Hello Gorgeous!

Firstly thank you for being here. I hope you’ll find something of value here.

I’m Dr M, a Chartered Clinical Psychologist, Psychology Professor, author & media contributor based in London, UK. In my day job, I teach postgrad students how to do therapy & how to test if therapy works. I have a small trauma informed private practice. Read more about my training & qualifications here.

I created @thepsychologistandme on social media because I couldn’t believe how much mental health misinformation was on the internet. Luckily, I have training in psychology & mental health therapy, so I can safely differentiate the engagement-based tactics from the good material. But without that training, how would a person looking for mental health help be able to recognize that a post with hundreds or thousands of likes, by a person with over a hundred thousand followers, is utter BS? Social perception is very powerful, isn’t it?

The problem is that there are far more accounts with questionable mental health information and big followings than accounts run by real, trained, qualified (can I throw in morally responsible) mental health experts. I felt it was time to change that ratio.

I’m now on a mission to help break barriers in mental health treatment by improving accessibility & affordability.

Here’s my story…

In 2010, my sister (who led comms/social media for a Fortune 500) told me about Instagram & blogging and how I should get on board. She said it was a chance to share helpful perspectives and make my professional expertise accessible to the public. I scoffed.

Big sigh. Clearly, I was short sighted, however, at the time, I struggled to see where pastel mental health lecture slides would stand a chance next to celebrity selfies and couples diving into 5* hotel pools full of rose petals. 

I also didn’t believe that people would trust random people on the internet with deeply personal issues, like their mental health. But I’ve since learned that people actually do. And for good reasons. Therapy is expensive. People seeking therapy are often stigmatized. It’s hard to find good help or know where to look for mental health help. 

The most worrying thing is that there are social media influencers and celebrity coaches, who don’t have any professional mental health training, who have happily jumped off their sofas to fill this gap by offering online mental health help.

And this is an issue because good, honest, hard working people may believe that:

 a) a post featuring a product/service w tons of likes/comments is a good product/service;

 b) someone with lots of followers & a blue tick is confirmed authority figure;

 c) someone who is called ‘Dr’ or has x psychology degree or exclusively lived experience is equivalent to a qualified therapist (this is not a take down on lived experience because  that perspective is relevant & important to mental health recovery); or, 

d) whatever therapy-like product being sold has been tested and works, which is why it’s appearing to be popular. 

Ok fine if it’s a £3.99 cellulite cream. But when it’s expensive mental health ‘products’ mimicking therapy sold by people I’m going to politely call ‘people’ AND often for more money than actual therapy from a trained professional. We all need to worry.

So while I understand the temptation to reach out for what may appear to be help, it is a problem because it tricks people into paying for ‘healing’ when potentially no real healing occurs. Revolving doors of ‘unhealed’ clients + loyalty = regular profit.

But because their services aren’t actually mental health therapy, they don’t come under regulatory governance by any accrediting professional body. People with no professional qualifications are not regulated or obligated to have any knowledge or awareness of professional or ethical standards. It’s a buyer beware market. It forces the public to find out by themselves if the title and profession are legit. And it’s really hard to tell whether job titles like mental health coach or mindset mentor or therapist or Doctor via a PhD in economics combined with a bachelors in counseling is sufficient to offer real mental health help (btw none of these are).

Fast forward to the pandemic. Everyone I know is struggling with their mental health and providers who I’m going to call ‘trained mental health professionals’ are at capacity…wait lists are extremely long. So the temptation to reach out to ‘people’ to purchase ‘cellulite cream-like mental health products’ skyrockets. Not to mention people now use social media like a phone book- if you’re not on there, you don’t exist.

So there I was in 2020, like everyone, stuck in a house full of children 24/7, zoom meetings, tons of anxiety and grief and nowhere to go. I decided to share some mental health tidbits, hoping that someone may benefit out there and that’s a good thing. No labels. No diagnoses. No stigma. Not driven by profit or the desire to become an influencer but an alternative to all of that. A trustworthy resource.

That page has turned into a lovely community that inspires me to find new ways to destigmatize mental health and make REAL mental health education affordable and accessible. So here I am, trying my best to build something useful, to do some good in the world so more people can live happier and satisfying lives.

Take care of yourself,

Dr M

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