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Archive for May, 2010

In memory of Martin Gardner (1914-2010), he wrote a prescient essay  in 1950, entitled “The Hermit Scientist”. What comes to mind for me is a memory I have of a conversation with Roger Callahan in the early 2000s, where he told me he felt nobody, not even the people who studied with him, truly understood his work. He informed me that he thought that I came closest of anyone who had studied with him (at the time of his remark, of course, not anymore), but after something I had said he did not agree with, he informed me that not even I, completely understood his work.

I will present a quote from Michael Shermer’s synopsis in his Scientific American column, of the essay without further comment, since the reason it is relevant to this blog, speaks for itself.

How can we tell if someone is a scientific crank? Gardner offers this advice: (1) “First and most important of these traits is that cranks work in almost total isolation from their colleagues.” Cranks typically do not understand how the scientific process operates — that they need to try out their ideas on colleagues, attend conferences and publish their hypotheses in peer-reviewed journals before announcing to the world their startling discovery. Of course, when you explain this to them they say that their ideas are too radical for the conservative scientific establishment to accept. (2) “A second characteristic of the pseudo-scientist, which greatly strengthens his isolation,is a tendency toward paranoia,” which manifests
itself in several ways:

  1. He considers himself a genius.
  2. He regards his colleagues, without exception, as ignorant blockheads …
  3. He believes himself unjustly persecuted and discriminated against. The recognized societies refuse to let him lecture. The journals reject his papers and either ignore his books or assign them to “enemies” for review. It is all part of a dastardly plot. It never occurs to the crank that this opposition may be due to error in his work …
  4. He has strong compulsions to focus his attacks on the greatest scientists and the best-established theories. When Newton was the outstanding name in physics, eccentric works in that science were violently anti-Newton. Today, with Einstein the father symbol
    of authority, a crank theory of physics is likely to attack Einstein …
  5. He often has a tendency to write in a complex jargon, in many
    cases making use of terms and phrases he himself has coined.

We should keep these criteria in mind when we explore controversial ideas on the borderlands of science. “If the present trend continues,” Gardner concludes, “we can expect a wide variety of these men, with theories yet unimaginable, to put in their appearance in the years immediately ahead. They will write impressive books, give inspiring lectures, organize exciting cults. They may achieve a following of one — or one million. In any case, it will be well for ourselves and for society if we are on our guard against them.” So we still are, Martin. That is what skeptics do, and in tribute for all you have done, we shall continue to honor your founding command.

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Here is the link to the full text of my article published in 2005 in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, Callahan Fails to Meet the Burden of Proof for Thought Field Therapy’s Claims. Please note that no one else has the rights to post this article. The author agreement with the journal is that only authors can post articles on their own websites. This is also the reason I am not able to post Roger Callahan’s article, so people who are interested in reading it will have to request it from him.

Here is the link to my article that retracted the earlier 2001 article I co-authored with Dr. Mark Steinberg, which was misrepresented on the now-defunct Axis of Quackery blog.

I hope that reading these articles will help explain to people who are wondering, why I changed my mind about Thought Field Therapy.

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Update: WordPress has just informed me that they suspended the Axis of Quackery blog and have told me that it is gone, permanently. Thank you, WordPress, for not tolerating cyber abuse of his sort.

Another wordpress blog, Axis of Quackery has been deliberately misrepresented an article that I co-authored with Dr. Mark Steinberg in the October 2001 issue of The Journal of Clinical Psychology (JClP) and have since retracted. Click here to read the abstract of the retraction. I say this is deliberate because I have informed them of this, yet they still post about it, neglecting to mention the fact of its retraction, presenting a highly misleading picture of me that essentially amounts to defamation and if they post more of it and go beyond the limits of fair use, they will also be infringing on copyright laws. The journal owns the copyrights and they allow authors of the articles to post them on their own websites, but nowhere else.

