Wayne Dyer, self-help guru and advocate of positive thinking, dies at 75

Dr. Wayne Dyer, a self-help guru whose wrote the best-seller “Your Erroneous Zones” as a guide to better living, has died at 75. Dyer was promoted by Oprah Winfrey and several other celebrities.

While self-help advice is typically harmless and may be advantageous to some people, the disturbing role of Dyer was to suggest that positive thinking and psychic surgery could heal.

Dyer was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2009, but claimed to have been healed via the power of positive thinking and “psychic surgery” by an unconventional Brazilian doctor.

“It’s a remote surgery,” Dyer told Winfrey in 2012. “It was 12,000 miles from where I was. I don’t know what happened. These are entities. They don’t have any form. These are just spirits that enter his body.”

“This sounds crazy,” Winfrey said — though she later interviewed the doctor. Dyer agreed. But he had a thought.

“Here’s a line from Jesus: ‘With god all things are possible,’” he said. “What does that leave out? … Nothing. So it doesn’t leave out this either.”

Source: Wayne Dyer, best-selling self-help guru and friend of Oprah, dead at 75 – The Washington Post

Total nonsense, and possibly dangerous for those who would forego conventional treatments for spiritual-based treatments. His Brazilian “doctor” was João Teixeira de Faria, better known as “John of God.” Here is more on his “psychic” treatments that Dyer used.

Mind Body Spirit magazine listed Dyer as one of the 10 most spiritually influential people in the world.


There has been no official cause of death listed but it would be reasonable to assume his condition was the cause. Psychic surgery does not heal anything, let alone leukemia. Positive thinking, however, can help you better face death though. Several notables say that Dr. Dyer has embarked on his next spiritual journey.

  14 comments for “Wayne Dyer, self-help guru and advocate of positive thinking, dies at 75

  1. August 31, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    I guess when some people become gravely ill, they will put their faith in anything that they think might help them, no matter how clearly unscientific it is.

    My objection is when people like Oprah promote this nonsense, because she does seem to have a lot of influence on some segments of the population (along with “Dr.” Phil, Dr. Oz, and the staff of “The Doctors”). It’s tragic if someone decides to skip proven treatments for some magical cure.

    There is a doctor on the net who “calls out” TV doctors for this very thing. I highly recommend people go to YouTube and check out ZDogg MD. He’s totally dead-on, and very funny too.

  2. Tony
    August 31, 2015 at 12:32 PM

    “Here’s a line from Jesus: ‘With god all things are possible,’” he said. “What does that leave out? … Nothing. So it doesn’t leave out this either.”

    That supreme charlatan Mary Baker Eddy couldn’t have said it better, or sounded sillier.

  3. Sean A. Elliott
    August 31, 2015 at 1:28 PM

    I’ll do my best to temper my contempt for Dyer here. In my estimation there was nothing spiritual about the man. One of his book covers declared him to be “a modern master”… Of what exactly it did not say ( presumably this statement refers to his spiritual development…I believe it refers to his business acumen. ). Dyers ” teachings” were full of the hallmarks of a polished snake oil salesman. He was part of a flock of peddlers who shower admirers with fools gold.

  4. Eric
    August 31, 2015 at 4:13 PM

    I have noticed a number of times that people fall back on religion / quoting the bible when called to the mat on bunk. It’s particularly interesting when what they are peddling has nothing to do with religion, Christianity etc. I often wonder if they think people are less likely to call their crap into question if they play the god/Jesus card?? I bumped into a guy doing this concerning dowsing. Somehow I was calling the Christianity into question because I questioned dowsing.

  5. Matheus Magalhães
    August 31, 2015 at 11:36 PM

    I think it’s a little difficult to say that self-help is generally harmless. We live in a moment where people are getting more and more infantile and obsessed with this bizarre idea of being happy all the time or that exists a state where you can maximize well being and eliminate any pain in your Life. Aside from easily become a new age medicine thing, this put pressures on people that we fragile humans can’t handle. Self-help is the theoretical embodiment of this dangerous fantasy, that denies the most basic aspects of human experience. Also, science never backed any idea of “eternal” physical and mental well being and then when culture starts to get in the way of scientifical empyria, you have the medicalization craze that you see on modern psychiatry. Or people go for medicinal cherokee tampons.

  6. Russian Skeptic
    September 1, 2015 at 3:23 PM

    Good note. I would add that positive thinking also culpabilizes people who feel unwell, pressing them into belief that it is their fault. And modern culture is really intolerant of not feeling well enough.
    (Multiple people have claimed that I would have less migraines if I thought more positively and behaved more socially).

