Reviewing The Completion Process by Teal Swan: Why this idea is a bad thing
The book, written by New Age spiritual guru Teal Swan, claims the process heals trauma. Here’s why it’s actually very dangerous.
The Completion Process (or TCP among Teal’s fans) is a book that promises to help its readers heal from traumas they may have had inflicted on them during their lives. Teal Swan, a self-proclaimed “Spiritual Catalyst,” believes that using TCP will help mend trauma buried deep within a person’s memories.
As someone interested in the idea of healing trauma, I decided to read into the book. What I found was outright disturbing.
Teal Swan’s process is completely untested and unresearched, apart from anecdotal work she or her practitioners may have done.
Science places an emphasis on researching and testing techniques before allowing practitioners to use them on masse. For example, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was created as a result of experiments and the results produced in the 1960s. As the American Psychological association puts it:
Experimental psychologists use scientific methods to collect data and perform research. Often, their work builds, one study at a time, to a larger finding or conclusion. Some researchers have devoted their entire career to answering one complex research question.
In this case, there is no evidence Teal has conducted experimental research or studies for TCP apart from whatever anectodal work she has done.
Even worse, Teal herself has ZERO formal training in psychology or psychiatry. She does not appear to even possess a degree from one of the diploma mill metaphysical schools. This alone should be grounds to question her work and her competency.
Perhaps the worst part of all of this is that Teal also invites people to pay what’s reported to be a large sum of money in order to attend a seminar in her retreat located in Costa Rica where for three days, they can learn from her to be “Certified Practitioners of The Completion Process” or CPCP for short.
What business does she have training people in an untested process having no qualifications herself besides “Intuition?” Sure, she can claim that others may have “benefited” from the use of TCP, but anecdotal comments are no substitute for an actual study.
The Completion Process has the potential to CAUSE more trauma than it does heal.
The Completion Process deals with pulling childhood traumas that you’ve repressed and working with them in a “safe place” According to Teal. “The Completion Process takes inner-child work to the next level and reveals that it is much more than a quaint self-help technique.” (TCP, page 43, Kindle Edition)
The problem is however that the idea of repressed memories in psychology is believed by the majority of the field to be bunk. In fact the idea of a truly repressed traumatic memory that occured in childhood is extremely rare. Usually, the child can fully recall the traumatic event.
Because TCP works with alleged childhood memories, it may even be possible for a memory to be implanted within the person. Let me be clear, I am NOT accusing Teal or any of her “Practitioners” of doing this or having attempted this, but it could even be possible just by mere suggestion, even accidental, that a person could create a memory of something that never existed.
Consider the actions of Psychologist Barbara Snow, who in 2008 was accused of implanting false memories in her patients. The State of Utah alleged that she managed to make one of her clients think he was sexually abused by his father, which was not true. Snow agreed to accept probation in exchange for the State dropping its complaints. While Snow’s alleged actions were likely deliberate, the fact remains that it is still very possible to implant a memory that never existed.
Teal claims we don’t actually suffer any new traumas after we turn eight years old.
Teal Swan states, without any citation, evidence, study or other proof that because we become capable of rationalizing when we turn eight. (As an FYI, a study shows we actually become capable of this around age 4 to 6.) She states the following:
The fact that we become capable of rationalizing at about age eight has serious implications. It means that we don’t experience any new emotional traumas after about age eight.” (TCP, 39–41)
Teal then goes on to state that any traumatizing instances that occur to you beyond the age of eight are “in fact just a reflection of a prior wound.” (41) Also, she provides no citation or evidence as to proof of this claim.
Yes, Teal. Things like rape, PTSD from a battlefield, or even the sudden loss of a job can all be traced back to “prior wounds” from one’s early years. She tries to reinforce this by arguing that a soldier caught in a warzone, and the feeling of powerlessness (Not fear of death or rage?) is a reflection of “being caught in the line of fire between his parents when they were divorcing.” (41) Considering I know many people who served in the armed forces and experienced this fear despite having loving parents, I call bullshit.
To compare the bickering of divorce to the feelings that come while fighting on the front likes is outright absurd. When on the battlefield, you actively think about things like mortality, support by others, being maimed if not killed, and fear of all of this happening very suddenly. Something a kid is likely not going to experience being witness to their parents fighting.
I would very much love to hear Teal explain how someone who had a relatively ok childhood had a prior childhood experience that triggered a rape she suffered in her life.
Teal Swan utilizes the “Law” of Attraction as the foundation for The Completion Process
I’ve written before about how The Law of Attraction is a dangerous belief. The fact that we allegedly attract things to happen to us based on our “vibrations” only invites victim-blaming, fear of thinking the wrong thoughts (and thus vibrating the wrong way)
Teal implies that the reason people experience traumas is that they attract them through “shadow aspects” of a person. (50) Essentially, these shadow aspects are what makes up our subconscious according to Teal. (43) She claims as a result we divide ourselves and the end result is an “unhealed state because the shadow aspect of our inner selves strives to be intergrated, regardless of how much we wish that it would just go away.” (45)
The Law of Attraction factors into this because “your shadow aspects are vibrations within you that are attracting experiences into your life to match them.” (50) So basically, these embedded traumas that one likely never thinks about are somehow capable of manifesting further traumas. Ok. Makes sense. Not really. Logically speaking, since the shadow is suppressed, then the vibrations wouldn’t be anywhere NEAR as powerful as the positive ones one might be emanating. But most LOA backers never get that far in their logic, and neither does Teal.
In fact, out of all of the snake oil practitioners of the LOA, Teal Swan is, in my opinion, one of the worst. In one of her posts, she argues that one of the reasons child abuse exists is because children, being “immortal souls” choose to have the trauma. She writes below:
Non-physical beings [READ: Children before they are born]have the free will to determine the future circumstances they will experience in the physical and so, some beings intentionally choose to experience things like destitution, imprisonment, poverty, depression, war, paralysis, suffering, rape and physical abuse so that they may use those things to define and intensify their knowledge of happiness, freedom, abundance, peace and kindness. (Archive Link in case this disappears)
In other words, children somehow before life select the traumas they will endure…which somehow ends up needing to be healed by The Completion Process. Wouldn’t the healing of the trauma essentially mitigate the experience it was caused? And if it makes us whole again, what’s the point of selecting these traumas to separate us in the first place?
And most importantly, If we as non-physical beings select these circumstances to define us….why would we need The Completion Process in the first place?
All in all, The Completion Process is a woo-driven snake-oil attempt to get people to reveal their greatest traumas, or even create new ones. It’s a lame excuse for therapy at best, and a danger to one’s mental health at worse.
All citations of The Completion Process are from the Amazon Kindle edition