Bad Ads: Psychology of Vision and Light Healing Therapy

I see a lot of flyers around Kitsilano and Vancouver for a lot of bullshit, so there’s no shortage of Bad Ads to talk about.  I’ll try to make it a weekly thing.  Anyways, have a look at this one:

lightTherapy

Given that I know a thing or two about the psychology of vision, my BS detector went off when I saw it being used among words like “divine” and “healing”.  I checked out the “Psychology of Vision” website first.

It’s pretty slick looking: lots of pictures of starry skies and smiling people and stuff that sounds like “Psychology of Vision is both a healing model and a global community of like-minded people teaching and practising that model”.  The also have several mentions of their seminars and products, including online courses for 45 pounds each.  I suppose there’s no harm in making money while helping people heal with your magical model, eh?

Nowhere on the site was there anything to do with what I, or any other actual psychologist, would understand as the psychology of vision.  Instead, they talk about how your life will be improved, how the community is loving, and how it’s based on the principles of Relationships, Leadership and Spirituality.  I don’t know about you, but that sounds kind of cultish to me!

The creators of POV are Chuck and Lency Spezzano.  I quote from Chuck’s bio: “Chuck shares wisdom and insight into the mysteries of the mind using psychological/spiritual language and metaphor. He has authored over 20 books and card decks that have been published in numerous languages worldwide”.  Yeah, card decks – the website sells them, and actually has a link to a 3 card tarot reading (though they obscure that under the guise of using “synchronicity” to “reveal deep insights”).  Anyways, “Chuck has a B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from Duquesne University followed by a Masters in Sociology and a Ph.D. in Counselling Psychology from the United States International University.”  Duquesne is a private, Catholic institution in Pittsburgh, and USIU is actually in Africa – neither is particularly well known for their psychology programs, or indeed rigorous adherence to the scientific method.  Lency’s bio is even better: “Lency is pioneering Psychology of Vision’s mystical path through her joining method, which utilizes the feminine, direct access to divine love, resulting in the release of emotional pain from the body/mind and the experience of miracles of forgiveness and grace.” That’s a masterful load of crap if I’ve ever read one.

The point is, neither of these people have anything whatsoever to do with the actual psychology of vision, and the whole website appears to be designed to funnel money into the Spezzano’s bank accounts using cleverly dressed up tarot cards and crappy seminars.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was a touch of pyramid scheme to the whole deal, given that they train people to be trainers (the seminar in Vancouver is being put on by some local named Kiara Fine) and harp on about community and leadership.  When the trappings of real science and research are appropriated for this kind of purpose, it further obscures to the public what science is actually about and also bilks people out of their money- and that really riles me.

Kiara also adds a doozy of her own: light healing therapy.  It sounds like yet another version of “this method/machine will change something, magically, in your brain and make you better, no matter what the problem is” – supposedly rewiring your nervous system so that you can “experience your connection to the Divine”.  Sure, there’s ways to rewire synapses in the brain – but it takes a long time, and light isn’t going to be the agent that does it.

The final nail in the coffin?  The link at the bottom to the West Coast Reiki Centre.  Kiara is a member of that group, and according to her bio, “has studied extensively” with masters of theraputic touch, craniosacral therapy, the trager method, and is an inductee of “reiki I and II”.  That is a very large amount of total bullshit that has been debunked repeatedly, and a good reason to toss these flyers in the garbage wherever you see them.

EDIT: Is it just me, or do some of the comments seem like sock puppets?

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35 responses to “Bad Ads: Psychology of Vision and Light Healing Therapy

  1. ‘Creates a new pattern to re-wire your central nervous system’… Although the poster claims to use some sort of magic and/or light bulb array to cause this, it really does sort of sound like they’re replacing who you are with a different, albeit more spiritual, person.

    Has sort of a creepy brainwash-esque vibe to it. I think if I had any belief that it would work I’d be even more concerned about this than I already am.

    On another note, it refers to ‘leadership’, a common advertising buzzword these days. It appeals to our pride, and our desire for power – you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t either think of themself as a leader, or else a leader waiting to blossom. I’m instantly skeptical of anything that uses that word, so maybe that’s just rubbing off a bit here.

  2. Pingback: A Conversation re: POV « Vancouver Mind Factory

  3. Hey Rob, I agree, that brochure does sound like a very bad ad. Even a psychology of vision student like myself think so too! haahahahaah

    Well, I guess when you have really met Chuck and Lency and really attended their workshop and really understand their psychology of vision model, you will have a sense of why the brochure seems a little bit like a bad ad.. hahahahaa..

    I dun think it is possible to know them and the POV model through a few mere words:) And if I tried to put down what i know about Chuck and Lency Spezzano and POV model in a one page brochure, I guess even a writer like me would at best be able to come up with a ‘ bad ad’…

    Psychologists usually like to get to the root of things.. in that case, my suggestion is that you do attend one of their workshops and then you can make a fairer comment about whether all the talk about creating a better nervous system and leadership are BS:)

    In my experience of POV, Chuck and Lency are very precious friends and teachers who have really made huge changes and impacts to my life and psychology. I am a much happier human being and a much better parent and daughter because of them:) Unlike cults, POV is empowering to an individual I find that in understanding the model, I get a better understanding of my life and why the challenges occur and how to solve them.. (See, I tried but still end up sounding like the brochure.. hahaha)

    I can’t comment on the Light Healing Therapy part cos POV workshops that I attended does not involve that.

