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Harald Walach (born 1957) is Professor for Research Methodology in Complementary Medicine at Viadrina European University Frankfurt (Oder).
Born in 1957, Harald Walach is a German psychologist, medical researcher and historian and philosopher of science. He received his Diploma in Psychology (MSc equivalent) from the University of Freiburg in 1984, a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Bale, Switzerland in 1991, and a PhD in History and Theory of Science from the University of Vienna in 1995. In 1998 he earned his habilitation, i.e. professorial credentials, in psychology from the University of Freiburg. After heading research groups at the University of Northampton (UK), he is currently the director of the Institute of Transcultural Health Studies at Europa Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder, and the director of the European Office of the Samueli Institute which has funded his work since its inception in 2000. He is course leader of the first postgraduate training course for doctors in complementary medicine and cultural sciences.
The commission by the state of Brandenburg for the review of Universities ("Hochschulstrukturkommission") which reviewed the University Viadrina where his IntraG, funded by Heel (corporation) is located came to the conclusion that this Institute should not be continued within the university. The University Viadrina in February 2013 has decided to continue the institute. The institute is supposed to cooperate with a medical faculty within 24 months to consolidate the scientific quality.
Psychology and parapsychology
As a clinical psychologist, Walach has conducted, supervised and published empirical studies examining the benefits of mindfulness meditation for mental and physical health. He has developed the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI). He has also developed a questionnaire to measure exceptional human experiences. Walach is also interested in scientific approaches to non-reductive and progressive rather than dogmatic forms of spirituality. He is an editor of the scientific series Neuroscience, Consciousness, Spirituality.
In 2012, Harald Walach received the negative prize "Goldenes Brett" from Austrian skeptics, mainly for a masters thesis about the Kozyrev mirror conducted under his supervision. Whereas he praised it as "outstanding", it was widely regarded as unscientific in the media.
Walach is a researcher in complementary and alternative medicine, having conducted, supervised and published a variety of clinical, experimental and epidemiological studies. He is editor-in-chief of the Karger journal Forschende Komplementärmedizin and founding member and a past president of International Society for Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR). Together with theoretical physicists Hartmann Römer and Harald Atmanspacher, Walach has developed a model of generalised entanglement that attempts to explain anomalous phenomena, such as certain non-specific therapy effects and parapsychological phenomena.
History and philosophy of science
Related to his interest in the scientific study of spirituality, Walach holds a PhD in history and philosophy of science for an annotated translation of Hugo de Balma. As both a philosopher of science and medical researcher, Walach has advocated the revision of the concept of evidence-based medicine (EBM), stressing the importance of a circular model of evidence in medical research and criticising problematic assumptions inherent in the hierarchical structure of current EBM.
Main features of thought
Harald Walach is member of the scientific advisory board of a blog called "CAM-Media Watch" which is run by a Journalist also paid mainly by Heel (corporation). The blog sees itself as "spin doctor" for press on the subject of Complementary and Alternative Medicine ("CAM") and has been reported to also smear a scientist critical of homeopathy.
Walach has authored over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and numerous editorials and invited texts.
His monographs and books include:
- Walach, H. 'Weg mit den Pillen! Selbstheilung oder warum wir für unsere Gesundheit Verantwortung übernehmen müssen - Eine Streitschrift'. (Get Rid of the Pills! Self-Healing – Why We Need to Take Care of Ourselves. A Pamphlet) München: Irisiana.
- Walach, H. 'Spiritualität – Die Aufklärung weiterführen.' (Spirituality – Getting On With Enlightenment) Klein Jasedow: Drachen Verlag.
- Lewith, G., Jonas, W.B. & Walach H. (Eds.) (2010) Clinical Research in Complementary Therapies: Principles, Problems and Solutions. Edinburgh, London: Thurstone Livingston, 2nd, revised edition.
- Walach, H. (2009) Psychologie: Wissenschaftstheorie, philosophische Grundlagen und Geschichte. Ein Lehrbuch. (Psychology: Philosophical Foundations, History, and Philosophy of Science in Psychology. A Textbook) Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2nd edition.
