Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A death in Malibu.

This past June 7, 53-year-old David Bassett walked onto a California beach and ended his life with a shotgun. This took place not far from the home he shared with his wife, Lucinda. If the names sound vaguely familiar, it's because David and Lucinda Bassett were principals in the Midwest Center for Stress & Anxiety. At one time my item on that Ohio facility (which isn't a treatment facility at all, but more of a distribution warehouse and boiler room) enjoyed the distinction of having generated the most comments of any post in SHAMblog history. Not a few of those who left their thoughts were refugees from the Center's in-house discussion forum, where their critical remarks had been expunged or edited; a few claimed to have been banned altogether. Collectively, they seemed to feel they'd been abused, if not conned. The gist was that the Center had used misleading claims and credentials to charge them a lot of money for programs that didn't work (or at least hadn't worked for them). To be fair, a number of Center apologists also weighed in, and for a while we had a spirited, thought-provoking give-and-take going.

I hesitate to write anything that's perceived as dancing on someone's grave. And, just to be clear, that is not what I'm doing here. Faithful readers know that my own family has been touched by suicide in the recent past. (Some years earlier, my youngest son also lost his best friend to suicide.) I've said that I consider suicide the most tragic end a human life could come to, and I stand by that unoriginal but heartfelt sentiment. All the same, one has to find irony (and perhaps significance?) in the fact that this was the final recourse of a man whose special franchise in the SHAMscape was the marketing of a revolutionary, fail-safe way of conquering one's personal demons.* A prospective customer might reasonably ask: If the Center's programs can't even prevent one of the Center's owners from killing himself...? I'm reminded of Tony Robbins' exploits during the summer of 2005: Tony was spamming his mailing list with a promotion for a $210 video on keeping the spark in a mature relationship...at the precise moment he was also in court in Canada, describing the circumstances under which he exchanged Wife No. 1 for Wife No. 2.

Leaving aside the natural desire for privacy, such credibility considerations may explain why Lucinda Bassett has been guarded in her formal statements on her husband's death. Published obituaries simply noted that David Bassett "passed away," praising him as a devoted father with a
"fearless, take-no-prisoners attitude" who "spread enthusiasm." The one short item I was able to find online that did use the words suicide and shotgun disappeared within days. I spoke with Anne Soble, editor and publisher of the Malibu Surfside News, which ran that item; she voiced surprise that her paper's coverage of the suicide no longer was available on the Web. But Malibu, you know, is a cozy enclave, where favors may be asked and niceties may be observed. (Again in fairness, Soble told me she hadn't initially been aware of Bassett's ties to the Center, and she said she may revisit the matter now that such information has come to light.)

On several occasions over the past year I've been in touch with Lucinda's first husband, Jim, who looked me up after reading my skeptical post on the Center. He felt that his ex-wife's overwrought narrative** of the longstanding emotional and psychic upheaval that supposedly motivated her personal search for answers (and led her to found the Center) did not gibe with his recollections of the "Cindy" he once knew or the general circumstances of their life together. Jim and I talked about all this at some length, and I'm sure I'll have more to say in a subsequent post. [To hear some of Lucinda's standard patter on anxiety and such, click here.]

For now I guess the takeaway is that the SHAMscape is not some Elysian wonderland that enjoys immunity from the slings and arrows that afflict the rest of us: There is much left unspoken, and there are always things going on behind the scenes that the demigods of self-help will withhold from us until circumstances out them or leave them no choice.

These are people, folks. Businesspeople. Not mystics and soothsayers.


* I don't know how much hands-on involvement David Bassett had in the conceptual end of the Center and/or its programs, but the fact remains, he lived with the chief guru and motivational officer.
** rendered on Oprah, among other high-visibility places.

143 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Interesting. Looking forward to part 2, Steve.

And, incidentally, I could not take more than 50 secs of Cindy's video. I would not buy a piece of gum from this woman, much less trust her with my anxiety (and my life). A shrewd and pushy saleswoman, completely unconvincing (imo).

Steve Salerno said...

My sentiments exactly, Eliz. I can see where people would succumb to the Center's charms if their exposure were limited solely to the Center's online presence--its web material, etc. But listening to this woman? She makes used-car salesmen sound legit.

Her facial expressions alone are so smug and off-putting.

Steve Salerno said...

And yes, I know, my anonymous critic from a few posts ago is now going to accuse me of once again betraying the same weakness of which I accuse jurors: judging a book by its cover. But people, deciding whether or not a spokeswoman makes a convincing case for her product is NOT AT ALL the same as deciding life or death in a court of law. The whole point of that post, in fact, was to underscore the differences between offhand judgments we're permitted to make in daily life, and the far more formal judgments we must discipline ourselves to make in a court of law.

Anonymous said...

the woman just gives me the creeps. my wife almost ordered her stuff and then we learned more about her, msot of it in her own words, and i'm glad we didn't follow through. she's now on meds and they've helped.

Anonymous said...

"And yes, I know, my anonymous critic from a few posts ago is now going to accuse me of once again betraying the same weakness of which I accuse jurors: judging a book by its cover."

