This is my most popular post by far. I truly appreciate the support and interest in this post, but I’ve discovered and documented a lot more about Dr Leaf’s ministry in the last two years. I welcome you to read this post, but if you’d like a more current review of the ministry of Dr Caroline Leaf, a new and improved version is here:
Dr Caroline Leaf – Still Contradicted by the Latest Evidence, Scripture & Herself
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Mr Mac Leaf, the husband of Dr Caroline Leaf, kindly took the time to respond to my series of posts on the teachings of Dr Leaf at Kings Christian Centre, on the Gold Coast, Australia, earlier this month. As I had intended, and as Mr Leaf requested, I published his reply, complete and unabridged (here).
This blog is my reply. It is heavily researched and thoroughly referenced. I think it’s fair to say that while Dr Leaf draws her conclusions from some scientific documents, there is more than enough research that contradicts her statements and opinions. I have only listed a small fraction, and only on some of the points she raised.
In fairness, the fields of neurology and neuroscience are vast and rapidly expanding, and it is impossible for one person to cover all of the literature on every subject. This applies to myself and Dr Leaf. However, I believe that the information I have read, and referenced from the latest peer-reviewed scholarly works, do not support Dr Leaf’s fundamental premises. If I am correct, then the strength and validity of Dr Leaf’s published works should be called into question.
As before, I welcome any reply or rebuttal that Dr Leaf wishes to make, which I will publish in full if she requests. In the interests of healthy public debate, and encouraging people to make their own informed decisions on the teachings of Dr Leaf, any comments regarding the response of Mr Leaf, Dr Leaf or myself, are welcome provided they are constructive.
This is a bit of a lengthy read, but I hope it is worthwhile.
Dear Mr Leaf,
Thank you very much for taking the time out to reply to some of the points raised in my blog. I am more than happy to publish your response, and to publish any response you wish to make public.
ON INFORMED DECISIONS
I published my blog posts to open up discussion on the statements made by Dr Leaf at the two meetings that I attended at Kings Christian Centre on the Gold Coast. As you rightly point out, people should be able to make informed decisions. A robust discussion provides the information required for people to make an informed choice. Any contributions to this discussion from either yourself or Dr Leaf would be most welcome.
I apologise if you interpreted my blogs as judgemental, or if you believe there are any misunderstandings. You may or may not have read my final two paragraphs from the third post, in which I acknowledged that I may have misunderstood where she was coming from, but that I would welcome her response. If there were any misunderstandings, it is likely because Dr Leaf did not make any attempt to reference any of the statements she made on the day. You may argue that she was speaking to a lay audience, and referencing is therefore not necessary. However, I have been to many workshops for the lay public by university professors, who have extensively referenced their information during their presentations. A lay audience does not preclude providing references. Rather, it augments the speakers authority and demonstrates the depth of their knowledge on the subject at hand.
It’s interesting that you feel the need to resort to defence by association, and Ad Hominem dismissal as your primary counter to the points I raised.
Can you clarify how attending the same university as Dr Christaan Barnard, or a Nobel laureate, endorses her arguments or precludes her from criticism? I attended the University of Queensland where Professor Ian Frazer was based. He developed the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine and was the 2006 Australian of the Year. Does that association enhance my argument?
Can you also clarify why a reference from a colleague was preferred to letting Dr Leaf’s statements and conclusions speak for themselves? Dr Amua-Quarshie’s CV is certainly very impressive, no doubt about that, although he doesn’t list the papers he’s published. (I’m assuming that to hold the title of Adjunct Professor, he’s published peer-reviewed articles. Is he willing to list them, for the record?)
Whatever his credentials, his endorsement means very little, since both Dr Leaf and Dr Amua-Quarshie would know from their experience in research that expert opinion is one of the lowest forms of evidence, second worst only to testimonials . Further, both he and Dr Leaf are obviously close friends which introduces possible bias. His endorsement is noteworthy, but it can not validate every statement made by Dr Leaf. Her statements should stand up on their own through the rigors of critical analysis.
On the subject of evidence, disparaging your critics is not a substitute for answering their criticism. Your statement, “By your comments it is obvious that you have not kept up to date with the latest Scientific research” is an assumption that is somewhat arrogant, and ironic since Dr Leaf is content to use superseded references dating back to 1979 to justify her current hypotheses.
DR LEAF’S EVIDENCE
In the blog to which you referred, Dr Leaf makes a number of statements that are intended to support her case. These include the following.
“A study by the American Medical Association found that stress is a factor in 75% of all illnesses and diseases that people suffer from today.” She fails to reference this study.
“The association between stress and disease is a colossal 85% (Dr Brian Luke Seaward).” But again, she fails to reference the quote.
“The International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Health Organization has concluded that 80% of cancers are due to lifestyles and are not genetic, and they say this is a conservative number (Cancer statistics and views of causes Science News Vol.115, No 2 (Jan.13 1979), p.23).” It’s good that she provides a reference to her statement. However, referencing a journal on genetics from 1979 is the equivalent of attempting to use the land-speed record from 1979 to justify your current preference of car. The technology has advanced significantly, and genetic discoveries are lightyears ahead of where they were more than three decades ago.
“According to Dr Bruce Lipton (The Biology of Belief, 2008), gene disorders like Huntington’s chorea, beta thalassemia, cystic fibrosis, to name just a few, affect less than 2% of the population. This means the vast majority of the worlds population come into this world with genes that should enable the to live a happy and healthy life. He says a staggering 98% of diseases are lifestyle choices and therefore, thinking.” Even if it’s true that Huntingtons, CF etc account for 2% of all illnesses, they account for only a tiny fraction of genetic disease. And concluding that the remaining 98% must therefore be lifestyle related is overly simplistic. It ignores the genetic influence on all other diseases, other congenital, and environmental causes of disease. I will fully outline this point soon.
Similarly, “According to W.C Willett (balancing lifestyle and genomics research for disease prevention Science (296) p 695-698, 2002) only 5% of cancer and cardiovascular patients can attribute their disease to hereditary factors.” Science is clear that genes play a significant role in the development of cardiovascular disease and most cancers, certainly greater than 5%. Again, I will discuss this further soon.
“According to the American Institute of health, it has been estimated that 75 – 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problems (http://www.stress.org/americas.htm). Some of the latest stress statistics causing illness as a result of toxic thinking can be found at: http://www.naturalwellnesscare.com/stress-statistics.html” These websites not peer-reviewed, and both suffer from a blatant pro-stress bias.
You’ll also have to forgive my confusion, but Dr Leaf also wrote, “Dr H.F. Nijhout (Metaphors and the Role of Genes and Development, 1990) genes control biology and not the other way around.” So is she saying that genes DO control development?
EVIDENCE CONTRADICTING DR LEAF
Influence Of Thought On Health
Dr Leaf has categorically stated that “75 to 98% of all illnesses are the result of our thought life” on a number of occasions. She repeated the same statement in her most recent book so it is something she is confident in. However, in order to be true, this fact must be consistent across the whole of humanity.
And yet, in a recent peer-reviewed publication, Mara et al state, “At any given time close to half of the urban populations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America have a disease associated with poor sanitation, hygiene, and water.”  Bartram and Cairncross write that “While rarely discussed alongside the ‘big three’ attention-seekers of the international public health community—HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria—one disease alone kills more young children each year than all three combined. It is diarrhoea, and the key to its control is hygiene, sanitation, and water.”  Hunter et al state that, “diarrhoeal disease is the second most common contributor to the disease burden in developing countries (as measured by disability-adjusted life years [DALYs]), and poor-quality drinking water is an important risk factor for diarrhoea.” 
Toilets and clean running water have nothing to do with stress or thought. We live in a society that essentially prevents more than half of our illnesses because of internal plumbing, with additional benefits from vaccination and population screening. If thoughts have any effect on our health, they are artificially magnified by our clean water and sewerage systems. Remove those factors and any effects of thought on our health disappear from significance. Dr Leaf’s assertion that 75 to 98% of human illness is thought-related is a clear exaggeration.
Let me be clear – I understand the significance of stress on health and the economy, but it is not the cause of 75-98% of all illnesses. I’m not sure if there is a similar study in the US, but the latest Australian data suggests that all psychological illness only counts for 8% of visits to Australian primary care physicians .
In terms of cancer, I don’t have time to exhaustively list every cancer but of the top four listed in the review “Cancer Statistics 2013”  , here are the articles that list the gene x environment interactions:
- PROSTATE – There are only two risk factors for prostate cancer, familial aggregation and ethnic origin. No dietary or environmental cause has yet been identified . It is most likely caused by multiple genes at various loci .
- BREAST – Genes make up 25% of the risk factors for breast cancer, and significantly interacted with parity (number of children born) .
- LUNG/BRONCHUS – Lung cancer is almost exclusively linked to smoking, but nicotine addiction has a strong hereditary link (50-75% genetic susceptibility) .
- COLORECTUM – Approximately one third of colorectal cancer is genetically linked .
So the most common cancer is not linked to any environmental factors at all, and the others have genetic influences of 25% to more than 50%. This is far from being 2% or 5% as Dr Leaf’s sources state.
Also in terms of heart disease, the INTERHEART trial  lists the following as significant risk factors, and I have listed the available gene x environment interaction studies that have been done on these too:
- HIGH CHOLESTEROL – Genetic susceptibility accounts for 40-60% of the risk for high cholesterol .
- DIABETES – Genetic factors account for 88% of the risk for type 1 diabetes . There is a strong genetic component of the risk of type 2 diabetes with 62-70% being attributable to genetics [15, 16].
- SMOKING – nicotine addiction has a strong hereditary link (50-75% genetic susceptibility) .
