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Everything We Learned About Grief With The Series Shrinking

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Shrinking follows Jimmy Laird (Jason Segel), a therapist stuck grieving the loss of his wife while his life becomes more and more chaotic. Reaching a direction for his life, he decides to try unconventional methods to help his patients. Although breaking the rules, Jimmy adopts a new approach: unfiltered brutal honesty.

To deal with his loss, Jimmy adopted any possible outlet to distract himself from the pain of having lost his wife. He started to drink heavily, self-medicate, and pay prostitutes. Despite continuing to dedicate himself to his work, he forgets that his daughter is also in mourning and needs her father’s support more than ever. So, her neighbor Liz (Christa Miller) becomes an important maternal figure for Alice (Lukita Maxwell), as it is with her that Alice starts to share her pains, insecurities, secrets, and achievements.

In an attempt to give his life a direction and win back his daughter, Jimmy finds honesty as an alternative to make things work. With that, he decides to say exactly what he thinks to his patients and take them out of their comfort zone so that they can have more effective treatment results. Despite not having received support from his fellow therapists, he persisted with this idea and it seems to work very well.

Help himself helping others

Throughout the narrative, Jimmy goes through all the stages of grief, the first being denial and isolation. This is represented in Jimmy’s relationship with the lawyer Brian (Michael Urie), they were best friends, but with the loss of his wife Jimmy feels the need to spend time alone, so he disappears from his friend’s life and runs away from him as much as possible.

The second stage is anger, Jimmy is stressed about his life and the situation his patients find themselves in. Thus, he gets tired and starts to adopt a new professional posture, thus entering the third stage: bargaining. He is hopeful that he has found his purpose, solving his patients’ problems and seeking to reconcile with his daughter, Alice.

With the divorce of a close friend, Jimmy feels bad and enters the fourth stage of mourning, the sadness of missing his wife. In mentorship with her boss Paul Rhoades (Harrison Ford), she is advised to deal with it, to allow herself to feel this sadness and cry. That’s when Paul suggests that he use a technique that consists of grieving hard for 15 min and then getting back to reality.

Until he finally enters the fifth and final stage of grief: acceptance. At this stage, he begins to see his actions and the people around him with different eyes.

Face the pain

The main message of the series is “face your pain”, this idea is reinforced throughout the story, in the most varied situations with most of the characters. To face your problems, you need courage, respect your limits, and allow yourself to feel the pain, but without forgetting that life must go on. It is essential to allow time for things to settle down and to try to be grateful. Another piece of advice that the series gives is “forgive yourself, you are not your mistakes”.

In addition, in the very opening of the series, the importance of accepting help from your friends in the search for rehabilitation is evident, with the illustrations of people helping each other out of a maze in the shape of a brain, added to the music theme of which I highlight the following verse “Help me carry this weight that is dragging me down.”

Jimmy learns the importance of facing pain, respecting his limits, and valuing and conserving true friendships. Throughout the episodes, he reinvents himself and becomes your version authentic and stronger. His inspiring story teaches us that, despite obstacles, it is possible to find the inner strength needed to move forward and face any adversity.


The article above was edited by Giullia Cartaxo.

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Júlia Josefick

Casper Libero '25

Hey! I'm Júlia, a second-year journalism student at Faculdade Cásper Líbero. Passionate about the sports world.