Mac Leaf responds to “Dr Caroline Leaf – Serious Questions, Few Answers”

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, here is his reply, complete and unabridged.  My further response is posted here.

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 or my reply are welcome provided they are constructive.

Hi Dr C. Pit,

It is a pity you did not seek to clarify the comments you have posted above with us before you posted them. We hope you allow our comments to be displayed so that your readers can make informed decisions and not to judge Dr Leaf as you have done without getting accurate information. By your comments it is obvious that you have not kept up to date with the latest Scientific research.

Dr Leaf can call herself a Cognitive Neuroscientist because of her field research (published in peer evaluated Journals) …see the Science articles in the media/downloads section at drleaf.com. If you require, we can also send letters from her peers in the field of Neuroscience

She also developed the Geodesic Information Processing model theory.

Yes she does read a lot as the field of Neuroscience is constantly evolving and one has to be as informed as possible.

Some research links re the correlation between illness and thought are presented in Dr Leaf’s November the 30th blog at drleaf.com…blog. There are many more statistic correlation research links.

Dr Leaf has listed references differently in the different books and has a full list of references in the ‘thought life’ section at drleaf.com. The references were listed simply in that book for the lay person. This is an accepted literary format for the lay person. Subsequent books have fuller references.

The mini brain in the heart research can be found at Heartmath.org

Heartmath and Dr Don Colbert both reference the effect of ANF

The wired for optimism bias research has been evidenced by various scientific researchers
For easy access to this research please see the Google links to TED talks and Time Magazine’s article.

Please send us your E-mail address so that we can send you further documentation.

BELOW IS A LETTER OF REFERENCE FROM A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL ENDORSING DR CAROLINE LEAF
My name is Dr Peter Amua-Quarshie and I am presently a full-time Adjunct Professor (lecturer) at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, Wisconsin. I have a B.Sc (Hons) in Medical Sciences (specializing in Neuropathology) and a Masters of Public Health (MPH), both degrees from the University of Leeds (UK). Additionally I have a medical degree (MB ChB) from the University of Ghana Medical School, Accra, Ghana, and a Master’s of Science (MS) in Behavioral and Neural Sciences from Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey. I started teaching anatomy in the University of Leeds Medical School in 1996. I have taught Neurochemistry to graduate students and Neuroscience to undergraduates at Delaware State University and the University of Wisconsin respectively. I have known Dr. Caroline Leaf since 2006 and have worked closely with her since 2008 on various projects in the field of cognitive neuroscience.
Caroline Leaf received her training in Communication Pathology (BSC Logopaedics) at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. The University of Cape Town has produced many outstanding graduates, including Max Theiler, a Nobel Prize laureate in Physiology or Medicine and Christaan Barnard, the first person to successfully transplant a human heart. Caroline Leaf was a contemporary to the eminent neuroscientist Henry Markram, director of the Blue Brain Project and the new one billion Euro European Union Flagship Project, the Human Brain Project. As well having to study the cognition, she had to endure the rigor of the first 2 years of the medical course, in which she had to study neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. Dr. Leaf also holds a Master’s degree and PhD in Communication Pathology from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. In her Master’s degree her dissertation concentrated on cognitive neuroscience of Traumatic Brain Injury (Closed Head Injury). In developing her groundbreaking Geodesic Learning™ Theory (brain-compatible learning) in her ground breaking PhD thesis, she examined cognition and neurobiology of thinking. The Geodesic Learning™ Theory has been implemented among approximately 100,000 students in South Africa with great success. I have personally helped implement her Geodesic Learning™ Theory in a School District in the USA and was able to demonstrate quantitative improvement in scholastics across the board among the students. She is widely published in journal, book, DVD, television and the internet in the field of cognitive neuroscience in South Africa, USA and other parts of the world.
I have discussed neuroscientific subjects with her for multiple hours many times and have been thoroughly impressed with her knowledge and insight in neurobiology. However what really thrills me is revelation God gives her about the brain. She is an example to me of a neuroscientist who glorifies God in her pursuit of understanding the brain, and who is able to demonstrate that we are truly fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

DR LEAF’s BIOGRAPHY

Since 1985, Dr Caroline Leaf, a Communication Pathologist and Audiologist, has worked in the area of Cognitive Neuroscience. She holds a Bsc Logopaedics with focus on in Neuroscience, Neuronanatomy and anatomy, Communication Pathology, Psychology, linguistics and audiology) , Masters in Communication Pathology She specialized in Traumatic Brain Injury and PhD in Communication Pathology (TBI) and Learning Disabilities focusing specifically on the Science and neuroscience of Thought as it pertains to thinking and learning. She developed a Cognitive Neuroscientific theory called the Geodesic Information Processing Theory for her PhD research and did some of the initial research back in the 1990’s showing how using non-traditional techniques, based on neuroscientific principles of neuroplasticity and neuropsychological principles, that the mind can change the brain and can effect behavioural change as seen academically, behaviorally and emotionally. A large part of her research in recent years has been to link scientific principles with scripture showing how science is catching up with the bible.

She applied the findings of her statistically proven research in clinical practice for nearly 20 years and now lectures and preaches around the world on these topics. She is a prolific author of many books, articles and scientific articles. She has been a featured guest of Enjoying Everyday Life with Joyce Meyer, and LIFE TODAY with James and Betty Robison, Marilyn Hickey, Sid Roth and TBN Doctor to Doctor, amongst many others. She has her own show on TBN called Switch on Your Brain.

Her passion is to help people see the link between science and scripture as a tangible way of controlling their thoughts and emotions, learning how to think and learn and finding their sense of purpose in life.

Caroline and her husband, Mac, live in Dallas, Texas with their four children.

Dr Leaf’s Qualifications

Web page: http://www.drleaf.com has my full qualifications and links to the Universities where I studied

Dr Leaf’s Reference list

1. Leaf, C.M. 1985. “Mind Mapping as a Therapeutic Intervention Technique”. Unpublished workshop manual.

2. Leaf, C.M. 1989. “Mind Mapping as a Therapeutic Technique” in Communiphon, South African Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 296, pp. 11-15.

