Shrink Rap: Social Media, Enhancing or Denigrating?

Dr. Paul Hokemeyer

Shrink Rap: Social Media, Enhancing or Denigrating?

A Telluride local, Dr. Paul Hokemeyer is an internationally recognized expert on treating clinical issues at the nexus of relationships and behavioral health.

Dr. Paul’s upcoming book  on the psychological challenges of celebrity is coming out soon. Hazelden is the publisher. (Scroll down for more on Dr. Paul.)

Below Dr. Paul answers probes social media. Is the tech phenomena enhancing or denigrating?


Dr. Paul Hokemeyer

Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are dopamine goldmines. In many ways, they serve as a virtual hug and give us a platform where we’re seen and validated according to a controlled presentation of self.

They don’t tell the world who we are, but rather how we want to be seen.

In this regard, they evidence aspiration rather than vulnerability; and, egocentricity rather than altruism.

But they’re not all bad.

In fact, there’s a lot of good that comes out of social media technology.

For starters, it can enable us to feel grounded in a chaotic and divisive world. It gives introverts a vehicle to compensate for deficiencies in their social networks and extroverts a way to further enhance their robust social lives.

To be enhancing rather than denigrating, however, these sites must be used with the following expectations and boundaries.

For starters, realize Mark Zuckerberg is a businessman, not a saint. He’s motivated to maximize profits for his self and the shareholders of his company. To do this, he’s mining the data you share. Know what you put out into the virtual world is being looked at, analyzed- and sold to the highest bidder.

Use these technologies like you would a condiment. If you invest too much emotional capital on them, they’ll make you sick. A teaspoon of mayonnaise on a turkey sandwich is delicious, but a meal of mayonnaise is toxic.

If you find you’re mindlessly scanning these sites craving a rush of validation, cut back on your use. Limit yourself to checking in every other day for no more than 15 minutes. At first it will be difficult, but soon you’ll find your self feeling much better.

Recently, I had the pleasure of discussing the phenomenon of social media with my friends and colleagues at Telluride TV.

Although I screwed up several times, stumbling on my words and misstating that extroverts use the sites as compensatory, the clip does manage to give additional insights into a technology that’s profoundly impacted our lives and the lives of our families.

Find the Telluride TV link here.

More about Dr. Paul:

Dr. Paul Hokemeyer

Dr. Paul Hokemeyer

Paul Hokemeyer , J.D., Ph.D., is an internationally renowned Marriage and Family Therapist licensed in the states of New York and Colorado. He appears regularly in a variety of media outlets including CNN, FOX News, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. In addition to maintaing a clinical and consulting practice, he works as a case manager to ultra high net worth and celebrity patients to ensure they obtain the highest level of clinical care. His book on the topic of celebrity and mental health is scheduled to be published by Hazelden Publishing, Summer 2019. You can read more about Dr. Paul and his work at

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