Aug 09

Definition of a Shrink from the Urban Dictionary

The final post regarding this week’s theme is on the definition of a shrink. From one of my first ever Minding Therapy entries, now deleted:

Q: Why is it that therapists are often called “shrinks?”

A: Apparently this stems from someone in Hollywood in the 1950’s comparing the work of a psychiatrist to “headshrinking,” a cannibalistic practice involving decapitation. This later evolved into referring to therapists as “shrinks.”

In truth, although many clients in psychic pain do express a wish to have their heads removed and replaced with something better, no therapist has yet successfully achieved this.

The second paragraph, of course, is tongue in cheek. Consult any regular old dictionary, though, and it will tell you that shrink is in fact a slang term for a psychotherapist.

One might expect this widely used word to have a slew of entries in the slang-oriented Urban Dictionary, but, disappointingly, there’s not all that much actually.

Of a total of nine, the first couple definitions and several later ones confirm that a shrink is “a psychiatrist or mental doctor” or a “therapist.” The derivation from “head shrinker” is also mentioned.

But a few of the more elaborate contributions are, not surprisingly, reminiscent of the Urban Dictionary definitions for social worker, therapist, psychologist, and psychiatrist, which were addressed in previous posts this week.

Number three definition of a shrink: Someone who matches your symptoms to whatever random disorder they’ve just pulled out of their ass. [Example: My shrink told me I get SAD over winter and now I have to sell my car so she can tell me how much I suck each week.]

And four: That damn stranger who keeps coming to my house whenever my parents believe im crazy.

(Really? When’s the last time someone’s shrink made a house call?)

Finally, number eight seems to ask whether assistance is indeed provided by a shrink: someone to “help” you with your problems. If you’re “helped” as opposed to helped, I think there’s still a problem.

Alas, on such an un”help”ful note, my week of posts about the Urban Dictionary‘s unfortunate descriptions of mental health professionals must come to an end. See you next week, when this “severely damaged person who cannot be helped” (social worker) and therapist continues despite my issues to blog about therapyA process in which a false relationship between a counselor or psychotherapist and patient is created. The process fosters dependance [sic] and attachment and blames parents for all the problems that the patient has. The process usually ends in a painful abandonment and makes the patient feel way worse than when they started.

Oh my. If wanting to help improve the image of therapy and those who practice it has ever been a part of my mission, I surely do have my work cut out for me.

Aug 08

Definition of a Psychiatrist (Urban Dictionary)

If psychiatry is the branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders” (Free Dictionary), then the definition of a psychiatrist is one who practices in this field. Right?

Kind of surprisingly, given the iffy track record on behalf of social workers, therapists, and psychologists, one top entry in the Urban Dictionary seems to agree:

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (MD or DO, NOT a phd) who has graduated medical school and undergone at least 4 years of specialized training in mental illness and its treatment – be it pharmacological, therapeutic or otherwise.

A psychiatrist can practice in a hospital with very sick patients, or in an outpatient setting, such as a private practice or clinic.

Psychiatrists out there, I must warn you not to get a swelled head—there are many worse ones yet to come. Close by, in fact, is a definition of a psychiatrist that’s much less flattering: A dandified drug dealer.

An idea commonly held. Take, for example, the long-winded number three:

A modern-day cultured witch doctor who administers drugs and other ‘cures’ for mental conditions which more often than not only alleviate a patient’s symptoms mildly or at the very worst damage and cause irreparable harm to their brains. Most seem to be nihilistic misanthropes who are primarily concerned with their paychecks and the daily quota of Big Pharma untested drugs they can sell to misinformed and desperate people. In privacy, many of them likely sacrifice kidnapped children to evil spirits which ensures the continuation of their rotten and dehumanizing stranglehold on the psyches of those who have often times been subjected to quite enough pain and suffering in their lifetimes. The entire ‘science’ of psychiatry has dark ties to the elitist-backed philosophy of eugenics, which is obsessively focused on ridding the world of those people which are genetically ‘unfit’ by the ruling classes’ own godless standards. All around psychiatry is mostly a gigantic demonic sham and legal drug-pushing designed to rob willing victims of their money and remaining sanity and brain power.

Then there’s four: “A head doctor who gets paid to judge you. They love to make psycho babble comments to get you riled, then defend themselves with more psycho babble to make themselves sound more intelligent than they actually are. They like to affix imaginary disorders to people so they can write prescriptions for unnecessary meds.”

And it doesn’t stop there. Number five definition of a psychiatrist:

A modern-day version of a witch-hunter. In medieval times they used to burn recluses or anyone else they considered ‘different’ for being witches, werewolves or vampires. These days we have psychiatrists to put away people who are just trying to get on with their lives. They seem hell-bent on handing out drugs like they’re sweets, probably because they have shares in the drug companies. Psychiatrists also make a fortune by finding excuses for thugs, murderers, rapists and thieves.

If the practitioners of psychiatry aren’t generally well-regarded on the Urban Dictionary, psychiatry as a field fares no better. From that relevant page, here’s a part of one entry:

A profession that is seemingly obsessed with enforcing the status quo. Genuine emotional understanding, empathy, and deep interactions have been replaced by some supposedly ‘objective science’; a mere attempt to ignore the talent that some have with relating to others and medicalize emotions. Whether a person has a ‘disorder’ or ‘disease’ is not determined by whether someone has a visible ailment that has a specific biological cause, but by a system of observed behaviors that can wildly vary from psychiatrist to psychiatrist.

