Dr Caroline Leaf – Still Contradicted by the Latest Evidence, Scripture and Herself

Leaf Cognitive Neuroscientist

Dr Caroline Leaf is a communication pathologist, world renowned author, public speaker, and self-titled cognitive neuroscientist. Her influence continues to grow. She is regularly invited to speak at some of the world’s largest churches. She spoke at her first TEDx conference in February, and she’s about to host her own conference for the second time. She has more than 120,000 Facebook followers, with many more on Twitter and other social media platforms. And she continues to top the sales charts of Christian best sellers.

She is a self-marketing machine.

But there are cracks appearing. More and more, people are realizing that beneath the facade of her numerous Instagram posts, happy snaps, and the allure of popular success, Dr Leafs teachings on science and the Bible don’t match up with actual science and good theology. While many in the church adorn themselves with her teaching, a growing minority are starting to realise that the Emperor has no clothes.

Almost two years ago to the day, I sat in the congregation of Kings Christian Church on the Gold Coast, and heard Dr Leaf speak live for the first time. What I heard troubled me, and I blogged about my concerns to open a dialogue on Dr Leaf and her teaching. Her husband, Mr Mac Leaf, dismissed my concerns out of hand, which only steeled me to take further action. Now, two years of intense research, dozens of posts and a book later, people are starting to take notice.

Not that Dr Leaf has changed her tune. Her fundamental teaching still relies on the idea that our thoughts control our physical and mental health, and toxic thinking causes disease because our thoughts change our DNA and the expression of our genes through epigenetics. And, if we ‘detox’ our thoughts, we will be restored to the health that God intended. Dr Leaf is also expanding her ministry to the subject of mental health and she plans to release a book on food in early 2016.

Dr Leaf can spruik whatever she likes, but her claims of expertise and her scientific and scriptural legitimacy are crumbling.

This post is a little longer than usual, but I’ve divided it up for easier reading:

  1. Dr Leaf is contradicted by her own qualifications
  2. Dr Leaf is contradicted by science
  3. Dr Leaf is contradicted by scripture
  4. Dr Leaf is contradicted by Dr Leaf

1. Dr Leaf is contradicted by her own qualifications

In her books, on TV, at churches, and in promotional material, Dr Leaf describes herself as a ‘cognitive neuroscientist’.

However, Dr Leaf does not have formal qualifications in neuroscience, has not worked at a university as a neuroscientist, has not worked in any neuroscience research labs, nor has she published any papers in neuroscience journals.

Actually, Dr Leaf is trained as a communication pathologist. A communication pathologist is an allied health professional which seems to be unique to South Africa where Dr Leaf trained. It’s a synthesis of audiology and speech pathology. It qualified her to work as a therapist, which Dr Leaf did for children with traumatic brain injuries. Dr Leaf also researched a narrow band of educational psychology as part of her PhD, and she also worked in a number of schools and for educational boards in South Africa. Dr Leaf hasn’t performed any university based research since her PhD was published in 1997.

In contrast, true cognitive neuroscientists actively carry out research into the biological basis of thoughts and behaviours – either mapping behaviours to certain brain regions using electrical currents from the brain, or with functional brain imaging like fMRI, or stimulating or suppressing the activity of a region of the brain and seeing how a person responds.

Simply having some training in neuroanatomy and psychology doesn’t make you a cognitive neuroscientist. Completing a PhD that involved a model for learning doesn’t make you a cognitive neuroscientist. Reading a lot of books on neuroscience doesn’t make you a neuroscientist either, just like reading the Bible doesn’t automatically make you a Pastor.

So no matter how much Dr Leaf may try to convince us that she’s an expert cognitive neuroscientist, truth be told, she is not.

Of more concern is that Dr Leaf is also trying to position herself as an expert in the fields of mental health and nutrition. But if she can’t get her facts right in an area in which she’s had some training, then it’s unlikely Dr Leaf’s teaching will be reliable in areas that she’s had no formal training or experience whatsoever.

I might add, Dr Leaf’s insistence that she’s a cognitive neuroscientist and an expert on mental health and nutrition is also quite insulting for real psychologists, neuroscientists and nutritionists whose opinions are ignored in favour of a self-titled expert whose only ‘authority’ comes by popular demand, not training or experience.

2. Dr Leaf is contradicted by science

There are so many examples of Dr Leaf being directly contradicted by the science that she claims expertise in that I don’t have room in this blog to outline them all. What I can do in this limited space is to outline Dr Leaf’s most egregious and ironic fallacies as a taster.

The 98 percent

One of Dr Leaf’s most fundamental assertions is that “75 to 98 percent of mental and physical illness comes from ones thought life” [1]. She uses this little factoid all the time to justify her belief in the power of thoughts.

However, her statement is completely wrong. When considered in the historical and global context [2], most of human illness is related to preventable diseases that are so rare in the modern western world because of generations of high quality public health and medical care.

For example, 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.” [3]

De Cock et al write, “Recent estimates of the global incidence of disease suggest that communicable diseases account for approximately 19% of global deaths” and that “2.5 million deaths of children annually (are) from vaccine-preventable diseases.” [4]

Routine screening with the much-maligned pap smear has decreased the death rate from cervical cancer in women by as much as 83% [5]. And having a competent midwife and obstetric support during childbirth can decrease the odds of dying in childbirth from 1 in 6 to less than 1 in 30,000 [6].

Midwives, vaccinations, pap smears, clean drinking water and internal plumbing have nothing to do with our individual thought life. We take all of this for granted in the first-world, so the impact of our thought life becomes artificially inflated. In reality, modern medicine and civil engineering, not our thought life, have everything to do with our good health..

Though what makes this meme such a good example of the weakness of Dr Leaf’s teaching is not just because it’s contradicted by actual science, but in trying to justify her conjecture, Dr Leaf has resorted to twisting, misquoting, and generally fudging information from her ‘sources’ in order to make them support her false conclusions.

For example, Dr Leaf quoted a source on genetics that was over thirty years old, from a time when genetic studies were still in the dark ages. She also misquotes her sources, significantly changing the meaning of the quotes in the process. One source didn’t even mention the figure she attributed to it. As if that’s not bad enough, Dr Leaf also cites biased sources, pseudoscientists, and other sources that directly contradict her assertion [7; Ch 10].

This pattern of relying on mistruths and factoids to paper over the gaping cracks in her irrational assertions is repeated throughout her teaching.

The heart is a mini-brain

Dr Leaf believes that the human heart acts as a mini-brain. She states that the heart has its own thought functions, is an electrophysiological regulator of every cell in the body, and is the source of the human conscience.

Such an assertion is ludicrous, and science proves it to be so – the “still small voice” comes from our brains [8-10], and everyday office-based medical tests prove that the electromagnetic signal from the heart is too small to have any meaningful influence on our body’s cells, let alone our thinking [7: Ch 11].

You control your DNA with your thoughts

Dr Leaf believes that our thinking can influence our DNA. She said this in her 2013 book [1: p35], and several times on her social media streams. The problem for Dr Leaf is that there is no credible scientific evidence that DNA is controlled by thoughts.

