Archive for the ‘Journal of Clinical Psychology’ Category

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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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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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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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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