- HYPERTENSION – While part of a much greater mix of variables, genetics are still thought to contribute between 30% and 50% to the risk of developing high blood pressure .
So again, while genes are a part of a complex system, it is clear from the most recent evidence that genetics account for about 50% of the risk for cardiovascular disease, which again is a marked difference between the figures that Dr Leaf is using to base her assertions on.
Atrial Natriuretic Peptide
I am aware of research that’s studied the anxiolytic properties of Atrial Natriuretic Peptide. For example, Wiedemann et al  did a trial using ANP to truncate panic attacks. However, these experiments were done on only nine subjects, and the panic attacks were induced by cholecystokinin. As such, the numbers are too small to have any real meaning. And the settling is completely artificial. Just as CCK excretion does not cause us all to have panic attacks every time we eat, ANP does not provide anxiolysis in normal day to day situations. Besides, if ANP were really effective at reducing anxiety, then why do people suffering from congestive cardiac failure, who have supraphysiological levels of circulating ANP  , also suffer from a higher rate of anxiety and panic disorders than the general population? 
The Heart As A Mini-Brain
As for Heartmath, they advance the notion of the heart being a mini-brain to give themselves credibility. It’s really no different to an article that I read the other day from a group of gut researchers  – “‘The gut is really your second brain,’ Greenblatt said. ‘There are more neurons in the GI tract than anywhere else except the brain.’” The heart as a mini-brain and the gut as a mini-brain are both figurative expressions. Neither are meant to be taken literally. I welcome Dr Leaf to tender any further evidence in support of her claim.
Hard-Wired For Optimism
As for being wired for optimism, the brain is likely pre-wired with a template for all actions and emotions, which is the theory of protoconsciousness . Indeed, neonatal reflexes often reflect common motor patterns. If this is true, then the brain is pre-wired for both optimism and love, but also fear. This explains the broad role of the amygdala in emotional learning  including fear learning. It also means that a neonate needs to develop both love and fear.
A recent paper showed that the corticosterone response required to learn fear is suppressed in the neonate to facilitate attachment, but with enough stress, the corticosterone levels build to the point where amygdala fear learning can commence . The fear circuits are already present, only their development is suppressed. Analysis of the cohort of children in the Bucharest Early Intervention Project showed that negative affect was the same for both groups. However positive affect and emotional reactivity was significantly reduced in the institutionalised children . If the brain is truly wired for optimism and only fear is learned, then positive emotional reactivity should be the same in both groups and the negative affect should be enhanced in the institutionalised cohort. That the result is reversed confirms that neonates and infants require adequate stimulation of both fear and love pathways to grow into an emotionally robust child, because the brain is pre-wired for both but requires further stimulation for adequate development.
The Mind-Brain Link
If the mind controls the brain and not the other way around as Dr Leaf suggests, why do anti-depressant medications correct depression or anxiety disorders? There is high-level evidence to show this to be true [26-28]. The same can be said for recent research to show that medications which enhance NDMA receptors have been shown to improve the extinction of fear in anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, OCD, Social Anxiety Disorder, and PTSD .
If the mind controls the brain and not the other way around as Dr Leaf suggests, why do some people with acquired brain injuries or brain tumours develop acute personality changes or thought disorders? Dr Leaf has done PhD research on patients with closed head injuries and treated them in clinical settings according to her CV. She must be familiar with this effect.
One can only conclude that there is a bi-directional effect between the brain and the stream of thought, which is at odds with Dr Leaf’s statement that the mind controls the brain and not the other way around.
One further thing. Can you clarify which of Dr Leaf’s peer-reviewed articles have definitively shown the academic improvement in the cohort of 100,000 students, as you and your referee have stated? And can you provide a list of articles which have cited Dr Leaf’s Geodesic Information Processing Model? Google Scholar did not display any articles that had cited it, which must be an error on Google’s part. If her theory is widely used as you say, it must have been extensively cited.
I understand that you are both busy, but I believe that I have documented a number of observations, backed by recent peer-reviewed scientific literature, which directly contradict Dr Leaf’s teaching. I have not had a chance to touch on many, many other points of disagreement.
For the benefit of Dr Leaf’s followers, and for the scientific and Christian community at large, I would appreciate your response.
I would be grateful if you could respond to the points raised and the literature which supports it, rather than an Ad Hominem dismissal or further defense by association.
Dr C. Edward Pitt
1. Fowler, G., Evidence-based practice: Tools and techniques. Systems, settings, people: Workforce development challenges for the alcohol and other drugs field, 2001: 93-107.
2. Mara, D., et al., Sanitation and health. PLoS Med, 2010. 7(11): e1000363.
3. Bartram, J. and Cairncross, S., Hygiene, sanitation, and water: forgotten foundations of health. PLoS Med, 2010. 7(11): e1000367.
4. Hunter, P.R., et al., Water supply and health. PLoS Med, 2010. 7(11): e1000361.
5. FMRC. Public BEACH data. 2010 16JUL13]; Available from: <http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/fmrc/beach/data-reports/public>.
6. Siegel, R., et al., Cancer statistics, 2013. CA Cancer J Clin, 2013. 63(1): 11-30.
7. Cussenot, O. and Valeri, A., Heterogeneity in genetic susceptibility to prostate cancer. Eur J Intern Med, 2001. 12(1): 11-6.
8. Alberti, C., Hereditary/familial versus sporadic prostate cancer: few indisputable genetic differences and many similar clinicopathological features. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci, 2010. 14(1): 31-41.
9. Nickels, S., et al., Evidence of gene-environment interactions between common breast cancer susceptibility loci and established environmental risk factors. PLoS Genet, 2013. 9(3): e1003284.
10. Berrettini, W.H. and Doyle, G.A., The CHRNA5-A3-B4 gene cluster in nicotine addiction. Mol Psychiatry, 2012. 17(9): 856-66.
11. Hutter, C.M., et al., Characterization of gene-environment interactions for colorectal cancer susceptibility loci. Cancer Res, 2012. 72(8): 2036-44.
12. Yusuf, S., et al., Effect of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with myocardial infarction in 52 countries (the INTERHEART study): case-control study. Lancet, 2004. 364(9438): 937-52.
13. Asselbergs, F.W., et al., Large-scale gene-centric meta-analysis across 32 studies identifies multiple lipid loci. Am J Hum Genet, 2012. 91(5): 823-38.
14. Wu, Y.L., et al., Risk factors and primary prevention trials for type 1 diabetes. Int J Biol Sci, 2013. 9(7): 666-79.
15. Ali, O., Genetics of type 2 diabetes. World J Diabetes, 2013. 4(4): 114-23.
16. Murea, M., et al., Genetic and environmental factors associated with type 2 diabetes and diabetic vascular complications. Rev Diabet Stud, 2012. 9(1): 6-22.
17. Kunes, J. and Zicha, J., The interaction of genetic and environmental factors in the etiology of hypertension. Physiol Res, 2009. 58 Suppl 2: S33-41.
18. Wiedemann, K., et al., Anxiolyticlike effects of atrial natriuretic peptide on cholecystokinin tetrapeptide-induced panic attacks: preliminary findings. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 2001. 58(4): 371-7.
19. Ronco, C., Fluid overload : diagnosis and management. Contributions to nephrology,. 2010, Basel Switzerland ; New York: Karger. viii, 243 p.
20. Riegel, B., et al., State of the science: promoting self-care in persons with heart failure: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 2009. 120(12): 1141-63.
21. Arnold, C. Gut feelings: the future of psychiatry may be inside your stomach. 2013 [cited 2013 Aug 22]; Available from: http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/21/4595712/gut-feelings-the-future-of-psychiatry-may-be-inside-your-stomach.
22. Hobson, J.A., REM sleep and dreaming: towards a theory of protoconsciousness. Nat Rev Neurosci, 2009. 10(11): 803-13.
23. Dalgleish, T., The emotional brain. Nat Rev Neurosci, 2004. 5(7): 583-9.
24. Landers, M.S. and Sullivan, R.M., The development and neurobiology of infant attachment and fear. Dev Neurosci, 2012. 34(2-3): 101-14.
25. Bos, K., et al., Psychiatric outcomes in young children with a history of institutionalization. Harv Rev Psychiatry, 2011. 19(1): 15-24.
26. Arroll, B., et al., Antidepressants versus placebo for depression in primary care. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2009(3): CD007954.
27. Soomro, G.M., et al., Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) versus placebo for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2008(1): CD001765.
28. Kapczinski, F., et al., Antidepressants for generalized anxiety disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2003(2): CD003592.
29. Davis, M., NMDA receptors and fear extinction: implications for cognitive behavioral therapy. Dialogues Clin Neurosci, 2011. 13(4): 463-74.
I recently attended a women of influence confrence this last weekend in Anaheim hold with my adult daughter who is a graduate from Books university with s teaching credential. We attending with s close friend of mine I purchased the tickets for all three of us I personally had never heard of Caroline leaf! She spoke as a speaker on Saturday and she spoke in a fast paced manner! We were lead to believe she was a neiscientist! I was under the impression she was an expert in her field of neuroscience which I assumed meant brain mapping and all of the scientific Data to go along with that! I assumed much! My mistake I will admit it! My daughter and I were conversing later in the evening about the day and something didn’t set well with us this kind over matter business? And such my daughter said to me children are born with cancer children die at birth as you can see so on and so on it reigns upon the Judy and the unjust alike! I was the daughter myself of some extremly Pentecostal parents who were very wrapped up in the Copleland ministry and I saw many things that were not biblical my sound in the latec89’s early 90’s and I also had a twinge of pain when Caroline leaf mentioned the Coplelands on stage! The lord directs us to hold teachers and preachers up to Gods word? So my daughter and I today are sadddened that so many leaders in almost all of them in the non denominational area endorse acsroline leaf and her teachings? Teachers that I have respected and am now questioning myself today Christine Cain is one? Tim Keller? Lisa Teurset? Holly Wagner? Women’s Color confrence? And so on so on! Thank you for sharing your article my daughter found it and shared it with me and I’ve shared it with my friend I invited to the confrence who quickly informed me no I’m wrong Caroline leaf is spot on and 100% biblical I sent her several links and explained why she should question and I told her I had a responsibility as a sister in Christ to share with her my concerns for her to honestly research this and please do it not blindly and hold it up to Gods word 100%. Sincerely Tracey,
Sorry for some of my typos! I don’t have my reading glasses with me!
