“Shrink” is a new web series created by Alex Karpovsky of “Girls” and filmmaker Teddy Blanks, who are collectively also known as “Spielbergs.” It features videos of celebrities like Natasha Lyonne, Lena Dunham, and Sarah Silverman talking about their experiences in therapy. The Spielbergs duo hopes to normalize the topic of therapy and will be coming out with more videos in the future.
Refreshingly unexciting, “Shrink” doesn’t really say anything about therapy that hasn’t been said before. Yet the power of “Shrink” is really how ordinary and down-to-earth it feels. It is shot in a conversational manner with well-known but relatable celebrities. There are no big A-list stars with impossible cheekbones or fake eyelashes that make the content of what they are saying feel unattainable. The videos are also quick–under two minutes long–which makes them even more accessible and easy to digest.
The celebrities featured talk about how therapy has helped with Major Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other big life stuff like divorce and career concerns. Furthermore, a theme emerges in several of the videos regarding how therapy has helped folks to challenge their view of themselves and move past feeling “broken,” as Natasha Lyonne put it.
The very challenge in a negative self-narrative, as Natasha described, is that it is intrinsic to a person’s sense of self. Simply, they don’t realize they are not seeing themselves in an objective way. A person thinks they feel bad because they are bad. Rather than wearing “rose-colored glasses,” it is like the person is wearing grey-colored lenses and it can negatively impact everything in their lives, making them feel unworthy of love and success.
There is something incredibly useful about watching celebrities, who have had a great deal of success, open up about how they have seen themselves in such a negative way. To think that someone that has excelled in such a challenging and competitive industry could have a negative self-view is a bit of a reality check. Viewers might wonder, “How could this person that I admire believe that they are bad in this way?” Additionally, Natasha, Sarah, and Lena help normalize that experience and show a viewer with a similar self-views that they are not the only ones who have felt that way.
My hope, as a therapist, is that “Shrink” will lead viewers to assess their own self-narrative and consider therapy if they have not tried it before (or even if they have). Therapy helps patients tease out their belief systems and assess whether or not these views are helpful and/or accurate. The therapist not only gets to know the patient intimately and understand their subjective experiences, but also keeps one foot firmly planted in a more objective reality. It is through this process that patients can take their grey-colored lenses off and open themselves up to their worth and the possibilities of what their life can become.