COUNSELING & Digital natives struggle with a culture that doesn’t understand life in the internet age

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Pastors can suffer from the same disconnect that psychologists are experiencing when they try to understand the nuances of those living in a digital culture. Church leaders must rise to the task of understanding the effects of life in the Internet age.

Therapy’s Digital Disconnect:

Some digital natives struggle with a psychological culture that they say doesn’t understand the effects of life in the internet age


(Getty Images/Ringer illustration)

By Alyssa Bereznak, The Ringer, 11/23/16.

Over 10 months, the 26-year-old Jones (whose name has been changed to protect the patient’s identity) sensed a disconnect with her 60-something therapist. Sometimes she’d catch her doctor fumbling with a browser on her computer, opening new windows instead of new tabs. During one session, Jones said she was stressed out because someone hadn’t texted her back, to which her therapist replied, “Why didn’t you just call them?” Once, after a lengthy explanation of the key performance indicators for web traffic, her therapist simply nodded and said, “Oh, OK.”

Jones gave up explaining the nuances of her digital life during a discussion about an on-and-off romance. She hadn’t communicated with him much recently, and her doctor wanted to know to what extent.

“The example I wanted to use was that we still liked each other’s Instagrams,” Jones said. “But then I realized, knowing a little bit about her non-background with technology, I was going to have to back up and explain the framework of: What is an Instagram? What function does it serve in people’s friendships? And I would have to explain to her that liking someone’s Instagram was just another way of pinging their consciousness for a second.”

She decided to forgo the topic. “That would’ve been like a three-minute detour,” Jones said. “But when you’re on the clock, three-minute detours in an hour session are expensive…”

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