All about the mind Blogging NaBloPoMo

There is some scary stuff out there

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I recently was directed to a blog post that scared the crap out of me. Sarah Wilson apparently believes that self-hatred is the real cause of autoimmune disease. In her post, she does not use any scientific evidence to back up her claim, which let’s face it, is unlikely to have any randomised controlled trials anyway. She refers to a TED talk by someone who in her own words is a “healer to the stars”. I don’t know about you but that is not someone you can use as a credible scientist in my opinion. What was even scarier were some of the comments on her post that were almost bordering on reverence for Sarah.

Now I don’t know Sarah Wilson.  I do know she is the person behind I Quit Sugar — where she apparently also recommends not eating fruit or dried fruit. Once again, I’m not sure how much scientific research went into her program but there are people out there who swear by her. Me, I like my fruit. And I’ll eat a couple of serves a day.

I’m pretty sure Sarah Wilson is a nice person but bloggers like her worry me. They make claims on their blogs based on their spiritual and new-age beliefs and proclaim it like the gospel truth. Unfortunately, they also have a huge following who then take on those claims. The fact of the matter is that Sarah Wilson and these bloggers are NOT scientists or doctors or psychologists or mental health professionals or nutritionists themselves. Unless they are trained in any of these areas {and by that, I mean have a degree}, they are not in a position to make any of these claims. Because the fact of the matter is that all human beings are different. Just because Sarah apparently dealt with her anxiety using ‘self-love’ {whatever that may be!}, it’s not going to work for every other person with an anxiety disorder. Rather, evidence-based interventions like CBT, ACT or even medication are likely to help majority of the population suffering from anxiety. Why? Because research proves it. As for autoimmune or genetic disorders, trust me, self-love ain’t going to ‘cure’ it. Carly and Nat both had some great posts on that.

So to all the readers out there, I beg you, do not take things like this as gospel. And as for the bloggers, you have a huge responsibility here. You cannot make claims about things without backing it up. And if you do, you need to put a disclaimer stating it is your opinion. I am a trained psychologist and while I blog a lot about mental health, not once would I offer advice. I am clear to state what are my experiences and clear to state what therapies are evidence-based. And there is no way I would ‘counsel’ people via my blog because this is not my work here. It is unethical.

As health professionals, most of us need to abide by ethics.

I wonder whether it’s time for wellness coaches, life coaches and maybe even bloggers to be bound by a code of ethics!

Do you think bloggers have a responsibility in how they provide information to their readers?

Do share! 

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

 

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  • Rajlakshmi
    23 November 2014 at 11:22 pm

    I strongly feel bloggers have responsibility in sharing correct information after doing their own research. Will go and read her blog now.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Wanderlust ZentangleMy Profile

  • Rajlakshmi
    23 November 2014 at 11:22 pm

    I strongly feel bloggers have responsibility in sharing correct information after doing their own research. Will go and read her blog now.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Wanderlust ZentangleMy Profile

  • Shilpa Garg
    24 November 2014 at 12:00 am

    Oh yes, bloggers are responsible for what they write/share on their blogs. But then there are people who follow people blindly. Just see the following the babas have in India.
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…Your Tarot Predictions for 2015My Profile

  • Shilpa Garg
    24 November 2014 at 12:00 am

    Oh yes, bloggers are responsible for what they write/share on their blogs. But then there are people who follow people blindly. Just see the following the babas have in India.
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…Your Tarot Predictions for 2015My Profile

  • Shailaja V
    24 November 2014 at 2:13 am

    Oh I heartily agree about the disclaimer bit that bloggers should put in. You won’t believe it, but a review on a school on my parenting blog had a parent lambast me, saying that she blamed me completely. Based on my review, she had put her kid in the school and he cried everyday for a week, so she was upset by it! After that, I am extra wary about recommendations and reviews on my blog, always making sure I follow it up with a disclaimer. I also agree that you should not offer technical advice unless you have statistics to back up your claims.
    Shailaja V recently posted…Pushed to the brink- #Five sentence #FictionMy Profile

