Speed Shrinking 101
Shapiro's problem: There was no way to really get to know each therapist on the website. "There is no apparatus in place if somebody wants to find a good therapist," she says. "In therapy, there aren't any meet-and-greet events. It's interesting because therapy is probably more important than anything in the world because you want to feel comfortable with somebody and you don't want to waste $100 on an intake session." Instead of seeing one or two to find the right fit, she figured she'd try the cost equivalent of one session with her previous therapist by using the next eight days to visit eight of the therapist on her insurance plan, hoping one of them would click.
So did she find the new therapist that she was searching for? Ironically enough, Shapiro decided to stick with her out-of-town therapist, seeing him when he returns to New York every six weeks.
How Shapiro turned her experiences into a book and a speed-shrinking event
Her first event at Knickerbocher Bar & Grill in New York City's Greenwich Village neighborhood was quite a success. "So many people bought the books from the therapists," Shapiro says. "A lot of people took business cards, and a lot of the shrinks said about 10 people signed up to have at least one intake session."
So far, she's had three speed-shrinking events, including her book release party. Because charity is important to her, she donated all of the books sales at one of the events to Housing Works, a nonprofit bookstore cafe in New York that works to end AIDS and homelessness.
For Shapiro, the speed-shrinking parties combine all her favorite things. "I'm totally impatient, I love shrinks and I hate small talk," she says. "So I invented a party where everybody is talking about therapy and everyone is spilling all of their stuff and there's no small talk."
She believes speed-shrinking events can benefit the therapy industry by allowing prospective patients to speak with self-help gurus and therapists about their problems and get to know them better. "Out of any field in the world, you have to open up and tell this person your secrets," she says. "Knowing that there's chemistry, knowing who they are and what their specialty is, it's very hard to find out."
Some psychological institutes gave her a hard time, thinking she was trying to replace regular therapy with three-minute sessions that could "change people's lives." "I had to come out and proclaim, 'I'm helping your business,'" Shapiro says. "This is an introduction to therapy, demystifying the process for young people who have no idea [how] to get into therapy. Therapy saved my life and my career, so I'm trying to make it cool and fun."
Get more information about Susan Shapiro and her upcoming speed-shrinking events