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Help-Seeking and Social Media: A Message From 'Psyche'

Douglas focuses on Spiritual Counselling. He has degrees in Psychology, Science and Humanities (and perhaps will add a PhD in the future).

"Psyche Opening the Golden Box" by John William Waterhouse (1849 – 1917)

"Psyche Opening the Golden Box" by John William Waterhouse (1849 – 1917)

Maladaptive Engagement With Social Media

Maladaptive interactions with social media occur in all sorts of forms. This includes what might reflect obsessive-compulsive behavior (e.g., an inability to disengage from checking Facebook feeds), narcissistic behavior (e.g., self-aggrandizing, exaggerated and staged "my life is so great" posts) or that age-old standard, emotional expulsive activity (otherwise known as "airing dirty laundry in public"). In the mix, there is also—occasionally—someone who is lost in the fog of depression (possibly caused by grief) reaching out for some sort of guidance in ill-defined and potentially futile or harmful ways (Tran TB, et al 2015). Of course, this sort of scenario can also involve "catfishing," with someone pretending to be in such a predicament (Smith, et al 2017).

As it happens, when the "call for help" is raised in "spiritual" groups (including those on Facebook), it can be put in terms of "Can anyone pick up on a message from spirit for me?" or the like. What follows is, usually, a bit like a feeding frenzy as a combination of well-meaning and malevolent people (which is often the "mix") "stick their bib in" (which means "involve themselves in an intrusive or nosy manner in something that is not their business or responsibility"). Those rooting around for attention will likely include some hucksters promoting some cold- or hot-reading to hook the unwary (which can be based on photos or information that have been supplied by the person "reaching out") (Dutton 1988, Carroll 2015).

Some Sensible and Helpful Advice

In such circumstances, sensible and helpful advice from Ψυχή—which some may read as the Goddess "Psyche," while others may read as 'soul', "the conscious self," "the personality as the seat of emotions, desires and affection," "the mind' or
"the faculty of reason" [Liddell & Scott 1940]—follows:

  • if you are genuinely reaching out in online groups—including if your issue relates to difficulties with grief—anyone who makes contact claiming to be channeling spirit or the like is probably trying to deceive you or is deluding themselves;
  • the issues you are aware of in your life that you are having difficulties with are the things to overcome—you know this and you probably don't need confirmation from someone else on the details (particularly not disconnected wannabes in relatively anonymous online groups); and
  • while you might need assistance, the best way to get support is likely to connect in person with local trustworthy support networks.

In the event that it would be helpful to hear a message that sounds like an old-fashioned oraculum (a pronouncement from an oracle), below is something that might be directly relevant and helpful. In this case, the following wisdom is based on the query "Any messages from spirit for me?":

rèn hé lái zì jīng shén de xìn xī gěi wǒ (任何來自精神旳信息給我).

Like many passages in Traditional Chinese, this can be interpreted in various ways, including the following:

Trusting in, relying upon or employing burdensome queries, abuse, curses, pride, superciliousness or arrogance has happened in the past and it will happen in the future—it is an occurrence that is, of course, personal and natural (to a degree).The self is energetic, skilled, refined, delicate, meticulous and occasionally, a little like a goblin or demon, in addition to having qualities akin to the divine—such as inscrutable energy associated with the mind of an expressive genius. Truly trustworthy and sincere messages, news and beliefs—those that promote the ultimate target, standard and criterion (optimizing the unmanifest potential in each emerging instant)—put a stop to the provision or supply of self-willed stubbornness, conflict and murder while enlivening and growing abundance and agility in one’s self and others.

For those so interested, this oraculum is shown below with the Chinese passage presented (to the far right) in a Seal script dating from the 1st Century (it is of the form that was used in "Shuowen Jiezi" [說文解字] [Creamer 1989]). The text is also produced in Traditional Chinese characters and accompanied by an English translation. It is shown with an image of the artwork known as "The Madonna Scroll" (Brockey 2007).

On the left is an image showing a Chinese painting that may date to the late-15th or early-16th Century - it is known as "The Madonna Scroll" (Brockey 2007). To the right is the 'oraculum' noted in the article with ancient and modern Chinese text

On the left is an image showing a Chinese painting that may date to the late-15th or early-16th Century - it is known as "The Madonna Scroll" (Brockey 2007). To the right is the 'oraculum' noted in the article with ancient and modern Chinese text


Brockey, LMM 2007, Journey to the East: The Jesuit Mission to China, 1579-1724, Harvard University Press (Cambridge).

Carroll, RT 2015, 'Hot Reading'. The Skeptic's Dictionary, accessed 20 October 2021,

Creamer, TBI 1989, "Shuowen Jiezi and Textual Criticism in China". International Journal of Lexicography, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 176–187.

Dutton, DL 1988, 'The Cold Reading Technique'. Experientia, vol. 44, pp. 326-332.

Liddell, HG & Scott, RS (1940), A Greek–English Lexicon, Clarendon Press, Oxford.

Smith, LR, Smith, KD & Blazka, M 2017. 'Follow Me, What's the Harm: Considerations of Catfishing and Utilizing Fake Online Personas on Social Media'. Journal of Legal Apsects of Sport, vol. 27, pp. 32-45.

Tran, TB, Uebelacker, L, Wenze, SJ, Collins, C & Broughton, ML 2015, 'Adaptive and Maladaptive Means of Using Facebook: A Qualitative Pilot Study to Inform Suggestions for Development of a Future Intervention for Depression'. Journal of Psychiatric Practice, vol. 21, no. 6, pp. 458-473.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.