Her main evidence comes from a poster presentation at a 1993 psychotronics conference titled, “Local and nonlocal effects of coherent heart frequencies on conformational changes of DNA” [11]. She describes this paper as, “An ingenuous experiment set up by the HeartMath Foundation (which) determined that genuine positive emotion, as reflected by a measure called ‘heart rate variability’, directed with intentionality towards someone actually changed the way the double helix DNA strand coils and uncoils. And this goes for both positive and negative emotions and intentions.” [1: p111]

Actually, the experiment was based on faulty assumptions, and so full of flaws in the methodology and analysis, that it could show nothing at all [7: Ch 13]. All it could prove was that Dr Leaf was so desperate to grasp hold of anything that seemed to support her theory that she was willing to use a twenty-year-old study from a group of pseudoscientists that also believe in occult practices like ESP and telekinesis (http://psychotronics.org).

On and on, the same pattern continues. She claims that our thoughts are powerful enough to control our DNA and our brain, except that the opposite is true – it’s our DNA code, with some influence from our environment, that creates our pattern of neurons responsible for our stream of thoughts. She teaches that thoughts cause stress, when again, the evidence is the opposite – psychological stress starts as a subconscious process which changes our stream of thoughts. Dr Leaf teaches that in order to improve our mental and physical health, we need to fight any ‘negative’ or ‘toxic’ thoughts, when studies show that cognitive therapy isn’t effective when compared to behavioural activation. (This is explained in more detail, and with the appropriate references, in my book [7]).

Dr Leaf even goes so far as to say that our thoughts can control physical matter! [1: p33,38]

Over and over again, Dr Leaf’s teaching conflicts with modern science. That Dr Leaf also regularly misquotes her sources and relies on unpublished opinion from pseudoscientists and new-age practitioners also brings her reputation as an expert scientist into disrepute.

3. Dr Leaf is contradicted by scripture

In her books and on social media, Dr Leaf often quotes scripture in an attempt to reinforce her reputation as some form of Biblical expert. Everything’s fine when she simply quotes scripture, but problems arise when she tries to interpret it. Like her use of science, Dr Leaf often misquotes or paraphrases scripture, or uses it out of context, in order to try and Biblically justify her tenuous hypotheses.

2 Timothy 1:7

One of Dr Leaf’s favourites is 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Dr Leaf interprets the phrases of “spirit of fear” and “a sound mind” as “anxiety” and “mental wholeness” respectively. For example, on the 12th of May 2014, she posted to her social media feeds, “Your mind is all-powerful. Your brain simply captures what your mind dictates. 2 Timothy 1:7” And in her book “Switch on your brain” [1], she said on page 33, “For now, rest in the assurance that what God has empowered you to do with your mind is more powerful and effective than any medication, any threat, any sickness, or any neurological challenge. The scripture is clear on this: You do not have a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7).”

Simply checking the verse in its full context, and in a different translation, shows it in a completely different light to the way Dr Leaf promotes it. From the NIV, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:5-8)

The Greek word for “fear” in this scripture refers to “timidity, fearfulness, cowardice”, not to anxiety or terror. The Greek word that was translated “of a sound mind” refers to “self-control, moderation”, not to mental wholeness. So Paul is teaching Timothy that God doesn’t make him timid, but full of power, love and self-control. Paul is simply saying that through the Holy Spirit, we have all the tools: power, love and the control to use them, so we don’t have to be afraid.

This scripture has nothing to do with our mental health. It certainly doesn’t say that our minds are “more powerful and effective than any medication, any threat, any sickness, or any neurological challenge”. Dr Leaf’s use of this scripture is misleading.

Proverbs 23:7

Another favourite of Dr Leaf’s is Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”.

She used this scripture a number of times on her social media feeds, including on the 4/2/2015, “‘The more you believe in your own ability to succeed, the more likely it is that you will. Shawn Achor’ – ‘For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he …’ Proverbs 23:7”, and the 29/5/2015, “Mind In Action: ‘Genes cannot turn themselves on or off. In more scientific terms, genes are not ‘self-emergent’. Something in the environment has to trigger gene activity.’ Dr Bruce Lipton’ – That ‘something’ is your thoughts! Read Proverbs 23:7”. Dr Leaf also used the same scripture to try and explain how the woman with the issue of blood managed to obtain her healing [1: p111].

What’s interesting is how Dr Leaf only ever uses the first half of this verse. The whole verse (in the King James Version) reads, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”

So what’s with the second half of the verse? What’s the eating and drinking half of the verse got to do with our thought life?

The explanation is that this verse has nothing to do with our thought life at all. Dr Leaf has simply been misquoting it for years, and no one checked to see if she’s right. According to the Pulpit commentary found on the Bible Hub website, “The verb here used is שָׁעַר (shaar), ‘to estimate … to calculate’, and the clause is best rendered, ‘For as one that calculates with himself, so is he’. The meaning is that this niggardly host watches every morsel which his guest eats, and grudges what he appears to offer so liberally … He professes to make you welcome, and with seeming cordiality invites you to partake of the food upon his table. But his heart is not with thee. He is not glad to see you enjoy yourself, and his pressing invitation is empty verbiage with no heart in it.” (http://goo.gl/nvSYUh)

Thus, the scripture does not prove that our thoughts define us as Dr Leaf would suggest. Dr Leaf’s use of this scripture is misleading.

James 1:21

Another example, on the 26 May 2014 on her social media feeds, Dr Leaf said, “James 1:21 How you react to events and circumstances of your life is based upon your perceptions” and then a week later, “James 1:21 Our thoughts and perceptions have a direct and overwhelmingly significant effect of the cells of our body” (4/6/2014).

Except that James 1:21 actually says, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls”, and has absolutely nothing to do with our perceptions and our cellular biology.

The same pattern is repeated on social media and in her books. Dr Leaf finds scriptures where one version mentions words like “thinking” or “choice”, isolates them from their context and reinterprets them to suit her meaning, rather the actual meaning of the verse in the original language and the original context.

4. Dr Leaf is contradicted by Dr Leaf

Not only is Dr Leaf’s teaching contrary to science and scripture, but even her own teaching contradicts itself. Dr Leaf also makes claims about her research and achievements that aren’t backed up by her published papers.

To gift or not to gift …

In her 2009 book, “The gift in you” [12], Dr Leaf teaches about the gifts that we have, specifically, our gifts are something uniquely hardwired into our brain, something that we cannot change even if we wanted to, and that it’s our brain structure that gives rise to the way in which we think, the actions that we take, and the gifts we are given from God.

On page 47, Dr Leaf said,

The mind is what the brain does, and we see the uniqueness of each mind through our gifts. This, in itself is delightful and, intriguing because, as you work out your gift and find out who you are, you will be developing your soul and spirit.” (Emphasis added)

This quote in and of itself isn’t actually that significant until we compare it to a quote from the first chapter of Dr Leaf’s 2013 book, “Switch on your brain.” [1]

“The first argument proposes that thoughts come from your brain as though your brain is generating all aspects of your mental experience. People who hold this view are called materialists. They believe that it is the chemicals and neurons that create the mind and that relationships between your thoughts and what you do can just be ignored.
So essentially, their perspective is that the brain creates what you are doing and what you are thinking. The mind is what the brain does, they believe, and the ramifications are significant. Take for example, the treatment of depression. In this reductionist view, depression is a chemical imbalance problem of a machinelike brain; therefore, the treatment is to add in the missing chemicals.
This view is biblically and scientifically incorrect.” [1: p31-32] (Emphasis added)

So … our gifts are hardwired into our brain and can’t be changed because our mind is what our brain does OR our brain is what our mind does, so our gifts aren’t uniquely hardwired into our brain, and we should be able to change our gifting if we want to, based on our choices. Which is it? It can’t be both. Dr Leaf’s fundamental philosophies are mutually exclusive.

