Dirk Gently’s Holistic Lawyers are Coming

In a  week where my life seems to have taken on aspects of an absurdist comedy, my university and professional body received a letter of complaint from a self-described holistic lawyer, Geneviève Eliany of Buckley and Company complaining I was teaching against the UBC School of Nursing curriculum by teaching science, rather than practices that “cannot be easily quantified or scientifically supported.” It was unclear if this was a letter from the lawyer herself, or acting on behalf of a client (the BCTTNS).

Quite synchronously, this happened in the week a TV series of Douglas adam’s book Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency filming here in Vancouver (with Sam Barnett and Elijah Wood). Amazingly, I discovered holistic lawyers are actually a real thing (see: http://www.holisticlawyers.org/holistic-lawyer/) but most seem to prefer the term “holistic” rather than “wholistic.” Apparently, everyday lawyers are acting in some sort of of fragmented way, Who would have thought?

The letter didn’t seem to exhibit any particular holistic qualities I could detect, but was a rather bad quality fax sent to the school that complained I was somehow bullying nurses by using my university position to make a case against therapeutic touch, and using my authority to teach and champion evidence-based practice instead of non-scientific holistic practices.

Fax header

Anyhow, the university gave the expected response that as a matter of academic freedom, professors are quite entitled to express their views regarding therapeutic touch (or other things) as well as claims made in advertising and promoting them.

The letter also contained technical errors, mixing up lateral violence with vertical violence, stating that Advertising Standards Canada was a “false authority” and assuming that nurses are simply taught one  way of thinking (Carper’s ways of knowing). Conversely, in sending it, Ms. Eliany also seemed to be doing exactly what she was complaining about

Most bizarre of all was the fact that in her publicity blurb she states identifies as a “wholistic lawyer, and she uses a “paperless practice.” The fax contained no return e-mail address, and last time I checked, a fax was not a great example of a paperless practice (as well… it requires paper to work). As she supplied no return e-mail address, it also required either a fax or written response from the university!

First time in my career I have ever been complained about for promoting and teaching science, so watch out, it seems the holistic lawyers could be coming for a scientist near you…


P.S. Ms Eliany’s Twitter handle is @wholisticlawyer.