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Monday, July 11, 2011

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind That Curtain: The Questionable "Expertise" of Naomi Aldort, Part Three

By Anon of Cleves

Making Excuses

As it became more and more clear that the public was on to her apparent fraud, Aldort began spinning a number of contradictory "explanations" for this purported "misunderstanding." In one private correspondence, she writes:

I have a Ph.D. It is a long story. It is not in psychology... I don't want it by my name.

This link naomialdort.net is new to me. I have no idea who created it. Strange.

My publisher insisted on Ph.D. by my name on the cover of the book. I refused.

We compromised and put it only on the back. Insurance wanted it, so people can collect for sessions... so you see. It is all so so silly and irrelevant...

If you can give me all the links where you see it, I would love that. So I can take care of it fully.

She has a doctorate degree and it's a long story? Or did her publisher make her make that claim? But wait...her book is self-published. Or was it to collect for sessions, for health insurance? Wouldn't that be insurance fraud? Take care of it fully...you mean, complete a cover-up operation? That's going to be difficult, seeing as Aldort has been tooting her horn as a "psychologist" just about everywhere:



In email correspondence with a different person, however, Aldort told a different story:

From: Naomi Aldort

Date: July 3, 2011 4:02:07 PM EDT

I am shocked. This is a strange mistake. Someone, on an interview, calls me "doctor" and I did not correct them (Probably because it was a live interview and would make them wrong and confusing and waste of short time.)

There should be non on my site though. where do you see it?

Where do we see it? Aldort began claiming she had a Ph.D. on her website's bio page in 2005 and continued to do so for years, as shown in these screen captures:






At this point, Aldort appears to have run for the hills, letting her 20-year-old son take over the task of deflecting blame. Lennon Aldort writes:

Tell your buddies in the online discussion forms that it's getting old, and that it's time to move on. I too will miss the hilarity of the discussions, but all things must come to an end at some point.

If you're genuinely curious about Naomi's credentials, she will shortly be publishing an official statement of apology and clarification about the whole "Ph.D" confusion.

Warmly,

Lennon Aldort

http://www.LennonAldort.com.

In fact, on July 4th, Lennon showed up in person on the TWWS and MDC forums to “set the record straight,” as it were. (Source: http://www.mothering.com/community/foru ... t_16537407)

The clarification statement, which has been edited since it was first posted, was apparently composed by Lennon, at Naomi's direction. (The blog is shown as belonging to Naomi Aldort.) At any rate, what it presents is yet another story that doesn't line up with the previous ones:

I removed Ph.D from my name two years ago, and continue to remove them as I find them on websites. I assure you, as I will clarify here, that what lead to this title is an innocent error. I had no intention to deceive. I was very naive and downright stupid. I studied music both for BA and graduate school (incomplete). I earned a Ph.D. in psychology, or so I thought, from a distant learning university in London in Dec. 2003.

Then, a couple of years ago, I learned that it was a scam and that I was duped. I was shocked and deeply disturbed. As soon as I suspected that, and even before I was sure, I rushed and removed the Ph.D. from everywhere that I could and planned to eliminate it promptly from the next production of anything in print.

It clearly is not true that Aldort had attempted to remove the credential from her name everywhere; her Amazon profile still lists it as of July 7, 2011, various websites of hers and those of her sons listed it as of June this year, and of course, her Facebook page still listed her as a Ph.D. only days before this "clarification." It could only be true that Aldort had attempted to remove the credential from her name everywhere if she maintained no control over all of these various sites that are directly connected to her personally and for which she holds the copyright.

Interestingly, in her attempt to validate her use of the credential and her practices, she cites her experience learning from some notorious leaders who have been accused of cult-like practices:

I developed my theories and teaching based on studies which included workshops with great psychologists like Virginia Satir and Will Schutz. I also studied the works of Gerald Jampolsky, participated in seminars of Harvey Jackins’s Re-evaluation Counseling, studied with Werner Erhard, Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle, Richard Bandler’s Neurolinguistic Programing and others.

Questions were immediately raised regarding this statement, and Aldort's son fielded them for her,in a Q&A post. What was this supposed “scam university?” Wiltshire University, a now-disappeared mail order diploma mill in the UK. An academic in Illinois has compiled a dossier on Wiltshire and its questionable practices, showing that it was active in the early 2000s and that it allowed people to purchase sham “degrees” for $3,000. (Source: http://www.hep.uiuc.edu/home/g-gollin/oregon_north_dakota/#wiltshire)

Why was her June 2011 e-mail newsletter still signed "Naomi Aldort, Ph.D."? Well, she says she just cuts and pastes her newsletter text in, and the signature is automated, and she doesn’t proof the newsletters before they are sent out to subscribers.