Now, we all make innocent mistakes. No one is perfectly congruent in everything they say. But this isn’t just getting some minor facts wrong. These statements form the foundation for Dr Leaf’s major works, and are in print in two best selling books, from which she has used to present countless sermons and seminars around the globe.

To summarise, Dr Leaf has directly called her own beliefs and teaching “biblically and scientifically incorrect”, and not noticed. The confusion and embarrassment are palpable.

But wait, there’s more.

(Not) Making a Difference

From the pulpit, in her books, and in her promotional material, Dr Leaf refers to her ground-breaking research – how her “Switch On Your Brain 5 Step Learning Process” and the Geodesic Information Processing model (which underpins her program), have helped thousands of children to increase their learning and improve their academic results.

For example, Dr Leaf claims that, “The Switch On Your Brain with the 5-Step Learning Process® was assessed in a group of charter schools in the Dallas [sic]. The results showed that the students’ thinking, understanding and knowledge improved across the board. It was concluded that The Switch On Your Brain with the 5-Step Learning Process® positively changed the way the students and teachers thought and approached learning.” (http://drleaf.com/about/dr-leafs-research/ – Original emphasis)

In her TEDx talk, Dr Leaf stated, “I wasn’t sure if this was going to have the same impact cause until this point I’d been working one on one. Well I’m happy to tell you that we had the same kind of results … The minute that the teachers actually started applying the techniques, we altered the trend significantly.” and,
“I stand up here saying this with conviction because I have seen this over and over and over in so many different circumstances … in this country I worked in Dallas for three years in charter schools, and we found the same thing happening.” [13]

Though there is the minor problem of her research results not demonstrating any actual change.

In Dr Leaf’s first case, Dr Leaf herself admitted that the demonstrated improvement of her single patient was just as likely to be related to spontaneous improvement, and not Dr Leaf’s intervention. In Dr Leaf’s PhD thesis, the students improved almost as much in the year without Dr Leafs intervention as they did with her program. In the Dallas charter schools study, Dr Leaf’s intervention either disadvantaged the students or showed no significant difference. In academic circles, Dr Leaf’s research hasn’t so much as generated a stale whimper [14].

So while Dr Leaf may claim that her research has changed the learning and lives of thousands of students all over the world, but her own published research disputes her claims.

The Emperor has no clothes, but no one wants to say anything

In Hans Christian Andersen’s legendary tale, the Emperor was conned by two swindlers into believing that “they were weavers, and they said they could weave the most magnificent fabrics imaginable. Not only were their colors and patterns uncommonly fine, but clothes made of this cloth had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid.”

If you don’t know the story, you can read it here. In the end, the Emperor was duped so badly that he paraded in front of all his subjects au naturel, but “Nobody would confess that he couldn’t see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.”

My analogy here is not to suggest that Dr Leaf is deliberately conning the church. Rather, our natural instinct is to suppress our own judgement, even when it’s right, in favour of everyone else’s. We assume information to be true because others in authority tell us it is. We assume that the Emperor must be wearing something because the trusted ministers and noblemen are holding his imaginary train high in the air.

Likewise, it’s very natural for Christians to believe that Dr Leaf’s teaching must be ok because our pastors and leaders vouch for it. Our pastors and leaders vouch for Dr Leaf’s teaching because it’s been endorsed by world-renowned Christian leaders like Kenneth Copeland and Joyce Meyer. And no one wants to say anything, because they don’t want to look sheepish (or be ostracised). Dr Leaf’s ministry may look like a complete success, but only until someone finally says, “But, the Emperor has no clothes …”

It’s time to call Dr Leaf’s ministry for what it is. In my humble opinion, I suggest that Dr Leaf’s ministry is not based on scientific acumen, but on popularity and reputation. And her reputation, in turn, is based on slick self-promotion and an availability cascade (a self-reinforcing process by which an idea gains plausibility through repetition).

Dr Leaf’s teachings are not supported by science, nor by scripture. Her own fundamental philosophies contradict each other. Her assertions about her title and the results of her work are in conflict with her own official data.

Our church leaders need to come clean about why they publicly endorse Dr Leaf’s ministry. I can justify why I think Dr Leaf should not be preaching from our pulpits – in this and many other blog posts, and in my 68,000 word rebuttal to Dr Leaf’s published works. Can Kenneth Copeland and Joyce Meyer, or churches such as Cottonwood Church or Hillsong Church, produce evidence where they performed due diligence on Dr Leaf’s scientific credibility before endorsing her ministry? I would be happy to publish any responses they may be willing to make, complete and unabridged.

If Dr Leaf is preaching at your church, politely ask your pastor to produce his or her evidence that Dr Leaf’s teaching is scientifically and scripturally sound. If your church leaders can’t show that Dr Leaf’s teachings are scientifically and scripturally accurate, then politely ask them why she’s been invited to preach from their pulpit or to sell her wares in your church? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section.

Critics and sceptics love to use any opportunity they can to embarrass the church, but by parading our own naivety, we’re simply embarrassing ourselves.

It’s time we dressed ourselves in God’s glory, not our own ignorance and ignominy.


[1]        Leaf CM. Switch On Your Brain : The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2013.
[2]        World Health Organization. GLOBAL HEALTH ESTIMATES SUMMARY TABLES: DALYs by cause, age and sex. In: GHE_DALY_Global_2000_2011.xls, editor. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization,, 2013.
[3]        Hunter PR, MacDonald AM, Carter RC. Water supply and health. PLoS medicine 2010;7(11):e1000361.
[4]        De Cock KM, Simone PM, Davison V, Slutsker L. The new global health. Emerging infectious diseases 2013 Aug;19(8):1192-7.
[5]        Dickinson JA, Stankiewicz A, Popadiuk C, Pogany L, Onysko J, Miller AB. Reduced cervical cancer incidence and mortality in Canada: national data from 1932 to 2006. BMC public health 2012;12:992.
[6]        Ronsmans C, Graham WJ, Lancet Maternal Survival Series steering g. Maternal mortality: who, when, where, and why. Lancet 2006 Sep 30;368(9542):1189-200.
[7]        Pitt CE. Hold That Thought: Reappraising the work of Dr Caroline Leaf. 1st ed. Brisbane, Australia: Pitt Medical Trust, 2014.
[8]        Mendez MF. The neurobiology of moral behavior: review and neuropsychiatric implications. CNS spectrums 2009 Nov;14(11):608-20.
[9]        Zysset S, Huber O, Ferstl E, von Cramon DY. The anterior frontomedian cortex and evaluative judgment: an fMRI study. NeuroImage 2002 Apr;15(4):983-91.
[10]      Glascher J, Adolphs R, Damasio H, et al. Lesion mapping of cognitive control and value-based decision making in the prefrontal cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2012 Sep 4;109(36):14681-6.
[11]      Rein G, McCraty R. Local and nonlocal effects of coherent heart frequencies on conformational changes of DNA. Proc Joint USPA/IAPR Psychotronics Conf, Milwaukee, WI; 1993; 1993.
[12]      Leaf CM. The gift in you – discover new life through gifts hidden in your mind. Texas, USA: Inprov, Inc, 2009.
[13]      Leaf CM. Ridiculous | TEDx Oaks Christian School | 4 Feb 2015. YouTube: TEDx, 2015;20:03.
[14]      Pitt CE, The TEDx Users Guide to Dr Caroline Leaf, cedwardpittcom; 2015   Mar 26, https://cedwardpitt.com/2015/03/26/the-tedx-users-guide-to-dr-caroline-leaf/

180 thoughts on “Dr Caroline Leaf – Still Contradicted by the Latest Evidence, Scripture and Herself

  1. Thank you for this so much! I ALMOST referenced her in a paper I am writing for my English class. (I’m hoping to shoot for a Phd in theoretical math, currently just 2nd year) I was really wondering why I couldn’t find her book in a single academic database.

