Social Media Therapy – “I Saw on Tik Tok [or Instagram]”
Generally speaking, and more frequently since COVID started, many individuals are engaging in social media therapy. “I saw it on Tik Tok or Instagram” is now a common occurrence.
The purpose of this blog is to address this phenomenon and provide tools to identify what is actually helpful for your mental health that you might see on social media.
Social Media Therapy
With all the social media platforms, there is a mass amount of information accessible to individuals based on what they “like” or “heart” and based on what they follow due to the algorithms.
These algorithms have set individuals up to connect with what they seem to be most interested in and what they search as most relevant to their lives.
In some ways, this is beneficial, and in other ways, this is not helpful.
Social media therapy matters as it is not proven as a way to benefit mental health.
Many therapists, mental health professionals, and providers (including myself and LCAT) have taken to social media to provide free resources to clients and the community. The purpose of social media therapy is to allow further connection to those who may not have been given the opportunity to engage in therapy sessions.
Therefore, social media therapy can be INCREDIBLY useful.
However, more often than not, when individuals share what they have learned on Tik Tok, Instagram, or Facebook, it is skewed. All social media messaging has bias – specifically the bias of the mind of the reader.
When a client has a specific person that they have followed, and shared something meaningful, this is great.
However, there are a few things to be skeptical about:
- The qualifications of the person saying it. What is their background, who is sponsoring them (if anyone), and what ethical board are they a part of (if any)?
- The accuracy of the information taken and reframed into what you desire and the algorithms you engage with.
- Self-diagnosing after hearing about a disorder on a social media platform does not make that person qualified to diagnose.
Exploring this information with your licensed therapist is not a problem.
However, taking what you see on social media at 100% face value, without exploring or understanding the context of the information, or knowing the credentials of the person sharing it perpetuates misinformation.
What this means is that your social media therapy may be the next source of “fake news.”
What Social Media are You Following?
Step one is figure out who you are following.
- Are the people you are following “helpful” or “harmful”?
- What is the purpose of following their page?
- Entertainment? Information? Memes? Growth?
If the person is “helpful” and provides one or more of the above mentioned aspects, keep following them.
Understand the value of the social media accounts you follow.
If you are following someone for information surrounding news, health, or personal growth, etc. It is imperative that you look into their mission, certifications, qualifications, and experiences.
If you are following them because their take on things is an entertaining perspective, it is okay, yet this is not therapy. Realize if someone is qualified to diagnose or offer treatment suggestions, because many people are not.
You may be surprised by this; however, not everyone on Tik Tok knows what they are talking about!
Know and understand who you are following!
Informed consent and understanding is important for making decisions on how to use information.
Check in with Your Therapist or Coach
If individuals do not know how to take this information in, it may be helpful to contact a psychotherapist and ask how to find accurate information.
There are many positive aspects to engaging with social media and learning about various topics. As some say, knowledge is power!
However, knowledge without context leads to projection. It doesn’t actually lead to healing.
Do not take anything on social media as definitive. They are speaking about a small example in limited characters and time. Work with a therapist and coach to determine if the information is relevant to your life and your goals.
If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.
Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists!
Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems.
LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs.
Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do.