We’re seeing more therapists use new media to reach wider audiences, cultivate public personas, and attract mass followings. Often their reach and popularity depend on a willingness to ditch the traditional clinical persona that many deem essential to establishing “expert” status.
Enter psychologist Ali Mattu. A disarmingly warm, plain-spoken, and self-disclosing California millennial, Mattu is a therapist who’s striking a chord as a bit of an influencer with younger audiences. A practitioner and former assistant professor of psychology at Columbia University, he became so frustrated with publicly available clinical content that he made a dramatic professional turn a few years ago.
He now devotes himself full-time to his YouTube channel, “The Psych Show,” posting upbeat, polished cuts of himself discussing mental health issues like trauma, motivation, sleep, stress, and empathy. These videos often get tens of thousands of views. And he gets personal. In one video, he acts out for his audience the differences between how he experiences anxiety and a panic attack. In others, he talks about how being a sci-fi fan gave his life direction and features his wife answering questions about what it’s like to be married to a therapist. And, crucially, he gives practical advice stripped of jargon.
After the success of…