3. Leaf, C.M. 1990. “Teaching Children to Make the Most of Their Minds: Mind Mapping” in Journal for Technical and Vocational Education in South Africa, 121, pp. 11-13.

4. Leaf, C.M. 1990. “Mind Mapping: A Therapeutic Technique for Closed Head Injury”. Masters Dissertation, University of Pretoria.

5. Leaf, C.M. 1992. “Evaluation and Remediation of High School Children’s Problems Using the Mind Mapping Therapeutic Approach” in Remedial Teaching, Unisa, 7/8, September 1992.

6. Leaf, C.M., Uys, I.C. and Louw, B. 1992. “The Mind Mapping Approach(MMA): A Culture and Language-Free Technique” in The South African Journal of Communication Disorders, Vol. 40, pp. 35-43.

7. Leaf, C.M. 1993. “The Mind Mapping Approach (MMA): Open the Door to Your Brain Power; Learn How to Learn” in Transvaal Association of Educators Journal (TAT).

8. Leaf, C.M. 1997. “The Mind Mapping Approach: A Model and Framework for Geodesic Learning”. Unpublished D.Phil Dissertation, University of Pretoria.

9. Leaf, C.M. 1997. “The Development of a Model for Geodesic Learning: The Geodesic Information Processing Model” in The South African Journal of Communication Disorders, Vol. 44, pp. 53-70.

10. Leaf, C.M. 1997. “The Move from Institution Based Rehabilitation (IBR) to Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR): A Paradigm Shift” in Therapy Africa, 1 (1) August 1997, p. 4.

11. Leaf, C.M. 1997. ‘”An Altered Perception of Learning: Geodesic Learning” in Therapy Africa, 1 (2), October 1997, p. 7.

12. Leaf, C.M., Uys, I. and Louw. B., 1997. “The Development of a Model for Geodesic Learning: the Geodesic Information Processing Model” in The South African Journal For Communication Disorders, 44.

13. Leaf, C.M. 1998. “An Altered Perception of Learning: Geodesic Learning: Part 2” in Therapy Africa, 2 (1), January/February 1998, p. 4.

14. Leaf, C.M., Uys, I.C. and Louw, B. 1998. “An Alternative Non-Traditional Approach to Learning: The Metacognitive-Mapping Approach” in The South African Journal of Communication Disorders, 45, pp. 87-102.

15. Leaf. C.M. 2002. Switch on Your Brain with the Metacognitive-Mapping Approach. Truth Publishing.

16. Leaf, C.M. 2005. Switch on Your Brain. Understand Your Unique Intelligence Profile and Maximize Your Potential. Tafelberg, Cape Town, SA

17. Leaf, C.M. 2008. Switch on Your Brain 5 Step Learning Process. Switch on Your Brain USA, Dallas.

18. Leaf, C.M. 2007. Who Switched Off My Brain? Controlling Toxic Thoughts and Emotions. Switch on Your Brain USA, Dallas.

19. Leaf, C.M. 2007. “Who Switched Off My Brain? Controlling Toxic Thoughts and Emotions”. DVD series. Switch on Your Brain, Johannesburg, SA.

20. Leaf, C.M., Copeland M. & Maccaro, J. 2007. “Your Body His temple. God’s Plan for Achieving Emotional Wholeness”. DVD series. Life Outreach International, Dallas.

22 thoughts on “Mac Leaf responds to “Dr Caroline Leaf – Serious Questions, Few Answers”

  1. Pingback: Dr Caroline Leaf – Contradicted by the latest research | Dr C. Edward Pitt

  2. It was really good to hear your arguments around Dr Caroline Leafs work. It proves that the work is worth looking deeper into. She won’t be able to minimise every possible bias. You had some good points and it has helped me to refine how I go about doing my own research and how to present that. Dr Leafs work has been very helpful to me on a personal level, including inspiring me to attempt my own career in psychology and further research into the message that she is trying to convey.
    Any good Dr has peers trying to pull apart their theories, this is the only way humanity will come to any conclusions about how we are wired and how we can function to our full potential.
    Though not everyone gets to go to school/university and do their own research having all this work out simply and in a way that I as a currently uneducated person can understand makes her life work worth more than if it just went into a journal only to be read by peers and pulled apart to try and discover some level of truth.
    Perhaps your approach could be to look at the work she has done and see what benefit it has for “lay” people.
    what are the negative affects of an uneducated person picking up this book switch on your brain and working through it? Why waste time trying to fight against someone’s research and claims ? What are you actually trying to achieve?
    People spend their lives coming up with theories that remain theories, Dr Leaf is using what she knows and the success stories she has seen come to pass to educate others to free their minds.
    I haven’t delved into the percentages from either her or you around illness being related to stress and I am certainly not trying to be scholarly in any way, I just find that seeing someone passionate about people’s health and wellbeing and not cutting parts of their brain out or using medication or electric shocks to treat people much more encouraging and makes the psychology world seem more beneficial than hurting a few people through experimentation only to come to no avail.
    However as previously mentioned it’s great to see that other Drs are paying attention to her work. There must be something worthwhile paying attention to.
    They say research isn’t good research until it’s been picked a part by peers..
    My suggestion to Dr Leaf and her husband would be to note that whatever you’re doing is working because other Drs are paying attention but also maybe it creates opportunity for you to see a different perspective?? Though you are just a couple of people and probably need at least a hundred other researchers to address some of the points he brought up.
    Anyway I’m sitting in a cafe having done no research around any of this, just wanted to say Dr Leaf you’re doing an amazing job and Dr Pitt thanks for picking these points out because it has opened my eyes to narrowing down my own research and working with a smaller group than trying to change the world 😃

    • Jacquie,

      Thanks for your insights and opinions.

      I’m glad that Dr Leafs work (and perhaps my critique) has helped you in finding your path. I wish you all the best in your chosen study and vocation. Psychology helps a lot of people, so I think you’re on to a good thing.

