Wessely School Report

In a series of ten posts, I have reviewed ten major planks in the Wessely School’s psychosomatic approach to ME/CFS. This St Patrick’s Day ‘end of term report’ indicates my grades as an independent assessor of the School’s performance to date. The bulk of the assessed work was completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. HoweverContinue reading “Wessely School Report”

ME/CFS and CBT – a basic error

For more than three decades, the Wessely School has searched for empirical support for its psychosomatic approach to CFS. That search has been in vain. I show here, here and here that the theoretical assumptions of the Wessely approach lack support and have fallen. The drive to show CBT and GET are effective treatments hasContinue reading “ME/CFS and CBT – a basic error”

ME/CFS and the SMILE trial

A trial called the ‘SMILE trial’ compared the Lightning Process® with specialist medical care for young patients with ME/CFS. The trial was run at Bristol Medical School by Professor Esther Crawley. Recent studies of the Lightning Process® by the Wessely School are described here. The information detailed in this post is drawn from the extensiveContinue reading “ME/CFS and the SMILE trial”

ME/CFS and the Lightning Process

Here I review research by the Wessely School on the Lightning Process (LP). LP is a pseudoscientific cult founded by Phil Parker, a Tarot reader, specialist in auras and spiritual guides, and an osteopath. It has triggered a spate of shoddy evidence and false claims that brings a new low level to the checkered history ofContinue reading “ME/CFS and the Lightning Process”

ME/CFS and the PACE trial

Here I review the disastrous trial known as the ‘PACE trial’. This updates a post from several years ago. Readers may also be interested in seeing the Special Issue on the PACE trial in the Journal of Health Psychology (2017). Review of the evidence indicates that none of the Wessely School’s hypotheses about the causesContinue reading “ME/CFS and the PACE trial”

ME/CFS and biased attention

Two posts here and here identify a recurring problem with the Wessely School theory of ME/CFS: The complete lack of scientific evidence. Here I consider the third strand of the theory: H3: Biased attention causes, or exacerbates, the symptoms of ME/CFS and MUS. According to this hypothesis, biased attention focusing towards symptoms, health-threats and relatedContinue reading “ME/CFS and biased attention”

ME/CFS and deconditioning

A previous post examined the Wessely School hypothesis that ME/CFS is caused by unhelpful beliefs. This idea was exploded as a myth. Here I examine a second Wessely School hypothesis (H2) that states: Deconditioning causes, or exacerbates the symptoms of, ME/CFS and MUS. Deconditioning refers to multiple, potentially reversible changes in body systems brought aboutContinue reading “ME/CFS and deconditioning”

ME/CFS and unhelpful beliefs

The Wessely School approach to ME/CFS and MUS hypothesizes a causative role for unhelpful beliefs (H1), deconditioning (H2), and biased attention (H3). The evidence related to these three hypotheses is reviewed in turn. Here I consider H1: that unhelpful beliefs cause, or exacerbate, the symptoms of ME/CFS and MUS. Future posts will review the evidenceContinue reading “ME/CFS and unhelpful beliefs”

ME/CFS and the Wessely School

In a series of posts I review the Wessely School’s influence on science, treatment and – most importantly – ME/CFS patient experience. In previous posts I outlined here the likely biological basis of ME/CFS and here treatment harms to patients. This post introduces the Wessely School’s approach to ME/CFS and medically unexplained symptoms. What isContinue reading “ME/CFS and the Wessely School”

ME/CFS and treatment harms

Despite evidence of physiological and cellular abnormalities in myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)/chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), the dominant therapeutic approach has been cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET).  Patients report  distress and dissatisfaction following healthcare encounters based on GET and CBT.  A significant body of research suggests that CBT and GET are harmful forContinue reading “ME/CFS and treatment harms”