Homeopath Ursula Kraus-Harper is ‘baffled’ by the failure of CEASE Therapy

I wrote previously about CEASE Therapy and the awful way in which it is marketed to prey on parental guilt and anxiety. In this post I want to look at the way CEASE selectively promotes its efficacy. CEASE is marketed almost exclusively using anecdotal evidence of recovery. The CEASE website has a number of unconvincing anonomous case studies, and they also provide links to another powerful part of their marketing strategy – the blogs of parents who are apparently having success treating their children’s ASD using CEASE. There are a number of these blogs such as

I’m sure that the reasons for creating these blogs was to establish a support network, to share experiences and to discuss their childrens ASD with those going through similar experiences. These are, of course very laudible aims by genuine people facing huge challenges. But these blogs are often a source of misinformation, encourage fallacious thinking and censor comments which may give parents a more critical view of dubious interventions which provide false hope. I recently came across a series of interesting exchanges on this blog which I think are worth sharing. Apart from the staggeringly bizarre advice given to the poster – which includes the blog author’s Homeopath Sima Ash suggesting treatment using isotonic minerals obtained from a UK Vet – it provides a fascinating insight into how CEASE Therapists practice in private. Anna’s first post about CEASE says

“My daughter Scarlett has been doing the CEASE therapy since August 2011 when she was 3 years old. We stopped in March 2012 due to a backfire with the treatment. We started to detox and DTAP she had her first 10M in February. She had a dreadful aggravation and regression to it and the regression never stopped from that day.”

‘DTaP’ refers to a common CEASE protocol involving ‘clearing’ using a high potency DTaP isopathic remedy. This is made from the DTaP Vaccine itself diluted according to homeopathic principles, based on the flawed premise that the vaccine was a causative factor in the childs ASD. Anna was concerned enough about the ‘aggrevations’ she observed to stop CEASE Therapy altogether, despite I presume believing that homeopathic remedies are inherently safe.

“Now 10 months later Scarlett is worse than ever. She screams and hums and rocks on the floor all day. She has no language and no interest in the world.”

Now I am not being critical of Anna, but I don’t think for one minute that CEASE harmed Scarlett in any way. I believe she is mistaken. At the potency mentioned, 10M, there were no active ingredients of DTaP in the remedies she was given and so any perceived ‘regression’ was likely the natural course of her development (or due to some unknown other factor). But because CEASE encourages parents to attribute cause and effect to factors they believe caused ASD, and to make subjective assessments of the effectiveness of treatment over short time periods based on observation it is unsurprising that sometimes incorrect negative associations of cause and effect can also be made. In this case, Anna concluded that the rapid regression was directly linked to beginning CEASE

“She had moderate autism before the CEASE therapy now she has severe autism. I would give anything to have her back the way she was before the treatment. I do not know what to do. My CEASE therapist has tried everything to stop it including 20 different constitutional remedies. Nothing has worked. Have you ever heard of this happening and what are your thoughts on this?”

Whether right or wrong, Anna clearly believes that CEASE has had a negative effect on her daughter, despite the desperate attempts of the homeopath to buy time until a perceived positive improvement occurs and then take the credit for it identify a ‘constitutional remedy’ for Scarlett which would help. At this point, some people would question whether the therapy recommended by an “extensively trained” CEASE practitioner was working at all, but the blog author a self styled ‘warrior mom’ attempts to weasel a way out for the Homeopath by asking

“Did your homeopath ever try dilutions of the potency causing the aggravations?”

which prompted this unequivical response from Anna

“We tried the diluted method several times which only made the situation worse. My homeopath, Ursula is the most experience CEASE therapist in the UK and she is baffled by Scarlett’s case. She has been asking for advice worldwide but come up with nothing.

By a process of deduction, the Homeopath in question is Ursula Kraus-Harper. She is a Member of the Society of Homeopaths, makes claims on her website which breach the SOH Code of Ethics and Practice, and has some interesting views on vaccine safety. She also makes this fallacy mangled claim about CEASE Therapy

“Clinical experience has shown that it works in almost all cases, except when there is brain damage. Note that no conventional randomised, controlled trials (RCTs) have been carried out to support this statement (in the same way as such RCTs have not been carried out for most of the treatment you get on the NHS).”

