Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

BS in Counseling: Names Changed to Protect the Guilty

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Mr. Kovacs, thank you for coming. Have a seat.

Please understand I respect and admire you. Your efforts heretofore have been nothing less than praiseworthy, and your rapport with the students makes them want the lessons to continue well beyond their scheduled time. I therefore find it highly irregular that you would now jeopardize your standing by having them practice sensing one another’s auras.

No one in the group doubts your formidable capabilities as an educator or master of the course materials; in fact you have proved time and time again that you possess knowledge far beyond many in your field, and that you take genuine personal interest in each student. It is therefore all the more troubling that you would engage them in activities that have no basis whatsoever in fact.

I do realize that a cornerstone of human relations is accurate knowledge of an interlocutor’s emotional state. Generally, however, humans absorb clues to same through observation of others’ facial expressions, gestures, tone and choice of words. The fact that sometimes we process these visual and auditory cues without consciously applying our minds speaks to eons of human evolution; it does not mean that our bodies can magically sense, merely by holding them, whether certain foodstuffs are good for them.

Nor does it mean that people have so-called “auras” that can be sensed by hand. I daresay, Mr. Kovacs, I sat in on that session hoping to witness the wondrous teachings that your students cannot stop lauding, and encountered only that nonsense. I even gave the exercise the benefit of the doubt, and genuinely tried to generate emotions for my partner to sense. The degree to which the partners got it wrong was comical – but the attempts to explain the discrepancies afterwards even more so. Tell me, Mr. Kovacs, what kind of emotional shift should be detected when one goes from a state of frustration to one of…frustration? My own experience – these were my emotions, after all – tells me there was no shift, considering that I consciously generated frustration all the way through; yet somehow my partner was encouraged to believe that he detected a profound shift; that when I was feeling pride, he detected sadness; when I felt anger, he sensed love.

Or when another pair of students noted their discrepancies: that when the partner detected caring, his subject was feeling anger. “Perhaps it was a caring anger,” you suggested. Perhaps your esteem just plummeted in my eyes.

The students in the food exercise, you must also note, knew they were dealing with nonsense, as they specifically replaced one item with the plastic cap of a whiteboard marker. As you no doubt recall, the subject’s body was seen to react positively to that item. Are we to believe that he should now make hard plastic a regular part of his diet? That he should restrict himself to the green caps, as the red ones might produce an entirely different result? What of the contrary results one subject produced when given the same object twice? For someone versed in critical thinking, you would get very poor marks indeed, Mr. Kovacs. Seen objectively, neither of the exercises you had them do demonstrated the body’s alleged subliminal ability to know things our conscious mind cannot.

Had you conducted the food experiment multiple times with the same subjects, to produce a decent sample size, you might have shown something. But you took for granted, and hoped the students would take for granted, the technique’s so-called prowess at using the body’s so-called innate ability to detect so-called matches or threats among a given group of foods, and had them do it only once.

Your field is not a scientific one, Mr. Kovacs; no one expects someone teaching therapy and counseling to conduct double-blind, randomized studies, followed by statistical analysis. What we do expect from you, however, is a passing familiarity with common sense.

From now on, please stick with well-sourced material with proper evidence as to its validity. Good day, Mr. Kovacs.

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Written by Thag

February 3, 2011 at 4:26 pm

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