A clinical psychologist who worked in the NHS for a decade has revealed how she gained 40,000 followers on Instagram after dishing out advice on the platform.
She quickly wracked up thousands of fans online, and was forced to closed her client waiting list in 2019 because she had so many requests.
Speaking with The Times, she revealed her main bugbear online is ‘toxic positivity’, saying: ‘We’re all taught that happiness is the emotion we’re meant to feel. That we’re meant to put on this personal brand, where we’re always fine, always succeeding. And so the moment we face any of the stresses and strains that are inevitable in life, we don’t just not know how to support ourselves.’
Dr Sophie Mort, from London, has revealed how she gained 40,000 followers on Instagram after dishing out advice on the platform
Dr Sophie launched her @_drsoph handle on the social media platform in March 2018 to give away information ‘before people need it’ rather than when they ‘hit rock bottom’ (pictured, a quote she recently shared online)
Sophie’s psychology training has helped her to understand her own childhood, and help her reflect on the impact of her parent’s separation, which happened when she was two-years-old.
Her father moved abroad, while she was brought up by her mother and stepfather, who married when she was seven-years-old.
But when she was a teenager, Sophie began to struggle with her own mental health issues and suffered from panic attacks at the age of 18.
She said the anxiety was a ‘mixture of overworking’, perfectionism, and ‘having a wild time at university’.
Dr Sophie pursued a career in psychology after suffering her own mental health struggles as a teenager
She spent months having therapy, taking a mindfulness course and using breathing exercises, which she credits with transforming her mental health.
Her struggles prompted her to pursue psychology as a career, and she spent a decade working in the NHS.
Yet she found she was overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of clients and found she was spending sessions giving people basic psychological information.
She began seeing private clients over Zoom, and used her earnings to launch her Instagram page, blog and app in 2018.
As followers flocked to her Instagram page, her client list quickly filled up, and she was forced to close her waiting list in 2019
As millennials flocked to her page, her client list quickly filled up, and she was forced to close it in 2019.
Advice shared on her Instagram page includes colour post-it notes with life affirming quotes and prompts which she credits to herself, such as: ‘Listen to others. You already know what you are going to say.’
Another reads: ‘I can’t read minds. The next time I assume I know what someone is thinking about me I will pause, breathe and remind myself of this. ‘
Meanwhile she warned against believing everyone is a ‘mental health expert’ online, and questioned the buzzword ‘boundaries’ to describe what an individual might want or accept.
Advice shared on her Instagram page includes colour post-it notes with life affirming quotes, including one which prompts users to check their screentime
She revealed: ‘When psychology or self-help ends up being solely about the self, it can lead us to focus just on our experience, without taking that extra step. OK, now you know this about you, what can you do to help other people in your life?’
She argued that it can lead to some people getting stuck on ‘me me me’.
To help her followers get a better grip on their mental health, she is releasing a book A Manual for Being Human, which she was inspired to write after feeling people’s emotions are stigmatised.
Instead, she argued ‘all emotions have a purpose’, suggesting: ‘We need anger, we need fear, we need anxiety — it’s how we’ve survived as a species.’