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The term "shrink" to refer to psychologists supposedly was coined by author Thomas Pynchon in his book The Crying of Lot 49 published in 1966. Most likely it came from the term "headshrinker," comparing the process of psychotherapy to primitive tribal practices of shrinking the heads of enemies. One of the symptoms of SEVERE depression is a sensation of pressure inside the skull- like your brain is swollen. After experiencing this once, patients are vigilant for early warning signs of depression and seek treatment before symptoms progress to severe. Psychiatrists were the original headshrinkers. Later shortened to shrinks.

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14y ago
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16y ago

The largest brain in the world was found in the head of an insane man, and the psychiatrist's job is to remedy the psychological problems of people, thereby shrinking their head from border line nuts to a regular or average size.

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14y ago

This is a complicated story of imagery.

When the field of psychology first came to the public notice in a substantial way, a common view of the process was that a psychologist would metaphorically "reach in" and "clean" the brain of a disturbed person. In every day life, cleaning of clothing often resulted in shrinking of clothing. So, the parallel image of cleaning, and shrinking, the brain of a disturbed person lead to psychologists being called "brain shrinkers" eventually shortened to "shrinks."

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4y ago

How do they shrink the mind by studying the client?

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Q: Why are psychologists called shrinks?
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