Teal Swan

James_H

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I've been listening to Gizmodo's podcast The Gateway about 'Spiritual Teacher' Teal Swan. She is very popular on Youtube and has now established a centre in Costa Rica. Her more devoted followers work for her for free there. Her critics contend that she preys on people in emotionally vulnerable situations (severe depression and suicidal thoughts) and promotes suicide, even having allegedly caused the death of followers by egging them on. She also freely admits to using SEO to direct people typing desperate and suicidal things into Google to her videos.

The podcast is unusual because she is happy to talk to the producers and gets a lot of airtime. I must say, hearing her speak, I instinctively find her to be creepy and insincere. People's mileage obviously varies as she has plenty of acolytes.

I've started this thread for discussion and news related to Swan and the 'Teal Tribe'.
 

GNC

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James_H

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Search Engine Optimization, it means choosing keywords on your website to maximise hits from google and the like.

EDIT: I've finished listening to the series. Here are my impressions:

Teal Swan is 100% crazy (she believes her own stuff) and 100% narcissistic. She seems to use powerful techniques taken from therapy but without any kind of oversight or training – which could be dangerous in the hands of an insane person who is not above manipulating others to play out her own personal dramas (hypothetically speaking). All this is mixed up with the familiar akashic records, possession by aliens, quantum physics = 'energy' stuff.

A lot of her own origin myth is based on 'memories' of Satanic Ritual Abuse 'recovered' by controversial 'therapist' Barbara Snow.
 
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Kchoo

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I personally have listened to several of Teal's Videos and I find them insightful and positive. I have seen one video where she justifies identifying with people who have thoughts of suicide...not encouraging them as much as identifying for the purpose of making them feel understood, thereby helping them to not go through with it by helping them to understand that those thoughts are normal questions of existence and can serve as a catalyst for growth and long life success. She is smart in my opinion, but I do worry that she could lose herself into the cultish theater that she appears to have found herself in.
 

GNC

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100% crazy and 100% narcissistic sounds like prime cult leader material to me. Is there any way of nipping her in the bud? All a cult leader really needs is more than one person to swallow their bullshit, it's how they all start.
 

Kchoo

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Ah. Who are we to judge? I say we watch with interest... maybe learn from it, and pray for her a true balance.

Positive energy is the best we can offer up to her and the universe... let the universe be the judge...
 

GNC

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What if the universe has no opinion?
 

GNC

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If it does not, why should we?
Because we're supposed to have a conscience, and the universe is an unimaginably vast area of mostly nothing.
 

Kchoo

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Because we're supposed to have a conscience, and the universe is an unimaginably vast area of mostly nothing.
Okay then. How do we know if she is really encouraging suicide? To me it looks like rumors...

I can’t in good conscience judge Teal Swan as good or bad, so I would rather just do nothing and give her the benefit of the doubt.
 

GNC

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I'm only going by what James says, and he has seen enough to form a solid opinion.
 

Kchoo

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I'm only going by what James says, and he has seen enough to form a solid opinion.
What qualification gives James the ability to know if she is 100% crazy?

I think she might be crazy too, but I am not sure I am qualified to say...
 
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GNC

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What qualification gives James the ability to know if she is 100% crazy?

I think she might be crazy too, but I am not sure I am qualified to say...
I've read enough of his posting here to know he's a good judge of character, and diligent in how he draws his conclusions.
 

Kchoo

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Ok. But now think about this... calling Teal 100 percent crazy could contribute to Teal Swan’s own potential depression and suicidal tendencies as well as others who may follow her. You and James have a responsibility to choose words Just as crefully as you would have her do.

Your impact on the world is more powerful than you realize, and could perpetuate the very same results that you worry that Teal is doing.

I hope that bothers your conscience a little.
 

Gizmos Mama

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Ok. But now think about this... calling Teal 100 percent crazy could contribute to Teal Swan’s own potential depression and suicidal tendencies as well as others who may follow her. You and James have a responsibility to choose words Just as crefully as you would have her do.

Your impact on the world is more powerful than you realize, and could perpetuate the very same results that you worry that Teal is doing.

I hope that bothers your conscience a little.
Except that narcissists aren't the victims, they are the abusers and do a lot of harm. And if this one is specifically targeting vulnerable, depressed people to manipulate, because she believes she has some "special" healing powers, (see narcissist) she deserves to be called out for what she is!

