I first ran across the Lefkoe Method in a well known personal development forum a year ago. Since I am a bit of a self-development junkie and I can't pass up a free sample, I found the 'Eliminate One Limiting Belief for Free' offer pretty irresistible. Now, I am not the kind of person who is easily impressed. I have been doing this self-development thing for a long time now and I know a thing or two about psychology and spirituality so I can usually spot a faker a mile away. I went into the process with pretty low expectations, truth be told, because I am used to people under-delivering on their promises, but I figured 'what the heck' and gave it a whirl.
To make a long story short, twenty minutes later, I was a believer.
Lefkoe Belief Process
If you haven't heard of the Lefkoe Method, it represents a number of different strategies designed by Morty Lefkoe to help people overcome limiting beliefs and behaviors. The core of this method revolves around something called the Lefkoe Belief Process (or LBP).
The LBP is essentially a dialogue between Lefkoe and a patient to determine what the patient wants to change about his or her life. Typically, the changes that a person wants to make revolve around eliminating undesired behaviors or emotions. Based on the client's perceived need, Lefkoe works with the patient to determine which beliefs may be responsible for the undesired behavior or emtions, or for the patient's inability to engage in the desired behavior.
Once a belief has been identified, Lefkoe tests to make sure the belief is, in fact, present by having the patient repeat the belief out loud and having the patient confirm that it really is a belief that they have based on their emotional response to stating the belief.
Lefkoe then directs the patient's attention to their past to try to uncover the source of the belief. Typically this takes a few minutes to half an hour as the patient goes back over his childhood trying to remember salient details from his relationship with his parents. Specific incidents aren't important, only a general recollection of how interactions between the person and his or her parents typically went.
When the source of the belief is identified, Lefkoe makes a point of assuring the patient that that belief, however undesireable it may be in the present, was a perfectly valid interpretation of the events at the time that it was formed. The patient's beliefs are never invalidated or fought against.
Recognizing that the belief is one valid interpretation of events, Lefkoe then has the patient generate alternative interpretations of the events which led to the formation of the belief. These alternative interpretations are shown to be equally valid. In other words: the patient's belief is only one of many equally valid interpretations.
Lefkoe then asks if the patient ever saw or felt the belief. Invariably, patients respond that they did, in fact, witness the belief and that it would have been obvious to others as well based on the actions and statements made by the patient's parents. When he asks them to describe what the belief looks like, however, patients are unable to assign specific details and they begin to realize that what they thought they saw outside in the world was really just an interpretation of external events (facial expressions, actions, words) that they witnessed, that the belief existed solely inside their own head, and that they had been responsible for creating it.
When the patient realizes that his or her belief is only an interpretation of events, something created by themselves and not a thing in itself, and only one among many valid alternatives, the belief loses its potency, it stops being a belief and becomes just another interpretation. Once a belief has been defused by this process, it no longer has any influence over a person's behavior and the patient's behaviors and feelings change automatically. To verify this change for the patient's benefit, Lefkoe has the patient restate his original belief out loud so that he can see for himself how his beliefs have changed.
Lefkoe claims that this process is effective in completely eliminating negative and limiting beliefs in almost all cases and that, once eliminated, the beliefs do not return. Lefkoe does caution that most undesireable behaviors and feelings are the result of more than one belief and that, like a table with many legs, all related beliefs must be eliminated before the patient will be completely relieved of his or her undesirable feelings or behavior. (I can say from my own experience that even eliminating a single belief has had a tremendous impact on my life.)
Since a single belief can typically be eliminated within an hour, even if several beliefs are involved, it can transform a process that typically takes months or years of therapy into a process that can be completed in a few one hour sessions. What's more, this process can be conducted over the phone, or even by means of watching videos (as it is in the case of the free sample).
This process is fast, effective, and permanent. Compared to other therapies, it is also cheap. It sounds almost too good to be true. Is it? I was beginning to wonder if I'd just imagined the change in myself, or if it was a fluke so I decided to do a bit of digging.
Why Doubt the Claims
Everybody knows there are a lot of scams on the web. A lot of these scams revolve around self-improvement or personal development, which is why everyone should approach claims made by 'life coaches' and other self-help 'gurus' with a healthy dose of skepticism. But is every too-good-to-be-true claim unfounded?
There are a number of reasons why you might not trust Morty Lefkoe's claims that he can provide a cheap, fast, effective, permanent solution to your problems. (And I certainly wouldn't based on my recommendation alone.) For starters, the claim itself is pretty tremendous. If his method is so effective, why haven't more people adopted it? Why hasn't it drawn more attention from the media? Why haven't more scientific studies been done about it?