      I can’t speak for Dr and Mr Leaf, but if you feel that Dr Leafs work has benefitted you as a lay person then that’s good. There are many other appreciative testimonies on Dr Leafs social media pages.

      And you’re right in suggesting that any good theory needs to be pulled apart to prove that it’s robust, that’s how good science works. Though it’s interesting to note at this point that Dr Leafs social media moderators actively censor dissenting comment, and block those who express alternative views from commenting. This didn’t just happen to me, but to others who have shared this in comments on this blog. One wonders why Dr Leaf has allowed her moderators to do this, since it only stifles free speech, critical appraisal, and the progress of good science.

      You made a very reasonable suggestion to look at the work Dr Leaf has done and see what benefit it has for “lay” people, and as it turns out, I’ve done so just recently. I reviewed Dr Leaf’s published research including her PhD thesis and a study on the effectiveness of her “Switch On Your Brain 5-Step Learning” module. I think it’s fair to say that Dr Leaf’s published trials have shown that her programs are ineffective. I understand that sounds harsh, so let me clarify.

      In order to eliminate bias, controlled trials with adequate statistical analysis need to be done. When Dr Leafs published results are reviewed in the cold light of day, the change that’s seen is negligible, if indeed there is any change at all. The results in her Dallas study appear to be mostly due to chance. Her PhD research showed negligible difference between the controls and the intervention. There may have also been some negative effects. For a full analysis, I suggest that you review my post “The TEDx Users Guide to Dr Caroline Leaf” (https://cedwardpitt.com/2015/03/26/the-tedx-users-guide-to-dr-caroline-leaf/).

      You then ask three very important questions: “what are the negative affects of an uneducated person picking up this book switch on your brain and working through it? Why waste time trying to fight against someone’s research and claims? What are you actually trying to achieve?” I am the first to admit that there is no direct evidence that Dr Leaf’s research or teaching has done direct harm, although like I said earlier, Dr Leaf’s moderators suppress dissenting opinion and comment, so who knows. However, if Dr Leaf’s teaching is ineffective, then at the very least, those who have a mental illness and who attempt Dr Leaf’s tools and programs are wasting money and time on something ineffective, when they could be engaging in effective management. Further, in her 2013 book, Dr Leaf suggests that taking anti-depressants for the treatment of depression “is biblically and scientifically incorrect.” (Leaf, C. M. (2013). Switch On Your Brain : The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books: p32) Should someone with depression take Dr Leaf’s statement at face value, then there is a real possibility that they would stop their medications and relapse. So Dr Leaf’s teaching may divert someone from receiving useful therapy, and potentially may have serious consequences.

      Hence, why I think that challenging her research and claims is time well spent. Mental health care is critical to our society and the church, which makes it even more imperative that the teaching of the most influential speaker on mental health in the church is critiqued, as her teaching is going shape the direction of the church’s handling of mental health care into the future.

      It may seem esoteric to debate the correctness of statistics, but both the discrepancy between Dr Leaf’s numbers and current estimates, and how she arrived at those numbers, speak to her ability to interpret research and arrive at appropriate conclusions, and thus, how we should judge her other hypotheses.

      If you haven’t done so already, I would suggest that you read my book “Hold that thought: Reappraising the work of Dr Caroline Leaf” (iBooks = https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hold-that-thought/id908877288?mt=11 or Smashwords = https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/466848) which gives a much more in-depth review of Dr Leaf’s work and the evidence for and against it. I believe that there are a number of critical flaws with Dr Leaf’s teaching, but if you still agree with Dr Leaf after reviewing all of the evidence, then that’s fine. I only ask that people review Dr Leafs work, and my own, with an open mind.

      All the best with your future studies, and again, thanks for sharing your opinion.

      • Hi Edward

        I find it very interesting that you spend so much time on your opinion regarding Caroline Leaf. Why don’t you rather focus your time on stating what you believe should be done to make this world a better place!

      • Hi Marisa,

        Thanks for your comment.

        Sharing my opinion on Dr Leaf *IS* what I believe will make the world a better place. I believe the majority of Dr Leaf’s teaching is factually inaccurate and misleading, and has the very real risk of causing harm.

        I’ve gone to great lengths to justify my opinion scientifically rather than make baseless accusations. I have no problem if people disagree with me, so long as they have objectively considered both sides of the debate before coming to their conclusions.

        I’ll say again, for the record, that I’m not criticising Dr Leaf as a person, and I’m not questioning her motives, which I believe to be genuine. But misinformation with the best of intentions is still misinformation.

        If you have any specific issues about what I’ve written on Dr Leaf, feel free to raise these and I’ll willingly discuss them.

        All the best.

  3. I would like just to note that neither mental health care or society has been given the mandate to care for the soul needs. Talk about ineffectual.

  4. I believe strongly in Dr. Caroline Leafs teachings because although I just found her on facebook earlier this year the way she teach I have been learning for years. My brain work the same way as she teaches the brain work. I keep up a continual internal dialog with the Holy Spirit as she teaches and it works to keep your thought life under control. Stop fighting against what she say (being so technical) and try to learn something that can change your life as well as save it. I love you Dr. Caroline, Vanessa

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Vanessa. Your feelings for Dr Leaf are touching, and your opinions are common amongst Dr Leaf’s ardent supporters.

      It’s not my place to tell you what to believe, that’s entirely up to you. If you want to believe Dr Leaf’s teaching, I’m not going to argue. So long as you can honestly say that you have considered both sides of the debate.

      Dr Leaf is charismatic and engaging, but spinning a good story isn’t necessarily the same as speaking the truth. So perhaps it’s Dr Leaf who should stop fighting what I say and try and learn something from me?

      Like I said, you can believe what you like, but I’m confident that there’s nothing I can learn from Dr Leaf, and I am supremely confident in my salvation as my faith is in God’s word, not Dr Leaf’s version of it.

      All the best to you.

