Struggling With Your Mental Health? Here Are Therapists You'll Want to Follow on Instagram
Believe it or not, there are Instagram accounts that promote self-care. Likewise, some mental health professionals have taken to social media to destigmatize therapy — as we've reported on in the past, young people especially seek out help for reasons such as panic and anxiety disorders, trauma, and toxic relationships. But, just because therapists have Instagrams of their own, doesn't mean you can replace therapy with their posts. Licensed marriage and family therapist Lisa Olivera wrote about this in an essay on Medium.
It's not, as Lisa explained, "Insta-therapy." It's therapists posting on Instagram about therapy and encouraging others to find professionals to talk to if they're comfortable. "Therapists on Instagram are not providing therapy on Instagram. We are not providing personalized care, individualized advice, or specific support," she wrote.
"Therapists on Instagram acknowledge the fact that no square, post, or tool can capture the complexity of being human."
Granted, sometimes finding a therapist is limiting (and intimidating), and sometimes you can't afford the cost. That being said, Lisa added later in her essay that their presence on social media isn't meant to be a replacement for speaking to a professional. "Instead, we provide resources, tools, insights, reminders, community, and support for people who are not in therapy, for people figuring out how to access therapy, and for people in therapy."
Lisa continued, "Therapists on Instagram acknowledge the fact that no square, post, or tool can capture the complexity of being human." They're providing an inside look into what a session is like, opening up conversations, and helping people access the same type of support within themselves outside of therapy.
Lisa personally has received hundreds of messages from her Instagram followers (she has over 300,000) thanking her for the work she's done on the platform. For some, it's been the reason they've felt ready to seek therapy for themselves. Lisa also made a good point: mental health professionals openly sharing their expertise online isn't anything new. For a while, therapists have been writing self-help books, speaking to classes and on podcasts, and contributing columns for publications. Now, they're just simply using Instagram to offer that same insight.
With this in mind, we've included a list of therapists on Instagram you might want to follow. Check those out ahead, and remember: this isn't therapy, but you could certainly still find it beneficial.
Lisa Olivera: @lisaoliveratherapy
Lisa, the therapist we spoke about earlier, is a licensed marriage and family therapist based in California who offers teen and adult services. She's careful about posting disclaimers about the limitations of seeking help on Instagram alone (as she wrote about in that Medium essay). The graphics she shares are small tidbits of advice, lists for self-care, and daily affirmations and gentle reminders. Lisa also posts helpful pie charts (aka, what you used to look over in math class). One of my favorite posts, besides what you see here, is on "10 ways to self-soothe during times of heartache."
Alyssa Mancao: @alyssamariewellness
Alyssa is a certified cognitive therapist in California who offers young adult therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for trauma, couples counseling, and more. Among other things, she posts about self-care, anxiety, grief, self-worth, toxic relationships, and setting boundaries. There's a lot of empowering and eye-opening content to look through on her feed.
Jennifer Rollin: @jennifer_rollin
Jennifer is an eating disorder therapist based in Maryland. Her posts talk a lot about body awareness and acceptance, warning signs of an eating disorder, and coping statements. She'll also post questions for her followers to consider such as "What's your recovery intention for today?" and "What lights your soul on fire which has nothing to do with the size of your body?"
Nedra Glover Tawwab: @nedratawwab
Nedra, a North Carolina therapist helping people set boundaries in their relationships, posts a lot of insightful lists on her Instagram feed, like the one you see here. There are other lists on signs of personal growth, how to let go, and red flags in familial relationships and friendships.
Jaime Castillo: @findyourshinetherapy
Jaime is part of a group of trauma therapists who service people in Arizona. Many of the graphics posted on this account are geared toward trauma. For instance, one begins, "If you are feeling detached from your body, it's probably an indicator that at some point your body was not a safe place to be." Another reads, "Trauma involves a loss of power and control. One of the most important parts of trauma recovery is taking back control over your story."
Jenny is a Philly psychotherapist with self-compassion-rooted specialties in perfectionism, disordered eating, anxiety, and depression. Her practice embraces Health at Every Size (HAES), and she posts brutally honest and introspective content. For starters, this PSA to fitness professionals is spot on. And, she shares a lot about fat-shaming and body positivity.