The second reason falls squarely on Lefkoe's marketing techniques. There is no way around it: Morty Lefkoe sounds like he is trying to sell you something. The promotional website for his product Natural Confidence reads like every other successful online scam: one long page alternating between big claims, customer testimonials, and options to "buy now". The coupons, money back guarantee and signature on the bottom are just the icing on the cake.
Even more damaging to his credibility is the affiliate program which pays people to send traffic his way in exchange for a cut of the profits. In my research, I was able to locate more than one web site that looked like it had been set up solely to garner such earnings with little or no effort on the part of the owner to disguise his or her intentions.
So what is one to make of all this?
Validating the Claims
It is difficult to validate therapeutic claims at the best of times. The boogeyman of scientific confirmation has plagued the mental health industry from it's very inception. As an author, the best I can hope for is to locate evidence that seems to support or refute these claims: testimonials provided by individuals who have been through the process, papers reporting the results of scientific studies, and a background check on Morty Lefkoe and the Lefkoe Foundation.
Surprisingly, there is some evidence that Morty Lefkoe's claims might, in fact, be true.
To begin with, Morty Lefkoe is not some unknown, anonymous web persona. Lefkoe has had a practice for over 25 years, he has appeared on television, in newspapers and magazines, and has written a book along with hundreds of print and online articles. He has also given talks to business and mental health professionals and has even received testimonials from people like Steven Covey. Clearly, he's putting himself out there and on the line.
Second, the Lefkoe Method has been compared favorably to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which has been extensively tested with considerable positive reviews. If you are at all familiar with CBT, then you probably noticed the similarities when the process was described above. Lefkoe contends, with some justification, that the LBP goes beyond traditional CBT to cut to the heart of the matter but he could certainly have found himself in worse company.
Third, Lefkoe's process has been the subject of at least three scientific studies: a study conducted in 1995 with incarcerated offenders; a study conducted in 2006 with people who fear public speaking; and a study in 2010 with people who had used his Natural Confidence product. The results of the second experiment can be found here. I couldn't locate a copy of the first experiment and the results of the third experiment are still forthcoming, unfortunately. Not only has his process been studied, but Lefkoe actively encourages other researchers to study it. That doesn't sound like something a con artist would do.
Third, in spite of extensive online investigations, the testimonials given by real people seem to be, on the whole, very positive. Most people responding to questions about the process were very enthusiastic and stated that using the process had resulted in significant improvements in their life. Even the claims made by people who found little or no benefit were, on the whole, quite tame and admitted that they had had only limited exposure to the process or had only undergone a part of the process. Those who made highly negative claims had never tried the process and appeared to be basing their opinion on their estimation of Lefkoe's marketing strategy.
Lefkoe admits that his practice has suffered from a PR problem from the very beginning. People just refuse to believe that his method is really that good. And to be fair: his advertising isn't grossly inappropriate; scammers use these techniques for their own 'products' because they work. And an affiliate marketing program isn't a bad idea, really, for a process that can be taught, scaled, and handled by phone or video interventions, especially since it doesn't seem to get a lot of traction with the media or mental health industry.
You'll Believe It When You Stop Believing It
But I guess the proof is in the pudding. If you're skeptical, like I was, your best bet is to try the 'free sample' on his website, Recreate Your Life. Go into it with an open mind, and follow the instructions to the letter (I am convinced it wouldn't have worked as well as it had if I hadn't spoken out loud when prompted, even if it did make me sound like a fool). I've tried it, and I have to admit, the pudding was pretty good.
When you're done, come back and share your experiences here.
Books by Lefkoe
clare on April 25, 2013:
Only thing that works
j-u-i-c-e (author) from Waterloo, On on March 16, 2013:
@Vironika: Thanks for the comment.
I addressed this in the article: "...to be fair: his advertising isn't grossly inappropriate; scammers use these techniques for their own 'products' because they work..."
My argument was that the Lefkoe Method suffers from a PR problem because a very large percentage of scams on the Internet use the exact same marketing techniques. Whether it's fair or not, for many savvy shoppers that's pretty much guilt by association, and it's a point that needs to be addressed.
When you see a one-sheet making huge claims and guaranteeing results 'or your money back', a big red flag *should* go off. Most of these claims *are* bogus. I went into TLM assuming it would be bogus, but the free trial (along with my own understanding of CBT, etc.) convinced me that there is something to his technique and that interested people should be willing to take a chance on it. I encourage everyone to at least use the trial and judge for themselves.
