A.k.a. Katie Byron
A.k.a. Byron Kathleen Mitchell
Byron Katie is a speaker and author, self-help guru and proponent of New Thought, who teaches a method of “self-inquiry” known as “The Work of Byron Katie” or simply as “The Work”. It is worth relating her own account of how she came by this method: “I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional.” The method, which costs money, consists of questions intended to help people identify stressful thoughts and to inquire into them, “finding their own truth and understanding”, followed by “turnarounds”, which is supposed to provide you with alternatives.
So ok – this sounds like normal self-help fluff, couched in the helplessly incoherent language of such fluff. Is it enough for lunacy? Well, here is an account of how “The Work” is actually used in practice. Yes, it is a combination of The Secret and hardcore blame-the-victim tactics, infused with New Age “spirituality” and dubious methods (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous’ quackish “twelve-step program”). I guess you have to take the idea rather far into loonland to be able to write several books (many with her husband Stephen Mitchell) on such a topic.
Apparently Jenny McCarthy is a fan, if more evidence of woo was required.
Diagnosis: Another one of a long row of people who have found a way of earning money off of people in difficult situations by offering them nothing. Katie’s intentions are presumably the best, but that is just not enough to justify her actions.