I have to add that Dr. Steinberg is also violating an agreement that authors of these 2001 articles made with the journal to publish a disclaimer that they were not peer reviewed. Click here to read about the details of the special circumstances under which these articles were published. While authors of JClP articles do have the right to publish them on their own websites, the agreement was to post the disclaimer along with the articles. I drew this to his attention years ago, but he adamantly refused to post the disclaimer, saying, in essence, that he felt entitled to post it the way it is. Since that time, in 2005, I published a retraction of the article and TFT proponents have also neglected to mention this. This creates a highly misleading impression of TFT, that these were peer reviewed articles. The JClP would normally only publish peer reviewed articles so that is the assumption people would make, reading the articles without the disclaimers.

I find the postings on Axis of Quackery to be disingenuous. If they were sincerely concerned about debunking TFT, they would be supporting me as someone who has been TFT’s most highly published critic over the last five years. Instead, they do nothing but attack me and seem to be completely ignoring what current TFT proponents are doing, unless it has some relation to my activities.  Obviously, they believe that this will discredit me, although if they were even remotely familiar with my recent writings, they would see that I have been completely up front and above board about my past associations with TFT, which I completely repudiated and I have published a formal retraction of this article, something that the real critics of TFT have told me they highly respect me for doing. What is their real motivation? Their beef with me has nothing to do with TFT and everything to do with the scholarly criticism I have published on the therapies they promote, coercive restraint therapies and other abusive forms of so-called “attachment” therapies.

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It has come to my attention that TFT proponents have started their own “peer review” journal. I put “peer review” in scare quotes because the “peers” as far as I can tell are all proponents of TFT so of course all the studies will be ones with favorable outcomes and based on the abstracts I have seen, appear to have the lack of rigor that’s been a longstanding pattern.

Just in case TFT proponents think that publishing in their own journal will qualify them as an “empirically supported treatment”, it won’t. It isn’t as simple as just publishing two controlled studies, and bingo, you’re an EST.  That problem with the APA guidelines, which previously did not address study quality, was caught in the early 2000s. The APA has recently revised their standards which include a careful review of the rigor and methodology of the studies and they need to be up to current standards of rigor to qualify.

Peer review means independent peer review, not review by other believers. Anyone can create a vanity journal. What isn’t so easy is going through a peer review by someone who has no vested interest in the outcome. The attitude of TFT proponents appears to be that they already “know” it is effective and they are doing the studies as a mere formality to prove it to others so they will be accepted. That is not the way real scientists work. Real scientists, in the words of Richard Feynman, bend over backwards to prove themselves wrong.

For TFT “bending over backwards”, would mean stepping up to the plate and instead of comparing TFT to a no treatment control group which does not rule out placebo effect, compare TFT tapping to sham TFT (tapping on non-meridian points or tapping with random sequences).  That is the kind of rigor that is needed. Even comparing TFT to a supportive treatment control group is not enough, because there is enthusiasm conveyed by proponents and those they train for the procedure itself. What would really test TFT would be to do a double-blind controlled study with a sham treatment group and also a no treatment control group. People unfamiliar with TFT could be trained with actual TFT points and sham points and not be told which is which and then they could carry out the treatments on others.

Instead of always doing studies with highly vulnerable, traumatized people in other cultures, they should first be done with people in our own culture. Going to a place such as Africa where the people who are carrying out the treatment are in a highly vulnerable position can create demand characteristics and results from a culture so different from US culture, would not be generalizable to people in the US. The best way to do a double blind study would be to train neutral people, such as graduate students in TFT, training them with the “real” points and sham points, not telling them which is which. Since many people still have never heard of TFT, it shouldn’t be hard to find people who don’t know the difference. Anything less than sham points is not going to be convincing evidence. Given the high degree of enthusiasm, it’s not surprising at all that TFT would do better than no treatment, especially under the conditions under which it was done in Africa. Just look at how the TFT therapists were so enthusiastically welcomed by the singing Rwandan orphans on the video, as if they were already heroes. That sets up a highly enthusiastic atmosphere from the get go and it is obviously designed to tug at people’s heart strings, but sets up a expectancy that is not conducive to a properly done study, to put it mildly. Now it may be that it was culturally appropriate to participate in this kind of ceremony, but that is a prime example of why it is important to test these things first in the culture from which the treatment came (invented by an American psychologist) rather than going to other cultures first. TFT proponents are moved to tears when they watch these videos but many of us who are not so emotionally involved, see things very differently.

