Instagram Therapists Are the New Instagram Poets

Posted on July 11, 2019

In the age of social media and influencers it is not uncommon to see woes of wellness and self help advice spread across the internet. In particular, platforms such as Instagram seem to be attracting attention due to the rising popularity of Instagram therapist. Replacing the woes of Instagram poets with their creative fonts and colorful visuals, Instagram therapists aim to raise awareness and post quotes and advice that is directed towards a more general audience.

In particular, therapists such as Lisa A. Olivera, who is a licensed marriage and family therapist – practicing in Berkeley, California – aims to utilize this platform to help those who may not have the means of receiving therapy. Whether there are physical or monetary restrains, her Instagram page can reach a larger magnitude of people. This has been extremely popular among the “Therapy Generation,” a title placed on millennials who are aiming to be more aware about self help and de-stigmatize the notions of psychotherapy. As stated in the New York Times article nearly“1 in 5 adults in this country who experience mental illness, just over 42 percent received mental health services in 2017.” This represents why there is a persistent problem of reaching out to a larger audience. Although these Instagram therapists do not offer free online services, due to privacy and encryption concerns while using the Instagram application, they aim to give general advice when approached with a more specific or personal question. Many followers of these accounts state that it helps provide relief to issues that may not be significant enough to require a therapy session of its own, or, as stated previously, helps give them advice for when they do not have the means to attend a therapy session.

Additionally, it is understandable that Instagram offers a platform which therapists can use to not only raise awareness about issues and help a larger audience but also to advertise their physical clinics and therapy. For example, Ms. Olivera used her account to be a method for clients to find her during a period of transition in her career from community mental health to private-practice. While the therapists themselves acknowledge that Instagram is in no way a replacement of therapy, it helps provide immediate guidance, add to the idea of self-help and raise awareness in the long term, all while having the advantages of a free service.

Currently the American Psychological Association (APA) does not provide any guidelines for the usage of social media but is said to be working on creating formal social media guidelines. This is crucial in the context of the United States where the guidelines and details that each state entails in their licensing vary. Hence, the Instagram therapists must me aware when offering formal advice as they may not be qualified in foreign countries or states where there followers may be residing in. Furthermore, it is not just therapists who are using the platform, several other medical practitioners – doctors, nurses, dentists etc – are also delving in the world of Instagram awareness and services. However, these actions have raised ethical concerns as they have promoted sponsorships or advertised on behalf on items such as oatmeal, scrubs and other items such as watches, as the article highlights. Although not yet ethically disputed, some of these Instagram therapists provide links to their own books and links to their Patreons to help raise awareness for their own private-practices. However, the underlying theme remains that these therapists want to reach people where they seem to be most active and in today's world it seems to be social media.


Category(s):Life Purpose / Meaning / Inner-Guidance, Self-Care / Self Compassion

Source material from New York Times


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