  2. Your article and responses to such a variety of readers has been inspiring and thought provoking. While I have been reading her book switch on your brain I did get quite excited about the possibility that the answer was so “easy” but I also had the check in my spirit or maybe just years of dads words in my ears “if it sounds too good/too easy to be true then you’re probably right”.
    However I must admit that something from her book did help God give me a huge aha revelation that has plagued me all of my life. Maybe it was just coincidence that I was reading Dr Leafs’ book at the time but I believe if we use Holy Spirit discernment when reading books/articles or listening to people (regardless of their correctness) God can protect us. Got to thank Him though that He has people like you out there for those who do not always use their God given capacities.
    I must say however that I am truly concerned that I got 3 of her books from a Christian bookshop in Melbourne after reading your take on her theology. Now I’m a bit angry I wasted my money and I will definitely be talking with all the Christians who have suggested her as an “authority”. Ah well just another lesson learned on this wonderful journey called life. May God continue to bless you with good things as you continue your work and may He continue to strengthen you in the knowledge of who you are in Him (and the humour in your responses to haters) regardless of all the vitriol sent your way.

    • Thanks for your comment Georgi. I appreciate the positive feedback. Whether it was co-incidence or something genuinely helpful from Dr Leaf’s book, I guess only God knows, but I’m pleased that you had that ‘ah ha!’ moment, irrespective of the source. God moves in mysterious ways. In fairness to Dr Leaf, every now and then, she accidentally stumbles onto something what has merit, it’s just such a shame about the other 99% of her material. The main thing is that God spoke and you listened. The messenger is less important than the message itself.

      By all means, please do talk to your pastors, friends, and anyone that will listen about Dr Leaf. It’s only when enough people have stood up for the truth that those in authority will finally take heed and listen.

      As for the haters and the vitriol – it comes with the territory. In many ways, I don’t mind as it means that at least they’ve heard what I have to say. They’re welcome to agree or disagree, and they’re free to say what they want. Freedom of speech is an important principle and I want to allow it as much as possible, especially since Dr Leaf deletes all vaguely negative comments and blocks those who leave them. And hey, as much as it’s unpleasant at times, it’s really interesting to hear the way people judge not just what I do but who I am, based on a series of blog posts. It’s certainly a unique window into the human psyche that one doesn’t tend to see in other parts of life, so in some ways it’s a privilege to be sledged as I am from time to time.

      All the very best to you.

  3. Thank you so much for being a vessel of The Lord and standing in truth.

    A friend invited me to her church tonight to hear this lady speak. Halfway through I looked at my friend and said, “I’m sorry, but I have to leave. This is not founded in biblical truth and I am very uncomfortable being here listening to afalse interpretation of scripture with New Age twist”
    The good Dr. Leap stated, “the reason our prayers are heard by those we pray for in other countries is because of the power of our energy force that sends them. This is not New Age, although New Age and God are the same”
    “Fear isnt real, we’ve made it up”
    She also quoted James 1:15 “interpreting it” as our toxic thinking leads us to death.
    And lastly, “people wouldn’t be mentally ill and dying 15-25 years earlier now verses 60 years ago, if we just adjusted our lifestyle choices” by 1)eating 2) sleeping 3) exercising
    I would think if you are in the pulpit of a church you would want to speak a.) About Christ and our need for him
    B.) His sacrifice of obedience on the cross out of his love for God. C) the redemptive power of the resurrection d) our addiction to sin and the fight of Spirit and Flesh E) Sin leads to death(unrepentant heart) F) her blasphemous mouth at comparing the majesty of our Triune God to NewAge magical thinking G)The power we have tin Christ is by His power in us- not power in and of ourselves;as if it’s some energy field we slingshot over to Africa as if we are little gods H)Fear is real, but those of us in Christ haven’t been given a spirit of fear
    I) If a relationship with Christ is the first on our list of Lifestyle choices, the rest will fall into place….
    But then again, that 30 minutes of time I lost listening to her rubbish wasn’t really about edifying our Lord and Savior, but Dr. Leaf herself

    • Hi Lori, thanks for your comment and encouragement 🙂

      It’s really sad that Caroline Leaf has been allowed to spout such obnoxious garbage from pulpits worldwide. Please take the time to tell outline your concerns about Dr Leaf to your friends, social media followers, and the pastors of the church you saw her at. It’s only when good people speak up that the truth has a chance to win over.

      All the best to you.

  4. Dr.Leaf is not biblical and THIS should be brought to the attention of the body of Christ in the USA and the world. This is DECEPTION! Be alert!

    • Hi Annie,

      Thanks for your comment. I agree wholeheartedly. Please spread the word. Dr Leaf has flourished in a vacuum of accountability and the only way that she will be held accountable is if the grass-roots members of the church stand up for the truth. Please share your concerns with your pastors, in your church small group, on social media. Write letters to the leaders of your denomination. An individual rain drop has no power on its own, but when it combines with millions of others, it becomes a force of nature, shaping the world!

      All the best.

  5. Okay – thank you for posting a different view on this subject. It’s really good for us to consider all views prayerfully before making up our minds. I’m certainly no expert but the jury’s still out for me.

    I’m not sure if you realise this but the way this article is written, it appears that you are more interested in vilifying Dr Leaf than presenting legitimate contradictory evidence.

    I might be wrong, but this is how it comes across and this does make it harder for me to read it with an open heart and mind.

    • Hi Joy,

      Thanks for your comment. It’s fine that the jury’s still out. And I don’t mind if people agree with Dr Leaf if they have genuinely thought both sides of the debate through. Personally, I doubt that anyone who puts enough thought into Dr Leaf’s teaching would end up agreeing with her, but that’s up to them, not up to me.

      As for your comment that ‘the way this article is written, it appears that you are more interested in vilifying Dr Leaf than presenting legitimate contradictory evidence’ – you’re not the first person to raise that, and you won’t be the last. Fundamentally, how you read the tone of my work is subjective. I’ve had just as many people comment that my tone has been very respectful. Everyone has their own personal perspective and that’s fine. In the end, I’m going to write what I write in the best way I find to write it. Believe me, if I wanted to vilify Dr Leaf I wouldn’t need to put all the work into refuting her work scientifically. It would be much easier just to give my personal opinion. But that’s already been done by other people, who are much more acerbic than I, and in many ways, actually cut to the quick more effectively than my longer evidence-based rebuttal.

