We’ve got a copy of Susan Shapiro’s fascinating and humorous true tale, Speed Shrinking, to give away! Just send an email to email@example.com and tell us why you think you (or we) need therapy.
Living in these perilous times can often leave one’s mind feeling overextended and overworked. We put such enormous pressure on ourselves to push forward and excel that we need an outlet for our thoughts and feelings that isn’t coming from friends, family or current partner. The thought of talking to a professional psychiatrist has always been something that has terrified many but now getting some real and instant help has been made simple with the creation of Speed Shrinking.
“I think the idea was to demystify the process,” said Susan Shapiro, the self-professed “shrinkaholic” and author of the recent book that inspired the event, Speed Shrinking. “I’m from Michigan and everyone in my family thought therapy was stupid and you’re crazy if you go to it.”
I love the idea that it’s a really cool party, with great shrinks. I think a lot of young people should just be open to therapy as a fun, healthy thing to do.
While many would seem to think that seeing a shrink would indicate an inability to deal with the self, in metropolitan cities like LA or New York, where Speed Shrinking has already proven to be a huge hit, it’s much more socially accepted and at times incredibly necessary to speak with a professional about your problems.
“I think there’s definitely a stigma attached to going and seeing a shrink,”said Dr. Ali Binazir, one of the twelve shrinks on hand and author of the successful Tao Of Dating books and website. “Whereas here, it’s almost fashionable and in fact if you don’t have one, it’s like ‘What’s wrong with you?’”
“Sometimes all it takes is the power of one of the fine therapists over here to bring you to that point of really empowering yourself.”
The problem with finding yourself a good shrink is that it’s a lengthy process, not to mention the enormous cost of those subsequent sessions. It’s also tough to determine exactly whom you’ll feel most comfortable sharing your inner most fears with without an initial visit, but Speed Shrinking takes care of all of those worries with only a small cover charge, which in this case went to a great charity for children called 826LA.
“I think it’s really hard to meet a great therapist,” said Shapiro. “How do you meet one? Do you look in the phone book? Usually you have to get a recommendation, then you have to pay a hundred or two hundred bucks before wasting an hour and sometimes you sit in the office and you’re like, “I don’t want to talk to someone who looks like my grandmother.’”
So here, there are twelve fantastic shrinks to see. You pay fifteen dollars, which goes to charity and you get a drink. This way you get to see what they look like, meet them and throw out a problem and see if you’re comfortable, or if there’s chemistry.
The diverse doctors and experts that Shapiro selected for the inaugural Speed Shrinking event at Busby’s came from a variety of different backgrounds, with the constant being that Shapiro felt that their knowledge and skill sets were exceptional enough to share.
“I really like to mix it up because people don’t realize that there are a million different kinds of therapy that’s available,” She explained. “The only reason these work is that the therapists have to be great. It’s an amazing array and it does seem like in New York and LA that there are just so many brilliant minds available to help you.”
One of those brilliant minds was noted Sex Therapist Cathy Beaton, who is also one of Shapiro’s favorite Shrinks to speak with back in New York. She had participated in the successful Speed Shrinking sessions back in Manhattan and she was eager to see how the LA audience would embrace this unique event.
“My experience from the other Speed Shrinking events that I’ve done is that when somebody sits down with you, they’re ready to let it out,” she explained. “People who attend take this seriously and it’s a very non-threatening way of getting some responses for your problem. It’s fun and it really works.”
This isn’t a substitute for therapy but it really opens up the possibility of finding out more. So if you sit down with me and tell me exactly what the problem is, we focus on it and when you leave three minutes later, you’ll have some takeaway help that really does just that.
For myself and colleagues Brigitte Von Blonde and Chase Maximus, we all found that upon leaving the event that we felt fuller inside. It wasn’t that all our innermost problems were solved in one evening but that the unique experience offered up an opportunity to speak with a variety of diverse yet insightful minds all with a drink in hand.
“Whether you get some valuable information from one person or whether it’s kind of a collective set of knowledge that you gained, I think you do walk out of here with a sense of feeling fuller, more knowledgeable and certainly more confident.”
“I highly recommend that people open up,” added Shapiro. “One of the things my shrink said to me when I wanted to know how to stay successful and clean was to ‘lead the least secretive life you can,’ which is great advice.”
“Here you can discuss everything from orgasms, a messy divorce, to even a drug problem and it’s all in one place. You can be enlightened, you can be unburdened, you can get great advice and it’s all here.”