The way these videos are shown on YouTube looks to me like they are an effort to create good PR and trumpet their altruism to the world, especially important for a therapy that charges people in the US such high fees. Then they can portray critics as being against helping orphans. What sort of horrible person would be against helping orphans? The only problem with that is that it is a classic straw man argument. The real issue is not helping orphans. The real issue is whether the treatment really helps, and testing it under those conditions with a no treatment control group is not the way to go about providing evidence. Just imagine how horrible the people not selected for the treatment must have felt, even though they were treated just weeks later, the point is that they knew they weren’t getting the miracle treatment by these therapists who are obviously so highly looked up to. Also, the fact that the control group was so quickly treated, does not leave room for any kind of lengthy follow-up comparison. Again, this would be difficult to do under these circumstances, which is another reason why they need to be done under less dire conditions, in the United States first.

It is interesting that both TFT proponents and proponents of coercive restraint therapies have tried this straw man argument with me, accusing me of being against helping orphans when what I am actually against is exploiting orphans with interventions that lack empirical support, in TFT’s case, using them as guinea pigs for their research. I’m all in favor of helping orphans, but let’s help them with treatments that have been shown to be effective, not use them as a PR tool.

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The Callahan TFT website currently has a section entitled Thought Field Therapy (R) Professional Review. There are a few points, however, that need to be made about this so-called professional review. First, not all the authors of the articles on the page are mental health professionals. Note that this is not intended to be an argument from authority. It is content that matters, not the person’s credentials. Nevertheless, it is important that credentials be accurately represented because professional authority does influence people. What I am challenging here, is the representations the Callahans are making implied in that title, which would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the people listed in that section are all professionals reviewing TFT, which do not appear to be accurate and people have a right to know this. While some of them are mental health professionals (people with masters or PhD degrees in psychology, social work or a related profession), not all are. Steven Barger, who wrote the lengthiest “review” has no mental health professional credentials. At the time he wrote that, he had only a BA from Ball State University and made his living as a bicycle security guard (I’m not sure what his current job or degree is as I have not kept in touch with him, but those were his credentials when he wrote the article). There’s nothing wrong with that, but the Callahans should not be portraying a security guard as a professional.

More importantly, the “professional review” is highly selective and contains only favorable reviews. Some of the reviewers have paid $100,000 for VT training and thus, have a considerable investment in TFT. The favorable reviews consist mainly of anecdotes from their clinical experience, rather than an actual review of the evidence. There have been a number of professional reviews on TFT that are being omitted from the Callahan’s list, so to make up for that deficit, I will list them here:

Gaudiano, B. A. & Herbert, J. D. (2000). Can we really tap our problems away?: A critical analysis of Thought Field Therapy. Skeptical Inquirer, 24, 29-36.  Full Text available http://www.csicop.org/si/show/can_we_really_tap_our_problems_away_a_critical_analysis_of_thought_field_th/

Hooke, W. A. (1998). A review of Thought Field Therapy. Traumatology, 3(2), Article 3. Available: Click Here.

Kline, J.P. (2001).  Heart Rate Variability does not tap putative efficacy of Thought Field Therapy. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 57 (10), 1187-1192.

Lohr, J.M. (2001).Sakai et al. is not an adequate demonstration of TFT effectiveness. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 57, 1229-1235.

McNally, R.J. (2001).  Tertullian’s motto and Callahan’s method.  Journal of Clinical Psychology, 57, 1171-1174.

Pignotti, M. (2005). Thought Field Therapy Voice Technology vs. random meridian point sequences: a single-blind controlled experiment. The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 4(1), 72-81. [Note: this is, to date, the only randomized clinical trial on any form of TFT published in a peer reviewed journal, yet it was left off ATFT’s list. This study showed that Roger Callahan’s TFT Voice Technology did no better than random treatment sequences using no proprietary technology. Although the Callahans have lowered the price for VT training from $100,000 to $5,000, this is something people might want consider before spending $5,000 on the “Optimal Health” course that teaches VT. Your choice, of course. The same allegedly miraculous results were obtained using completely random sequences from TFT treatment points drawn out of a hat. This strongly suggests placebo effect is at work here.]

