian, a race known for their listening skills. Guinan always has calm, wise counsel for Enterprise crewmembers who are having issues. From her perch in the ship’s lounge, Ten Forward, she never ceases to recognize when a crewmember is troubled. During her time on the Enterprise, she has given counsel to her looooong-time friend Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), advised Worf (Michael Dorn) on being a responsible parent, painfully and gut-wrenchingly told Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) that she is in the wrong timeline and actually dead, and has helped Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) when he lost a love. Take a look at the clip below and see Guinan in action. You’ll want to make a trip to Ten Forward right away.
Dr. Noelle Akopian (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a show about the emotional and mental health journey of a young, charismatic woman, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), living in West Covina, California. Despite the name, this show doesn’t adhere to the stereotypical “crazy ex-girlfriend” tropes that many TV shows and movies often rely on. Instead it focuses on Rebecca as she tries to navigate her life through song while coping with her mental health and eventually her Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis.
Throughout it all, Rebecca relies on the care and unwavering patience of her psychiatrist, Dr. Noelle Akopian (Michael Hyatt). Even as Rebecca constantly overrides Dr. Akopian’s sage advice with her own “Bunch” logic, Dr. Akopian refuses to give up on her. Through sympathy, understanding, and honesty, Dr. Akopian provides Rebecca with much needed tough love. Her words make sense, and to anyone who listens, they are a much-needed talk to all the doubts we have in ourselves. You can see her in action in the clip below, where she disputes Rebecca’s claims that she is not capable of being loved. It is something we all need to hear sometimes.
Dr Andrea Latemendi (Batgirl)
Who saves a superhero from the villains that terror them inside their own minds? In Batgirl’s case, that person is Dr. Andrea Latemendi who serves as her psychologist after the caped crusader is shot through the spine by the Joker. Her words of wisdom helped guide Batgirl back into her role. The best part about Latemendi though? The character is based on the real-life psychologist Dr. Andrea Letamendi, who has worked alongside DC and Gail Simone to help create a realistic experience for Batgirl that would ring true to those who experience it in the real world.
Dr. Linda Martin (Lucifer)
When the literal devil is your patient, how do you react? When Dr. Linda Martin (Rachael Harris) received confirmation from Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) that he was, in fact, the fallen angel in charge of Hell currently living on Earth, she kind of lost it. But, in time, she accepted the fact that Heaven and Hell exist and that supernatural beings were choosing to come to her for help. She may not always get through to her patients, but she does her best to guide them and offer advice on how to interact with humans and each other. Even when she is off the clock, she is still in therapist mode, whether she’s at the bar or just hanging out. That 24/7 work-life would make anyone snap, but sometimes, that is exactly what her patients need. This short clip from Lucifer with the devil and his right-hand demon, Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt), shows just that. Therapy works if you have the right therapist!
And there you have it! Five of our favorite fictional mental health professionals dishing out advice. Whether you need the gentle nudging of Counselor Deanna Troi, Guinan’s bartender ear, the tough love approach of Dr. Noelle Akopian, the reality-crashing Dr. Andrea Latemendi method, or the exasperatedly to the point straightforwardness like Dr. Linda Martin, rest assured that there is a counselor out there for you. Treat your brain just like the rest of your body and find a doctor when needed. There is no shame in caring for your mental health. If it helps, remind yourself that even heroes like Batgirl and supernatural beings like the devil see a therapist regularly. If you could visit any fictional therapist, who would you see? Perhaps there’s an equivalent real-life version out there?
This article was originally published on 5/30/20