You would never have need for medication if you were controlling your thoughts. Toxic thoughts cause depression (Beck& Ellis). There is so much more evidence. Medication fixes at a surface level. Lifestyle a Permanente level. All diseases upon this Earth. Have their origin in the feebled thoughts and behavior’s of mankind. Thus water is contaminated, etc etc. Due to low Emotional Intelligence, bad choices and stressed out people trying to make decisions for a toxic world.
Your rebuttal is not sound! And not evidenced based in the powerful word of God , the author of science. Who is your author of Science? God or man?
Thank you for the comment Dr Branner. I appreciate your forthright opinion. You’re more than welcome to disagree with the conclusions I draw but I disagree that it is unsound. I also disagree with your statements that “You would never have need for medication if you were controlling your thoughts” and “Toxic thoughts cause depression (Beck & Ellis).”
Beck and Ellis were key researchers who are known for advancing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. They did not prove that ‘toxic’ thoughts cause depression. Indeed, there are several counter-arguments against your assertion that thoughts are in any way connected with low mood or depression. “The precise role of cognitive processes is yet to be determined. It is not clear whether faulty cognitions are a cause of the psychopathology or a consequence of it. Lewinsohn (1981) studied a group of participants before any of them became depressed, and found that those who later became depressed were no more likely to have negative thoughts than those who did not develop depression. This suggests that hopeless and negative thinking may be the result of depression, rather than the cause of it.” (Lewinsohn, P. M., Steinmetz, J. L., Larson, D. W., & Franklin, J. (1981). Depression-related cognitions: antecedent or consequence?. Journal of abnormal psychology, 90(3), 213.) Also, “The cognitive model is narrow in scope – thinking is just one part of human functioning, broader issues need to be addressed.” (https://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-therapy.html)
I also question the validity of your assertion that “All diseases upon this Earth. Have their origin in the feebled thoughts and behavior’s of mankind.” I’m no theologian, but I’ve read the Bible enough to know that the diseases of mankind relate to living in a fallen world. If all diseases upon the Earth were due to “feebled thoughts and behaviors of mankind”, then you’re suggesting that getting a cold is due to “feebled thoughts and behaviors” which is just ludicrous. What about a baby that dies of SIDS? Did its “feebled thoughts and behaviors” result in its disease? Would you care to explain the answer that Jesus gave to his disciples in the story of the man born blind in John 9:1-3, “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.’”
Finally, your straw man argument about the “author of science” really doesn’t carry any weight. God created the world and its truth, science is merely the systematic discovery and documentation of that truth. By your logic, we should dispense with all scientific knowledge that we can’t cross-reference with the Bible, but the Bible and science are not mutually exclusive.
I would welcome your counter argument if you are willing to provide one, but I get the feeling we will have to agree to disagree.
All the best to you.
I was searching for peer reviews to support a formal research proposal. I would greatly appreciate it if anyone can connect me to Dr Leafs formal writings (peer review). I would love to research this further as part of my MPH capstone. Otherwise with out evidence to support a proposal I will have to change my direction. Thanks.
I recently began studying Caroline Leaf’s research because I suspected my health conditions were a result of my thought life/stress. I experienced severe trauma through abuse two years ago and have not felt quite myself since then.
A little background.. I am 40 years old. For 10 years, I have eaten an all organic/homegrown diet. I don’t smoke, don’t drink, and I stay away from refined sugar. I haven’t had a soda in over 20 years. I exercise, take quality supplements, avoid toxic household products. I have not taken antibiotics are any prescriptions medications in over 10 years. I have never had a chronic health condition and haven’t had so much as a cold in years. I don’t say these things to toot my own horn. Rather to prove that I was missing the mark when it came to taking care of myself.
I went to my gynecologist for routine bloodwork because I was feeling exhausted and anxious. She tested my bloodwork, as well as my micronutrient levels and also did a saliva test to check my cortisol. My micronutrient levels were all well above average with the exception of a slight deficiency in biotin. My blood work was pretty much perfect however the doctor was alarmed when she saw that my insulin stores over the last 3 months showed me to be diabetic. We retested and the same thing came back. Also, my cortisol came back almost off the charts. I asked if diabetes can be caused by stress and she said, absolutely. I said, “So the stress and my thoughts about the trauma is what caused diabetes?” She said, “it looks that way.” Why had I never given thought to the fact that stress cuases illness?
I think it is tragic that most doctors as well as many in the church do not see the strong influence that our thinking has on our health. Doctors call it quackery and the church calls it new age. Granted there are some strange “ministries” out there and we need to be aware, but from what I understand, Dr. Leaf does not teach a prosperity based, name-it-and-claim it gospel. I think she is just saying that stress takes a toll and us and chronic, long term stress is caused by wrong thinking. I don’t know of anyone who would disagree with that regardless of their beliefs or religion. This information should be liberating for the Believer. I too, am always very skeptical and I shy away from prosperity based theology however I feel this is much different. Historically, and as a result of all of the frightening heretical doctrine that was introduced during the middle ages, I think many Christians live a fear based life and carry that middle aged mentality to this day. It is a mentality that was created years ago in large part to scare people into the church in order to generate revenue. Consequently, many are still stuck in that dark mentality and are so afraid of “veering off the straight and narrow”. This leaves little room for freedom in Christ and appreciation of the mystery of our creator. To me, modern day American Christians seem to be, by far, the most frightened, timid, void- of -peace people groups. We are terrified of “loosing the faith” or our loved ones “going to hell”.
This fear based living is exactly what Dr. Leaf is teaching against and it starts with the mind. No matter how bad things get or how sick we are, the peace of God which transcends all understanding is the reason we will not be overcome. But nowadays, most of us have to be taught how to practice peace in our minds because the world is so chaotic and leaves little time for such things.
My question is, even she references a 1979 article and may have errors here and there, what is Dr. Leaf teaching that is harmful? Being a leader doesn’t require her to be flawless so we must give her and all leaders grace and room for error. And I certainly don’t feel she is deceptive or just in it for the money. She is just sharing her research and her personal experience to bring some hope and a natural alternative to anxiety infested, pharmaceutically dependent, malnutritioned, stressed out people.
Scriptures are super clear about fear and the power of our thought lives. Why is it that we allow medical doctors (Christians and non Christians) to pump us full of drugs and we feel ok about that, but if a doctor who proclaims to be a Christian offers an alternative way based on the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells us, we become afraid that its new age or heretical. I find it odd, that we are comfortable taking mind altering, drugs that have a laundry list of side effects, but we are not comfortable following the advice of someone who recommends a prescription of prayer and meditation… both of which the people of the Bible did without fail in order to experience peace and the presence of God.
Medicine and pharmaceuticals are wonderful and at time necessary, but they are not our Savior.
And while there are many leaders in the evangelical movement who are preaching a false gospel, we need to be careful not to lump all “unconventional” teachers in together and call them guilty by association. Just because they are sharing something new they’ve learned or just because they mention the name of someone who is involved in the charismatic movement, doesn’t make them dangerous. We can learn from all types of people and leaders without becoming their disciples. Whether its Kenneth Copeland, Tim Keller or John MacArthur…or Dr. Leaf 🙂 we have to exercise discernment because they are all human and subject to error. And so are we!
Thank you for your comment. You raise some very interesting points, some of which are certainly reasonable assumptions and observations.
However, I’d like to address some things I disagree with, which you can consider at your leisure.
First and foremost is your assumption that our thoughts affect our health. This is something that I have considered scientifically and scripturally and I have discussed it at length and heavily referenced in my book examining Dr Leaf’s teaching. If you’re interested, I suggest that you review chapter 1, specifically the section “The Neuroscience of Thought” (http://www.debunkingdrleaf.com/chapter-1/), chapter 6 (http://www.debunkingdrleaf.com/chapter-6/), chapter 8 (http://www.debunkingdrleaf.com/chapter-8/) and chapter 10 (http://www.debunkingdrleaf.com/chapter-10/).
Thought is a trickle of conscious information that is a tiny part of a torrent of information processed subconsciously. It does not determine our health. Stress is often associated with disease, but it is not specifically a cause of disease. Indeed, one of Dr Leaf’s own references concluded that “Although stressors are often associated with illness, the majority of individuals confronted with traumatic events and chronic serious problems remain disease-free.” (Cohen, S., et al., Psychological stress and disease. JAMA: the journal of the American Medical Association, 2007. 298(14): 1685-7) “Negative” or “toxic” thoughts are often the result of an underlying disease process not the cause of it.
While on this subject, I’m not your treating doctor and I don’t want to start giving you lots of medical advice as it certainly isn’t my place. However, I wonder why your gynaecologist just assumed that your cortisol and diabetes are all related to stress. Acute stress can decrease cortisol, and chronic stress doesn’t significantly elevate it. What is known is that diseases like Cushings Disease or an adrenal tumour can raise cortisol which then interferes with blood sugar control, causing high blood sugar. High levels of cortisol and/or the high blood sugar will also make you tired and weak. It’s up to you of course, but I would strongly suggest that you talk to your family physician or gynaecologist about seeing an endocrinologist with regards to excluding the possibility of Cushings or another physical disorder.
