Friday, October 16, 2015

#1493: Gary Craig

We already covered Gary Craig back in the day, in our entry on Roger Callahan, but given his influence on the contemporary quackery movement we decided that it was only proper to give him his own. Craig is the inventor – or at least the most famous promoter – of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) (an excellent primer here), a form of counseling intervention that draws on a variety of New Age woo including acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy; or “a hodgepodge of concepts derived from a variety of sources [primarily] the ancient Chinese philosophy of chi, which is thought to be the ‘life force’ that flows throughout the body.” In particular, the EFT therapist attempts to manipulate the body’s energy field (i.e. its ghost aura) by tapping on acupuncture points to manipulate meridians while a specific traumatic memory is being focused on by the patient. According to Craig, after all Einstein “told us back in the 1920s that everything (including our bodies) is composed of energy,” and that’s the energy EFT helps you unlock … you don’t need much background in physics to be able to call bullshit here. EFT is nevertheless the foundation for the branch of utter quackery known as “energy psychology”, which has apparently been endorsed even by some real, accredited practitioners who have no clue as to how to assess evidence or plausibility. Craig himself is an engineer.

EFT claims to solve help with all sorts of emotional challenges by eliminating negative emotions, eliminate overeating, reduce pain and program the victim patient for positive goals. It can even remedy physical diseases, including – but of course – cancer. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t work. It is pure pseudoscience and has no benefit as a therapy beyond the placebo effect or any known-to-be-effective psychological techniques that may be provided in addition to the purported ‘energy’ technique. And the principles on which it is grounded are, as if that needed further emphasis, utter and demonstrable bullshit.

That hasn’t prevented people like energy psychology proponent David Feinstein from concluding that energy psychology is a potential “rapid and potent treatment for a range of psychological conditions.” Feinstein based this conclusion on a “review” that deliberatedly ignored several research papers that did not show positive effects of EFT. Nor, of course, did Feinstein disclose his conflict of interest as an owner of a website that sells energy psychology products such as books and seminars, against the best practice of research publication. The criticism of his review hasn’t affected Feinstein and his practices.

Craig himself is also a fan of the work of Sandi Radomski.

Diagnosis: In fairness, Craig probably means well, and has released his manual to the public free or charge. But really, good intentions just isn’t enough when it takes the form of something as silly as EFT.

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