The Relationship Between Social Media and Psychotherapy

Lifestyle is a general term, referring to the cultural patterns, beliefs, attitudes, and behavioral orientations of a population. The word was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his famous essay, The Case of Miss R. It was adopted by American psychiatrist W.E.B. Quaker in his Manual for a Healthy Family.


In the years since, many scholars have attempted to expand upon the definition of individual psychology, most commonly through an abundance of literature on human behavior, especially on the social behaviors and interactions that characterize human interaction. Among these, one might mention, George Grindler (1947), Hans Selye (1955), Richard Bandler (1961), Kenneth Arrow (1962), and Carl Weil (1977). Much of the recent work in this area has been motivated by developments in cognitive social learning and education. One of the most influential texts on this question of the relationship between human behavior and lifestyle is that of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ famous book, The Savvy Patient (1925).

Here are some examples from that book: Holmes writes that “the trouble with almost all psychotherapy is that it takes a philosophy of life and a set of procedures to carry it out” and that “the history of technique shows that it has never succeeded by empirical evidence” and that “new methods and techniques… have failed over again”. In general, then, social media has provided a useful bridge for researchers into individual psychological processes to study. In one sense, then, it is important not to over-complicate the issue. It is important not to complicate the definition of the terms or the research questions, like “is there such a thing as a social media addict?” We want to be clear about what the difference is between this new kind of individual and the kinds of people who get addicted to television, movies or physical activity, that we are studying here.