A toxic positivity reality check caused a very prominent tweet-eager doctor of psychology to block me on Twitter; the ultimate social media dismissal. This is a great example of how ignorantly cavalier, overly positive, watered down fortune-cookie twitter therapy can alienate people experiencing real treatment failure despite “professional” advice. One way some therapists achieve faux-success is by removing the failures from having a voice.

Edward is notorious for giving overzealous hipshot therapy advice haphazardly over twitter without context or challenge; a confirmation bias vacuum tragically common these days. I politely challenged his toxic-positivity bullshit with an eloquently simple reality check, causing this doctor of psychology to passive aggressively block me on Twitter:

Beware of seemingly pleasant private practicing therapists like @DoctorPerin (Edward A. Perin) on Twitter giving overly positive mental advice who come off as professionally helpful. These can be some of most dangerous types of advice givers.

Here’s why toxic positivity is so toxic:

With this “toxic positivity” comes one very serious side effect: not listening to patients.

By always insisting in only positive narratives we silence the one & only thing therapy/life requires for validity at all: patient feedback.

There are no scientific instruments to measure success/failure in therapy. It is based on patient feedback alone, a biased tool destined to err in itself.

What you get instead is an authoritarian down-talk where provider is forever right no matter what reality states. An air of superiority. I’ve seen this in practice, too.

Science Does Not Depend on Attitude

We are supposed to hold higher standard for our docs. Dunning Kruger effects like this topped with toxic positivity + ego = dangerously watered down therapy advice made haphazardly from the hip that alienates the most sensitive groups: people struggling among real (treatment) failure.

Toxic positivity in general is bad and goes well beyond Edward, especially on twitter. It’s always important we address treatment limitations & failure as they relate to reality itself; the whole picture – not just the positivity we hope to see (confirmation bias).

Dancing this fine line takes finesse, and we/I won’t always get it right. The key here is not censoring people who counter toxically positive advice with real life experience. Doctors who take oaths are required to tell the whole story, not just the positivity that gets twitter followers.

Statistics show failure in therapy happens a lot. A lot a lot (50% sometimes). When I mentioned this to Edward, he ignored & blocked me entirely without a word. A good therapist will address all voices, not just the ones supporting their biased goals. After all, conclusions depend on patient experience

Toxic Positivity (Defined):

“Toxic positivity takes positive thinking to an overgeneralized extreme. This attitude doesn’t just stress the importance of optimism—it also minimizes and even denies any trace of human emotions not strictly happy or positive”.

(like a twitter docs blocking people for expressing treatment failure)

“Toxic positivity is an attitude that demands happiness even in negative or difficult situations”.

“Too much positivity is toxic because it can harm people who are going through difficult times. Rather than being able to share genuine human emotions and gain unconditional support, people who are faced with toxic positivity find their feelings dismissed, ignored, or outright invalidated.” (Verywellmind.com)

Failure to Mention Failure = Therapist Red Flag

If a therapist never mentions failures, negativity, or limitations of treatment, I see this as a huge red flag to quickly avoid. Including seeming overly eager to tweet cavalier advice intended for clinical settings.

Partial advice can be dangerous. Thank you to all the great mental health providers respecting patient voice here. You are all much better than what I describe (sincerely).

Hip Shot Therapy: (slang) The tendency for mental health professionals to provide life-altering advice haphazardly in passing, with little aim or regard for the repercussions this advice can bring a patient or patient family short and long term. Includes psychiatrists, doctors (MDs), and therapists. CK Glossary

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *