In 1958 psychologist Joyce Brothers was a lone voice sharing sex and relationship advice on television. Today mental health issues dominate TV programming, and stigmas linked with seeking therapy have diminished in turn. But not all the changes are positive. In 1987 psychiatrist Irving Schneider observed three main caricatures of mental health professionals that still linger in popular culture: the sadistic Dr. Evil, perfect Dr. Wonderful, and nutty Dr. Dippy. Experts have also criticized crime dramas for overrepresenting the mentally ill as violent. Tropes notwithstanding, the rising presence of psychology on TV makes one thing clear: the doctor is on!
This article was originally published with the title "Psychology: As Seen on TV!" in SA Mind 23, 4, 8-9 (September 2012)