We have talked about rage many times before in our blog series. And, in our opinion, properly sorting through these emotions should involve trained professionals and supportive counselors. In some instances, pillows or soft items can be used as an outlet or a way of physical expression. But in several cities across the country, a much more extreme approach is gaining notoriety.
We are talking about Rage Rooms, which literally give people a sledgehammer and let them live out their most destructive fantasies. These are not professionally sanctioned, but appear to be gaining popularity as a “quick fix” for pent up aggression.
One of the most popular businesses to take advantage of this trend is the Smash Therapy organization, which (to us) focuses a lot more on “smash” than “therapy.” This rage room setup puts guests in a private space with metal plated walls and giant wooden tables. Tons of breakable items are then wheeled in; ranging from glassware, to electronics, tho household appliances. Then comes the baseball bats, sledgehammers and crowbars and a designated time period to unleash every angry emotion.
Steven Shortino, founder of the Smash Therapy rage room, claims his very popular business model is also quite therapeutic. People can even come in with friends and break things for “group therapy.”
“Breaking stuff makes you feel good. It gives you a sense of control,” Shortino told the New York-based outlet, WBFO. “I think a lot of people just come here to have fun. You don’t have to be some kind of crazy mad stress psycho. It’s just normal people looking to have a good time.”
He emphasized that sessions are closely monitored and several safety measures are put in place to ensure guests don’t injure themselves. But more legitimate orgs, like Psychology Today, are less than thrilled with the concept. Dr. Kevin Bennett, a writer for the site, told WBFO that these types of experiences can have harmful side effects.
“At the moment it can feel good and there’s an immediate satisfaction,” Dr. Bennett explained. “There’s chemicals in the brain being released and so it does feel good at the moment, but when you go to a rage room it’s quite possible that you’re conditioning yourself to be more aggressive the next time you feel those.”
We too have to side with Dr. Bennett in this matter. Though we appreciate new explorations in treating rage, encouraging destructive behavior may not be the right way to approach it. If you or someone you are close is suffering from anger issues, try reaching out to a trained professional.