Pignotti, M. & Thyer, B. A. (2009). Some Comments on “Energy Psychology: A Review of the Evidence”: Premature Conclusions Based on Incomplete Evidence? Psychotherapy Theory, Research, Training, Practice,46, 257-261.

Pignotti, M. (2005). Regarding the October 2001 JCLP Special Issue on Thought Field Therapy: Retraction of conclusions in the article “Heart Rate Variability as an outcome measure for Thought Field Therapy in clinical practice.” Journal of Clinical Psychology, 61(3), 361-365.

Pignotti, M. (2005). Callahan fails to meet the burden of proof for Thought Field Therapy claims: Rejoinder to Callahan. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 61(3), 251-255.

Pignotti, M. (2005, Fall/Winter). Thought Field Therapy in the media: a critical analysis of one exemplar.  The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 3(2) p. 60-66.

Pignotti, M. (2007). Thought Field Therapy: A former insider’s experience. Research on Social Work Practice, 17, 392-407. Abstract: http://rsw.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/17/3/392

Pignotti, M. (2007). Questionable interventions taught at top-ranked school of social work. The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 5, 78-82.

Rosen, G.M. & Davison, G.C. (2001).  “Echo attributions” and other risks when publishing on novel therapies without peer review. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 57, 1245-1250.

Rosner, R. (2001).  Between search and research: How to find your way around? Review of the article, “Thought Field Therapy: Soothing the bad moments of Kosovo”. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 57, 1241-1244.

Click here to read the abstracts of the Journal of Clinical Psychology articles listed above. I will gladly e-mail reprints of articles I have authored to anyone who sends me their name and e-mail address.

Why are these articles not listed on the Callahan’s website as reviews of TFT and instead only favorable reviews listed by TFT proponents? As for a substantive rebuttal to Barger’s arguments, although they do not directly respond to Barger, many of the above articles effectively refute the points he raised. Why are the Callahans not informing people of these reviews? Sources have told me that people have asked them who I am and why I am so critical of TFT, but have they referred anyone to my articles? I have heard that my name is not allowed to be mentioned on their list serv. Instead, I am simply referred to as “the skeptic” while omitting the fact that at at one time, Callahan had told me he felt I understood TFT theory better than anyone he had ever trained, outside the Callahan family. Perhaps this article will come up on a Google search on “Thought Field Therapy” so people can become properly informed of these critical reviews.

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The latest Callahan blog posting announces that a team of TFT therapists and trainers will be deployed to Haiti. Click here to read details. I have nothing against people going to Haiti and helping others. Although many of my colleagues think that I am being far too kind, I operate on the assumption that most TFT proponents have good intentions. However, what I do object to is people descending upon the scene of a disaster and imposing therapies such as TFT, that have no scientific evidence that they will truly help such people. Good intentions or not, this is taking advantage of vulnerable people. First, it was the Scientologists, now TFT proponents follow suit. TFT and Scientology touch assists are in pretty much the same category where lack of evidence is concerned.

Note that the Callahans have blocked me from accessing this page from my own computer, but there are other people who send me links to keep me updated. The person putting this altogether is Dr. Carolle Jean Murat. According to her website, Dr. Carolle also offers “intuitive consultations” by telephone and describes herself as “a medical intuitive, board-certified gynecologist and holistic practitioner.” For those unfamiliar with the term, Wikipedia states that:

A Medical Intuitive is an alternative medicine practitioner who uses their intuition to attempt to find the cause of a physical or emotional condition. Making a formal medical diagnosis is not in the scope of practice for many Medical Intuitives, but some medical intuitives are also M.D.s.