Why was the Ph.D credential on her Facebook page? She says she didn't create her Facebook page...Lennon did so, without her knowledge. (The obvious followup questions to this--why would Lennon do that, why would Naomi not so much as look at it, and WHY would a son not know his mother's educational background while creating a publicity page for her--remain unanswered.)

Why did she call herself a psychologist? The answer to this question is, as we’ve learned is typical, in two contradicting parts:
She thought she had earned a Ph.D in psychology. If one has a Ph.D in psychology, one is legally called a psychologist. I think she also had no idea that the word "Psychologist" is a legal word. She used it as an english word describing the act of offering emotional guidance.

Most telling of all, why did Aldort not pursue a legitimate Ph.D. after discovering Wiltshire University was a scam? (Assuming she did not know it was such when she made her purchase.) In an answer since edited out of her clarification blog, Aldort said:


I never had in mind doing the regular amount of work to get a Ph.D. I never wanted or needed one. When I saw Wiltshire Universities (sic) offer, and didn’t know it was a scam, I figured it couldn’t hurt to have it.

So there it is: Aldort never wanted to do the work of an accredited Ph.D. in psychology, and felt entitled to practice as a “psychologist” without said degree. After all this "clarifying," and despite the handful of fans who have sprung to her defense, a few things are clearer than ever: Naomi Aldort is not qualified to dispense advice as a psychologist. Naomi Aldort does not have a license or degree in psychology. And Naomi Aldort will say whatever she thinks you want to hear to keep you buying her products and services. Or, if things get too tough, she'll send her son in to take care of it for her.

Update: as this was going out for publication, Aldort added a disclaimer statement to her homepage, linking to the “clarification statement.” No further explanation, apology, or offer of refunds--or to stop her counseling practice--has thus far been issued.

Part One

Part Two

19 comments:

  1. very interesting. This is all feels very icky... I hope people who invested money in her scam get some redemption.

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  2. "I never had in mind doing the regular amount of work to get a Ph.D. I never wanted or needed one. When I saw Wiltshire Universities (sic) offer, and didn’t know it was a scam, I figured it couldn’t hurt to have it."


    OMG!

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  3. She is so shameless. She's appearing on a radio show tomorrow..."Naomi Aldort, Ph.D."

    http://www.sanditeaches.com/radio-show/

    And yes, I have a screen capture of this.

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  4. I'm way more worried about the state of children in our country than I am about Naomi's credentials or lack thereof. I would have counseled with her if she was a gardener or a dishwasher....it was truly the best money I've spent in my entire life. And if drinking her koolaid is what's led to this beautiful relationship I have with my children, pass another glass please!!

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  5. Naomi Aldort also wrote some articles for Life Learning Magazine online, (which have since been removed, but part of it was recovered from google cache), wherein she denied the reality of all special needs and learning disabilities. She embraces "The Secret" and the Law of Attraction, and seems to apply these philosophies to her advice for parenting children with special needs. Basically, the child doesn't have a learning disability or any kind of special needs diagnosis UNLESS you admit to it. If you deny it, then it won't exist. If you don't deny it and try to help your child with their difficulty, then you are the one causing the "disorder" because you're making it exist by your very belief in it. In the second part of the article, which I couldn't find in the google cache, she specifically denies dyslexia and autism and claims that any medications will hurt and not help your child. Remember, this is all while she's claiming to have a PhD in Psychology, Parenting and/or music (depending on the day and the source).

    Link to one of the articles at the end of this post. Here are a couple quotes:

    "My son told me about a man who said, “When I was a child they didn’t discover yet Asperger Syndrome, but I had it and only now I know.” My son added with a smile, “This person actually thinks there is a thing called Asperger which was not known and then got discovered.” In reality there never was anything. There was a child who is now a man and he was the way he was. The invention of labels is the creation of the phenomenon in our minds and nowhere else. Einstein was right: Words don’t define an existing reality but create one in the human mind."

    and:

    "If a “professional” (that, too, is a label to wonder about) labels your child, how does it help you or him? People say that now you are supposed to feel relieved because your child has something real; does she? What is so real about a “word” or a combination of words, made up by a stranger to compare your child to the mythical “others” or to arbitrary limiting concepts? How does the child benefit? If the child never thought he had a problem; if he simply saw himself as a wonderful human with unique qualities, he would have nothing to feel relieved about because he won’t feel bad in the first place.

