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Teal Swan (1984–) is an author and "spiritual leader" who claims that she has various extra sensory abilities, including but not limited to clairvoyance, clairsentience, and clairaudience. She also credits herself as the founder of the "authenticity movement", and her own pseudo-psychological therapy known as "The Completion Process". Teal is also subject to various controversies surrounding her beliefs regarding suicide and depression, as well as accusations that she is a cult leader. .
New Age beliefs and other kinds of woo
Teal Swan is fond of every type of subject that would make any skeptic cringe, from auras, chakras/beliefs in a thirdeye, energy healing, anti-vaccination, colour therapy , crystal healing, tarot card divination, and the list painfully goes on.
What Teal is particularly known for her own self-styled therapy technique she calls "The Completion Process", which claims that no matter who you are you have experienced trauma at some point in your life, and through the Completion Process you will find resolution through identifying said trauma and "integrating" it into your life. Whatever that means.
The Completion Process
The Completion Process is a form of pseudo-therapy that involves identifying a person's "root-trauma" which is typically described as being some sort of severe trauma that happened before the age of 8-years old. Regardless if you have actually experienced trauma or not the practitioner will insist that you simply "repressed" it. Never mind that "repressed memories" are a largely outdated Freudian concept, that is rejected by mainstream psychologists. For those who have not experienced this "root-trauma" that Teal describes, attempts at "recovering" such memories may likely lead to confabulation (another term for the construction of false memories). For others who actually experienced childhood trauma, such a process could be extremely triggering. For the record, it seems that Teal has zero academic credentials, and the Completion process isn't backed by any scientific evidence of any quality.
Anti-psychiatry and problematic views on mental health
Teal has received a cease and desist letter from the state of Utah for practicing psychotherapy without a license, because of a video-demonstration of the Completion Process in which she described the client's issue with a word that can only be used for diagnosis by a licensed doctor.. She is also known for her more problematic views on depression and suicide. She will be careful to emphasize that she is only talking about her personal experience, but Teal tends to characterize mental health professionals as being generally unhelpful and being incapable of dealing with the underlying cause of suicidal thoughts. Teal also has a habit of romanticizing suicidal thoughts as being reasonable, and she claims suicide is a valid option that functions as a "safety net" or a "reset button". She also in the same video takes the time to advertise how her Completion Process is an effective way with coping with these emotions, as long as you're willing to pay the hourly fee, because that's not exploitative.
Teal is very much explicitly against the current mental health care system. In an article she wrote on her blog titled "The Mental Health System, The Land of No Return", she writes:
The mainstream mental health system in the western world is a system that has blood on its hands. Like all institutions that were proven to be archaic before its time, it must eventually own up to the amount of pain it has caused the world. It is tempting to think that we have come so far from the days where strong emotion was met with lobotomy. But we have not come so far from that. We simply lobotomize people with medication now. Before I go into what I am about to go into, I will say that there are some unsung heroes in the business of mental health care. They care in a business where their bravery and caring is an assault on "the way things are done". I do not doubt their motives, nor minimize the good that they have done. I do not mean to demonize the totality of individuals who work for this system. But I must tell you that if the average person is feeling bad, I would tell them to stay as far away from the mainstream mental health care system as they possibly can. It is a system that has claimed the life of millions all in the name of trying to ‘help’. When you are admitted to a hospital due to suicide, they treat you like you have murdered someone. You have more free will in jail than you have in a psych ward. Psych wards are the modern day holocaust camps. Instead of trying to help, people are treated like criminals. .
Though it is true that mental health institutions have a very problematic and barbaric history, the modern-day psychiatric institutions of today are not even remotely comparable to that of the past. To characterize psychiatric wards as modern "holocaust camps" is more than a little hyperbolic. To actively recommend that suicidal people don't seek medical help is also particularly irresponsible and dangerous. That does not negate that there are some genuine social issues in regards to psychiatry but it becomes pretty obvious with Teal's track record that she is both over-exaggerating the issues and exploiting anti-psychiatry nuttery for her own personal gain.
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