I don't think being wary of underhanded marketing tactics is a limiting belief. If I really suffered from that kind of belief, I wouldn't have tried it at all. What Mr. Lefkoe needs, imo, is more independent scientific research (not something he can control). He's already done a tremendous job marketing himself by publishing articles, etc.; I'm trying to do my part by maintaining this article as an independent forum for people to share their experiences. If you look at the results of the poll, you'll see that a lot of people who have tried it have found at least some success with it.
Vironika on March 15, 2013:
I sense you've got some limiting beliefs about selling techniques. You say that "page long ads" with guarantees and testimonials are scams... when really they're just direct marketing principles. You can use them to sell truth or lies. They're not essentially good or bad, scams or not scams. They're a process of convincing. There's nothing wrong with convincing people.
j-u-i-c-e (author) from Waterloo, On on February 06, 2013:
@Kori: I was very skeptical going into it. I *expected* it to fail, but it didn't. I have been permanently changed for the better.
Not everyone is going to have the same experience, however. The LM attacks the roots of a negative belief and deconstructs it, allowing you to form a new belief using the same evidence. Unfortunately, that evidence can be 'tainted' with other negative beliefs, so sometimes you have to remove a different belief to 'get at' the one you're trying to get rid of. If you're not having success with one belief, try tackling a different one. Needless to say, it can get complicated because belief structures are complicated. If you have a lot of closely related negative beliefs it's not realistic to expect them all to magically disappear because they reinforce each other so when you try to get rid of one, a different one will pop up and say: "Nope. Can't do it because of x."
Think of it this way: pretend that your negative beliefs are the opinions of someone who has views that are diametrically opposed to yours. How easy is it to convince that person to share your views? It isn't. It can be done, but you have to provide that person with evidence that contradicts their beliefs and build up your position gradually, approaching your view from different directions. In your case, that person is telling you that believing that something like this could actually work is gullible and sentimental and that you're stupid for hoping that it will. You need to change that person's beliefs because, frankly, they're wrong. There's no reason why the method couldn't work.
Look, everybody, every day, forms beliefs about things. They do it by looking at the world, listening to other people, and connecting the dots between what they 'know' and whatever it is they're thinking about. There is nothing magical about this process. People do it all the time, without even thinking about it. It's automatic. There's no reason, therefore, for the LM not to work. It's just getting you to pay attention to the process and to reevaluate the conclusions that you come to. You don't need a 'miracle' to get rid of bad beliefs, you just have to take an honest look at how you came to have a particular belief so you can see how you jumped to conclusions and formed a belief that wasn't good for you. A lot of the time, people hold onto these negative beliefs even when they know they're wrong because they need those beliefs to hold up other beliefs that they like having.
Don't get discouraged. Realize that your 'belief' that the process can't really work because it's 'too easy' is itself a faulty belief based on the unfounded assumption that fixing bad beliefs is difficult. It isn't. It's subtle, like getting a joke, but it isn't impossible or unrealistic. You've done it countless times already without even thinking about it or paying attention.
Kori on February 06, 2013:
I bought the whole package and am going through them now,
I for one am having trouble with it, I don't doubt the system works but I think I have the belief that I can't trust my thoughts or feelings, so every time I feel like it might be working there's this little voice that's like 'You're being gullible and sentimental, you look stupid.'
So I dunno.
j-u-i-c-e (author) from Waterloo, On on July 27, 2012:
I agree Brandon. I think it's a solid technique. It had an immediate impact on my life as well. I've always been a perfectionist, but that tendency made it almost impossible for me to be productive, or even to communicate on public forums. His free sample dislodged something that was supporting that tendency and I've become much more productive and self-accepting because of it. And that change has persisted. I definitely think he's worth checking out. People shouldn't expect miracles, but Lefkoe's technique is one of the very few techniques that actually works as advertised. Thanks for reading and sharing your experience.
Brandon on July 26, 2012:
The Lefkoe Method is pretty much the only self help technique I've ever used that actually did what it's supposed to do. I've tried affirmations, visualizations, meditations, hypnosis, NLP, (and some other stuff I won't mention) and this is the only thing that had a lasting, permanent effect.
j-u-i-c-e (author) from Waterloo, On on October 15, 2011:
Lefkoe has designed a pretty interesting method. Definitely worth checking it out, even if you're skeptical. Thanks for the comment.
dotty1 from In my world on October 14, 2011:
Really interesting, thank you so much for sharing. I will definitely read into