  • Shailaja V
    24 November 2014 at 2:13 am

    Oh I heartily agree about the disclaimer bit that bloggers should put in. You won’t believe it, but a review on a school on my parenting blog had a parent lambast me, saying that she blamed me completely. Based on my review, she had put her kid in the school and he cried everyday for a week, so she was upset by it! After that, I am extra wary about recommendations and reviews on my blog, always making sure I follow it up with a disclaimer. I also agree that you should not offer technical advice unless you have statistics to back up your claims.
    Shailaja V recently posted…Pushed to the brink- #Five sentence #FictionMy Profile

  • Kathy Combs
    24 November 2014 at 9:28 am

    I tend to be turned off by people like this in general. Maybe it is the cynic in me…but I can see why you were wondering why.
    Kathy Combs recently posted…The Money PitMy Profile

  • Kathy Combs
    24 November 2014 at 9:28 am

    I tend to be turned off by people like this in general. Maybe it is the cynic in me…but I can see why you were wondering why.
    Kathy Combs recently posted…The Money PitMy Profile

  • simple girl
    24 November 2014 at 4:03 pm

    I feel bloggers have a responsibility but then I also feel the reader should know whom to trust .. I mean if she would set up a makeshift tent and rant out whatever she had written there using a microphone, she would get followers who would consider her a gospel ..

    So I guess it lies with the reader more…

  • simple girl
    24 November 2014 at 4:03 pm

    I feel bloggers have a responsibility but then I also feel the reader should know whom to trust .. I mean if she would set up a makeshift tent and rant out whatever she had written there using a microphone, she would get followers who would consider her a gospel ..

    So I guess it lies with the reader more…

  • Nat
    24 November 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Great post! I totally agree…it scares me the things that people claim without any research behind it. I’m with you on the fruit too – I’m sticking to my few servings a day!

    And thank you for the link through to my post on the topic too! 🙂
    Nat recently posted…I do not hate myself.My Profile

  • Nat
    24 November 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Great post! I totally agree…it scares me the things that people claim without any research behind it. I’m with you on the fruit too – I’m sticking to my few servings a day!

    And thank you for the link through to my post on the topic too! 🙂
    Nat recently posted…I do not hate myself.My Profile

  • Amy @ HandbagMafia
    25 November 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Sarah Wilson is yet another woo-peddler who receives far more airtime than she deserves. I think she lost all credibility when she went on national tv and claimed vaccines weren’t proven to be safe and effective. This most recent load of claptrap is no surprise but you’re right- it’s scary to see how much credence some give her and her ilk.
    Amy @ HandbagMafia recently posted…The Price of CompassionMy Profile

  • Amy @ HandbagMafia
    25 November 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Sarah Wilson is yet another woo-peddler who receives far more airtime than she deserves. I think she lost all credibility when she went on national tv and claimed vaccines weren’t proven to be safe and effective. This most recent load of claptrap is no surprise but you’re right- it’s scary to see how much credence some give her and her ilk.
    Amy @ HandbagMafia recently posted…The Price of CompassionMy Profile

  • nabanita
    25 November 2014 at 9:56 pm

    I agree…While writing something we need to remember not to claim something which has no backing, or no proof..especially when it comes to topics related to health…
    nabanita recently posted…#MicroblogMondays: Clothes, Control & 2 BooksMy Profile

  • nabanita
    25 November 2014 at 9:56 pm

    I agree…While writing something we need to remember not to claim something which has no backing, or no proof..especially when it comes to topics related to health…
    nabanita recently posted…#MicroblogMondays: Clothes, Control & 2 BooksMy Profile

  • Nish
    22 December 2014 at 11:13 pm

    There are far too many people like her these days. It’s best to ignore, it’s actually scary to think that anyone can just set up a blog and spout whatever nonsense they like.
    Nish recently posted…The Blood TelegramMy Profile

  • Nish
    22 December 2014 at 11:13 pm

    There are far too many people like her these days. It’s best to ignore, it’s actually scary to think that anyone can just set up a blog and spout whatever nonsense they like.
    Nish recently posted…The Blood TelegramMy Profile