Another excerpt: Psychiatry is pseudoscience (fake) and a waste of money in society. It serves to control people, like religion, feeding them lies and absolute bullshit that they are expected to believe.

And another: A medical specialization satanized by people who have nothing to talk about and/or write self-help books. Usually they need mental counseling themselves, they just don’t have the IQ required to know who a good psychiatrist is.

Amazing how such unintelligent creatures can get through the required medical school. Then again, here’s one contributor’s dim view of said type of educational experience: any prolonged experience that includes alcohol, 8am clinics with rectal exams, lab coats with unexplainable stains, and unsurmountable [sic] debt.

Smarties need not apply.

Aug 06

Definition of a Therapist (Urban Dictionary)

According to, the definition of a therapist is “a person trained in the use of psychological methods for helping patients overcome psychological problems.”

Simple enough. The Urban Dictionary, thoughcurrently boasts 11 different entries for therapist, many of which resemble those for social worker (yesterday’s post).

Hugely popular definition of a therapist is number one: word often mistaken as ‘the rapist’ by Sean Connery when playing celebrity jeopardy. [Example given: I’ll take the rapist for 500].

A similar concept is echoed in number two (not to mention five and eight), which then adds two primary definitions of therapist: 1. Someone for you to cry to when you lost your puppy, and 2. Someone who your parents send you to become diagnosed or talked to because you have some mental problem to hide the fact that your parents suck at parenting.

Something seems to have gone terribly wrong between the puppy grief and some later concerns.
And I suspect the contributor of number four has also been displeased with therapy: Someone you pay $100 an hour to fuck with your psyche.
Number three realizes therapists “can’t help EVERYBODY” and gives the following dialogue as an example: Client–I eat people. Therapist–How does that make you feel?

And, how philosophical and/or revealing is number six? Someone who understands the power of language but hasn’t yet seen the definition of freedom. Did someone’s therapist have control issues?

Nine sounds sweet enough—if we don’t overanalyze the perception of “friendship” involved: a close friend whom you talk to about your problems. Before we go and dwell on that, 10 comes and turns this right on its head: a bitch who listens to you gab and gab, and acts like your mother when she says she won’t do that.

Interestingly, there’s only one entry on the page for counselor, a close cousin to therapist, and it’s okay: someone who knows all the right things to say, who want [sic] to know how you’re “really” feeling.

Finally, the actual practice of psychotherapy receives this presentation. Kinda sorta balanced?

An incredibly expensive process whereby you end up talking more about yourself than you ever thought possible, while learning virtually nothing and becoming increasingly entrenched in your skewed view of reality… or, if it works (which it sometimes does!) a sublime experience of subtle revelation, insight and healing that enables you to be a fuller, happier human who moves more freely through the world than you ever thought possible…

Aug 05

Definition of a Social Worker (Urban Dictionary)

All of this week’s posts are dedicated to finding out how people using the Urban Dictionary view some of the main categories on this blog: concepts such as therapy, psychiatry, psychology, mental health, etc. First up, my discipline: what is the definition of a social worker?

Before going to grad school and becoming a clinical social worker/therapist, I’d been the following web definition of a “social worker”: someone employed to provide social services (especially to the disadvantaged).

In the Urban Dictionary I find 10 different definitions for “social worker.” The first is a doozy and has several components:

1. A person who cannot handle the reality of his or her own life, and compensates by overindulging in the realities of the lives of strangers.

2. A severely damaged person who cannot be helped, who helps other severely damaged people who cannot be helped, unless they become friends.

3. A person who becomes hostile or violent toward the threat of intimacy.

4. An alcoholic abuser.


Somewhere along the line, I fear, someone out there has felt intruded upon by an incompetent and/or disturbed social worker who lacked appropriate boundaries and ethics. Unfortunately, this can happen—though of course it shouldn’t.

The fourth on the list appears to hail from overseas:

making lots of money out of people’s misery. part of the burgeoning ‘new professions class’ of the late 20thC and usually a socialist, liberal or worse. social workers took over where the church left off. may know the difference between right and wrong but doesn’t see why it should apply to them. a secular priest, monk or nun who enforces politically acceptable thought and behaviour on the hapless, helpless and hopeless. talks complete psychobabble with no scientific foundation whatsoever. often pilloried for taking children into care or leaving them to die; whichever the press find most distressing at the time. almost always an insecure individual who should be having therapy not giving it.
MALE of type tries to compensate for the low social status by talking complete bollocks at the pub.
FEMALE, usually a cat owner, likely to be crazy as a coot and in medieval times would have been burned as a witch.
SW MANAGER has generally failed even at this low level and so exacerbates the public’s woes with incompetence in leadership.
most SWs try to avoid mentioning it at parties or face the prospect of further rejection. secretly support the British National Party.

As a FEMALE, I’m pleased to report that I’ve been able to keep my own cat owning and craziness in check. On the other hand, it’s true: I may in fact be worse than a liberal.

Number seven’s author sets his or her sights on the poor slob who studied the wrong field and therefore had to go the unfortunate default social work route: A liberal and/or anthropology major who is unable to get a real job to make a living.

And nine clearly has scorn not only for social work but also for how we get our jobs: An unemployable, ineffectual, mentally ill liberal hired by the government for no particular reason.

Is it any wonder I’m feeling a need right now to point out that there are in fact many hard-working, well-adjusted social workers who do great things for their communities and the world. Please click this link: 10 social workers helping those in need [Infographic] | MNN – Mother Nature Network for a taste.

Stay tuned for definitions for the terms therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, and shrink.