It seems that therapy is a frequent subject for cartoons—the most famous perhaps being Charles Schultz’s “The Shrink is In” cartoons which really hit home with so many mental health professionals and patients, even to this day.
Cartoonist and illustrator Mark Hill*, whose work has been published in over 100 magazines and newspapers including Time Magazine, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and others has created cartoons about our favorite Therapy Soup topic.
Welcome, Mark. It’s amazing that every facet of life, including and perhaps especially psychotherapy, is a subject for cartoons.
Yes, cartoons involving therapy really seem to resonate with people, especially the classic Peanuts cartoons with Charlie Brown going to Lucy for therapy. In an old interview with Psychology Today, Charles Schulz said he found that most people could relate to Charlie Brown’s feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, and a desire to be liked. Whether it is recognizing a universal human condition such as that — or more specifically to seeing a character in therapy — to be reminded that we are not alone is comforting. (And often funny.)
As for other cartoons dealing with therapy, there was a syndicated comic strip in the 90’s called Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, (named after the animated series on Comedy Central), but it did not last long.
There have been thousands of single panel cartoons covering the subject of therapy, but “The Psychiatrist Booth” in Peanuts became so iconic that I think other comic strip cartoonists have stayed away from any similar episodic themes.
Can you share any cartoons related to this topic?
Sure, here are a couple:
They range from cartoons created for clients, for magazines, and one from my days as a comic strip creator. Also, I illustrated an upcoming book for psychotherapists Kate Scharff, LCSW-C and Lisa Herrick, PhD .
Dr. Abraham Twerski is a psychiatrist, an ordained rabbi, as well as a prolific author. Some of his books feature Peanuts cartoons which he uses to great effect. Why do you think cartoons hit home in ways other formats don’t?
Cartoons are quick-hitting and require little time investment for the reader. Also, when you spot one, (whether in a book, or some other venue), you know immediately that something funny is coming. With written humor, there is no highlighted area saying “joke here – be sure to stop and read this.” That’s part of why advertising that uses cartoons has a very high response rate. People have a hard time ignoring a cartoon.
You can see more of Mark Hill’s cartoons at his web site and read his blog called A Boneheaded Dog’s Blog Also, we’ll learn more about the process of being “funny on demand” when we continue our conversation with Mark, coming soon.
*C.R. has done several projects with Mark since 2006 and together they created two popular children’s comic strips that ran for a few years as well as numerous individual panel cartoons for adults and children.