Be Reasonable: Episode #030 – Susan Kennard


Joining Marsh this month is Harley Street EFT practitioner Susan Kennard. Susan came to the attention of skeptics when she appeared on BBC2’s “Inside Harley Street” explaining her use of Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as ‘tapping therapy’.

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  1. #1 by JJ on June 29, 2015 - 15:24

    I really enjoyed this episode; Susan Kennard came across as someone who, while deserving the scrutiny of skeptics, nevertheless could discuss her ideas quite reasonably and she didn’t see her therapies as incompatible with evidence based medicine and GPs’ advice. I think Marsh was right on the money when he said that they seemed to be reaching similar conclusions but taking different journeys to get there. I can believe that a variety of contact based therapies could have a stress relieving effect. While Marsh, myself + other listeners to this podcast would lurch at the mention of energy fields, and colour coded issues ( the “red = anger & yellow = childhood” type woo), she’s giving her clients a really accessible metaphor for understanding their psychological state. The reason I liked this episode so much, is that it made me ask “is that so bad?”. After some thought, I’d say I could consider it “not so bad” if indeed she clarified that these were all metaphors so that her clients don’t go away thinking that these things are facts and get sucked into weirder therapies that can “realign” or “resolve the frequencies” of their “energy fields” or other more dangerous hoodoo.

  2. #2 by Dorothy Paterson on June 29, 2015 - 23:57

    I think the reasonable sounding alt med types are the most dangerous. She skirted around the difficult questions cleverly,.

    It’s interesting why some health professionals turn to woo. One reason could be they find the reality of slow progress or indeed failure too much and making stuff up instead, as you go along, could be a lot easier.

    So sorry disagree with first comment. I feel concerned for anyone with a serious condition who goes to her, particularly a soldier with ptsd.

  3. #3 by Ben on June 30, 2015 - 23:01

    ‘Baby wants a cappuccino, Cathy’

  4. #4 by chikoppi on July 1, 2015 - 06:57

    What an absolute charlatan. I did my best to listen patiently, thinking perhaps this was someone who lacked the intellectual capacity to understand exactly why something as inconsequential as “tapping therapy” could do no more to cure disease than a good shoulder rub might. But under Marsh’s probing it became evident that her artful glibness was a little too practiced. She was all too conscious of the fine line she had to walk between calling it “relaxation therapy” and claiming that it CAN (emphasis hers) sometimes cure diabetes or cancer. Kennard isn’t stupid. She deftly skirts accountability to prey on the afflicted, encouraging them through false claims to delay or eschew actual treatment for potentially serious medical needs while instead paying for placebo massages.

    The whole affair made my stomach churn, despite the fact that I furiously rapped my knuckles repeatedly against my skull for the entire duration of the episode (further proof that EFT is unmitigated bunk).

  5. #5 by Julian on July 1, 2015 - 10:15

    In my opinion, Susan Kennard was confusing Marsh with one of the judges that appears on the Good Wife, in my opinion. [Apologies to anyone who doesn’t get the Good Wife reference. Apologies too for lowering the standard of the debate, but it was one of the things that stood out in the episode… in my opinion. 🙂 ]

  6. #6 by Julian on July 1, 2015 - 10:42

    On a more serious note, I’d say that the danger with people like Susan Kennard is that by sounding plausible, but vague, it becomes difficult to challenge. She seemed to be saying that the EFT tapping ‘therapy’ (is this the same as TFT – “Thought Field Therapy”) was just a placebo, but that’s really not how it’s portrayed elsewhere. By avoiding presenting this as anything other than a placebo, there is clearly no way that EFT could be tested.
    Talking therapy may be useful, but if talking to Susan leads you to give up essential medication or try out other woo, then I’d say that her words of comfort are like honey laced with poison. She may not say that her ‘therapy’ cures people, but I think she is certainly suggesting that it might. When the snake oils salesman stands up and says – ‘I’m not saying this snake oil is a miracle cure, but this man here took a swig of it and within minutes he threw away his crutches.” – we know full well that he is making a claim. Susan appears to be doing the same thing, and I think that’s dangerous.

  7. #7 by TheSexyMenhir on July 2, 2015 - 12:46

    “I’m not saying it cures anybody, just that sometimes, after the Therapy, people go to their GP and aren’t ill anymore.” (Paraphrased)

    Absolutely true, not legally binding, and as deceptive as a politician during an election year.

  8. #8 by Malcolm on July 6, 2015 - 06:55

    She’s a sly one. Her way of defending her lack of credibility is to become a moving target. Her language is deliberately passive (they say, I think, in my experience) so that she cannot be pinned down to any details.

  9. #9 by mark on July 14, 2015 - 14:21

    I have suffered with depression and had psychotherapy and found it helpfully in many ways. Did it cure me, no.
    The human mind is a complex thing and I believe that we are still in the early stages of learning how best to treat mental illnesses.
    I find it horrifying that this individual is peddling this sort of intervention to such a vulnerable group and is able to use the Harley street tag to help sell the validity of the process.
    My experience is that talking therapy and relaxation techniques are able to help reduce my anxieties and put some of my worries and concerns into perspective. Wrapping additional ‘new age’ beliefs around this is unnecessary and just seems like a technique to try and extend her mental health training to appear to cover any illness.
    In my opinion this is a well educated individual who is using her training and communications skills to callously make as much profit as possible from the vulnerable.

  10. #10 by Nils on September 22, 2015 - 10:13

    I agree with the comments above. I had to lookup the word glibness (I am swedish), and yeah she does the talking with ease. She does all these general statements like – no one knowns how everything works and the human body is so intelligent. The human body is however not so intelligent when it develops a cancer that kills the body. The part about memory of psychological trauma in the cell is not evidenced what I know. In that case, a plant would also have memory of psychological trauma right.

  11. #11 by William Ho on April 21, 2016 - 15:47

    It sounds much more like a psychotherapy technique of sorts. But not too sure about the new-age packaging. She’s aiming at a specific market.

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