The Changing Face of Therapy and Mental Health in the Age of Social Media.

by Dr. Ehsan Gharadjedaghi

Many of us have heard of the stigma that encircles any remote notion pointing toward mental health and therapy. If our co-worker or a neighbor confides in us that he is going to a therapist to deal with his recent divorce or job loss, our mind immediately wanders toward the negative connotation and ensuing conclusion – without any evidence whatsoever – that he, our coworker or neighbor must be depressed, dysfunctional, or just simply quite sad. At the same time, there is this tingling, disturbing sensation within that urges us to distance and estrange ourselves from him. We may go into one of two opposite directions: we either become quite sad and concerned in our attempt at being emphatic and understanding to his pain while subconsciously categorizing him into a category of “helpless” or “needy” or “weak” acquaintances that are less functional than us and with whom we would most likely not hang out all that much for the foreseeable future. Or, on the other polar opposite, we may simply decide to keep distance and leave him to his own devices as to not risk the possibility of being dragged down by him into an all too familiar abyss of sadness, disturbance, fatigue, and isolation ourselves. Rarely, would any of us reach out in a more or less ‘normal’ or most common social gesture and invite him to go out to a party or have a drink. And what’s the use anyway? Even if we did, we may be rejected due to “him” not being in the mood and not lenient to be entertained out of his depressive misery for now.

But has any one of us recently or at all associated a friend’s proclamation of seeking therapy with something more healthy and exciting? Have you? When was the last time that upon hearing your friend seeking therapy an exciting image popped up telling you subliminally that this friend must be doing well, he is doing the right thing, he must be smart or astute or functional enough to get another expert to help him with a certain goal or objective? We rarely do that unless the goal or objective of our friend sounds more like something celebrities or movie stars would do, for example losing weight, getting a nose job, landing a dream job, making tons of money, or alike. No, for ages, seeking mental health consultation (therapy) has not been associated with the concept of “success”! It has almost always been associated with “failure”.

Or has it? Well, maybe that picture is changing during the most recent changes that are taking place due to the advances in social media, a world getting smaller, and the younger generation embracing mentally healthy strategies including therapy. And that is a trend that TherapyCable with its mission to reduce stigma around mental health is heavily betting on. More and more young people are combating the deficits and challenges the past generation have passed on to them by becoming smarter in the way they go about these challenges. Rather than blaming the previous generation, playing the victim card, simply feeling sad or defeated yet refusing any professional help, they are wholeheartedly welcoming any help they can get. They scour the worldwide digital library for answers to their immediate questions, they text professionals and experts, they reach out to helpers via apps, subscribe to health related articles, and most importantly they accelerate their absorption and learning of new information by watching videos that simply explain problems they encounter hoping to find the right solution in the most efficient way possible. That picture is becoming the new trend. Stigma today does no longer sting as it used to; it’s becoming more meaningless and losing its validity. Stigma? What stigma? Ask a young person (usually in the range of 16-28 yrs of age) and see what they think about stigma of mental health. Today we have to ask this new, social media savvy, intellectual generation to teach us about their worldview, which has tremendously changed from ours.

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About Ehsan Gharadjedaghi 1 Article
Dr. Ehsan Gharadjedaghi is a California-licensed clinical psychologist with specialties in couples and sex therapy, ampoule addiction, shop trauma and youth concerns. He is also the founder of multiple successful organizations including the Norooz Clinic Foundation, a non-profit community mental health clinic; Therapy Impasse Exploration & Resolution Institute, a specialty training and research institute to help therapists improve their clinical skills; AlumniSuccess, a private practice startup organization for emerging pre-licensed and newly licensed psychotherapists; Couples & Sex Therapists of Orange County, a local Orange County, CA, based training institute for couple and sex therapy;, the #1 online therapy video hub, aimed at providing all inclusive, open access to therapy to anyone, at anytime, and anywhere; and Elite Care Treatment Center, an intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization treatment for substance abuse and addiction. Dr. Gharadjedaghi is also on the part-time faculty of multiple OC-based private universities including Argosy University, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and the University of Phoenix. Furthermore, Dr. Gharadjedaghi serves on the editorial board of Who Is Who, Inc. Health + Medicine magazine, and on the Board of Advisors at the MACP program at Argosy University, as well as a member of Orange County Mental Health Board.
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