So it works as well as something else without a good quality evidence base?! High praise indeed. Despite the lack of results Anna confirms to another CEASE Therapist on the blog that she is continuing to consult with the baffled Ursula

“Many thanks for your advice Sima, I will get Scarlett started with this as soon as I can. I am meeting with Ursula on Sunday so I will pass on your email address if that’s OK and maybe she can contact you regarding some more advice.

whilst also mentioning another anecdotal case (presumably from Ursula herself tut tut)

“I know she has taken on another Child who regressed and developed seizures with CEASE from another CEASE therapist in Holland. If another child can be helped from this it would be great.

So what have we learnt from this exchange about CEASE and Homeopathy? CEASE encourages parents to use short term subjective measures of success based on personal observation which are inherently unreliable and subject to unconcious bias. Parents who believe and commit to the CEASE approach however may still continue treatment and be convinced of its value even in the face of perceived negative results and anecdotes of the potential for harm. While there are unimpressive anecdotal cases of CEASE being ‘successful’ which are touted by proponents as good evidence, there are also anecdotal cases of it causing direct harm such as those above. Those who wrongly give weight to anecdotes over proper high quality evidence and promote and practice CEASE therapy are seemingly happy to dismiss or ignore these negative anecdotes. Yet again, when faced with a lack of success and having exhausted all know approaches an experienced homeopath and SOH member unashamedly continues to believe in magic pills, a stubbornness in the face of stark reality which does no good for the children and parents they claim to be helping. Ursula may be baffled that a flawed approach such as CEASE which uses pseudoscientific and inert treatments failed to produce tangible results, but I am not. Are you?

Update 05/05/2014

It seems that Ursula Kraus-Harper isn’t very happy with my criticism of her. She has recently updated her blog with the following:-

(Apparently someone called Slippydidoo or so posted a blog about me on the internet, which claims that I doubt homeopathy or the Cease therapy. I am doubtful about many things, especially of people who do not disclose their names when attacking other people. But I certainly do not doubt the effectiveness of homeopathy and of the Cease therapy. Quite the contrary!)

I thought the only reasonable thing would be to send her a polite email explaining my position.

Hi Ursula

I note from your website that you claim I have got some facts wrong in my blog post about you (from June 2013).

Well it seems you have got one major one wrong yourself in your response.

Let us be clear – I have never suggested or claimed that you ‘doubt’ the CEASE or Homeopathy which you practice this is a misunderstanding on your part. Your commitment to inert confectionary as medicine is obvious.

What I actually did was comment on a posters account of treatment which said that CEASE practitioner ‘Ursula’ was ‘baffled’ and CEASE Therapy had failed to successfully treat her child.

You may well have no doubts about CEASE but that’s irrelevant – ‘Anna’ certainly had doubts – and it was an intervention which brought no benefit to her daughter.

That’s the important point isn’t it? One you fail to address.

Regards
Slippydidoo or so

 

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18 thoughts on “Homeopath Ursula Kraus-Harper is ‘baffled’ by the failure of CEASE Therapy

  1. I find it almost impossible to respond because I’ve worked with kids with ASD. The ugliest thing about CEASE therapy and those that practice it is not the nature of the therapy but the judgement that comes with it. And encouraging something other than acceptance in parents. ASD is not something that you fight against but more that you try to work with and around.

    1. An excellent point, even seemingly harmless interventions can be an acknowledgement that parents subscribe to the belief that ASD is something that can be ‘cleared’ ‘detoxed’ or ‘purged’ from their child to make them ‘normal’. It is this wrongly held belief that has led some parents to also undertaken biomedical treatments on children with ASD which amount to child abuse (MMS, chelation).

  2. Hey you two above, you seem self righteous. Parents love their kiddos with asd or not. Parents who try to help their childrens health,guts and mere survival in a cruel world are the ones who care more than letting them go on with no intervention. If one can be detoxed gently with homopathy it does not mean that we dont accept o rlove them for exactly how they are, isnt itany parents job to get their child to the finish line? Go to hell you pompous asses.

    1. Susan, thanks for you comment which I will answer without resorting to personal attacks or abuse.

      I’m afraid there is plenty of evidence that some parents of children with ASD find acceptance impossible – you only need to look at the horrendous biomedical interventions they are willing to impose upon their children to see this is true (I noted two awful examples).