      • Dr. Pitt

        This is my first time commenting on any type of forum. I read the things you wrote about Dr. Caroline Leaf, I read her husband’s response and I read comments that a view wrote to you supporting Dr. Leaf with attacking you or disrespecting you. What you have presented my or may not be true, (I have not had an opportunity to check it out) but you tone in your writing and response to those who seem to support her seems a little sharp and spiteful. Makes it seem more of a personal attack against Dr. Caroline Leaf and not, constructive criticism. Bringing awareness to improper doctrine is very important. But how you bring that awareness is just as important. If you placed all the accusations concerning the accuracy of her findings without contacting her and sharing your concerns with her and giving her an opportunity to address those concerns, seems unprofessional. Also, Dr. Pitt is your book about Dr. Leaf free?
        Monica

      • Hi Monica,

        Thanks for taking the time to raise those very important points.

        I confess, I’m very passionate about this subject. Having experienced mental ill-health personally, living with it in my family, and professionally seeing people every day who struggle with the profound despair and disability that mental ill-health brings, I have become a very strong advocate for those suffering from mental illness and their families.

        I’m self-aware enough to know that sometimes this zeal can spill over too much into what I write, which some people will judge to be personal criticism of Dr Leaf. But I’m also aware that I could be as bland and unemotional as humanly possible, but people would still interpret my disagreement with Dr Leaf’s teaching as something personal against her. Though on the other end of the spectrum, I have also had a fair degree of support as well. So I guess a lot of how my writing is perceived is in the eye of the beholder.

        From my point of view, it’s my intention to fully debunk and rebut Dr Leaf’s teaching and ‘scientific’ claims, without criticising her personally. That’s how good science works. If I do slip into personal criticism, then I will rewrite that post or said-portion.

        For the record, I did approach Dr Leaf as directly as I could after I heard her the first time. My concerns were sent through to the senior pastor of the church who hosted her, who kindly forwarded my concerns to her. But I also wanted to start a public discussion on Dr Leaf’s teaching as I had serious concerns about what she taught, concerns that were not publicly mirrored. Instead of Dr Leaf replying to me directly, the reply came from Mac Leaf, who chose to publicly criticise and dismiss my concerns (quite arrogantly in my opinion) on my blog post. That was a little over two years ago. In my reply, I made an offer that Dr Leaf was welcome to reply to anything I said, and I would publish it, in full and unabridged. The offer I made then still stands. I’ve made further offers – I will meet with Dr Leaf face to face, in private, in any Australian city that she chooses. She’s yet to take me up on this offer as well. Indeed, when Dr Leaf preached earlier this year in the city in which I live, I went up to her afterwards to shake her hand and introduce myself but was blocked by her presidential style security. So I feel as though I’ve made every effort to come to her directly with my concerns, all of which have been ignored or rebuffed to date. The offer to meet and the right of reply still stands if Dr Leaf wants to take the next step. The ball is in her court.

        Finally, yes, my book is free but is only available in electronic forms –
        Smashwords = https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/466848
        iTunes = https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hold-that-thought/id908877288?mt=11
        Web = http://www.debunkingdrleaf.com/hold-that-thought/

        Thanks for your willingness to discuss your concerns. I appreciate all opinions here. In the future, if you do think I step over the line from strident critique of Dr Leaf’s ideas to criticism of Dr Leaf herself, please shoot me a comment and I’ll definitely review it.

        All the best to you.

  5. I hardly see you as qualified to install yourself as a critic of Dr. Leaf or any expert in her field for that matter. Here is an excerpt from your own “about” tab on this rather trollish blog of yours;

    “Since attaining his GP Fellowship in 2005, he has gained experience in many and varied areas of medicine including Skin Cancer Medicine, Cosmetic Medicine, Aged Care, Sexual Health and Family Planning, and is a regular question writer and examiner for the Royal Australian College of General Practice.”

    Laughable that you expect someone of Dr. Leaf’s stature to engage you in your so called search for the truth and mission to expose apostasy. This blog is nothing more than a sad diabolic attempt to troll for a ride on a bright vessel of revelatory insight such as Dr. Caroline Leaf who by her diligence and loving heart has brought hope and healing to many hundreds of thousands.

    Lets just be honest and expose this blog post of yours for what it truly is, trolling… Maybe you should be honest with yourself and with God about your true motives which seem evil as evidenced by your snarky response to Dr. Leaf’s husband Mac’s gracious and lengthy informative complete response. I think you are coming from a wounded bitter critical heart and therein lies your motivation to gain attention in this fashion. I would respectfully recommend you focus on your GP fellowship and go back to your work in skin cancer, plastic surgery, aging, sexual health and family planning. There are more than enough elderly who need cosmetic surgery and Rx’s for viagra and other meds for ED. Stick to general practice medicine and being a question writer in that field and leave the deep spiritual stuff for qualified individuals.

    • Dear Allen,

      Thank you for your uplifting encouragement.

      There are many ways that I could respond to your comment … “Excuse me sir, but there appears to be a beam in your eye” … “Trolling hey. Takes one to know one” … “There’s a wounded heart here, but it’s clearly not mine”, etc. …

      Actually, you’re the only person to accuse me of trolling since I started this blog a couple of years ago, and since there’s been more than 60,000 views in that time, it seems that you’re 60,000 to 1. And for the record, I’ve been called a lot worse.

      Personally, I’m not bothered by what you say here. I’m not here to win an argument, neither am I here for attention. And like it or not, I am more than qualified to comment on Dr Leaf’s work. If you would rather make snide comments on what you perceive as my weaknesses instead of critically examining the science behind my critique of Dr Leaf, whom you seem to blindly follow, then be my guest.

      Though next time you want to try and defend the “bright vessel of revelatory insight”, I suggest you try using your brain. If you really think I’m an apostatical troll, you’re more than welcome to criticise me, but prove it first by actually demonstrating why my work is wrong. I suggest you use references. If you can prove that I’m wrong and that Dr Leaf is right, then I’ll formally apologise, in writing, on this blog.

      If I’m right … well, perhaps you’ll think twice before launching into a slanderous hypocritical rant.

      All the best to you, and happy holidays.

