You've no doubt been in session when the dreaded statement is said:
Instagram said I am...therefore I must be!
When you're done suppressing the groan of pop psychology making online diagnosis to patients "they've"
never met"...you may find yourself wondering if you'll have your career in 10 years!
Could there be a chance that social media will be the "expert" on mental health?
Well you're not alone! More and more clinicians who consult with me have asked that very question so I'm here to give you the good, the bad and the ugly!
First off yes, this will impact your practice so don't be naïve - your gut is correct! But how it impacts your work is completely up to you. Firstly, you'll likely notice you have less ambiguity when a client approaches you for appointments - new clients are now, more than ever, ready to commit to therapy when they book the initial consult. They're not afraid to ask a new practitioner questions. This is exciting! They're informed and empowered by the transformations they're seeing on social media and they want in! This means a decreased drop out rate and more clarity on client goals. Most clients are aware that they cannot have objectivity on their own circumstances. Further, it means that your client has likely already done some "pre-work" and is ready to engage in deeper, more meaningful work.
Now the bad news...this means that those "easy" sessions you used as a break - you know where you explained "what" anxiety is - is no longer there. Clients have other options to learn what the symptoms are, how to do a screener and are now looking to you to move them further along. That leaves you with a beautiful task of only having to review that their information is accurate and to up your game so that you're ensuring you are skilled and ready to do the deeper dive into what they are struggling with.
Clients may be able to get a clue on their diagnosis but they lack objectivity and subject mastery - so don't be afraid!
There is no shortage of work to do when it comes to mental health so I would suggest seeing social media as an ally - a medium to help reduce stigma, to popularize mental health awareness and to share relevant information!
Wanna chat more about aspects of your clinical practice? Need to debrief or drop down with your complex case? Feel free to reach out!
Farah Kurji - BSW, MSW, LCSW
Clinical Licensed Social Worker, EMDR Consultant, passionate about life!
Farah has been a therapist for over 20 years and is excited to support the new practitioners joining the field!
Connect for a complimentary meet and greet HERE