Swedish Taxi Service Offers Free Psychotherapy for Passengers

A new taxi service in Stockholm is offering its passengers a chance to relieve stress on the go. They’ve got psychotherapists occupying the back seats of three different cabs, offering free consultations. The two-week initiative was started late last month by a company called Taxi Stockholm, which claims it’s the first project of its kind in the world.

The idea was conceived when the owners of Taxi Stockholm realized that people are more likely to talk about their problems on dull, quiet drives. They even have data to back up the theory; according to spokeswoman Natalia Santos, a study revealed that “around 70 percent of people said their taxi journeys were a good time for reflection and that they often found their minds wandering.”

“And when you think about it, the drivers can even become like therapists,” she added. “So we decided to put the two together for all Stockholmers – especially considering it’s getting so cold and dark now.”


Photo: Sverige Radio

Mia Fahlén, one of the psychologists on board, said that she would have to be flexible, because she wouldn’t know exactly how long a trip could be. But she believes that a lot could be accomplished from even a short 10-minute session. “A lot of people are lonely,” she explained. “There are so many single people in Stockholm. And a lot of the people I meet from abroad tell me they’re frustrated with Sweden. They say it’s really hard to meet people and that even when they try, the Swedes can be very quiet.”

Of course, you’d have to be incredibly lucky to catch one of the three shrink-equipped cabs, but if you’re really excited about the idea, you could book a trip in advance. It will work out cheaper than seeing a regular therapist; an hour-long session with Fahlén costs up to 1,200 kronor ($165).


Photo: Patrik Lindgren

When asked if this is all a publicity stunt in the wake of their new competitors – taxi-app service Uber – Santos denied it. She said that the folks at Taxi Stockholm are actually quite optimistic about being able to help people through their service. “You never know, some people might have ‘express problems’ where the solution isn’t rocket science,” Fahlén remarked.

Source: The Local

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