Megan Quitkin
July 16, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

It’s no secret Hollywood is obsessed with psychiatry — after all, stars take their pets to shrinks in this town. Now that mania is turning up on screen: Therapists are the protagonists du jour. Earlier this year, both Billy Crystal in Analyze This and Lorraine Bracco in The Sopranos played counselors to conflicted mobsters. Next we’ll see Bruce Willis as a therapist in the thriller The Sixth Sense, Loren Dean playing a psychologist in Lawrence Kasdan’s comedy Mumford, and Courteney Cox portraying a woman posing as a psychiatrist in The Shrink Is In. ”A lot of people in Hollywood have been in therapy for a long time,” says Dean. ”And people have to tell some of those stories.” How do real shrinks feel about Hollywood’s interest in their profession? Says Dr. Steven Hyler, a Columbia University psychiatry professor, ”How do you feel about Hollywood’s interest in our profession?” Sorry, we made that up. What he actually says is, ”I’m not really worried about the way we’re portrayed. We like a good movie just like anyone else.”

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