• The Curious Case of JP Sears

    jp-searsIf you’re friends with skeptics on social media, or you pay attention to what’s popular on YouTube, you’ve probably seen some witty videos from JP Sears. His skits making fun of coconut oil, essential oils, and the gluten-free fad are spot on because they bring up the unfounded beliefs behind these alternative health trends and criticize the reasoning in a hilarious and informative way. In “How to Become Gluten Intolerant”, he makes sure to mention that there are people who really do have legitimate reasons to avoid gluten, but that he’s referring to those doing it for other supposed health benefits. JP’s delivery is on point.

    After seeing a few of these videos show up in my Facebook news feed, I was curious about his background. My guess was that he was a comedian and/or a skeptic – Maybe not be an all-around skeptic but at least skeptical of alternative medicine and spirituality. But when I went to his Facebook page, I saw videos about emotional healing and awakening. These did not seem to be funny or satirical, but I wondered if he was maybe doing deadpan. I scrolled down his page some more and saw posts about spiritual retreats he was leading. I clicked on a link and saw that this was real and googled some of the other spiritual leaders listed. They were all promoting woo woo.

    I then went to his Inner Awakenings website, and his About Me says:

    JP Sears is an emotional healing coach, international teacher, world traveler, and curious student of life.  His work empowers people to live more meaningful lives.  JP presents classes, workshops, online seminars, and leads retreats at numerous locations around the world on inner healing and growth.  He is also very active on his YouTube channel AwakenWithJP, where he encourages healing and growth through his entertainingly informative and inspiring videos.

    JP served as a faculty member for the C.H.E.K Institute from 2006 to 2013.  JP holds certification as a Holistic Coach Advanced Practitioner through the Holistic Coaching Institute in Columbus, OH.

    “C.H.E.K Institute” (which I had to google) and “Holistic coaching” were what made me realize that he really does believe in pseudoscience. Then I clicked the link to his YouTube channel and saw that most of his videos are serious and promoting woo, not ridiculing it. He often differentiates the satirical videos from the seriously spiritual ones by putting “(Funny)” in the title.

    The bottom of his About Me page has this video, which explains what his main gig is and has testimonials from clients.

    While I don’t see anything over-the-top wrong here, I do have concerns about people seeing a holistic coach and not a mental health professional trained at an accredited science-based medical school. He doesn’t seem to be psychic or palm reader bad – at least from what’s revealed in the testimonials – but it definitely paints JP Sears in a much different light than what my impression was of him from his funny videos.

    I thought his soothing, ASMR-inducing voice and pleasant facial expressions were a fantastic impression of an alt med coach. But the reason he’s so good at it in his funny videos is because that’s what he does as his main job!

    Here’s one that’s especially soothing to me:

    Much of what he’s saying is advice I read when I was in elementary school and thought I had psychic dreams, so I read books about it. Basically, if you are more into and aware of your dreams, the more likely you are to remember them. The sooner you record the dream, the more likely you are to remember what happened in it (or what you think happened anyway). Not really mind-blowing information here. But the way he speaks made me stare at him straight in the eye and pay attention, as though he were physically in the same room and speaking specifically to me, and as though he were saying fascinating things. I think this is a big part of the appeal of certain people who spread hogwash and of con artists – Not that I have reason to believe JP Sears is intentionally deceiving people, but it’s interesting to ponder how much of what we are willing to believe is based on the manner in which people present themselves.

    Seeing all this made me realize my impression of him was wrong, but it didn’t make me dismiss him altogether. Although I was disappointed for a brief moment, it didn’t make me dislike the satirical videos I’d seen. I think it’s great that he can poke fun at his own community. It’s nice that, although he’s wrong on things, he doesn’t seem to have taken it to such an extreme. His criticisms of health fads may convince people who may never listen to skeptics or doctors. They may see JP as someone who “gets it” and not some Big Pharma dude and are more willing to see what he’s saying.

    I do wish he wasn’t a holistic coach. I wish they didn’t exist at all and that people used evidence-based medicine from licensed doctors. So he doesn’t get a free pass on this. But I can tell from his videos that he gets what the alt medders he’s criticizing believe and that’s why he’s so good at satirizing it. Many skeptics I know are good at explaining why this or that alt med treatment is bunk, but many aren’t good at explaining what the belief is and why people come to their conclusions. So when they get into a conversation with a believer, it only makes them believe even more because they can easily dismiss the skeptic as someone who doesn’t get it in the first place. I know that’s what I did when I believed in alt med.

    But then I wonder if I’m being inconsistent. I don’t believe in sharing any posts from David Wolfe. Part of how he’s gotten so popular on Facebook is that people see mostly harmless memes from his page with vague positive messages or nice videos of nature. People share it and some decide to follow him. But they then end up seeing his extreme posts about GMO conspiracy theories, how your face is a map to internal body issues, and other harmful misinformation that are links to his website. Once they click that link, they start seeing other junk that his site promotes.