      Thanks for thinking about it and approaching with an open heart and mind. That’s certainly a lot more than most, and I’m always grateful for those that do.

      All the best to you.

      • But where did you mention the evidence for your arguments against her? I wanted to understand what you were saying but I never saw anything written to back up your arguments. Perhaps you could give us that evidence, otherwise it’s just hear-say. I say this with all due respect. Thank you

      • Hi TM, regarding your comments regarding evidence, the book and every blog I’ve written has always been fully referenced. You state that you have not seen anything written to back up my arguments, but you only need to look at the bottom of every blog post and the last chapter of the book and see the list of citations. See http://www.debunkingdrleaf.com/references for the full list of references cited in the book. I don’t know how much evidence will satisfy you, but I consider that my position is scientifically justified. All the best to you.

  6. Thanks so much for your detailed and balanced critique of Dr. Leaf’s research and ministry. I have my PhD is Leadership Studies so I know first hand the work that goes into earning a PhD. I also know that it only makes one an expert in one very small slice of knowledge. It is discouraging and unfortunate that Dr. Leaf, who should know better, is playing fast and loose with research and information.

  7. I stopped reading at your exclamatory sentence denouncing that thoughts can control matter. Quantum physics prove me thoughts can control matter.

    • Hi Laci,

      Thanks for sharing your opinion.

      I would have stopped reading at your exclamatory sentence that ‘Quantum physics prove me thoughts can control matter’ except that there was nothing more to read, since you didn’t bother to actually justify your opinion. It seems that you’ve fallen for Dr Leaf’s humanistic Sci-Fi fantasy version of egocentrism which she claims to be quantum physics. I have discussed quantum physics and the role of thoughts in my book rebutting Dr Leaf’s greatest fallacies, which you can read here: http://www.debunkingdrleaf.com/chapter-13. Though my guess is that if you stopped reading one of my blog posts as soon as something challenged your exceedingly shallow world view, then you won’t even click on the link, but your choice. I’m more than comfortable that thoughts don’t control matter in any way, and that you’re welcome to hold onto whatever opinion you want to.

      All the best to you.

  8. I have read many of the comments and responses contained herein and it just seems to me that I’m watching episodes of – and in the red corner are the Pharisees and Sadducees V in the blue corner the Church and the Apostles. Or maybe something like – and in the middle of the arena are the Christians and shortly we’ll see the lions making an entrance.

    Isn’t this persistent attack on Ms Leaf a bit passé Mr Pitt?

    Its one thing to critique another person’s views (which I confess is indeed the cornerstone of all academic discourse) but it’s a totally different matter using inflammatory language against another to intentionally and provocatively personalise the attack. To wit “…(in your response to a contributor on this forum) that they had “fallen for Dr Leaf’s humanistic Sci-Fi Fantasy version on egocentrism”, or “…spread the word. Dr Leaf has flourished in a vacuum of accountability” or put another way – “go tell the Church Elders so they can burn the witch at the stake”.

    Really Mr Pitt? Is that necessary or indeed emblematic of what academic critiquing is? Dare I ask you – do you know the difference between academic critiquing and vexatious criticisim? Of course you do – you must. Then why do you consistently attack the person (Dr Leaf) instead of the ‘ball’? Hiding behind the science is just veneer. Your attacks are unnecessary and unhelpful – your brand name is being (or has been) seemingly damaged.

    Makes one wonder what your deep seeded motivation is that’s driving your relentless and sustained verve to nail Ms Leaf at ‘the cross’? Newton’s Third Law – for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. Just like When the Pharisees had their intellectual noses put out of joint by a 12 years upstart!! And we all know how that story ended.

    How will the world see you Mr Pitt? It will be a either a learned and balanced intellectual or just a run of-the-mill bully? By the tone of your submissions, it seems you don’t care either way.

    Well – I’ll conclude by offering a piece of worldly advice – life is fleeting. Go have a good hot cup of tea with Dr Leaf and bury the hatchet which you keep flaying around. Who knows – you may both find some God ordained middle-ground.

    Now that would be one for the ages!!!


    • Hi PH,

      Thanks for sharing your opinion. I’m actually rather amused by your pretentious condescension. You can think whatever you like about me or ‘my brand’. You can assume my body of work to be nothing more than ad hominem spite if you want. The hundreds of scientific articles that I’ve quoted would counter your position, but you don’t seem to be bothered by cognitive dissonance, so I doubt you’ll be adjusting your narrative.

      You were right on one point – I don’t care how you or the world sees me. I’ve laid out the truth in a rigorous and defensible way. What people do with that truth is up to them entirely, be it intelligent consideration or arrogant dismissal, or anything in between.

      All the best to you.

    • I agree with this person, PH. Actually I noticed the same things he or she did and whilst reading the same posts he was referring to, I did sense that you were not being nice. I also cannot understand why anyone would take the time to write a whole book denouncing and debunking someone’s work, especially without providing any evidence to back up what you’re saying she’s saying about science. Please show us the science!

      • Hi TM, thanks for your comment.

        I always find it interesting how people seem to conflate objective truth with subjective opinion. Whether you think I’m nice or not is fundamentally irrelevant to the objective truth (or otherwise) of Dr Leaf’s teaching. Just because you think Dr Leaf is nice and I’m not does not make Dr Leaf’s position right and mine wrong.

        As for your statement, “I also cannot understand why anyone would take the time to write a whole book denouncing and debunking someone’s work, especially without providing any evidence to back up what you’re saying she’s saying about science. Please show us the science!” … I did show you the science. You clearly didn’t read the book or any of my blogs as if you had, you would see the scientific evidence that I referenced in support of my position.

        It’s up to you entirely as to whether you agree with me, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not bothered either way. But levelling inane accusations about a lack of evidence without bothering to look first is ignorant or misleading. Either way, I’m satisfied that the evidence is all there to support my position.

        All the best to you.

  9. i think you need to understand that Dr Leaf is first and foremost a christian,and her approach to her field is from scriptures.. Personally I agree with her findings, from my own life experiences.God is the inventor of science, and whatever doesnt line up in your universe will, eventuall.
    If you were to look at the fruit of her work, you will see that it will definitely help people to be positive”the perfect you”, rather than to go down rabbit trail of negativity. ”
    Jesus said”you shall know them by their fruits” She is giving a messgae of hope, what pray tell, are you giving?
    Any work that is new always needs perfecting, but if you are detractors rather than encouragers we will never be able to breakthrough to new ideas and technology.
    Its about time people use their mind constructively intead of being held back by tradition.

    • Hi Ung,

      Thanks for your comment. You’re welcome to agree with Dr Leaf if you want to, but please don’t pretend that your agreement based on your own life experiences is science. Let’s call it for what it is – opinion. Subjective, biased opinion. And hey, it’s your opinion – you’re welcome to it. I don’t share it though.

      ‘She is giving a message of hope’ … is she? Really? ‘What, pray tell, are you giving?’ The truth. The truth allows for real hope. Hope built on lies and mistruths is false hope. If you support Dr Leaf’s ministry of false hope, then that’s your call. Either way, we’ll agree to disagree.

      All the best to you.

