“I do genuinely believe that the work that we do as therapists creates ripple effects. It changes people’s brains; it creates new attachments.” ~Jess Sprengle

Spoiler Alert: The Cranky Therapist is not at all cranky. At least, this is the conclusion I came to after our chat. Instead, Jess Sprengle, the meme queen behind a catchy social persona, manages her private practice as well as her popular profiles and keeps herself grounded, in part, because she does her own work. 

“So many people come to this work and do this work to heal parts of themselves. I know that that’s true.” It certainly is for Jess. It’s important to highlight for folks that as therapists, we get something out of the therapy and that’s part of what motivates us to choose this profession. 

That said, there’s an opposite side of the coin: workaholism. 

While empathy is critical in what we do, we can push that resource to its limits, adding more clients to our roster when we just don’t have the time, space, or capacity to do so. Jess approaches her own tendencies towards workaholism with honesty (another key ingredient to this work). “As a human being, I want love and validation [ ] regardless of whether or not I’m a therapist,” she says, adding, “but I don’t have to get it through working myself to death. I can have relationships with people who don’t pay me.”

Jess credits social media, specifically her IG and TikTok accounts, for providing a new outlet through which she can bond. “So much of why I started this account was really to show up authentically, to give my voice to people who needed it. And also to, I guess, provide education in a way that was accessible.” 

Yes, followers can and do base assumptions about Jess’ private life/profession/looks, you name it. She appreciates the privilege of her visibility while also admitting that those assumptions hurt. That’s where the lessons she’s learned from her own healing journey keep her from spiraling. “I didn’t create the account to have followers. I created the account because I wanted to do something particular, which I do feel like I’m doing.” 


NARM: NeuroAffective Relational Model






Jess Sprengle owns and operates a private practice in Austin, TX specializing in the care and treatment of adolescents, young adults, adults, and families impacted by eating disorders, disordered eating, body image disturbances, and adjacent issues. She is a champion of freedom, justice, and liberation for all people and all bodies and practices from an intersectional, social justice-aligned lens. Jess considers herself to be a “radically genuine” therapist and seeks to embody authenticity and “humanness” with clients. She brings this to the social media world through her instagram account, @thecrankytherapist, and Twitter, @JessSprengleLPC.

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