‘Tiktok Therapy’ is not a substitute for actual psychological services

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Enter the universe of Tiktok and you’ll soon discover endless content that can be accessed with just the swipe of your thumb. Worlds for different niches, weird hobbies, and all areas of life. 

One such world includes ‘TherapyTok’, home to professional therapists and counselors who have taken to the Gen Z-populated app to offer tidbits of life advice. 

With these videos raking in views ranging from 30,000 to up to 4.5 million, ‘Tiktok Therapists’ like @therapyjeff or @your_pocket_therapist isn’t exactly speaking to a wall when they produce content. 

For a generation that was raised with the internet, it’s understandable that many young people on the app openly accept and rely on these ‘Tiktok Therapists’ for healthy advice on healing, mental health, and even relationships. In fact, it’s through platforms like these that mental health care is more accessible, especially for those that can’t afford it. 

However, at what point do we draw the line between Tiktok Therapy and actual psychological help as a stepping stone for self-improvement? 

@your_pocket_therapist

The one thing I wish people knew about healing #therapytiktok #mentalhealth #healing

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In an interview for The New York Times, licensed professional counselor Lisa Henderson shares her concern over the limited, short-form content on the app. These short videos can have viewers believing that mental health treatments can come in a “quick, easy fix” instead of the long, rigorous process that it actually is. 

‘TherapyTok’ videos can range from a licensed counselor simply sitting on a couch while a voiceover narrates their main message, to a therapist actually acting out possible scenarios that involve triggers or dealing with trauma. 

With the plethora of videos available for consumption, viewers are now expected to be able to filter out what applies to them and what doesn’t – but how do we know they can do that? 

Many of these licensed ‘Tiktok Therapists’ may often have good intentions for their content, but what’s missing in many of these accounts is the explicit reminder for the (mostly) young people consuming their content that at the end of the day, their videos are still simply just that: videos.

While these videos address the need for psychological services known to be quite expensive, in the deep sea of all these mental health tips, viewers may forget that certain therapeutic advice usually varies per individual. 

As big a universe as it is, Tiktok is definitely better off with these licensed therapists on the app than without them, for sure. 

But expecting viewers to filter content places an ironic responsibility on the very people who are in need of psychological assistance in the first place.

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