Help, My therapist is Also an Influencer

Carol van Zyl
Mar 3, 2023

Imagine you find yourself once a week at your therapist's office in the hope of guidance or coping mechanisms for a traumatic event you survived, only to scroll through TikTok to find your therapist on the ‘For You’ page with a follower count—of 50,000 people! What do you do?

There are minimal ethical guidelines for therapists when it comes to using social media. Consequently, much is left open to professional interpretation, an openness that could place professionals and the public at risk. It’s become more apparent as therapists increase social media usage as many professionals seek the role of mental health influencers, whether purposefully or without realizing.

However, for clients, these developments could raise numerous critical ethical issues, including influencer integrity, competency, and confidentiality, not to mention risk management. This article briefly touches on these issues parallel to related research.

Help, My therapist is Also an Influencer

Practice and Policy Implications

  • Therapists increased work engagement as mental health influencers by sharing professional advice through social media - sometimes without realizing they are influencers. These professionals must be mindful of this work's vast array of consequences.

  • The literature has recognized ethical issues surrounding integrity, confidentiality, risk management, and competency. Professionals must keep good practice guidelines around these issues and stay updated on responses to any new technological developments.

  • Research has identified that several professionals must stick to the promoted good practices around social media. Such guidance should be communicated proactively and rooted within the therapy training programs.

  • Further research is required to support professional bodies in creating more specific and distinctive ethical guidelines on social media usage for therapists acting as mental health influencers.

Social Media and The Therapist

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, telepsychology has proliferated. Telepsychology refers to psychological services delivered through telecommunication technologies, including videoconferencing,  telephone, and social media platforms.

There are various levels of influencers on social media ranging from nano influencers (1,000-5,000) followers to macro-influencers (100,000+) followers to mega influencers who everyone knows about, such as Henderson (2020) and Triplett et al. (2022).

Several therapists have Instagram accounts, such as: 

  • US-based psychologist Dr. Nicole LePera (@the.holistic.psychologist) = has five million followers

  • UK-based clinical psychologist Dr. Michaela Dunbar (@myeasytherapy) = has one million followers


However, the question on the minds of many is whether a mental health influencer on social media should participate in brand deals and, within the consent process with clients, including having a social media platform. A professional may include self-disclosure to create a personal presence their followers can relate to, such as family photos which clients might use to gather information about the therapist’s life and views. The self-disclosure might be unintentional. The clients could gain a wealth of knowledge without the therapist's awareness, which can create a power imbalance.

Help, My therapist is Also an Influencer

Influencer Confidentiality

Where is the respect for client confidentiality regarding a mental health influencer? The public raised questions about a client’s privacy on social media, which the psychologist could access.

DiLillo and Gale (2011) found that although 76.8% of psychology doctoral students training in the USA and Canada believed that searching for a client on social media was entirely or usually unacceptable, 94.4% of the students reported searching for at least one client on social media. 

 Professionals have reported using social media to investigate risk issues such as substance misuse and self-harm to better understand the client’s life, however, whether the client provided informed consent or was informed retrospectively. 

 Another side of the coin is that a professional uses topic discussions from client sessions on their social media platform. Even though the client’s personal information is not disclosed, the possibility of the client being aware that the topic discussion is influenced by one of their sessions could cause mistrust in the client and therapist relationship.

 Ella White is a Counselling Psychologist in professional training at the Manchester Institute of Education at the University of Manchester. Her thesis focuses on good practice for psychologist use of social media as a mental health influencer.

According to White, there are too many grey areas in the guidelines, leaving too much interpretation in the therapist's hands and not addressing inappropriate usage.

“This creates a difficulty in creating guidelines that are not as vague as current recommendations, but also not so specific that they feel like rules, which become outdated,” stated Ella White.

 White is researching better ways guidelines can be addressed and communicated. She feels that some of the ethical dilemmas that therapists face on social media should be addressed to create awareness and give guidance on how to handle these situations.

Those who design these guidelines could spend more time talking with psychologists to discuss their experiences, concerns, and fears, and it could help therapists adhere to guidance more closely.

Final thoughts

The article has considered numerous core ethical issues related to social media usage by therapists. Even though social media is a platform that can have the potential for mental health influencers to share helpful messages, it could also come at a risk. 

