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The Downside of Self-Help

On a festive Thanksgiving evening, George Noory welcomed surprise guests coming in through the Secret Door. In separate one-hour segments, we heard from the well-known voice of esoteric ideas, Mitch Horowitz, research physicist and author Stan Deyo, paranormal researcher Rosemary Ellen Guiley, and multifaceted author Howard Bloom.

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The Downside of Self-Help

Show Archive
Date: Monday - December 5, 2005
Host: George Noory
Guests: Dr. Paul Pearsall, Jon Rappoport

Neuropsychologist and cancer survivor Dr. Paul Pearsall presented a critique of self-help and self-empowerment movements, which he believes do more harm than good. "McMorals" such as 'you must first love yourself before you can love somebody else' are simply wrong, and like many of the platitudes in the self-help field, are too focused on the idea of the self, he argued.

In fact, a study of verbal expressions showed that the more a person used "I" and "me" words, the more likely they were to have health problems, he reported. Pearsall also shared that there is no data to support the idea that the venting of one's anger is healthy. To the contrary, the expression of anger actually causes negative physical responses. It is healthier to suppress anger, he said, suggesting a technique that involved sitting down, lowering your shoulders, and placing your tongue on the bony part below your teeth.

"I've had my fill of Dr. Phil," Pearsall declared. We've mistaken celebrity for credibility, and these "gurus" of the self-help movement tend not be held scientifically accountable for their advice, he commented. Instead of constantly working on self-improvement, people would be happier and healthier by recapturing a sense of awe and humor in their lives, and relating more to others, he offered.

Senate Bill 1873

First half-hour guest, Jon Rappoport expressed concerns over Senate Bill 1873, which would create a secret government agency (BARDA) that can---in partnership with drug companies---develop drugs and vaccines "to protect against bio-terror attacks." This bill is a poor idea, he said, because it would remove any liability for pharmaceutical companies in the development of certain products.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Monday December 05, 2005

  • Moms
    A Tribe Called Quest