    While it’s possible some people will see JP Sears’ satirical videos, start following, and then start becoming a believer in his spiritual teachings, I don’t think he’s as bad as David Wolfe saying “Chocolate is an octave of sun energy” or “The reason why the oceans are salty is that’s what’s needed to hold the water onto the Earth”. It’s possible he does teach things to that extreme but I haven’t seen it or it’s things done in private sessions or retreats. However, I think those who follow him for making fun of woo woo are less likely to then become a client of his. But there may be more people willing to believe David Wolfe’s junk posts after seeing his cute animal videos.

    And he seems like a cool guy. If he’s able to criticize what I assume is his own clique, he’s probably fun to hang out with and a pleasant person, albeit with some misguided beliefs. Someone like David Wolfe seems like an arrogant douche. But maybe I’m wrong. My first impression of JP was wrong, afterall. But I’d hang out with JP. I doubt I would with David.

    I’m willing to change my mind on this. Do you think it’s OK to be a fan of and share JP’s satirical videos, even if you disagree with his holistic coaching? Are his beliefs really not that extreme compared to Food Babe or David Wolfe, or am I being too easy on him? Is this really not a big deal either way? I’d love to read your comments on this.

    Category: alternative medicineskepticism

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    Article by: Cherry Teresa

    Cherry Teresa is a blogger and musician from Los Angeles, CA who includes skepticism and humanism in her work. Her music can be heard at cherryteresa.com.

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    • Toad

      I watched some of the videos and looked into this guy a little. I would need a couple questions answered before I could pass judgement on how much harm he is doing.

      1. What is the cost and financial structure of his business and how much up-selling is involved? I imagine a session with someone who “has hundreds, maybe thousands of clients” doesn’t come cheap. And is there a constant “self realization” carrot being dangled that can be gained with just a few more Skype sessions, a couple in-person ones, a 30 day program, etc?

      2. Does he have a code of ethics when it comes to the clients he ‘treats’ and referring them to seek actual medical professionals? I have way less of a problem with an unlicensed person helping average people cope with normal stress through meditation, healthy eating, and exercise, than say, using the same methods promising to help someone with a mental or physiological illness.

      Unfortunately though, my baloney detector is reading off the charts with JP Sears. While I agree with you that there isn’t enough evidence to show that he is intentionally harming people, I see these funny videos as likely being a clever marketing strategy to reach a wider audience and potential client base. The fact that his intentions are so ambiguous leaves me very skeptical.

      • Those are important questions to consider. Right now, I lean toward thinking he’s OK but if new information came to light that answered the questions you brought up (along with some other questions I have) in a negative way, I’d likely change my mind.

        • Reddy

          I disagree. He’s still perpetuating misinformation and voodoo “treatments” which will not actually help people. I’m not ok with him, nor any other pseudo scientific or self-help nutjob simply because they are lie merchants. That is no more forgivable than being a homeopath or palm reader.

          • Suzanne Allen

            He’s great… if you think that sarcasm and insults are a healthy form of communication. Oh, but then you would go to him for emotional healing? bahahahahaha!

          • anseio

            So, how do you know that he doesn’t help people? Do all the people claiming to have been helped not count? It may not work for you. That is fine. That does not invalidate the approach. You may not be able to comprehend the mechanics of emotional/mental health and empathy. This does not invalidate them. It simply means that it does not make sense to you. Nothing more.

            • Reddy

              Anedoctal evidence is not evidence. And the placebo effect does not mean that the treatment itself works. You may not be able to comprehend elementary logic, and thus must resort to insult, but that does not invalidate it. It simply means that it does not make sense to you.

      • Lerjo

        I wondered the same Toad, in regards to the code of ethics, This is the response I received: “JP maintains strict confidentiality with all of his clients, but does
        not have/nor require anything in writing. Also, he does not subscribe to
        any specific methodology in general.
        He does use inner child coaching techniques.”

        • Reddy

          So basically, he has no bounds, makes stuff up and we’ve no way to measure his intentions or results. That’s even more dodgy.

    • sydneycat

      Hi! I’m a fan of JP’s satirical work and a dyed in the wool atheist/skeptic. I think that he’s definitely on the *eye roll* side of the spectrum rather than the *burn it with fire* side. He did an interview with a skeptical YouTuber named “Smells Like E Minor”. I’d recommend giving it a listen. https://youtu.be/zg02iPLVE_c

      • Thanks for the link! I finally finished watching it, after watching it in sections over a few days. Enjoyable interview. If I understand correctly, it seems like he does believe in the Law of Attraction, essential oils, and crystal healing, but not to the extreme that some others do. I would’ve liked it if the interviewer asked him more about that to differentiate what he does and does not believe (although we get some idea from his videos).
        And I’m really curious about what kind of stuff he does with his clients.
        I agree with you. He isn’t the ‘kill it with fire’ type, as far as I can tell. Seems like a cool guy.