      No-one is saying you should not try to help your child and many parents are extraordinary in ensuring that their child has the best quality of life possible. This is not to be confused with what CEASE promises. Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression. Complete. It claims to CURE.

      While homeopathy may not be directly harmful I would ask you the following questions:

      Is it a good idea to establish ‘cure’ as the desirable end point for a child with ASD? Current evidence suggest ASD is part of the person their whole life. Should they be judged against what is unachievable, or celebrated for maximising their own potential?

      Is using an intervention which has no evidence of efficacy for any condition in the best interests of the child? This offers false hope costs parents money and confuses.

      Is encouraging parents to look for short term changes in behaviour/development a sensible way to judge efficacy of any treatment? This narrative cannot be objective like a proper clinical trial and can never offer a meaningful cause and effect, this is especially problematic when using multiple interventions.

      Is it a good idea for parents to encourages dependence on a practitioner who has no proper medical training and bases treatment on a pseudo-scientific belief system? Once magic woo-woo pills are accepted as beneficial and mainstream help side-lined, what next – MMS, chelation?

      Your suggestion that homeopathy offers a way of detoxing gently is baseless – and not supported by any evidence I am aware of – but if you have good evidence (not anecdotal or simple claims made by a person selling CEASE) I would be happy to re-appraise my position.

      1. You are wrong on so many levels that i can’t even decide where to begin. Here your one notion that shocked me the most.

        “Is it a good idea for parents to encourages dependence on a practitioner who has no proper medical training and bases treatment on a pseudo-scientific belief system? Once magic woo-woo pills are accepted as beneficial and mainstream help side-lined, what next – MMS, chelation?”

        Well you are right about one thing that you wrote in following para:

        “Your suggestion that homeopathy offers a way of detoxing gently is baseless – and not supported by any evidence I am aware of ”

        You are not aware.

        Here are few links for your research before you write more about what you are not aware:

        [EDIT: LINKS TO HOMEOPATHY AND CEASE WEBSITES REMOVED]

        Cease therapist get proper training and those magic woo-woo pills are sold because there are homeopathic institutes, colleges and clinics. Its all legal. if they were woo -woo pills they wouldn’t have got the authority to have institutes or to practice in this field.

        Secondly, We all are too dependent on allopathy to give homeopathy a chance. We all want one quick fix surgery or pills and want us to get normal. well it doesn’t work that way with homeopathy maybe thats why its so hard for people to adapt to this science. no one has patience anymore and want just quick fix, even if that quick fix is creating other diseases. Yes allopathy suppresses. They treat don’t cure.

        What treatment do they offer for cancer? Chemo, why don’t you judge that? where only few are saved and many lose the battle. At least for ASD and homeopathy the numbers are other way around.

        1. Its not clear what you are shocked about, or why: the notion that homeopaths are untrained users of a pseudoscientific belief system, or the idea that some parents chelate their children and feed them bleach under the banner of ‘treatment’?

          Thanks for the links, having gone through these I am not finding clinical trials, RCTs or similar. There are plenty of ‘case studies’ though, which as I am sure you are aware are evidence of the weakest kind which is most subject to bias.

          Also I would suggest that rather than looking whether CEASE or homeopathic practitioners – who have a major financial conflict on this issue – claim it works it would be prudent to look for independent evidence. Is there any?

          CEASE Therapist may get what you refer to as ‘proper training’ but if the ideas and approaches which underpin that training are pseudoscientific nonsense then proper training is itself, useless. Would you not agree?

          I think you are mistaking something being legal with efficacy. You are aware of course that regulation of remedies in the UK by the MHRA means they don’t have to show they work to be sold? Anyone can start an institute, one of the great benefits of living in a democracy with free speech, again this says nothing about the effectiveness homeopathy.

          So ‘allopathy’ offers a quick fix, but a supposedly side effect free sugar pill with magic powers isn’t?

          Funny you should bring up cancer because only yesterday a close relative was told that her operation to remove HER2 +VE cells was a success. Had she gone to a homeopath no doubt she could have looked forward to that spreading through her lymph nodes leading to a premature death.

          What are the numbers on ASD?

