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Break up your bad habits by spending more time on Instagram.
Licensed-psychologist-turned-Instagram-star Dr. Nicole LePera has gained 855,000 followers by primarily posting inspirational quotes with lengthy captions. LaPera’s posts are hashtag deep and powerful enough to make you stop and reflect for a second (before you scroll on to a video of a corgi puppy tripping over itself).
Her posts usually receive thousands of likes and comments from her followers, whom she calls #selfhealers. “You led me to see the world through a different lens,” one of them wrote to her in a comment.
A recent post, however, gave me pause. LaPera wrote that she decided to focus on Instagram last year after she “lost faith in [her] work” as a psychologist. She said that she had watched several of her patients become “stuck” in therapy, saying they “did not have the tools” to heal.
She said she was able to foster and find “a group of people doing the work” and “encouraging each other” on Instagram. It became her mission to “give all [she] knew” to her online community.
It’s worth noting that LaPera still offers individual sessions with clients on her website, and there is currently a waitlist. In addition to meeting with patients, she hosts events, meditations, guided online courses, and membership-only programs.
This post stopped me for a number of reasons. As someone who has personally benefited from therapy, to read that a professional has become discouraged by it is incredibly disheartening. Also, it’s perplexing that LaPera felt the solution was to put more of her energy into social media.
This post and others have sparked a ton of chatter online. People are now raising a number of ethical questions and concerns about how LaPera is branding and marketing herself, and about the advice she shares. Some are also claiming that LePera is deleting critical comments from her account.
After I asked her about these criticisms, LaPera sent me a brief statement. She said she would not call herself an influencer.
“I’m still very much connected to the professional world, and am just using Instagram to teach,” she said.
She stated that she had no interest in commenting further because she wants to “focus on what matters…helping people heal.”
“As you can see from the overwhelmingly positive response on the post, my work is reaching and helping many people to heal themselves. Overall, the criticism has been quite small.”
She did not respond to questions about whether or not she was deleting comments.
Despite the detractors, LaPera does receive overwhelming praise from her #selfhealers. One commenter wrote that they had been looking for a psychologist for over a year before they found LaPera on Instagram. “You exist!” they cheered. “A psychologist who legit cares about healing people (as opposed to just money).”
On that note: LaPera does not appear, by a cursory examination of her account, to have sponcon. My inner child is telling me that this huge online enterprise she’s built up may have even brought peace of mind to her bottom line.
Speaking of a bottom line (sorry)…
A mantra we need to keep in mind before we judge this guy’s sponcon is “you can’t knock the hustle.”
Kyle Boen, aka @stayfoxx, runs a lifestyle and fitness account. He has a modest following (about 61,000), and all smallish accounts gotta start somewhere.
So this week, Kyle did a sponsored post for Preparation H Totables. After all, hemorrhoids need relief, and Kyle needs to eat. There is nothing wrong with this, but he did become the butt (oof, sorry, this pun was unavoidable!) of jokes online.
Screenshots of his sponcon went viral on other platforms like Twitter, and people began mercilessly mocking him. “My boyfriend died of a hemorrhoid related injury whilst hiking. His last wish was to reach 10k followers,” someone quipped.
So, I reached out to Kyle to give him an opportunity to respond to his haters. He’s very aware of the jokes, and made it clear to me that he does not find them funny.
“I am trying to bring awareness to a taboo issue and people have been attacking me on social media for it,” he said.
Hemorrhoid awareness is important, and Kyle’s getting paid.
Perhaps the joke, this time, is on the commenters.
I’m no licensed anything, but I feel OK encouraging everyone to spend a little less time online this weekend.
Until next time,
Tanya Chen is a social news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Chicago.
Contact Tanya Chen at [email protected].
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