41 Denver Shrinks Prove That Psychologists Are Mostly Just Leeches

41 Denver Shrinks Prove That Psychologists Are Mostly Just Leeches

By Jonathan Roseland

According to a University of South Florida study 90% of people who quit smoking relapse. I've been a year and a half without a cancer stick in between my lips, so I'm justifiably a little proud of beating that statistic. How did I do it?

In 2013, in my research of the biology of self-control, I interviewed several doctors and subject matter experts. Based upon these interviews and my lifelong interest as a layperson in the biology of self-control, I distilled 20 different uncommon, yet actionable lifehacks for effectively increasing willpower. I quit smoking using about five of these lifehacks. I then spent probably 40 hours organizing a detailed multi-media guide to self-control based upon these lifehacks. Then I released it completely for free (no signup required) on my website. Since I want to help as many people as possible with this information I personally emailed at least 41 different psychologists in the Denver area and offered to send them this guide completely for free, no strings attached.

Self Control Study & Applications
Hello [shrink's name], I recently stumbled upon a 2012 study on self control done by Northwestern University, which produced some very counter intuitive results that run contrary to a lot of traditional ideas and practices when it comes to will power.
I've been researching the biology of self control as a layperson for 4 years, in my quest to understand the mechanisms of will power I've consulted multiple doctors and as a result I've distilled 20 very actionable methods to biologically increase will power. I personally managed to quit smoking using only 5 of these 'lifehacks' for self control.
I've produced a PDF guide in addition to several multi media audio programs which go over the 20 'lifehacks' in depth, along with providing sources and studies. My guides are free and I make them available to anyone who I think they could help.
As a psychologist I imagine you have clients who struggle with various addictions and I thought this info could be helpful. If you'd like me to forward the study to you along with an audio interview I did with the lead researcher and some tactics of application let me know and I'll gladly send them over.

I made what I thought was a very safe assumption that these psychologists had clients who would benefit greatly from these kinds of high-leverage yet uncommon strategies for self-control.

Out of 41 emailed, ZERO responded.

Which shocked me! As someone who makes a living writing ad copy, I always get at least a 10% reply rate.

2023 updateWhen I first published this years ago, I included the websites, emails, and names of the psychologists I emailed. I brought my SEO skills to the task of naming and shaming them publicly. I've now removed their names because it's better to give people the benefit of the doubt; emails bounce or get lost in junk folders all the time. However, ZERO response from over 40 "mental healthcare professionals" is just pitiful! Doctors don't make money off healthy people and Psychologists don't make money off happy people who are in control of their own lives. Psychologists aren't necessarily useless; if you are considering hiring one check their references very thoroughly beforehand and perhaps consider proposing tying their compensation to meeting some measurable goals you have.

I'll admit that when I emailed these 41 shrinks I had a bit of an ulterior motive. I was following an internet marketing strategy for virality in which you produce some high-value content with expert advice (the doctors interviewed on the topic of Biohacking self-control) and then offer it for free to a group of professionals who it should help. Since then I've done plenty of cold emails and solicitations in my online marketing and networking, and like I said, I would always get at least a 10% reply rate. I now understand that they weren't interested in my "self-control lifehacks" but most psychologists are NOT solutions-focused, their job is to sit there while you talk your way through your problems. Let's say you're an alcoholic and you're ruining your life with your drinking, a psychologist is not going to say "You need to get off the booze. Here are some tools that will help..." psychologist is much more likely to say "Drink as much as want but let's explore WHY you're drinking..."

I guess there are a lot of people out there who find it helpful to talk their way through their problems with a professional, but I'm not one of them! This year I actually had some experience with psychologists; my wife and I did some couples therapy and then I got my wife some EMDR-style therapy for some trauma work. A few honest conversations with an impartial mediator who cared about us were more helpful than the couples therapy sessions BUT the EMDR did help my wife. EMDR seems to be a more results-focused modality. 

If you like the idea of therapy (talking with a professional about your life, problems, psychology, relationships, and feelings) but you want someone to give you actionable advice and put a little pressure on you to stop self-sabotaging, you'll probably be disappointed with a shrink. Instead, hire a life coach.


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