Many psychologists despise Tiktok. They have noticed that the openness with which many people discuss mental health have resulted in an increase of people coming in for evaluations of autism, ADHD, and DID, convinced that they have this disorder based on their identification with video creators.

For those of you who don’t know, Tiktok is a video-based social media program, where users can create videos from 15 seconds up to 1 minute—videos can be edited with music, filters, captions, and all sorts of special effects. It exploded in 2020 and continues to grow. Different songs, topics, and video themes trend over time, but there is a wide variety of content—you can follow specific creators if you want to see more of their content and like specific videos, and there is a “For You Page” with videos that you are likely to enjoy (selected by an algorithm based on your profile.) There are tons of amusing videos (animals and kids doing silly things to silly music, funny dances, comedians doing short bits) but there is also plenty of educational content on a wide variety of topics.

There are a number of autistic creators who share about their experiences, but after a little investigation, I was not able to find any professionals who speak about autism. After some consideration and a few weeks of apprehension and uncertainty, I decided to go for it! I enjoy helping others, and being able to do telehealth in multiple states, I figured that I would be in a good position to provide some educational content and also let people who might be looking for a psychologist that I was available and doing this type of work.

Two months later, I have found Tiktok to be more successful than I imagined! My videos are not high-tech, but I aim to share information and provide content that I think would be useful to people who are interested in autism—and I’ve been impressed with how well the algorithm seems to target people who are either considering autism or are considering autism with their child.

psychologists despise Tiktok

I’ve shared some of the online tests that are available, what telehealth looks like for diagnoses, information about pathological demand avoidance (PDA), available directories for providers, and other information. I’ve gotten some great questions, some great discussion on specific videos, and clients who never would have known I existed. I am not the right psychologist for everyone, but I hope to be able to provide some help for content for people who are interested, and for people who are looking at what I can do, I’m glad to let them know I’m here!

As for how I feel about Tiktok as a psychologist? It’s a tool—just like anything else, and information that is shared may vary in accuracy. There is absolutely potential for people to incorrectly self-diagnose based on the information they view on Tiktok videos, but there is ALSO potential for people to recognize information that can be enormously beneficial to understanding themselves.

I work with many adults who are wondering about a diagnosis of autism and have never been previously evaluated (or they have been receiving mental health treatment for other conditions). Many of these adults are autistic, and without people talking about autism on social media and on the internet, I wonder how many of these individuals would go through life without recognizing it and getting to fully understand and accept their own characteristics. With that viewpoint, I think that the increase in self-disclosure and openness about mental health has been incredibly beneficial. I also think it is helpful for individuals to understand more about diagnostic evaluations and how psychologists think—there is an incredible amount of variability with regards to autism evaluations, especially when it comes to adults, and a little bit of research and understanding can go a long way towards a helpful evaluation versus one that does not answer the questions that have been asked.

psychologists despise Tiktok

I would much rather a potential client look into their options and choose me because of the work I do than default to me because I’m not the only option they know about. And I’m not threatened by people who come to me thinking they know what their diagnosis might be. I think it’s important for people to be able to share their concerns with a provider!

Check out one of my most popular videos here, and follow me to see my newest content!https://tinyurl.com/helpandhealingticktok

Dr. Jessica Myszak has had over 10 years of experience performing psychological evaluations with children and adults. She offers both in-person and telehealth evaluations. In addition to seeing clients on the Chicago North Shore, she is able to work with families who reside in Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina, Washington DC, Wisconsin, and soon, Alabama and Kentucky! If you are interested in learning more about potentially working with her, you can visit her website here or email her here to get the process started.