    Love
    Angel

  4. I agree with Angel. I have healed layers of pain in my life due to very loving friends and workshops from Psychology of Vision. It is a path of spirituality that has put me on my own spiritual path of living in the present and owning my patterns and choices…. like all other forms of healing it is not for everyone! But I have seen hundreds benefit and have met many beautiful people over the past 11 years! May you find peace and love in the world! Love, Kendra

  5. Mary Otto-Chang

    One who is intelligent only judges when one has rigorous knowledge and information. Of course you would know Chuck and Lency and you would have read their work and attended their workshops to voice such an opinion.

    Your anger at the many snake oil dealers in the name of Truth is misdirected however in this case so your generalized anger should only be general, not targeted at people you know nothing about. I know Chuck and Lency, and have for 15 years, worked with them, and I have nothing but good things to say about them. They are not cheap, neither are cardio surgeons nor race car drivers and their workshops are good value and not all are expensive either. They often offer courses in modest retreats for moderate prices. One of their foundational references is the (real) Course in Miracles. They are not cultish at all.

    Respectfully,
    Mary

  6. True psychology is about the study of the soul not statistics and Carl Jung knew this very well. Hence why he invested so much of his time studying consciousness. Even Plato knew the truth.

    “The cure of the part should not be attempted without treatment of the whole. No attempt should be made to cure the body without the soul. Let no one persuade you to cure the head until he has first given you his soul to be cured, for this is the great error of our day, that physicians first separate the soul from the body.” Plato

    New Science and New Biology backs up and supports healing psychology and its many methods that can also be found in the Christ and Buddha teachings.

    Rob, experience really counts. Reiki is used in orthodox medicine in many facilities, do you honestly think that doctors and nurses would train it if didn’t work?

    Become a healer Rob then you know from the benefit of your experience of that which is real.

  7. I learned about Psychology of Vision (POV) this morning as I was searching for children’s books illustrated by Alison Jay.

    She illustrated a book and deck of cards by Chuck Spezzano’s in 1996 titled The Enlightenment Pack: Identify Your Personal Goals, Improve Your Life, Your Work, Your Relationships. Out of print, it now sells for more than $100. I began collecting these types of cards recently, and find them both interesting and helpful, but typically find them in the $2 – $3 range in thrift stores.

    Due to the cost of the cards, I decided to learn more about Spezzano’s background and teachings by broadening my search on the in the internet, in the hopes of finding critiques, not just testimonials.

    I read your critique but found it greatly lacking because your comments were limited to your brief review of Spezzano’s website. And you used the “C” word, “cultish”, without substantiating your opinion.

    As an advocate on behalf of adults with disbilities, I’ve spent a lot of time learning about best treatments and practices that have been validated by scientific study. I have been both helped and harmed by these treatments. The same can be said for most self-help methods.

    I have no opinion on Chuck Spezzano’s work, but am encouraged to investigate further after visiting his two websites, watching one of his videos, and reading comments left in response to your post on this blog.

    I agree with those who commented here that you really need to take the additional step of learning about Spezzano’s self-help methods before you critique them.

    I also am put off by your labeling of those who do not agree with your poor critique as “puppets”. I could say the same thing about you. Based on my personal experiences, I can honestly say that medical and psychological treatments continue to this day to be more art than science.

  8. The comments to this post make me sad. It’s just a sequence of nonsense strung together.

    A) The state of medicine in Ancient Greece was crap. Quoting Plato about medicine is complete nonsense, and is on par with quoting Aristotle to back up Quantum Mechanics: you would have to have a highly defective brain to do so.

    And before anyone says anything stupid about ‘having to study Plato indepth before forming an opinion’: I have.

    B) There is *nothing* that anyone can do in a workshop to ‘rewire your nervous system’ (short of whipping out a knife and going to work…). *Nothing*. To think otherwise is to be grotesquely ignorant of human biology. If you believe otherwise, then you are a danger to yourself and to anyone who relies upon you for medical advice.

    C) True psychology is about *the brain*. The things that are about ‘the soul’ are called “fairy tales”, or pseudoscience crap designed to separate you from your money.

    D) Neither “new science” nor “New psychology” back up anything you’re saying, unless these are labels for ‘the stuff previously known as bullshit’.

    E) There are no Christ teachings. To believe otherwise is to be ignorant of the construction of the bible.

    F) Paralleling ‘self-help’ crap with actual medical interventions is cheap and dirty. It’s like there’s no real science behind medicine at all, and it’s all a crap-shoot. This is just ridiculously ignorant.

    G) Spezzano’s methods are bullshit, plain and simple. If you can’t see that, then there’s a proverb to the rescue: a fool and their money are soon parted.

    Enjoy the delusion, hope it doesn’t cost you too much in the way of health, money and time. But it probably will.

  9. Lucas J.W. Johnson

    Rob,

    It’s hard to argue against people claiming personal experience. The worst thing you can do is pass it off as stupid responses or puppetry — I certainly don’t agree with them, but they do make a couple good points about issues you just pass off as wrong without giving the evidence. I don’t recommend starting a huge argument, but maybe give them one response where you link to all the evidence you need. You have the benefit of science on your side, so use it, rather than resorting to the same unsubstantiated claims that they do.

    Like commenter Brian, who specifically addresses some of the arguments. Find your evidence and use it, because that’s how science works — and science *works*. You won’t convince them by calling them puppets. But yours is an argument that needs making. 🙂

  10. Lucas, I have the advantage of having specific arguments to respond to. Because Rob is dealing with the initial stuff, he doesn’t have arguments to respond to.

    I’ve checked out the PoV website too, and it’s all just meaningless babble. There’s no specific claims, there’s nothing that can be compared to a modern psychological/neuroscientific understanding of the brain/mind on those sites.

    That absence is what Rob is responding to.