        • Andy Golay

          Agreed. I was just standing on the planet due to gravity and laughing at LOA believers… and people who believe in properties of crystals too… So, after I checked my quartz-crystal watch and enjoying the proven healing effects of some oil of oregano, I realized I was probably wasting too much time thinking about “woo” so I came here… wow the skeptics are hilarious… J.P. deserves to prosper, as long as he’s ethical in his basic business practices. I guess some hate on things they can’t “prove” with a double-blind clinical trial (though those are amazing too, I say as someone who has had his life saved by Western medicine and infinitely thankful for it).

        • anseio

          JP has a fine eye for the detail of emotions and neurological patterning. So, during a conversation, he’ll be able to parse out some of the underlying issues, help bring them to the surface, and then help the client gain insight into their particular situation.

      • It’s Complicated

        Redundant bitch is redundant.

    • jsimm

      I think JP, whether he intends to or not is doing a fairly good job of busting the “us vs them” illusion that we are all prone to falling under. While he certainly seems to embrace a little bit of woo here and there, his satirical videos tell me he doesn’t subscribe to a lot of the nonsense we’ve come to expect from people of a particular stripe and that he’s probably open to changing his beliefs and practices if the evidence is made accessible to him. It’s people like this we as skeptics can reach out to and engage in constructive conversation rather than social media snark. After all at one time haven’t we all believed in some funky stuff?

      • Adam Hommey

        So how about his promotion of intolerance and hate toward Vegans? Does that break down any “us vs. them” barriers?

        • jsimm

          I don’t think satirizing one’s own tribe amounts to promoting either hate or intolerance. He’s acknowledging the sanctimony that often arises among new age types in a humorous way and suggesting, “Maybe we just need to take it down a notch.No lifestyle is superior to others.”

          • Adam Hommey

            His video has unleashed a torrent of hate and intolerance.

            The intent of his video “If Meat Eaters Acted Like Vegans – Ultra Spiritual Life episode 35” is to harass, insult, and degrade people for choosing the Vegan lifestyle and implies that we are all preachy fanatics who go out of our way to
            deny your freedom of choice.

            That is NOT how Vegans behave and neither myself nor anyone else I know in the lifestyle behaves this way.

            Rather, we find ourselves constantly ridiculed, accusing of violating both science and God’s will, and publicly attacked and interrogated. Oftentimes I have to say thing like I’m “lactose intolerant” or “I just don’t feel like having a cheeseburger” to avoid verbal arguments in social situations.

            Most of the time I just eat alone, even in situations where there is sufficient ambient noise to counteract my Misophobic reactions to mouth noise, just so I can have a meal without having to worry about being questioned, called names, etc.

            On the”social networks” I’ve had entire discussion threads ABOUT UNRELATED TOPICS turn against me and people on the thread start sending me nasty messages meant to hurt me (telling me to “shut the ____ up” and “go ___ yourself” – and worse) because of my choices which are MINE to make, and IN RESPONSE TO me saying “I only answered because someone asked, and I’m not wanting to discuss it.”

            I’ve even been told that I am defying God’s will, and that I have no heart or empathy, because I choose not to consume foods or products created from the remains of living beings.

            It bothers me how many people are sharing this video, finding it funny, and then leaping in with tales of how they, themselves, hate Vegans – people who describe themselves as “transformational healers”, “motivational speakers”, and claim to adhere to the Law of Attraction and the Principle of Abundance.

            Please know this is offensive and hateful, and if you find yourself
            participating, please I ask you to at least think about what you are
            saying and the consequences it may have upon people who you profess to care about.

            • jsimm

              No, it’s not an accurate representation of how vegans behave, it’s a charicature. That’s what satire does. It’s saying, “Look we can laugh at ourselves.”
              I’m sorry you’ve encountered bigotry and I agree, it shouldn’t be tolerated.

            • Adam Hommey

              Thank you for that.

              I have studied JP Sears’ Facebook activity at length and found numerous instances of insulting Vegans and promoting intolerance and hate toward us.

              He is not a kind person and what he does is NOT helpful.

            • Adam Hommey

              I CAN laugh about it, and do, when it’s a little good-natured ribbing.

              See my reply to Kerry, above. Way too often it’s NOT “good natured”, especially when it gets to people Inboxing me with suggestions about what I should do that cannot be repeated in polite company….. as a result of me NOT wanting to have the dialogue in the first place.

            • Laura Cordova-James

              Well, again, I’m a vegan and I have to say that there is a vegan movement that is not very good natured where people do behave in the ways JP demonstrated.

            • Kerry Day

              Adam, you are doing a great job of busting the MYTH that vegans paint themselves as victims and martyrs and have no sense of humour about themselves! It is very unfair that you have eat alone, I can not imagine why that is.

            • Adam Hommey

              I have a huge sense of humor about myself and am able to handle a little good-natured ribbing.

              But being interrogated by everyone else at the table, mocked like I don’t know what I’m talking about, and told I’m “listening to nonsense”….. getting not only attacked publicly on discussion threads just for saying “I’m Vegan” but having some of the participants of the same thread simultaneously Inboxing me with suggestions about what I can do with myself and/or my mother…..being told that as much as they’d like me to come over, they would rather not go through the hassle of what “you people won’t eat”……..

