The internet is a vast place, beautiful and terrible.
It has brought so many fantastic innovations and improvements to modern life! It has enabled young, otherwise loved people. Before, they felt isolated in places where it was more dangerous to be openly differently grounded, like gay, trans, bi-people etc., to find community, solidarity and unconditionally positive acceptance.
That is an experience that can be life-saving because that experience means an unconditional positive acceptance for some.
Many successful long-distance relationships maintained via email, Skype, Zoom, and WhatsApp during the corona crisis when there are restrictions.
Where would we be, seven months in a global pandemic, without Zoom, both in our personal and professional lives?
Telemedicine and teletherapy have been booming recently. Online platforms are an adaptation so new that social workers and therapists aren’t sure how it will play out eventually once laws and regulations catch up with technology.
Most therapists I interact with have the hope that teletherapy is a lasting factor:
It is more accessible than traditional personal therapy, both in making appointments and for clients who have difficulty getting there. As a result, treatment can become more affordable by removing the need to rent out a full-time office space. That office space can be astronomically expensive. And nobody is losing a lot of time in traffic (jam). That makes unconditionally positive acceptance more reachable for more people.
Still, some aspects of therapy can be challenging when performed through a screen. For example, in exercises and somatic therapy, generally, you have less visibility into each other’s body language.
On the other hand, you can use video for instructions to view what’s happening from different positions. However, helping someone on their way to self-healing is not so bad.
But as with everything, there is also a complicated side of mental health as it unfolds on the internet.
Therapists, instead of being the blank slate, Freud insisted they should try to be people, not like super humans, in the room with clients. As you know, most people today have some relationship with social media.
The social work practice rules and regulations have not yet caught up with the need for teletherapy as an adaptation to mental health practice. The ethics of being a mental health provider online has lagged.
There is the reality that most people have some form of social media presence. So have clients, leaders on online platforms, therapists, coaches, and others access to each other.
There’s nothing wrong with this perse. Although it can be shocking to both clients and clinicians when our social media presences intersect.
Some therapists include a social media disclaimer in their informed consent forms. In the disclaimer they explain their limits, concerns, and safety practices about confidentiality.
They recognize that awareness of each other’s social media accounts can become significant in treatment. The profile can tell a lot about the personality, and the interaction can have extra meaning to the relation.
It also begs the question of what it means to be a mental health provider who is also human?
Someone who gives unconditionally positive acceptance and is an entrepreneur on the internet is not a contradiction.
Many social entrepreneurs have on an online platform and have given workshops, webinars, and seminaries in the last years. That’s the way it works. You can’t afford to not reach out in these difficult times.
And what does it mean for customers and leaders to see you there?
Take, for example, Dr. Nicole LePera, The Holistic Psychologist whose work I find helpful. It’s a pity she has come under “fire” during a period from other well-known clinicians in the field. The Wellness Therapist, Actual Psychology, and Seerut Chawla, to name but a few, do they don’t see how big the problems are? These critics presented views that Dr. Nicole lacks a precise critical analysis of race and oppression in understanding trauma and healing. That’s entirely wrong.
This criticism is seemingly utterly unjustified if you take the trouble to read her magnificent book. “How to do the work?”
Her epigenetic view of the context of a person with trauma certainly does not assume a highly individualistic concept. On the contrary, she even thinks that trauma can be passed on from generation to generation via DNA. In contrast to most psychologists, she does not believe in genetic determinism.
Nor does she claim that the changes you can make are easy. Nor that you should always do them alone.
The Wellness Therapist, Azi, has also drawn unjust attention to Dr. Nicole’s “problematic” alleged association with QAnon believers and Trump supporters. It’s not because you have followers on your social media from that group, you support these ideas. I also had some problems with that kind of political infiltration.
Although I’ve been following Dr. Nicole for over two years now, I don’t see any views that lead to accusing her of Trump sympathies. On the contrary, her anti-racism standpoint makes clear her commitment to the LGB movement. It shows the opposite. If you don’t believe in genetic determination, it doesn’t mean you are an Evangelical or a Trump supporter. Spirituality and science are something that can go together, and you don’t have to be a Catholic to see that. You have to stop with that kind of dualism.
Yet, I also noticed, and that was one of the reasons why I restarted VKoN.