    The ‘sock puppets’ statement is a specific reference to an internet practice whereby one uses multiple accounts to present the same opinion but with the illusion of consensus. It’s not a reference to people being mindless zombies under the influence of the PoV people.

    And I suspect, though I’m sure Rob will correct me, that Rob isn’t aiming to convince the morons that they’re wrong. If rational argument were a viable tool, then they wouldn’t be convinced of the many stupid things that I had to respond to.

    • Lucas J.W. Johnson

      Brian — Fair enough, on all points (especially the last one). There could, perhaps, have been more links to articles that specifically support Rob’s claims (the “very large amount of total bullshit that has been debunked repeatedly”, “the actual psychology of vision”, etc) to preempt potential counterarguments (and to give a fuller explanatory picture to psychology plebs like me). Rob’s a smart enough guy, I feel I can push him to do even better.

  11. I regret my statement “medical and psychological treatments continue to this day to be more art than science.”

    What I should have said is that with all the knowledge we have today, there is still so much that we do not understand. And, as a result, people are both helped and harmed by science. The same is true of religion and self-help movements.

    I don’t know if people are benefitting from what Spezzano is teaching, nor do those of you who have not taken the time to familiarize yourself with what he is teaching. I received The Enlightenment Pack, a book and deck of cards that Spezzano wrote in the mid-90’s, and am going to take the time to begin reviewing it this weekend.

    • Again, your comment “And, as a result, people are both helped and harmed by science. The same is true of religion and self-help movements” is so broad it implies some sort of equality to science and nonsense.

      Painting with such broad strokes is ludicrous. This is the Sweeping Generalisation Fallacy, a basic failure of reasoning.

      Check the success of science and modern medicine: what is your life expectancy in modern society? What was the life expectancy of your great-great-grandparents?

      What is the ‘harm’ that science has committed, in and of itself? What harms did science motivate (as opposed to being used as a tool by someone already motivated)?

      Compare that to the success/failure of religion and self-help: zip.

      Religion is nonsense and lies packaged in guilt and control. Self-help is the illegitimate step-child of psychology, a bunch of half-understood notions dumbed down and sold with no interest in actually *understanding* people.

      Equating the former with the latter is either ignorance, or intentional obfuscation.

      That we do not understand many things: that’s a given. That doesn’t mean that we don’t understand *anything*.

      The final paragraph is particularly telling: “I don’t know if people are benefitting from what Spezzano is teaching”.

      Do you know how many people are benefiting from sugar pills as medicine? Zip. Zero. Nada.

      Yet some people who take sugar pills get better. The same principle is at play with Spezzano: just because people ‘get better’ at the same time as they did something else does *not* mean that the ‘something else’ caused them to get better.

      $1000 (Canadian) on the table by me says that Spezzano has not done any clinical trials, that he has not kept accurate figures of people who have and have not gotten better, nor has he done *any* comparative studies of how many people get better using his method vs any other method.

      Why?

      Because he doesn’t care. He’s making money from people who don’t know any better. Scum like him should be doing time for fraud, not being enabled.

  12. Brian, it’s not my intention to defend Spezzano specifically, because, I, like you, am not yet familiar with the concepts he is teaching or if they have value. Yes, we have all benefitted greatly from science, but religion and self-help have their place too in serving the greater good.

    For me, the typical consumer, and many others, I am primarily concerned with the benefits of science, religion, and self-help. But in my mind, they are only useful if they are accessible and properly utililized.

    Many years ago, my husband was diagnosised with a condition called atrial fibrillation. It’s an intermittent condition, but during an episode which can last for weeks, it’s hard for him to do many of this daily tasks, and a blood clot can form and cause a stroke or pulmonary embolism. As a result, he has to take medications that can stop his heart or cause him to bleed out. For this reason, one of his medications can only be initiated in a hospital setting where he is both monitored and has immediate access to a crash cart, and he has to take the medication every 12 hours at the prescribed doseage, which is doeable but an ongoing challenge. The other medication he takes “thins his blood” and has it’s problems too because what he eats and drinks also affects how well his blood clots if he accidentially injures himself, and it’s just not reasonably possible to have blood work done every day to adjust the dosage.

    My husband, who is a hopeful person – (one of the benefits of having faith in God) – has believed from the time he was diagnosed that there is probably a nutritional approach to reducing or eliminating his episodes of atrial fibrilation. In the meantime, he continues to actively partner with his cardiologist by keeping up with the research, asking questions, and complying with his treatment.

    But he does not limit himself only to the benefits of scientific study. He also pays attention to experiential knowledge.

    He networks with others who have an interest in atrial fibrillation, primarily on the internet and by phone, in search of a more effective treatment.

    He found one – (one of the benefits of self-help). It’s magnesium. And yes, it has been studied and found to be helpful, but because it’s not a patentable treatment, the pharmacuetical industry understandably has no incentive to spend the money to step it through the approval process for the purpose of marketing it as a treatment.

    And by the way, I’m not advocating here that anyone take magnesium to treat atrial fibrillation. My husband has gone through a huge learning curve to determine how, when, and with what other nutrients he has to take it to minimize risks and side effects and to maximize benefits.

    Here’s a second example. When my boss was diagnosed with cancer, and it became clear that some of the clinic staff who were providing her chemotherapy were incompetent, I immediately got on the phone, began contacting other cancer patients, and within one hour identified a cancer center 30 miles to the south of us that provided her excellent, science-based care. Oh, and as a side note, you might have asked, how did she know she was receiving incompetent care? Because she had already read a lot of books – (another form of self-help) – on cancer treatments and the experiences of cancer patients.