I will leave it to the readers to decide whether they think this practice is something that is appropriate for an MD to be engaging in. Whether she and her TFT team will also bring medical intuition to Haiti remains to be seen, but to date, there is no valid evidence that Thought Field Therapy is an effective treatment for PTSD or other after-effects of trauma although many TFT proponents claim (without basis) that it is superior to existing empirically supported treatments which is highly misleading and could dissuade people from trying treatments that do have strong research support. To date, there are no published randomized clinical trials demonstrating this, but of course there are many testimonials and anecdotes.

People ask, where’s the harm in tapping, which doesn’t in and of itself harm anyone? While true enough that, in my opinion, it’s not even in the same ballpark as some of the coercive restraint therapies I have been criticizing, there are a number of indirect ways proponents making unsupported claims can do harm. First, as I’ve already mentioned it could dissuade people from using treatments that do have strong support and this could prevent people from getting help while, as the woman on the NPR program, they continue to tap while their symptoms continue. Second, as illustrated by the woman on the NPR program, they could blame themselves for the treatment not working, thus adding to their emotional pain. Third, people could end up spending money that could better be used for something else. While of course, TFT proponents are not charging the recipients in Haiti for their treatment, they are doing quite an aggressive fund raising campaign and will inevitably need to use the resources of a country that is already depleted, while there, even if they do pay for them. People who have nothing of proven value to offer a country such as Haiti, ought to stay away and step aside for people who are properly trained and do have something to offer. Tapping and then trumpeting to the world how altruistic they are (Callahan’s wife is great at that), all the while continuing to charge people in the US outrageous fees. VT with Roger Callahan costs a minimum of 5 hours @ $600 per hour and other VT practitioners have been known to charge up to $400 per hour for a practice that has no controlled studies to support it and my own published study showed that the VT did no better than random sequences costing nothing to produce.

There are people who have been in VT therapy for years and years and keep having their “toxins” checked on a regular basis when their problems keep coming back, rather than realizing that all they had was very temporary placebo relief and sometimes not even that. Here is what I wrote about potential for harm in a 2005 article, published in The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice (for full article, click here – CTTFT stands for Callahan Techniques TFT; IET stands for Individual Energy Toxin):

Clinicians should consider the potential adverse effects of such advice, especially with people who are already suffering from such conditions as eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, or panic disorder. For instance, the declaration by a therapist that a common food in the patient’s diet is “toxic” and is causing panic attacks to recur could create new cues and triggers, thereby becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is at least one reported case (Buryani & Takasaki, 1999; Callahan, 1999) in which an anorexic patient was advised by Callahan to stay away from certain foods (although wisely, the attending psychiatrist overruled this advice). The harmful effects of telling an anorexic patient already obsessed with food avoidance that certain foods are “toxic” should be obvious.

It has been my experience and that of many other CTTFT practitioners that most patients do not comply with Callahan’s advice to avoid certain foods. However, a charismatic therapist could persuade the patient to comply, potentially resulting in harmful dietary restriction. I am aware of cases in which clients have become obsessed with finding IETs to the extent that they were checking with their CTTFT therapist before almost every meal. These are examples of potential negative effects, which are inherent dangers of using treatment approaches that have not been adequately studied.

Callahan’s test for IETs is highly questionable, as he has never formally tested his procedures for inter-rater reliability. This omission raises concern about conflicting results and conflicting dietary advice among practitioners (Craig, 1998).

Just to explain a bit more about the lack of inter-rater reliability, what this means is that two VT therapists can be testing someone’s voice at the same time and coming up with different meridian point sequences or even more troubling, coming up with different results on the so-called “toxin” testing. Gary Craig and his colleague who was also trained in VT reported having this happen. In my own experience practicing VT with a partner, we frequently got different results for the same client with “toxin” testing, which was one of the things that lead me to begin to question the reliability and validity of VT. When I suggested to Callahan that systematic testing be done where two VT therapists test the same person at the same time on the phone, while not being aware of one another’s results, he declared this to be a very bad idea. My partner chose to believe him and refrained from such testing. I did not. I suppose it would be a bad idea for him, especially if it exposed the unreliability of VT and also a bad idea for people who went into debt paying the $100,000 to train in VT. For people trained in VT that still honestly believe in it, though, I would highly recommend getting a colleague or two and trying this experiment. See if you can do better than chance in getting the same results for toxin testing or the same treatment sequences.

