Health Is Social

Infusing Social Media into Healthcare

Live-tweeting Psychotherapy

This is not a social media post. This is a question about health.

Twitter here is not to be taken literally – rather as a metaphor for contemporary communications and the culture of immediacy.

Gedankenexperiment:

You’re in psychotherapy. You and your therapist agree to have your session live-tweeted (by you, the therapist, or by an assistant). [Suspend disbelief – I know the professional problems here.]

What are the consequences of this live-tweeting?

  • On you?
  • On the public?
  • On the therapist?

It’s easy for extreme evangelists for “open healthcare sharing” to proclaim this would be beneficial because others suffering with problems similar to yours would hear your story. And they could support you too. And researchers would have novel insights and larger pools of data.

Perhaps.

But what if you were the victim of rape? What if you’re working out childhood abuse which only now you’re confronting, decades later?

What if a single reply – either from a jerk or a well-meaning follower – sets off a traumatic response or erases breakthrough insight?

See a problem?

I have more questions about this – and I plan to write more about it.

I’m also speaking at September 21 at #epatcon11 and plan to touch on the limits of communications in healthcare.

I like this Gedankenexperiment (or pre-gedankenexperiment) because it takes us to the extreme and forces us to more deeply question the world we’re living – and building.

Something to ponder after ten years of 9/11 individual and collective post-traumatic stress.

What do you think about psychotherapy in the public sphere? What are the benefits? What are the dangers?

Phil Baumann

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  • Katherine

    While the privacy and confidential challenges are obvious and ethical dilemmas arise, public chats about suicide, rape, PTSD are topics pushing boundaries. It’s real talk via chat, not medical advice, not therapy.

    These discussions occur beyond institutional walls, the call for professionalism is appropriate.