Case Study / Insta-Therapy

View @realhumanist | @the.holistic.psychologist in presentation or slideshow formats at mindmeister.com. Tips for Mobile Users: Try turning your device horizontally, clicking the full screen icon, and enlarging with the +/- buttons rather than swiping.

Update 4/22/21

This is our first update since launching Unfollow Your Influencer seven months ago, and @The. Holistic. Psychologist’s follower count keeps on growing. Then again, according to HBO’s Fake Famous, it only takes $100 a pop to buy 7,500 new followers through sites like Famoid.

THP’s new book, How to Do the Work, was released last month. The title is strangely similar to “Do the Work,” a phrase commonly used in Black anti-racist circles and the title of Black educator/activist Rachel Cargle’s #DoTheWork challenge. Many consider this a pretty audacious choice due to THP and her team’s ties to Q-Anon and their continual refusal to take accountability for the account’s anti-Black and ableist messaging,  

Interestingly, there hasn’t been a peep about the book’s release from THP’s publisher, Harper Wave, since this early January 2021 post when dozens of people proclaimed in the comments their refusal to support the book. Reviewers have also taken to Good Reads to offer their perspectives, including this very thorough and insightful analysis by someone who read the book from an objective standpoint.

Additionally, just today, the account @the.wellness.therapist, which has been vigilantly exposing THP and other Q-Anoners, was shut down. [Update—they’re back up as of 4/23/21!]

We also recently dug into THP’s old resume, which states that she was a grantwriter from December 2005 to January 2012 for YAI, a nonprofit in New York that provides housing and support for developmentally disabled folks. This was the same time period where it was revealed that YAI’s top two executives Philip and Joel Levy were using state and federal funding to finance their lavish lifestyles. Hm, sound familiar?



Previously… (Some parts updated on 4/22/21 for clarity)

Chances are, you might be one of the 3.7M (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 emotional support that’s given once members join.

Additionally, @the.holistic.psychologist’s platform has gained a reputation for being anti-Black and ableist due to messaging that routinely blames victims for their own trauma or disabilities and ignores the fact that systemic oppression is actually the source of many people’s trauma. Many say that her team routinely deletes comments and blocks anyone who speaks out—even on their personal pages.

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, who THP acknowledges is the mastermind behind the @the.holistic.psychologist business.

Through the nonprofit, over $30,000 worth of donations (some say the total was actually $50,000) 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 regularly brag about “building their empire.”

THP’s website previously had a monstrous disclaimer declaring the right to profit off of THP’s followers’ comments, DMs, and private forum posts while also publishing their identities, which they deleted after the launch of this project.

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 on the above chart and will periodically post updates on this page moving forward.

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.

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.

Wayfinder Foundation Wayfinder Foundation logo
An activist-driven grantmaker providing training, support, and resources for undiscovered, high-value leaders who are overlooked by traditional  philanthropy.

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Accessibility

We’re seeking volunteers to help with transcribing the screenshots for this project. Contact us if you’re interested.