Recently I was asked about twittering and the value of personal and professional tweets. I do a mix.
In the back of my mind I'm always thinking about my patient population, whether the people are my actual patients or among the many people I know and will never know who are affected by an eating disorder. I offer what I hope is helpful specific information about eating disorder recovery.
I also try to share my own experiences that are lived examples of the 140 character "tips" I suggest. So, in one way, those tweets are personal - like laughing and running in a park with a child and a dog. But they are also clinically relevant to people who can't
think of a way to give themselves relief or pleasure in a healthy and life enhancing way.
Also, I know some of my patients and family members of patients read my blog and my tweets. In my eating disorder recovery practice I only work with individuals. I do not see their family members or friends. If they need therapy or support I will gladly make a referral, but my patient doesn't have to share me with anyone.
That said, in this world of websites, blogs, linkedin and twitter, I as a psychotherapist am in a world that didn't exist when ethical and clinical boundaries were first delineated.
So far I am finding judicious use of blogging and twittering to be helpful in that patients can share me, if they wish, from a distance. Families have an opportunity to read about recovery issues that may be relevant to their situation without specific discussion or revelations about the person they know. Confidentiality remains protected. And countless people who are looking for recovery help may find some value in my words.
Even the books I twitter about are not all the books I read. I share non recovery books I believe might be helpful, inspiring, grounding etc. to a person working toward recovery. For example, I just finished and twittered about John Gardner’s Nickel Mountain. It’s a great read. It also features a richly drawn fascinating male protagonist who compulsively eats and overeats and whose weight is out of control.
I was glad for the question. I'm glad for a chance to articulate what I've been doing!
I suppose the short version of this is that I write with a specific twitter reader in mind -- you.
Do you twitter or follow twitter? What are you looking for? What do you find most helpful?
And what is an example of a tweet you found valuable? By all means share.