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Relieve some stress—or just have some fun—at this unique smash room experience

I am a rule follower. I've spent my life trying to color in the lines, do what I'm told, and never break things. So, when Vincent Serpico invited me to Breakthrough Smash Room (, I wasn't sure I could break anything. It turns out I could—and it was cathartic.

Why a Smash Room?

Vincent and his wife Melissa were devastated a few years ago when their teenage daughter nearly died following a suicide attempt. Her doctor suggested they find an outlet for her frustrations. The family went to a smash room in the East Valley.

"It helped. She laughed, and we had fun," says Vincent, with the enthusiasm constantly emanating from him. "But the place wasn't very friendly, and it felt dirty. We knew we could do it better."

Three years later, the Serpicos have a smashing success. Much of it is because they embrace hospitality and work hard to give everyone a great experience. 

The Smash Experience

When you arrive at your allotted time, you stash your belongings in a locker and don coveralls, gloves and a face shield.

Every guest gets to pick their basket of items to smash. For an additional fee, you can choose computers or electronics. Then for the next 30 to 45 minutes, you use various tools—bats, sledgehammers and pry bars—to break items.

I enjoyed throwing items at the wall. You will also get a few bottles filled with confetti. Breaking those and watching the glitter fly was satisfying.

Smashing Your Way

You can customize your Breakthrough experience. You can book a group smashing session for up to 40 people. People celebrate birthdays with two hours of smashing, a cake, pizza, soft drinks and a dedicated attendant. 

Smashing is also popular for team-building exercises. The private events include an hour's party and two hours of smashing, with the use of the entire location for the duration of the event. 

Breakthrough also has a splatter room, which I'm interested in returning to try. You receive a canvas, three paint colors, and a variety of paintbrushes. You have about 30 minutes to splatter. 

Breaking is Healing

While smashing is great fun, it is also healing. The Serpicos work with various mental health agencies around the Valley. Therapists use smashing as a way to build confidence and empower people. And, there seems to be medical evidence that it really is cathartic. 

Vincent commented that people usually realize the truth behind the saying, "You don't feel the weight of something you've been carrying until you feel the weight of its release."

He explained that some people come in with weighty issues they want to resolve. The staff will give them a black marker and have them write what they want to release on the item. I also found it therapeutic to say something I wanted to release out loud, then hit a bottle or throw something against the wall to represent the release.

Breakthrough Smash Room has partnered with The Healing Effect, a licensed mental health therapy company operated by Clinical Supervisor and Director Stefanny Balestracci. They work with patients to give them a way to release.

"We've seen people come in while working through difficult life events," explains Vincent. "Whether it's death, job loss, illness or relationship issues."

Giving Back

Breakthrough Smash Room loves to make smashing available to those who can't afford it. To help offset the costs, they are launching an NFT charity campaign. They will work with local Phoenix area artists; every dollar of revenue goes to help someone experience the therapeutic effects of smashing. You can find details on their website to purchase the NFT and help those who need it most. 

Smashing relieves stress and makes you feel empowered. You're smashing preconceived notions of what you cannot do!