That many anti-vaxxers and Trump supporters, complotthinkers, are suddenly infiltrating the forums against narcissism and for self-love.
Trauma can cause a paranoid view and a black-white position, you also can find in complot theories.
Blaming someone else is an easy to do reactive abuse coping tactic.
Blaming others is supported by authoritarian extremism and the algorithm of Facebook. As a victim of narcissism, it’s easy to fall again for the love-bombing of a narcissistic cult organization.
I’ve always found that some views were incompatible with my therapeutic work online. People who are full of racism and homophobia, followers of overtly narcissistic politicians, are not at the point where they want to work on themselves. They can’t give unconditionally positive acceptance to others. They have feelings, but not workable empathy.
If you mainly spread hate, you can’t expect to get love. They are still in the stages of replacing one narcissist with another.
What does it mean for clients to disagree ideologically with clinicians? Whether clinicians should reveal their views, and even whether there are political positions incompatible with therapeutic work and self-healing? I think so! You have to put yourself in the position of Human rights defender if you want to help a person who wants to recover from abuse.
I also will not allow my platform to be used to propagate indecent political systems.
I also block such people, and I also delete their comments. Besides, I don’t think these people put a lot of intellectual and emotional labor into writing it.
Usually, it’s copy and pastes and views put forward by sophisticated trolls, well-versed in propaganda and agitation.
In my reflections on self-healing and in the articles titled “Limits on self-healing”, I have gone deeply into what the so-called opposition is.
There are also some texts with the search function where I thoroughly discuss the connection with authoritarianism, racism, and narcissism. The conclusion is that the movement for self-healing is a movement for unconditionally positive acceptance and inclusion.
Especially for women of color, the work of self-healing is the most accessible! Few can move to a therapy session twice a week, while online programs and online platforms are available 24/7.
The intensity of the problems of people living in poverty, of people who are discriminated against and not seen, is much more significant. Therefore, there is a need for constant contact and accountability.
Those who do not see the whole of Lepera’s views might notice that she does not delve deeply into the complexities of trauma.
That is certainly not the case in her book. Her opinions and position on abuse, personal and cultural, are entirely consistent with the latter finding in the neurobiology of trauma, as found in the book “From Injury to Scar.”
She goes into depth from her experience on how trauma affects how you experience relationships.
How you come to conflicts because of this trauma is a subject so deeply delve into. That you got numerous fleas from the parent care provider with a personality disorder is where she reflects on numerous times.
In particular, her explanation of taking baby steps in self-healing corresponds to an ecological approach to the relationship with herself and the context in which the traumatized person lives. This is a small step towards unconditionally positive acceptance from yourself. Reparenting especially is unconditionally positive acceptance of a part of your being.
Making steps too big leads to a relapse. In talk therapy, that setback is mainly addressed when taking significant steps and goals too long. Doing the inner talk yourself in selfhealing, stopping the negative inner talk goes beyond the talk therapy. It’s more a reprogramming.
The client can immediately be triggered and get stuck when the therapy session has ended because the reprogramming was not deep enough in the unconscious. You need a kind of hypnosis or self-hypnosis.
When a platform is available 24/7 like the platform of Melanie and Dr. Nicole, you always have opportunities to find people in a stage like yourself working with the same tools. Mainly because it is internationally spread, to make contacts in every language.
Generally, you don’t have access to other clients op your therapist. Anyway, it makes it less possible to measure the unconditionally positive acceptance.
This also still happens with individual therapists, who in any case are not bothered by self-healers:
It’s the opposite of unconditionally positive acceptance!
If you are told that you abused or attacked yourself!
Being told she can’t help you anymore, and you can’t get better!
Using personal information against you!
Help sought and rejected because of diagnosis!
Being forced to do something you’re not 100% comfortable with!
Being told why you are gay or being told you are gay is wrong!
If you are told that God believes you are evil, wrong, or a sinner for any reason!
Honestly sharing your addiction or substance use and being treated as if you are morally wrong, a criminal or in need of punishment.
Telling parts of your personal life, your emotional life and being told you “shouldn’t have done that” or that’s not what “they should have done”.
Being told that your trauma “just needs to be overcome” or that there is no acute trauma.
Then the presence of the tools, procedures, online guided meditations, the affirmations is a fear-reducing aspect.