  6. The reason I am so impressed by Dr. Leaf is that she bases her theories upon Scripture, and Scripture is the basis for our lives. Science changes dramatically from generation to generation – new theories are generated and then debunked. We once cut apart the brain to “heal” mental illness; now we attempt to numb it out of existence with medications that create horrendous side effects (and I have been on several, so I am well aware of the horrendous side effects). Scripture never changes. It never generates new truths, and it is never debunked (although people have strenuously striven to debunk it for thousands of years!) Several Scriptures that Dr. Leaf often references – renew your mind; for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. Whatever is true, noble, good – dwell on these things. She suggests that we do exactly what Scripture tells us to do – dwell on good thoughts. She suggests we thank God and praise God – she suggests we pour into others lives with prayer, thanksgiving, and love. She suggests we renew our minds, our souls through Scripture reading and prayer. She suggests that we can control our crazy thoughts because God says we can – it takes practice; it takes discipline, and above all – it takes the Holy Spirit, but it can be done. She gives hope based on Scripture – she tells us that we do not have to live without hope, but by following the Word of God, by following our Father’s own advice, we can BE HEALED!

    Pitt, your posts generate despair, not hope. Despair that I have yet to have seen is based on the Word of God. If you want to try to debunk Dr. Leaf’s theories, then by all means.. try. But do it with a thought to generating hope. And do that with the Word of God. Because you can argue against everything, and everyone does every day, but you cannot successfully argue against the Word of God. I’m not saying you’re wrong – you might be right. I am no expert in anything except a life-long desire to follow God with every ounce of my being. I am saying – stand upon the Word of God and the hope God gives us. In your rebuttals, stand upon the Word of God because this is what she uses, so you cannot successfully argue against her unless you have the Word of God to back you up. And above all, stand upon hope. God created us to be powerful through the Holy Spirit, not defeated. If you have another suggestion for us to walk out of the illnesses we are struggling against, I am listening. Give me the Word. And give me hope.

    • Dear Crystal,

      Thanks for your impassioned comment. I appreciate you taking the time to discuss your feelings and opinions.

      I’m very sorry that you’ve felt despair when reading my critique of Dr Leaf. That’s certainly not my intention.

      I have based my entire work on scripture – John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Hope is very powerful, to be sure, but Jesus never said that it was hope that set you free. Indeed, hope in the wrong thing can be very destructive. If Dr Leaf’s teachings misrepresent science and scripture, then unfortunately she is providing false hope, which feels empowering, but is ultimately destructive.

      I base all of my work on the best understanding of both science and scripture available. I agree that science changes over time. That’s the nature of human discovery and knowledge. Though again, to be perfectly honest with you, our understanding of scripture also changes over time. Scripture itself doesn’t change, true, but then again, neither does our universe or it’s inherent properties. Our understanding of science AND scripture has changed over time, and will continue to do so, as science continues to build on the work of previous generations, and we continue to rely on the Holy Spirit for further understanding of scripture.

      I would encourage you to review Dr Leaf’s use of scripture for yourself. She often misrepresents scripture to suit her presumptions. I have gone into detail about this in a couple of posts – Dr Caroline Leaf – Still Contradicted by the Latest Evidence, Scripture and Herself https://cedwardpitt.com/2015/07/22/dr-caroline-leaf-still-contradicted-by-the-latest-evidence-scripture-and-herself/ and Dr Caroline Leaf and the nonsense of ‘negative’ thinking https://cedwardpitt.com/2016/02/09/dr-caroline-leaf-and-the-nonsense-of-negative-thinking/. I’m not saying that every scripture reference she’s ever used is misrepresented, but her key arguments are often heavily dependent on scriptural misinterpretation.

      Finally, I have also written several things about generating hope through better understanding of science. I’d encourage you to read Chapter 3 of my book, which outlined why I think having thought in it’s proper place leads to hope and freedom, not recurrent failure – http://www.debunkingdrleaf.com/chapter-3/.

      Ultimately, you’re more than welcome to disagree with me, but I hope that you will see that my intention is never to cause anyone despair, but to guide them on the correct path to true freedom.

      Incidentally, you said, “If you have another suggestion for us to walk out of the illnesses we are struggling against, I’m listening.” Well, I’m in the revision stage of a book on mental health from a Christian perspective. Please keep an eye out for it. It will probably be a few more months before it’s published, but I hope it will help Christians who are struggling with mental health to find hope and true freedom.

      Sincerely, thank you for your comments. I hope I’ve been able to clarify some things for you. All the best.