The other thing I was wondering about is why you blame yourself for your condition? Whatever the diagnosis, there are many diseases that occur in people despite the best care that they can give themselves. Again, there was a study in which pre-diabetics were given an intensive lifestyle intervention, kind of like what you describe your lifestyle as, and still, despite the best diet and exercise, 11% of them developed diabetes anyway (Tuomilehto J, Lindstrom J, Eriksson JG, et al. Prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus by changes in lifestyle among subjects with impaired glucose tolerance. The New England journal of medicine 2001 May 3;344(18):1343-50). So sometimes, sickness happens because of genetics or other factors beyond our control. Personally, I think you should be proud of your lifestyle, and not unnecessarily blame yourself for an illness.
Specifically in regards to Dr Leaf and her ministry, Dr Leaf’s teaching is a Christian reworking of “The Secret” (https://cedwardpitt.com/2016/10/19/the-secret-teaching-of-dr-caroline-leaf/). She may not be a pure tele-evangelist but she is part of their ecosystem. She certainly profits off her cosy association with the Copelands and Joyce Meyer, but that’s not why her teaching is wrong. As I said before, chronic long term stress is not caused by wrong thinking. And if anything, wrestling with our thoughts under the presumption that they are somehow toxic is actually counter-productive (https://cedwardpitt.com/2016/05/24/running-of-the-elephants-why-thought-suppression-doesnt-work/).
You may be right about American Christians. I certainly can not speak for them living in Australia. But I was intrigued by your comment that “No matter how bad things get or how sick we are, the peace of God which transcends all understanding is the reason we will not be overcome.” How is the peace of God related to our thinking? After all, as you correctly pointed out, it “transcends all understanding”. So it would seem that Dr Leaf isn’t teaching us to live under the peace of God, but rather the peace that our minds can purportedly generate under their own strength, something which seemingly doesn’t fit well with Paul’s teaching on grace (2 Corinthians 12:6-10).
You also say that “Scriptures are super clear about fear and the power of our thought lives.” Can you list which ones?
You then move on to ask “Why is it that we allow medical doctors (Christians and non Christians) to pump us full of drugs and we feel ok about that, but if a doctor who proclaims to be a Christian offers an alternative way based on the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells us, we become afraid that its new age or heretical.” First of all, Dr Leaf is not a medical doctor. Her title is academic, related to a twenty year old PhD about an educational program that showed no proven benefits (https://cedwardpitt.com/2015/03/26/the-tedx-users-guide-to-dr-caroline-leaf/). Not only is she not medically trained, but she is also not theologically trained. Does that qualify her to offer an alternative way based on the power of the Holy Spirit? That’s up to you to decide I guess. Further, it’s not heretical or new age to suggest an alternative way based on the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells us. It is potentially heretical to state that toxic thoughts like anger is a sin (https://cedwardpitt.com/2013/08/06/dr-caroline-leaf-serious-questions-few-answers/) or new age to suggest that “You can shape your reality by the way you think” (https://cedwardpitt.com/2016/10/19/the-secret-teaching-of-dr-caroline-leaf/). (Oh, and just by-the-bye – most doctors I know don’t just pump people full of drugs, myself included. I understand your comment was a generalisation, but it’s a scarecrow fallacy. Personally, I don’t think the generalisation applies).
You also ask, “even (if) she references a 1979 article and may have errors here and there, what is Dr. Leaf teaching that is harmful?” Firstly, referencing a 1979 article is a sign that she relies on antiquated sources to try and make her point, which calls into question her capacity as an expert. No expert would rely on references that are nearly 40 years old, especially in the field of genetics. A 1979 reference on genetics compared to what we know now about genetics is like comparing a Model-T Ford to a Mustang (http://www.ford.com/cars/mustang/2017/).
What is Dr Leaf teaching that is harmful? Well, I wrote a whole book on that. I suggest that you have a read of it.
You say, “Being a leader doesn’t require her to be flawless so we must give her and all leaders grace and room for error. And I certainly don’t feel she is deceptive or just in it for the money. She is just sharing her research and her personal experience to bring some hope and a natural alternative to anxiety infested, pharmaceutically dependent, malnutritioned, stressed out people.” Sure, I don’t expect her to be flawless, but she deliberately obfuscates her errors and hides from them. She has refused to engage with me or any other person who questions her teaching. She and her social media team actively block those who dissent. Is that someone who is gracious, humble or teachable? You only need to read the reply that Dr Leaf’s husband wrote (https://cedwardpitt.com/2013/08/29/mac-leaf-responds-to-dr-caroline-leaf-serious-questions-few-answers/) to appreciate that they don’t care what other people say, and neither do they have any interest in the truth. It seems they want to protect their house-of-cards ministry any way they can.
Finally, you say, “Medicine and pharmaceuticals are wonderful and at time necessary, but they are not our Savior. And while there are many leaders in the evangelical movement who are preaching a false gospel, we need to be careful not to lump all “unconventional” teachers in together and call them guilty by association. Just because they are sharing something new they’ve learned or just because they mention the name of someone who is involved in the charismatic movement, doesn’t make them dangerous. We can learn from all types of people and leaders without becoming their disciples. Whether its Kenneth Copeland, Tim Keller or John MacArthur…or Dr. Leaf 🙂 we have to exercise discernment because they are all human and subject to error. And so are we!”
Sure, medicine and pharmaceuticals are not our saviours, and no one who believes in rational evidence-based medicine would believe that they are. Dr Leaf is not guilty purely by association, she is just plain guilty. Her teaching does not stand up to even rudimentary scrutiny, either scientific or scriptural, and on that basis alone, I think her teaching should be rejected.
If Dr Leaf had minor errors in her teaching that were still being debated amongst members of the scientific community, then I wouldn’t be so worried, because you’re right, no one’s perfect and we’re all prone to error. Unfortunately Dr Leaf’s teaching runs contrary to any number of basic scientific principles and basic scriptural interpretation, things which an expert in their field would know and not get wrong. This really shows that Dr Leaf is not an expert and that she is taken seriously by the church is incredibly disheartening.
Of course, you’re welcome to disagree with any or all of the above and to believe whatever you want to believe. I do appreciate you taking the time to comment. I wish you all the best with your life and your health.
I might be inclined to read your posts if you could mister some concise points. Being right, if you are, is irrelevant if you cannot clearly and concisely make your points.
Dr. Leafs approach is working extremely well for me, and for a number of my friends.
Do you have a different approach that works? If so, What is it?
Thanks for your sharing your opinion.
Firstly, congratulations. If Dr Leaf’s ‘approach’ is working well for you and your friends, then that’s great. Reiki works well for some people. So does chiropractic. So does astrology. Your feeling that Dr Leaf’s ministry of fake science is working for you doesn’t mean her teaching is accurate.
Secondly, I get the feeling that you aren’t interested in reading my posts, you’re just here to snipe. I don’t know, I could be wrong. If you are genuinely interested in a more succinct critique of Dr Leaf’s ministry, you can click on the hyperlink at the top of this post to find a very concise rebuttal of Dr Leaf’s ministry of fake science. I’ve added the link to here: https://cedwardpitt.com/2015/07/22/dr-caroline-leaf-still-contradicted-by-the-latest-evidence-scripture-and-herself/.
Though I can be even more concise if you want:
1. Dr Leaf is not a cognitive neuroscientist.
2. Dr Leaf is not a medical doctor.
3. Dr Leaf holds a 20-year old PhD as a sub-specialist speech pathologist.
4. Dr Leaf’s PhD and subsequent research shows that her Mind Mapping Technique / Switch On Your Brain program / Geodesic Information Processing Model had no significant net effect on those who were subjected to it.
5. Dr Leaf has not worked at a university or worked in clinical practice for 20 years.
6. Dr Leaf is not licensed to give medical or psychological advice of any kind
7. Dr Leaf is not theologically trained
8. Dr Leaf’s teaching contradicts real science
9. Dr Leaf extensively references pseudoscience, and even then, misquotes or incorrectly paraphrases it.
10. Dr Leaf even contradicts herself.
11. Dr Leaf gives medical advice in her blogs and from the pulpit (despite not being qualified or licensed to do so), advice which goes against the published medical evidence and clinical guidelines.
12. Dr Leaf extensively misquotes scripture and takes it out of context, torturing it to try and force it to match her fake science.
I could go on, but that will do for the time being. You’re welcome to review the body of my work in which I have justified each claim using scientific and scriptural references.
All the best to you.
Hi there!! I was doing research on Dr Leaf when I found this blog post of yours. I’m always suspicious of anyone who claims someone is a heretic and I figured I read about what you had to say. Also I noticed you have a lot of quotes from Dr Leaf but you don’t include the books where you found the quotes or the links to the conferences where you heard her quote. I suggest you be fair and write where you found that quote you used b/c I have a feeling if I were to read the entire chapter where you found that quote, I would see she wasn’t talking about what you claim she was discussing. So please give us links and books where you find her quotes, also give us page numbers. I’m interested in what she said. I would take you more seriously if you would just give me the info where you found her quote and maybe even included the youtube video of where you found this quote below? Number of occasion? Where? When? References please. Thanks!!
Dr Leaf has categorically stated that “75 to 98% of all illnesses are the result of our thought life” on a number of occasions. She repeated the same statement in her most recent book so it is something she is confident in. However, in order to be true, this fact must be consistent across the whole of humanity.
I’d like to see the page and book where you found this quote. It bothers me that you are quick to show your references in other books, but not hers. This to me is a red flag, meaning I have a feeling she didn’t say what you claim she said. So please, show your work!! Thanks!!
I also noticed you said above: She may not be a pure tele-evangelist but she is part of their ecosystem. She certainly profits off her cosy association with the Copelands and Joyce Meyer, but that’s not why her teaching is wrong.