But again, because it’s not molded into 50-minute sessions, you always have the opportunity to pause. You’re advised to take baby steps, pause and write down all the triggers. Because the problem is approached holistically to achieve trauma recovery, there is no insistence on beliefs.
On the contrary, changing beliefs is only one part of how the traumatized person lives in all areas. Every small change, like drinking a glass of water in the morning, is building self-confidence and reduces anxiety.
Nicole describes the self-healing of people who are very anxious and who have PTSD in her book.
So, it turns out that it is possible, but that does not mean there is a guarantee. The uncomfortable changes should, of course, be done by the self-healers. And so, it will take some landmarks. It will take a strong motivation whether that motivation is greater in talk therapy, without pushing because what is the effect, in that case, is open to question.
You may also note that LePera’s definition of trauma is vague and seems all-inclusive.
I like that all-inclusive because a trauma is per definition subjective.
At the same time, the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders: 5th Edition (DSM-5) are precise. But allow me to say that those criteria appear to provoke many diagnoses. A new DSM make them disappear, according to which DSM 3 – 4 – 5 you use. It seems very temporally and it’s so wrong to label unique people, it’s a nocebo.
So, it’s not that specific if it changes so quickly over time.
In addition, vague, all-encompassing, I think, is an extension of what we assume, is trauma. Ultimately, it is how the child experiences the treatment, and it’s an effect on health that determines the intensity.
The treatment by the caregiver is how many traumas arise due to the wrong attachment. In addition, trauma for specific population groups and orientations in certain environments is not even seen. Not even been seen is especially the case in these times of religious fanaticism.
It is precise because her approach transcends the culture that the tools she offers are of such great specific value. Or is it about the intellectual discussion and not about helping people who would otherwise not be allowed?
My vision on helping people first illustrates the root of the problem that is bigger than the therapy influencers themselves:
That clinician training is priceless, especially for therapists from marginalized backgrounds for whom academia is still a gatekeeper. Almost impossible to get in, despite the great need for more BIPOC queer and trans therapists. Therefore, it is an easy preconception that she would be individualistic because she is a white therapist.
Unfortunately, the therapy itself is still often prohibitively expensive. With the result that many therapists choose to go the route of private practice to maintain a living wage.
In contrast, therapists who decide to work in community clinics and nonprofit organizations face low exploitation wages. Some recent graduates even report that as medics who pay a fee per service, they earn less than minimum wage in the USA and high rates of burnout. Out, which inevitably also affects the work they can do with clients.
That, too, has Dr. Nicole experienced all.
Social media and the educational information that Dr. Nicole and Melanie, and so many experiential experts present, in many ways serve to fill the gaps left by such an imperfect and problematic system. Fortunately, by making the knowledge public and developing the tools, they create better access to resources and information about mental health. They normalize what it means to struggle with one’s mental health. She also has a concrete path that will require daily work.
Still, it’s important to remember the function of social media:
Most social media business people and private practice therapists are business owners use that platform for marketing and advertising.
Brands and pages are carefully curated with the specific intention of attracting potential customers. While a therapist’s social media account can give you insight into their values as a clinician, their page should not be a substitute for therapy. But that is also the case for a website. The page of Melanie, Nicole and of “narcisme.blog” isn’t a substitute for therapy, but it’s helpful for self healers if they use the easy search function.
The question is what the type of marketing is? How transparent is the owner about his company and how his products work? How excellent is the service, and how pushy is the marketing and sales?
That is great on all counts.
When it comes to following up with their clients, both Melanie and Dr. Nicole are excellent examples for many therapists.
Therapists still have too little time. The waiting lists are incredibly long. They refer to a general practitioner, which offers no solution. Who then listens for 30 minutes and possibly prescribes a remedy.
However, if someone is 18 years old and goes entirely under, parents and friends can’t intervene because it is a voluntary decision to collaborate with medicine or justice department.
Suppose those tools of self-healing are widely disseminated through the movement that is emerging from them.
Anyone connected to them can form a connection from their experience with someone who has ended up in trauma.
In any case, those tools are not vague. You don’t need the theoretical background, just like you don’t have to be a specialist in batteries to drive a Tesla. You do need empathy from eyes, of course.
