The influx of followers can be confusing for therapists trying to gain a little momentum online, but some see it as an opportunity to expand their client base. Marquis Snowton, a licensed professional counselor in Hampton Rose, Virginia, posted on his TikTok account @drnortontherapy. (His background is “CEO of Treatment.”) He opened an account in February after a friend who was a psychiatric nurse practitioner also started posting on TikTok. By the summer, Norton had 100,000 followers. “At that time, I said I’m a content creator now,” he said. “I’m an influencer.” Since then, he has hired a team of two internships to help manage his social media accounts. I think this is marketing his private practice. Like the other therapists interviewed for this work, the demand for his service has skyrocketed since he began to become viral. He has just begun accepting new patients again after working with other counselors on a complete outpatient clinic and a long waiting list.
In TikTok’s enthusiastic ecosystem, the line between content creators and licensed professionals is often blurred. Especially for therapists, often nailed as intellectuals who hold notepads on stoic, showing off the social aspects of their personality can feel rebellious. Dr. Tracy said the therapists are being trained “mainly to be blank.” “We are told not to talk about ourselves, but to act in the absence of the past,” she said, which could be a barrier to healing. Dr. Tracy has publicly posted about his experiences with mental illness and trauma. She said she heard from more than 150 teenagers with symptoms like her that she didn’t think she could be a therapist until she watched her video.
It can be difficult to distinguish between educating young people about mental health and providing therapeutic advice. A group of about 40 TikTok therapists joins the Facebook group to discuss issues and give advice to each other in a safe place. They exchange countless text messages and hold monthly Zoom meetings to discuss the ethical dilemmas associated with creating content (how to talk about suicide and respond to public comment) and in their practice. Discuss the trends you saw.
“I think it’s oversimplified for everyone,” said Lisa Henderson, a professional counselor licensed by the American Counseling Association and former president of the Southern Region. She is worried that in TikTok, where the video is inevitably short, mental health treatment may be presented as a quick and easy fix rather than a “long slogan of hard work.” “It can be misleading,” she said, “more than intentionally harmful.”
Therapists need to be careful to encourage patients not to self-diagnose, Dr. Tracy said. The tips she provides online are educational and emphasized rather than diagnostic. “We want them to absorb the information and decide if they need to talk to an expert rather than think it’s real therapeutic advice,” she said. Said.
The therapist uses TikTok. And how does it make you feel?
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