When Your Therapist is Facebook Friends With Your Ex.

Excerpt from this article:

“I saw that….my ex is….friends with you on Facebook.”

It felt like I was drunk and had to make extra effort to enunciate. I had to pause twice to catch my breath. I felt my heartbeat reverberate throughout my entire body and my eyes stayed fixated on the box of tissues in front of me. All my weight sank further into the couch the longer the silence dragged out.

“Well, I can imagine how difficult and jarring it must have been to see that. But…I’m actually curious if I know her now.”

I told her my ex regularly engaged with her posts, and she thought she had a clue as to who it was. She was super apologetic and empathetic to how frustrating this was for me. We spent a few minutes rationalizing how this could have happened — my therapist works heavily with young people in the LA music scene, and my ex works in music. It’s admittedly an extremely small scene we have here, you can easily have a handful of mutual friends with virtually anyone. We made it clear that my ex is not and never was a client of hers.

“How do you think we should proceed?” she asked.


Therapy’s Digital Disconnect

Excerpt from this article:

A generation of therapists who grew up with the internet places a similar importance on the ability to navigate certain online terrain. “It’d be really hard to talk about dating dynamics with a therapist that had never used an app before,” said Chloe Carmichael, a clinical psychologist who runs a private practice in Manhattan. “It would be like trying to discuss a date in a bar or a nightclub with a therapist who had never been to a bar or a nightclub.” Some people who have seen more traditional analysts have complained that the advice they gave was contextless and hollow. “It’s sort of like a square-peg, round-hole thing, where of course their therapist might want to help but they just don’t,” said Melody Wilding, a therapist who specializes in coaching female entrepreneurs and millennials.

And the essential concern is that some of the effects of online life are serious, and many people could benefit from talking about them. “What I hear from a lot of my clients is there’s that disconnection,” Wilding said. “It’s isolating in so much that you’re constantly managing your persona and there’s also a lack of realness. Yes, you might be sharing the highlights of your day when you call the people closest to you, but it’s sort of glossed-over updates. No one really gets into talking about the nuts and bolts of what’s even happening in their life anymore.”

“There is a fundamental anti-technology bias in people who didn’t sort of grow up in the midst of it,” Rutledge said. “This is a really normal response because, physiologically, we are not predisposed to just instantly embrace something that’s new. So a lot of therapists who have been working for a long time who are very skilled at working with people are naturally hesitant about this new environment, because they haven’t spent a lot of time there.”

“Things can really open up once you start looking at your client’s online behaviors,” she said. “As clinicians, how do we engage, or do we engage with our clients online? For what purpose, and how is that supported by a theoretical rationale? All of those questions are not being asked by the people who draft and publish the code of ethics for our profession.”


How To Turn Your Smartphone Into Your Personal Therapist

Excerpt from this article; and I just listened to the Reply All podcast on this topic this morning, it’s good, you can listen here:

Last spring, Paul Ford was sick of the self-sabotaging, disparaging voice in his head, so he decided to do something about it. He’d been living with anxiety all his life, but it was getting in the way of his professional career. So Ford, a longtime tech tinkerer, decided to turn his anxiety into a bot that he named AnxietyBox.

Ten times a day, at random he’d receive an email from his Anxiety with subject lines like: “Ask yourself, do you always want to be exhausting to know and undesirable?” The messages were nasty and uncannily channeled that negative voice in his head. “Dear Paul,” one email read. “I heard you when you talked about how you wanted to exercise. Where would you put your chances for success? Zero percent? Greater?”

Psychologists call these negative voices “cognitive distortions”—moments when your thinking goes awry and your anxiety gets the best of you.

Ford was just trying out a silly experiment, yet with a little distance between that negative voice and himself (about as much space as you give yourself from your email inbox), he could see just how disparaging and mean so many of his anxious thoughts were. Suddenly they didn’t have as much power over him. “My thing sends you emails that tell you you’re garbage,” he says. “You start to laugh at how bad your anxiety is.”