  7. I just wanted to share my own personal experience as I’ve been lead to this blog while researching on my own as to the credentials and research done to support the teachings of Dr Leaf. I want to start by saying that I am truly thankful to Dr Leaf for her pursuit to help people. I will simply state my own personal experience and testimony as it may help someone else who reads this who may be experiencing similar symptoms and may be at the same spot I’ve been in. Approx 10 yrs ago I had been diagnosed with PMDD (Pre-menstrual dysphoric symdrome) the short of it is that hormones and brain chemistry (specifically seratonin) dips low twice a month in a womans cycle (during ovulation and pre-menstruation) causing great depression and irritability to disrupt the normal course of life. I had a history of this prior in life, for example I would miss school and work routinly each month due to these symptoms. Finally in my mid 30’s, I heard Dr Colbert teaching on this topic so I’d seeked out the natural supplements in his book “Bible basics to pms/mood swings” that validated these symptoms some woman can experience in more pronounced degrees. At that time, the supplements were not effective (I didn’t have the correct dose come to find out 10 yrs later) so I asked my christian gynecologist and she said she would highly reccomend serafem (which is basically prozac pre-packaged). I was given a 14 day prescription and told to take it only on the days needed when I felt those major symptons. It was a very low dosage, and there was no danger in not taking it daily – that was the point, just to take it on those really bad days to be able to function and get to work etc… 10 yrs ago, this drug was also listed in Dr Colberts book as a good presc medication to take for these symptoms as well based on studies. So I felt confimation to try this route and I found it to be a life changer as within 20 mins of experiencing irrate behavior and excessive crying, I immediately felt “normal” like on any other day when I didn’t have a hormonal/chemical dip in my body. It did not make me feel like taking a “happy pill” or something mind altering in any way…. it just normalized my mood, emotions,and I returned to being myself like any other day when i was not taking the medication. Just to note, in his Dr Colberts new edition to this booklet, that drug has been removed and not suggested anymore I guess due to research etc… oh well, too bad for me who thought I was okay with this deciison. We all progress and learn, that is why I hope that someone can gain from my experience. In any case, I was very happy to be finally helped after a lifetime of not knowing I’d dealt with this very real issue. It wasnt until I pin pointed it to my cycles on a calender month after month that I realized oh, this is a bio-chemical/hormonal thing going on here and not just me going crazy….It validated for me that there are sometimes weak areas in our bodies. Prior to this, I did spiritual warfare, went through deliverance-breaking generational curses, fasted, prayed, took communion, you know the whole gammet of things (I’m a spirit-filled believer in Jesus Christ). Once I realized it was something physical and cyclical, I would obviously pray more during these weaker moments in the month and take the medication as needed. As the years progressed, and the economy crashed, more responsibility and stress were placed on me and I found myself taking this 14 day prescription in its entirety each month. DUring an annual gynecology exam the Dr review the medication renewal and I explained my situation. SHe very confidently stated lets just prescribe it to take everyday- its such a low dosage, your totally fine its completely safe etc… So, to keep the symptoms managed, I did this and as the years went on I noticed I began to gain 10 lbs each year (at the time blamed it on age/metabolism changing & stress eating etc…). By 2013, I had been experiencing a multitude of health issues. I decided to take a thorough look at my health and go get allergy tested, and a whole psychological evaluation as I’de never done that and was having some focusing issues at work -(In which I was prescribed Vyvanse) I had health insurance and figured I’d make use of my coverage. I also was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The rheumatologist put me on Cymbalta. The Dr. Psychiatrist who did my evaluation said instead of being on both Cymbalta & Serafem (AKA Fluoxetine the generic to prozac) she would just increase the Cymbalta and treat both symptoms and we could eliminate the Serafem as they were the same drug, and I wasn’t a huge fan of taking medications etc… and now I was on 3. So, I did that and within 1 month I had a mental breakdown. I crashed into a deep depression (again, a lifetime history that I’de had expereinced before, and yes, this was during my cycle….). I immediately went to my Psychiatrist Dr who was prescribing me the Cymbalta and Vyvanse and asked if she could just put me back on the Serafem as at least I knew that worked for many years and she said no ther newer drugs were better. She prescribed Abilify to me. It did immediatley cause the depression to lift after the week of experiencing a total hell and feeling like I wanted to be committed to the hospital to help my brain etc… All the while, i was a strong mature leader in the church and this experience was very disturbing to me as it challenged my faith greatly. I immediately sought out Dr Leafs teaching on toxic thinking as I wanted to be sure my mind was staying renewed on truth and that I didn’t allow myself to get slack. I knew the enemy’s attack would be against my mind in regard to depression, so I got my weapons up. Needless to say, I gained 30 lbs in one month from being on this combination of medications. Quite concerned about my health and asking what was going on with the side effects and the weight gain, she told me it was my own poor eating habits and not the medication. She insisted I needed therapy as this depression came on so quick and so heavy our of no where. I explained I already had a christian family counselor/therapyst whom I had already been accountable to and went over all this with, and there was nothing causing this depression -from a psychological standpoint (eg No unresolved Anger, or Unforgiveness, etc… again being a strong leader I kept myself accountable and wisely wanted outside examination in addition to my own self-examination while I navigated throught his process). When I told the Dr that I thought it was the medications, she became angered as I was questioning her professional advice and got very offended, and told me she disagreed and said it must be psychological. At that point, I knew I was done with this Dr and told her I wanted a 2nd opinion and she became enraged and her office sent a letter to my home stating to my insurance company I was refusing treatment from her office and she would not be liable…. it was quite outrageous actually. All I said was that I wanted my records to get a 2nd opinion. I went to another listed Dr on my insurance plan, and he said the cymbalta and abilify does in fact cause a change in the metabolism and weight gain is a huge factor for some people in this case, he would reccomend anti-depressants without the weight gain side effect. He also prescribed an anti-anxiety medication as I was now having those symtoms, and increased the vyvanse as that was no longer effective anymore (I thought maybe due to the weight gain) After a 3-4 months, I found him to be a presciption writer and wanted a 3rd opinion as I was crying much of the time and the medications for depression didnt seem to be helping. The 3rd Dr said I the medications the prior Dr gave me was looking putting my foot on the gas pedal & the brake pedal at the same time. I agreed, and said at this point, I do not want to be on multiple medications – the depression is my biggest issue right now. Anxiety, fibromyalgia, and ADD/focusing issues at work were all secondary as I wasn’t really functionable anyway. I went off the Vyvanse, anti-anxiety, and hadn’t been on anything for the fibromyalgia anyway, as I decided to get chiropractic help for that (and took a medication called celebrex for sayd that I felt acute pain from imflamtion. It was more like taking advil, so I did that during this time period). THis Dr experimented with different medications for depression without the weight gain side affect, and also right off the bat discounted the reality of my chief complaint being that this happens around my cycle twice a month-he said he never hear of that and I needed therapy. That was how they treated at this facilty, it was suppose to help the medication work. To appease this Dr I did get some therapy, and even the therapyst agreed there was nothing emotional/psychological going on and that she felt it was indeed a hormonal/biochemical thing going on regulated to my cycles. She said sometimes they require this to assist while the medications are building up in the body etc… I then explained that I no longer could afford the co-pays for this weekly therapy. I went through this for about 1 year and my symptoms if depression got worse, I was losing my memory, and my brain seemed to be detioratin. I was unable to remember how to do routine computer tasks that I’d done for years. It got scary, I thought I was pre-dementia or something. I finally lost confidence in the medications & medical treatment as he tried several types and kinds of anti-depressants (without weight gain side affects) and they were not working for me. I remained hopeless and sought the Lord again. After several months of being in a pit being tormented with negative thoughts bombarding my mind, I stood in prayer with 3 close friends. After this pray, I saw Dr leaf on TBN and she stated that you can change your brain chemistry in 63 days. (It took 21 days to detoxify, but 63 to actually change brain chemistry). I