Monday, May 22, 2017

Internet and Our Therapy Couch

Internet as Our Therapy Couch

            I have been fascinated by human behavior since about the 9th grade and that has not changed some 35 years later. Having been trained as a clinical neuropsychologist it is of interest to me that so many people use the Internet as their vehicle for expressing a wide-range of emotions, personal feelings, and even innermost secrets. In no small way, the Internet with FB and other social media has become the “therapy couch” of today.

            There is perhaps a good thing about using the Internet in such a personal way and that is it provides all a means of expression and personal reflection. It is also true that much of what I see reflects a searching, sometimes a hint of desperation, loneliness, and cry for help. Sitting behind the keyboard is a person emoting, searching, and reaching out. I get concerned about the sense of personal isolation and lack of in person connection or relatedness such a person might be experiencing.

            The emotions certainly are wide ranging to include sadness, anger, happiness, pride, hostility, anxiety, fear, and other. The other reality of such emotional catharsis on social media is that readers of the catharsis can experience surprise or even a type of recoiling. It is true some have gone so far as to stop their participation on social media because of the evaporation of personal boundaries.

            I am often asked about the role of technology on the human brain and there is no doubt it is and will continue to affect our brain structurally and functionally. There seems to be less attention paid to the psychological aspects of our use of social media. I am not sure if it primarily good or bad, but I do believe there are many who are using social media for cathartic expression and that the psychotherapy couch of today is rapidly becoming keyboard-based.

Dr. Nussbaum
Brain Health Center

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