Psychology and YouTube by Emilia Prochownik

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From the first day I started working, fresh from University with my psychology degree under my arm, I was called the “specialist”. I was expected to give advice, I was asked what was best for the child I received and was asked for answers, My understanding of what it means “to be a psychologist” guided by Lacanian psychoanalysis, that is, to be “the one who does not know”, has been subjected to the tough test of demand. This prompted me to reflect1 on the current concept of the “specialist” and “expert”, that is to say contemporary subjects supposed to know who hold a degree – instantaneous version.

This is a fairly obvious example. A psychologist in an institution is a stakeholder who is required to know about human suffering – knowledge acquired during his studies and then sanctioned by a degree. Except that it is easy to become a confidant and advisor, and not just when one is a “specialist”. I would like to draw attention to a completely new form of wild transference. These are videos posted by youtubers that provide quick advice in many areas of life.

Building relationships based on a sense of understanding and sympathy with the person posting the video, consulting for private matters, asking questions about different social issues, asking about someone’s private life if they are not sufficiently visible, asking for help – this is what we observe.

YouTube is a big community to which many people turn to find the “top ten ways to deal with stress”. This creates a new form of communication for self-proclaimed “experts” who, by posting and analysing messages, meet with fragile, sometimes desperate people who are determined to listen to them. YouTube is the breeding ground for modern wild transference that responds to contemporary demand and is prone to interfere in the relationship between the analysand and his analyst.

Translated by Joanne Conway

1I was inspired by Lilia Mahjoub’s argument, “In a State of Transference”, and the participation at the Knottings Seminar organized by the Krakow Circle of the NLS.