On the Couch:
Feeling a little anxious? Maybe Jackie Chan can help

National Post

When it comes to quack therapies for healing the psyche, there is no shortage. In Tana Dineen's newly revised Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry Is Doing to People, Dineen takes aim at what many skeptics consider to be yet another form of psychotherapeutic snake oil. Thought field therapy (TFT) was introduced in the mid-1990s as an immediate and permanent cure for emotional suffering -- without even having to talk about your troubles. First, according to Dineen, TFT patients think of a distressing event. Then they tap themselves five times with two fingers, just above the bridge of the nose. Next, they tap five times under either eye, then five times below the collarbone. If they do not feel significantly less stressed, clients are to "karate chop" one hand with the other while reciting, "I accept myself, even though I still have this anxiety." Finally, says Dineen, the TFT client is to spend a while tapping the back of their hand with their eyes open, then closed, while humming a tune -- any tune -- and counting to five. According to a paid magazine ad for the newly released Tapping the Healer Within: Using Thought Field Technology to Instantly Conquer Your Fears, Anxieties, and Emotional Distress, by TFT founder Roger Callahan, TFT combines principles of Western and Eastern healing methods, using "energy points" in the body to release emotional distress, including phobias and addictions. While Callahan claims that "thousands" have been healed with TFT, and positive testimonials abound, its critics claim that it lacks even basic empirical support and is more pseudoscience, or "junk therapy," than a valid treatment. Skeptical portrayals of TFT and energy medicine can be found at www.skepdic.com, www.quackwatch.com, Skeptical Inquirer magazine (July, 2000) and Dineen's own Web site, tanadineen.com. "And the public continues to believe," writes Dineen, "and, more importantly, to buy TFT, all the while assuming that [therapists] are experts, setting them apart as authorities to be trusted and obeyed."

Carol Milstone, PhD
National Post

See also:'Thought field' is out in left field