Archive for August, 2010

Is this the title of a satirical article from The Onion? It sounds like it but no, this is real life. Someone just informed me that a TFT true believer asked Roger Callahan if he had an algorithm to treat skeptics. Now I realize the person probably was saying this tongue and cheek, but it really is quite telling about the mindset of certain true believers . Such people appear to think that critical thinking and skepticism about a treatment that has offered scant evidence is an attitude that needs “treatment”. Since what they have done so far has failed to convince skeptics, some true believers would love nothing more than to tap their critics away.

Is TFT a method that can be used to shut out critical thinking? Given that the evidence is scant that it even can treat emotional problems, not very likely. However, the intent behind people who seem to want to do this is not so funny. I actually had an experience back in 2001 where in a meeting with other VT people, I was voicing some objections to how the voice technology was being portrayed and Joanne offered to “treat” me for it. I declined, saying “You can’t tap away an ethical dilemma” and I didn’t and wouldn’t but I have to wonder if some people are labeling their doubts as negativity and trying to tap them away. Even if TFT is not an effective treatment for this, the power of suggestion can be very strong with believers and the implications are concerning to me.

One thing is for sure. TFT failed to cure me of my critical thinking. My involvement with TFT only gave me a stronger motivation to develop my critical thinking further.

TFT believers take note: The only way you are going to change a skeptic’s mind is to produce well-designed randomized controlled studies that follow all the latest reporting guidelines and publish them in reputable peer review journals — the ones that have the high impact factors, not the proprietary ones and publish studies that are not funded by associations that have a vested interest in the treatment. To begin with studies should be on the people TFT treats most — people here in the United States or in the UK, rather than going into a different culture and then attempting to generalize to the people who are the paying TFT clients in the US or the UK. They should have waited to do the “humanitarian” work until they see if they are able to get evidence that TFT works in the culture in which it was developed.

Note that when I use the word “skeptic” I mean an actual skeptic, not the kind that are portrayed in Activia commercials or the kind that new age types like to portray. Sometimes the people who are referred to as skeptics are actually just people having knee jerk negative emotional responses to things and those are people who are actually very easily swayed in the other direction.


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Those other bloggers who lack the courage to put their names to what they write, are at it again, once again misrepresenting my Journal of Clinical Psychology article that I formally retracted. They misrepresented the article by posting two of the tables we presented with pre and post changes, incorrectly stating that this means that we are claiming TFT “cures” those conditions. No, we were not. The blogger obviously needs to take a basic research course. Presenting pre and post changes is not the same thing as claiming a cure or even claiming “efficacy”. Update: After I called them out on doing this, they edited it and took out the part about curing. Apparently they know by now that WordPress will not let them get away with this kind of false statement. Ironically, they call the blog Complete Disclosure when what it actually is, is a highly selective presentation of facts out of context that give a highly misleading impression. What they are revealing about me is hardly a “disclosure” since this article has been public knowledge that I have openly been discussing for the past six years since I left TFT.

My response to their blog has also been mischaracterized. I am not “ashamed” of the article. I see it for what it is: an honest mistake on my part that I have since corrected. This brings to mind a discussion I had with psychologist and well known advocate for scientific mental health practice, James Herbert back in 2005. At that time I was feeling pretty down on myself for having practiced TFT and James helped me to realize that there was no reason for me to feel that way because I had made an honest error, the error that he pointed out has nothing whatsoever to do with lack of intelligence or lack of ethics. In other words, he helped me to realize that I had nothing to be ashamed of or to feel guilty about. In fact, TFT is not even in the same ballpark in terms of harm, that many of the therapies I now criticize are and yet it is those proponents who attempt to shame me. The real scientific mental health professionals have been very forgiving and have never shamed me.

In fact, I have consistently been very open and up front about the article and have many, many postings on the internet about it, giving the FULL STORY. What I object to is the fact that the article is being presented out of context and it was accompanied by lies that Dr. Steinberg and I claimed to cure those conditions in the article, which we did not. That was the basis for my complaint to WordPress. Now that the lies have been removed, I have no objection to their posting the two tables from the article, but they add absolutely nothing new to what I have already revealed about this article and its circumstances.

Also observe how my words constantly get twisted. I called them out on their shaming mentality (see paragraph below), the same kind of abusive mentality that gets conveyed in the therapies I have so strongly criticized. That does not, however, mean that I am “ashamed” of the article because their attempts to shame me fail, each and every time. You see, I am not the vulnerable child that gets hurt by this attitude. This is the same mentality that holds children down and screams in their faces for hours on end about their own projections about the child and this is the kind of brutal therapy I will continue to criticize and will not back down on, no matter how many times followers of these types of therapists attempt to trot out my past, a past I have never been anything less than open and up front about. The fact that cannot be changed is that I have the endorsement of respected scientific mental health professionals for having written this retraction. It is only the pseudoscientists and their followers who attempt unsuccessfully to shame me for it.

Nowhere in the paper did we claim to “cure” any of those physical conditions. To say we were is libel and defamation of both me and of Dr. Mark Steinberg. Yes, I did make claims about TFT and helping with psychological conditions I should not have made and I have fully owned up to that, but I never, ever have claimed that TFT cures diseases and there is no way anything in this paper says that. Presenting pre treatment and post treatment changes is not the same as claiming a cure. The changes I reported were what they were and were truthfully reported but that doesn’t mean I am claiming a cure. Anyone who has even taken so much as an introductory research course should know that. Even when I was involved with TFT I was outspokenly against any claims to cure diseases and I made that known.

They also state that I “renounced” the article. I did not just “renounce” it. I published a full formal retraction of the article that can be read by clicking here.

Additionally, this is a rather ridiculous way to try to smear me, since this paper is very old news and I have never been anything less than up front, open and honest about it.  I still get expressions of admiration from scientifically minded professionals for having written the retraction, who have repeatedly told me that they found it courageous of me to write such a retraction. How many other mental health professionals are willing to admit they were wrong? Perhaps this is what really stings and really hits a raw nerve with the people who have launched this all out smear campaign against me. My openness and honesty about my own mistakes is a constant reminder of the mistakes certain mental health professionals they follow have failed to own up to. One of my main criticisms of their interventions with children is that the cruelty and shame that is involved. We can observe this same attempt to shame me. The thing is, I’m not a helpless child and have the support of the scientific mental health community who, on the contrary, has commended me for being open and honest about my past mistakes.

Apparently, what they are attempting to imply is that because I made mistakes regarding my long past endorsement of TFT which I fully owned up to and repudiated, that I cannot have any further credibility, ever again.  Well, a number of prominent mental health professionals in the scientific community strongly disagree and have given me highly favorable endorsements and trust me enough to co-author papers with me. Of course, part of the smear campaign against me are anonymous posters telling ridiculous and absurd lies about how I got those endorsements. They would not dare put that on a WordPress blog, though because that would be a clear TOS violation so they only post that kind of smut anonymously on unmoderated internet newsgroups.

It seems that the only people who are trying to smear me for my past mistakes are people who are, themselves, practicing or otherwise supporting questionable interventions that have no more peer reviewed randomized controlled trials to support their efficacy than TFT does. It’s a bit like a drunk staggering over to his computer and claiming that someone who has been clean and sober for 6+ years is an alcoholic.

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