grabbed hold of this, dug out my toxic thinking materials and marked day 1 and began a very dedicated pursuit to not allow one toxic thought to pentrate my thought life. It was spiritual warfare, but I was determined to win this battle. My dear friends stood with me in prayer during this time. After the 63 days was up, although I had several individuals notice a difference in my demeanor and voice, I was still lacking joy & motivation. I became a bit discouraged as I was convinced that my brain chemistry was going to change and that I was going to be healed as the claims that Dr Leaf made sounded so promising. I stayed in agreement with this, spoke it, and believed on it etc… so of course, I went back to myself, and what I didn’t do correctly, and maybe I missed something and didn’t do it properly…. I felt like a failure again. However, I didn’t let it stop me, I sought the Lord again and asked what I was missing and He kept whispering the word “Seratonin”…. so I began to research how to get my body to re-create seratonin. I found that in Europe & Germany and other countries they use SAM-E and 5HTP (for major depression…not mild depression.) So, I happend to have these very things as at one point I had purchased them for my husband but he didnt end up taking them. I paid closer attention to the dosage recommended. Within 2 wks I noticed a difference! I finally started having motivation and energy and my brain was awakened! I was smiling again, and it was almost a foreign feeling as it took 2 years for this terrible burden to be lifted. My brain was being nourished and I found myself functioning at work and being able to tackle projects and tasks that i’d not been able to do prior. It was as if someone flicked a switch to my brain! After some months of making sure this was long lasting etc… had to go back and question the claims that Dr Leaf made that brain chemistry can be changed by thoughts etc… which I totally agree with! I do know the power of a renewed mind. I just feel like there are some of us who also need a bit of assistance with possible supplementation for a season too – which isn’t something I hear being addressed at all. Dr Colbert does support these supplements in his revised Bible Cure for depression booklet. I think its just good to realize that people are all at different levels of health and some may benefit this way as well. I learned that dosing is key for the natural supplements to work. My Chiropractor does muscle testing and tests my body’s need for the dosage monthly for these 2 supplements. Since November or 2015, my need for the supplements has diminished as I guess it jump-started my body to help it make and re-create my own seratonin and other necessary brain chemicals such as dopamine, eponephrine and Gaba. I have since this time taken a time to reflect back on medications and learn how they really work and affect the metabolism and as I started to read the research about how it doesn’t really address the body’s ability to create seratonin, it can actually cause the body to stop making seratonin the longer your on the medications. It explains why in my case they worked (with weight gain side effects) and didn’t work (the ones with out weight gain side effects). It is a whole topic in and of itself and I’m scratching the surface of. I am much more confident in the usage of SAME-E & 5HTP as a way to help these symptoms. I am now able to help many other people who are unaware of the alternatives out there. I see many on medications who are still suffering and having to keep increasing the dosages etc… and still quite depressed. I know for a season the medication was useful to me at different points in my. However, longterm I think the question of health and learning that seratonin is also found in the gut and recognizing that there are very real physical hormonal symptoms going on with some woman (especially me) that maybe aren’t getting addressed in Dr Leafs teachings. I may be wrong, and just havent seen it yet, but I just had to share my experience for those few out there who may be scratching their heads wondering why didn’t it work for me then? When I reached out to Dr Leafs office via email, sharing my story briefy, I asked if after doing this 63 day re-wiring of the brain, if there still are issues could there be another medical issure going on such as PMDD symptoms that i was experiencing maybe due to bio-chemical reasons etc… as I just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t “fixed” after this time of re-wiring my brain. I wondered is there was a small percentage of people like me that just need an extra boost of some sort in the area of supplementation for lack of production of seratonin-from a medical issue going on in the body, as I stated it wasn’t until I used the SAM-E & 5HTP that I really felt normal and finally back to myself after 2 yrs of waiting. They responded “Unfortunately Dr. Leaf cannot legally advise individuals on medications, supplements or labels, and encourages each person who asks her to pray and make the decision that seems best for their situation.” And they recommended I the links on her websites for “Mad in America” , this link about the chemical imbalance myth http://drleaf.com/blog/chemical-imbalances-in-the-brain-a-modern-myth/ as well as her 21 day detox link. So I appreciated the response as I wasn’t sure if I’d get one. It didnt really validate my experience so I just decided to keep an open mind and continue to learn and grow from her studies and teachings and take what is applicable to my life and just let God teach me. I am always hesitant of anyone who can make big claims that apply to ALL people and Illnesses etc… I just am still answering these questions in my own life over the course of time and trusting the Lord in my life to bring good research balanced with solid biblical teaching. I do listen to her tv series and gain encoruagment. I also have her new book on health/food etc… I know that is important. I guess I am a voice that may represent a small number in a percantage of people who may have some very valid issues going on in terms of brain chemistry and hormones. I personally have had all my bloodwork done and have had all the bases covered (especially when this experience took place in 2013-it was one of the first things I did….checked my thyroid, checked hormone levles, checked for lymes epstein bar and the host of tests that they can do…just to rule out anything else possibly going on). I had all negative results to these tests. Again, if you speak to a natuopath Dr they will find that even though u are within normal range u could still have a possible issue going on in the body. I am just putting it out there for people to become educated in, and to know that there are things that we can do as believers to get to the “root” of the health problems. That is my pursuit… what causes a decline in seratonin levels? I personally am seeking that answer so that I can safeguard that area for myself, as it was not as simple as “hey, get a little excercise, take omega oils, and that will help etc…” . I experienced major depression symptoms and those things were not enough for me. I know my brain was not being nourished properly – and I had taken all those healthy good quality supplements like omegas, multi vit/mineral, and a host more of things… I got to the point that I gave up everything as I became so doubtful of all of them while in this pit of destruction. So, if anyone can gain anything from this or has more knowledge whan I about these topics, I’m learning and growing and do not claim to be an expert by any means- just merely one who has comitted themselves to seeking valid research and studies and has life experiences to share. I want to steer people to answers and hope for their challenges, and as a leader of influence I want to be sure I can make an informed decision to recommend something or someone. I do recommend Dr Leaf – as I beleive God is using her to reach people. I so also think that some may also benefit from supplements for a season, as I know mature believers that have struggled with depression similarly with my history, and are trying to get off the medications and have always had a very dedicated prayer life and are spirit filled faith filled folks who are not negatively speaking. This can be most troubling in our church body as a whole, as they feel there is something wrong with them as they still have issues. I decided to be a voice and be transparent, so that I could help others who are struggling. Now, I want to point people to options that they may have not known of before. I do know this is a process and God will continue to bring me to knowledge and truth and answers to my experience as to what and why this happened to me etc… and over the course of time, I trust that I will understand more about the brain etc… I’m still a beginner. For what it was worth taking the time to right this, I pray that it helps someone like me. I know my question marks concerning Dr Leaf will get answered in time, as I learn and grow. I support her help and desire to relay that renewing the mind is where the battle is here on earth while we fight our flesh. I just hope that maybe she can address possible medical issues that may also be causing a drain in brain chemicals – even if it is nutrition. I’m sure she has and I’ve just not heard it, but as I said when dealing with major depression (and not mild symptoms) it was going to take more than foods and excercise to get me out of that predicament – as I said, I was already confessing the Word daily, renewing my mind,and went to all my “go to” scriptures to stand on and implemented my training in spiritual warfare and deliverance and still i was sinking… so I just want to say, I would encourage someone to still do all those things as they are necessary – however, if theres something medically going on I think we need to acknowledge that possibility as well.