And there it is!! I’ve learned if I can get someone to talk enough, they’ll spill their beans. This really isn’t about Leaf, is it? This about the fact she makes more money than you do and she has a bigger following and is more famous, right? Whenever I come across blogs like this one, I look for that one thread: Money. it’s always about the money. Every. Time.
I suffer from avoident personality disorder, depression, anxiety, social anxieties, all kinds of fun stuff. Dr. Leaf’s teachings have helped me more than the drugs and the so called counselors who didn’t help me at all. But Dr Leaf’s teachings are on the mark and have helped me to peel away this monster in my head. I have a feeling you’ve read about these illnesses in books, but you’ve never suffered from them. So shouldn’t you and other doctors make this about me, who does suffer from mental illnesses? Instead this whole thing seems to revolve around you and how you are not too happy with her fame. Maybe you and the other doctors should be more concerned about ME as opposed to how much money Dr Leaf has in her account or her fame? I’m not looking for you to respond, but I am looking for you to do some soul searching and ask yourself, why do I disagree with this woman so much? Is it because you truly believe she is wrong and I’m in danger, or is it something more? If she didn’t have a following or fame or anything, would you still disagree with her, or not even give her a second glace.? Again, please give your resource references for Dr Leaf’s quotes as I would like to see what she said. Have a great day!! And remember, this WHOLE thing is not about Leaf or you or other doctors, this is about ME and others who suffer from mental illness.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
I welcome your forthright comments, and I appreciate your questioning of my work. I have no problem with someone who only accepts a high standard of information and accountability. I plan to be equally forthright.
I must say, I’m confused by your charge that I have not referenced Dr Leaf’s quotes or listed my references. The details of the church services that I attended to hear her live were named in the individual reviews that I wrote (https://cedwardpitt.com/2015/08/02/touching-the-hem-of-her-garment-a-review-of-dr-caroline-leaf-at-nexus-church-brisbane-2nd-august-2015/ and https://cedwardpitt.com/2013/08/04/dr-caroline-leaf-serious-questions-few-answers-part-1/). At the end of each of my posts, I list the references I have cited. In writing my book which critiqued Dr Leaf’s work, I listed 300 separate citations, and every quote of Dr Leaf’s was backed up by the book and page number.
So while you may not think I’ve been fair, I would argue that I have been more than fair and transparent.
If you have specific concerns about my posts, perhaps you can reference where I have failed to reference, and I will happily correct any deficiencies in my work.
Also, just quickly, I don’t claim that Dr Leaf is a heretic. I have shown that either Dr Leaf’s teaching is wrong, or Dr Leaf’s teaching is heretical. Big difference. It’s up to you to decide on whether her teaching is wrong or heretical, but it is one or the other.
I have devoted a whole chapter to breaking down Dr Leaf’s 98% factoid, showing exactly why it’s wrong and clearly outlining what real science says, complete with the page number from Dr Leaf’s book, and the complete list of references. You can find it in my book (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/466848), or you can access the chapter here: http://www.debunkingdrleaf.com/chapter-10/ (and the references here: http://www.debunkingdrleaf.com/references/).
You said, “This really isn’t about Leaf, is it? This about the fact she makes more money than you do and she has a bigger following and is more famous, right? Whenever I come across blogs like this one, I look for that one thread: Money. it’s always about the money. Every. Time.” You’re welcome to make as many judgemental assumptions about me as you like. You’re not the first person to jump to erroneous conclusions. Actually, this has nothing to do with money and all to do with truth and justice.
I have not taken any revenue from any work relating to Dr Leaf. I have not charged for my book, and I do not gain any revenue from either the WordPress site or the debunkingdrleaf.com website. In fact, it costs me money to maintain both sites. It also has nothing to do with my ego or her following. I am following my innermost values and God’s calling for my life, standing up for the truth against those who would profit from lies and hurt innocent people in the process. What counts for me is not the number of followers I have or she has, it’s about hearing God say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”.
I understand that you may feel that Dr Leaf has helped you. Maybe she has … it’s not for me to say otherwise. Though while I’m happy for you, just because you feel Dr Leaf’s teaching has worked for you doesn’t mean to say that her teaching is scientifically accurate or should be recommended. As a doctor, there are a lot of people who come in and tell me that homeopathy or reiki or astrology has helped them, and while I’m happy for them, I know that homeopathy, reiki and astrology are all scientifically baseless and not only will I not support people using them, but I will also actively discourage people from using them. It’s no different to Dr Leaf and her teaching, which is scientifically baseless and not only will I not support people using it, but I will also actively discourage people from using it. If you want to rely on it, that’s up to you. You’re welcome to make whatever choice you wish.
You say, “I have a feeling you’ve read about these illnesses in books, but you’ve never suffered from them.” It’s such a shame you didn’t read my books before you wrote that comment. I am on the autism spectrum, and I have suffered from severe debilitating anxiety and morbid depression throughout my life, starting in my adolescence. I continue to battle with both anxiety and depression. I have been quite open about my struggles with mental illness in my books.
This isn’t just about you. That’s myopic and selfish. This is about everyone who struggles with mental illness. You may not have gained any benefit from medications or counselling, but millions of people around the world do, and when Dr Leaf erroneously criticises psychiatric drugs and instead, promotes her own patented placebo program, she is doing a gross injustice to those who believe her.
As a doctor, a Christian, and a sufferer of mental illness, this has nothing to do with my personal ego or her ill-gotten fame, and everything to do with seeing the best outcome for the most people.
I’ve done my soul-searching and I don’t need to do any more. I know my path. I know what’s right. I will continue to stand up for the truth, and stand against those who would abuse the health and the very life itself of others to profit themselves.
I don’t seek your agreement or approval. If you want to continue to follow Dr Leaf’s teaching, then more power to you. If you wish to read my story and to read what science and scripture say about mental health and illness, you’re welcome to read my books:
“Kintsukuroi Christians – Turning Mental Brokenness into Beauty” is a book for Christians and their loved ones to better understand that mental illness doesn’t have to leave us broken and useless, but that God can make us more beautiful for having been broken. Available from
Koorong = https://goo.gl/2kBlY2
Amazon US = https://goo.gl/7ZLI3H
Amazon UK = https://goo.gl/RsTSb3
Smashwords = https://goo.gl/kKl995
iBooks = https://itunes.apple.com/book/kintsukuroi-christians/id1231172522?mt=11
iBooks AU = https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/kintsukuroi-christians/id1231172522?mt=11
Hold that thought: Reappraising the work of Dr Caroline Leaf = https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/466848
This WHOLE thing is not about Dr Leaf or you or doctors, this is about those who suffer from mental illness. They’re the ones who are vulnerable and they’re the ones I fight for.
All the best to you.
OK I am super – glad to have stumbled across this information! Here I have been trying to fill my head with Dr. Caroline Leaf’s teachings thinking and believing that her research is the new breakthrough information I have been searching for, yet all the while having this nagging sense of discomfort due to her affiliation with Kenneth Copeland ministries – and here, thank God, is an educated, confident Believer just putting it out there as it should be – truthful and straightforward. I am so relieved that God is still in the education system. Keep up the good work buddy.
John 3:16; Romans 6:23, 12:1-3; Galatians 1-6
I must admit that this was a very stimulating 4th of July read (After watching the TED x video. . Thanks to both Dr. Caroline Leaf (and her husband), Dr. C Edward Pitt and others for openly stating your research and opinions. As we continue to thank God for His glorious freedom we also celebrate free thinking. Let’s continue to pray, serve and work to break all of the human chains that keep us bound in sin.
Blessings in Jesus Name!
I’m all in favour of free thinking. Thanks Elroy.
Thank God we have good Christians like Dr. Leaf who move toward raising others in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! There will always be naysayers of everything that others do for good. As good Christians we are to continue to learn and seek the truth, love others, and build Christian Faith in our Lord and Savor Jesus Christ.
Thanks for your comment. There are lots of good Christians who move towards raising others in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and there are also wolves in sheep’s clothing. How would anyone be able to tell the difference if it wasn’t for those pesky naysayers. You’re certainly welcome to your opinion, but I think it’s inaccurate to imply that being a ‘naysayer’ and being a ‘good Christian’ are mutually exclusive. The Bible says to speak the truth in love, not engage in naive conformity.
All the best to you.
It is only about out two days since somebody advertised to me a fringe church event that involved watching some video or other made by Dr Leaf. I was immediately sceptical of the value of what struck me as a project for evolving new or modernised Christian doctrines, based more, or as much upon what passes for science these days, than (or as) upon any of the traditional authorities for Christian doctrine. So I sought alternative opinions, on the merits of Dr Leaf’s new doctrines, or enhancement to old doctrines.
PItt the Younger cropped up. Before long, I was into familiar territory, that of the so-called “flame war”.
Hi John, thanks for the comment.
I’m not quite “Pitt the Younger” any more, more like “Pitt the middle-aged” (My sister, the unofficial family historian, as tried to find a connection from William Pitt to our family but hasn’t come ups with anything definitive yet).
I’m curious to know if your comment was inadvertently truncated as I’m intrigued to know what you meant about the so-called “flame war”. Love to hear more if you’re willing to share.
All the best to you.
I referred to you as “Pitt the Younger” because I read that you called yourself C Edward Pitt out of respect for your father, Edward Pitt, who I nicknamed “Pitt the Elder” in my mind.
Are you unfamiliar with the phrase “flame war”?
I was using tongue-in-cheek hyperbole. Actually, the discourse between yourself and the husband of Dr Leaf was reasonably genteel. But I thought I detected under-currents of mutual irritation all the same. That is understandable, given the topic, his wife, whom you effectively accuse of pseudoscience.
