A mom in the UK wrote this in 2011:
A few years ago I had a telephone consultation with Naomi. $100 dollars later I was given the advice that she could help me parent better by having weekly $100 sessions! [I would need to check with my husband - it may have been £100 back then. Thats pounds so dollars would be more. I dont honestly remember but it was an hour we paid for.]
Someone who had an online collection of quotes (one still accidentally had the PhD in it in 2012) wrote:
We took them all down a few years ago when the PhD situation arose, not so much because the degree was "fake" but because I could no longer endorse Naomi personally due to the way she interacted with me about it.
An editor from The Mother (UK) in which Aldort was previously published makes a statement about the credential disclaim: http://themothermagazine.blogspot.com/2011/07/feet-of-clay.html "She has used a fake Ph.D. to enhance her credentials, thereby enabling her to charge hundreds of dollars for her counselling work. It also means that for Americans they can claim their consultations off their insurance. There's only one word for that: fraud. She has lied a number of times about this so-called degree (including on live TV), and as a result has left a lot of wounded and betrayed families in her wake." [Veronika Sophia Robinson]
THURSDAY, 7 JULY 2011 Feet of Clay
http://www.sevenlockspublishing.com/ Even in February 2011 has the bio: [naomiPhD image]
http://web.archive.org/web/20080724232544/http://www.aldort.com/family-retreat.html WayBack machine's evidence of her having charged families from $5,000 to $9,000 to stay in her guest house for a few days with therapy sessions. (current page)
"I don't think that many HHM would go to the extent that Naomi Aldort went to to bring up her children, or have the support that she had. She has not had to work while brining up the children, and has also stated that she got her husband to do most of the cooking and cleaning too so she could focus on the children. It sounds like her husband is a bit downtrodden, in one of her newsletters she talked about how she gets him to pee sitting down so he doesn't make any messes."
"i was reading on someone's blog that she's been using the PhD credential since before 2003 when she said she received it? i don't actually know if this is true, but wouldn't be surprised."
both from http://community.babycentre.co.uk/post/a14367075/naomi_aldort_-_fraud_and_cio
Web archive March 12, 2005 did not list PhD on the bio page
November 4, 2006 does list it:
Monday, July 11, 2011
Pay No Attention to the Man Behind That Curtain: The Questionable "Expertise" of Naomi Aldort, Part One
Every parent has wondered at one time or another why kids don't come with clear instructions: How do these little beings work? what can I do to make sure they do well in life? and how can I get from lunch to bedtime without losing my everlovin’ mind? Throughout the ages, experts have emerged to provide advice to eager parents. Parenting is tough work, and our appetite for “professional” advice, designed to help us navigate through the new world we enter when we become parents, has seemingly only grown since the days of Dr. Spock--the famous American pediatrician whose Baby and Child Care (1946) is one of the best-selling books of all time.
One among today’s generation of parenting experts is a Washington State woman named Naomi Aldort. You may recognize her name from the pages of Mothering Magazine, where her writing has been featured; or from the very popular mothering.com website, where she held a post as a resident expert in child rearing, answering questions from readers in an “Ask the Experts” forum on the site. You might have attended a talk given by her at a La Leche League conference, or purchased one of her CD lecture sets. You might even have scheduled a personal phone counselling session with her, and billed your insurance company accordingly. Or, perhaps most likely, you may know of her 2006 book, Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves: Transforming parent-child relationships from reaction and struggle to freedom, power and joy.
Over the past half-dozen years, as her popularity and influence in the parenting world has grown with the publication of her book, Aldort has presented herself as the recipient of a doctorate in psychology--that is, an acknowledged expert in child development and parenting. With the title “Ph.D.” appended to her name, Aldort has dispensed advice to parents through her writings, public speaking engagements and through private sessions directly with individual parents. She has also used the title “psychologist.” In the United States, only someone who holds a valid license to practice as a psychologist, in addition to a doctorate in psychology, may use this title (with a few specific exemptions, such as school psychologists). (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychologist#cite_note-6)
Aldort’s advice veers far from the mainstream; she has gained considerable attention and traction in the natural or alternative parenting world with her unconventional approaches to resolving parenting issues. Parents may have been comforted by the notion that, while her ideas might seem radical and her approach far from contemporary North American parenting norms, that advice and perspective was developed and assessed through the rigorous process of obtaining a doctorate, and that her capacity to offer advice to others had likewise been tested and validated through the professional psychologist licensing qualification. For a sleep-deprived new mom or a parent of an older child wondering how best to steer through a parenting challenge, the three little letters after Aldort’s name, together with the “psychologist” title, may well have functioned as a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” on the advice she dispensed.
