The Rise of the Instagram Therapy

In recent years there has been a movement towards normalizing mental health issues and talking about mental health issues in wider society. This movement is definitely a positive step forward as it is encouraging people to be more open about mental health and promotes the idea that talking about mental health should be as normalized as talking about physical health. Allowing people to talk about mental health and in some cases encouraging people to use mental health services or find their own therapist is definitely a step in the right direction.

Social media has played a big part in encouraging mental health conversations, you have probably seen motivational posts on social media feeds whether from licensed therapists, or just influencers. Personally, I never gave much thought to the rise of Instagram therapy or its impacts of it on wider society until a recently listened to a podcast episode of Sounds Like a Cult that was all about Instagram therapy. This podcast, it talks about some of the more harmful sides of social media and the potential rise of what is known as grifters through this movement.

One of the biggest issues with social media therapy that the podcast discusses is that anyone can claim to be a mental health expert via social media. There is no licensing or vetting process for the people claiming to be experts on social media and there are also very few repercussions is someone gives harmful or inaccurate advice. Therapy and mental health advice should be personal and unique to the individual receiving the advice. With Social media therapy, the advice is often general and large blanket statements are often made. While sometimes the advice given by social media therapists is meant to be thought-provoking or interesting. It can dangerous to provide advice without knowing their unique situations and history.

Dr Bony’s Instagram account focuses on helping people navigate therapy and mental health issues instead of giving advice for specific mental health issues

One of the most widely well-known Instagram therapists is Dr Nicole LaPera, who has become a very controversial figure in the world of Instagram therapy. Dr LaPera’s rhetoric around “self-healing” has been accused of gaslighting women of colour and people of lower socio-economic status. On the other hand, others have claimed that her methods have changed their lives for the better and have allowed them reduce or abandon traditional in-person therapy. These two views of the same person really shows how publicly giving mental health advice can be both helpful and harmful.

Dr. LaPera’s advice focused on self-healing has been criticized for posting content that is out of touch and may be harmful to certain demographics and groups of people

The question of whether social media therapy is harmful or helpful is a difficult one to answer. On the one hand, it normalizes talking about mental health and creates a space for people to talk about issues and realize they’re not alone. It also makes mental health advice more accessible for people who can’t afford traditional therapy. On the other side of the coin, there is no system to regulate who is giving out advice or to control who sees the advice and how it will impact them. So how do we find this balance between encouraging open conversations while ensuring that we are protecting ourselves from falling victim to less sincere or unhelpful advice? Are there ways that we can better monitor this form of social media? Unfortunately as it stands now, the responsibility has fallen onto us, the consumers of social media to monitor ourselves and decide which advice is considered helpful or harmful.

Social media posts:

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Social media is changing the way we communicate

Social media has altered the way we communicate worldwide with over 4 billion users worldwide more than half of the world’s population now using it. The use of the internet is continuing to grow with an annual growth rate of about 4%. With so much usage, it’s impossible for it not to impact how we interact with the people around us both near and far. There are both pros and cons to always being so connected virtually, we will examine those below.

Number of people using the internet compared to the global population
Source: Data Reportal


  • It’s easier to keep up with people outside our immediate circle
  • We can reconnect with people from our past easier
  • We can cast a wider network- even internationally

Through social media, we can see what is happening in the lives of acquaintances or distant friends without having to contact them or take the time to reach out. We can see pictures of our relative’s kids online, and we can see what our friends from college are up to and what is happening in their lives. We don’t need to be actively talking to people through social media to stay in touch. It also makes is easier to reconnect with people from our past who we may have lost touch with. Before social media, it would be very difficult to connect with, let’s say an old high school friend, if we didn’t have any recent contact information with them. But, with social media all we need to do is look them up on Facebook and you are easily connected again. This also goes for friends or connections that you may have around the world. Social media has made the globe smaller, before when it would be costly or difficult to get in touch with friends of family abroad, now all it takes is a free Facetime or Whatsapp video or whatever your video method of choice is. It doesn’t matter where someone is in the world or how long it has been since we’ve talked to them. Through social media communication is as simple as the touch of a screen.