Professional wisdom and research are starting to shed light on the consequences professionals should avoid. However, more exploration and research are still urgently required to minimize the risk to therapists and the public.

Social media platforms continue to evolve and change; therefore, continuous research is required to monitor and identify all ethical issues that arise for mental health influencers. Ongoing research information can support good practice guidelines for the evolution of social media. Social media usage for future therapist research findings should be included in therapist training programs to promote morality.

Help, My therapist is Also an Influencer


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  1. Seeprime said on September 8, 2023 at 4:12 pm

    Missing from the “story”: Ukraine’s agreement to never use Starlink for military purposes. This is why.

    Ghacks quality is AI driven and very poor these days since AI is really artificial stupidity.

    1. Karl said on September 12, 2023 at 9:10 pm

      “Elon Musk biographer Walter Isaacson forced to ‘clarify’ book’s account of Starlink incident in Ukraine War

      “To clarify on the Starlink issue: the Ukrainians THOUGHT coverage was enabled all the way to Crimea, but it was not. They asked Musk to enable it for their drone sub attack on the Russian fleet. Musk did not enable it, because he thought, probably correctly, that would cause a major war.”

      1. Karl said on September 14, 2023 at 5:58 pm

        I posted above comment to:

        Not to the following article about Geforce where I currently also can see it published:

  2. Anonymous said on September 11, 2023 at 10:09 pm

    Well, using Brave, I can see Llama 2 being decent, but it is still not great?
    All these AI stuff seems more like a ‘toy’ than anything special, I mean, it is good for some stuff like translations or asking quick questions but not for asking anything important.

    The problem is Brave made it mostly for summarizing websites and all that, but all these Big tech controlled stuff, won’t summarize articles it doesn’t agree with, so it is also useless in many situations where you just want it to give you a quick summarization, and then it starts throwing you little ‘speeches’ about how it doesn’t agree with it and then it never summarizes anything, but give you all the 30 paragraphs reasons why the article is wrong, like if I am asking it what it thinks.

    SO all this AI is mostly a toy, but Facebook with all the power they have will be able to get so much data from people, it can ‘train’ or better say, write algorithms that will get better with time.

    But It is not intelligence, it is really not intelligence all these AI technology.

  3. Tom Hawack said on September 14, 2023 at 2:11 pm

    Article Title: Tech leaders meet to discuss regulation of AI
    Article URL: []

    The eternal problematic of regulating, here applied to AI. Should regulations (interventionism) have interfered in the course of mankind ever since Adam and Eve where would we be now? Should spirituality, morality, ethics never have interfered where would we be now? I truly have always believed that the only possible consensus between ethics and freedom is that of individuals’ own consciousness.

    Off-topic : Musk’s beard looks like a wound, AI-Human hand-shake is a quite nice pic :)

    1. Karl said on September 14, 2023 at 5:55 pm

      Haha, oh dear, Tom.
      I thought that the comments system issue where comments shows up under a totally different article was fixed. But seeing your comment here, the “error” is clearly still active. Hopefully it is sorted as soon as possible.

      1. Tom Hawack said on September 14, 2023 at 6:40 pm

        Article Title: Tech leaders meet to discuss regulation of AI
        Article URL: []

        Hi Karl :) Well, let’s remain positive and see the good sides : one’s comment appearing within different articles (the one it was written form and for, another unrelated one) brings ubiquity to that comment : say it once and it’s published twice, double your pleasure and double your fun (“with double-mint, double-mint gum” and old ad!). Let’s forget the complications and inherited misunderstandings it leads to. Not sure the fun is worth the complications though. Which is why, with a few others here, I include Article Title & URL with comment, to ease a bit the pain.

        This said, I’m trying to find a logic key which would explain the mic-mac. One thing is sure : comments appearing twice keep the same comment number.

        For instance my comment to which you replied just above is originally :


        It then got duplicated to :


        Same comment number, which let’s me imagine comments are defined by their number as before but now dissociated in a way from their full path : that’s where something is broken, as i see it.

        First amused me, then bothered, annoyed (I took some holidays to lower the pressure), then triggered curiosity.
        I’m putting our best detectives on the affair, stay tuned.

      2. Karl said on September 16, 2023 at 8:58 am

        Hehe, yes indeed, staying positive is what we should do. Good comes for those who wait, as the old saying goes. Hopefully true for this as well.