So, how can you keep yourself safe, especially at a time of increased stress and anxiety? What should you do when many are turning to therapy and mental health care for the first time when it turns out that it isn’t available? You went to information on self-healing from a professional like Dr. Nicole.
Here are some suggestions:
Criticize your idols!
A therapist is simply a person with a specific type of training, even if they have millions of followers online. And just like that, Dr. Nicole and Melanie feel like human beings. They facilitate healing, but I don’t necessarily believe that they are “healers” of others themselves.
That is precisely the message that everyone has a self-healing ability that can be activated with the right tools. Of those tools, they are both now, and perhaps many others are the messengers as well.
In any case, with Dr. Nicole, anything can be used for free. I see a big contradiction between some writers, who first have to get an extensive introduction on how important they are, and behave like an absent-minded professor to seem attractive. But they do get paid to talk for 30 minutes.
The most important aspect of our work is to keep room for a unique type of relationship:
One that is wholly focused on the person seeking care, offering a place to reflect, be curious about themselves and experience, a place of hope, and unconditional positive appreciation.
You can get it immediately on the platform of Melanie. And in periods, you can get full access to Dr. Nicole.
That’s what I’ve found, for the moment, in the international community of NARP, as well as in the workshops I’ve attended with Melanie.
Still, no matter how much a particular therapy influencer’s content resonates with you, touches you or strikes a chord with you, it’s important to remember that the person behind the infographic is still just a flawed human being in the middle of their life.
It’s a human being on the healing journey to give meaning to life in a chaotic and oppressive world.
Dr. Nicole is very transparent about what she still struggles with in her book and recent posts on Instagram.
Finally, when you go to a therapist, you don’t get an idea of the context in which they live. I have less insight into Melanie’s relationships, and she seems to assume more of a status moving towards perfection.
When we turn people into heroes and idols, we end up giving away some of our power.
Whether they’re actors, artists, activists, politicians, or clinicians, there is always a possibility toward narcissistic behaviour instead of unconditionally positive acceptance.
We need not only people who make the bridge between the therapist and the person with trauma. We require people to go down the stairs.
All the critics of Dr. Nicole look from a place of inexperience to go down the stairs. This viewpoint is the opposite of out-reaching. It’s the opposite of the presence theory of Andries Baart!
Isn’t it effortless for a therapist to become your personal hero and idol, just because you are in her setting and there is no social control? Instead, you find easy social control in a community!
I suppose there is more transgressive behavior in the therapy room, as we would not have expected in the church of any nomination.
There are many schools of thought and many paths to healing. It is certainly valuable to have the crash courses available to many of them via social media.
What better way to get an idea of what’s out there and how it can help you then searching with hashtags on social media?
But mental health posts on social media should be and are a place to start. That’s how it began, with the exchange of Dr. Nicole’s experiences in her self-healing process. And this now resulted in a book and a platform. That’s how I found the necessary tools to recovery and have the inner peace. You don’t get the inner peace from learning all the stuff about narcissism, but from using the tools.
Melanie also has a book with her working method. She has a platform and community for several years, of which you remain a member for life and receive the updates for free.
Identify your therapy values!
You are the most crucial part of your therapy experience. Your mental health and healing needs and values should be central to how your therapist works with you. How will you get that information if you don’t know other clients?
My values are now very much in line with what Dr. Nicole is offering. People can use the tools in their privacy and don’t need a confessor. Selfhealers can read all the comments. They can take contact with someone who commented and have a chat conversation, even if it’s not someone of her team. You will never get that kind of evaluation from a client of a therapist.
Dr. Nicole doesn’t use publicity. She is growing the movement organically with a lot of valuable content. You can subscribe to her newsletter. There are no secrets!
She doesn’t cross-link to other people to sell programs. I don’t have the impression that I’m suddenly overwhelmed with all kinds of deals because I’ve passed on my email.
That is more the case with Melanie, but before joining her platform. A big benefit, when you use her platform: you can ask to spread the price to an only cost of 5 euros per month. And then it’s for life. Which hopefully isn’t necessary? You can cancel your Membership of Dr. Nicole’s platform monthly.
What a big contrast with therapists!
With therapists, you have in addition the transport costs, you also quickly pay 40 to 50 euros for 40 to 50 minutes.
