The Frenshe Editors

What Are “Therapy Influencers?”

Therapists are now meeting their clients where they are: in this case, it’s on social media.

As technology (for better and for worse) become more prevalent in our lives, mental health professionals are catching on. And they’re using platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok to open conversations about depression, anxiety, self-care, and more. Mariel Buque, trauma therapist and therapy influencer, said the social media space is vital in helping people normalize therapy as a whole.

More than 47.6 million Americans struggle with mental health to some degree. The recent and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused a spike in mental health issues around the world, prompting a global conversation around how we can take better care of our minds. While some issues, like a pandemic, require systemic solutions, there are small ways that individuals can take care of themselves with the support of their circle and professional help.

But while therapy is a great tool, it can also be expensive and hard to obtain. That’s why therapists are taking their skills to the public by making content around mental health. And in doing so, they’re reaching people who might not have access to mental health resources elsewhere.

“I wanted to engage a wider community of people of color, who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access information related to mental wellness, and provide them with educational tools about therapy. I wanted to demystify the process, destigmatize it, and make it a part of everyday conversation on my page.” said Buquè to Teen Vogue. 

While Instagram can never be a replacement for actual therapy, it’s a gateway to opening discourse around what mental health help really means. Therapy and mental illnesses have been stigmatized for centuries and what therapists are doing on Instagram and Tik Tok is demythizing harmful constructs that stop people from reaching out for help. And even though it’s not the same as a session, it is an eagle eyed view into what therapy could be. 

“Instagram makes the idea of therapy more appealing. It creates a space where you can test out a therapist before committing to working with them directly. You can gain an understanding of your unique issue and find a therapist who is clear about your needs,” Nedra Tawwab, LCSW, owner of Kaleidoscope Counseling and therapy influencer, told Teen Vogue.

Content from therapy influencers can range anywhere from basically self-care practices to a deeper dive in symptoms of mental health disorders like depression, ADHD, and more. 

Jenn Hardy, Ph.D., keeps it simple. “I try to think of advice I wish I could give to my 16-, 19-, and 30-year-old selves. We all have more in common than we don’t. So, if it is advice I wish I would have heard, then others probably need to hear it too,” Hardy told Teen Vogue.

It’s also a two way street for therapists to share their experiences as well. Whitney Goodman, a Miami based therapist, told Teen Vogue, “I think every time I’m showing up online as a therapist who is a real human, therapy becomes more normalized. I also share my own struggles and really try to keep that human element at the forefront. Therapists being out in the public is important. It decreases shame and helps people become comfortable with this type of service.”

Ultimately, social media is here to stay. Even as platforms rotate and change, it’s a good thing that mental health professionals are joining these spaces and bringing important lessons along with them. 

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