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Psychiatry Sex Social Media Therapy Uncategorized

Identity Curation

Identity Curation
by B. Imei Hsu, BSN-RN, MAC-LMHC, Artist

Recently, I came across an article on Mashable about the ‘Facebook Facelift’: that is, facelifts prompted by concerned consumers after seeing their images as depicted on Social Media platforms. As quoted from the article, Dr. Adam Schaffner, a New York plastic surgeon stated, “When you look in the mirror you’re seeing the mirror image of yourself. But when you see yourself on social media, you’re seeing yourself the way the world sees you” [italics added]. Continuing to reflect on the intersection between technology, Social Media, and human behavior, I am not surprised at this increase. We are living in an age where curating identity has become a pasttime of teenagers, emerging adults, and business owners alike. According to the book, Identity Shift by Cerra and James, we have started using the Internet as a our mirror instead of a mature observer or authentic community to reflect to ourselves various aspects of who we are. The curation of identity on the Internet, with psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s philosophy on the mirror phase as a permanent structure rather than a phase in childhood development, creates a hyper-reality that is more real than the real. What happens when identity curation leaves consumers with a sense of disconnection from themselves? The following is a discussion about some of possible pitfalls of Social Media use in the effort to curate one’s identity to obsession.

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Client-centered Therapy Counseling eTherapy How to Love and Romance Online Dating Online Therapy Relationships Seattle Sex Therapy Uncategorized

Relationship 2.0

Relationship 2.0
by Imei Hsu, BSN-RN, MAC-LMHC, Artist

It’s July, and yet summer weather has not quite made a committed appearance in Seattle. My Twitter feed and Facebook updates are full of potshots and comments about the sun’s absence from the Pacific Northwest during a time when the rest of the country is experiencing a heat wave. Still, summer is the time when people think about rest and relaxation, summer vacations,  family time, travel, and — of course! — summer love and romance. Relationships are what make our lives feel full and rich, and in spite of our efforts to be busy and active, the absence of meaningful relationships and connected sex makes those efforts feel lonely and empty.  In honor of summer and relationships, this short blog post includes a few items to chew on about fanning the flames of relationship, improving your love life, and getting it on in bed: a Relationship 2.0 guide for my readers.

RELATIONSHIP 2.0: Modern Love

Why call it Relationship 2.0? Aren’t good old fashioned relationship skills and romance cutting it anymore? Relationship 2.0 is what I’m calling the addition of an undeniable feature of the modern landscape of relationships: the Digital World. We already know that technology affects the way we relate to one another. For all the devices we have, access to the Internet, and demand to use the technology to connect more often, we share more data but communicate meaningfully far less. While the world obsesses over the latest viral video about Henri the French cat going to the vet, the amount of face-to-face conversation decreases. If we are to experience the benefits of the digital age on communication, we must understand what is gained and what is lost.

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Client-centered Therapy Counseling eTherapy Online Therapy Therapy

Digital Distress In An Age With Less Privacy

Digital Distress In An Age With Less Privacy
by imei Hsu, RN, LMHC, Artist

Recently, I took part in a conference in Seattle addressing the topics of privacy, identity, and innovation as it relates to the technology affecting our world through the advances of a digital age. At no other time in history have we been more enpowered by technology in multiple formats and with such mobility. I was stunned and in awe to watch the transit of Venus across the face of the sun on June 5,2012 — all from the convenience of my iPad. Yet partly due to the  speed in which many software applications are delivered, the people in charge of developing and delivering these systems admit that they do not have all the questions answered, nor the legislation in place to protect the best interests of the consumer. While I initially thought I should share a more information-oriented, clinical description of the affect of privacy issues on psychology and psychological services, I kept asking myself, “What is it that people want to know from me about this topic?” The answer: what is it that I think about privacy and how it affects us? What does any of this have to do with psychology or my well-being? The answer: what you don’t know can hurt you. For now, I’m calling this effect Digital Distress.

Here’s a few things you should know from conversations about Privacy.

photo placeholder. Original ink drawing by Imei Hsu.
photo placeholder. Original ink drawing by Imei Hsu.

1. Consumers are concerned about privacy. It’s not that we know nothing about what it means to have our contact information or images of ourselves violated or exploited. It’s that in general, many of us do not know enough about how to protect ourselves — that is, we are not readily and clearly educated about how to keep our personal data under our control. Terms of Use Agreements (TOUA’s) are often written in legal language that is difficult to interpret, we are subscribed into programs we didn’t select, and many of us do not know how to launch “do not track” programs on our most frequently used Internet browsers.