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Scott Waltman: How this psychologist is helping people through memes

Scott Waltman is an author, international trainer and clinical psychologist who specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). He went to graduate school at Pacific University in Oregon, and did his predoctoral internship at the Colorado Mental health Institute in Pueblo. After that, Scott completed his postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California. From there, he started working at the University of Pennsylvania, where he worked as a cognitive behavior therapy trainer under Dr. Aaron T. Beck, the originator of cognitive therapy and one of the most influential and famous psychiatrists of all time.

Working with Dr. Beck, Scott Waltman realized that Socratic questioning was a common challenge for clinicians. He, along with Dr. Aaron T. Beck, then studied how expert clinicians use Socratic questioning and put that information together to create a new format for teaching Socratic questioning to clinicians. Their framework was designed to both correct the common mistakes that people make and train clinicians to use the chronic question in a way consistent with an expert therapist. 

“While I presented this model at various international conferences to help with the uptake, we found that a number of clinicians we wanted to reach weren’t attending conferences. So we had to think of creative ways to reach clinicians who are normally difficult to reach,” shared Scott Waltman. “This is how I decided to start my Instagram page ‘socraticmethodcbt’. It’s a mix of memes and educational materials geared towards therapists and mental health advocates,” he added.

Though meant for therapists and clinicians, his memes are widely followed by the masses in general since it provides a lighter way to address their issues, normalizing the concept of mental health issues. The page is full of amusing memes and helpful tips with the intention of making useful information accessible in a format that is not only engaging but also entertaining. 

There is no doubt that memes have become a common way of communication in this day and age. Even when you don’t talk to your friends or relatives for weeks, you find a relevant meme to share with them. It’s a conversation starter and also a way to show others they are remembered. The fact is that memes have garnered immense attention over the past few years, and with social media becoming such an important part of our lives, the craze for fun content has increased exponentially. 

Where mental health issues are still considered taboo in some parts of the world, and people avoid talking about their problems for fear of being labeled, Scott Waltman has come up with an interesting and informative way to spread awareness about mental issues. People can associate with his posts and realize what they are going through, all the while taking useful tips to help them cope with their day-to-day lives. 

Scott Waltman’s book, ‘Socratic Questioning for Therapists and Counselors: Learn How to Think and Intervene Like a Cognitive Behavior Therapist’ has gained international support from therapists around the world. Through this book, readers will learn how to apply his framework to specialty populations, such as patients with borderline personality disorder who receive dialectical behavior therapy. Apart from that, additional chapters contain explicit guidance on how to layer intervention to transform core beliefs and schema. This book is a must-read for therapists in training, early career professionals, supervisors, trainers, and any clinician looking to refine and enhance their ability to use Socratic strategies to bring about lasting change.

The expert psychologist believes that mindset is essential but not as important as the actions you take. “I am not an affirmations person because, in my experience, people often do not believe the affirmations they say,” shared Scott. “Instead what I find is often, when someone is looking to make changes in their life, the feelings are the last thing to change. What is important is to set a direction and take action. As someone takes action, the circumstances of their life will change too. As the circumstances of their life change, the narrative and emotions will catch up. It is all interconnected,” he added.

Scott Waltman is board certified in CBT by the American Board of Professional Psychology. He is also a fellow diplomat and a certified trainer consultant for the Academy of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. He also sits on the Board of The Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral 

Therapy and the International Association of Cognitive and Behavior Therapies. With vast experience in studying, practicing and then training therapists, he understands the importance of cognitive behavioral therapy and its life-changing impact on people’s lives. Be it his serious therapy sessions or interactive yet fun memes, all his work is based on helping people get better control over their emotions and have a healthy, constructive and positive mind. 

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