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Five Instagrammers helping us improve our relationships

Through engaging posts, stories and reels, these mental health experts challenge us to bring our old patterns into awareness and guide us to do better

Time spent scrolling through social media does not have to be mindless. There is a lot of quality content for those interested in growth and self-development.  (Photo by Jaelynn Castillo on Unsplash)

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If there is one thing we have learnt over the lockdown months, it is that time spent scrolling through social media apps does not have to be mindless. For those focused on learning, growth and self-development, there is a lot of quality content out there that can feed our curiosities and fuel our journey inwards. As we prepare to welcome the new year, the time is ripe to set the tone for our content consumption in the coming months. If you’re looking to be more intentional and self-aware in the way you relate to the world around you, here are some Instagrammers that we recommend you follow. Explore their feed, tap to like if you do, and let the algorithm gods do the rest.

Relationship with the self

Run by Los Angeles-based clinical psychologist Nicole La Pera, @theholisticpsychologist is known for its posts centered around self-healing. The author claims that a lot of her insights are drawn from her own experience of recovering after a mental breakdown a few years ago. The daily posts urge followers to gently bring trauma into awareness and choose to deviate from the limited ways in which the pain would have us relate to the world. Le Pera incorporates mindful breathing, meditation and journaling into the process of self-healing. Earlier this year, Le Pera published her first book entitled How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self.

A screenshot from @_good.byes_, aka Your Friendly Ghostwriter's Instagram account
A screenshot from @_good.byes_, aka Your Friendly Ghostwriter's Instagram account

Relationship with others

It’s one thing to know in theory the importance of having healthy boundaries in our relationships with people. It’s a whole other thing to actually have the difficult conversations necessary to establish and enforce these boundaries. On @_good.byes_, Manhattan-based sex educator Justine Ang Fonte ghostwrites customised boundary scripts for her followers. Whether it is meant for a Tinder date you don’t want to see anymore or a family member you’d like fewer calls from, the account gives you a template around which you can craft your own boundaries. The author also shares insights on topics such as healthy communication and emotional self-regulation on the page.

Relationship with romantic/sexual partners

Trauma-informed clinical art therapist Neha Bhat, known as @indiansextherapist on Instagram, is a popular name in the Indian self-healing community. Her posts address the many unique challenges faced by young people who are dating and engaging in romantic and sexual relationships at this time. By introducing the vocabulary for the complex emotional states and experiences, her content helps people validate their own realities and bring more consciousness into their lives. The author’s insights help people manage their own insecurities and trauma responses while pursuing healthy connections with others.

A screen grab of posts from psychotherapist Seerut K. Chawla's Instagram grid
A screen grab of posts from psychotherapist Seerut K. Chawla's Instagram grid

Relationship between parents and children

Childhood trauma is at the root of why most people struggle in their adult lives. But with awareness and conscious change, a better foundation can be laid for future generations. Family life coach Gotha Hari Priya uses her Instagram page @gotha_hari_priya to shift perspectives and raise awareness on healthy parenting techniques. A kicking and screaming child is simply scared and disconnected and needs a gentle approach rather than harsh disciplining, she writes in one of her posts. The author urges parents to stop expecting obedience and instead focus on building two-way communication and trust with their children. Besides helping new parents do better, the account also helps people understand their own childhood trauma better.

Relationship with therapy

Social media—especially Instagram—is rife with mental health advice from all kinds of sources. A lot of it, when taken out of context, can be confusing and misleading. Many experts are now addressing this issue and providing people with clarity through their posts. London-based integrative psychotherapist Seerut K Chawla (@seerutkchawla) is among them. “Insta therapy is to actual therapy what apples are to spaceships. Completely unrelated,” she writes. In a series of posts, she supports this statement with examples of toxic positivity masquerading as therapeutic advice. The point seems to be that while social media is a great tool to spread awareness, it is always advisable for a user to practise discernment.

Indumathy Sukanya is an artist and independent journalist based in Bengaluru

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