And what are some of Aldort’s unconventional parenting ideas? In one startling example, she has suggested that young children experience the process of falling asleep as “like death” and consequently they should never--not ever--be left to fall asleep on their own or even left alone once fully asleep. Instead, “bedtimes” are to be eschewed while the entire nuclear family falls asleep at their own pace, in the same setting, with no solitude permitted for any member and with baby in constant, full-body contact with mother lest they experience a “terror” so overwhelming there are no words available to describe it. (Source: http://www.naomialdort.com/articles10.html)
In another instance, a mother asks Aldort for advice regarding a child who “If anyone says anything to her, our friends, complete strangers, whoever, she will tell them ‘Go away’ or ‘you’re stupid’ … Sometimes she will even randomly hit people as well.” Aldort advises the mother:
A child has no way of being “rude.” The word “rude” is your interpretation of her actions or words. A child is too self-centered to bother with doing anything to another. She is busy doing things for her own sake only...If you tell your daughter that her words can hurt people’s feelings, you are teaching her to get hurt by people’s words. This sets her up to being emotionally weak and dependent on what others’ say...How exciting it is that your child stands up for herself...How I wish we could all retain this level of honesty and were not trained to feel hurt by words...don’t teach her that words can hurt. They cannot.
In other words, if your child is hurting people and calling them names, don’t correct that behavior--or you are training your child to be a victim.
A poster on the Mothering.com forums shares another tidbit of unconventional advice gleaned from one of Aldort’s phone sessions:
have you read or heard of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort? We did a couple of phone consultations with her recently (as some may know we have a bit of a challenge with our oldest boy, 10) and she said that part of his issue was having all the younger siblings and how it has taken away from him. She said it is like bringing home another lover to your bed and telling your husband he should be so happy about it! I don't know- but she said ideally you would never have siblings closer together than 7 yearsOne would hope that someone making such outrageous and shocking suggestions as this--that even a grade school-aged child cannot be left alone to sleep because children experience sleep as “like death,” that teaching a child manners and consideration for others will result in them becoming weak and victimized, and that having a second child is akin to having an extramarital affair--would have the weight of compelling research and training to back up her assertions. Aldort claimed to be a psychologist with the associated training in clinical skills and research that comes with a Ph.D. in that field. But what if the academic weight of the Ph.D. and the heft of the professional psychologist license were nothing but an illusion in the case of Naomi Aldort?
What if Aldort hadn’t earned a doctorate and was not, in fact, a licensed psychologist, but instead traces her intellectual development and approach to her “study” with controversial figures such as Werner Erhard (founder of the 1970s “EST” seminars, infamous for their profanity and abuse of participants), Richard Bandler (co-founder of the 1970s “Neuro-Linguistic Programming” therapy model, a “fringe” movement which has been widely discredited due to insufficient empirical evidence to support its claims and efficacy), and more contemporary figures including Eckhardt Tolle and Byron Katie--both authors and “spiritual leaders” with no particular academic or professional qualifications?
Would parents have still flocked to her advice, forums, seminars, books, videos and CDs? Would her teachings have gained the same following if the curtain of academic achievement and professional licensing was pulled back? Would she have been invited to serve in the “Ask the Experts” section of a popular parenting site if it was known that her “expertise” was anchored mainly in the murky, EST-y underbelly of the modern self-help and personal empowerment movements?
Monday, July 11, 2011
Pay No Attention to the Man Behind That Curtain: The Questionable "Expertise" of Naomi Aldort, Part Two
By Anon of Cleves
What lies behind the credentials of “Naomi Aldort, Ph.D. and psychologist” and the uncomfortable relationship in the natural parenting community with “experts” proffering “expert advice?”
First, let’s be clear about what Aldort has been saying about herself and her credentials. In this screen capture (early July 2011) you can see how Naomi Aldort was claiming on her own Facebook page to hold a Ph.D. and to be a psychologist specializing in parenting:
Indeed, Aldort is billed as "Naomi Aldort, Ph.D." in dozens of contexts on the web, in print, at conference appearances, and including in the pages of her own self-published book. It is either outright said or implied in those contexts that she is either a psychologist, a child psychology expert, or a family therapist/counselor.
However, according to records from the Washington State Department of Health, she does not now and has never had a license to practice as a psychologist in that state, where she has resided since at least the early 1990s. Aldort did, however, formerly hold a license as a "registered counselor." This license was good from August 1994 to June 2010 and has expired. (Source: https://fortress.wa.gov/doh/providercre ... dnt=579963) It is likely that Aldort has not renewed it because she cannot; many people who were licensed as "registered counselors" no longer qualify for any license under new state laws which require mental health counselors to have at least some college-level background in mental health related topics. (Source: http://www.doh.wa.gov/hsqa/professions/ ... efault.htm)
So if she is not a licensed psychologist, and she is no longer a "registered counselor," what is her background? And how does she justify charging $5,000 - $9,000 for "retreats" at her home during which she will provide advice about "parenting, marriage, relationship, food, health, education" and instruct you in "ways to be with your child/ren and in playing power games effectively"? She charges $350 per hour for "counseling", but what is the source of her alleged expertise in that field? (Source: http://www.naomialdort.com/family-retreat.html)
Web searches conducted in an effort to learn more about her background only add to the enigma. It was easily found through public records that she had held copyright on a classical music aerobics program, that she had been involved in some kind of legal proceedings involving forest trespassing, that her maiden name was Katzir, and that she had immigrated to the USA from Israel in the 1980s. It was also easy to find that two of her three sons were heavily promoted by Aldort as classical music "prodigies." But nowhere could anyone find details on where she had attended college or graduate school, or in what degree programs she had matriculated.