And one more thing, it's not good form to call someone out for their words possible emotional impact on others, and then end your post with a smug, passive/aggressive little quip about how bad you hope they feel.
 

Kchoo

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Except that narcissists aren't the victims, they are the abusers and do a lot of harm. And if this one is specifically targeting vulnerable, depressed people to manipulate, because she believes she has some "special" healing powers, (see narcissist) she deserves to be called out for what she is!

And one more thing, it's not good form to call someone out for their words possible emotional impact on others, and then end your post with a smug, passive/aggressive little quip about how bad you hope they feel.
I guess you are right.. I just do not like such strong absolutes as 100 % crazy and Narcissistic. That seems to me to be such a harsh judgement. How can anyone be so SURE?
 

GNC

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Thanks, @Gizmos Mama.

I'm not looking to start a fight here, but history has shown us over and over that vulnerable minds are preyed on by self-appointed leaders who need to be propped up by those they regard as their underlings, from cults of personality to entire nations. I don't think that's something to be endorsed at all and look forward to the day we can move past it. Obviously, the human race needs its leaders, but they don't need toxic leaders.
 

Naughty_Felid

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Ok. But now think about this... calling Teal 100 percent crazy could contribute to Teal Swan’s own potential depression and suicidal tendencies as well as others who may follow her. You and James have a responsibility to choose words Just as crefully as you would have her do.

Your impact on the world is more powerful than you realize, and could perpetuate the very same results that you worry that Teal is doing.

I hope that bothers your conscience a little.
Really? Like she's lurking here and likely to get all upset by JamesH's post. christ almighty.

Also she posts stuff on youtube - that forum for support, love and tolerance.
 
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Naughty_Felid

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`Just watched a couple of you tube vids, seems to be badly presented, (she doesn't half go on), solution focused stuff with some cod-new age spirituality thrown in.

No different from a million other self-help gurus out there.
 

Kchoo

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I think we can all learn from each other. I am no fighter, nor am I advocating cultish behavior. Nor do I believe Teal is anything more than another you tuber sharing something she is personally excited about.
 
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Anonymous-50446

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`Just watched a couple of you tube vids, seems to be badly presented, (she doesn't half go on), solution focused stuff with some cod-new age spirituality thrown in.

No different from a million other self-help gurus out there.
And like most of them, she doesn't care about or consider the potential negative impacts of her 'message', which might well be doing far more harm than good. At best it's negligent egoism. There's a reason why qualified therapists have to jump through so many hoops (and have serious liability insurance), it's far far to easy to cause damage.

That's the downside of the internet guru - anyone could be watching and that includes those with serious problems who need proper help and support. Any responsible altruistic individual would keep their 'spiritual' bollocks off the internet.
 

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Yes, and many people will never go to a proper healer. They will seek out self help, so The Psychology Profession needs to figure out how to reach the people on the net and give them some real self help tools.
 
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James_H

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Hi, I'd like to add that I'm just providing my own take based on a presentation which may well have its own biases (the podcast balances out as pretty anti- teal swan, though they do give her and her supporters plenty of airtime in which to make their case). I don't mind if other people have a different opinion from me and I think it's good to have a discussion.

I am however suspicious of most anyone who claims to be a leader or a guide, especially when it comes to areas which mentally or spiritually vulnerable people are involved with. And she does give me very bad 'vibes', for whatever it's worth.

Edit: to clarify - it's just my opinion, but I think discussion of her actions and persona are reasonable because she is a public figure who has followers.
 

Amoradala

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I have just watched some Teal Swan videos. Having heard her work mentioned and opined on elsewhere.
She is obviously a very intelligent, articulate and a stunning looking woman.( A cross between Megan Fox and the wicked queen from Sleeping Beauty)
I’ve heard her (and the psychological advice she offers) described as Narcissistic.

Watching some of the videos - I do get a strange feeling from her. The advice often advocates manipulation of people to get what is wanted, using well written self help ‘pop’psychology language. “ A partner should always be attentive to your emotions and needs “
“Love is the most powerful need we have - and loss of, or the fear of loss can drive a person to suicide “ Often said with a smirk or barely disguised sneer.
Pretty dark stuff really.
 

