Lucy's psychiatry booth is a running gag in the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. In a parody of the lemonade stands which are operated by many young children in the United States, Lucy van Pelt operates a psychiatric booth. Other characters come to it to tell Lucy their problems. She responds by spouting useless advice.
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's advice is always useless. 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 advice normally makes 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 the "hip" culture that was in full swing in the mid-1960s when the special first aired or meaning "really in" (not just "in") because she is anxious for business (in keeping with the program's theme of the commercialization of Christmas). 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 uses it as a "courtroom" and appoints herself the judge.