  10. Thanks for taking the time to write this healthy bit of perspective that is needed with anything that’s posted online these days…
    What I think is important is to ask whether what Leaf is teaching is steering people away from God or toward God.
    While the counter arguments offered here are well researched and does a good job of illuminating the losely connected hypothesis in Leaf’s complete theory, it is unfair to say that she has no point or no purpose with her message because she isn’t an ordained minister or qualified on paper neuroscientist.
    Jesus wasn’t a Jew, and look how He was torn to shreds because his credibility was questioned. Probably the most extreme example here but I’m sure you get my point.

    I personally have issue with ANYONE making profit on advice given to their brothers and sisters in Christ, but then again I don’t know how this profit is being spent and rely on God to be the judge.

    Leaf is teaching at least something of merit that will help people regain control of their egos, take ownership for their behaviours and hopefully lead them closer to God. Any health or other benefit beyond that is a subjective bonus.

    So instead of trying to pull each other down, let’s see how we can at least highlight what we do agree with and share that message with our brethren.

    Well done on making the time to share an alternative perspective.

    • Hi Eòlai, thanks for your comment.

      Your position is certainly very gracious, even magnanimous. I take your point that the truth of a person’s message isn’t dependent on their qualifications. I’m not an ordained minister or neuroscientist either and people have dismissed my critique based on my perceived lack of qualifications. The key issue which EVERYONE ignores isn’t Dr Leaf’s lack of qualifications, but the fact that Dr Leaf CONSISTENTLY embellishes her qualifications. Whatever truth is found in Dr Leaf’s teaching isn’t discounted by her lack of qualifications, but the fact that Dr Leaf consistently guilds her academic work and qualifications should ring alarm bells for any Christian who values the truth. And if she can’t be trusted with the most basic of facts about herself, how can she be trusted with anything else?

      Giving her the benefit of the doubt about her teaching is very gracious, but irrespective, intentionally pretending to be a cognitive neuroscientist, deliberately exaggerating her own qualifications, should have disqualified her a long time ago.

      Beyond that, there really isn’t a lot that Dr Leaf says that’s truly beneficial, and it’s suffocated by the weight of mistruth that remains in her message.

      I appreciate and respect your beneficent and diplomatic approach, and while I generally agree with your stance, I do not think it should apply to Dr Leaf’s teachings. But happy for you to disagree. I appreciate that you’ve considered all sides and are looking for the best in both.

      All the best to you!

  11. It is clear that whoever came up with this blog is not a true Christian. When Dr. Caroline lLeaf quotes the scripture “2 Timothy 1:7”
    She does not refers that anxiety is fear. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power of love and a sound mind” sound mind is self control it means that by speaking this scripture in faith you are able to get rid of anxiety because it is in the mind and it is caused by fear. If you pray with faith quoting the scripture in first person “because God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power of love and a sound mind” immediately the anxiety goes away because anxiety is caused by fear the power of God, the Love of God and the sound mind of God given to us by Him can drive away fear and whatever else fear causes including anxiety, stress or depression which is coursed by fear NOT that anxiety is fear. Revelation is given only to those who truly follows Christ” May God have mercy on whoever persecutes a true child of God”.
    ◄ Luke 17:2 ►
    It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.

    • You’re welcome to your opinion John. I disagree with your interpretation of 2 Timothy 1:7, but I’m not going to go around in circles restating what I’ve already said. It’s there in black and white. If you disagree, that’s fine. It’s your right.

      It’s interesting that you say, ‘May God have mercy on whoever persecutes a true child of God’, followed by Luke 17:2, ‘It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble’. Do you presume that these apply to me? Perhaps your first statement should apply to you for persecuting me as a true child of God. Luke 17:2 could so easily apply to Dr Leaf – her work is so full of inaccuracies that she’s the one who is more likely to cause a ‘little one to stumble’.

      As for your comment that ‘It is clear that whoever came up with this blog is not a true Christian’, well again, you’re welcome to your opinion. People have been questioning my salvation ever since I started reviewing Dr Leaf’s work – it’s as if most of the Christian church consider salvation and intelligence to be mutually exclusive. Think what you like, but I’m confident that I can be saved and also think for myself at the same time. 1 Chronicles 12:32, “And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do …”

      Ultimately you can think what you like. If you want to decorate your pious judgement up with scripture, that’s your call. I’m going to maintain my stand against Dr Leaf anyway.

      All the best to you.

  12. Thank you so much. I have just started reading Switch on your brain but it bothered me greatly when I saw Joyce Meyer endorsed it. I then read your article and will not be reading her book. Thank you.

  13. Thank you for your article and your extensive research. A friend shared a YouTube video and after 10 minutes it felt uncomfortable. So instead of watching it i found your article.
    I would just like to comment on you wondering why church leaders do not call her out. You mention Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Hillsong and I have seen Stephen Furtick also interviewed her. These are not teachers of biblical doctrine. Dr Leaf’s teaching gives an air of scientific respectability to their teachings that you can call things into existence. Joyce Meyer for example teaches that positive affirmations change or impact reality, denying God’s sovereignty or giving us creating power equal to God?? Not surprising that Dr Leaf’s teaching that our brain or mind can change our DNA suits them. Because she is a doctor. Only God can do miracles and there is plenty of biblical evidence. And in my experience once we stop obsessing about ourselves, our hurts our desires our perceived needs close our ears to the voices that tell us we deserve this and not that and surrender to God, trust in God, make Jesus our portion and accept that the world is not our home depression anxiety etc will reduce significantly or dissappear fully

  14. So after reading all these views and different opinions from different individuals with respectable views all i can say is to any honest reader who is a child of God…… If you pray and then read scripture says… Ill paraphrase “if you ask for bread God wont give you a scorpion”…. And also scripture mentions that God can turn any ill thought information for his good… So eventually as much as this doctor might be misleading people with false scientific facts i guarantee you that God can make you gain something good out of it… So perhaps instead of arguing over who is right or wrong people should just pray and ask God to help them discern what is off use and what is not of use…. Remember it is not our place to judge

    • Hi Mr F. Thanks for your comment.

      Respectfully, the Bible also says, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matt 7:15)

      Also, “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” (2 Peter 2:1-3)

      I contend that it’s very important that we’re not wilfully ignorant. Nonchalantly dismissing those who would stand up and preach lies and falsehoods by invoking God’s discernment is just spiritualising intellectual laziness. God gave us a brain, it’s appropriate that we actually use it.

      Thus, I’ll continue to stand up for the truth, Biblical and scientific.

      All the best to you.

  15. Ok, well I will look further and read your post again. I was referring to the post, in and of itself, where you made statements and didn’t say why or from where the information came. I was hoping to read the bibliographies. I suppose it is in your book but I don’t have it.

    In my saying it didn’t seem like you were being nice, I was referring to the comments made to Laci just a few posts ago wherein you said, “…my guess is that if you stopped reading one of my blog posts as soon as something challenged your exceedingly shallow world view, then you won’t even click on the link….” That just didn’t seem to be too nice. Perhaps you do not know her world view or what she has read or not. Also, I didn’t mention whether or not I thought Dr. Leaf is nice. That is beside the point.

    With all due respect, I still cannot understand what drives you to want to pick apart Caroline’s work. I don’t believe she’s ever hurt anyone, but rather helped many. I just want to know where this is all coming from. Would you mind telling us why you wrote the book?

    Thank you.