        Interesting that the comments number stays the same, I noted that one thing is added to the duplicated comment in the URL, an error code, the following: “error-code-0x0003”.

        Not useful for us, but hopefully for the developers (if there are any?), that perhaps will be able to sort this comments error out. Or our detectives, I hope they work hard on this as we speak ;).

        Cheers and have a great weekend!

      3. Karl said on September 16, 2023 at 9:18 am

        Whoops, my bad. I just now realized that the error I saw in your example URL (error-code-0x0003) was part of the linked article title and generated by Geforce! Oh dear! Why did I try to make it more confusing than it already is lol!

        Original comment:


      4. Tom Hawack said on September 16, 2023 at 9:20 am

        Article Title: Tech leaders meet to discuss regulation of AI
        Article URL: []

        @Karl, you write,

        “I noted that one thing is added to the duplicated comment in the URL, an error code, the following: “error-code-0x0003”.”

        I haven’t noticed that up to now but indeed brings an element to those who are actually trying to resolve the issue.
        I do hope that Softonic engineers are working on fixing this issue, which may be more complicated than we can imagine. Anything to do with databases can become a nightmare, especially when the database remains accessed while being repaired, so to say.

        P.S. My comment about remaining positive was, in this context, sarcastic. Your literal interpretation could mean you are, factually, more inclined to positiveness than I am myself : maybe a lesson of life for me :)

        Have a nice, happy, sunny weekend as well :)

      5. 💾 said on September 16, 2023 at 12:35 pm

        Correct: AI is certainly overhyped, it’s also advertised by some shady individuals. It’s can also be misused to write poor quality articles or fake your homework.

        16 September 2023, this website is still experiencing issues with posts erroneously appearing in the wrong threads. There are even duplicates of the exact same post ID within the same page in some places.

      6. 💾 said on September 16, 2023 at 8:41 pm

        Clerical error “[It] can also be misused …” you just can’t get the staff nowadays.

        Obviously [#comment-4573795] was originally posted within [/2023/09/14/artificial-intelligence-regulation-tech-leaders/]. However, it has appeared misplaced within several threads.

        Including the following:

  4. Anonymous said on September 14, 2023 at 3:39 pm

    “How much radiation is dangerous?
    Ionizing radiation, such as X-rays and gamma rays, is more energetic and potentially harmful. Exposure to doses greater than 1,000 millisieverts (mSv) in a short period can increase the risk of immediate health effects.
    Above about 100 mSv, the risk of long-term health effects, such as cancer, increases with the dose.”

    This ban is about NON-ionizing radiation limits, because there is too much radio wave power from the iphone. This has nothing to do with the much more dangerous ionizing radiations like X-rays, that are obviously not emitted at all by mobile phones. I invite you to correct your article.

  5. Anonymous said on September 17, 2023 at 5:03 pm

    “ makes history as the first official UFO website”

    I wonder if it’s just smelly crowdsourcing for the spotting of chinese balloons or whatever paranoia they’re trying to instigate, or if they are also intentionally trying to look stupid enough to look for alien spaceships, for whatever reason. Maybe trying to look cute, instead of among the worst butchers of history ?

  6. Anonymous said on September 17, 2023 at 9:12 pm

    “The tech titan’s defense”
    “Whether he provides a clear explanation or justifies his actions”
    “the moral compass”

    You take it for granted that this company should agree being a military communications provider on a war zone, and so directly so that his network would be used to control armed drones charged with explosives rushing to their targets.

    You don’t need to repeat here everything you read in the mainstream press without thinking twice about it. You’re not just pointing interestingly that his company is more involved in the war that one may think at first and that this power is worrying, you’re also declaring your own support for a side in an imperialist killfest, blaming him for not participating enough in the bloodshed.

    Now your article is unclear on how this company could be aware that its network is used for such military actions at a given time, which has implications of its own.

    Reading other sources on that quickly, it seems that the company was: explicitly asked ; to extend its network geographically ; for a military attack ; at a time when there was no war but with the purpose of triggering it, if I understood well. You have to be joking if you’re crying about that not happening at that time. But today you have your war, be happy.

  7. Anonymous said on September 30, 2023 at 1:21 am

    comments and article dont match

  8. Gerald Brennan said on October 1, 2023 at 5:05 pm

    The writers were on strike?

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