|“||Just because you stopped being my patient doesn't mean I stopped caring about you.||”|
— Anne to Emily
Dr. Anne Sullivan is a therapist, who is chosen by the Liars' parents originally to help them deal with their seemingly obsessive thoughts about pinning Alison's murder on Ian Thomas. She does not try to push the girls, rather only to win their trust in order to help them heal. She is the first person to find out about Mona being "A".
We first meet Dr. Sullivan during her first session with the girls. In her office, Spencer Hastings, Aria Montgomery, and Emily Fields sit silently. Hanna Marin walks in late, hoping to have missed the whole appointment, but to her annoyance, the girls have ‘politely’ waited for her. When they finally do get to talking, they speak minimally. Aria is the most tempted to confide in the inviting Dr. Sullivan, but their cell phones go off, scaring them with reminders of "A" finding anything out. They leave, thereby leaving Dr. Sullivan completely in the dark.
Later, the girls discuss "A's" violent tendencies and bring up Dr. Sullivan, who is sworn to confidentiality, and Emily and Aria are the loudest proponents in favor of cluing her in on their secrets. Spencer agrees, and even Hanna, the most unwilling to see a shrink, is in, as she approves of Dr. Sullivan’s fashion sense - a clear signal to Hanna about her character.
At Dr. Sullivan’s office, the girls are ready to tell all, until they catch sight of Ezra’s Hollis diploma on the wall, a subtle hint from "A" that she is privy to everything they say. They had scheduled the appointment impromptu, yet they suddenly cancel, leaving Dr. Sullivan completely baffled and frustrated with the lack of communication. She had noticed that their decision to turn back, once on the brink of telling her, stemmed from one of the girls and slowly spread to the other four, but can’t figure out why. She believes that the girls are frustrating their attempts at therapy by coming as a group and so recommends to their parents to have them separate for a while, both within sessions and without.
At the end of that episode, she is seen walking from her office, onto the fact that she is being stalked, and frightened as a result.
Later, she helps Hanna move on from Alison's mental haunting through catharsis and role play.
She returns in to Rosewood High School in preparation of her upcoming speaking engagement. There, she bumps into Ella Montgomery, who confides in her about Mike's issues. Dr. Sullivan professionally tells Ella that she does not recommend siblings seeing the same therapist, and so, agrees to give her referrals.
Later, Dr. Sullivan spots Emily at her locker, struggling with some books that have fallen out and goes to assist her. She immediately picks up on Emily's anxiety vibes and offers to help her if only Emily will confide in her. Emily makes a confession that she has been hiding big things from Dr. Sullivan, who in turn, urges her to schedule an appointment and share her thoughts in her office. Emily nods, but later does not follow through.
After "A" terrifies Emily by giving her a massage, Emily contemplates dialing Dr. Sullivan, but hesitates after "A" sends a threatening text. Later, while Emily is being comforted by her friends regarding the incident, she ignores Dr. Sullivan's incoming call, not telling Hanna who it was. At the end of the episode, Dr. Sullivan is seen returning to a patient in her office, apologizing for having kept her waiting to call another patient. She then comments on being chilly and grabs a sweater off the coat rack, where a black hoodie is also hanging. She sits and asks the patient what she wants to discuss...clearly she is treating "A", but for how long is a mystery.
All four of the girls find her and finally confess about "A" as they are worried about Emily's wellbeing. Dr. Sullivan is understanding and patiently listens to them. Later in the episode, Dr. Sullivan is seen talking to an auditorium of students at Rosewood High School (the Liars, Mona Vanderwaal and Jenna Marshall included) about bulling and text threats. She also talks about how the most important thing to do is to speak out and, with that, shoots a look at the four Liars.
Later, Dr. Sullivan is walking down a street at night near her office, when she receives a phone call. It's a repeat recording of a her own voice incredulously (and fearfully) asking the girls: "I'm the first person you've told." When she hangs up, the person calls again to replay the looped recording. As the camera cuts away from this scene, the look at Dr. Sullivan's face is one of agitation. She tries to enlist the Rosewood Police Force's help, but the two officers, one of which is Garrett Reynolds, insist that they cannot be of much help in figuring out who bugged her office without her revealing the girls' names. However, as she is sworn to confidentiality, she reveals nothing.
She is next shown in her office, looking through the files she had about Aria, Emily, Spencer and Hanna. Then, she looks at a picture and goes to another file, the file of "A". The identity of "A" is covered up by a sticky note but as Dr. Sullivan reads on, she has a paper about what happened at her conferences with "A". Apparently, "A" always refers to a group of girls he/she does not mention by name as "nosey bitches". Dr. Sullivan has a picture of a message "A" wrote to the girls with the same title, and Dr. Sullivan soon realizes who the identity of "A" is. She calls Emily and tells her to get the others and meet up at her office. However, when the girls arrive, the office is empty. They receive a message from "A" stating: "The doctor is out! -A." This leaves the audience believing that perhaps "A" has taken Dr. Sullivan and she could be in danger.
