got into another tussle recently with one of my colleagues about the use of
alternative care. Iím growing increasingly cranky about such things these
days, as you can tell by the amount of writing I do about it now.
mentioned that the main problem is the amount of out-of-pocket expense incurred
by sick people and their families since the insurance companies appropriately
reject the claims.
of addressing this issue directly, my colleague (a proponent of "energy
medicine") focused on the "failure" of ordinary science to
measure this subtle but powerful entity, and continually promised that its
revelation is imminent. He was not, evidently, speaking of known qualities of
energetic expression the human body naturally displays.
exception, proponents of "energy medicine" cite two irrefutable facts
that they feel justifies their use of this modality: 1) At least $14 billion are
spent by consumers each year on alternative methods; and 2) Congress recently
allocated $50 million to the NIH to study alternative medicine.
last time I read this my mind wandered to a movie I've seen a few times. I'm
sure many of you also remember the 1947 classic, Miracle on 34th
Street. You may wonder why I'm mentioning this
here, but please bear with me. As to why my mind often works in this way, I have
movie proposes that a certain man who claims to be Santa Claus is actually who
he claims to be. When hauled into court in order to prove that he is not insane,
the man's lawyer makes his case in the following ways:
the prosecution prove that he isn't Santa Claus?
close relatives of the prosecutor believe in Santa Claus' existence?
thousands of letters from the general public arrive at the post office addressed
to Santa Claus?
the Post Office an official agency of the U.S. government and, therefore, aren't
nonbelievers actually rejecting governmental authority?"
must say, all of this sounds familiar to me.
subplots in the movie further parallel the ongoing argument about "energy
medicine." First, the defense lawyer makes an impassioned plea to his
girlfriend (a nonbeliever) about how belief in Santa Claus is the same as
believing in "kindness and joy," clearly accusing her of rejecting
these cherished qualities as well. He storms out, and she relents. Alternative
practitioners commonly make a similar appeal to spirituality.
the judge (representing Congress, in my view) is repeatedly reminded by his
political crony that ruling against Santa Claus would end his career on the
the judge states his preference for reason, he bows to this pressure and rules
don't know about anyone else, but to me this movie eerily echoes our present
situation, and I find myself playing the part of the evil, uncaring prosecutor.
A man to whom his own wife says, "Sometimes I wish I had married a butcher
or a plumber."
the therapy community is swayed toward belief in the existence of something as
ethereal as the human energy field, they are clinging to a comforting and warm
ideal-kind of like Santa Claus. They have forgotten that he is a metaphor; and
it is no wonder that those who remind them of this are often thought of
question remains: Should the practice of therapy begin with evidence (and I mean
real evidence) or faith?