    Later, when the side-effects from the chemotherapy became so severe she felt she had no choice but to discontinue her treatment, it was a fellow cancer patient that she’d connected with through a self-help forum on the internet, not a health-care professional, that told her what language to use to push through. It worked. Again, another benefit of self-help.

    Here’s an example that relates even more closely to our discussion.

    In the 1930’s, a psychiatrist in the Chicago area rejected many of Freud’s theories and developed a self-help method, similar to what we refer to today as cognitive behavioral therapy, to help his institutionalized patients who had one or more mental illnesses.

    The self-help methods he taught to his hospitalized patients were so helpful, many of his patients were able to return home and begin to resume their lives. In an effort to support their ongoing recovery, he continued to teach them his self-help methods on an out-patient basis.

    Word of his success began to spread. People who were not his patients began to learn and ultilize his self-help methods. They benefitted.

    Then patients began moving from other areas of the country to the Chicago area to learn and utilitize his self-help methods. They too benefitted.

    At that point, the medical association told him that if he continued to teach his self-help methods they would take away his license to practice medicine.

    As a husband and father of two daughters, he felt he had no choice but to stop teaching his self-help methods.

    But by that time, his self-help methods had been so well documented, his patients formed a non-profit organization to continue teaching his self-help methods. Those who had moved to the Chicago area from other areas of the country returned home and began teaching the self-help methods in their communities.

    His self-help methods, more than 70 years later, continue to be taught in peer-to-peer group settings today around the world through Recovery International, and his self-help methods are now endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association. Cost? Purchase of a $20 book and participation in a weekly group, locally or by phone, for a small donation, which probably averages $3. A donation is not required, nor is formal membership in the local group or the international organization.

    Self-help has it’s problems too. I could give you examples of how self-help efforts have and can cause harm. But I’m willing to bet Brian that you also recognize that science has it’s problems and sometimes causes harm too.

    As a person who struggles daily with the challenges of having disabilities and chronic medical conditions, I embrace the best of science, religion, and self-help. If it works, I use it, if it doesn’t, I don’t.

    If science did not provide you all the answers you needed to maintain a good quality of life, would you say, “Well, I’ll just have to wait until science comes up with the answers”, or would you take a risk and look elsewhere too?

  13. “who is a hopeful person – (one of the benefits of having faith in God)”

    This is a common misconception of religious people: ‘faith in god’ has nothing to do with being hopeful. People who are religious often attribute their hopefulness to their belief in god, but it’s in error.

    It’s entirely possible to be hopeful *and* rational, as evidenced by many athiests (including myself).

    “He also pays attention to experiential knowledge.”

    Here’s where the semantic nonsense starts. Here’s where you start the pattern of playing with words in some attempt to do [something]. I don’t know what exactly your goal is, but using pseudo-acadamic phrases to dress up the reality of the situation is disingenuous, at best.

    “He also pays attention to the experience of other people” is what you’re saying, which equates to “he also pays attention to anecdotes”.

    “And yes, it has been studied and found to be helpful, but because it’s not a patentable treatment, the pharmacuetical industry understandably has no incentive to spend the money to step it through the approval process for the purpose of marketing it as a treatment.”

    Wow.

    Just… Wow…

    There is so much nonsense in that one paragraph: cite your sources.

    A) go to a healthfood store (or any pharmacy). Check out all the vitamin supplements on the shelves. They are not patentable, yet “the pharmacuetical industry” (DUN Dun dun…) are still selling them. Those evil bastards. This is known as “conspiracy crap” to those who aren’t conspiracy nuts.

    B) “As a treatment” it’s less effective than the other things on the market. I’m going to make the assumption that you’re not *merely* listening to other folk blather on about their personal stories (which demonstrate neither the effectiveness of ‘alternative treatments’ nor the failure of ‘science’). Have you bothered to go to pubmed (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/)? And do a search for all these things you claim aren’t being checked?

    There are 219 hits for the search “atrial fibrillation magnesium” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=pubmed&cmd=DetailsSearch&term=atrial+fibrillation+magnesium). A meta-analysis of the data shows that *intravenous* use of magnesium is “less significant than other calcium antagonists or amiodarone” (http://heart.bmj.com/content/93/11/1433.long you’ll need some sort of university login to read anything more than the abstract).

    Why does the ‘intravenous’ matter? Because taking it orally will have a *lesser* effect than taking it intravenously. And it’s *already* less effective than the stuff that’s already in use.

    C) Any medical intervention can be patented. “The pharmacuetical industry” (DUN Dun dun…) would just throw something else into the mix with the magnesium and patent that particular combination, even if the addition was iron, or just sugar. Given that YOU WOULD BUY IT there’s clearly a market for uninformed people throwing away their money, thus it’s in their interest to ‘push it through the approval process’.

    “And by the way, I’m not advocating here that anyone take magnesium to treat atrial fibrillation”

    Oh.

    So it doesn’t work?

    Or it does, but you wouldn’t recommend this ‘working treatment’ to other people?

    How does that work in your head? That’s a blatent contradiction.

    “self-help”

    You abuse this term a lot. This is known as the Fallacy of Moving the Goal Posts. “Self-help” has a very specific meaning in the vernacular, reffering to a certain bookshelf in any particular bookstore. This is the nonsense that is complete bullshit, although it may inadvertently contain the occasional nugget of truth.

    You have decided to redefine this term to mean “doing stuff myself”. I would agree that there is merit to ‘doing stuff yourself’, but not to ‘self-help’, because they don’t mean the same thing.

    However, if you are serious about ‘doing stuff yourself’, that would require a medical degree. Or, at the least, listening to people with medical degrees.