              Granted, the above have only really happened a couple times.

              But what’s more common is, I don’t want to discuss it AT ALL, I outright say “Can we just change the subject” and they press on and on and on with the interrogations, the insults, the insinuations…..

            • Laura Cordova-James

              But, Adam. I’m vegan and there was no way that I ever took JP’s video to be the way you’ve interpreted it. Its satire. That’s it. It was funny ha ha and harmless.

            • GothDuggar

              Exactly, Laura – it’s the same as making lighthearted fun of soccer moms or Cubs fans or hipsters. It’s not mean spirited, but done by taking a hint of truth and turning it into hyperbole.

      • anseio

        Wise and calm words, sir.

        As someone who works fairly heavily into the woo woo (none of it is stuff you’d see on youtube or bantered about as any kind of ‘quick fix’), I greatly appreciate people who show genuine intellectual curiosity rather than throwing up their wall of skepticism as if they were somehow experts on a subject they know nothing about.

        I’ve got one friend who’s skeptical of things woo woo. He sees who I am, he’s experienced what I do. So, instead of calling me a charlatan and a liar, he asks questions. His questions tend to be too small, and my answers tend to be too big. Eventually, I’ll help him expand his questions and he’ll help me refine my answers… and we’ll meet somewhere in between. It will be exciting times.

        • Reddy

          You don’t need to be an expert to be skeptical, for the same reason that you don’t need to be a theologian to dismiss any given religion. Anything asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. The “us vs them” is not an illusion in my experience, as the people I know who believe this crap are also the same people who believe ALL KINDS of crap, without any consistency, and possess the critical faculties of infants, with the logic to match.

    • Kerry Day

      ¸JP is engaged in harmless work. He is not threatening people with any kind of damnation if they dont come to him for advice. There is ZERO evidence that he solicits or treats people with serious mental illness. He sees the kind people who if they went to “a mental health professional trained at an accredited science-based medical school” would be shown the door for wasting professionals time at the expense of those who need medical help. And you know what? If your GP starts offering you services as a life coach, you might wanna run. He has great advice about managing your emotions and conducting healthy relationships. That is it. There is lots of dangerous woo in the world, but there is a place for woo that does not make claims it is not entitled to make.

      • Adam Hommey

        Harmless? He spreads intolerance and hate and encourages attacks on Vegans. He is not a nice person.

        • Kerry Day

          Hahaha. Yeah, Adam, that video is a joke. His whole “ultra spiritual” series are jokes. I suspect you are pulling legs here Adam, I hope you are! But really, he is trying to be funny.

        • Maggie

          Woah, calm down take an iron supliment man, you’re not thinking clearly.

      • Reddy

        “He is not threatening people with any kind of damnation if they dont come to him for advice.”
        Neither are homeopaths, but they do immeasurable harm by not actually treating people. It’s the same with JP Sears.

        • anseio

          Are you sure is the same with JP Sears? You seem to be basing much of your reasoning upon your own conjecture, rather than actual real-world results.

          • Reddy

            “Real-world results” like anecdotal, biased accounts presented without evidence? That’s conjecture. Also, that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence, and thus, I dismiss his claims. 😉

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    • LJ

      The dude just points out extremists in that particular community and those who exploit it in a very amusing satirical way.
      That being said, while conventional orthodox medicine is failing miserably in chronic health areas, holistic medicine is gaining a stronghold because it encompasses living a wholesome and healthy lifestyle while a conventional medicine mindset simply says destroy your body by making repeatedly poor lifestyle choices and we’ll fix you with chemotherapy and the latest cancer treatments.

      • Lukáš Dohnal

        I am aware that this perception exists, but I would say that it is not property of conventional medicine. Any good doctor of modern medicine would tell you and agree that prevention is the best way to combat a disease.

        • Fennec Besixdouze

          Unfortunately medicine has been infected by “every lifestyle is normal and healthy” nonsense. Having general, evidence-based holistic guidelines on how to live is now seen as bigoted or non-inclusive of people who choose not to follow those guidelines. So the only people who are allowed to talk about general guidelines for healthy holistic living have to couch it in religion or woo.

      • Inna Popovinuk

        “destroy your body by making repeatedly poor lifestyle choices”. Well said. I did and suffer the consequences. Hopefully it is not too late for me.

      • gskibum

        “…while a conventional medicine mindset simply says destroy your body by making repeatedly poor lifestyle choices and we’ll fix you with chemotherapy and the latest cancer treatments”

        What a crock. The reason people get cancer today is because conventional medicine has increased life expectancy so much thanks to developments such as vaccines and antibiotics. People are living into lifespans long enough that increase the likelihood that diseases like cancer will occur.

        Holistic medicine is gaining in popularity because snake oil salesmen and other assorted frauds use fear to sell bogus, ineffective treatments to the gullible.