"A" sends texts to the girls, leading them to believe that Dr. Sullivan is being suffocated and buried alive. "A" sends Aria a picture of Dr. Sullivan posing with that day's issue of The Rosewood Observer. "A" leads the girls to a spot, via coordinates, and texts Hanna that they need to move quickly to uncover Dr. Sullivan. They start digging and find a pair of boots (which look identical to the ones Dr. Sullivan was wearing) and then a mannequin's face. Later, Dr. Sullivan is seen in a diner with "A." She has a grim expression on her face, possibly meaning that "A" blackmailed her somehow. Dr. Sullivan says that she had done everything that "A" asked her to do. "A" hands Dr. Sullivan an envelope marked 'photos', and she leaves with a disgusted look on her face. This indicates that Dr. Sullivan and "A" had worked together, at least in part, and she had never been in danger of suffocating.
After Mona is taken into custody and her alter identity of A is exposed, Dr. Sullivan seeks the girls out. She apologizes to them for abandoning them, explaining how "A" threatened her son. She says it was Toby Cavanaugh's bravery that helped her return. She also explains to the girls the nature of Mona's/A's personality: She has a personality disorder that leads her to self-aggrandizement and obsessiveness. Hanna is the most troubled by the Mona-as-A reveal and is somewhat comforted by Dr. Sullivan's emotional support, acting as their therapist once more, though informally.
Emily goes to visit her. When Dr. Sullivan asks her about what happened the night Emily killed Nate for self-defense, Emily says that people think she is some hero but she knows what she did. Dr. Sullivan suggests that Emily tries hypnotherapy, but Emily says she knows exactly what happened. She tells Emily that it may help her see a new perspective and get over what happened.
Later, Dr. Sullivan does hypnotherapy on Emily. When Emily wakes up, Dr. Sullivan is trying to ask her if she sees Paige, Nate, or the lighthouse, but Emily only sees Alison in the yellow shirt the night she died. She tells Emily that she is in a safe place but Emily is scared and believes she killed Alison. She leaves Dr. Sullivan's, saying she has to go.
When Dr. Sullivan is leaving her office later, Mona is waiting outside with a flower pot to put in her office. When Mona tries to observe her office, Dr. Sullivan closes the door and says she is leaving and Mona thanks her for everything she did for her.
She visited Spencer at Radley to analyze her current mental state. Later, she includes Spencer as part of a focus group that she is leading.
Dr. Sullivan is first seen at Rosewood High where she meets Hanna. She tells Hanna that she has opened her office again, and that Hanna is welcome. Hanna tells her that she'll get the other girls to her office.
They then talk at school where Hanna tells her about the games that Charles played with them in the dollhouse.
Hanna is then seen sitting outside her office with Emily and Aria. Dr. Sullivan comes out, but returns to her office quickly to answer a phone call. She goes inside, and then Spencer appears. She tells them about Charles' relationship to Jason, and then they get the video footage of Sara from A. When Sullivan comes out again, they are gone.
When Hanna is at Emily's, she talks to Dr. Sullivan on the phone and apologizes.
Season 2 (6/25)
Season 3 (2/24)
Season 6 (2/20)
- Aria admits to Ella to having looked forward to Dr. Sullivan's sessions after a while in "Touched by an 'A'-ngel", despite not having liked being forced to attend in the first place.
- Dr. Sullivan made up Mona's condition for her to avoid jail and remain "A" mostly because Mona blackmailed her.
- After not being seen since Season 3's "Will The Circle Be Unbroken?", she returned in "Songs of Experience", three seasons later.
- Her name, Anne Sullivan, is the same as Helen Keller's famous mentor. This is perhaps a connection in that she helps others optimize their potential.
- In "I Must Confess", we can see Spencer's and Hanna's birthdays on Dr. Sullivan's files.
- She was the first person that the girls told about "A".
- Shortly after the girls told her about "A", she found out her identity.
- She appears in a bonus scene in 5 Years Forward where she is taking Alison and Jason to see Charlotte.
Aria [about Anne]: Uh, if she didn't think we were crazy before, she does now.
Dr. Sullivan [to Emily]: Just because you stopped being my patient doesn't mean I stopped caring about you.
Dr. Sullivan (at school assembly):These vicious attacks sent by electronic means may as well be carved into stone.
Hanna [about Anne]: Okay, am I the only one who thinks she's made things worse?!
Dr. Sullivan [to Liars]: When did this all begin? Did the texts start to come after Alison's funeral?