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DH announces quack job search

(91 Posts)
MurielPuce Thu 02-May-13 07:05:09

Help me, mumsnetters... So, we're having a tough time financially; like everyone else, the bum economy has hit us hard. Both DH and I do freelance consulting, and this year has been so tough! The overwhelming bulk of the income for the past 5 years (easily 2/3rds) has been mine, and because we've both taken fewer jobs to work around the kids, we've had basically no money coming in since December.

Yesterday, while opening another huge mortgage bill, which I will pay, I say, "So what are your plans for work this year?" And he goes, "I'm thinking about taking a course in kinesiology.... maybe get some clients."


First of all, let me say that DH is a genius. Without exaggeration he is unbelievably smart. He can do the Guardian cryptic crossword in an hour. He outperforms winning University Challenge teams, he speaks fluent French & is teaching the kids, he is a statistics nut who actually understands how the stock market works. When I met him he was doing an economics degree. He's incredibly clever, a good dad, and a nice guy.

"Applied Kinesiology", as far as I can make out, is a kind of alternative therapy where you wave crystals over the body correspondent to different organ functions and that connects to muscle functions. For example, if your foot hurts, a therapist waves a crystal near your liver, and presto, your foot is fixed. I think. I'm not sure how it works, or that it does work; the first 10 searches for "kinesiology" on the web return results that say "quackery". DH had a session last year that he felt helped him, and has had like 5 other sessions since, and now wants to go into it as a career.

I can't support this! I mean, financially, I DON"T MAKE ENOUGH MONEY to be the sole breadwinner while he gets set up, even when he is up and running his income prospects are v-e-r-y l-o-w, and I absolutely cannot get behind a job that I am embarrassed to describe to others. Secondly, I love him, but his people skills are TERRIBLE. He is definitely a back-office type of personality. How can he build a career, support 2 kids when the whole job of a therapist relies upon being good with people? If he would have said "teacher training" or "law school" or even "medical school" I would have been 100% behind him, but I am not okay with this!

Am I being unreasonable? Someone, give me advice please. I am too embarrassed to talk to friends or family about it, and every time I look at him, I feel like I could strangle him, so I am absolutely not in a place to talk to him rationally right now.

pandaptogether Thu 02-May-13 11:44:11

I knew someone that did holisitic healing for horses including kineseolgy, they made a lot of money from it but it takes a long time to get the client base.

Agree that accountancy might be a good option.

ChasingStaplers Thu 02-May-13 11:47:18

Have you looked kinesiology up?

Apparently Canada is one of the only countries that recognises it as a professional designation. He speaks fluent French too and is teaching the DC?
Perhaps he's planning a move to Canada?! grin

MurielPuce Thu 02-May-13 12:09:18

Hi, OP here... so, the career-change situation is that for the past 10 years we've both done project-based team work on contract for big consulting firms (all over the world, we're quite good at it), but with the bad economy literally all our former clients are finding ways to do more with less, ergo hiring fewer contractors. For both of us, there's just less work out there, period (it kind of suddenly dropped off), and that's why our incomes have dwindled in the last year. We still get the odd job, but nowhere near the level we were at before kids (topic for another thread). We are keeping our heads above water, but barely.

So, DH (and I, as it happens) are both casting around for new work situations (for a lot of reasons we're both looking to change directions from the work we were doing--parenthood is a huge part of that), and while I'm networking & sending out CVs etc., he's fixated on learning to practice an alternative therapy (he wants to study 'applied kinesiology'; it's kinesthesiology that's actual medical training). He does believe in it, but I am insanely skeptical. Whether it works or not (I have an opinion but I don't know for sure; would love to hear others' experiences) isn't as much of an issue for me as the fact that the one thing he'd need to be really good at (working closely with people in an intimate setting; selling a therapy that could be seen as snake oil) to be successful isn't his forté.

I would support him (financially, emotionally) if he wanted to study something that would more obviously lead to a more secure job in the future, but because I don't know enough about the business side of an alternative therapy, (especially one that to me seems a bit, um, flaky) I just can't make myself get behind it. I know I sound like a crazy 1950's Stepford Wife too because when we got married it seemed like he was cruising toward a bright future in finance, and now 10 years down the line he's talking crystals and vials and vibrations. I honestly feel blindsided by this. Who is he?!?!?

I feel like I can't talk to him right now because I have to get my head together; I'm in panic mode and immediately claw at "possible solutions" (sell the house! move back in with mum and dad! sell my plasma!), and that's not helpful. This just happened yesterday. He knows I'm POd because we had a big fight when he brought it up; since then I literally can't look at him without wanting to punch him in the face.

@ConfusedPixie, your homeopathist who does AK... is that all she does, or does she practice other stuff too? DH's AK therapist charges £50/hour, but I think his main gig is doing physiotherapy at a gym somewhere. Really, honestly would love to hear others' experiences about AK/being married to an alternative therapist.

aldiwhore Thu 02-May-13 12:14:27

From a business point of view, will he make money?