Naturally, given the extreme and controversial nature of Aldort's parenting advice, for some people this raised a lot of questions. Starting in earnest in the summer of 2011, and coincident with Aldort’s presence on the mothering.com “Ask the Experts” forum, attempts to get answers from Aldort through the expert forum on Mothering.com were met with either silence--or the typical invitation to contact her to set up a phone session at the usual rate of a couple hundred dollars.
Starting in early summer 2011, when Aldort did not respond to direct questions about her credentials in the Mothering.com forum, and when some of the posts questioning her credentials were locked and removed, several readers began to convene on the spin-off bulletin board Trolls with Wooden Spoons to share their suspicions and dig deeper.
One poster checked the Dissertation Abstracts International database and found no entries by Aldort, which heightened suspicions about her alleged educational credentials. In discussions on the site, Aldort had asked Mothering.com readers concerned about her credentials to email her directly. When this poster emailed Aldort to clarify, Aldort responded that she did not, in fact, have a degree in psychology but that all of her education was in music. Another poster received an email reply from Aldort that read, in part:
What I write here is copywritten. Please keep the content of this email between us...Forum readers immediately set to work verifying Aldort's claim about her writing having been included in a textbook. It was quickly established that Aldort’s work had merely been cited in passing and she was not a contributing author, as she had implied. (It's interesting to note that although Aldort claims to reject the mainstream practice of citing one's credentials, she did go on in that private correspondence at some length about the academic and professional accomplishments of her three sons.)
Further efforts to verify that Aldort had completed a doctoral program in music at Colorado failed to turn up any evidence of such degree, although it appears that she may have at least started a graduate music degree of some sort. Later on, Aldort backpedaled on even the music degree, saying that her graduate degree was incomplete.
So the truth was coming out: Aldort is not a licensed psychologist and does not have a graduate degree of any kind from an accredited institution. But this discovery, in turn, raised a number of even more pointed questions.
For instance, as of July 6, 2011, the Amazon product page for her book still read "Naomi Aldort, Ph.D. is a psychologist specializing in parenting." If Aldort is neither a psychologist nor a Ph.D. in music, how on earth did this come to be? Quite a number of websites list her as a guest columnist, cite her as an expert, or contain blurbs promoting her work--all bearing the title "Ph.D." or saying that she is a psychologist, or both!
Using Amazon.com's search inside feature, you can see how Aldort bills herself in the "About the Author" section of her self-published book:
It was becoming increasingly clear that Aldort must be driven by a profit motive and was willing to tell whichever story she thought would keep her in business. Although she has since gone back and deleted them, Aldort apparently was fond of leaving comments on the negative reviews of her books on Amazon, inviting the critic to partake of one of her $200 phone "counseling" sessions. One such retort (now deleted by Aldort) read:
"If you choose to take phone sessions with me (the author) I can show you much more effective and kind ways to be with your child. The book is not a panacea, but not in the way you see it."The comment was posted in spring 2010, but deleted on July 1, 2011, in the midst of the breaking scandal. (Source: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3W8DO73QCZ/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1887542329&nodeID=&tag=&linkCode=#wasThisHelpful)
At about the same time, a forum member from TWWS posted a negative review revealing that Aldort had misled buyers as to her credentials. The review was soon removed from Amazon, apparently at Aldort's request.
Wanting to get to the bottom of Aldort's Ph.D. claims, another forum member engaged her in email correspondence:
Jul 2, 2011, at 5:03 PM, Naomi Aldort wrote:And yet...“Thank you XXX. There is a whole ganging against me going on on the internet.Jul 2, 2011, at 7:32 PM, Naomi Aldort wrote:
Aldort has clearly been claiming to be a Ph.D. and psychologist in as many forums as possible, evidently to promote her work as broadly as possible. Who is it, exactly, that is dependent on external validation? Who is “too radical” for whom, here?
[Sandra Note: The original site had several images here, from facebook, a wikipedia edit page... their photos are here. I lifted two.]
She also claims an MA in music when it suits her purposes:
And beyond that, she's not above giving out medical advice:
A poster on mothering.com wrote:
Hello, I am new to site. My 8 month old son got a fever while we were camping now 5 days ago. It has been up to a little over 104 these last few nights...He just seems so uncomfortable and cranky even when his fever goes down during the day! His nose was a bit runny, barely anything and he does have mosquito bites from camping and ate some bits of sticks by accident (if that matters?....) since there are no other symptoms i think teething, but I cannot feel any. I did not experience any of this with my older child. thank you so much in advance if you can answer my questionNaomi replied,
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
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.