Source: Search Engine Journal/ Freepik


  • Online interactions are less genuine
  • We put less effort into connecting with people
  • We may lose touch with people if we unfollow or mute people

The ease of communication does, however, comes with cons as well. With the ease of communication, it sometimes feels that the communication we do have is less genuine. Although sending memes back and forth with friends is fun and entertaining, it’s not a genuine conversation or connection. It can also make us put less effort into really connecting with people. When we are getting automatic updates about friends’ and families’ lives through social medial, it makes us feel like we don’t need to reach out genuinely connect. We don’t need to ask people how they are, because we feel like we already know what’s going on in their lives, but then we don’t ask the important questions and we don’t really know how people are really doing outside of the social media front they are putting up. Finally, what about the people we don’t follow or maybe have muted? Who among has muted that one acquaintance or family member who maybe posts a little too often and clogs up our feeds. But if those people are never showing up on our feed how do we stay in touch with them? When we are being bombarded with so many other images and information, do the people who aren’t at out immediate attention get forgotten?

Social media has changed the way we communicate and in some ways has made communicating and keeping in touch easier than it ever has. However, sometimes I feel that it may have changed the quality of our interactions. For me, I feel that it is all about finding a balance. As easy as it is to stay up to date on peoples lives via social media, you must be willing to put in the work to make genuine connections and to ensure that you are doing more than just scrolling through peoples lives via Instagram. What are your thoughts on the topic? How has social media impacted the way you connect? Has it been for the better or the worse or maybe it hasn’t impacted you at all?


(2022). Digital Around the World. Datareportal.

(2022). Freepik [Photograph].

McCoy, J. (2019). 8 Superstar Video Chat & Conferencing Apps for Business [Photograph].

Prajapati, V. (2021). Top 20+ Advantages of Social Media. Techprevue.

Social Media Posts:

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The Travel Influencer: Beneficial or Fake?

In today’s technology focused world, many of us now turn to social media when looking for advice. When it comes to planning a trip, instead of buying a travel guide or going to a travel agent, many of us will turn to social media sites and blogs for advice on travel. Travel influencers can be found in all spaces of social media from Instagram and TiKTok, reddit and blogs. There are benefits to being able to easily access information on tourist destinations, but when it comes to travel influencers do they always have our best interests in mind? Travel influencers can certainly be entertaining and even helpful to have on your social media feed. But there are somethings that you should be wary of.

1. Instagram vs reality

We all know that what we see on Instagram does not always match reality, so much so that it has turned into popular joke on social media. Despite this sometime we can still forget about this reality when scrolling through social media. When a travel influencer posts a photo, it shows a place at it most pristine and often they make it look like they are the only ones there. But as anyone has experienced traveling, this is often not the case. Having worked in tourism for years, I have seen this happen first hand. In one of my jobs, we actually had evenings where we allowed influencers to come on after hour tours. Although, the photos are beautiful it certainly does not paint an accurate picture of what many popular tourist destinations look like during their peak season.

The Columbia Icefield Skywalk on a normal summer day
The Columbia Icefield Skywalk as seen on social media

2. Financial accessibility

As someone who makes a career as a social media influencer, they get to stay in places, or get certain things or experiences for free. At another tourism job I worked in the whale watching industry, our head office would send influencers on free whale watching excursions, if they had a large enough following. Using their influencer to promote a business in exchange for free experiences allows them to stay places, or see things that may not be as financially accessible to their average follower. This is especially true if those followers are from a younger generation may be looking to travel on more of a budget. Although influencers do not necessarily claim that they trying to travel on a budget, it does create an inaccurate picture of what travelling to certain place will be like for a lot of their followers.

