Although Instagram is a platform full of perfection there is also an important portion of its community that is dedicated to the celebration of imperfection, healing, positive self-image and wellbeing. One of the 2019 trends is self-love with a hashtag boasting some 31,000,000 publications that correspond to it.

These positive mantra accounts, of which a handful are managed by real therapists, have a meaningful message and most are centred around working on manageable daily goals or changing your thinking behaviours, replacing negativity with positive affirmations. Instagram is the perfect hub for accessing these types of pep talks and daily practices, with users having the ease of anonymously accessing information and guidance. In the 21st century, the general taboo surrounding mental health has decreased significantly but it still proves to be a difficult topic for some people to share and recognise.

One increasingly popular account is that of a licenced marriage and family therapist based out of Berkeley, who with her account pleas to offer services to others who may not be in a situation where it is easy for them to access help. Ms. Lisa A Olivera’s profile is filled with a comforting palette of musky tones and a cream sans serif text overlay.

In 2017, of 1 in 5 adults in the US who reported problems with mental illness only 42% received mental health services and despite appeals from today’s younger generations, health care remains a stigmatised and expensive topic. Ms Olivera along with other therapists promotes working on a “growth mindset", identifying unhelpful thought patterns, trauma etc. and fostering new strategies to accept and embrace the struggles of everyday life. If you worry about your Instagram stats, you can now get Instagram comments on IIGERS.

Not only does Instagram provide anonymous access to these accounts but also a platform for the therapists to transparently share their own experiences and the idea that many others are on the same page and in many ways can relate. In one particular post, Ms Olivera concludes “It's okay if your healing journey includes the harder stuff. Welcome to being human. I’m right there with you. And the good stuff is still there too.✌” 

Dr Kelly Vincent is another licenced therapist sharing her knowledge and experience via Instagram. Kelly shares information and resources to recognise postpartum depression and anxiety, individual wellness etc. She claims that Mondays are for motivation for all of her mama followers and that Wednesday's are wellness Wednesdays that are about sharing ideas, resources and research to help connect the mind-body. Her pretty pink, peach and white page shares famous quotes and a message of self worth.

Allyson Dinneen, known on Instagram as @notesfromyourtherapist on the other hand, takes a more relatable and imperfect approach uploading photos of affirmations and encouragement handwritten on paper. It has a much more ‘real feel’ with the mistakes and coffee stains and she often shares her own personal thoughts.

All of these accounts can help to support and encourage people who are going through a rough time, maybe people who have been in therapy or have their own psychologist but don’t have enough time or enough problems to need an appointment. After all between therapy sessions it’s all up to how the patient chooses to work on their feelings. Most of the therapists that have accounts are licensed therapists or psychologists with private practices but all take time to respond to comments and upload new content on a regular basis, after all uploading that type of content also comes with its responsibilities surrounding the responses. Having said that, as Instagram comments are not confidential, responses giving advice are usually in the form of recommendations for a book or an alternative service that can help.

Some therapists have gained clientele from a result of Instagram but others for example Allyson Dinneen, focus on other ideas. In January Allyson signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster and has a link from her profile to support her writing and production of the book on Paetron.

Visual therapy

As well as the therapists and health professionals there are also many accounts that have behind them enthusiastically positive individuals that simply strive for positivity and they share that with their audience. One great example of this is Stacie Swift, whose account is a rainbow wall of positive vibes, affirmations and inspiration. Stacie’s take is that of an illustrator and she creates beautifully composed word art and imagery.

Check out some other uplifting accounts like @elephantjournal , @recipesforselflove, @selfcareisforeveryone, @sadgirlsclub, and @positivelypresent.

Yoga and holistic therapy

Another thriving alternative therapy that is accessible via Instagram are holistic therapies that address the body as a whole, considering how body, mind and spirit changes can affect mental health and wellness. Holistic therapists use therapies such as psychotherapy, art therapy, breath therapy, meditation, mindfulness, hypnotherapy and guided imagery.

The yoga community of Instagram is another thriving community and one of the newest additions has been yoga therapy. Katie Allen is a professional yoga teacher that also offers courses to train in yoga therapy, she explains that yoga is a marriage of the mind and body working in sync. Yoga helps to foster concentration and focus, whilst the meditation part of it promotes a state of relaxation that can help to gain clarity and calm and boost confidence.

Practicing frequently can help to keep you focused and allow you that time out to reconnect with yourself, to be aware of what you need, what you feel etc. And to let go of the stress and tension.

In a world that is fast moving, technology centred and in which many still feel like they cannot freely access help in a physical form, Instagram provides a practical solution. With access from any device and the option to check in on a daily basis it provides the perfect boost for those who need it. And in the many forms that exist whether you prefer to practice yoga, meditate or simply read and share uplifting word art and illustrations, there really is something for everyone.