Updated: May 29
"Do the best you can until you know better. The when you know better, do better." ~Maya Angelou
Social media has such a powerful influence on us! I personally feel I have a love and hate relationship with social media. As a millennial I find great value in social media platforms. My goal is to bring more awareness to some of the mental health benefits of these social platforms as well as to express some words of caution! Let me start by saying that I believe social media is a great way to connect and build a sense of community with other like minded individuals. This is the main reason why I am active on social media. As a psychotherapist I also have an understanding of my responsibility on these social platforms. It is my duty to be clear in my intent. I am on social media to connect, inspire, create, share, and learn! My content is based on providing awareness of art therapy and mental health. My content serves to inspire and engage others in topics related to creativity and self-growth. I am not a "social media therapist". My messages are never intended to be a substitute for therapy. Keep on reading because I have lots of reasons why this can never be!
I will start giving you the good with the bad here. Social media is very influential in not only connecting people but also spreading information. Social media assists in spreading knowledge, awareness, and inspiration. Unfortunately there is also a spread of misinformation that comes along with this. I often see content being posted that is suggestive of toxic behavior patterns. This is a dangerous thing! Some may take this content and apply it to their lives; it may reinforce self-destructive behavior; and the individual may disregard seeking help from a qualified mental health professional.
Additionally, there may be a misinterpretation or disconnect in the message given and the message received. We all filter information through our unique lense. Human nature is complex and the information that is posted via social media content is generalized. It may not be applicable to an individual or their circumstances. Let's talk about the difference between social media and seeking help from a mental health professional. In order to become a qualified mental health professional you must attain a master's degrees or higher, in addition to completing thousands of hours under supervision providing treatment and diagnosis. Not to mention having to sit for board exams and continue to engage in life long learning in the form of continuing education. These are requirements to become fully licensed and maintain your credentials. And this is just at the masters level...imagine a doctorate level mental health professional. Also, you may want to look up the diagnostic and statistical manual (DSM-5) we use for diagnosis and treatment. Knock yourself right out reading that phonebook of a manual. Diagnosis and treatment, just isn't that easy! This is the reason why mental health professionals are in school for so long and engaged in training through their whole career. You can't help someone heal via social media content or offer mental health treatment in this manner. What social media does is bring awareness, it educates, and inspires an individual to take action in their life.
Social media platforms such as instagram, facebook, twitter, and pinterest provide bursts of positive energy through quotes and memes. However, this inspiration is very fleeting and not long standing whatsoever. If you think some of the accounts you are following are amazing on social media in terms of education, awareness, and inspiration, imagine how much better therapy would be for you. You would be receiving individualized care and not advice, but something much more valuable. You would be enriching your life with the guidance of a mental health professional skilled at helping you learn about your own unique behavioral patterns contributing to your own barriers in life. Therapy would provide a safe environment for you to express inner feelings and thoughts. The power of insight should never be underestimated. This is what magic is made of! If you reach a level of awareness reading social media content just wait until you get a piece of that in treatment. It can be life changing! Seeking mental health treatment is the next level in reaching self-growth. I would like my presence on social media to help influence others to take that next step. Social media is a powerful tool of influence for sure! The more you know the more you can grow!
**Disclaimer: The content on this blog is meant for educational purposes to create self awareness and provide resources for mental health/ art therapy related topics. The material in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for mental health treatment. **