    Don’t get me wrong: I’ve dealt with incompetent medical staff too. I’ve gone for blood tests (a screening for STIs) and they sent me to a lab to test for anything but STIs, or I’ve asked for screening for a particular genetic marker (I’m Irish so I’m at greater risk, genetically, for haemochromotosis than others), and they sent me to check my Iron levels (which tests if I’m suffering from it).

    Yes: some medical staff are crap. I’d never dispute that.

    But my source for knowledge about medical stuff isn’t ‘people I know’ (aside from the MD that I know). It’s actual *medical* literature. Did I mention pubmed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/) already?

    “that told her what language to use to push through”

    This is so vague as to be meaningless. What are you talking about?

    “a psychiatrist in the Chicago area”

    Whose name was…? How do I verify this without the name?

    This whole story sounds incredibly far-fetched, given how unregulated the medical industry was at this time. This particular era that you’re referring to was a heyday of snake oil and other garbage. Hell, there were naturopathic hospitals all over the US at this time.

    If you are referring to Abraham Low (and I think that you are), then you’re mistaken about the effectiveness of this particular treatment:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recovery_International#Effectiveness (use the wiki to check the references, don’t try to claim that I’m merely relying on the wiki: it’s *sources* are what’s important)

    If you are referring to Abraham Low, then you’re also mistaken about him stopping teaching under threat from “the medical establishment” (DUN Dun dun…), because he never stopped. Yet more conspiracy crap.

    “his self-help methods are now endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association.”

    Really? Who told you that? Have you *checked* that?

    If I had a name to cross-reference, I could do a search on the APA’s website, and find out, but you haven’t provided me with those details. (Abraham Low doesn’t show up in a search on their page)

    “Self-help has it’s problems too. I could give you examples of how self-help efforts have and can cause harm. But I’m willing to bet Brian that you also recognize that science has it’s problems and sometimes causes harm too.”

    This would be where you, yet again, equate something that is predominately crap with something that is predominately useful and non-harmful.

    Do you understand that they are not equivalent?

    Do you understand that science is invested in *testing*?

    Do you understand that “self-help” is not?

    Do you understand that “asking your friends” doesn’t count as ‘testing’ or ‘investigating’?

    Do you understand that there is a financial incentive for every new batch of science graduates (that’s *every* year) to test, attack and overturn the science of the past?

    Do you understand that this means there is no monolithic “medical establishment” or “pharmaceutial industry” or “science”, and that to speak of them as such belies ignorance?

    From your responses here, an honest answer from you would be “no” to all the above questions.

    (Hint: wanting to change the wording here, given how basically simple I’ve made it, should be a big red-flag to you. Given that this *is* how things are, disagreeing with the phrasing means that your answer is ‘no’.

    Now I get that that means you’re going to paint me as some idiot elitist, who has covered his ears and doesn’t want to hear anything to the contrary because I’m ‘part of the conspiracy’: that should also be a red flag to you.

    To pretend for a moment that I am ‘part of the conspiracy’, here’s how you demonstrate that I’m wrong (see the word ‘demonstrate’? It’s an important word. It doesn’t mean “just say that I’m wrong”, it means ‘to show’):

    Demonstrate that science *isn’t* interested in testing.

    Demonstrate that ‘self-help’ (either or both definitions) *is* interested in testing.

    Understand that ‘testing’ doesn’t mean that “I used it and I got better” or “I know 10 people who used it and they all got better”. ‘Testing’ means a standardised randomly controlled double-blind test, or something similar. I’m open to a variety of standardised tests, but “my friend says it works” isn’t a test.

    Demonstrate that there *isn’t* a financial incentive for new graduates to overturn established science.

    Demonstrate that new grads *don’t attempt* to overturn established science.

    Demonstrate that any of those industries are, world-wide, monolithic.

    Those would be acceptable counters to my claims, and would indicate that you understand what I’m talking about. “You’re just wrong” would indicate that you don’t understand what I’m talking about. Clear? )

    “If it works, I use it, if it doesn’t, I don’t.”

    Yuh huh.

    And what do you mean by “it works”? Given that religion doesn’t ‘work’ for any meaningful definition of ‘works’, I don’t think that you know what you’re talking about.

    “If science did not provide you all the answers you needed to maintain a good quality of life”

    That is a vague and wooly sentence. Science doesn’t tell me who loves me, or who I love, nor does it help me find a partner. Science doesn’t tell me what TV shows I enjoy, nor what kind of foods I prefer. These all feed into ‘a good quality of life’.

    Science has reduced my risk of polio and a large variety of diseases to zero. A question from my previous post which you deigned not to answer (of course) is that my life expectency is roughly triple that of my ancestors living in the early/mid 1800s.

    People get sick. It happens. It sucks. Bitching about ‘science’ not being able to provide you a good quality of life while your body falls apart is just nonsense. It is simply not possible to maintain a good quality of life in all circumstances, and to demand otherwise is childish and unrealistic.

    This is not to say that science should not keep looking into ways to improve things, but there will always be people who are beyond the help of current science. Because of the continuing evolution of illnesses, and the continued extension of our lives, there will always be new ways for us to die and fall apart. Science, having pushed us clear of the old ways, will always be behind the curve of the new.

    To make your question more specific: if I find myself in the thrall of a new, otherwise undiscovered illness, that completely screws up my quality of life, will I wait for science to find the answer?

    Yes. Because nothing else works, it’s the only option on the table.

    • I think wanting to be right is your ego getting in the way. Truth cannot be taught . It is known or unknown. I can understand that which I wish to understand by my own curiosity ,effort and research. You can talk till you turn blue and to who’s benefit?Ours or your ? Peace

  14. Pingback: POV Redux « Vancouver Mind Factory

  15. Yes, I was referring to Abraham Low, M.D. He created the self-help methods used to improve mental health through community based groups throughout the world.

