I was so happy to be told this week that my article ‘Beware the Insta-coach’ was shortlisted for article of the month by Empoword online magazine. As you may know I am by no means a professional writer or a journalist, but I do love writing articles about all things related to mental health. My writing for Empoword was quite a little passion project for me, as the subject of “coaches” advertising themselves on social media (particularly Instagram) has concerned and irked me for a while. As a therapist who has trained for many years in Counselling and Psychotherapy, it is natural that I am biased towards my own profession, however my suspicions and fears around those advertising themselves online, promising to change the lives of the people they work with, were confirmed when I came across the BBC documentary “ I can cure you” in November last year (2021).
The documentary interviewed a number of people who described being promised the earth by “practitioners” they found online, all of whom had very impressive social media accounts, with thousands of followers. While the documentary was careful not to specify the roles of those found online, it is most often ‘life coaches’ who use social media platforms such as Instagram to seduce clients into signing up for their services. In my research for the article, I came across hundreds (if not thousands) of Insta accounts belonging to life coaches and confidence coaches, selling what seemed to be a painless and worry-free lifestyle for a price. In many of the accounts I viewed, the coaches literally tell would-be clients that they can “change (their) life”. This is an immense red flag and my Empoword article explains the reasons for my discomfort with this. While I feel there is a place for coaching, it must be made clear that coaching is not therapy, and therefore coaches should in no way suggest that they are able to work therapeutically, or able to support clients with goals such a gaining confidence and low self-esteem.
If you would like to know more about why I feel you should be wary of the “Insta-coach” please read my article here:
I would also urge you to watch the BBC documentary, which provides a very good overview of the red flags to consider when seeking help for your mental health.
As always, if you feel that you are in need of counselling or psychotherapy. please don't hesitate to contact me and please feel free to take a look at my website.