Strangely, in the recession, these things can actually thrive. People may not be able to make big purchases, but they do look for cheap fixes. Same happened in the WWII, people had very little, were 'poor' but women still had their hair set.

Alternative health, and beauty in general are doing not so bad in this current climate. An aquiantence's nail salon is booming, my hippy friend's 'woo' clinic is doing brilliantly.

Work back from potential profit, and then if you still think it's quakery, at least you will see perhaps that it could be a good business FOR NOW.

YANBU to feel utterly perplexed.

Mondrian Thu 02-May-13 12:24:57

Perhaps it's better to start a new thread with "applied kinesiology" in the title and make your posting a bit more specific about AK & its current and future prospects.

TheseGoToEleven Thu 02-May-13 12:36:02

I am in Canada and kinesiology was a Uni course when I was there, as far as I understood it was the science of human movement. Never heard of applied kinesiology but I would have thought that was physiotherapy! Ha, learn something every day.

mistlethrush Thu 02-May-13 12:48:10

Muriel - it seems to me that, at the present time, your family finances are not such that you can afford for him to do a training course in something that will not guarantee a decent return pretty quickly. Could you try to put your 'woo' prejudice (quite reasonable in my mind, but set that aside) to one side and try to calmly get the business / finance side of things over to him? How long would it take him to train - how much money - and how would the business run, he clearly would not be able to charge £50 per hour when he was starting out so how long would it take to even cover the training costs - what about advertising, would he be willing to get out there and sell himself etc - I would hope that if you looked at the nuts and bolts they would not add up and you can leave the woo side of things completely out of the picture.

LessMissAbs Thu 02-May-13 12:48:48

When I met him he was doing an economics degree

Did he finish that degree?

What does he consult in?

Theres lots of people who can speak foreign languages and do crosswords, but unless its a marketable skill and makes money, its not much use.

I should imagine demand for kinesiology is limited - I know theres no demand for it here, amongst all the other therapies available, and one area might support only one such therapist, if any. Does he have any kind of medical or caring background, or a lot of charisma?

If he understands how financial markets work, why isn't he doing something related to that?

ICBINEG Thu 02-May-13 13:17:40

You know that someone just got locked up for selling woo bomb detectors?

This applied kinesiology might be significantly less likely to actually kill anyone (although not impossible if they avoid real treatment because of it) but it is still fraud. Sooner or later our justice system will catch up to this idea, and start locking up people who lie about the efficacy of their therapies.

It seems a waste to pay money to learn how to do fraud when your DH can probably work it out himself...but basically I wouldn't got isn't illegal yet...but it will be.

seeker Thu 02-May-13 13:27:55

I suppose it depends whether you are prepared to be part of defrauding the gullible public.

Spuderoonerism Thu 02-May-13 13:55:57

Could he live with a death on his conscience?

It's not just woo, it's dangerous, immoral woo which preys on vulnerable people promising diagnoses and cures that can have a serious impact on their health even if they don't actually kill you.

seeker Thu 02-May-13 14:03:37

And I don't care who comes on and says "how very dare you- I had a nasty case of bloating, a slightly sore back and a vague feeing of ennui- the doctors could do nothing for me. My kinesiologist sorted it out in only 25 sessions at 30 quid a session"

cumfy Thu 02-May-13 15:23:53

So what happened to the Economics degree ?

And with his knowledge of markets, why did he not predict and circumnavigate this current market glitch in your sector ?

The number of people who are genuinely as clever as you make DH out to be is miniscule.

The number of people who think they are genuinely as clever as you make DH out to be is quite large.

Given your DH wishes to study kinesiology, have you ever considered reviewing into which of these two groups DH really fits ?

TigerseyeMum Thu 02-May-13 15:52:08

I think there is something else going on here aside from the woo stuff.

I'm trained in psychotherapy and often patients I see who are in a life change or crisis can do very well in treatment and subsequently announce they want to 'be a counsellor' like me. It's a recognised phenomenon.

He's feeling insecure in life right now potentially due to upheaval and disillusionment with job choices do far, and the woo stuff connected with him and made him feel better, and possibly gave him time to think. Ergo he now wants to be a woo practitioner.

Seems like he needs to set aside the woo stuff and address the root of his insecurity. Because until he does that he won't be settled, and there's no point embarking on costly training then finding that that's not what he really wanted after all.

The woo stuff is just the iceberg tip, the real stuff is going on under the surface.

IsItMeOr Thu 02-May-13 17:50:33

No, AK is definitely woo. That doesn't mean that people don't find it helpful - placebo effect is real and apparently getting stronger. I personally also think that it helps people having somebody caring and kindly listen to their problems and take them seriously.

This is certainly not an easy fix though, is it?

Can you afford for him to see a reputable psychotherapist, who might be able to help him find his way through this personal crisis?

Sorry that finances are so hard for you at the mo. You're not alone in that, sadly. Hope it improves for you soon.