    I’m hesitant to encourage individuals who have atrial fibrillation to self-treat with magnesium because I’m not a doctor, nor is my husband, and I don’t know of any doctors who are treating their patients with magnesium so I wouldn’t know who to refer them to. And yes, so far, my husband is being helped by taking magnesium orally as he continues to utilitize all treatments that his cardiologist has suggested. I have not read the studies. My husband has read some of them.

    I guess my question to you is, why do you think doctors aren’t treating patients who have atrial fibrillation with magnesium? If it’s been researched and it’s effective, why not? If you know of a doctor who is using magnesium on a regular basis to treat patients with atrial fibrillation, I’d appreciate having that doctor’s name and the city he or she practices in.

    Health-related, self-help groups take many forms. The ones I work with the most provide information – (based on the most up-to-date research) – support, referrals (to medical and other healthcare providers), education (in the form of lectures, workshops, and conferences by presenters who are typically healthcare providers or researchers) and sometimes advocacy, if needed, in a peer-to-peer setting. In my opinion, self-help groups play an important role in patient education.

    Brian, my sense about you is that if I took the time to answer all of your questions, not only would you not be satisfied, you’d just move onto hitting me with twenty more questions.

    To bring this conversation back to where it started. I think it was unfair of Teszka to criticize the Psychology of Vision without learning more about it. And it really irritated me when he made the statement in response to some of the comments: “Is it just me, or do some of the comments seem like sock puppets?”

    I believe both religion and self-help can benefit people because I personally have benefitted.

  16. Brian, it appears that this topic is winding down. I just want to make a few more clarifying comments in response to your last post.

    I agree, anyone can choose to be hopeful.

    I looked up the definitions of “experiential knowledge”. My use of the term was appropriate. Here’s a link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experiential_knowledge

    In regards to nutritional supplements, yes, I am aware that pharmaceutical companies them, but they are not allowed to make any claims as to the supplements benefits in their labeling without FDA approval. Nor will doctors prescribe nutritional supplements for treatments not appreoved by the FDA.

    I know of no doctors who are prescribing daily intake of magnesium to treat atrial fibrillation, but as you pointed out, its use is being studied.

    In regards to patents, if a pharmaceutical company patented magnesium by combining it with another substance such as “sugar” or “iron” as you stated, most consumers would not buy it because it would be cheaper for them to buy magnesium off the shelf at their local health food store, so I don’t see the financial incentive in that.

    As to magnesium as a treatment for atrial fibrillation, my husband and I don’t yet know if taking it daily are helping yet, because epidodes are intermittent. It’s working for him so far, but that’s all we know.

    After looking up a number of differing definitions of the term “self-help”, this one, found on dictionary.com, most closely represents how I would define it: “the acquiring of information or the solving of one’s problems, esp. those of a psychological nature, without the direct supervision of professionals or experts, as by independent reading or by joining or forming lay groups that are devoted to one’s interests or goals.”

    The intensity of the side effects of chemotherapy vary greatly from person to person. Some people experience mild side effects, others severe, most somewhere in between. My boss was one of the unlucky ones who experienced severe side effects. After four or so rounds of chemotherapy, she didn’t feel able to continue the treatment. Family, friends, and her doctor all gave her reasons to continue. It was not until she reached out to a fellow cancer patient that she’d met on an online discussion forum for cancer patients that she got the help she needed. The fellow cancer patient told her that immediately following each infusion, she told herself that this was the last round of chemotherapy that she would do, and adhered to that stance until just before it was time to drive to the clinic for her next infusion. It worked. My boss completed all rounds of her chemotherapy. I offered this as an example of how my boss benefitted from peer-to-peer self-help.

    Brian, I clicked on your link ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recovery_International#Effectiveness ) and could find now statements that the self-help methods taught by Abraham Low, M.D. are ineffective. I’m going to assume that you took some statements out of context, but I couldn’t find them.

    I cannot find the information I read seven or so years ago that Dr. Low was forced to change his relationship with Recovery, Inc. due to pressures from the medical community, but there is a reference to something happening in 1941, four years after he founded Recovery, Inc. at this link under the subheading “History” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recovery_International “Following backlash from the medical community to these efforts, Low disbanded the group in 1941. His patients, however, asked to be trained to teach Recovery’s methods to others and in 1942 Low began to teach members to lead groups in their homes.”

    In 2000, Recovery, Inc. received the Arnold L. Van Ameringen Award in Psychiatric Rehabilitation. Unfortunately, there’s no reference to it on the Recovery International’s new website. And the American Psychiatric Association only lists recipients of the award through 1993 on their website. I did find a few references to Recovery, Inc. recieving the award on other unrelated websites, but that was it. Here’s the link to the APA webpage that lists recipients of their awards http://www.psych.org/Departments/EDU/Library/awards.aspx

    There have been numerous studies evaluating the benefits of self-help groups, but I suspect you already know that. You have demonstrated repeatedly that you know how to conduct a search on the internet.

    A good overview of the research that I read shortly after its publication by Sage Publications in 1997 is presented in the book, Self-Help and Support Groups: A Handbook for Practioners by Linda Farris Kurtz http://www.sagepub.com/booksProdDesc.nav?prodId=Book6058&

  17. Mary Otto-Chang

    Hello Again

    Please stop bashing people you know NOTHING about… Judgement from some ad or a website?¿?¿¿

    HOW DUMB

    Sorry, but you know nothing about Chuck and Lencys work AT ALL unless you have met them and experienced their mastery of a unique blend of western and Eastern thought.

    Thank you.

