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05 Aug 2013

Many self-help programs are useful, but some can direct people in ways that aren By Jason Hanna, CNN Many self-help programs are useful, but some can direct people in ways that aren't right for them, a psychologist says. STORY HIGHLIGHTS Psychologists: Look for authors, teachers backed by research and formal training Some programs don't screen for conditions that might make someone ill-suited, expert says "The Secret" user: Changes in my life are all the proof I need that it works RELATED TOPICS James Arthur Ray (CNN) -- Amber Lemna says studying "The Secret" is changing her life for the better. The 2006 book and film discusses the law of attraction, something adherents say allows people to attract what they want by envisioning it and believing it will come. Lemna says she's used it to kick-start a business idea: attaching decorated tabs to credit cards so people can easily pull the cards from wallets. Thanks to "The Secret," she says, she's attracted people and resources to help her and already is selling the tabs in 10 local stores. "Nothing has been the same since I've listened to the CD [of the book]," said Lemna, 29. "I can control how my day goes." So the Minneapolis, Minnesota-area insurance agent bristles when she hears people using the troubles of self-help entrepreneur James Arthur Ray, who appears in but did not create "The Secret" film, to bash the attraction principles. Ray integrates the law of attraction into his teachings on obtaining spiritual, financial, mental and physical wealth.

Self-help books could ruin your life! They promise everything - and sell in their millions, but a leading psychologist remains unconvinced

Professor Wildon says that many self-help authors offer mantras and In Rhonda Byrnes case, the belief system is a New Age philosophy that is unabashedly evocative of the Da Vinci Code. The Secret has been known by a select few throughout (source) history, Byrne informs us including the Babylon-ians, Plato, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein but has been hidden from the rest of us until she uncovered it. Quite how it works is unclear; but apparently thats why its a secret! Like many self-help books, there are other problems with The Secret besides its questionable science. One is the blame it confers on people who dont succeed in attracting what they want.

Self-Help Is for Suckers

Who are the five most pivotal people in your world and how have they shaped you? Dr. P would have you believe that questions like these hold the key to improving the person you are. But look more closely. These questions have a common link -- and I don't just mean their use of arbitrary digits that seem more likely to have come from fortune cookie lucky numbers than any sort of actual research. More importantly, these questions share the assumption that there's a true or core self residing within each of us. And that introspection is the way to discover it. But the thing about introspection is that it gives you different conclusions under different circumstances.


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