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Chances are, you might be one of the 2.9M (and counting) followers of the biggest psychology account on Instagram — @the.holistic.psychologist — or 50 of your friends are. If so, you might also be aware of the flak THP’s been getting regarding her advice for followers to disregard seeking therapy and formal diagnoses and to instead “heal themselves” (as part of her subscription-based Self-Healers Circle, of course).
Followers have said they’ve heeded this dangerous advice and tried forgoing regular therapy and stopping their medication. Others who were eager to join THP’s Self-Healers Circle have talked about the disappointing and unprofessional way the community is handled, from the stressful marketing and sign-up process to the lack of guidance that’s given once members sign-up and are given the materials.
Additionally, @the.holistic.psychologist has gained a reputation for deleting dissenting comments and blocking skeptical followers—especially those who bring up her penchant for blaming the victim and ignoring systemic oppression. Deservedly, THP has now been labeled anti-black.
If you were to decide to jump further down the rabbit hole, you’d find a vast amount of evidence documenting @the.holistic.psychologist’s involvement in an alleged nonprofit that was formed by her wife, @realhumanist, in 2016. Through the nonprofit, over $30,000 worth of donations were collected for campaigns supporting the homeless in Philadelphia, but 501(c)(3) status was never achieved.
In December 2018, @realhumanist was found guilty by The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and admitted to the above charge, along with neglecting to keep accurate financial records or receipts, depositing the funds into her personal bank account, and failing to use the funds as promised. RH was also fined $3,000 and ordered to refrain from being part of any charitable organizations in Pennsylvania for ten years.
The prosecuting attorney, along with other local, state, or federal entities could pursue further charges against @realhumanist. As could any donors or beneficiaries.
As our collection of screenshots indicates, THP and RH did a lot of traveling and wining & dining between the fall of 2016 and the winter of 2018, including a trip to London a mere two months after the second GoFundMe campaign took place.
The couple have since moved to Los Angeles and have a book nearing completion. As THP ominously verified in a recent Instagram story, RH has been the mastermind behind the whole @the.holistic.psychologist venture.
With a monstrous website disclaimer declaring the right to profit off of THP’s followers’ comments, DMs, and private forum posts while also publishing their identities, we’re afraid to see what will happen next.
Appreciate This Project?
White visitors: Consider contributing funds to the following Black femme-led groups to go toward repairing the harm perpetrated by people like the women in this case study.
Therapy for Black Girls
An online community dedicated to making mental wellness accessible and relevant for Black women and girls.
An activist-driven grantmaker providing training, support, and resources for undiscovered, high-value leaders who are overlooked by traditional philanthropy.
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We’re seeking volunteers to help with transcribing the screenshots for this project. Contact us if you’re interested.
Unfollow Your Influencer was created by a web sleuth and writer with a nose for sniffing out stories that have yet to hit mainstream culture’s radar.
Our inaugural case study is the first in a line of cautionary tales outlining the problematic aspects of the world of social media enterprise. With your help, we hope to pave a new path for ethical social media influencers and their community members to follow.
The power to change social media for the better lies within this community. Problematic influencers don’t have an audience if we choose not to follow them.
Why This Project?
Although we initially found @the.holistic.psychologist’s content insightful and validating, we soon realized many of her posts are actually problematic. When searching around for who to consult, we found that there don’t currently seem to be any entities dedicated to holding potentially problematic influencers accountable.
When we dug further, we found an abundance of publicly available information that THP’s supporters and the general public have a right to know about. We’ve compiled everything we found up until June 2020 and will continue to update the map periodically until there’s some sort of conclusion.
We see this case study as an opportunity for the social media world to develop better critical-thinking skills and to continually examine influencers’ motives.
The bigger the audience, the more we need to hold influencers accountable.
The mission of this website is to keep the focus on the social media community—especially those most harmed by problematic influencers—and not ourselves.