In recent years, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social media platforms have become the virtual places where human interaction occurs, with discussions on topics from auto repair to international politics. Psychoanalysts are joining the conversation. One of the more widely known psychoanalyst-bloggers is Dr. Gail Saltz, who discusses health, sex, and relationships, not only on the Today Show, but also on her own blog, Anderson Cooper’s AC360, and her Facebook page. Kerry Sulkowicz, MD, employs his psychoanalytic expertise in the service of advising Fortune 500 companies and blogs at blog.reuters.com.
Now the Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center may be the first institute accredited by the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) to launch a blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account. Will Braun, APsaA’s Chair of Public Information, hailed the Cleveland’s leadership among psychoanalytic training institutes. According to Braun, “Building an engaging website is the single most important thing” an institute can do to connect with the public. The Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center has done just that.
Some may wonder why psychoanalytic training institutes have been relatively slow to appropriate the newer technologies to their purposes. Some of these reasons may apply.
1 There is a tradition (which has been fading over the past few decades) of preserving the analyst’s relative anonymity, in the belief that knowledge of their therapist that originates outside the consulting room could interfere with the analysis;
2 Analysts may tend to feel more comfortable with one-on-one dialogue than with putting one’s ideas “out there” (other than in professional publications) for an audience of colleagues, patients, and strangers to see; and,
3 Many psychoanalysts are “digital immigrants,” born too soon to have grown up with digital technology, rather than “digital natives,” who have had access to computers, MP3s, and game systems most, or all of their lives. For the “immigrant” group, there is socio-cultural unfamiliarity with the connected life and a knowledge gap on the merits and methods of establishing an Internet presence.
But psychoanalysts also enjoy intellectual challenges, and our life’s work involves making personal change. We also know that the many benefits of clinical and applied psychoanalysis have too long remained a well-kept secret. And there is exponential power (“viral,” and I mean that in a good way!) in sharing psychoanalytic ideas through social media. Therefore, learning to blog, comment, Tweet, and navigate Facebook is a fitting pursuit for psychoanalysts.
Here are a few tips for psychoanalysts and psychotherapists, whether making first forays into social media or wanting to expand an Internet presence:
2 From our homepage, subscribe to email notifications of news and events.
3 Comment on our blog posts.
4 Consider writing for our blog as a CPC member or guest contributor. Before writing, have your audience in mind. For the purposes of the CPC blog, be sure to focus on what psychoanalysis can add to the topic.
6 Try following or “liking” the websites and social media of other healthcare or mental health organizations whose ideas interest you.
7 Read more about social media privacy, etiquette, and benefits in columns such as this one at Forbes.com. Consider for what purposes you will use your social media accounts and select your privacy settings accordingly.
Participation in new media is possible at many levels. Research shows that the X and Y generations are far more involved than their seniors. The Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center is poised to interact with students, young adults, and a population of increasingly tech-savvy over-thirties in ways that formerly were beyond our reach.