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.