ow influencers are spreading misinformation about mental health
Nowadays, it seems like so much of our lives are influenced by what we see on social media. When it comes to mental health, stigma is alive and well. This stigma can present an issue in the adult and youth population, as many avoid treatment out of fear of embarrassment. When faced with a lack of social support, many turn to social media to find relatable content creators for comfort. While content creators focused on mental health are great for eliminating stigma, the rise in people using social media may not be all good news.
While social media influencers may not have ill intentions, their job is to generate views on their page for ad revenue, and they often need to create large amounts of content to engage as many users as possible. With this in mind, facts and evidence-based practices may take a backseat.
While there is nothing wrong with using personal experiences to raise awareness about mental illness, there is no "one size fits all" solution when it comes to mental health. When watching mental health content on social media, be mindful of influencers using uniform solutions for mental health issues. Oftentimes, many influencers are drawing from their limited experiences, which leads to gaps in knowledge that can result in misinformation. It's important to remind ourselves that many mental health content creators are not licensed practitioners and may not have the qualifications to offer quality mental health advice.
Raising awareness for social media can provide support and inspire you to make a positive change. However, if you find yourself struggling with mental health, it may be best to seek a mental health professional. Social media cannot replace treatment from a therapist and can have adverse effects if we take everything that is posted online as fact.
Ariana is a student counselor at Sul Ross University and under the supervision of Aimee Rhodes. Ariana works with teens and adults dealing with anxiety, depression, life adjustment issues and grief.
Tips For Finding The Right Therapist
If you're thinking about starting therapy, finding the right therapist can be a daunting task. Here a few tips that can help you find the right therapist, and things to avoid when looking for a provider.
1. Decide what type of therapy you'd like to try.
A good first step for finding the right therapist is finding a provider that is well-versed in the type of therapy you want to try. Different types of therapy include cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalytic therapy, and person centered therapy.
2. Ask people you trust
If you have a friend or colleague that you trust, a referral can be a great way to find a therapist that is a good fit for you. While referrals are a good place to start your search, it's important to remind yourself that you might have different goals from your friends, and therapy will look different for you.
3. Be mindful of your budget
Out of pocket expenses can make it difficult to be consistent with therapy. Verifying with potential providers that they accept your insurance can help offset costs.
4. Set up a consultation call
If you feel like you've found a therapist that will be a good fit, schedule a consultation call. Therapists want to help you, and if they feel that they're not equipped to deal with your situation, they might have referrals to point you in the right direction.
5. Be open to trying different therapists
Finding the best therapist for you can take trial and error. You should not feel obligated to stick with the first therapist you meet - building a strong working relationship with your therapist is beneficial for you in the long term.
Things to avoid:
1. Waiting for a crisis before seeking help
You should not wait until you hit rock bottom to seek help. This can create a sense of urgency when looking for a therapist, and you may not give yourself enough time to find the right provider for you.
2. Therapists with no boundaries
Therapists are mental health professionals, and they should behave professionally. While therapists are meant to create a safe environment for you, they are not meant to be your friend.
3. Offering services they aren't qualified to provide.
Many therapists specialize in certain types of therapy. If they do not have the training or experience working with specific populations or methods and are advertising the opposite on their website, that is a red flag to look out for.
It can be discouraging when trying to find the right therapist, but in doing your research you may find a match that can show you all the good that therapy has to offer.
Student Clinician studying Mental Health Counseling at Sul Ross University. Ariana is seeing clients on the weekends under the supervision of Aimee Rhodes, MS, LPC-S.
Common misconceptions about therapy
While views about therapy have come a long way, there are still some myths about therapy and when to seek it. Many people refuse to seek help because of common misunderstanding. Here are a few common misconceptions about therapy:
1. Only "crazy" people need therapy.
The truth is you don't have to be "crazy" to participate in therapy. Most people in therapy are dealing with common stressors and are seeking ways to change thinking patterns, feelings, and behaviors that are not working well for them.
2. I've gone to therapy before, and it didn't work.
It's not uncommon for people to try one kind of therapy and assume that all therapy isn't effective if it doesn't suit their needs. In reality, there are many different types of therapy, and it may take some trial and error to find what works best for you.
3. People who talk to therapists are weak and incapable of solving their own problems.
It takes courage to reach out to someone to pursue changes. When we're unable to sort out our issues, it is wise, not weak, to seek assistance when needed.
4. I just want someone to tell me how to fix my problems.
Therapists are not meant to magically fix your problems. Instead, they will give you the tools and resources to guide and empower clients to find the answers themselves.
5. Therapy isn't confidential.
Confidentiality is the highest priority for a therapist. While there are circumstances in which things can't be kept private, but your therapist should review that with you from the beginning, so you know what to expect.
These are a few common misconceptions about therapy. Therapy can be a challenging process, but if you're thinking of seeing a therapist, it may be a good idea to email or pick up the phone to briefly speak with a therapist and get a feel for it. You may be surprised at how comfortable you feel from the initial conversation. From there, you can make a decision on how you'd like to proceed.
Ariana is a Student counselor with Transform & Renew. She works with tweens, teens and adults regarding a variety of issues. Check her out on our Clinicians profile. She is supervised by Aimee Rhodes, LPC-S.
Conquering your goals
The new year is such a hopeful time. Many of us are thinking about our goals on some level, and the New Year gives us the clean slate we need to start fresh. Here are a few tips to conquer your goals this year, whatever they may be.
1. Be Realistic - While it's good to have goals for yourself in the new year, try to be as realistic as you can. For example, if you're thinking how to play the guitar, be prepared for a learning curve. Unrealistic expectations can lead to negative outcomes, which can often discourage us from trying again.
2. Don't go goal crazy - As tempting as it may be to set a million goals for the new year, it may leave you feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated. Setting one or two focused goals will give you the space you need to invest your time and energy on them.
3. Track your goals - Many New Year's resolutions involve slow and gradual change. Because of this, many of us don't notice the little things. To avoid discouragement, keep a record of your progress. Having visual reminders can serve as an encouragement to stick to your goals.
4. Ask for support from loved ones - Change is hard. If you find yourself having a difficult time staying on track with your goals, reach out to a friend or loved one to help you stay accountable.
5. Don't be afraid to reward yourself - Hard work pays off! Finding ways to reward yourself for sticking to your goals can be a great motivator. For example, if your goal was to work out more, buying yourself a cute new gym outfit is a great way to reward yourself for staying on track.
6. Be Consistent - The most important part of achieving our goals are staying consistent. While it's impossible to be perfect, just remember that each day is a new day to try again.
Ariana is a student counselor and works with teens and adults with Transform & Renew, PLLC.
Elizabeth Oldham is an LPC-S and co-founder of Transform & Renew, PLLC. She specializes in co-dependency, anxiety and OCD, depression and mood disorders.