Millennials now have another nickname to add to their ever-expanding assortment of monikers: the “therapy generation.” They’re the generation initiated the shift toward addressing the importance of mental health. While their parents grew up in a generation concerned about the stigma associated with therapy, millennials are the generation that destigmatized it.
They also realize that therapy isn’t accessible to everyone who wants it. The prices for one-on-one therapy aren’t always affordable even for people with decent insurance coverage.
Hourly rates for individual therapy are entirely out of reach for many people who could benefit from professional help.
In addition to being the therapy generation, millennials are also the first generation to grow up with regular access to the Internet. They’re also the age group that carries the highest average accumulations of debt.
This trifecta of destigmatized mental health awareness, accessible Internet connection, and increasing financial instability laid the groundwork for a new phenomenon: the Instagram Therapist. These self-help superstars fill social feeds with soothing-colored squares imposed with bite-sized doses of therapeutic advice.
What exactly is Instagram therapy and is it the best idea? Can you lay your own path toward mental wellbeing, guided by the direction of these online icons? Is Instagram therapy the next best thing in mental health or is it simply a supplement to the real deal?
Instagram Therapists Are On the Rise
Millennials place incredible importance on their mental wellbeing. Much of the generation prioritizes their pursuit of self-improvement. But they also struggle from the pursuit of perfection, an impossible destination point for anyone.
Even though the peak of perfection is unobtainable, many still feel it reflects on their self-worth. This sends many millennials on the search for direction from a therapist or life coach to guide their path.
People casually discussing their big takeaways from their latest therapy appointment is no longer an unheard-of thing. Conversations centered around self-improvement are commonplace. Plenty of people want to learn how to become better versions of themselves.
Not everyone has access to the benefits of therapy, though. Individual therapy sessions can cost up to a few hundred dollars, especially for those who pay out of pocket. Many want a way to work through their struggles but aren’t able to afford the private pay price tag.
Some therapists took note of this and realized their messages could reach the masses with the help of social media. They developed a presence on platforms like Instagram and used them as a way to spread some of their messages. As follower counts grew exponentially, more therapists transferred their energy to the social media self-help movement.
How Instagram Therapy is Helping
There are numerous benefits to therapists shifting some of their supportive messaging online. They can reach a much greater audience when they create content and post it on a social media channel. Hundreds of therapists spread helpful messages every day through the combination of posts and captions.
With the help of hashtags, someone seeking help for a certain issue can sift through thousands of relative posts. For example, if a person wants to find posts related to managing symptoms of anxiety, they can scroll through anxiety-related hashtags.
Instagram therapy brings the help of qualified therapists to an accessible platform. People who can’t afford the luxury of consistent one-on-one therapy sessions can find an alternative with this online avenue. Therapists use their social media accounts to encourage followers to embrace their flaws, challenge imposter syndrome, implement self-care practices, and more.
This push for self-improvement is one of the many benefits of therapists shifting onto social media platforms. They bring the key takeaways from in-person therapy online and make them accessible to those who would normally find them out-of-reach.
Differences Between Instagram and In-Person Therapy
Instagram therapy and in-person therapy are still two entirely different things, though. Finding self-help suggestions on Instagram is far more generalized than an individualized therapeutic approach. You may find posts related to your struggles but it’s still through a more generic stance and scope.
While on Instagram, therapists speak using a more general approach that applies to a wider range of people. They want their message to reach as many as possible. But when you attend in-person therapy your therapist develops an understanding of your specific situation. This allows them to adjust your treatment plan accordingly to your particular needs.
The Darker Side of DIY Therapy
There are some dangers to adopting a DIY approach to therapy. Taking treatment into your own hands, especially without first consulting a professional, isn’t always the safest idea. Plenty of people benefit from the self-guided therapy available online and don’t necessarily require a third-party opinion. This isn’t the case for everyone, though.
People who have more severe cases of mental illness, conditions like major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, should seek professional help. It might seem like following a few Instagram therapists is a sufficient substitute for individualized therapy. But people with diagnosable conditions should first consult a qualified professional.
Finding a Balance Between Self-Help and Guided Therapy
The most effective way to approach a fulfilling path of self-improvement is to combine your self-guided approach with guidance from an external source. Whether you seek the input of a therapist, a counselor, or a life coach, it’s helpful to have third-party input on your journey.
One of the best approaches is finding a one-on-one option to consult with regularly. You might opt for a weekly session, bi-weekly session, or monthly check-in, depending on your needs. Then use the resources available from Instagram therapists as supplemental guidance during the interim between sessions.