    • Hi TM,

      So at the risk of sounding like a broken record … it’s all in the book. It’s also in the blog posts and answers that I’ve given to the same question over the years.

      A short summary to most of the questions you’ve raised can be found on the debunkingdrleaf.com website here: http://www.debunkingdrleaf.com/why-we-re-here

      You can read the introduction to my book on Dr Leaf here: http://www.debunkingdrleaf.com/new-page … it is a more in-depth discussion on my work and its context.

      I apologise if I missed the context of your previous comments. In many ways, my response is unchanged – you’re welcome to your opinion about whether I’m nice or not. I’m willing to engage in robust discussion especially when people are overtly hostile, and allow me to pre-emptively state that you’re welcome to your opinion on that too. At least I’m willing to engage in robust discussion and publish all of the comments that come through – both supportive and critical. Dr Leaf’s social media minions do not allow anything remotely critical on her websites. Not only do they suppress free speech, they also actively block anyone who dares to be anything less than sycophantic towards Dr Leaf’s ministry. Believe me when I say that I have seen it first hand and spoken to a number of people that have fallen victim to it – perfectly legitimate and respectful comments which did not perfectly align with Dr Leaf’s fragile narrative were deleted, and their authors blocked from ever commenting again.

      You say, “I still cannot understand what drives you to want to pick apart Caroline’s work. I don’t believe she’s ever hurt anyone, but rather helped many.” Of course you don’t believe that she’s hurt anyone, and helped many. It’s a mirage, a manipulation of messaging and social media. Dr Leaf has hurt many people, but their views are suppressed. They are discredited. They stop sharing their opinions because they get ignored or ostracised. Again, I have had a number of people recount their issues with Dr Leaf and her teaching – people with very legitimate mental illnesses who have been directly affected by following Dr Leaf’s advice, or indirectly affected because their church has been convinced by Dr Leaf’s teaching that mental illness is the result of toxic thinking, and as a result, failed to give appropriate support to those who are the most vulnerable and most in need of support. One church in Australia had to engage professional psychologists to manage the fallout after Dr Leaf did a series of meetings. A number of people from different churches the world over have told me that following Dr Leaf’s sermons, the pastors have had to provide a type of disclaimer because of Dr Leaf’s extreme views regarding the management of mental illness. Again, it’s up to you if you want to believe the PR narrative of Dr Leaf’s selfless perfection, but it’s a facade.

      Anyway, I really must get on. I’m a doctor and there’s a public health crisis going around so I will leave it there. But the information is all out there for you to see if you are willing to look.

      All the best.

      • Thank you very much for explaining to me further. I understand now. I did not know any of those things were happening. It is unfortunate.

        I appreciate your time. Bye for now.

      • Dr. Pitt, I owe you an apology. I have read the articles in the links you provided. I now clearly see why you have written your book. It is a conviction and a desire to speak the truth as you know it, which I respect. Those of us who are just beginning to research the mind/brain psychology really need to continue our studies to truly understand what is going on. And we need to always check what we hear, especially from the pulpit.

        I was saddened to hear of your own story of depression. I have one too and I never knew how real it was until it happened to me. I used to have an old school mindset about it and thought it was a frame of mind, which it is most definitely NOT. I am glad you are now on the other side.

        Thank you for taking the time to send me the links, for now I see I didn’t read enough to know what you’d said before. I shouldn’t have spoken out of emotion and without informing myself properly. Thanks for your patience with me and for explaining further.

        Best regards.

      • Hi TM,

        Thank you, but no apologies are necessary. I admire those with the courage to not only ask questions but to strive for answers, and not just accept the superficial, but are willing to peel the layers back and look underneath. You were right to challenge me when you thought I wasn’t being forthcoming. So I’m not bothered at all. Like I said, I appreciate the instinct and tenacity. They are rare but precious qualities that are to be prized and nurtured. Question everything, hold on to the good.

        Depression is hard, and I appreciate the empathy. If I’m honest, it’s something that I still struggle with at times – depression is so often like a fog that rolls in and then clears, only to roll in again at different times. I’ve recently been going through one of the deepest, longest periods of depression I’ve had for the last few years, and it’s just as unpleasant as the last time. I know I’ll get through but it’s really, really hard to see anything when all you can see and all you can feel is the cold, dank mist of despair. I hope you’re out of your cloud of depression, or are almost there, and I wish you all the best for your journey of understanding into psychology. I hope you can take what you learn to help others find their way through their own mental fog.

        Good luck with everything, and all the best to you!

  16. Thank you for sharing your valuable thoughts. Thank you for helping the appreciative reader to keep common sense and respect for science and religious ideals. Thank you for your brave defence of truth, which is never obvious and has to be constantly searched for. To get as close to it as possible is the main task of humanity.

  17. Thank you. Five minutes into a recent audiobook of Dr Leaf’s was sending off warning bells that her book was not scripturally aligned. I appreciate your honest assessment, but as their are always critics on all sides, I appreciate you taking the time to dive into scripture. Its odd to me… I have had many people recommend her works to me as I am very much into mindset, mental health, and following God’s word for wisdom.

  18. I am just wondering, if Dr Leaf’s teachings are wrong, what would you suggest to people who are suffering from mental illness that they should do? There is very little out there in regard to this problem in terms of christian help. The reason why her books are so popular is that people are desperate for help for their loved ones who may or may not be believers. Its fine to tear a house down whose foundations you think are not sound. But what are you offering instead?

    • Hi Chrissy,

      Thanks for your comment. I understand where you’re coming from. It may seem like there is little information out there regarding mental health and illness written from a Christian perspective, but there is information out there, except that sound science doesn’t sell very well, and church leaders are more inclined to listen to those with a slick sales pitch, not those with a strong scientific backing.

      As for your question about what I’m offering? I’m offering the truth. I’m providing the information that shows that Dr Leaf’s teaching is unscientific and unreliable so that if people are willing to listen, they will avoid wasting their time, energy and money on unproven claims and false hope.

      I’m also offering sound clinical advice on mental health and illness from a Christian perspective – on this blog and also through a book I wrote – Kintsukuroi Christians, http://www.kintsukuroichristians.com. I don’t have connections or church networks who invite me to speak at churches worldwide. Instead, I have decades of personal, clinical and church experience as a medical doctor and a Christian with mental health struggles. I deal with these issues every day, personally and professionally. Please have a read of the book. There’s a free sample on line if you want to make sure it’s worth the read before you invest any money in it. I hope it’s helpful.

      All the best to you.

