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Can You “Shrink” Your Grief in Only 15 Minutes per Day?

Have you caught an episode of the new show Shrinking on Apple TV? The main character is a therapist who recently suffered grief and is struggling, unable to bring his best to his work with his clients. I only made it through part of one episode because of the language, but I thought I would share about my thoughts regarding his approach to counseling, which was quite non-traditional.

One of the ideas he recommends is setting aside 15 minutes per day to process one's grief. Basically, then he suggests to get back to normal tasks. In some ways this could an effective idea. Many people find it helpful to keep a somewhat regular routine, so allotting time to grieve and then "set grief on a shelf" can be beneficial. This sounds nice, but in reality, it is likely that grief-related thoughts will permeate every hour of a grieving individual's day for a while. And that is ok. But it's ok to set it on a shelf, too, if possible.

Grief can make you feel stuck like a concrete statue in a fetal position
Does Your Grief Feel Like This?

What I find to be less helpful is the prescription to "cry" for 15 minutes. Most people cannot cry on demand. If a client were to bring up this tactic and say that it was useful for them, I wouldn't feel a need to correct them. But I would not make a recommendation to my grieving clients to cry for 15 minutes. Instead, I would help them explore ways they could process their grief for 15 minutes per day in a manner of their choosing (journal, art, walk, etc.).

The technique the counselor uses is interesting because many therapists find it difficult when clients do not want to work on their behavior. Though I don't agree with all of the advice given in the show, I believe it could be useful for counselors to ask themselves if their help is truly making a positive impact. Sometimes it seems that counselors can simply tell a client what they want to hear to help them feel better in the short term rather than truly equipping them to work through the issues that will strengthen their relationships in the long term.

Therapy can be difficult because relationships are hard! But since relationships are one of the most important things in the world, seeking help can be one of the most impactful and economical ways to change one's future.

If you’ve watched the show, what do you think about the approach? If you were to have the main character as a therapist, do you believe you’d feel empowered to do hard work?

If you’re a therapist who has watched the show, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about his approach, too.

Again, please note that I do not really recommend watching the show, since I won’t be watching it due to language and some sexually suggestive content in the snippets that I watched.

If you'd like to learn about more about the grief resources my husband and I offer, we built an online course called Love and Loss, we offer coaching, and here's a blog that walks you through a mental stability exercise I use with my clients. Our goal is to offer more free resources than paid ones! Mental health should be available to all.


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