So yes, there are plenty of ways practices such as TFT can indirectly harm others. Think of that before opening up your wallet, either to make a donation for their trauma tourism or for treatment/training here in the US.

Note: This blog entry was updated after I received a comment from someone castigating me for criticizing anyone who would go to Haiti and asking where’s the harm? I chose not to post the comment because it was also full of personal attacks on me and I refused to be targeted on my own blogs with these kinds of malicious comments — there are plenty of those elsewhere, if people enjoy reading that sort of thing. I am, however, responding to issues she raised that many people seem to have misconceptions about. I welcome comments and questions about the issues being discussed. Please be forewarned, however, that personal attacks are not welcome here.

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Monica Pignotti TFT Article Journal of Clinical Psychology 2001 Retracted

My cyber-smearers are once again misrepresenting my work. They posted the half truth that I had a “scholarly article” on TFT in 2001 and have lifted the first two pages of the article from Mark Steinberg’s website, yet failed to mention that in 2005, I published a full retraction of that article. The article in no way supports the efficacy of TFT for the reasons the critics of the article stated.

Click here to read the full text of my retraction article.

Click here to read the full text of my response to Dr. Roger Callahan

Click here to read the abstract at the journal website.

This article is a retraction of the conclusions drawn in a previous article, published as part of a special October 2001 issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychology on Thought Field Therapy (TFT). I decided to write this retraction after reconsidering a number of issues raised in the critiques of the articles. Additionally, subsequent misinterpretations of the literature on heart rate variability (HRV) by Roger Callahan, which led to further questioning of his premises and claims regarding TFT and HRV as represented in the articles, are discussed. I conclude that the burden of proof is on TFT proponents to demonstrate its efficacy and that well-designed controlled studies using standardized assessment measures and long-term follow-up must be performed to allow the scientific community to take claims made for TFT seriously.

Unfortunately, my co-author, Dr. Mark Steinberg, continues to post this on his website, neglecting to mention the fact that it was retracted by the first author and failing to honor the agreement that we made with the journal, to put the disclaimer that the article had not been peer reviewed. He also recently mentioned this article in an appearance on a local television station, again, neglecting to mention the retraction and the fact that it was published under special circumstances and not peer reviewed. When he first posted this article on his website, I reminded him of the agreement we had that we were to post a disclaimer that it had not been peer reviewed, but he would not agree to do this. Essentially, he refused to post any disclaimer because he felt he was entitled to claim publication of this article without it, in spite of the fact we had made an agreement that the disclaimer would be published. Since I have no control over the contents of his website, there was nothing I could do to force him. Hence, my need to correct this now. What follows is the whole truth about this article, which I have always been completely honest about and written about in numerous places. In no way is this news, but here we go again.

I have written about the special circumstances under which this article and the special issue was published elsewhere, but I will once again explain it here. Back in 2000, Roger Callahan was invited to come onto the list serv of the Society of a Science for a Clinical Psychology (a subdivision of APA Division 12) to discuss Thought Field Therapy. When he was asked for peer reviewed publications to support the efficacy of TFT, he had to admit that there were none. He claimed that this was the case because editors and journal reviewers were biased against TFT. The Editor of the Journal of Clinical Psychology at the time, Larry Beutler, made an offer to Dr. Callahan. He offered to allow Dr. Callahan to publish five articles of his choosing that he believed supported TFT and Beutler agreed to publish them without peer review. The conditions for the publication would be two-fold: 1) The authors would have to agree to put a disclaimer on the articles that they were not peer reviewed and were not to misrepresent them and 2) Critiques would be published alongside each article. The special issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychology appeared in October 2001 with five articles (I was first author of one of them) and indeed, critiques were published along each article, which were highly negative and essentially stated that had they been peer reviewed, they would not have been acceptable for publication. Click here to read the abstracts.

