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Adventures of a Sex Therapist: Speed Shrinking – August ‘10


a monthly blogumn by Dr. Miro Gudelsky

Hello FaN readers. I am so excited to be here. What a privilege to join such an elite group of folks! As a Manhattan-based sex therapist, I thought it would be fun to share some of the adventures I stumble into.

This month, I participated in Susan Shapiro’s Speed Shrinking for Charity Event. Wait, back up. Speed Shrinking? Well, you’ve heard of Speed Dating, right? Same concept except with a bunch of “shrinks” and a LONG line of people who want fast and furious increments of therapy. It’s set up with a bunch of seated, therapy related professionals and a chair across from them is filled with a new person every three minutes.  So New York… You want instant opinions from a bunch of different, professional perspectives, AND you want to benefit a worthy charity? Come on down!

The concept came from Shapiro’s personal life experience when she saw eight different therapists in a mere eight days, which became the basis of her novel, Speed Shrinking.

To start off this party, a loud whistle blows, giving the whole thing a relay race feeling. Since I participated in the last one, As the therapist, I really have to pace myself. Every three minutes that whistle goes off, bringing an entirely new experience literally, facing me. The attendees all want answers, guidance and opinions – and they get them!

An awful lot of people showed up for a solid 1 1/2 hours. I’m no mathematician, but if you figure 3 minutes a person for 90 minutes, that’s a lot of talking. Despite my hoarseness at the end, I loved it. Every person was a completely different session, which challenged my brain and empathy skills in the best of ways! Most people showed up with a specific question in mind that they would throw at each shrink, or “guru,” as Shapiro referred to us. Some folks showed up to see what exactly this Speed Shrinking thing was all about and ended up asking different questions of each expert. Not having any idea whom or what question would be posed in front of me was exhilarating! No wonder Speed Shrinking has been taking off and been on TV so many times!

There were a few interesting themes. The first, pointed out by Sherene Schostak (the talented Jungian Psychotherapist and Astrologist, was that all but two attendees were Scorpios. I noticed that unlike previous Speed Shrinking events, there were only three men and the rest were women – hint to the fellows: good place to make new lady friends because most of the women were single and HATING it. They had enjoyed single life for years but now wanted a relationship and couldn’t land one. They didn’t particularly need Mr. or Mrs. Right. They couldn’t even manage to locate a Mr. or Ms. Right-Now! They gave many reasons: working with gay men, not being a perfect 10, but the majority claimed something worse: hetero male and lesbian New Yorkers have so much selection, they behave like kids in a candy store. Why pick one and commit, when mommy has promised you unlimited supply? They were beyond frustrated, these women were ANGRY!

What a tricky situation. I wasn’t sure what they needed from me. Dating advice? Where or how to meet people? Getting comfortable with themselves? The pressure was both on me, to figure out what suggestions I could give, AND on the Speed Shrinking Guests, who only have 3 minutes per expert, to nail their issue!

What surprised me, was how often I needed to give the people I met permission to HAVE FUN, be daring. I kept having to tell my shrinkees not to be afraid to enjoy themselves. Face-to-face time, you know, NON-Facebook communication, has become an indulgence so why not try pushing your comfort levels a bit and get outside. Appreciate the exciting things out there waiting for you. I am certainly not telling you to stop with any of your social networks, just try to have a new experience once in a while.

Speaking of which, Speed Shrinking was such a fun experience that it definitely pushed some of my boundaries and I am so happy I participated. Shapiro makes sure that proceeds from her parties go to an amazing charity, and also manages to excite and illuminate the 100 to 300 guests who show up. Not only do attendees get time to talk seriously to all these gurus, but there are FREE cupcakes, wine and fascinating people to make connections with!

Lucky for the LA people, Shapiro is holding a Charity Speed Shrinking Party on August 19th at Busby’s. Go to her website for all the details. I definitely recommend it!


Comic Credit: Terry Hart (click on the comic for more details)