EP 161: Self Help You Can Believe In: Interview with Dr. Tim Wilson, Author of Redirect

MichaelSocial Psychology, Therapy5 Comments

Looking for a self-help book with some meat? One that won’t insult your intelligence with flowery words and hyped up promises and pseudoscience? Take a look at the book Redirect by psychologist and author Tim Wilson. Redirect will give you a lot to think about and some new insights into human nature.


Why Do We Keep Trying What DOESN’T Work?

As we mention in the interview, these programs continue to be funded in part because we think they OUGHT to work. They make sense to us. Also, we want to help and we have to realize that our desire, as mental health professionals, to help others shouldn’t over-ride our obligation to find out from the research what programs really work and which don’t.

5 Comments on “EP 161: Self Help You Can Believe In: Interview with Dr. Tim Wilson, Author of Redirect”

  1. Hey Doc,
    SNL (Saturday Night Live) often has a skit about ‘scared straight’ and the “kids” are always shown mocking the prisoners. Not sure if you’ve ever seen those so I figured I’d just throw that out there, I’m sure the skits are on YouTube if you wanted to check them out.

    I doubt kids learn any tricks of the trade during those sessions so I certainly don’t know why they’d be more likely to commit crimes but I know criminals often learn how to be better criminals while in prison. What your guest said about them being tempted to do what they’re told not to do sounds reasonable to me. I wonder which kids of the control group are most tempted and what makes them impressionable.

  2. The point about occasionally thinking about what life would be like “without” something you value was a very good point, I think. I have two small girls, the eldest around 5, and every time I see a movie on tv where a little kid is hurt or dies it always affects me – and, to be honest, I kinda feel like I deliberately let it, and that really does give me a real sense of appreciation and love for my kids.

    Similar, but I guess different to a degree, is the sensation I get when I think about my cats, who are both getting on a bit. We lost one of them for three days several years ago, before we had kids, and it was absolutely awful – both my wife and I were beside ourselves with worry, going around doornocking morning and night, putting up posters, etc, and when he finally just wandered back in via the catdoor we both cried and hugged each other! Sounds silly, but boy we were pleased. We suspect he’d been locked in someone’s shed because he was filthy. :o)

    I think the idea of sometimes imagining you’ve lost something is a good way to help you value it, even if it makes you a little sad while you do it.

    Anyway, these thoughts just popped into my head during the interview and I thought I’d share them – very interesting interview.

    Actually, just as a final note, Dr Seligman is currently visiting my old high school (6 month stay, maybe?), so I’ll have to see if he’s giving any public lectures.

  3. Looks like we have a lot in common Derek. I can definitely relate to your story about seeing a movie or TV show in which someone dies. It makes me think about what my life would be like if I lost my loved ones. Can really make me sad coming out of a movie in which that happens.

    And as for cats, well, I never thought I’d say this, but boy are we attached to our cats just like you! What would we do without them?

    Thanks for your comments.

  4. Listening to your interview with Tim Wilson pretty much undermined my confidence in the reliability of the information that either of you give out. You stumbled around at the opening of the interview to accurately name the intervention that Tim Wilson criticizes in his book and then both of you proceeded to seriously misrepresent the premises of Critical Incident Stress Management (NOT Debriefing– debriefing is one specific tool in a comprehensive approach to assisting people to deal with traumatic stress. Have either of you actually read any material from the Mitchel model of critical incident stress management? If you had you’d both know that the premise is OPPOSED to the idea that just “talking it out” is an appropriate approach to traumatic stress management. Neither you nor Wilson cited any research findings nor did either of you refer to findings that might have contradicted Wilson’s spurious conclusions. Ever hear of the “straw man” fallacy? Of course not. You’re a psychologist, why should we expect you to do your due diligence or refer to research or data that doesn’t support your own research or even bother to properly define the subject you’re researching. Or the subject you are interviewing, in your case.

  5. Mark: I am certainly open to hearing more about your concerns.

    Regarding your comment “..referring to research or data that doesn’t support your own research” – I did an episode on the “discounting principle” which addresses this tendency (which is also a part of the “confirmation bias”, which I frequently discuss on this podcast).

    See: https://thepsychfiles.com/2010/12/episode-137-objectivity-and-the-scientific-impotence-excuse/

    I would be happy to explore this further with you if you can set aside some of the mean spiritedness expressed in your comment. I’m sure Dr. Wilson would be open to hearing more about what you have to say. I will look for information on the MItchel model to make sure that I am representing the Critical Incident Stress Management model accurately to my listeners. In the meantime I encourage you to share with us information you feel we ought to review.

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