Today’s episode is sponsored by BetterHelp.
The self-help book industry alone is expected to grow from $10.5 billion annually to $15 billion by 2025. Of course, with that kinda dough floating around, a raging demand for personal growth has led to a plethora of tools aimed at achieving it. Unfortunately, there are people that seek to take advantage of this, leading to dangerous—or even deadly—consequences.
When Kirby Brown was only 38 years old, a man named James Arthur Ray pushed her to stick out an incredibly hot sweat lodge session in Sedona, Arizona. A self-proclaimed “guru,” Ray allegedly urged participants to disregard their physical discomfort, even ignoring their pleas for help. Tragically, Brown and two other individuals lost their lives during the hellish experience.
On today’s episode, we’re joined by two guests: Jean Brown, who is Kirby’s sister and the co-author of This Sweet Life: How we lived after Kirby died, a memoir she wrote with her mother about what happened to Kirby and its larger implications for the self-help industry. Joining her is Dr. Glenn Patrick Doyle, a psychologist who has teamed up with Jean and the SEEK SAFELY non-profit org and podcast. Founded by George and Ginny Brown, Kirby and Jean’s parents, SEEK SAFELY is aimed at passing legislation within the self-help industry to prevent abuse in the future.
NOTES: Dr. Glenn Patrick Doyle is a licensed psychologist who works with people struggling with complex trauma and dissociative disorders, including survivors of coercive control, cult abuse, medical trauma, clergy abuse, religious trauma, and childhood abuse and neglect.
Jean is a writer and work-from-home-mom to two young children. She has Bachelor's degrees in political science and writing from Loyola University Maryland, and a Master’s in Public Policy and Public Administration from Concordia University in Montreal. She is active in creating content for SEEK Safely Inc.’s website, social media, brand outreach, and legislative effort. Jean lived in Thailand and has traveled extensively, including treasured memories of traveling with her sister Kirby. She grew up in the US but has been in Canada since 2007.
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Executive Producers: Sarah Edmondson & Anthony Ames
Production Partner: Citizens of Sound
Producer: Will Retherford
Co-Creator: Jess Tardy
Senior Writer: Holly Zadra
Theme Song: “Cultivated” by Jon Bryant co-written with Nygel Asselin