It seems like every time anyone asks Troi to use her empathic abilities, she says some vague notions about how "the creature is [insert emotion here], but beyond that I sense nothing", or "I sense confusion and fear" when the creature's actions have already shown those emotions to be obvious. I have often thought that a well trained psychologist would be more useful as a Counselor, to at least make deductions from observations rather than just vague noncommittal opinions.

Has Troi ever produced a concrete conclusion using her empathic abilities that would otherwise be unreachable through other means (e.g. simple observation, watching body language, having a degree in exo-psychology, etc)?

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    (1) She is a "well trained psychologist" (2) It has been established that she uses "simple observation, watching body language" etc rather than or in concert with her powers sometimes. (3) This is bordering on a rant, and I expect some people will VTC on that basis. You might want to see if you can make it a little more neutral in tone. (4) Some people might argue this is a list question. Aug 21, 2015 at 20:04
  • @ThePopMachine - Agreed on all except the list, I think it would be a finite (and thus allowable) list.
    – JohnP
    Aug 21, 2015 at 20:19
  • One example was enough, no sweat. But I think my observations and opinions are pretty well founded. Like I said, I don't mind troi, she just seems like a semi-decent psychologist, a pretty decent psychiatrist, and she's kind of hit or miss as a lie detector (lots of things interfere with her abilities, some races arent conducive to empathy, etc). She seems to fill the role of Counselor very sporadically, and not always to great success, unlike many other bridge officers. Just my opinion though, of course.
    – Dpeif
    Aug 21, 2015 at 20:25
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    Not sure if it counts but also in the film Nemesis Troi used her psychic abilities to help pinpoint the Scimitar when it was cloaked so Worf could fire the phasers at it.
    – Celeritas
    Aug 21, 2015 at 23:16
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    I've been watching Star Trek Next Generation on Stan (like Netflix) and have noted Counselor Troi often gives nothing more than obvious or vague statements. Only occasionally does she give more exact advice, but mostly her advice is fuzzy at best. That's part of the fun of Star Trek. It has its flaws and issues but I nevertheless enjoy nearly all of the series equally.
    – user59596
    Jan 19, 2016 at 14:53

1 Answer 1


There are a few instances where her skills as an empath prove invaluable

In TNG: Faces of the Enemy, Troi's empathic ability helps her to instantly determine that the Romulan vessel is walking into a trap. As a result, she has the freighter destroyed and protects her "cargo", an enormously valuable defector.

TROI: (softly) He's lying. They have no intention of keeping their word.

N'VEK: Are you certain?

TROI: Yes.

In TNG: Shades of Grey, Troi uses her powers to determine Riker's emotional state. That allows Pulaski to stimulate only those memories that elicit a dampening effect on the organism

PULASKI: The growth rate has definitely slowed. What is he feeling? Can you tell?

TROI: Sadness.

PULASKI: Just the opposite of before -- and it's having the opposite effect on the infection.

and in the film TNG: Nemesis, she uses her empathic skills to detect the location of the Scimitar, arguably saving the Earth and the whole damn Federation

DEANNA: Captain -- I might have a way to find them.

PICARD: Counselor?

DEANNA: The one thing he may have forgotten in the course of battle: me.

PICARD: Make it so.

She quickly goes to Worf at tactical.


Deanna concentrates furiously, eyes closed. She stands with Worf, her hand slowly moving his over the photon torpedo targeting display.


Deanna continues to move Worf's hand over the targeting display. She is sweating, panting for breath, concentrating fiercely.


Her eyes snap open --


Worf instantly fires a full volley of photon torpedoes.

A full spread of photon torpedoes shoot through space. And connect! A series of devastating impacts -- and the Scimitar's cloak fails!

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    Right, instant is indeed the key word here I guess. Point taken.
    – Dpeif
    Aug 21, 2015 at 20:14
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    Also the classic Shades of Grey. Riker was unconscious! But she figured out his emotional state and it meant his virus could be fought! Aug 21, 2015 at 20:37
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    @PaulD.Waite Yes! This is what I was trying to think of, a situation in which no one else could have drawn the same conclusion, or accomplished the same task. Richard's answer definitely gave a great example too, but I should have refined the question more to avoid confusion. Thanks!
    – Dpeif
    Aug 21, 2015 at 20:44
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    @Dpeif: naw, I thought your question was clear. The real lesson here is that Shades of Grey is actually a great episode. Aug 22, 2015 at 0:49
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    @PaulD.Waite - Don't you trick me into watching that trainwreck again. Season 2 should have been 10 episodes. Aug 22, 2015 at 1:41

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