Why Are Therapist Called Shrinks?

Why are therapists called shrinks? Therapists are called strings because people can somewhere relate the task of a therapist and a shrink. Well, we all know shrink means to reduce. In the same way, a therapist resists reductionism implicit which leads to reducing a mind.

Especially the ancient people who don’t know about mental health that much and used to make fun of the mental health therapist. They thought that there is nothing like mental health treatment.

Whoever needs it is insane. According to their perspective, the person who offers mental health is shrinking other people’s wallets and minds.

In this article, we will get to know in depth why therapists are referred to as shrinks. And what does this word mean?

Let’s not beat around the bush anymore and jump towards the topic straight.

Why Are Therapists Called Shrinks?

The word shrink means a mental health professional. It includes a psychologist, psychiatrist, and therapist. In previous times, this shrink was known as head shrinkage. Its actual meaning is shrinking the head of the enemy. You can say it’s a slang word.

Some people call mental health professionals “shrink” because they get into their clients’ minds. It’s outdated slang. Just like calling a woman “broads”.

The Practice of The Word “Shrink”

In this modern age, we all know how important mental health is. But the ancient people have no idea about it. They thought whoever needs mental help, is somewhere mad.

Also, the thought of receiving mental health treatment was a matter of shame at that time. The Amazonian Jivaro people popularized this head-hunting practice.

Witch Doctors Were Referred To As Shrink

However, Shrink is another name for headshrinkers. In 1940, the old tribal people used to refer to the witch doctors as “shrink”. Shrinkers are those who make trophy heads from dried human heads. Or you can say they make shrunken heads.

Shrinkers Shrink Wallets

Since 1930, people used to call headshrinkers to witch doctors as derogatory slang. It’s because people make fun of those doctors with primitive shamanism. Some people say that therapists are called shrinks because they shrink your wallet or bank account.

“Head-Shrinker” Is A City Slang

Whether it is a psychiatrist, psychologist, or mental health expert, they were called in several slang words. Like- headshrinkers, and skull candles. In the 50s and 60s, this slang was used very much.

The term skull candlers were not so common. Because it implies rural activity. But the term head-shrinker was commonly used in the city since there are numerous displays of shrunken heads in museums. This shrink language is a part of people’s discussion while they talk about counseling and psychoanalysis.

Shrinks Go Inside The Human Head

The task of a therapist and a head shrink is almost the same. Both of them go inside a human head and try their best to remove the contents. The term shrink became more sensational in 1940.

People Make Fun of Shrinks

You will see in many comedy movies that the medicine man has a shrunken head. They usually come with a cynical look, war paint, a walking stick, etc. People can relate this with a psychologist and thus make fun of them.

The main reason for calling them head-shrinkers is because they get into people’s heads. You may remember a movie that says a surgeon is none other than an egotistical mechanic.

It’s like making fun of those surgeons. In the same way, people make fun of psychologists and psychiatrists saying “shrink”.

Therapists Are Trained In Their Field

Although therapists are called shrinks, they are trained with lots of effort. Whether it is evaluating, diagnosing, or treating mental health problems, psychologists and psychiatrists have always been there. If you think you should acknowledge them after hearing this slang language, then you must.

For example, a psychologist earns his license after getting a doctoral degree in psychology. He is trained to diagnose mental health problems and provide services like psychotherapy.

The psychiatrist on the other hand is trained to understand the brain structure of people. This is how they diagnose and treat mental illness. They counsel their clients often and prescribe medications less.

Another field of the mental health profession is social work. They need to earn a master’s degree before treating mental illness as a profession. Some social workers are trained with advocacy services as well.

A counselor also needs to have a master’s degree in the required field. Afterward, the counselor needs to undergo clinical experience for many years. So there is no point in calling a mental health expert to shrink since he is qualified for his service.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between A Shrink And A Therapist?

There is not any difference between string and therapist as people call them by this name. Just like you call a police officer “cop”, it’s like calling a therapist “shrink”. Psychiatrists mainly are known as shrinks.

It’s common sense that psychiatrist has gone through MD and many training programs.

They can even be a Ph.D.-level psychiatrists or a master-level psychiatrist. They are either trained in psychology, social work, or counseling. Well, the task of a shrink is to reduce a person’s head only. Whereas, a therapist not only reduces a person’s head but is also trained in that field.

What Is The Origin of The Term Shrink?

Usually, therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists are called “shrinks”. This is a slang word. The origin of the term shrink is “head shrinkage”. It means shrinking someone’s head like an ancient practice.

What Is A Shrink Psychiatrist’s Salary?

The lowest salary of a psychiatrist is about $61330 in one year. Whereas, the highest paid salary of a psychiatrist is $208000 per year. There are some psychiatrists too who earn $125,570 per year as an average salary.

What Is Shrink Slang?

Shrink is a slang word that most people say to mental health professionals. They work in reducing the mind of a person and the shrinks do the same. That’s why mental health professionals are often called shrinks. However, it’s an ancient practice, nowadays this slang is used.


So now we know what shrink means. It’s a slang word that the ancient people used to call mental health experts. At that time the word head-shrinkers w+ere used by psychotherapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists.

From head-shrinker or head shrinkage, people started to call mental health professionals “Shrink” though the meaning of shrinkage and shrink is similar.

There is nothing wrong with the task of a therapist. He provides treatment for the well-being of people’s mental health.

Since it reduces the mind and money of the clients, some people have taken the concept negatively. Even though therapies are shrinks in a slang language, they are treatments worth it.

This is all. Thank you.