  18. I have read these comments with great interest. It seems to me that this is a clash of ways of thinking about proof. There is an inner conviction someone can feel based on individual experience — a prayer that resulted in an answer, a healing — but these experiences are individual and subjective. On the other hand there is science — science is a language that people can communicate in no matter what their religion or culture is. That is so great about science. I am a scientist. Science provides us with methods that we can use to test assumptions.

    If a new (age?) method of healing appears on the horizon, science provides us with the means to rise above our own individual subjective experiences. It allows us to test the assumptions, to compare effects of treatments (including placebo groups, of course), based on a scientific theory with other testable assumptions. And no — ‘Go and see for yourself’ is not a scientific method.

    So far, I have not found any link between this Psychology of Vision method(s) and the body of knowledge science accumulated. POV seems to be separate from scientific theory or method. ‘It works’ is by no means a viable proof, since individual experiences would have to be collected and evaluated to be considered evidence.

    Scientists ask for proof of the kind that is not subjective – data that we can evaluate according to the standards that our colleagues all over the world agree on, without immersing ourselves in the thing that has to be looked at with detachment and a free mind.

  19. Thanks for the comment. One of my friends has been attending this bullshit seminars. I didn’t think twice about it until I see her putting it up in her faceook advertising the event for them.

    It really sounds like a whole of bullshit. I have no idea why people don’t see the obvious. But anyway, it saved me a lot of time of explaining if I could just link this article as a response. Hope she gets it and put her money back safely into her purse.

  20. my wife returns from these workshops and all hell breaks loose and my daughter and me have to accept it. I have found scripts that she has been writing about me for the last 8 years so I am the main subject matter. She convinced me once to see one of thes trainers for a one to one . I went with an open mind. He sat there ,we talked like you would to a friend over a couple of cups of tea .He seemed a bit distanced and vague a lot of the time but did say that my wife was right about most things we were having problems with and I should do as she wished ? She ‘s right you’re wrong kinda thing . They are her “FRIENDS” not mine by the way. COST£75..rubbish …I have had counselling before and found it helpful ,these professional counsellers had accreditted qualifications {not accreditted by an individual}..You ‘d be hard pushed to find a fully qualified psychologist /psychotherapist in the extended P.O.V “FAMILY” my wife.soon to be ex -wife {I don’t fit the design for life } chose P.O.V over me when I gave her an ultimatum .We have children , and I am really concerned about my youngest 13 yrs old as they will want to get involved to heal her bereivment and loss .Hook em while they’re young any advice on protecting her would be welcome ..She’s a happy little soul already

  21. I have a friend who has been conned into paying and attending these so-called “workshops” offered by POV. So far she’s payed over $1500.00 not including her travel costs.
    I’ve asked her what she is getting out of it and she can’t give me a clear answer. I’ve read the “homework” she does with the seminars and it’s pure B.S.
    This POV (LAW of PROCESS?) is SLICKLY PRESENTED, HIGH PRICED, NEW AGE “SNAKE OIL” garbage, nothing more.
    $295.00/2 day LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP. You pay upfront or can’t attend.
    My friend is wasting her money and time,what a shame.

  22. why is it that all these people that have gone to pov call themselves the true healers in our village? they don’t help anyone that isn’t in their “workshops” turn their back on individuals that are having problems,telling them there is only one of us here you,re just telling a story.and the mean people seem to be getting meaner.no one can ask any questions about methods and techniques to these pov’ers as they take it as an attack on them.they separate themselves from the rest of the village because they’re the ones that have the answers and the rest of us don’t get it.they do not practice healing behavior,the opposite of what is promised seems to be how EVERYONE that HAS to take these workshops ends up,mean,unhappy,having to always take more workshops. type in psychology of vision trainers manual 2011,this will show you why the participants behave the way they do, they have to, they don,t have control of their lives anymore,when you get to this stage ,chuck and lency own you, they cannot think objectively anymore.pov has all the warning signs and characteristics of pure cult,warning signs of destructive cults lists many problems that pov uses in their indoctrination and agenda, buyer beware, especially when you follow a leaders idea of enlightenment, bliss or whatever, there is one fact to know- there is no quick fix spezanno has been here for 23 years and no one is “healed” yet,and are still paying for their “healing” with a lot of the money meant for residential school survivors,these pov devotees spent all of their money on themselves.this has nothing to do with healing ,more like power and dominance

  23. I went to a Chuck Spezzano workshop years ago (1985). Total worthless crap. His phoney wife and his phoney methodology do nothing for anyone. It’s true that his Phd has no scientific method to it whatsoever, which is why what he is doing is “spiritual” (what ever that means) therefore virtually worthless because he talks in vague generalities, not random selection, control groups, etc. or something that can be proved to work. A large uninformed suggestible public just doesn’t know and he’s taking full advantage of it! Beware!

  24. here is the trainers manual 2011 for chuck spezanno’s psychology of vision , if all one has to look forward to about being “healed” by this unacredited unrecognised by health canada, pay as you go, and sign a waiver that that states it is your own fault if anything happens to you from chuck and his group of “trainers” and “advanced trainers” after all of this is to become a “trainer” .then why do people believe in this guy?? his “healing program” is proving to be more suitablebly named -psychology of division,because his devoutees want to seperate from everyone not in his program, even their own families,when there is an”us and them” behaviour happening to his “healers”,how can they call themselves healers??
    http://www.psychologyofvision.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Trainer_Manual_2011_English.pdf
    reading this manual helps one understand why the “trainers” behave the way they do,they have to put chuck spezanno before anything else in their lives . and they have to pay big money for this??!!

