Thursday, September 20, 2018

#2073: Judith Orloff

Though she is a board-certified psychiatrist and has enjoyed something resembling real career (she is, for instance, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA), you should probably refrain from taking advice from Judith Orloff. Orloff’s main focus is, at least at present, what she considers to be the relationships between medicine, intuition, and spirituality, and she is not afraid to use quasi-religious speculation, pseudoscience, anecdotes and nebulous metaphors to support her conclusions. She has also been involved in what people of her ilk considers “intuitive research”, including projects with parapsychologist Thelma Moss, the Mobius Group and Edgar Mitchell’s Institute of Noetic Sciences.

Orloff is the author of a number of books, including Second Sight, which Publishers Weekly tactfully said would “appeal to open-minded readers” (they didn’t really mean open-minded, of course). In the book, Orloff claims to have second sight and invokes the New Age religious notion of “energy psychiatry” to describe her psychotherapy model. Energy psychiatry stands to reality roughly as numerology stands to physics. The updated 2010 edition carried the subtitle “An intuitive psychiatrist tells her extraordinary story and shows you how to tap your inner wisdom,” presumably to ensure that potential readers who cares about cold, hard reality would stay far away. She is currently also a blogger at Huffington Post.

“Ha-ha, silly nonsense” may immediately seem like the reasonable response to such bullshit. But the thing is, Orloff even claims to be able to diagnose mental illnessintuitively (and it’s not like intuitive medicine in general is without a substantial body count). It shouldn’t require much imagination to realize that, in meetings with people in difficult situations, Orloff’s nonsense suddenly becomes less than wholly benign. And in 2000 Orloff was even given an opportunity to address the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting to market her bullshit. Which is really not particularly amusing.

Diagnosis: Repugnant and potentially dangerous crackpot. That the apparently ever-diplomatic academic bodies she is apparently still a member of do not put their feet down is a disgrace.


  1. Here's another one for you... Seems to be a properly trained MD but depressingly seems to have abandoned proper science. (Wrote the foreword to Zen Honeycutt's first book which should tell you what you need to know!)

    Jill Carnahan, MD