      2. Few more facts for you:
        Homoeopathy is the World’s 2nd largest system of medicine – WHO (World Health Organization)

        The World homoeopathy market is Rupees 26,000 crore
        Approximately 40 crore people use homoeopathy

        There are approximately 8 lakh homoeopathic practitioners

        Homoeopathy is known to be safe and effective with zero side effects

        Homoeopathy treats ailments from the roots, not just its symptoms

        1. 1. The number of users does not = efficacy. Humans are susceptible to a number of biases which make us singularly good at finding effects when there aren’t any. This is why trials > number of users to determine efficacy.
          2. The size of the market does not = efficacy.
          3. So what?
          4. Its generally safe, unless someone takes homeopathy instead of an effective treatment for a serious condition (see Penelope Dingle)
          5. Meaningless babble.

  3. I can relate to this exchange. If you want your child to recover or even just improve from autism symptoms, then you are delusional and/or not accepting and loving of your child. Parents are not generally considered unloving because they want their kids to strive for A’s instead of C or D grades; a C is “average,” so why expect more?

    Multiply that resignation by a thousand and you get the years of institutionalization that might have been avoided if some therapy, any therapy, had helped. Parents who are resigned to their child’s condition (whatever it becomes, since ASD symptoms do not necessarily stay the same) or just hope that “it will work itself out” without intervention might live happier, more relaxing lives than those who are up all night on the internet looking for real support. But that’s a choice for the parent’s benefit, not for their child’s.

    What time is it, anyway?

  4. @Slipp Digby I think your dataset for judging Homeopathy and Cease therapist is very small. Atleast Homeopaths are doing something and are able to treat few (might not many) ASD patients. What does other treatments have to offer? Allopathy?

    And as for the parents, I say thank god they are trying Homeopathy. They have open mind and are not ignorant enough to just assume that it doesn’t work. Its shocking to me that you all are criticizing the parents for trying to find the treatment their kids need.

    Rather than arguing about it maybe we should try and see the potential homeopathy has and hope that maybe someday more is invested in it so that a better treatment can be found.

    I know what i am talking about because my sister is autistic and thanks to homeopathy she is doing better. Our only regret is we didn’t turn to it sooner.

    ps: Ursula you keep on doing the amazing work you are doing. Thank you!

    1. I’m pointing our an uncomfortable truth – that homeopath cannot treat ASD. If by doing something you mean ’emptying the pockets of parent who already face massive challenges’ then yes, they are doing something.

      Being open minded is good, but ignoring years of clinical trails which show it is nothing more than a theatrical placebo isn’t.

      Parents who refuse to accept their children for who they are, leave themselves open to criticism. Funnily enough I write a blog to share my opinions.

      I think it would be great if more were invested. Boiron the homeopathy pill maker could up their pathetic R&D budget from 2% of turnover maybe? But I suspect they don’t because more poor quality trials doesn’t really help anyone. Or maybe they are too preoccupied with getting sued in class actions for fraud?

      I am glad your sister is doing better. Autism is hugely complicated and it effects development in unique ways, but it has nothing to do with homeopathy or the narrative you attach to it.

  5. My son has been treated by a cease homeopath and is now talking and curious about the world he inhabits. Homeopath does and can cure autism.

    1. I’d be curious to know how you can be sure that “talking” and being “curious about the world” were not part of your sons natural development at this stage?

  6. All children who are diagnosed with autism seek a cease therapist. It has changed our lives and I am eternally greatful and if it doesn’t help your child then good luck with finding a solution, it’s sad that something so powerful like cease therapy is helping children find peace and you are placing cease therapists in a one general label. I could argue with you and put my case across but I have a life to live with our beautiful children parents please find a qualified registered cease therapist go on Jenny McCarthy website unlike this site she is trying to offer solutions and answers, I would never place such a bold statement if we hadn’t gone through this journey with our son, long live cease therapy

  7. I wonder if there would be this much opposition if vaccines were not implicated.Could you give your name and any connections you have to pharmaceuticals.

    1. Christine, there is no need to wonder. I would object to any treatment with so little evidence of efficacy, regardless of any vaccine ‘implication’.

      I have no connections to the pharmaceutical industry and your attempt to smear me is simple ad hominem. Please try and engage with the arguments presented using logic, reason and evidence.

  8. Only just stumbled upon your blog (hence the comment 2 years since the last one was posted).
    Your replies to the commentors here are a beacon of calm, reason and logic in the face of vitriol and displaced anger. I take my hat off to you.

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