Naughty_Felid

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Yes, and many people will never go to a proper healer. They will seek out self help, so The Psychology Profession needs to figure out how to reach the people on the net and give them some real self help tools.
Psychology needs no help promoting itself at all. It's a profession built on self-promotion. You can't switch on a tv without a psychologist popping up telling how we should feel or why we are thinking/feeling/acting a certain way.

The structured interventions offered by psychology are useful even it just gets people to sit down and talk about what is going on in their life. However they are not the panacea psychology often promotes them to be, (look at how CBT is getting a kicking these days).

I would be worried if psychology started doing more stuff on the net promoting "self help tools". A therapy to be effective there needs to be engagement between the patient and the therapist, ground rules, expectations, etc. That's what worries me about self help books, you tube videos there is none of that.

I think psychology, particularly in America, needs to be reined in. It seems anyone with a degree can go out and start offering therapy. Whereas in a clinical setting there are months of supervised learning to go through before you can start doing that.

The likes of Teal do worry me as we don't know her agenda, she has no supervision to pick out things she is doing wrong or what changes she needs to make. Therapists are in positions of power after all.
 
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Kchoo

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Psychology needs no help promoting itself at all. It's a profession built on self-promotion. You can't switch on a tv without a psychologist popping up telling how we should feel or why we are thinking/feeling/acting a certain way.

The structured interventions offered by psychology are useful even it just gets people to sit down and talk about what is going on in their life. However they are not the panacea psychology often promotes them to be, (look at how CBT is getting a kicking these days).

I would be worried if psychology started doing more stuff on the net promoting "self help tools". A therapy to be effective there needs to be engagement between the patient and the therapist, ground rules, expectations, etc. That's what worries me about self help books, you tube videos there is none of that.

I think psychology, particularly in America, needs to be reined in. It seems anyone with a degree can go out and start offering therapy. Whereas in a clinical setting there are months of supervised learning to go through before you can start doing that.

The likes of Teal do worry me as we don't know her agenda, she has no supervision to pick out things she is doing wrong or what changes she needs to make. Therapists are in positions of power after all.
Having been to therapy in my mid twenties to deal with disturbing dreams, and again, sought marriage counceling in my thirties, I know the value of a real, experienced, psychologist. It took a few sessions just to be convinced they were not going monkey with my brains. A mutual effort offered through CBT was useful for me. I was assigned some homework, guided to a particular workbook that I was encouraged to buy at a bookstore, and work through it, and I would bring my workbook to the sessions. His goal was to teach me the tools to understand my own thought processes, and to recognize the causes of my anxiety.

He was very good at helping me see myself, my strengths, my weaknesses, my areas where I could grow as a human being, but he did it by guiding me to teach myself, using the tools he gave me.

Occasionally he would say something to make me think. His observations sometimes pissed me off a little, but if I thought about it, I could see where he was coming from. After 10 weekly sessions, a lot of self study, and having him push my buttons, I found the strength and confidence I needed to know how to move forward, and I had the tools I needed to be able to recognize my twisted thinking when it popped up.

I moved on with higher self esteem, a belief in my own abilities, and a maturation to be able to handle things properly as an adult. It did not make me perfect, and I wasn’t done with everything... but there was a point where it likely saved my life.

At the time, there was no You Tube, and seeing what I see out there now, I doubt I could have been helped much by it. However, today is the world where people usually look to the net to solve everything, from working on a car to identifying a spider in their house, to how to lose weight, how to get a super body. It is only natural for people to seek answers for themselves, and I agree that we do not want them mislead by self declared healers.

Self declared healers have existed for centuries, and I am glad You Tube now brings them to the forefront to be studied.

Many people resort to the net, because they do not have the means to attend a real, expensive, professional.

YOU TUBE is free... and people like Teal are figuring out how to gain the support they need to possibly grow rich from that... maybe psychology needs to realize how to utilize these tools better so they can offer some workable alternative. Otherwise, these ‘healers’ are going to continue to prosper by doing what they are doing...

It cannot be regulated away... they will just go back underground.... but it’s impact it can be changed if real self help tools are made just as attractive. Compete using attraction and beauty. Accept all living things. Show there is nothing to fear.
 