Science is deterministic, in a material way. Christianity is libertarian, or sometimes deterministic in a theistic way. I reject deterministic ways of thinking, both kinds. Still, never mind. It was bound to happen.
Hi John, thanks for the reply. Sorry, I missed the connection with “Pitt the younger” – straight over my head, but very clever. I have a wry smile now, both at your play on words and the fact I missed it. Oh well.
And thanks for the education – I hadn’t heard of a flame war before but it’s a fairly apt description. I try and stay genteel but it would be fair to say that Dr Leaf and I are not exactly on each other’s Christmas Card list.
Anyway, the comment and the reply, and the interest in the blog are all appreciated.
Take care good sir.
I am not an academic, nor a scientist or considered intellectual, but doesn’t the new information on epigenetics confirm a lot of her theories?
Thanks for the query. I think there’s a lot of information out there on epigenetics that’s been misrepresented by alternative health practitioners and by people like Dr Leaf, which is best summarised by this paragraph, and indeed, this blog post: “In the end, what is most concerning about the hype of epigenetics is how it feeds into what I’ve referred to (ironically, of course) as the “central dogma” of CAM: Namely ‘The Secret’. I fear that epigenetics is being grafted onto such mysticism such that not only can “positive thoughts” heal, but that they induce permanent (or at least long-lasting) changes in our genome through epigenetics. Besides the obvious danger that thinking does not usually make it so, which is a dangerous delusion for patients, the embrace of epigenetics as giving us “total control” over our health also produces the flip side of The Secret, which is that if one is ill it is his fault for not doing the right things or thinking happy enough faults.” ~ http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/02/11/epigenetics-you-keep-using-that-word-i-do-not-think-it-means-what-you-think-it-means/
All the best to you.
I just attended one of Dr. Leaf’s speaking events with my daughter last night. I had never heard of Dr. Leaf, but the event was promoted all over town as well as through our church. It was advertised as an event that would help us learn to detox the brain. As I know that with our current diet and heavy metals crossing the blood/brain barrier, I thought that was what a “brain detox” would consist of. Information on methods of ridding the physical brain of toxins. Instead, it was three hours of Dr. Leaf tooting her own horn telling us that her information is so profound that a woman in Africa was raped on her way to class and still immediately attended the class. I tend to be a little more cynical and try not to get caught up in group think, so this claim didn’t impress me, it actually sent up a red flag. She spent the rest of the time speaking very quickly about quantum physics and various other scientific information that has no real practical application to the average person, and telling us that “this is all in my book, and we have a three package deal.” Your description of her as a “self-marketing machine” is dead on. I learned nothing of any actual help to detoxing the brain except to basically “think happy thoughts” because negative thoughts are toxic, which most people already know. it just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.
Thanks for the comment. It’s always interesting to hear how people react to Dr Leaf the first time they hear her.
As you heard, she brags a lot about how amazing her research is, when in reality there’s actually no objective evidence that it’s actually helped anyone. None of the research that she’s published on her own work has shown any real effect.
And yes, the rest of it is just self-help on steroids, Christian aspirational narcissism, with a good sales pitch. She talks very fast, I’m sure it’s an intentional tactic to make it harder for most people to know they’re being fed a bunch of guess-work and fake science. Quantum physics sounds impressive but has nothing to do with the brain or mental health or the Bible.
Don’t buy her books, and warn your friends and your pastors that she is a slick seller of fake science.
By the way, unless you live in Flint MI, or you eat a lot of fish, heavy metal poisoning is very low and only a few heavy metals actually cross the blood brain barrier. Be wary of natural or alternative healers that want to sell you chelation or some herbal remedy. Just get a water filter instead, and avoid industrial chemicals. And exercise and eat good food, lots of veggies, a glass of red wine every now and then.
And don’t waste your time on Caroline Leaf.
Thanks again for the comment, all the best to you.
See that four years after you published your letter to Caroline’s husband, the same letter and same issues are being batted about. I expect that most of your regular audience do not carry the necessary training or depth of scientific background to sort through your assertions. I would assume a very small number of your readers are qualified to search out all the detailed studies or analyses cited as the various references. I would guess most of your readers are forced to take your conclusions on faith. You did qulify your older writing nby adding: “In fairness, the fields of neurology and neuroscience are vast and rapidly expanding, and it is impossible for one person to cover all of the literature on every subject.” Amen. I am sure a practitioner like you has to invest quite a bit o energy to keep up even for you! All this to say, is this subject important enough to convene a panel of respectable persons to explore some of the competing thought on these topics so the people can benefit from the “abundance of counselors? (As an aside, how do you factor in or out the general agreement that the things which men think are wise are plain foolishness; that spiritual things are not known by mind power?) Most of us will never gain expertise from listening to you or to Caroline. Thank you!
Good morning Paul,
Thanks for the comment.
“I expect that most of your regular audience do not carry the necessary training or depth of scientific background to sort through your assertions. I would assume a very small number of your readers are qualified to search out all the detailed studies or analyses cited as the various references. I would guess most of your readers are forced to take your conclusions on faith.”
Yes, I’m sure that’s true. Though in the spirit of academic integrity, I provide my citations so that my work can be critiqued by those who wish to critique it. In maintaining a level of transparency, I also allow a level of general accountability.
“All this to say, is this subject important enough to convene a panel of respectable persons to explore some of the competing thought on these topics so the people can benefit from the “abundance of counsellors?”
That’s a very good question. I guess you would have to find an audience of people who are interested in hearing the various opinions. From what I have seen, there isn’t the collective will amongst church leaders to listen to what I have to say. When I have spoken to church leaders about this, they have resorted to stone-walling or outright denial. In terms of a lay audience, I think a bunch of experts getting together and arguing would have all the appeal of watching a session of Parliament. Something needs to be done, as there is a lot of conflicting and often incorrect information being given by “experts” and the church leadership needs to learn to be more selective. But they have to be willing to change. A panel of experts will only be worth the time and effort if there is a willingness for our church leaders to act.
“As an aside, how do you factor in or out the general agreement that the things which men think are wise are plain foolishness; that spiritual things are not known by mind power?”
I think the key is that there is scientific knowledge, scriptural knowledge and spiritual truth. Scientific knowledge can be discovered through application of the scientific method and critical thinking. Scriptural knowledge can be acquired through systematic study of scripture and the application of critical thinking. Spiritual truth comes through revelation, through the connection of the Holy Spirit and our spirit. Spiritual truth and scriptural knowledge will always compliment one another. Scientific knowledge will occasionally explain some elements of scriptural knowledge and spiritual truth, but only the how, not the what or the why. For all intents and purposes, I believe that scientific knowledge is a different class.
Hence, it is true that if one were to try and apply the scientific method and critical thinking to spiritual truth, it will fail. For those who can only see through the lens of science, they will never be able to appreciate the depths of spiritual revelation, and thus, “the things which men think are wise are plain foolishness; that spiritual things are not known by mind power”.
But the corollary is also true, that one can not successfully apply revelation to scientific knowledge.
It should also be noted that critical thinking is still fundamental to understanding spiritual truth as critical thinking is necessary for scriptural knowledge which provides the necessary framework on which spiritual truth rests.
“Most of us will never gain expertise from listening to you or to Caroline.”
I’d suggest that no one will gain expertise from listening to myself or Dr Leaf. Expertise comes from years in training and practical experience. If you want expertise, go back to university.
I hope to provide factual knowledge so that people will have accurate information and the opportunity for informed choice. If all they have to listen to is Caroline Leaf, they will have neither.
Thanks for the thought provoking comment. All the best.
And thank you for investing your time in listening and responding to my offerings! I am almost flattered you would step down to my level a bit. I love it when I am exposed to thought or theory or disciplines where I am such a novice. I take note of the fascinating subjects and wonder whether the Lord will ever allow me the opportunity to be informed by others capable of guiding me deeper. I have to say that I have been unable to follow you o Caroline at the pace of the exposition, etc. I recall noting statements or comments I cannot accept on face value or that I cannot build into the general constructs where I integrate new data into the old. Perhaps I can encounter a forum where my questions may be addressed and given their due. If either of you are incorrect in parts of your teaching or practice I cling to Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth. As you both remain humble and teachable, He has every chance toi harmonize the components of your observations that now appear contraductoiry. May Jesus bless us all in our sincere attempts to edify the saved and pre-saved!! Happy New Year!
I’m honoured, Paul, but please don’t sell yourself short. There’s no stepping down going on here. We’re all one in Christ.
I’m impressed by your humility and desire for growth and understanding. If I’m moving too quickly, I’m happy to try and simplify things or direct you to more appropriate resources where I can. I’m sure there are groups of people on-line that also share your eager pursuit of deeper knowledge, where your questions are addressed with the respect due to them. I pray that God would guide you to such a place, and the Holy Spirit would guide you into the depths of knowledge that you desire.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14
Happy New Year to you too 🙂
All the best, mate.
Speaking of claims leaf has said, (like the woman raped),
I’m watching a YT of her right now.
First I find the rape story alarming.
Not that I believe for a moment that it’s true.
It’s obviously not.
It is alarming, first because she had the gall to float such a huge whopper, but on an even more serious note, people believe it.
Mentally ill ppl believe it, and she’s Making money off them.
Poor ppl who can’t really afford to spend money on her products are buying them.
One claim she made today was that psychotropic drugs knock 25 off your life if you take them because it makes your telemeres get shorter.
Then she said that covid hit, and so you lost another year…………..
Yes, she said this.
Confusion of categories is what this is called.
How did a year of sheltering in place add to year’s lost at the end of your life?
Did we skip over that year?
Is it now 26 years somehow?
Another clue to her inability to think coherently was that she said the mind is a gravity field that surrounds us. Not “like” gravity.
