I liked some of her roles functioning as first contact advisor or cultural attache or diplomatic officer. You know, aiding Picard in those situations.
I agree. I think they used her well in that direction, particularly in season one.
Other examples of when they used Troi well, I think, were at the end of Chain of Command, and Mind's Eye when she's seen counselling members of the main cast.
I also think they used her well in Powerplay. Okay, so she was being taken over again, but so were other members of the crew. FWIW, I think MS acted her socks off in some of those scenes.