    What am I offering instead? Nothing. Who needs an “instead” when there was no problem in the first place?"

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:2LKVZox5YK8J:www.lifelearningmagazine.com/0712/ask_naomi_aldort_labels.htm+If+a+%E2%80%9Cprofessional%E2%80%9D+%28that,+too,+is+a+label+to+wonder+about%29&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a&source=www.google.com

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  6. AugustGirl -- Thanks for the link.

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  7. If I'm understanding the details of all of this correctly, this woman would not be able to call herself a "psychologist" simply because she has a doctorate in psychology - at least in the U.S. (I realize she's now saying she doesn't have a doctorate in psychology) She would have to be licensed by the state in which she practices. When I graduated with my doctorate in clinical psychology, I had to call myself a "psychology associate" until I passed the national licensing exam and my state licensing exam - only then could I use the title "psychologist." Does she live in Washington State? If so, you can check the Washington State Board of Psychology to determine the criteria for being allowed to use the title of "psychologist" in that state - and if you must hold a license to use that title. In my state (and I believe in most, if not all U.S. states) calling yourself a psychologist before you are licensed is in violation of the law - people who have done this after complaints have been made to the state board have ended up in big legal trouble.

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  8. Speaking to what Jen said, it is absolutely against Washington State law to misrepresent herself as a psychologist. Here's the link if someone with more time than I have wants to file a complaint with the board:
    www.doh.wa.gov/hsqa/complaint.htm

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  9. Credentialled does not mean qualified and vice versa. Has anyone looked at her children? I'd say, ipso facto, she is a fantastic parent. And her advice is fantastic too. Let's take a little personal responsibility and embrace things we're attracted to and reject things we're not. Recongnized authorities frequently are just special interest groups. Look at the way we treat heart disease in this country: drugs and surgeries, which don't prevent heart attacks, by the way. However, there are nutritional approaches that actually reverse heart disease - look at Caldwell Esselstyn, Collin Campbell, Joel Fuhrman, and their published results in respected medical journals. Naomi is amazingly helpful at restoring and strengthening relationships. Again, best money I've ever spent. And, not to disparage higher education, but I'm sure many credential psychologists are not really qualified to help people and many people working on becoming credentialed psychologists may have been qualified to help people before. We have to use our own judgement.

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  10. Being a liar, is being a liar.

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  11. I go to school with Lennon and I can say for certain that the apple does not fall far from the tree. He is a "know it all", and a large majority of our peers do not like him.

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    1. You miss the point of aldort family teaching. They are fierce preservers of the true self and the whole point is to not become slaves of other people's opinion. How big is your university and did you take a mass poll to determine majority vote? I am sure the boy doesn't care.

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    2. Aldort Family Teaching totally doesn't sound like a cult or anything. Not one little bit.

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    3. Haha that was the way I described it, not what they say. It's not a thing. But you are the one writing in capital letters and being all weird about it.

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    4. Since you're such good friends with them, do you know if the eldest son ever got over lusting for his cousin?

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    5. “She’s your cousin,” he said aloud. “She is your cousin.” “You’re crazy.” “What are you doing?”

      But these pillars of reason couldn’t stay rooted in the soil of his mind as the hurricane of desire swept through him. Heart beating rapidly, he brought his attention back out of his head and continued walking.

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    6. She followed him everywhere. He had left the gathering outside, and had paced around the house and up into his room, but she persisted in his mind. Her laughing brown eyes, her flowing hair, her voluptuous body. Why did she have to be wearing such revealing clothes? Maybe that was the problem. Maybe he shouldn’t be so hard on himself for feeling this way. Maybe, cousin or not, if a beautiful girl looks and dresses that way, it’s excusable to harbor such feelings.

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    7. Where is this writing from and whose point of view is it? It seems like a fictional writing that has nothing to do with them unless it's a diary written in third person pronoun I don't quite get the relavence of this... and how is this related to bad parenting? And i am not friends with them but why do u know these things??

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  12. The clarification statement referenced in this article is returning this error:

    "Blog has been removed

    Sorry, the blog at clarificationstatement.blogspot.com has been removed."

    http://clarificationstatement.blogspot.com/2011/07/clarification-statement.html

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