Larry Dossey

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Larry Dossey
NationalityUnited States
OccupationAlternative-medicine advocate, public speaker, writer, physician

Larry Dossey (born 1940,[1] Groesbeck, Texas[2]) is a physician and author who propounds the importance for healing of prayer, spirituality, and other non-physical factors.


According to his written biography on his personal website,[3] Dossey graduated from University of Texas at Austin and received an M.D. from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas (1967).[3] Dossey served as a battalion surgeon in Vietnam, being decorated for valor, and served as Chief of Staff of Medical City Dallas Hospital (1982).[3]


Dossey's writings and opinions have been controversial, having drawn both praise and criticism.

Surgical oncologist David Gorski has written that Dossey utilizes straw man arguments, misrepresents and misunderstands medical research and "the evidence base in favor of the woo that Dr. Dossey favors is pathetic in comparison to that supporting science-based medicine."[4] In 2010 Dossey co-wrote a post in the Huffington Post called "The Mythology Of Science-Based Medicine" with Deepak Chopra and Rustum Roy, which Gorski characterized as "an exercise that combines cherry-picking, logical fallacies, and whining, raising the last of these almost to an art form."[5][6]

Gary P. Posner, a physician, has criticized Dossey for writing "New Age psychobabble". Posner in a review has stated that Dossey uncritically accepts psychic powers, parapsychology experiments and dubious claims such as voodoo or "distant healing" as genuine, whilst ignoring the literature that has refuted these subjects.[7]

Psychologist Robert A. Baker in a review for Dossey's Healing Words wrote that it is an entertaining book but "We'd all be better served-Dossey, his patients, his readers, and the general public-if Dossey would take his head out of the clouds, plant his feet on the ground, and stop talking nonsense. Everyone knows that evil looks won’t kill you. We also know that sticks and stones will break your bones and a doctor’s words alone-no matter how kind or gentle-will never heal you."[8]

John Roberts in the British Medical Journal has described Healing Words as a religious book, useful to see how an argument could be made on how humans could utilize prayer to heal but some of the book was "convoluted new-age jargon".[9]

Dossey's views and activities have frequently been reported in the media. For example, Business Insider quoted Dossey as having "coined the term 'time-sickness' in 1982 to describe the belief that 'time is getting away, that there isn’t enough of it, and that you must pedal faster and faster to keep up.'"[10]

The Belfast Telegraph described Dossey as a "distinguished American physician" and a "New York Times best-selling author", while quoting his views on Lorna Byrne.[11] The Minnesota Star Tribune reported that in 1993, Dossey had appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show, in an episode themed on the power of prayer, describing Dossey as "a physician who advocates for spirituality in health care".[12]

The "Jacket Copy" blog of the Los Angeles Times interviewed Dossey and quoted him extensively when reviewing one of his books.[13]

Selected works[edit]

  • Dossey, Larry (1993). Healing words : the power of prayer and the practice of medicine (1st ed.). [San Francisco, Calif.]: HarperSanFrancisco. ISBN 0062502514.
  • Dossey, Larry (1997). Prayer is good medicine : how to reap the healing benefits of prayer (1st ed.). San Francisco, Calif.: HarperSanFrancisco. ISBN 0062514237.
  • Dossey, Larry; Capra, Fritjof (foreword) (1982). Space, time, & medicine. Boulder: Shambhala. ISBN 0877732248.
  • Dossey, Larry, (1982) One Mind: How Our Individual Mind is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters, 2013, Carlsbad, Calif, Hay House. ISBN 978-1-4019-4377-6
  • Dossey, Larry (2013). One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters. Hay House. ISBN 1401943772.
  • Dossey, Larry (2009). The Power of Premonitions: How Knowing the Future Can Shape Our Lives. Dutton. ISBN 0525951164.


  1. ^ a b Larry Dossey at VIAF
  2. ^ a b Marohn, Stephanie (2009). Audacious Aging. Elite Books. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-60070-061-3.
  3. ^ a b c Larry Dossey (biography) (accessed 4 September 2015)
  4. ^ "Be careful what you wish for, Dr. Dossey, you just might get it". Science-Based Medicine. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  5. ^ Gorski, David (11 January 2010). "Be careful what you wish for, Dr. Dossey, you just might get it". Science-Based Medicine.
  6. ^ Dossey, Larry; Chopra, Deepak; Roy, Rustum (18 March 2010). "The Mythology Of Science-Based Medicine". The Huffington Post.
  7. ^ "Medical Practice Enters a New Age". Originally published in the Summer 1994 Skeptical Inquirer and in the Summer 1994 Tampa Bay Skeptics Report. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  8. ^ "If Looks Could Kill and Words Could Heal". Skeptical Inquirer. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  9. ^ Roberts, John. (1995). Healing Words: The Power Of Prayer And The Practice Of Medicine by Larry Dossey. British Medical Journal. Vol. 311, No. 7013. p. 1174.
  10. ^ Parrish, Shane (20 August 2015). "The modern workplace is ruining the way we think". Business Insider. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  11. ^ Brankin, Una (16 May 2015). "Mum can be difficult to get organised... she gets so distracted by angels". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  12. ^ Pratt, Anna (3 June 2014). "'Make every day count': Words that a cancer survivor lives by". Star Tribune (Minnesota). Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  13. ^ Jacket Copy (regular LAT column) (1 May 2009). "Dr. Larry Dossey and your internal crystal ball". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 September 2015.

External links[edit]