    • Dear Annonymous

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment as you have. And I admire your openness and quest for evidence and understanding.

      I’ll be honest, I prefer not to have personal medical histories in the comments. Firstly, this is the internet, which has no privacy and ultimately, no anonymity. Secondly, your personal experience is only valid for yourself. It doesn’t prove or disprove anything. There are so many variables here, from the specific medications you were taking, to your specific genetics and environment, past medical history, past social history, through to the medical system you’re in (the US, by the sounds of it), that are all at play here. It’s impossible to look at your story and tease out exactly why you think Dr Leaf works for you. If you feel that her ministry has helped you, then fair enough. But it may not be the whole story.

      Just a couple of interesting observations though:
      1. You initially had PMDD. So initially, your brain was being affected by your hormones, which then affected your behaviour. This is a case-in-point, that Dr Leaf is off track. If your mind is seperate to your brain, the changes to your hormones wouldn’t have done anything to your moods, nor would you have initially responded to the prozac.

      2. I’m not sure of the research behind SAME-E and 5HTP as supplements, but even if they did help to boost your serotonin, again that reinforces my previous point – the function of the brain is influencing the function of the mind, which is the opposite of what Dr Leaf preaches.

      3. Dr Leaf’s team should be putting a high-priced lawyer on retainer – It’s good they said they cannot legally advise individuals on medications, supplements or labels, but referring you to Mad in America and Dr Leaf’s unscientific and baseless tirade against anti-depressants is potentially negligent. Dr Leaf isn’t medically trained, but her team has directed you to her untrained opinion, not back to a medical doctor or psychologist, which is irresponsible. If you haven’t seen it already, I suggest you read my rebuttal to Dr Leafs tenuous claims about psychiatric medications: https://cedwardpitt.com/2015/10/26/dr-caroline-leaf-and-the-myth-of-chemical-imbalances-myth/

      I wish you all the best.

      • Thank you, I do agree with you on the fact that hormones and other unknown medical conditions have an affect on brain chemistry. That is why I did question that portion of her teachings. I do apologize if I went into too much detail… I didn’t realize. Thank you for publishing it anyway, as again, there is much research available on the SAM-E & 5htp – and many health professionals are now using the SAM-E along with SSRI medicines to help assist….here in USA (5-htp cannot be used in conjunction with an anti depressant as it is not safe-I will point that out in case anyone reads this and does not seek medical attention). So, I hope that there becomes more awareness of these “brain repairing” supplements as again other countries use them as their prescription of choice – unlike in USA. I know depression hits all over the world, so I looked at what other countries were using. I thank and appreciate your response to me, and yes, everyone’s case is completely unique in nature and very intricate with many variables involved. I was actually looking for the validation for myself of the fact that I still had a low seratonin level happening in my brain until I took these 2 supplements. So, yes, on that I do agree with you and share your concern, as many folks have the same issues going on and as much as I believe in re-newing our minds, for some there are true medical issues going on that can be playing into their brain chemistry as well. I guess the reason I wrote was because I understand your concern as well, and I guess I’m sort of in the middle – but wanted my example to be used to help someone and maybe bring some validity to what can be also going on that causes low brain chemicalization. I will leave you with this… when I was struggling many years ago with PMDD I had my nose in scripture for 1-2 hours a day…crying out to the Lord and laboring over renewing my mind. Once I took the medication at those times when hormones were playing with my emotions, I would start out that way – realize my timeclock on the calender, and then within 30 minutes find myself productively reading my Bible with confidence and faith…instead of a ball of emotions. I would often laugh at myself after the fact, as it seemed to be so silly all the drama I had just felt 30 mins prior… so I truly can attest to the physical component that goes on in the body which in turn affects the brain chemistry. Now, since it’s been 6 months of being on these 2 supplements, I feel victorious everyday, and it is wonderful. Thank you for allwoing me to share my story and voice. I do respect your concerns, that is why I wanted to share my experience. I will pray for both you & Dr Leaf that God would bring awareness and understanding to you both through the unity of our faith and that through love, there would be a resolve to this important controversial issue. Be Blessed and may God get all the Glory.

  8. We accidently purchased the 21 day detox and would like full refund as we have already spoken to Dr leafs assistance and she said that you could help us with that also we have already submitted the application for whole sale purchases for our ministry but have not received an email back we would really appreciate I’d you could help us with this God bless

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