In 2004, when I came to realize that TFT was not what it was claimed to be, I wrote a retraction of my 2001 article and the retraction was published in 2005 (see link to abstract above).

I also would like to point out that there are tenure-track faculty in major universities who are involved in research on Thought Field Therapy that is funded by believers in TFT and the university appears to have no problem with this at all, so if my detractors think they are going to spoil my academic reputation by posting these things about me, think again. A notable recent example is Dr. Dominique Roe Sepowitz, of Arizona State University who is not only involved in research, but according to her CV, has accepted $13,000 in funding in 2008-2009 from the Association of TFT (ATFT) to be involved in such research. Note that she is being funded by TFT believers since Roger and Joanne Callahan are Board members of ATFT and have been since its inception and the Board of ATFT has only believers in TFT, not critics. In spite of the fact she has been funded by an organization of TFT believers, she is a faculty member in good standing at Arizona State University, who apparently has no problem whatsoever with her involvement and the fact she is funded by the ATFT. Another notable example are two tenured faculty members at FSU (Joyce Carbonell in Psychology and Charles Figley who was at the time in Social Work at FSU) who have conducted research on TFT.  Isn’t it strange that people want to feature me on an “Axis of Quackery” blog for research on something that two major universities (FSU and ASU) had no problem with?

So once again, my cyber-smearers believe they are coming forward with some kind of startling revelation about me when I have been completely open and transparent about this whole matter and I have completely repudiated that article. Go figure. Perhaps this is their way of diverting attention away from questions I have been asking in another blog about the recommendation of restraints, which have nothing to do with TFT. Yes, I believe that TFT is a pseudoscience which makes unsupported claims, but at least no one has been killed by TFT. The same cannot be said for prone restraint procedures which have resulted in numerous deaths and this has been the case, even when the procedures were said to have been carried out correctly. My long-ago mistake with TFT pales in comparison to that.

This constant hammering away at ancient history also is a lame attempt to ignore my recent publications, including this one published in the journal, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics:

Is Longer-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy More Effective than Shorter-Term Therapies? Review and Critique of the Evidence
Sunil S. Bhara, Brett D. Thombsb, Monica Pignottic, Marielle Basselb, Lisa Jewettb, James C. Coyned, Aaron T. Beckd

aSwinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Vic., Australia;
bMcGill University and Jewish General Hospital, Montréal, Qué., Canada;
cFlorida State University, Tallahassee, Fla., and
dUniversity of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa., USA

Psychother Psychosom 2010;79:208-216 (DOI: 10.1159/000313689)

That can hardly be called fringe, but apparently, they think if they keep calling me a fringe “quack” all the evidence I am producing will just go away. Newsflash: It won’t. The truth always comes out eventually and more and more people are seeing it.

In conclusion, the concerns expressed on the Axis of Quackery blog that appear to be focusing on me, appear to be disingenuous. If the anonymous bloggers were genuinely concerned about quackery, it seems to me that they would focus on people who are currently practicing quackery, not someone such as myself who completely repudiated the practice of quackery over six years ago and is a well known, and highly published critic of pseudoscience and quackery. Genuine critics of pseudoscience such as Dr. Scott Lilienfeld, Dr. Steven Jay Lynn and Dr. Brandon Gaudiano, endorse my work. In stark contrast, people who support an intervention for children that has no controlled studies to support its efficacy attack me, while ignoring current TFT proponents other than the one I used to practice with. That speaks volumes for what they truly stand for and what their real agenda is.

Perhaps what really hits a nerve for the “Axis of Quackery” folks is that I am someone who actually admitted to my mistakes and retracted them, something I am highly respected by genuine critics of quackery for doing. In contrast, my critics continue to promote and defend face-down prone restraint methods which, according to my opinion based on my extensive review of the current literature, have been shown to be dangerous and interventions that have no evidence for their efficacy and will not admit, even when confronted with evidence in the literature, that they are wrong and are making serious mistakes. I must be a constant reminder to them of mistakes they are making that they refuse to admit to. No wonder they’re so upset with me that they have go spend so much time creating blogs smearing me.

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