  7. Cathy
    September 1, 2015 at 8:20 PM

    While I agree that positive thinking is not going to cure anything I do think that it can definitely help in the cure. My grandfather thought you went into hospital to get better and as a result he survived many life threatening trips to hospital. My grandmother thought you went into hospital to die. Her second trip to hospital killed her even though everyone expected her to come home again. And my father told the oncologists that he didn’t need to worry he had a room full of doctors to worry for him and he lived for the ten years that the doctor had suggested he would and admitted later was a very optimistic estimate. I don’t think he would have done nearly as well if he hadn’t had such a positive outlook.

  8. Russian Skeptic
    September 2, 2015 at 6:30 AM

    I am not advocating ‘thinking negatively’. Surely positive thinking can add people a little extra stamina and help to get less stress. Surely it helped some (admittedly, very few) people in the Siege of Leningrad to survive.
    But the point is that positive thinking gurus impose on people standards how to think. To say a person: ‘you are suffering because you are not thinking positively enough’ is cruel and culpabilizing. It is a mere replacement of the religious argument ‘you are suffering because you have sinned’. By the way, religious belief does help some people to overcome pain and stress, but we don’t heal patients with prayers any more.

  9. Mark Anthony
    September 2, 2015 at 7:17 AM

    Now that the autopsy results are out, you can see that the basis of this article is wrong. Cause of death was listed as heart attack. They found no leukemia in the body.

  10. September 2, 2015 at 7:47 AM

    Citation, Please.

    Also, the basis of the article was not that he was leukemia-free but that he had passed and had a history of giving questionable advice.

  11. Dee Dee
    September 2, 2015 at 9:46 AM

    In the fitting words of R Hugh Sirius: “Wayne Dyer was a new age prophet, shaman, quack
    who rode the PBS telethon bandwagon until the wheels fell off…and then he went
    to QVC. During the last 20 years or so, Dyer mixed his (scant and thoroughly
    inadequate) knowledge of quantum physics (ala Deepak Chopra another Quantum
    Quack) with his sociological and psychological mumbo jumbo. Not surprisingly,
    he cajoled his equally uninformed readers to believe in it and more importantly
    to buy it, much to the satisfaction of his publishers, ka-ching!! RIP, wherever
    you are…” https://disqus.com/by/rhughsirius/

    This ought to be his obit. The last few years he really ‘went where no man has gone before’ in his pursuit of pushing woo. Remote healings by a quack faith healer John of God, all for ratings and money with Oprah. Not surprising too, John of God has never had a documented report of healing, all hearsay especially by his cult guides. Ask Lisa Melman about her treatment of breast cancer. That’s a tragic report that’s indirectly caused by Dyer’s Good Intentions!

  12. Janet
    September 10, 2015 at 12:41 PM

    The report that Dr. Wayne Dyer died battling Leukemia is false.

    According to the coroner’s report, there was no trace of any cancer in his body when he died.
    He died of a heart attack.

    Please see this post from Hay House on his Facebook page:

    Thank you,

  13. September 10, 2015 at 1:07 PM

    That’s fine but a Facebook post isn’t exactly the best evidence, one would want to see the actual report. Also, it really was not the point of the post since we didn’t know what he died from. But the point is that he encouraged OTHERS to do what he did and that is a dangerous overall strategy.

  14. Lakisha
    September 10, 2015 at 7:34 PM

    Janet, it seems that Hay House on the same facebook page is taking monetary advantage of this time to hawk Wayne Dyer’s books:

    Who knows if Dyer ever even had leukemia. Wayne Dyer told a lot of stories.
    In one story I heard on youtube:


    he told how he was healed by the ‘remote psychic surgery’ of faith healer John of God, who was in Brazil, thousands of miles away. All’s Dyer had to do was wear white, drink ‘blessed water’ and go to bed. How convenient, because as he says, he really didn’t have the time to go to that back water town of Abadiania with all his busy time consuming book promotion going on. So Presto, He’s cured, and right in time for writing another book! It is a wonderful story. The only bad thing to happen to him during this ‘surgery’ was the his watch stopped! That’s right! Dyer explains all about this incredulous miracle with supporting scientific facts proving the ‘electromagnetic’ power of John of God (starts at 27′ 55”). Wayne Dyer begins this story crowing about his $17,000 Panerai watch and how it’s scientifically accurate and guaranteed not to lose a second, etc.
    Well anyway, he finds that during this procedure with john of God that watch lost 80 minutes and was no longer accurate. His reasoning: ” the electromagnetic field from Brazil (john of god in Abadiania) is faster and higher than any place on the planet”!!!!
    That’s a good one. Electromagnetic energy and John of God in the same sentence. Well then, it must be true.

    More on John of God, but not electromagnetic energy at:

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