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Jordan Peterson’s Endeavor

It is well known that clinical psychologist, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, has been portrayed in the media as a polarizing figure: a bigoted alt-right charlatan on the one hand, a superordinate fatherly freespeech protector on the other. The former portrayal reflects downright ignorance and the latter is optimistic. Commentary on his clinical psychological acumen is conspicuously absent. His detractors are keen to point out his politics, eccentricities, and volatility, as if political pigeon-holing and ad hominem attacks weaken the veracity of his claims. This is inaccurate.

I know because I am a former psychology student of Jordan Peterson; he was my undergraduate thesis supervisor at the University of Toronto. I have a master’s of science degree and a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Calgary. I am a registered and practicing clinical psychologist in Calgary, AB, Canada. I provide evidence-based treatment to individuals with concurrent mental health and addictive disorders in a specialty outpatient hospital clinic. I have published many peer-reviewed scientific research papers on topics related to addiction and mental health. What Jordan Peterson is preaching is, in fact, based in solid scientific principles for behavior change. He has been accused of cherry-picking findings from multiple disciplines and offering conjecture in areas outside of his expertise. Instead, Peterson should rightfully be lauded for embodying the scientific spirit. He aims to draw his conclusions based on a scientific principle called consilience of findings, which was popularized by E. O. Wilson in his 1998 book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. This means that Peterson aims to link facts and principles across disciplines of study to help ground his claims in evidence. It is not an easy feat for anybody to pursue, especially academics, who are highly, albeit narrowly, specialized in their respective fields.

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