When skeptics go soft: A slightly different ICB
Welcome to this week’s I Call Bullshit. It’s a weird one. An email arrived in my inbox yesterday spruiking “Australian best-selling author Margaret Stuart”, whose gift lets her “see into the bodies and minds of people suffering from different illnesses and help them to remove the thoughts and fears that are literally making them ill”.
Bullshit bingo! I took a look at the website, chuckled that the ‘qualifications’ section included kinesiology, Thought Field Therapy, and advanced scaffolding and forklift driving, pulled the old ranty-pants out of the cupboard, lined up an interview, and was good to go.
Then a strange thing happened. Margaret Stuart seemed like a nice, genuine woman who just happened to have some beliefs I reckon are a bit kooky. She may think she can cure diseases with mind power, but she doesn’t tell people to stop seeing their doctors and she doesn’t seem to be making a fortune from it. The ranty pants chafed.
Obviously I Call Bullshit on being able to read people’s minds and cure them. But I actually think she probably helps people just by talking to them. So I thought I’d just give you lot the only-slightly-edited interview here, and let you make up your own minds. Should I have hardened up and buckled those pants straight back on?
Tory Shepherd: Tell me what you do and how you do it.
Margaret Stuart: I look at the subconscious mind to find out what it is thinking, feeling and believing that’s creating illnesses and problems in a person.
TS: Tell me how you do that – do you meet with someone, talk to them, do you do a physical examination?
MS: I tune straight into the subconscious mind - I can see, hear and feel what’s going on. So that if I tuned into you – which I won’t do …
TS: You can if you like!
MS: Ha, if I tuned in to you I’d be able to tell you what’s going on in your system, what your thoughts, beliefs and feelings are. I get a feeling – in fact I do get a feeling now, talking to you, around the stomach area. (TS: I was a bit hungry). I tune in and listen to the subconscious and it tells me what’s going on.
TS: So is it something you visualise, or is it more like an empathetic feeling, where you feel what they’re feeling?
MS: I feel what they’re feeling. I can see what’s going on and I can hear the words the subconscious is using.
It’s a phenomenal gift I’ve got. Sometimes I can just look at a person – in fact I do this all the time - I scan them and then tell them where the problems are.
TS: What kind of formal training do you have?
MS: I’ve got a masters degree in leadership and workplace health and safety, which helps. I’ve got Bachelor of Arts, a Diploma of Education, a Diploma of criminology and forensic psychiatry. I’ve got a couple of years of a psychiatry degree (I was bored senseless) I’ve got kinesiology, One Brain… oh god I’d have to look up my website, I’ve got so many qualifications. (You can see them all here)
TS: So what would you say to people – I’ve worked with many skeptics and I’m a skeptic myself – what would you say to people who say: this isn’t how the science says the world works.
MS: I’d say well, science is wonderful and it’s got its place but there is more to the world than people realise, there’s more to our thinking than people realise. Everybody has things in their lives they can’t explain. And once I start to read the subconscious for them, they go: My god, how did you know that?
MS: Never. No. I’m not interested. The main reason being I’ve got a very big clientele, and my clients will vouch for my work. For example I treated a woman with psoriasis for 22 years and couldn’t wear bikinis, shorts, t-shirts, anything. I saw her seven times over a couple of years and she’s got rid of it. I know it works.
TS: What other diseases have you worked with?
MS: What diseases haven’t I worked with? I worked with a lady who had a stroke. I had a lady who hadn’t walked for 40 years, she could only shuffle. I’ve worked with dementias, cancer patients, psoriasis, eczema.
You name it. I can get rid of a cold for somebody in half an hour.
TS: Do your patients still see mainstream doctors?
MS: What I do is I say to them you still need to do whatever you need to do medically. I work with the mind and get rid of that aspect of the business.
TS: Do you think the placebo effect could be responsible?
MS: Definitely the placebo can work because the mind will relax. Then while they’re relaxing they start to think about the problem and they solve the problem for themselves..
TS: It sounds similar to the faith healing that some charismatic churches do. Do you think there are any parallels?
MS: I’d never thought of that. One of those techniques you can do and I sometimes use it with clients is, if they’ve got a lot of things on their mind, I get them to draw a line down a page and I get them to write down on the left hand side all the things they have to get done but just can’t do then on the right hand side all the things that need to be done that they can do. Then I say let the ones on the left hand side go, do the things on the right hand side.
TS: Sort of like ‘God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…’
MS: Yes. Once people start to take action, to do something to actually help create their lives, they start to improve. Another key thing I use is to get people to declutter. If people declutter everything that is not longer joyous, fun useful, they’ll find their lives actually change.
TS: Is it a lucrative industry?
MS: You get paid for what you do.
TS: A lot of people make a lot of money out of these things…
MS: What I believe in is you never work for free because the person consulting with you doesn’t value what you’re doing so they won’t put the effort in to help themselves.
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