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PeteS

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Psychology needs no help promoting itself at all. It's a profession built on self-promotion. You can't switch on a tv without a psychologist popping up telling how we should feel or why we are thinking/feeling/acting a certain way.

The structured interventions offered by psychology are useful even it just gets people to sit down and talk about what is going on in their life. However they are not the panacea psychology often promotes them to be, (look at how CBT is getting a kicking these days).

I would be worried if psychology started doing more stuff on the net promoting "self help tools". A therapy to be effective there needs to be engagement between the patient and the therapist, ground rules, expectations, etc. That's what worries me about self help books, you tube videos there is none of that.

I think psychology, particularly in America, needs to be reined in. It seems anyone with a degree can go out and start offering therapy. Whereas in a clinical setting there are months of supervised learning to go through before you can start doing that.

The likes of Teal do worry me as we don't know her agenda, she has no supervision to pick out things she is doing wrong or what changes she needs to make. Therapists are in positions of power after all.
I'm with NF on this. Unfortunately a product of the You Tube quick fix approach to everything, only here more dangerous. Judging by the number of views her vids get people will be taken in. Nothing new in what she says and collecting a fortune as she says it. I liken it to turning to the Tube for diagnosis of a serious physical illness - don't do it. Dangerous stuff ( in my view obviously). I had hoped the 12 step type approach to psychological problems would go away, but clearly not. As NF says patient/therapist interaction can only be the most effective position - there are no quick fixes.
I hope the real mental health professionals stay well out of You Tube and its ilk.
 

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An interesting article about Swan.

Warning: This article contains descriptions some readers may find upsetting

The pencil drawing of the long-haired, striking woman had been in their home for some time. But Sarah thought nothing of it. Her daughter Casey had been a talented artist and spent many hours absorbed in her art work.

It was only later that Sarah started to wonder about its significance and felt compelled to investigate. She soon found that Casey had posted it online. The caption next to it simply read: "The gorgeous woman is Teal Swan, a beloved spectacular spiritual guru."

Casey had taken her own life just a couple of months before. Sarah, devastated by the loss of her only daughter, wanted to try and understand more about her final weeks.

Who was this woman who had been such a subject of fascination for the 18-year-old?

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50478821
 

maximus otter

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“While at school she claims she began to feel different from the other kids, and often didn't act like a normal child. From an early age, her parents stated Swan had hypersensitivity to certain surroundings throughout her childhood, especially sound. ...claims of clairvoyance abilities.

Swan has stated in numerous interviews that she was abused, raped and psychologically tortured from the age of six onwards by a family friend. According to an article in Huffington Post Canada, Swan was the victim of ritualistic abuse by a satanic cult for over a decade.

When Swan reached her teens, her mother in an interview said Swan had attempted to take her own life. They turned to eastern medicine when Swan was in her teens, and rather than saying Swan was sick, they said she was gifted when she was experiencing hypersensitivity.

...Swan's arms were "covered in scars," as a result of the abuse she endured as a child.


According to her, she was born with extrasensory abilities such as clairvoyance, "clairsentience", and "clairaudience". She has claimed to be an alien from the star Arcturus. She claims to have been a victim of Satanic ritual abuse from the ages of 6-19, in order to cure her of her supposed extrasensory abilities. Part of this alleged abuse included being sewn into a corpse.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teal_Swan#Biography


maximus otter
 

escargot

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An interesting article about Swan.

Warning: This article contains descriptions some readers may find upsetting

The pencil drawing of the long-haired, striking woman had been in their home for some time. But Sarah thought nothing of it. Her daughter Casey had been a talented artist and spent many hours absorbed in her art work.

It was only later that Sarah started to wonder about its significance and felt compelled to investigate. She soon found that Casey had posted it online. The caption next to it simply read: "The gorgeous woman is Teal Swan, a beloved spectacular spiritual guru."

Casey had taken her own life just a couple of months before. Sarah, devastated by the loss of her only daughter, wanted to try and understand more about her final weeks.

Who was this woman who had been such a subject of fascination for the 18-year-old?

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50478821
I read the article (after heeding the warning, taking into account it's the BBC and responsible) and have applied to join the Facebook group to see what's going on there.

Teal Swan's idea seems to be that if people think hard about death/suicide they can get it all out of their system. Ingenuous at best.
 
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