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CNN Larry King Live
4th Transcript

“The Secret Revealed!” part 2
Larry King aired a follow-up TV show to his November 2006 show about "The Secret" movie, investigating how we create our own reality.


LARRY KING: Joining us now in New York is Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist, author and host of TLC's reality show, "One Week To Save Your Marriage."

First of all, what do you make of all this in "The Secret?"

DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PSY.D. PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, I think it's a repackaged idea. You know, the power of positive thinking is really an old idea that's been around for a long time. And there's something to be said about focusing on the positive. You are going to feel better in life.

But it's interesting how it's creating this backlash, because feeling positive is not the only way to get what you want out of life. And I think, in part, that's a dangerous idea to have.

KING: So you would say to people use The Secret or not use The Secret?

LUDWIG: I would say if you want to read it, read it, and take whatever you want from it, take what resonates for you. And if you don't like an idea, don't use it. But, you know, really everybody has to choose what works for them. There is no one road to success for or to happiness. And any book that gives that impression is going to get attacked. And be incorrect.

KING: One psychologist said 10 percent of self-help books are rated by mental health professionals as damaging. And this is probably one of them. You share that view?

LUDWIG: No. I mean, I don't think it is damaging if people use it correctly. There probably should be something written in there that says use what you want.

But for example, if someone has a horrible illness, that's just sometimes a part of life. Listen, we all have to go somehow in some way. And if you give someone the idea that through pleasant thoughts and watching funny movies that's enough to cure one's self, then it is dangerous if people interpret it that way.

Listen, you have to go to doctors who know what they're talking about and medication is recommended, you need to follow through with what is traditional while hopefully you work on your emotions is, you know to make your life a little bit easier. But to say it is your fault for everything that is happened in your life, that's a very provocative and I think incorrect idea.

KING: Is there a type of person who would benefit from this?

LUDWIG: Well, I think it is probably good for somebody who might feel disempowered to realize that there are things they can do in their life so they don't have to feel victimized. But if you take control of your life, and you start to think about that you want your life to look like, that certainly can help you get there. So I think for some people, you know, knowing that they can think about that they want, and if they have good feelings, then maybe they can get there, that is certainly a very pleasant way to go through life and for some people that can help them get to their destination.

KING: Why do you think it's hooked so many people?

LUDWIG: Because I think many people are dissatisfied in some area of their life. That's part of the human condition as long as we are living, there is always going to be something that we want, that we don't have. And I have spoken to some of the most successful people who will say, you know, I just keep feeling I should be doing more and having more.

I think that's just part of life. And for some people, they will do anything that will help them to feel better. We like to feel good. And the bottom line is, in life, we're going to have a lot of different feelings. They don't always feel good. Even if you are a positive person.

KING: I remember Norman Vincent Peale and the power of positive thinking. How can you knock that? How can you say that's bad to positively think?

LUDWIG: I don't think there is anything bad about it. I'm a big fan of Norman Vincent Peale. I think his whys were brilliant way back in the day. Here is where it is damaging.

People blame themselves, I think, quite naturally. So if you put out information and you say, you need to be positive in order to have a great life and people are like, well, I don't know how to get positive, I don't know how to get that feeling, it could get certain people to give up. And in fact, that's not really true. You can have a lot of different emotions. You can feel hopeless while pursuing your dream as long as you don't let that hopelessness interfere with your strategy and your persistence.

KING: Thank you very much. Dr. Ludwig will be returning with us at the end of the program and John Assaraf will return as well.