Therapist: The New BFF
Once upon a time, many people were ashamed to share that they were in therapy. The implication was that crazy people go to therapy. At the same time, therapists were coy to share their profession fearing people would run from them faster than the dentist. Today, having a therapist is like having the best friend ever!
More and more, people are not only seeking therapy, but are proud to say they have a therapist.
What’s the reason behind the shift? Social media of course. I fault social media and technology because we are no longer responsible for having to maintain healthy relationships. Thanks to text messaging, Facebook and Instagram, there is minimal, if any, exclusivity to relationships anymore. Some people even get annoyed if you call them. Oh the inconvenience of having to pick up the phone and talk to your sister! Phone calls are mostly reserved for calling our parents and other elders of the family. Long gone are the days when you lamped (yes I just dated myself!) on the phone with your home-girl. We now multi-task our relationships and have very little time to actually be engaged in them.
With that, unless you are a Kardashian, Mona Scott-Young or an insta-star, and get paid to tell your personal dramas in public mediums, there is no shoulder to cry on. Enter the psychotherapist. Alas, with as little as a $20 co-pay or $125 out of pocket, you have someone to unload your burdens to. Someone, who is ethically and legally bound to hold your confidence. Your therapist will always work hard to nurture her therapeutic relationship with you. Your therapist will set goals with and for you and inspire you in every way to reach those goals. Yes, if you are wrong, your therapist will point it out. She will not burst your bubble though. Rather, your therapist will help you understand what is underneath your error, enabling you to make connections and corrections, always leading to a more improved you.
I do not mean to condemn social media. I personally love FaceTime! Further, social media and technology has enhanced the field of psychotherapy as it enables clinicians to reach a broader range of clients by means of Skype and other communication platforms. I do mean to implore us to reconsider how we utilize social media platforms. If you have communicated with several people during your week without ever hearing their voice, taking in their facial expressions or hugged your sister, then it is time to reconsider how we are maintaining our relationships.
Now let me make this clear, because I can already smell other therapists cringing! I used a very important phrase earlier: therapeutic relationship! Inherent in this type of relationship are fun things called boundaries. In truth, we may feel like friends, you may hold us in your highest regard; however we are professionals with the unique balance of skill, creativity and intuition, endeavored to getting you healed of your emotional wounds and blossoming into your best self ever.
Have questions? I'd love to hear from you. Email me at Janine@cfsfamilies.org
Janine Muhammad is a Marriage & Family Therapist, writer, Founder and Director of The Center For Strong Families and serves as a Board Member for Advocates for Children in New York City.