3. Appropriation of cultures or landscapes

This is not something that is unique to the travel industry but a lot of different industries and influencers. Often times this has to do with a spiritual experience or wearing clothing that is significant or popular to certain culture. For example, may people will travel to the amazon for “Ayahuasca retreats”. Ayahuasca in Peru is a very spiritual and culturally significant to Indigenous groups in the Amazon. The commercialization of Ayahuasca has watered down its spiritual significance. It has also contributed to the over harvesting of Ayahuasca plants, making inaccessible for many Indigenous groups. Just because an influencers is seen doing or wearing something from another culture does not mean that is is appropriation. However, it is important to do your research if you do see or hear of an influencer doing or wearing something that is cultural in nature, make sure it is done in a respectful way and you know who or where the money is going to.

Does this mean we shouldn’t trust travel influencers? Not necessarily like everything we see on the internet it is important to take it with a grain of salt. If you are inspired to do a trip because you’ve seen on social media, know that the reality may not match the filter on social media. You can also be aware of the influencers you are following. There are many influencers out there who are trying to educate and have a positive impact. One influencer Vivienne Dovi uses her platform to educate her followers on black culture throughout the world. The moral of the story is, the boom of travel industries is what you make of it. If you enjoy following influencers because you like the photos, then all the power to you. If you are inspired to do a trip based on social media, make sure you do some supplementary research. In the end it’s all about making smart and informed decisions. Do you follow an influencers? what has your experience been?

Social Media Posts:

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Why do we Still Love Fast Fashion?

Sustainability has become one of the latest buzzwords being by companies from industries all over the world. When the untied nations created its 17 sustainable development goals, that envisioned a future where the economy, the people and the environment all lived in harmony and equality. Since the release of these goals, sustainability has been viewed as the ultimate goal for the future with many governments and industries promising to become more sustainable. One industry that we see this word really being pushed is the fashion industry.

In recent years fast fashion industry has really come under fire for it unsustainable practices and human rights violations. The term fast fashion refers to brands such as Zara and H&M; these brands produce low quality garments as fast and as cheaply as possible, often at the expense of human rights and the environment. The speed that clothing is produced allows these companies to constantly be producing new looks, and to sell a wide variety of clothing for cheap. The point of the fast fashion industry is quantity over quality; clothing that was not meant to be long lasting so that consumers would continually coming back for more. For many years fast fashion continued to operate under this business model very successfully. With the release of the 2015 film True cost and increased media coverage showing the shocking and inhumane conditions of the factories. Although there is a lot of media coverage out there that villainize fast fashion industry, it continues to be hugely popular and is expected to continue to grow world-wide.

Projected Growth of the Fast Fashion Industry 2016-2029

So knowing all that we know, why do we continue to consume fast fashion at such an alarming rate. Do people just not care enough? Or are people just overwhelmed by trying to make environmentally conscious choices? Social media platforms like Pinterest and other fashion influencers encourage people to continue to buy from these brands by giving outfit inspiration and linking viewers right to the company websites. This gives consumers the opportunity to find entire outfits right at their fingertips at an affordable price. Another obstacle faced by consumers is being the difficulty in trying to figure out which brands are sustainable or not. For many brands it can be impossible to find anything about their environmental or human rights records. On top of that, many fast fashion brands such as H&M released “sustainable lines”, which begs the question or whether or not it’s okie to support these companies by buying their sustainable clothes or is this just supporting a companies that are knowingly practicing unsustainable production methods. Buying sustainably is becoming more popular, with many new sustainable fashion brands encouraging consumers to buy fewer clothes for more money, but the cost of these sustainable clothes can be unrealistic for many consumers. Thrift shopping is also a great alternative option, but it is a time consuming process and thrift stores are often not size inclusive.

To simply not buying fast fashion is not so easy in the end. So, how do we do it without just giving up? Like anything in life, the key is balance and finding a middle ground. Do your research and find out what you’re capable of doing. Go thrifting when you have time, treat yourself to more expensive clothing when you can. Don’t feel guilty if you do buy one or two items from a fast fashion brands every now and then. These industries will always be here, so instead of fighting with big business, be vocal about the changes you want to see and support companies that do make these changes. Being a sustainable consumer is difficult and we are human are not always going to make the right choice. Small steps is the key and you will be amazed at the difference you can make