We thought we’d heard it all after normal support and friendly listening started being referred to as «emotional labor» but, man. Things just keep getting worse. Prior to the age of the internet, it was easy to simply imagine that our therapists were dutifully listening to us, trying to provide support, and guiding us into a healthier existence. Therapy ended there, and our counselors lives were of little to no concern – it’s a symbiotic relationship.
Over the last decade, however, I started seeing my therapists as suggested friends on Facebook, or their requests on LinkedIn. Once you start seeing their tweets, the happy mystery crumbles, forcing you to acknowledge that your therapist is a real person – and is probably flawed. These little world wide web run-ins are mostly harmless. But on TikTok? Forget about it. The app’s users are already annoying, but therapy TikTok is a whole other ballgame.
This week one therapy TikToker – who has since deleted their account – really ruffled the feathers of pretty much everyone with an incredibly unprofessional video. The clip featured the therapist decrying clients for ‘trauma dumping.’ If you’re not familiar, the term refers to venting (dumping) to people in an «unsolicited, unprepared way, where a person dumps traumatic thoughts, feelings, energy onto an unsuspecting person.» While most of us have friends who have done that at one point or another, it’s incredibly screwed up for a therapist to insinuate their clients are burdening them with their words. It’s literally their job to listen to people’s problems. Complaining about clients on a public forum also calls confidentiality into question. Imagine scrolling through TikTok after a session and seeing them complain about their patients. It would be pretty traumatic, for lack of a better word.
Naturally, the internet has not taken kindly to this flagrant display of callousness. The backlash, both on TikTok and Twitter, led to the alleged mental health professional deleting the video, and then their account. Which is definitely for the best.