        I would live to see you find anything at WebMD that backs up your assertion that your claim that conventional medicine encourages poor lifestyle choices.

        K. Go now!
        http://www.webmd.com

        • anseio

          “The reason people get cancer today is because conventional medicine has increased life expectancy so much thanks to developments such as vaccines and antibiotics”

          So… what you’re saying is that our poisoned air, water, and food supplies do not contribute to cancer rates? Are you saying that antibiotics have not resulted in MRSA? And you’re saying that no one was harmed by vaccines? There is validity to all of those treatments. I just find your position a bit too… extreme and poorly thought.

          • gskibum

            Red herrings and straw man logical fallacies all in one sort post. Bravo. You get the award for most pathetic rebuttal of the year.

            But while we’re throwing about logical fallacies, try this one on for size: Run along back to the Mercola, Food Babe or Zen Honeycutt forums. Adults are needed around here.

            • anseio

              So, mine are logical fallacies, but yours are not? Whatever you say, princess.
              You’re going to need to substantiate your claims using your all-hailed peer-reviewed research. Do I need to remind you that causation /= correlation? The only reason your conjecture is “true” is because you think it makes sense to you, and for little other reason.

            • anseio

              I just had to come back to this, because something about your rebuttal seemed… off. Then I realized it. I don’t think you know what either a Red Herring or a Straw Man Logical Fallacy is (SMLF, btw, is two concepts rather than one). I gave you no red herring, nor did I use a straw man argument. My logic may be fallacious, but it is equally as fallacious as yours. Please refamiliarize yourself with these terms if you’re going to wantonly toss them about.

      • pointforward

        Thank you. While the author is to be lauded for doing the research to discover whether her bias about JP was true or false, she is clearly rigid and dogmatic and has far more faith than she should in the toxic treatment protocols of the medical industry (which is just a racket).

        The only thing the medical industry truly excels at, aside from antibiotic treatment and surgery with often bad outcomes, is in having gained a technical mastery of diagnostics.

        While healthy because of an active vegetarian lifestyle, and appalled by the no doubt false anecdotes by people saying they saw someone deteriorate or that they did themselves, the rare times I used the medical industry are for diagnostics (from blood tests to ultrasounds and typically no more invasive).

        I then weigh my options about treatment if necessary and do not necessarily leave that to them…

      • bitterandhappy

        Did you copy/paste your comments from a Naturopath’s website? Bear in mind that alternative medicine is a capitalist big business just like mainstream medicine in the USA. For the record, I have seen mainstream doctors all my life (I am 64). All of them since childhood lectured me on eating properly, getting plenty of exercise, staying away from junk food, how to deal with stress, and when medication was necessary (in my case to handle an inherited genetic propensity for high blood pressure). The pill I take has been around since the 1960s which is plenty of time to work out any of the kinks and side effects. This little pill, one per day, has kept my blood pressure normal for 25 years. My mother, who refused to take any medication and relied only on prayer, died of a brain aneurysm when she was my age.

    • RantingCatholicMom

      I’ve enjoyed his funny videos, but didn’t look much further. I even thought the hair was a wig! Because of past experiences that did some real damage to my soul, I will never watch any of his stuff again. I know I can be easily led into spiritual danger. That’s my take. Don’t watch.

      • I think that’s smart to avoid things if you know you can personally get sucked into them. That’s why I avoid certain activities and environments myself.

      • Vincent

        It’s very much YMMV here. I say Watch.

    • Nicole James

      I found this blog because I too was curious about “the real JP.” Being a person with one foot in the woo community myself, I started to realize with the essential oil satire piece that…this guy knows what he’s talking about. By which I mean, he speaks as someone inside the community, not outside of it. But it is SO RARE to find someone inside who has a sense of humor about it. I’m one. I’ve got a couple of friends as others. We can laugh at ourselves, and laugh at those who can’t laugh at themselves. I can (and do) have a kit of 50 essential oils I use…and I also take antibiotics when they’re needed. It took me a long time to successfully navigate and integrate the woo and the world. I’m very pleased that others are managing it too. Reminds me of a saying (I wish I knew who I stole it from): “Keep your mind open, but not so open that your brain falls out.”

      I too am interested in his ethics and economics, but the very fact that I have to wonder – that the information is not readily available in a hard sell format with click through links – makes me fairly certain that he’s at least 67% better than the Lupine Testicle Plant.

      • I just looked up what the Lupine Testicle Plant is and yup, I see it!

      • Grace B

        Hi, I found this page cause I was curious about JP also. Love his satirical videos. I definitely agree with you that it’s tricky sometimes to navigate the woo woo world! I remind myself that there was a time when I NEVER read my horoscope (now I watch a weekly astrologer), used crystals, or essential oils, etc, etc. My usage of these things has definitely died down and even moreso I avoid the woo woo teachers/authors/self help leaders I used to follow daily. That really helped. I really like that quote also!

