Lucy's psychiatry booth is a running gag in the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. Lucy van Pelt is the manager of a psychiatric booth, which the other characters come up to tell her their problems, and, like a psychiatrist or a psychologist, she gives them advice. It is a parody of the lemonade stands operated by many young children in the United States.
The psychiatric booth is a prime example of the more adult-oriented humor that Schulz incorporated into his comic strip, making it accessible to people of all ages. The booth first appeared on March 27, 1959, and the price for advice has typically been a nickel, although it has varied throughout the strip's history. Lucy says she can answer any question for five cents.
However, Lucy's advice is never really the best advice. For instance, the first time Charlie Brown goes to Lucy's booth and tells her that he has deep feelings of depression, Lucy replies, "Snap out of it, five cents please." That is normally how Lucy answers every problem and her solutions normally make Charlie Brown feel worse about himself.
Charlie Brown and Linus are probably Lucy's most frequent customers but Schroeder, Frieda, "Pig-Pen", 5, Snoopy, Sally, and Woodstock have also appeared at the booth. (Although in later years, Sally mostly talked about her problems with the school building instead).
A sign on the front of the booth declares that "The Doctor is" in or out, depending on if Lucy wants to take problems or not. In A Charlie Brown Christmas, Lucy reverses the placard from displaying its "Out" side to reveal the words "Real In", perhaps a reference to "hip" 1960s culture. The title panel of one Sunday strip, shows Lucy chewing gum, and the sign reads "The Doctor is Preoccupied."
Lucy claims to have a license to practice psychology, but due to her horrible advice (and the fact that she is only eight years old) she is obviously lying.
Although the booth is almost always used as a psychiatric booth, sometimes, Lucy temporarily transforms it into something else. In the strip from July 22, 1980, it is transformed into a travel agency, which Lucy uses to help Schroeder. In the TV special, It's a Mystery, Charlie Brown, Lucy transformps it into a courtroom and appoints herself the judge.