However, the duration that you use the online platform is not limited. The conversation you have within the communities is also not limited but depends on the interlocutors.
Innovation is crucial to me. You can discipline yourself with the tools because it now works online. Because I have done myself a lot of research on trauma recovery and narcissism myself, I am 100% convinced of the substantiation. Take some time on doing your research yourself and make your personal decision.
Still, the main thing is that it works for me and so many people. Will it continue to work? There will probably be even better tools. The main thing you have become happy for more and more time is a fundamental quality of life improvement simultaneously.
On the other hand, you should not create expectations of heaven on earth. Because, first, we remain vulnerable people. On the other hand, the challenges of social injustice and climate injustice are enormous. It doesn’t seem heaven will come automatically.
The tools are also not complicated, and the therapy does not depend on the therapist’s personality.
It is also not a strict protocol, so your intuition is used. You don’t have to build a trusting relationship, so you can’t be abused.
The book of Dr. Nicole is easy to read and easy to handle as a book or e-book. Either you keep a note (online or offline), or you make notes. You can use markers so that it becomes a workbook on self-healing. You will never find a book on a specific therapy that is so accessible.
However, therapists often lack homework or reference to your conversation. I don’t think many therapists would appreciate it if you recorded the conversation.
However, part of the choice comes from understanding your values about therapy.
Another part of making your decision on the kind of therapy and therapist is how to communicate them when interviewing a new therapist to follow possibly?
Sometimes, and ideally, future therapists will make that easier for you with a well-written and specific bio or website.
In my “about me”, for example, I clearly list the various certification programs I’ve completed, my years of experience, and I’m candid about the lens I practice with. Furthermore, who are the writers and activists who have influenced me the most? You will also find which books I use to inspire me further. And if you like, I’ll send you my bachelor’s thesis.
By being transparent, I hope to make things easier for people when they research me before contacting me.
And most importantly, they will consult the search function and categories, after which I hope they will be open to using the tools if they are ready.
They can choose between the tools that we offer in Dutch for free. You can decide to buy and find those tools in the Dutch book by Dr. Nicole. But if they understand the English language well, they can turn to online tools and “How to do the work?” in the language they prefer.
Our blog will take you slowly through the nerve-wracking process of starting therapy. Whether with a therapist or as a self-healer, you will find a lot of information. In any case, you can be highly educated with the keyword’s “therapist, reservations and limits”, whether it’s for the first time or with someone new. At least it gets a little easier.
That is what brings me to my next point.
Do your research in unconditionally positive acceptance!
Although it is undoubtedly the most convenient and ubiquitous format to access bite-sized and visually appealing information, you can lose hours scrolling through therapy memes, infographics, and hashtags. I know because I did it. I also recommend doing some of your research on social media.
If you see something that interests you, there are many, probably more balanced summaries and breakdowns of different modalities and treatment styles.
Psychology Today, for example, is a directory where you can find explanations about therapy. But there are also other online therapists.
One more note about directories like this:
They often allow therapists to choose as many “types of treatment” options as they want, so when we interview a prospective therapist, use your intuition.
Reach offline for unconditionally positive acceptance!
Finally, if the social media account of a therapist, an experienced expert or a consultant catches your eye, and you think you would like to work with them, why not send a DM either. Then you can start a video chat. Or you can take the telephone. Some people have a better intuition when talking on the phone!
Go to their website, search for them in a directory, and send an email or call their number.
Getting DMs from people seeking help is complicated for some therapists:
I choose to offer counselling through a social media site, which most therapists don’t do because they don’t know about out-reaching and going downstairs the bridge. Being present for a person with your heart is incredibly valuable.
There are many variables at play when I talk to someone on social media. Mental health crises are certainly not something that can be adequately and easy responded to via direct message. Still, it is a start to moving on to a video call.
I also offer references to directories or crisis lines that I consider reliable.
But you never know someone’s availability via DM as a potential client.
Larger accounts are likely to receive dozens, if not hundreds, of messages a day. That’s for me, the case. In my counselling, it takes maximum five days from the helpdesk to me. On average, after 2 days, I receive a message on a request for help. If it is through a referral from a colleague, this can be done within the hour.