    • Vincent

      Thanks for the article, I followed a similar path while discovering JP Sear’s work : amusement while watching his satiric vids, then surprise when I learned his background, and thereafter a lot of questioning.

      I wouldn’t want to explain his complex personality, but there are in my opinion 4 mains drives in his work / lifestyle :
      – information : the guy is informed and is learning from basically everything that comes at him, and he’s looking for new things on his own too
      – logic : there’s plenty of logical assertions and reasonings in his work, and hardly any flaw in them

      This is where he could follow a path of a scientist, but obviously he’s not in the classical sense bc there’s 2 more things :
      – the mystical : he acknowledges and embraced mystical experiences and the rituals, the substances etc.
      – communication : the guy has all the communication techniques right, and he actively practices them.

      I guess that makes him a scientist of life-sciences enhanced with the field of mysticism/”alternative” lifestyles, with an unusual ability to share/connect with people.

    • Lindy K

      This is totally a joke. He’s added stuff to look legit. Smart guy.

    • Rue Jean

      There are a couple of things to address here from my side of the coin. I, not terribly unlike JP Sears am a Holistic Wellness and Nutrition coach. I think that that term has become really muddled with the advent of Beach Body, It Works, etc. direct sales companies which are often little more than Avon that promises (and often fails to deliver) that you’ll get the body you want. What I do is pretty different from that. I am in the process of attaining a certificate so that I can use credentials and education to back up my knowledge.

      When I get asked what I do, I often give a general answer along the lines of, “I’m like a personal trainer for your food.” I teach people how to make good choices for their own personal body type and needs. The holistic aspect comes in because I believe in treating the person and the illness, food is a very sensitive issue, and we often eat a certain way for a smorgasbord of reasons, and so for a doctor to just say, you have hypertension, cut down on salt, that doesn’t examine why the person eats the way that they do. So when I get involved, I work on teaching them to eat “better”, but also to reduce stress (that’s where so many unhealthy choices come from) and to love themselves in the process.

      I am NOT a doctor, and I say that in my client agreement. When I first get a client, I ask them when their last physical was, if they had a blood panel drawn, and whether or not their doctor knows that we’re working together. I am also not a naturopathic doctor or a Chinese medicine doctor, I CANNOT prescribe or suggest supplements, if a client asks me about what could relieve nausea that they’re experiencing, all I could say is something like, “well personally and for some clients that I’ve worked with ginger has been really helpful in reducing those types of symptoms, that may be something that you could investigate.” I’m not here to diagnose.

      Yes, there is a lot of mystique and smoke in mirrors in this society, all I’m here to do is to try and teach people that there is an alternative to McDonald’s. Health coaches get a bad rap, and for a good reason, is JP a good guy? I don’t know, I know that I think his videos are funny because I think that a good part of this industry is filled with shams and scams, but I do know that not all health coaches are bad, and the good ones would always tell you to go seek a doctor, just like all good personal trainers should.

    • Anna Knight

      You commented on his presentation as being a “selling point”. I was sent a facebook post of one of his videos. As for his presentation: his comedy was trite and sophormic and all I could think of was Charles Manson. I breifly questioned his use of the word “Yoga” as he was referring only to asana practice. Then came the real “Charley” comparison. Angry woman came flooding out of nowhere to his defense. After being called names and even threatened I dropped J.P. , Sqeaky and the gang from my page. YIPES. And I am a Kryia Yogi and have also been a professional stand-up as well as a contributing writer for “Fraiser”. Just saying that I think I was somewhat qualified to comment. Granted, my spelling sucks.

    • Marc Hellé

      I don’t know the two other guys you mention, nor do I know the situation in the USA (obviously, there seems to be a lot more woo woo going on than in Europe, but I don’t know to what extent). I like this guy for his satirical videos, and, as you say, as long as he doesn’t teach dangerous crap like the other two, it’s not a big deal to me.
      I work as a psychological councellor, but also as a Tarot card reader/”psychic”, although I don’t believe in “psychic abilities” or stuff like this. But some people will rather go to see a “psychic” card reader than a psychologist, because they distrust psychologists, MDs and the like.

    • Aaron

      I know of Sears thanks to a podcast he did with a woo guy I know. This guy I know sells “healing” oils and is way off the deep end with some pseudoscience. They had a genuine conversation, and Sears avoided being satirical, which led me to believe he’s just as nuts.

      I think he’s harmful because it’s hard to tell what his purpose is. And of course he’s selling products. His obviously satirical videos might be informative, but it strikes me as weird that he’d also pander to people like Tony Robbins (unless that is a joke, too?)

      I used to do satire. I get the appeal from both ends of the joke. Satire can be funny. But if it’s not done really well, it can confuse people and waste their time. In Sears’ case, he could get away with it if he was always being satirical.

      However, the fact that he also seems to take woo seriously ruins the humor. The very fact that this blog post and discussion exist is enough evidence that Sears might be wasting people’s time.

      • anseio

        You can’t tell what his purpose is? His purpose is to help people improve the quality of their lives. It’s that simple.

