Real psychologists leverage social media

September 22, 2016

 

 

I joined Twitter to get recipes and tips from Mark Bittman. 

 

My best friend had given me Bittman’s book, How to Cook Everything, and it changed my life.  I had to have a daily dose of Bittman’s wisdom, so I created my first Twitter account and followed @bittman.

 

I quickly realized I could get a taste of home and followed @Phillies, @Eagles, and @NHLFlyers.

 

I found I didn’t have to wade through the Wall Street Journal or New York Times anymore.  Top news would show up on Twitter, if I followed @WSJ and @NYTimes.

 

I never intended to use it professionally. 

 

No real psychologist would.

 

And I am a real psychologist.

 

I have a reputation as an expert in college mental health, crisis management, and suicide prevention. 

 

I am a sought-after, board-certified specialist in behavioral and cognitive psychology.

 

Real psychologists don’t use social media to promote their work.  They don’t promote their work at all, except at professional conferences and on the pages of journals, where they generally share what they know for free.

 

Some real psychologists even end up paying for the opportunity through conference registration, travel, and related costs. 

 

I was a real psychologist with a curriculum vitae full of free presentations to prove it.

 

About the same time I started using Twitter, I became intensely involved in a slew of professional organizations.  My CV grew longer with titles like “Chairperson of This Committee” and “President-Elect of That Board.”  I added pro bono presentations on suicide risk management and college mental health at a staggering rate. 

 

My volunteer star was on the rise.

 

And my first kid was born.

 

I was a real father.

 

And real psychologist now meant something completely different.

 

 

Real psychologists are business people.

 

Psychologists’ skills and training are valuable. 

 

(For what we paid for them, they better be.)

 

We were not trained in business.  We picked up what we could from mentors and colleagues, and we did all right.

 

At the same time, we have been reinforced and, in fact, encouraged to give our knowledge away.

 

We have not effectively advocated for ourselves politically or financially.  In many states, our licenses have lost their power and we have not seen meaningful reimbursement increases.

 

Real psychologists must find a way to move past “business as usual”.

 

 

Real psychologists embrace change.

 

Changes in healthcare will likely bring an end to traditional private practice.  Hospitals and health systems are already replacing psychologists with less expensive -- and less extensively trained -- mental health professionals.

 

Patients do extensive research on their own conditions before calling their healthcare provider or a mental health professional.  Typically, they use the same sites to find help.

 

Some of these sites offer bad advice and promote even worse referrals, but they are readily available at the click of a mouse or a flick of the thumb.

 

Why is it that psychologists love the internet for everything but promoting themselves?  Shopping for books?  Sure!  Binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix?  Sign me up!  Sharing cute pictures of their kids doing goofy stuff?  What else is social media for?

 

Real psychologists understand social media is where people get what they want and need. 

 

A significant portion of people in the US do not have access to evidence-based mental health care.  More than 50% of counties do not have any mental health professionals.

 

Social media is the least expensive and most direct path to those who need us.  In some cases, it is the only way to reach them

 

Real psychologists use social media professionally.

 

I am now an active Twitter and Facebook user.  I promote my expertise, my brand, and other psychologists.  It continues to be personally, professionally, and financially rewarding.

 

I have met precious few psychologists who have had similar experiences.  I know there are other real psychologists who would use social media professionally, if they just knew how.

 

This site is here for those real psychologists.

 

PsychMediaConnect helps real psychologists reach real people through social media.

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