It’s all about the science, isn’t it? Or is it?

Things were different when 5th Place began - confrontations with naysayers and red-faced, finger pointing sceptics! It feels as if a paradigm shift has occurred; comparing where things were and where they are now!


From the start we were confronted with sceptics, naysayers and some red faced, finger pointing "get out of my office you are talking rubbish" rebuttals. We shouldn't have been surprised, and we weren't, really. We were more battered and bruised by the sometimes vociferous reaction an innocent question about attending to emotional health elicited.

In the beginning we were awash with enthusiasm at what we had developed. We had something that could make a significant impact to mental health and emotional wellbeing. Eagerly we waved our baby in everyone's faces and like new parents expected everyone to love our new baby as much as we did.

Unlike being new parents, however, we were put through the ringer regarding our background, education, experience and credentials for daring to bring this little critter into the world. No-one needs a degree to raise a child, an infinitely complex process where real damage can be done but produce an easy to learn, safe, gentle approach to regulating emotions and you better have a PhD behind your name.

If you are curious about this easy to learn, safe, gentle approach to regulating emotions that we've developed here at 5th Place, why not come and experience it at our next online Emotional Fitness Class this Thursday (and every Thursday) at 17:30 C.A.T.

Use this link to register and book your seat:

We soon realised that we had to tread lightly, enquire more carefully and change our language to be more palatable. Ironically, scientific studies have been going through a replication crisis. In some instances less than 40% of scientific studies can be replicated (1, 2). Despite this, having the science makes people feel more comfortable with the new and unknown, so these days we produce the science behind how and why Shape of Emotion works. We do ongoing research of our own, collecting data at almost every engagement we have.

We still get push back. On the one hand asking for scientific proof is just a smoke screen for saying "I don't like what you are proposing". It's almost like having the science is an excuse for some to refute it. Or not believe it. Or to be so hooked that attack is the best form of defence. Anyone debated the meat issue around climate change lately? If you want to press buttons, suggest people eat less meat, not no meat, less meat. Watch the spittle fists fly!

It's the same with emotional wellbeing. We all know we need to take more care of ourselves but we don't like the thought of the discomfort it may bring and the time it may take. When faced with something so seemingly simple as Shape of Emotion people are disbelieving. It can't possibly be this easy.

It is and you still need to do it regularly. Eating is easy but we don't eat breakfast today and only again in three weeks time. We can't get physically fit by running round the block once. Science may have refuted the 10 000 hour rule but we aren't talking about being an expert here, we are talking about a practice and life skill that will make you feel better and build emotional resilience over time.

So, is it about the science? Yes and no. Science can say what it likes, at the end of the day it is up to all of us to invest in our emotional wellbeing for ourselves because we know it's the best thing to do, not because science says so.


  1. Camerer, Colin F., Anna Dreber, Felix Holzmeister, Teck-Hua Ho, Jürgen Huber, Magnus Johannesson, Michael Kirchler, et al. "Evaluating the Replicability of Social Science Experiments in Nature and Science between 2010 and 2015." Nature Human Behaviour 2, no. 9 (September 2018): 637-44.
  2. Ioannidis, John P A. "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False." PLoS Medicine 2, no. 8 (2005): 6.

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