    • Reddy

      It doesn’t matter how much direct harm he’s doing, it does matter whether what he’s doing is truthful or not, and it patently isn’t.

    • mes74wsu

      So, doctors are more honest? I’ve been seeing them & therapists most of my life; neither has done much for me except (dr.’s) prescribed more crap that makes me more sick. And good luck getting a therapist, esp’lly a good one, when on state aid. As far as i’m concerned, laughter is the best med., & JP nails it!

    • DK Byrne

      Science proves nothing. Drugs cure nothing. A belief in cause and effect simply points out ones’ level of (un)consciousness. All of your precious science was once pseudo science.

    • Ben

      Not seeing any signifcant woo here, mainly the modality implies woo, being that it is “emotional healing” and the whole new age culture is very yin, hedonic and stereotypically self improtant which is what he is riffing on. The free content is intriguing and I’m not sure if the person who wrote this article had the patience to watch more than a few of his videos before branding him a psuedoscientist, to be clear he does not claim to be a scientist, nor does he discourage the consultation of medical proffessionals. The space he occupies is precisely before the cutoff point for woo woo practitioners, containing the best aspects of true health found in holistic, a word abound with negative connotation for the skeptic, practice. He actively combats delusional thinking surrounding new age beliefs concerning the law of attraction, he advocates healthy sexuality as stemming not from sexual conquest but engaging in the pursuit of your passions and the cultivation of basic health, and he removes unwanted behavioural patterns from clients who want them removed.

      Take it from someone who has done over 8 years of therapy, and tried various brands of woo, for obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, and bipolar, this guy does not touch the bullshit of “Energy kinesiologists”, EMFT practitioners, neurolinguist reprogrammers, or any of the pseudoscience community. Life coaching is a pretty clear non-woo endevour, you pay to have someone else assist in improving your life, if you don’t have a clear idea of what you want to change it probably won’t be effective. I wouldn’t substitute him for therapy, but there is an eschalon of difference between treating mental illness and helping people achieve goals or become generally healthier.

      TL;DR: He is not woo, he just works in the softer more new age centric community while actively satirising it and makes videos combating it’s delusional beliefs. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=k7ibcK1SVZg

    • Gerrie Louden

      I read several comments as well as the article. You are entitled to your opinions, of course, and opinions are like belly buttons, everybody has one. But the uppity tone here is just plain pathetic.
      Like a blind man who assumes an elephant is long and skinny because he has felt only the trunk, many of you really don’t know what you’re talking about, because of your limited experience in life.

      • anseio

        ^^^

    • Fennec Besixdouze

      JP is awesome and the fact that he is actually involved in the community he is poking fun at is only more reason to respect him for what he does.

    • Aztec

      I think, after reading this excellent article by Cherry Theresa and the many thoughts here in the comments that he comes across as some sort of life coach that uses a soft sarcasm and humor-laced form of Socratic teaching methodology. I think he is getting people to reflect and dig down to their core beliefs and question them at a basal level. I don’t see him as promoting any particular agenda other than his own products.

    • Karlita

      “I do have concerns about people seeing a holistic coach and not a mental health professional trained at an accredited science-based medical school.”

      You can only say things like this when you yourself have no idea what coaching is about. Even the way your statement conflates all mental health professions—which are quite different from coaching—with those conferred via medical schools indicates your own *lack of evidence basis* for what you’re suggesting here.

      • anseio

        I’m always curious about people who insist someone have an accredited education. Where do they think Jung learned what he did? Freud? Nietzsche? Did any of them sit in a class room all day long for years on end, having someone else tell them how the world is? Or, did they do what they could to figure things out within themselves… to whatever failures and successes? Why, it’s as if it’s wholly impossible for “new” information to be gained.

    • Fish Thinking

      My take away from watching JP Sears videos is not “woo”. In every video I’ve seen (sans deliberately satirical presentations) he stresses taking responsibility for your own feelings, actions and the part you play in every relationship you have ever been in, good or bad. To suggest that this is “woo” and is not a valid alternative to “evidence-based medicine from licensed doctors” seems narrow minded and a little spiteful even. Her article suggests to me that Cherry has at some point explored what she thinks of as “alt-medicine” and having been disappointed in the results of her personal experience is quick to dismiss anyone she perceives as being part of that “ilk.” Taking responsibility for your own happiness isn’t new-agey or woo. It is literally the only way you will ever get past these problems. But it is also much harder to dig inside and address the root cause of your unhappiness than it is to take an “evidence based medicine” to fix your emotional problems.

      • anseio

        You are so very right.

        That people are largely incapable of taking responsibility of their own emotional responses, as is very much the case with hard skeptics, is pretty much the main reason as to why we can’t have nice things.

