Patients nowadays are empowered more than ever. They’ve not only read all about their disorder online, but they may have even participated in an online support group or previously tried online therapy before coming to you.
This trend is a good one that every clinician should embrace. A fear of misinformation online has been put to rest by research suggesting that most information about mental health concerns online is trustworthy. Of course, people can always seek out non-mainstream opinions and viewpoints, but most do not.
An empowered patient doesn’t just mean they’re informed and educated about their condition. It also means they are active participants in their own care. In psychology, we understand that patients must be active participants in their care or else psychotherapy treatment isn’t very effective. To that end, psychologists devise a treatment plan in conjunction and cooperation with a patient – it’s not foisted on them as an afterthought.
If you like the idea of the empowered patient and want to get more involved in helping spread this powerful meme beyond mental health treatment into medicine, consider joining the non-profit Society for Participatory Medicine, of which I’m a founding board member.
Since 2009, the organization has worked to help advocate and educate both providers and patients about the power of active participation in treatment.
Learn more today at: participatorymedicine.org
And remember, there’s no better place for a person to learn about mental disorders and their treatments than at Psych Central.com. We’re not a pop psychology site and we’re overseen not by a bunch of business executives, but by mental health professionals just like you. We even have more than 250 online peer support groups, if a person might benefit from in-between session help and support, all at no cost.
By John Grohol, Psy.D.