In a 2017 video, released on the day of Trump’s Inauguration, self-help guru Byron Katie used her spiritual inquiry method called “The Work” to “help” a woman understand that her fears of the Trump administration are deluded.
“The Work” is a series of four questions Katie advises applying to any disturbing thought:
- Is it true?
- Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
- How do you react when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
The four questions push the participant towards the pre-ordained conclusion that the disturbing thought is unreasonable or delusional. Be Scofield has covered some of the more outrageous implications of this pseudo-therapy, including Katie’s suggestion in a book from 1998 that a Holocaust victim’s fear of the gas chamber they were being forced into could be transformed into excitement and awe.
Katie does this using several techniques of charismatic dominance. This is ironic, given the deadly impact of Trump’s own charisma, not to mention how the past four years have played out.
Two key takeaways from this video:
- Katie subtly bullies the woman into restating her fear in such a way that she can be made to look and feel ridiculous, on a stage, in front of her peers, and in deference to authority.
- The cognitive technique is an effective mask for the theatre of a domination that can feel like love.
The dialogue of the technique has to begin with a reframing of the participant’s fear.
From the transcript:
Subject: I am frightened of Donald Trump, because he could start concentration camps, because he could -
Katie: You’re not afraid of him because he could — when you’re writing these worksheets, that…