One of the brilliant parts of social media is we can vet people before we agree to work with them (which is why I don’t trust any professional without at least a website).
I want to know what my providers do, how they do it, why they do it and if we share a world view.
I want to see if people work from a place of informed, educated expertise or are just winging it with self-determined confidence.
In other words, does what they say and do actually help, or are they just telling me it works based on their beliefs?
We live in a culture where opinion and fact are constantly blurred.
Science shows us we are in the midst of global climate change, yet a subsection of people ignore the facts, even when their state has unprecedented drought, fires and live stock dying by the thousands.
I understand we all suffer from our own version of confirmation bias. We see what we believe. Everyone is entitled to live by their opinion, rather than react to science and research.
That is, until I’m paying them to help me solve a problem.
Do you want your surgeon to wield a scalpel by intuition? Would you like your physician to diagnose your cancer based on a hunch? Would you prefer the civil engineer ignore the rules of physics when he designs the bridge your car drives over every day because “it feels right?”
Of course not. So when people who are in less-than-scientific fields (like therapy and coaching) tell me they are winging it based on an opinion and ignoring facts, I call it a cop out. Why do we hold ourselves to a lesser standard than the engineer and the diagnosing MD? Isn’t that asking to be dismissed as less-than? For me, it says this person has a word bubble over their head saying, “I’m too lazy (or unintelligent) to critically consider facts/research and don’t care enough about my clients to be open to new data that may help them.”
We have research that supports Reiki and energy therapies and other metaphysical phenomenon. I’m not saying we have to stick to only observable science. What I am saying is that when an intervention is shown over and over to NOT be effective and professionals insist it is so based on their opinion, we’ve walked down the road of weakening our authority and professional expertise.
Worse is when said professionals offer to “discuss” the science vs hunch issue and then take data and simply ignore or dismiss it as not relevant “because in my experience it’s helpful.” Again, they are seeking confirmation bias and anything that negates their view is deemed not admissable to the discussion.
The scientific method exists because the experience of ONE doesnt’ mean it a result of the same experience of many others. For example, eating a certain mushroom may make me grow bigger, but when given to 100 other people, they only got sick. If I go around telling people, “in my experience this mushroom makes you grow bigger!” and they eat it and get sick, I’ve hurt a lot of people based solely on my experience and ignoring data that challenges my worldview.
Opinions have a role. Theories have a place. Honest professionals will tell us when they are working from an opinion and when they are working on a data/research based platform.
But be cautious of those telling you they have facts when what they are telling you are opinions and personal experiences clothed as scientific data. “This has worked for me,” is a horrible testimonial.
If we want respect and a voice in impacting how people get support and help, we need to respect the people we serve. While data may fly in the face of what “I know to be true,” at some point we need to acknowledge either we are doing our work to confirm our own worldviews or are open to being available to information that may improve outcomes for the folks we care about.
So, let’s do our work with integrity. Let’s do our due diligence and offer services with a record of being helpful to more than a few, with replicable and valid outcomes. And don’t give your time or money to people who are selling a promise based on an n = 1. If someone is using intuitive work with you, that is cool if they are honest about their approach and authentic in that work. But mixing metaphors of evidence vs personal opinion is the slippery slope that muddies the waters and ultimately confuses our clients who need our focus to be on what we know will work for them.