    • Leslie Marrs

      You got me curious. Well, to be thorough, I was watching the John Oliver segment on vaccines and wondered where I had heard the voice of Dr. Bob Sears before, and then realized The Jp Sears’s voice is very similar, so I began a google search to see if they are related; they are not. Anyhoo, I ran across your article, and then the one linked below. It seems that JP cautions people to be skeptical – even of him, which is at least a healthy approach. Life coaching is one of those “OMG – this profession truly exists?” gigs from my view, but it seems to help a number of people in the way that traditional psychology doesn’t. So I don’t know. Without paying the $$ for a session with Jp, the best I can say is that he probably guides people where they have an inkling they should go, but they need a nudge; and, well, at least he’s skeptical of even himself. That’s better than what Dr. Bob Sears does with vaccine scheduling recommendations.

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/world/83200685/YouTube-comedian-or-real-life-coach-who-is-the-real-JP-Sears

    • Adam Roger Kearley

      There’s a story in the 5 rings of a young boy who asked Musashi to train him so that he could get revenge against a bandit who had killed a loved one of his. Musashi told the boy that when he confronts the bandit, to look down at his feet, and if the ground is covered by ants, it means the ant god had blessed him and that he couldn’t lose that day. When the time came, the boy looked down and sure enough the ground was covered in ants, and the boy defeated the bandit.

      How did Musashi know that the ground would be covered in ants? Because it was fucking summer and there were ants everywhere.

      The point is that Miyamoto Musashi wasn’t an accredited psychologist. He could have told the boy to go home and forget about revenge, but he could see that the advice would fall on deaf ears. The boy had already been training and he had the advantage of smaller stature and speed, Musashi being a seasoned warrior himself could see that, and realized the only thing the boy needed was the confidence in his abilities. Worst case scenario the kid gets killed and it’s just another day in feudal Japan.

    • Brittany Beckman

      “I do wish he wasn’t a holistic coach. I wish they didn’t exist at all and that people used evidence-based medicine from licensed doctors.” These doctors you are talking about don’t have the time to discuss what people need to discuss with their doctor. Hell, I cannot even get a PCP to accept me with my insurance or take cash in lieu of accepting it. (If we can in theory accept it, we cannot accept your cash. But we cannot accept you as a patient because our numbers are full for patients with that insurance (yes, I do mean Medicaid)). And then when we do have a visit to the ER, most of my face-to-face is with the posters on the wall, reminding me to have my flu shot, or keep my BMI in check. The “evidence” they collect at my mental health care clinic (where many counselor are social workers… trained, yes, but not doctors), is usually in the form of time-wasting surveys which I have learned to rattle off 2’s and 3’s to get them out of the way. Or else they take up a good 15 minutes of an hour-long session. I have heard of mothers giving birth at the hospital who are in a room full of people discussing her care plan, but who do not even notice she is starting to push! My home birth midwives, on the other hand, never left my side. My hospital midwife took a break to pee after my water broke, and had to leap back in when baby suddenly crowned a couple minutes later. I am not sure what more evidence was needed in that situation to make sure I had my provider in the room! Of course, what matters the most is if you can trust somebody you are receiving advice and care from. It is important to be skeptical where your health and interests are concerned. An official group calling themselves skeptics cannot decide that for everyone! I think JP Sears is so appealing because he does inject a level of humility into people who need to be reminded to apply their skepticism consistently, not just to a group of people they haven’t had a good interface with.

    • Green Machine

      I think he’s trolling.

    • David Spaulding

      I am skeptical that you can rationally accept satire…

    • Ellie Borzilleri

      He never claims to be a medical doctor or licensed to treat any actual medical or mental issues. We live in a society where we run to the nurse every time we get a splinter or a headache, or we think we need a therapist every time we feel a little “down”. JP Sears is a “life coach” and tries to push the idea that most of our everyday “problems” can be solved within our own selves. This is the same concept of Ayurveda- where the body is built to heal itself, and we all need to figure out the right combination for our own individual healing, instead of running to the ER when we feel a little nauseous or tired. I will admit when I first encounter JP I was a bit skeptical myself; I had seen so many of his satirical videos that when I finally found a “real” one, I, too, thought it was just deadpan and comedic. But upon my research I have found that JP is just a human trying to help his fellow humans. He has a realistic attitude about the way his (and my) community is viewed, and we need more people like him in the world. As far as cost goes, I don’t know what he charges or what his treatments entail, but I am a Reiki practitioner and can tell you that there is a reason that most of these holistic treatments aren’t cheap. Reiki, for example, is incredibly draining, mentally and physically, and takes years to learn how to be able to “bounce back” quickly after a session. Yogi Cameron (Cameron Alborzian) is a popular life guru with a show on the Gaiam network. A 45 minute phone consultation with him costs $375, but, when you think about it, these people invest a lot of time and energy into each person. It’s not like a doctor who has a bunch of patients or a lawyer with a bunch of clients each day and/or week. People like JP and Cameron have to earn a living too.. if you don’t like it, go to the doctor, no one is stopping you, but don’t discredit people for trying to do things a different way, especially with all the issues with our country’s healthcare lately.

    • Reddy

      Such a bellend. Pretending to be satirical but at the same time pedaling nonsense.