  19. I follow Dr.Leaf on ger socials and something seemed to bother my conscience as to why she has changed the tune of her inspirational quotes making it less God-focused and more self-centric. I couldn’t shake the feeling so I wondered if anyone else noticed, which is how I stumbled upon your blog. I1 have been such a huge fan of hers but truthfully I have somehow managed to not be able to complete her book Switch On Your Brain (had it for 5 years)1 successfully. Something comes up or I get distracted but I see it as a way of God protecting me. With so many high profile believers publicly ​losing faith in God, I think as believers we need to ask the Holy Spirit to teach us to discern and test the spirit of any word or doctrine being shared. “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 If God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, inspires His Word, anything else that doesn’t align with God’s Word should be rejected. We need to actively put on the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-11) and be aware of the lies and deception that’s creeping into the church and twisting the Truth. The enemy is cunning and shrewd. We must be vigilant! Thank you for sharing!3

  20. I don’t follow Caroline leaf any more but science is catching up with the bible and a lot of what the bible says is true in regards to mental physical and spiritual health, Dr pitt I would be careful as well with educating your clients and people on this blog, Dr caroline leaf does make a lot mistakes as do a lot of people for we all fall short of the Glory of God, God says and makes it quite clear that a person with a poor attitude will have problems then someone who doesn’t, God also says that what is in a person’s heart will well up out there mouth, what we think about the most is what we speak the most of, God will examine our every thought and motive and action on Judgement day. Now we are not God’s so as we think does not create but God does examine what we think and say and gives us according to actions and words look at the old testament, I personally see a psychologist with my wife and they have over 20 years experience in mental health and says we need get back to the Bible and the basics, good thought life, think of things that you are grateful, honourable loving etc and God says those who are cowards will be thrown into the lake of fire which is linked back to fear and God says that having anxious thoughts is not sin but being constantly worried about life is a sin and we need to align our mind back to God, Those who set there mind on God and follow Gods standards he does promise a mind set free of fear and anxiety as perfect love drives out all fear. Also I am not implying mental illness is a sin but God does help people in this area through doctor’s , Jesus, loving others etc.

  21. Reblogged this on my open book and commented:
    I often tend to overlap my studies of science (specifically in the psychological realm) with my studies of The Bible and spirituality, and as this post describes, more and more people are falling into similar spaces that- on the surface- appear totally accurate and enlightening. On the other hand, if a person isn’t as versed in these subjects below Scripture or Neuroscience, it can be disastrous. I think people need to research these things for themselves and come to their own full understanding before coming to the conclusion that Ted Talker is providing factual information. Otherwise, a lot of people might find themselves disappointed- which apparently is what most people in her audience are trying to avoid, hence the general curiosity in the quest for this knowledge. They are seeking truth. But beware of false prophets… they profit from your lack of understanding.

  22. Hi Dr. Pitt,
    I was just wondering if you know of any other good reviews or critiques of Dr. Leaf’s works from people working in the field of either neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, or mental-health?

    I’ve been trying to do some research about Dr. Leaf for a friend, but I’ve been having a hard time finding any other scientific reviews of her teachings from experts in the fields she reportedly works in.

    Thank you so much for your time, and I hope you’re staying well!

    – Josiah

    • Hi Josiah,

      I’m really sorry to take so long to get back to you, and thank you for being patient with me. Time is limited being a doctor in the current COVID crisis.

      There are other reviews of Dr Leaf’s work, some of which are exceptionally perceptive, acerbic, hilarious or a combination. Just google ‘Caroline Leaf criticism’ and in amongst my posts, you’ll also find a number of other reviews.

      Though in terms of critique from other scientists or medical doctors in neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, or mental health, there might be a few now, but nothing formal. Dr Leaf doesn’t publish in peer-reviewed journals and so doesn’t attract a lot of attention in the mainstream scientific community. She has found a niche, pretending to be a scientist in a closed community of mostly non-scientists who simply accept what she teaches because of the platform given to her from people who should be more discerning and apply due process to the information allowed from their pulpits. Essentially, there are no formal scientific reviews of her teachings from experts in the fields she reportedly works in, specifically because she doesn’t work in those fields.

      So, sorry, I don’t know of any. But the information which is counter to Dr Leaf’s teaching is out there and it’s not just me saying it. I’ve just said it loudest and longest.

      Good luck with your search and my apologies for not being much help or getting back to you sooner. All the very best.

  23. I have been an Ernest Christian since 6th November 1989. We are told to renew our minds through the WASHING OF THE WORD….YHWH ‘s mandate. Our God is Sovereign and healing is His prerogative by believing Prayer.
    Dr Leaf is recommended by so many people these days, Christians as well.
    I have listened to a couple of her blogs, but they did not resonate with me. I am so glad that I found your research. Thank you

  24. Thank so much for writing this. I was diagnosed with acoustic shock and developed terrible tinnitus & hyperacusis and a physio in Melbourne showed me how to do havening & told me to download “Dr” Leafs app. It had bad reviews so I was looking for more information on her. Thank you, you have saved me alot of stress

    • Hi Sara, thanks for the comment, and no problem, happy to help. Next time you see your physic in Melbourne, let them know why you didn’t download Dr Leaf’s app. Hopefully they’ll be less inclined to recommend it to their other patients. All the best.

  25. Dr. Leaf was recently on Janet Parshall’s show. I copied the link to your TEDx commentary and sent an email to her producer as there was no where else to put it. I’m hoping Janet takes a look at it and is a Berean.

    Thank you for your fine Berean thinking and debate.

  26. This Diatribe is so lengthy, you’ve worked very hard to convince yourself of something other than the truth. And that’s your choice. I’ll make my own choices led by The Holy Spirit who guides us in all Truth.

    • Hey, if you want to confuse cognitive biases, magical thinking and ignorance for the ‘leading of the Holy Spirit’ then go for it. The Holy Spirit leads us into truth, but God gave us a brain too, and it’s our duty as Christians to use it. If you’re ignoring science, logic and reason, then you’re not really interested in the whole truth, just your own opinion – your version of ‘truth’ that’s convenient for you – and nothing I say is going to change that. All I can say is, good luck and all the best to you.

  27. Pingback: the truth about anxiety - ryan's blog

  28. Thank you for doing the research to expose Dr Leaf’s fraud. A year or so ago I did her detoxification of the toxic thoughts. I diligently worked her program daily for 1 1/2 years. It helped me a lot, but I think that it worked for me because of the active reach you did every day for 7 times. I’m a born again Christian and I consulted with the Holy Spirit as she advised you to do. So many of my active reaches were actual scripture or biblical concepts. She taught that you had to build a new healthy thought by the active reach for 63 days. 63×7=441. Anyone who thinks on anything that many times during a period od 63 days will see a change in things. Because I based my active reaches on scripture, it had a very positive effect on me. She said by doing this disciplined thinking that the toxic thought would die and the new healthy thought would flourish in growth. I experienced that growth because I pondered on either scripture, a Christian concept, or just plain old common sense. I always was puzzled on how the toxic thought just got weaker and weaker. Now I understand, her science was flawed and her reputation as a Christian is also questionable. One source said she is morman.

    Recently I have had many health challenges and and my mental health and behavior was challenged as well. I thought what am I going to with myself. I thought go back to the detoxing work of Dr Leaf. I looked her up and she no longer has that program available, but had replaced it with a neurocycle app for $100.

    I quickly paid the money cause I was desperate to get better. For a month I tried to work the program which was quite different from the detoxing one. The app had a large amount of cliches.. I stayed with it and they finally got an app that worked. So now I have completed more than the 63 days. She never mentioned God or the Bible. That bothered me a lot, but I ignored it cause I was getting myself back on track. The 1st 21 days were effective even thought some things were questionable. But the next 2 sets of 21 days were terrible with very little direction. She would speak some psychological concepts occasionally that sounded like they came from Psych 101. I was most distressed that she left out her Christianity. So I began my researching of her and found out she has no Christianity, she’ s morman! All the churches and Christians, myself being one, have swallowed her hook, line, and sinker. I have deleted all of her stuff on all devices.

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