  25. for anyone interested in the workings of a cult,this site describes similarities in methods and techniques used in all cults ,none of them are original ,just different leaders with a different cause to make the participants believe in to become indoctrinated . chuck spezanno’s psychology of vision follows this same formula.
    http://lessonsinawareness.com/trainingcritique.aspx
    for those concerned about themselves or know of or have a loved one involved with a suspected high demand group, this link is helpful to start understanding what was done to you.
    http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org/Warning_signs_of_dysfunctional_cults.html
    check out the link dedicated to the deeksha givers,if you want to advance your “training” with P.O.V. you have to take this “course”

  26. Well – I’ve read this long exchange of messages with interest (not every word I must admit). I’m a therapist and I’ve visited the PoV website and read a book by one of the trainers. I don’t think Chuck and Lency’s psychology is BS. It may not be science, but – from what I’ve read – it has a lot in common with my psychotherapy training and what is called ‘depth psychology’. I’m not going to get involved in debating whether or not PoV is a cult – I’ve not attended any of their workshops – but I have to say – reading this exchange – I find the messages of those who support PoV much more pleasant to read than those of the skeptics. The PoVers sound like peaceful and harmonious human beings, whereas the critics sound aggressive and unhappy. I know which ones I’d rather hang out with….

    • “The PoVers sound like peaceful and harmonious human beings, whereas the critics sound aggressive and unhappy. I know which ones I’d rather hang out with….”

      This is tone trolling.

      I am unhappy that people are being scammed out of money, and that lives are being damaged by hucksters and people selling bullshit as therapy. I will aggressively push back against fraud and lies.

      I am *such* an asshole. How dare I give a crap about the people who are being scammed. I should *really* just play nice with the scammers, and not raise my voice against my betters.

      For fuck’s sake…

  27. OP here

    I should mention that I’ve posted two followups to this post: one where I talk to the Spezzano’s publisher https://robteszka.wordpress.com/2009/10/08/a-conversation-re-pov/ and one where I wrap up my thoughts on the matter https://robteszka.wordpress.com/2010/05/22/pov-redux/ .

    I’m glad that people are still finding this post three years on and find it a useful or interesting resource, but I’m less than enthused that these workshops still appear to be operating and charging $475 bucks for a 3-day conference.

  28. other peoples comments on the group – Psychology Of Vision.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/TurtleIslandNativeNetwork/conversations/topics/240

    Sunday, October 13, 2013
    This is about Behavior, not Belief
    Ultimately, criticism of Psychology of Vision and related businesses is not about their beliefs.

    They can believe what they want to, as long as their beliefs do not cause harm to themselves or others.

    That said, along the way as we research and critique POV, their beliefs are also going to be held up to scrutiny. Because as POV followers become more and more indoctrinated, their lives suffer.

    So what’s our issues with their behavior?

    Chuck and Lency Spezzano, along with their trainers, claim they are practicing a form of psychology. Yet they are not licensed to practice. They have no supervisor or oversight. They conduct unethical, traumatizing seminars and sessions using hypnosis and other manipulation techniques.

    Chuck and Lency Spezzano charge quite a bit of money for these seminars and sessions. Recruitment is heavy, the pressure is intense to take more seminars, ascend higher on their ladder, spend more money, devote more time.

    The system Chuck and Lency Spezzano has created never ends. Followers are never “done”, never able to rest, never able to stop spending money.

    Chuck and Lency are absolute authorities in their kingdom, there is no accountability. They are top dogs.

    Questions are not answered, instead those that question are told that they just need to do more group practices.

    Chuck and Lency’s business Spezzano and Associates Ltd. is a for profit business. There is no financial disclosure, there are no public annual reports. Quite a bit of money is taken in, including some supposedly earmarked for charities, the public is not told where it all goes.

    Unreasonable fear and paranoia about the outside world is encouraged by the Spezzanos. Chuck gives daily messages to his followers, many of these include predictions of darkness and danger.

    Former followers are shunned and harassed.

    In 2001 a news article included POV in its criticism of oppressive New Age therapies that prey on First Nations peoples. Stories from survivors are available online, as is ongoing critical review of Spezzano activities, along with research and discussion.

    Followers are never “good enough” according to this group. There are always more practices to do, more money to spend. There is a high level of negative judgement used by the hierarchy. Even when a follower thinks they might be doing something correctly, they will be told they are mistaken, and that they need to try harder.

    Chuck and Lency Spezzano are always right. Reading through glowing testimony from their followers, it is clear that they worship Chuck and Lency. Chuck encourages this worship.

    The Spezzanos, and their trainers, claim the “exclusive means of knowing ‘truth’ or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.”. Followers turn to them for all answers.

    I used these warning signs of a potentially unsafe group as a framework for this post.

    Lency could believe that she downloads healings from heaven through her actual brain to the brain of another person all she wants. As long as she doesn’t charge incredible sums of money in the process, hypnotise and mess people over emotionally, and behave like a con artist grifter pretending to be a god.

    http://dougbottorff.com/2013/09/14/brainwashing-in-action/

    http://brilyn.net/taking-advantage-of-seeking-a-better-life/#more-7200
    European research by Psiram”s view of chuck/lency spezzano” psychology of vision..
    http://www.psiram.com/en/index.php/Psychology_of_Vision
    hopefully this will help people to make better choices whether they’re considering joining or they’re being in the recruitment process by a pov devotee

  29. sites with researched archival postings from POV sites and comments about chuck/lency spezzano’s group the…
    Psychology Of Vision..
    http://griftershotel.blogspot.ca/
    http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=4179.msg35553#new

    and a facebook site..

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Think-Critical-Consumer-Education-about-Chuck-Lency-Spezzano/1418764885005103

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