TigerseyeMum Thu 02-May-13 18:20:31

Psychotherapy is free on the NHS though waiting times and duration vary. It might be worth suggesting he talk such a radical change through.

MurielPuce Thu 02-May-13 19:31:37

@TigerseyeMum Thanks, that's really helpful. I absolutely see the "I was helped, now I want to help others" going on with him, and I think for both of us, the stress of having come to the end of our previous jobs' natural lifecycle (not to get into specifics for all those who asked, but it was high-pressure, high-excitement, involved a lot of traveling, long nights, unpredictable hours, and not at all ideal for parents). I think he's just reaching out for any kind of lifeboat.

Because a couple of people asked, he finished the Econ degree with honours, and soon after we both got caught up doing the contract-based consulting work we were doing in the heady days of the dotcom boom (that's where we met); but as we know, times change! Also, what we were doing is/was a young person's game and absolutely not suitable for late-thirty-somethings with young kids at home. Used to be we'd get a call sending us to Abu Dhabi tomorrow, and we'd be able to hop on a plane.... not with a 4-yo DD and 18-month DS at home now. We both anticipated this would happen, but for the last five years the work has still been steadily trickling in; although the trickle has definitely dried up now to a drip and a drop. It's not like it caught either one of us by surprise; because when it was good it was GOOD we stayed a bit too long at the party. While I'm now trying to transition into something else in a similar field more compatible with parenthood, facing a change that has been forced upon him my DH is searching for meaning in woo. And that's what bugs me most-- with all of his (actual) intelligence, why is he putting his faith in such utter nonsense? It can only be the phenomenon that TigerseyeMum described.

Anyhow, all of this has been enormously helpful, thanks for helping me vent. I've never explored psychotherapy on the NHS but that's a good suggestion... do you start with your GP?

TigerseyeMum Thu 02-May-13 20:02:06

Yes you speak to your gp who can refer you to Iapt. The NHS offers short term therapy but this can be hugely helpful. Depending on area you can expect either CBT, IPT or counselling.

If he doesn't meet the threshold for treatment (ie doesn't meet criteria for depression or anxiety) you can usually find free or low cost counselling locally.

If you decide on private look for someone accredited with (usually) babcp, bacp, ukcp or ukrc, or ipta.

LessMissAbs Thu 02-May-13 20:22:31

You sound in awe of his great intelligence OP. I take it he got a first? Perhaps you both need to be more practical and also consider what he is bringing in financially to your family? Surely with his great intelligence and economics degree, he will be able to get a reasonably well paid job and no need to become a therapist?

FarBetterNow Thu 02-May-13 20:54:11

Muriel: Why don't you go and have a kinesiology treatment and then try a crystal treatment or see a herbalist.
You may be very surprised.
Kinesiology works brilliantly to find food sensitivities and allergies.

If his people skills are so bad, then teacher training, law school or medical training will be pointless too.

I would rather have a husband who did than one who worked in the City in derivitive trading. I find that a lot wierder than crystals.

If your mortgage is massive, how about downsizing to take the pressure off?

FarBetterNow Thu 02-May-13 20:56:53

I do find the suggestion that he has a mental health problem because he wants to be a complimentary therapist.

seeker Thu 02-May-13 23:44:53

"Kinesiology works brilliantly to find food sensitivities and allergies."

No it doesn't.

ConfusedPixie Fri 03-May-13 08:45:39

Mine hasn't got another job, only homeopathy and ak. Works in a few different places though.

I'm really sceptical about ak, but must admit I was really surprised when she used it on me at how it actually worked. the way she did it with me, neither of us knew which vial I had in my hand and she 'tested' at least twenty things to which I reacted/didn't react to appropriately, so I'm not sure if/how the placebo affect works in that case! I'm still rather thrown by it actually confused just going with the flow now as it can't do any harm as long as you're sensible about it and don't forgo modern medicine in favour of it!

IsItMeOr Fri 03-May-13 08:51:07

Seeker grin

ConfusedPixie well, your description makes me wonder who prepared the vials in the first place.

Have you read Bad Science by Ben Goldacre? He gives a very good explanation of how you would need to test these kinds of therapies objectively.

Also, if you're talking about food sensitivies or allergies that wouldn't be detected by medical tests, then they probably don't exist. So, you're wondering why you see an improvement, yes? Well, first thing is that you were probably going to feel better in a bit if you did nothing at all. Second is that, if you change something in your diet thinking that it will help then you have triggered the placebo effect.

ConfusedPixie Fri 03-May-13 09:06:11

The only thing in my diet that has changed is eating gluten, and I did that long before seeing this woman. I haven't done anything based on the ak, I was just very surprised by it and shared my observation.

I am still sceptical about it, but I'm willing to give some things a try even if they don't make any sense. I use her for the homeopathy after being talked into trying it but she asked if I wanted to try ak so I did. I'm not interested in discussing it's quack status tbh as I know that scientifically it shouldn't work and I'm still trying to work out how I feel about it!

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