“It’s gravity, the electromatic spectrum.” She said, as if the three were the same.
Mind, gravity, EM spectrum
Gravity is not the electromagnetic spectrum.
Gravity and electromagnetism if I remember clearly are each fundamental Laws of physics.
Then she said when you die it stops.
Hilariously ignorant of what she’s saying.
It is true that all things that have mass have Gravity. But when you die your body still has mass and therefore, gravity. It would not cease.
This electromagnetic field that she claims is gravity that is the mind, (I can’t believe I’m saying this), this electromagnetic field would cease.
That is the only thing she said that would be true if what she said were true, when in fact it’s all just running out of her mouth like “stuff” through a goose.
It’s just horse hockey.
I’m a survivor of lifelong narcissistic abuse.
I know a thing or two about narcissism and psychopathy.
You can have either one, or both at the same time.
My dad had both, plus Machevelianism. The dark triad.
My brother is a narcissistic sociopath
He doesn’t inflict himself on you like dad does, but neither one has a conscience.
Look at her facial affect. Blank. Look in her eyes. There’s nothing there. Listen to her voice. Very little emotion evidenced by lack of inflection. And the fast talking, like a robot.
And that she’s full of it. Evident in the absurdity which she speaks.
Dear Christians out there, I may be wrong about her psychosis, but please beware of this woman.
Nothing she says makes any logical sense.
It’s like if she uses scientific language and talks really fast that no one will notice.
In “Word of Faith”
they sell words.
(It’s ingenious really, but it’s so wicked!)
With leaf it’s similarly ingenious.
“Thoughts of Health”.
She’s selling thoughts.
Dr Pitt…..I’ve spent the past few hours going through your material about Dr. Caroline Leaf. Recently a friend told me she was coming to a town near us, and highly recommended her. I started viewing some of Dr. Leaf’s online videos. I bought 4 tickets to go and hear her, and invited my husband and another couple to go with us. I really didn’t give them much information. I suspect that my husband humored me, or tolerated my pushing this event. Nonetheless, when we arrived at the event my husband prayed for discernment. On our way home, the four of us shared our observations. It is overwhelming listening to Dr. Leaf, as she does speak SO fast, and her husband often does not keep up the sides to keep up with her…..which was quite distracting. At one point when the host of the event was doing a short interview with Dr. Leaf she asked her to share the story of when her son was put in harms way in Rome when Dr. Leaf was unable to connect with her son for two hours. It was a frightful situation. But, something she said was quite disconcerting. She said she started praying for her son, but she also said prayer was not enough. She started putting mind over matter thoughts out there to keep him safe, which would keep her in contact with him. It was as if she were trusting in her mind over the power of prayer. That was a big New Age flag. After more discussion with my husband, I felt I needed to see what others were saying about Dr. Leaf online. I found your site. I can’t thank you enough for the information you are sharing. I downloaded your ebook about Dr. Leaf. Thank you for offering that. I am considering sharing it with the group (not a church) that hosted Dr. Leaf. Not sure they would listen as several in your audience don’t. But, I am very grateful for your knowledge, your wisdom, your in-depth documentation, your boldness and your humility….oh, and your humor is great too! Thank you! Ruth
Thank you very much for your kind words and keen observations. Thank God for answering your husband’s prayer and granting you all discernment.
Thank you for alerting me to Dr Leaf’s comment about prayer and how it was not enough. It’s very sad that she has been beguiled and snared by her own mistruth. I can’t say I’m particularly surprised though. Her claim that she could put mind over matter thoughts out there to keep her son safe and keep in contact with him is very new age, and fits in with other messages that she has previously given (at the church of TD Jakes, no less) ~ https://cedwardpitt.com/2016/10/19/the-secret-teaching-of-dr-caroline-leaf/
You are more than welcome to share any of my resources about Dr Leaf with any one you like. Please, spread the word. The more people that hear your concerns, the better. Shout it from Facebook and other social media platforms. Link to this post: https://cedwardpitt.com/2015/07/22/dr-caroline-leaf-still-contradicted-by-the-latest-evidence-scripture-and-herself/ or to the website debunkingdrleaf.com.
You’re right, most people don’t listen, but that doesn’t matter. The more than do, the quicker the truth can resist her lies, half-truths and fake science. Just share your story and your concerns, and take a stand for the truth.
Again, many thanks for sharing your encouraging appreciation and for standing up for the truth.
All the best 🙂
Thank you for your research and information.
Mine is a long story but in a nutshell, I came across Dr Leaf’s books and read ‘Who Switched off my brain?’ I had a sense of interest but underlying ‘WHAT!?!?’
The sins carried on to the third and fourth generation…
The 21 day brain detox… Which you never seemed to get to… Then when you finally got there (like a built up crescendo…!) I read it asking “What are you I about lady?!!!” You really had to figure it out for yourself… It was here I called foul play and warning signs began resounding with great noise and clamour!
I had a two for one deal and also had the other book, ‘The Perfect You.’
I was excited to read this as when I flicked through I saw Howard Gardners theory made up most of it and I’m an avid advocate and admirer not to mention classroom educator and promoter of the NINE theories of Multiple Intelligience…
However, when I was reading I started questioning when, where and how she was going to reference Mr Gardner and his theory which she was stealing for her own??!!
It came on page 82-84…
This is what made me find you!
She basically says Howard Gardner only made a low level theory and her Geodisic one is superior etc… Then she proceeds to write the entire rest of the book using his SEVEN theories of multiple Intelligience with repeated questions such as “Do you like to paint? Why or why not?”
I could honestly come up with a book of amazing questions but mine (as with many other practitioners of this theory) would offer a proper diagnostic tool to calculate what you are and give you insight into what practical things this means for you in regards to life…!
Her book leaves you not only hanging… But is so ridiculously ridiculously ridiculously written with little understanding of the practical outcome of this theory in practice that it pains me. How can I get my money back and complain about this foul thought?!
So, I wrote to Professor Howard Gardner who still works at Harvard University. He was interested to know about this book and reference to his theory.
So at least I felt I had done what I could to let the original theorist know of this (to what I felt was akin to) plagiarism and taking credit where none is due to Dr Leaf!
If she had referenced him and noted she was using and developing her ideas based on his and thanked him for his groundbreaking research (peer reviewed!!!) and had even contacted him as a matter of courtesy and offered a free book then I would have felt different! But to take a man’s theory widely cited in his field of education and psychology and make it seem to lay people it’s your theory then you better watch out!
It honestly made me mad.
Your writings and information are liberating and open and I thank you.
I find her ideas and books dangerous. Offering a 21 day brain and thought detox is dangerous!
I find Joyce Meyer far more beneficial and at least she is not claiming to be a theologically trained expert in fact quite the opposite. She laughs at how ridiculous it is that she never went to college but was given accreditation regardless… She doesn’t claim to be an expert on psychology but speaks from her own life and experience of scripture so it’s far more balanced and rational without claiming to be what you’re not…
I tried to contact her and received the answers you received referencing her website…
As you also point out, many are helped by numerous ideology from all kinds of people it doesn’t mean they are who they say they are…
It would be far more credible if Caroline Leaf had the humility to change her claim and started saying “I have a degree in speech pathology and I’m passionate about this and this and this…”
Just because I did a bachelors degree in arts and did two papers in sociology doesn’t make me a sociologist!
Bravo Dr Pitt!
Annoyed reader of pseudo Dr Leaf!!!
Hi ‘Annoyed’ 🙂
Thanks for your comment. I understand how you feel. Your recent experiences align very closely with how I felt at the start of my journey with Dr Leaf.
As you’ve gathered, Dr Leaf has some pretty grandiose delusions, and she does have a tendency to “repackage” the evidence-based and peer-reviewed theories of real academics and scientists, reinterpreting them through her own pseudoscientific lens and promoting the final Frankenstein-esque theory as her own. She did the same thing with mind-mapping and the work of Buzan and turned it into her “Metacog” (“Who switched off my brain”, Appendix A, pp 152 – 153).
I think it’s good that you wrote to Dr Leaf, even if the outcome was stone-walling from her minions, as predicted. I also think it’s good that you alerted Prof Gardner. If he chose to respond, I’m sure his voice would have much more authority than Dr Leaf’s.
If you feel strongly enough, I’m more than happy to republish any critique of her book on my blog and website that you would be comfortable in writing. No pressure at all. But if Dr Leaf isn’t going to listen, then other people might, and the only way other people are going to hear is if you speak. And since you are much more familiar with Prof Gardner’s work, you are in the best place to write that critique. If you’re interested, let me know through the comments.
The other thing to do is to tell your friends about how you feel, and why. Tell your pastor. Tell the state or national church oversight for your denomination. Rate and comment on Dr Leaf’s books on Goodreads and Amazon, Google, B&N etc. Fake science only wins if real science stays silent.
Thanks very much for sharing.
All the best to you 🙂
Robert Salpolsky PhD Stanford- looks into stress and health. It is known there are stress hormones /cortisol that can have a negative affect on ones health. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYG0ZuTv5rs
Sure – too much cortisol is bad. That’s not in dispute. But when it comes to the impact of psychosocial stress and cortisol and health effects, it becomes more complicated, and Dr Leaf makes a number of assumptions that do not align with basic science.
Dear Dr. Pitt,
Could I ask about your opinion on people (Christians) other than Dr. Leaf? I have been impressed by Jonathan Cahn, Dennis and Jennifer Clark, and Sid Roth. Thank you very much.
Thanks for your enquiry. I must admit, I haven’t looked in depth at any of those people, so I can’t say anything in great depth about them.
