This story originally appeared on LX.com
If an entire year of the pandemic has you feeling frustrated and stuck, one therapist is advocating for the therapeutic benefits of rage rooms.
Yashica Budde is a licensed therapist who has been practicing for 13 years, and in 2019 she started a rage room to help offer people a place to relieve stress. She said her choice came from the idea of using a fun idea to break down stigma and encourage people to engage in the therapy process.
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“One of the things I found throughout my time of being a therapist is creative ways to get people to understand and want to engage in therapy,” Budde explains breaking things can be a way for people to express anxiety, stress, and anger in a healthy way. She uses this approach to open the door to receiving mental health treatment.
She said the idea of using a rage room for therapeutic purposes is rooted in two ideas: catharsis and creative expression. One exercise she uses involves asking clients to write down something they want to let go of on a plate and then smashing it. She says this can provide the same kind of relief as journaling, but in a way that is more accessible to people. Budde watches each person on a monitor during their sessions and then has them meet with her for a debriefing once they are finished. She says most participants report feeling relieved.
But rage rooms are not an appropriate treatment for everyone. Budde explained that people who may already be struggling with anger or who need a more intensive approach shouldn’t rely on a rage room to fit their needs.
Will the concept of catharsis and expression work without a therapist in a regular rage room? NBCLX host Jobeth Devera visited SmashNBash in Texas to test it out after a particularly heavy news week.
SmashNBash was opened as a way to relieve stress, from the owners. Richard Devaney left a frustrating government job where he was feeling like his own mental health was suffering from being overworked. So he left and started a new business. He and his wife say customers there come to work out emotional issues like breakups and job stress.
They have a tradition of asking people to write what stress they left behind on their visit, nearly every inch of space is filled with words expressing emotions like grief, rage, heartbreak, and loss.
“It felt liberating and freeing,” Deverasaid about smashing plates and electronics, “It was a moment to really release that.”