Every now and again I am asked if I recommend ‘The Linden Method‘ for the treatment of OCD. It may surprise some, but I rarely say no. Instead I simply suggest if the person wants to give it a go and it is not out of their budget then by all means try it, but I warn them not to be fooled by the ‘spin’ on the website. I do actually go on to say that there are better treatments and therapists out there that I would recommend.
So the other night I was talking about the Brexit referendum and the misleading campaigns for leave and it instantly made me think of Charles Linden/The Linden Method and the misleading ‘spin’ I keep being shown by different people, so I thought that it was about time I addressed some of those.
I’ve long been a critic of Charles Linden and his approach for dealing with feedback. I have observed from a distance the lengths he will go to silence or discredit critics. I truly believe if The Linden Method is so good, it will stand up to critics and criticism. After all, he frequently critiques other therapies, so The Linden Method should not be above critique either. Which is the purpose of this blog, to highlight and rebuttle some of the ‘spin’.
But before I address the spin, I actually do agree with him on one point.
Recovery means total freedom. Never compromise. Never wait. Never believe it isn’t possible. Never trust those who talk of coping or management.
The fact is, people can and do get better, people can recover from anxiety disorders like OCD. But, the method of how we get there is where we differ, and why I think some of Linden’s claims are misleading, so here are my top 5 (current) misleading Linden claims/spin.
Spin Debunk 1
The Linden Method is the world’s only accredited, dedicated anxiety disorder recovery therapy. No other process exists that is recovery focused and accredited to lead sufferers to full and lasting recovery.
Well where do we start? If you watch any of Charles video’s you will hear him waffle with a few words of relevance, but deliver very little of substance. I think this claim is pretty much of similar deliverance.I would challenge that The Linden Method is the only dedicated anxiety disorder recovery therapy, I think it’s fair to say that CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is completely recovery focussed. The whole point of CBT is to help a patient deal with their problems here and now and to focus on helping them lead a full and lasting recovery.
But moving back to the first line, notice his use of the word accredited (and in the second line), this seems to be the crux of all that spin, he’s claiming his method is the only accredited anxiety therapy. So let’s look at the accreditation. He then goes on to claim “The Linden Method is powered by LAR ‘Linden Anxiety Recovery’ The only accredited, dedicated anxiety disorder recovery therapy”. So where does the accreditation come from?It simply means that the Linden Anxiety Recovery training (for their associates) was awarded NCFE accreditation. But NCFE is not a medical accreditation body. So the bottom line when you work through the spin is that yes there is accreditation, but actually doesn’t mean anything, it’s not medical accreditation which is what we should be looking for.
Spin Debunk 2
Independent University Led Trial Results. The most recent trial carried out at Copenhagen University saw incoming clients reduce their anxiety levels from an average of 18.24 (severe) to 2.84 (normal) by doing The Linden Method Program.
This one is really simple, Charles claims that the research at Copenhagen was independent, but it was anything but independent. The trial was reported on Linden’s website to be led by Psychologist ‘Martin Jensen’ University of Copenhagen. What Charles fails to mention on any of the pages where this ‘independent’ research is referenced, is the fact that the same Martin had been and seemingly still is part of the Linden Method. According to another of Linden’s websites “Martin is our TLM Director in Denmark and is a qualified psychologist. Martin’s experience as a Linden Method Coach and also as an educator is only matched by his wonderful personality and mind.”
There was also issues with how the participants of this independent trials were selected as Professor Paul Salkovskis mentions in his blog here and here.
So, has the Linden Method been the subject of independently led university trials? Not that we can see, no.
Spin Debunk 3
“The world’s most influential authority on anxiety” Hay House Publishing
On his website, the quote emanating to come from Hay House Publishing is that Charles Linden is the world’s most influential authority on anxiety. So last year I emailed Hay House to ask why they made such a claim, this was their reply.. “I can confirm that Hay House didn’t make the statement that appears on the site you reference.”
So is Charles Linden an influential authority on anxiety? Well to the person who wrote that quote, maybe! But it was seemingly not Hay House according to them.
Spin Debunk 4
Can talking therapies like CBT or counselling cure anxiety? NO. In fact, talking therapies will either a) prevent recovery or b) increase your anxiety.
So here is another great example of Charles being critical of other therapies (which is fine), so this is why he must be prepared to accept critiquing of his method and claims. Can CBT or counselling cure anxiety? No. I agree in the respect that every person alive will have anxiety from time to time, so we’re not aiming to ‘cure’ anxiety or stop anxiety. Anxiety can be helpful in some rare situations. But what CBT can do is help a person cure their anxiety ‘problem’.
As for the claim that talking therapies will prevent recovery or increase anxiety, well of course any therapy done badly could be problematic. But, certainly if CBT is done correctly then it can a) create recovery for the patient and b) help them lower their anxiety and remove the ‘problem’.
Spin Debunk 5
I am not a psychologist but I suffered for 27 years and have since helped well over 20 million people with my materials… 200,000 plus with the home learning program alone.
Where does he get these numbers from? I can’t claim that these figures are false, they may well be true, but again it’s all in the spin.
20 million? Even if that is simply a combination of figures from people watching his various videos, reading his websites or buying The Linden Method, there is a world of difference between buying/viewing the materials and those same materials actually helping people. I viewed much of the materials and they didn’t help me at all. Is there evidence that 200,000 were helped by the home learning programme, or is that simply a sales figure? It sounds impressive, but when you remove the spin it doesn’t mean much.
So there you go, my attempt to debunk some of Charles Linden’s claims, I will let you make your own mind up. But these are just some of the reasons why I and to my knowledge all the existing anxiety charities like OCD-UK, Anxiety UK or No Panic or other independent anxiety forums stop short of actually recommending The Linden Method. We can’t all be wrong, can we?
UPDATE: 7th Aug 2017
What is HIGHLY relevant is that they are preventing people’s freedom of choice.
The above quote came from a post made recently on Charles Linden’s website, and he is right, we must not prevent people’s freedom of choice. The post on Linden’s website starts by seeming to suggesting people who are critical of his the Linden Method are guilty of unprovoked and unwanted harassment and bullying. He goes on to suggest that unless those people sign an agreement, they will be sued with legal costs costing a minimum of £30K. I am not privy to everything that goes on with Linden, there may be issues of individuals overstepping the mark, but I fear he confuses challenging his claims and critiquing his claims/method with harassment. If Charles is free to critique talking therapists and makes outlandish claims about his Linden Method, then it should never be above fair constructive critiquing. Like Charles writes above, challenging critiquing allows people to make informed choices when deciding on their treatment, and gives people a freedom of choice.