Jonathon Cahn – I don’t know him, but a quick search of the web suggests that he’s making a lot of outlandish claims. http://www.equip.org/article/an-unpersuasive-paradigm/
Sid Roth – I don’t watch Sid Roth, though I have watched part of his interview with Caroline Leaf. Caroline Leaf said that we could change our body with our mind. Sid asked her if that meant we could heal our cholesterol just by using the power of our minds, and Caroline Leaf said Yes. Sid just accepted such a bogus statement as fact without batting an eyelid. That was enough for me. I get the feeling that Sid Roth doesn’t have any standards when it comes to what is fact and what just sounds good. Others have written more in-depth critiques – http://rollanscensoredissuesblog.blogspot.com.au/2010/06/sid-roth-truth-and-illusion.html – which you can take or leave … I can’t say if they’re accurate or not.
Ps Dennis Clark and Dr Jennifer Clark – I don’t really know anything about them or their work. Jennifer Clark has degrees in Psychology and Education and is a Doctor of Theology. Other than appearing on Sid Roth’s program (a red flag for me), I don’t have any specific knowledge as to whether their teaching is legit.
So bottom line – I’d be wary, but I would suggest you might have to have a look around and do some fact checking on them if you’re not sure. Ask for discernment from the Holy Spirit. Caveat emptor always applies.
All the best to you.
Hello, you mentioned Dr. Leaf hasnt done some items for 20 years, but she just mentioned she’s working with clinical trails and such. Am I to read into what she means by clinical trail, or do you mean that she is not qualified to teach these items?
Thanks for the question. Dr Leaf did her PhD in 1998. One of her supervisors was on the editorial panel of a small journal in South Africa, and thus Dr Leaf managed to get three articles published in this journal, all of which were based on her masters and doctoral research. This was the last lot of peer-reviewed research that Dr Leaf has done. Dr Leaf was also involved in a trial of her own program, the “Switch On Your Brain with the 5-Step Learning Process” in the 2000’s . The research failed to show any benefit, and in some cases seemed to hinder the students and worsen their outcomes. Not surprisingly, that research wasn’t published in a peer-reviewed publication. You can read more about her “research” in this post here: https://cedwardpitt.com/2015/03/26/the-tedx-users-guide-to-dr-caroline-leaf/
Dr Leaf may be currently working on some research, and if she is, great. I would love to see her research opened up to the rigours of peer-review and the broader scrutiny of the scientific community. Though somehow I doubt she really is involved in a clinical trial, since she has no scientific or academic credibility and has no connection with a university or other research institution. I’m sure her claims are more smoke and mirrors, a part of her penchant for grandiosity and exaggeration.
As for whether Dr Leaf is qualified to teach anything … it’s not whether she is qualified or not, it’s what she is actually teaching that is more important, and if you read through my book and blog posts, I think you’ll see my position on the quality of her teaching.
Thanks again for the question, and all the best to you.
Could you kindly look at this research published in the BMJ.
Your comment on this research appreciated. Seems to establish clear link between mental activity and body function.
Appreciate your comment.
Not endorsing Dr. Leaf but this would seem to give weight to some of her claims.
Thanks for the reference. Personally I don’t think this study supports Dr Leaf’s assertions, nor do I think that this helps to prove that the mind has any real power over the body.
I don’t think this study shows anything new – it was an open trial with small numbers. The intervention was basically “CBT-lite” and the outcome could have been a treatment effect that would have occurred with any extra treatment provided, especially since it wasn’t blinded.
In the introduction, the article mentions that CBT of any form is effective at 6 months compared with usual care, so the study is probably reflective of this broad treatment effect of any psychological intervention, which like I said, isn’t particularly earth-shattering.
I have discussed the effectiveness of CBT before (in blogs and in my book on Dr Leaf’s teaching). When the components of CBT are considered separately, the cognitive component of cognitive behavioural therapy isn’t that powerful. It’s probably the behavioural activation of CBT that’s the most beneficial aspect. If our thoughts were that important, then the cognitive component of CBT would have a much stronger effect.
Not that it particularly matters in regards to Dr Leaf’s teaching, since she postulated that the mind is separate from the brain but controls the brain, but there’s so much evidence that refutes her hypothesis that one study of limited design and statistical power would not make any significant difference in support of it.
Interesting study, and thanks again for the reference, but it certainly doesn’t change my mind when it comes to the validity (or non-validity, as it were) of Dr Leaf’s teaching.
All the best.
So your website is dedicated to bashing Dr. Leaf. Why? Did you attempt to collaborate with her and she rejected you?
Actually this blog is about the honest truth. It’s such a shame that you can’t see beyond the most superficial of all assumptions to understand the deeper issues. I hope you’re able to gain a much deeper understanding of all facts in the future.
All the best.
The detection of irritation is most prominent here. It’s in every reply toward any comments, backing Dr Leaf, even slightly supporting, even a fraction of what she states.
I don’t side 100% with anyone, due to our own infallibility. But why flame-throw
Within my circles, we call it “warring of words” = to denigrate others words, with the efforts to shape the discourse, in their own favor. Albeit to discredit everything she writes about. With complete disregard, for the help she has given.
This IS the climate in Washington DC, and the norm in our culture (the world).
Don’t get me wrong (or try to war my words! lol). Critical thinking is needed, to filter out godlessness.
Why show the world we are no better than the pagans ~ We are to show we are Christians by our love (no doubt they’re red letters — John 13:33-35). Not for the sake of us, but for others that do not know HIM!
Do we wrestle with principalities and powers?
Or other Christians that have their own ability to connect with El Roi!
He sees, He Knows, HE hears!
It’s clear flame throwing/warring words is going on ~ Strife and quarreling does not please Our Father.
Perhaps you could take a lesson or 2 from Francis Schaeffer!
Gotta go now and put on my armour (Eph 6) ready myself for the flaming spears/ warring words.
Thanks for sharing your opinion. I’m sorry that you disagree with my tone in some of my comments. I guess it’s a subjective view, as I have had many others compliment me about how polite I am when I reply to Dr Leaf’s baked-on adherents. So I guess “irritation” is in the eye of the beholder.
I do agree with you that “Critical thinking is needed, to filter out godlessness”. And also to promote the truth, since God is the God of all Truth. I’m going to continue to push for critical thinking and the truth, even if I might sometimes come across a little bit irritable.
All the best to you.
I welcome Pitt’s questions. In a general sense, I have found some helpful information in Leaf’s approaches to well being. However, alarm bells were also ringing regarding her ironclad certainty, and I could see that amongst her followers there could be casualties along the way- eg the person with cancer who strives to be in control of their mind but still sickened. But with the added weight of guilt- not having been victorious in ‘renewing one’s mind’. Let’s be wise, discerning, sifting through Leaf’s approaches and ideas for what is Godly and useful. But let’s also avoid an unkind legalism that puts unfair burdens on struggling people. And let us be open to Pitt’s questions- valid and in need of answers.
Go look up the CDC’s ACE study on trauma and stress causing diseases. This isn’t a new concept, even the CDC knows it.
Thanks for your comment. Perhaps you would like to further elucidate how ACE’s cause disease. Is it through negative thinking patterns? Because Dr Leaf believes that it’s any negative thinking pattern, or ‘toxic thought’, that can cause disease, independent of ACE’s.
All the best to you.
Incredible. Thank you so much for sharing this. Have you heard her new series about positive thinking and “quantum physics”? It’s an absolute hoot. Unfortunately, several churches are using the videos as a small group series directed towards people with no scientific background and frankly it’s embarrassing and wrong to poach on those who deal with mental illness in particular and claim quantum physics or “science” says her claims are correct and you can will your way out of a health situation by thinking good thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe in the power of prayer, but don’t say you’re right because “science” says so.
I am amused by your post which continues the long string of unfair criticism fostered by Dr. Pitt. Long ago I am engaged in significant discussion with him and reviewed his apparent being removed out devotion to targeting Caroline with arguments that are rarely understood by anyone except him. As we concluded a while ago, we enjoy free speech in this country and he can continue to mislead people without consequence.
Paul R. Hedges, Esquire
1101 N Battlefield Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23320
Sent from my iPhone
Hi Paul, thanks for your comment. As you say, we enjoy free speech. Whom is misleading whom is a matter of opinion, as is one’s perception of critique or criticism. You’re welcome to your opinion, but honestly, you appear to be the only one who has failed to understand my critique of Dr Leaf. If you wish to further contribute to the discussion from an objective, factual basis then I welcome your contribution. Otherwise, your opinion is noted.
All the best to you.
Dr. Pitt, could I ask you one small thing? Could you compile a short document, say 10-20 pages, maybe quite dense, but coherent, possibly with references, where you would focus EXCLUSIVELY on what remains of Caroline Leaf’s teaching after what you have to debunk is debunked?
And, possibly, if anything useful remains at all, to explain how and (hypothetically why) it can help people in problems in a similar way as the whole (without the debunked parts) seems to have helped some?
I think yours is a jolly good underlying question, though Dr Pitt might not take kindly to its being posed to him by way of your setting him a homework assignment that requires him to write 10 to 20 pages.
Coincidentally, I was thinking earlier today, in a completely different context, about the possibility that a body of learning and practice that had pseudoscientific foundations, might nevertheless be demonstrated scientifically to be helpful to believers in it, in some cases. (I was reminiscing – and praying – about an unhappy encounter I had some years ago with an “attachment theory” specialist instructed by the family court, if you must know.) I envisaged that an effect similar to the placebo effect might be at work in any real-life examples of the postulated phenomenon concerned, a phenomenon which I think your own question shows you may also have in mind.
Dr Pitt’s own response will probably be much more interesting than mine.
I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said! I’ve been following This thread for over six years now. I took so Caroline leaf at a church sponsored women’s event in California many years ago! This woman is truly a scam artist! I personally witnessed this for myself.
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