- Marian F. & Walach, H. (Eds) (2007) Medical Pluralism, Equity, Holism. Interdisciplinary Research Perspectives on Integrative Medicine. Forschende Komplementärmedizin 14: Supplement 2.
- Walach, H. (1995) Notitia Experimentalis Dei – Erfahrungserkenntnis Gottes. Studien zu Hugo de Balmas Text „Viae Sion lugent“. Historische Einführung und Übersetzung des Textes. [Notitia Experimentalis Dei – Experiential Knowledge of God. Studies in Hugh of Balmas Text „Viae Sion Lugent“. Historical Introduction and Translation of the Text] Analecta Cartusiana, (Ed. J. Hogg), Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik, Bd. 98:1
- Lingh, Gerhard (2014). Horizon 2020. epubli. p. 110.
- "Harald Walach, PhD". Samueli Institute. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
- "Samueli Institute". Siib.org. Retrieved 2013-10-12.
- "Institut für transkulturelle Gesundheitswissenschaften • Europa-Universität Viadrina / EUV". Euv-frankfurt-o.de. Retrieved 2013-10-12.
- "Report by the "Hochschultrukturkommission"" (PDF) (in German). Mwfk.brandenburg.de. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-07-03. Retrieved 2013-10-12.
- Fjorback, Lone Overby; Walach, Harald (4 January 2012). "Meditation Based Therapies—A Systematic Review and Some Critical Observations". Religions. 3 (4): 1–18. doi:10.3390/rel3010001.
- Walach, Harald; Buchheld, Nina; Buttenmüller, Valentin; Kleinknecht, Norman; Schmidt, Stefan (June 2006). "Measuring mindfulness—the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI)". Personality and Individual Differences. 40 (8): 1543–1555. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2005.11.025.
- "Prof. Dr. Dr. Dipl. Psych. Harald Walach" (PDF). Retrieved 20 July 2015.
- "Neuroscience, Consciousness and Spirituality". Springer.com. Retrieved 2013-10-12.
- Von Bernd Kramer (2012-05-07). "Kozyrev-Spiegel: Masterarbeit an der Viadrina Uni belegt Hellsehen - SPIEGEL ONLINE". Spiegel.de. Retrieved 2013-10-12.
- "Esoterik an der Uni Viadrina - Zu tief in die Röhre geschaut - Wissen - Süddeutsche.de". Sueddeutsche.de. Retrieved 2013-10-12.
- "Forschende Komplementärmedizin / Research in Complementary Medicine - Home - Karger Publishers". Karger.com. 2013-08-15. Retrieved 2013-10-12.
- Atmanspacher, H., Römer, H., & Walach, H. (2002). Weak quantum theory: Complementarity and entanglement in physics and beyond. Foundations of Physics, 32, 379-406.
- Walach, H., & Schmidt, S. (2005). "Repairing Plato's life boat with Ockham's razor: The Important Function of Research in Anomalies for Mainstream Science" (PDF) (12(2) ed.). Journal of Consciousness Studies. pp. 52–70. Retrieved 2013-10-12.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Walach, H., & Stillfried, N. v. (2011). "Generalised Quantum Theory—Basic idea and general intuition: A background story and overview". Axiomathes, DOI 10.1007/s10516-010-9145-5.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Walach, H. (1994). Notitia experimentalis Dei - Erfahrungserkenntnis Gottes. Studien zu Hugo de Balmas Text "Viae Sion lugent" und deutsche übersetzung. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik der Universität Salzburg. Walach, H. (2010). Notitia Experimentalis Dei - Experiential Knowledge of God: Hugh of Balma’s Mystical Epistemology of Inner Experience – A Hermeneutic Reconstruction. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik
- Walach, H., Falkenberg, T., Fonnebo, V., Lewith, G., & Jonas, W. (2006). Circular instead of hierarchical - Methodological principles for the evaluation of complex interventions. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 6(29). www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2288/6/29
- "German Homeopathy Companies Pay Journalist who Smears UK Academic | The Quackometer Blog". Quackometer.net. Retrieved 2013-10-12.
- Complete List of Publications Harald Walach