A safe bet is to get in touch via an official contact form on a website and not be afraid to poke around. You don’t always have the chance for that, especially if you’re someone impoverished.
None of the above says that you should not follow therapists or online self-healer platforms online. Don’t judge yourself or feel cheated if what therapists or experiential experts post online resonates with you and directs you toward your healing work.
It’s okay to get a lot of value from the social media therapy corner!
But feeling validated by the psychoeducational resources available online, and doing the more profound, embodied inner work of healing are two different things. The latter is the most important, by the way.
It’s something that comes to my mind every time a client presents me with a riddle that sounds familiar: “I know, logically, rationally, that XYZ isn’t right for me or isn’t logical or isn’t what I want, but I’ll keep it do it anyway!”
This is typical with therapists and less so with self-healing advice because self-healing relies on a daily routine that increases progressively.
Psychoeducation is an essential step toward healing trauma and taking care of our mental health. But the most important step is using the tools daily.
Healing happens intentionally and in an embodied way, during our daily lives regularly.
Healing can happen with a therapist. It takes a lot of time, for most of us it takes years, it’s frustrating. There is a large dropout rate in therapy. Hopefully, self-healing will also occur in our communities and among each other, especially given how inaccessible therapy and self-healing can be for many. Anyway, healing happens on platforms like Melanie’s and Dr. Nicole.
Therapy influencers can point you in the right direction.
It’s a great feeling to scroll through Instagram. Instagram is often a stressful place where we distance ourselves from our fear or compare ourselves to others. Why do you do that? You see a post that reminds you of your humanity, your resilience and the hard work you do towards healing.
But remember, therapy or taking an online trauma recovery program is about you.
You need to focus on your specific needs and goals, and your lived experience and history.
The most work you have to do is the unconditionally positive acceptance of yourself. Seeing the fear from conception, during pregnancy, eventually the pain of premature, confronting light, the pain of inaccessibility of the mother, the completely overwhelming context of a family in trouble or trauma, the tensions and unequal treatment of the family members etc.
Giving love and consolation to your unheard, neglected, outcast, humiliated inner child is for many of us a daily practice. You don’t need a therapist to do that.
Not an influencer’s popularity or reach will prove that skill.
How to do the work is a skill you can learn, step by step. Practice by practice!
Well, if that therapist or expert authentically remains himself. But whether there is, in reality, a click that prompts you to apply what you have learned.
And yes, you will not find the aftercare in the therapist’s practice. You only have that on a platform for self-healers. Because follow-up in the event of a relapse, there is too great a distance from the therapist.
Whether you find unconditional positive acceptance at a self-healing platform, of course, depends on the participants. Presumably, if that consists of ex-victims of abuse, they are all empathetic people.
That cannot always be said of therapists and coaches. So, the chance that you “click” is greater on a self-healing platform. Look at the numbers of participants. You can further develop the relationship, and who knows, you might find someone on the platform in your area who you can get in touch with in life.
Depending on the marketing of the self-healing platform, you can see how unconditional positive acceptance is implemented.
When the price is that high, it looks more like money-making. How will investments be made in the future? Or does the top suddenly disappear with the northern sun?
So take a good look at the terms and conditions of both the therapist and the platform. See how easy it is to contact each other. See to what extent different opinions are allowed to live there. Find out to what intention some people subscribe to human rights.
So, you do have some work to do, but the advantage over a therapist is that it becomes transparent that way. If there is continuity, investments are made in the future. Such a platform is also more unconditional in positive acceptance than a therapist.
Not only because it is more accessible 24/7, but because friendships can develop internationally. It does not just stop at retirement age, like most therapists do. Can find another self-healer in your location and have a life conversation? Will you find self-healers in every age category? Yes!
You miss a lot of opportunities with a therapist for unconditional positive acceptance!
The chance that a good team will miss new research is therefore minimal. The chance new research is shared with the group is very high. There will always be someone who continues to study. Thus, the multicultural, international and multidisciplinary character is assured if the founder does not assume the proportion of a cult figure and only hands the blame.
In any case, an independent therapist is on his own and is, therefore, less suitable for giving unconditional positive acceptance.
I believe healing is about unconditionally positive acceptance, why not to try it first out giving it to yourself. It’s especially that part of yourself you forget for so long. You don’t have to be on a waiting list for that.