Actually, making an assessment when buying something is different than judging another by your standards. You need to make a judgment in order to make a purchase. They are selling something. You can use whatever info you need to either by it or not. There was nothing being sold, unless you paid to see Steven Spielburg's movie, with your watching "Schindler's List." What you did with your former fellow professors was judge them by your standards of conduct, which is in line with what a majority of jurors do. Ask any one who works in the judiciary field about that.

I did post about the comparison of this suicide in Malibu with the death, by heart attack, of Dr. Atkins who promoted his Atkins diet. That was ironic too, but as I stated in a previous post, there is a cautionary tale here.

Cosmic Connie said...

"There is much left unspoken, and there are always things going on behind the scenes that the demigods of self-help will withhold from us until circumstances out them or leave them no choice."

A most extreme case in point being that Bosnian Serb "alternative healer" who turned out to be the world's most wanted war criminal. Not that he was necessarily world-famous as a healer (not to the extent of, say, a Deepak Chopra), but the fact that he was able to hide in plain sight for so long by posing as an alt-healer says a lot about the gullibility of those who are into that stuff.

And there are so many other less extreme but nonetheless disturbing examples -- sexual predators, embezzlers, and just plain phonies who lie about their pasts or who use fake credentials. Most of their followers never even bother to question their credentials or their pasts.

Although the case of David Bassett is a perfect illustration of the hypocrisy and potential harm of SHAM, I do not perceive you as dancing on his grave. I think this is one of the most important posts you've written in a long time. (And I share yours and Elizabeth's impression about Lucinda's video. What a manipulator...she reminds me disturbingly of an ex-business partner...)

Cal said...

Has her "organization" ratcheted down their profile recently? I remember I used to hear her commercials on the radio all the time. I never really thought anything of them until I read SHAM. I can't recall the last time I hear one of them.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon, I do see merit in the Atkins/Bassett analogy, though I think the latter instance is actually worse. As was the case with runner Jim Fixx (the aerobics proponent who died while jogging), you can "do everything right," and really feel that you're on the correct track--and still be undone by some silent flaw you never even knew about. But when you're dealing with the commercialization of psychic-healing arts, you pretty much know if something (a) is rooted in solid science or not, and (b) is working, first and foremost, for YOU, as "patient zero." We might buy a book by Atkins or Jim Fixx because at least they looked/acted the part.

Would you buy a book on "10 steps to permanent mental health" that was authored by Michael Jackson or Britney Spears?

Steve Salerno said...

Cal, you might be on to something, because even Bassett's ex, Jim, says he hasn't heard one of the Center's radio spots, which are normally ubiquitous in his neck of the woods, in a while. And if you go to the Center's site--as I just did--none of the links to the deeper pages appear to work. I'll have to look into this...

Cal said...

Steve,

Pete Maravich also falls into your example of Jim Fixx. I don't think he would be allowed to play basketball if he was a kid today and given a complete physical. And the basketball world would have missed a genius. He was truly ahead of his time.

Elizabeth said...

Would you buy a book on "10 steps to permanent mental health" that was authored by Michael Jackson or Britney Spears?

Very funny. And no, you should not buy a book on "10 steps to permanent mental health" written by anyone, because there is no such thing as permanent mental health. (There. I've just saved you $$$$ in therapy.)

Part of the problem people have with therapy -- not that there are no other issues -- are their own unrealistic expectations about it. Therapy is not going to solve your problems and it is not (I repeat, *not*) a therapist's job to tell you what to do. If you have one who does it, be wary. A good therapist will help you see your own behaviors in a new light and help you recognize (ideally) how you contribute to your own misery. A good therapist may also help you create a new set of expectations and ways to possibly (the key word here) change your behavior -- but the work (no association with BK, please) is all yours and yours only. And it is usually not easy and it is almost never fast. If you expect fast and easy, buy a self-help-feel-good book and read it every day, if you can stand it, but don't start therapy. OK, this whole rant was apropos your previous post and people's comments.

Elizabeth said...

but the fact that he was able to hide in plain sight for so long by posing as an alt-healer says a lot about the gullibility of those who are into that stuff.

Yeah. I'd also say, Connie, that he was a skilled manipulator, apparently charismatic and with a gift of gab. So he talked a good game, no doubt. Even attended conferences and gave talks... (The whole story of his hiding as a alt-healer in plain sight is just so bizarre.)

Anonymous said...

"Would you buy a book on '10 steps to permanent mental health' that was authored by Michael Jackson or Britney Spears?"

Oh, I definitely would buy books like that from Michael Jackson and Britney Spears, but I sure wouldn't follow the advice! Could you imagine the titles?

"How to Moonwalk to Happiness"
by Michael Jackson. It involves Jesus Juice and ten year old boys with a pet llama

"How to Shave your Head to Sanity" by Britney Spears. It involves lots of cameras, no formal education, and hair extensions.

Priceless.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon 5:45, this reminds me of the facetious book titles I used to use in pointing up the hypocrisy of some of the gurus, back when I was doing lots of radio.

The Art of Emergency Water Rescue by Ted Kennedy.

Tolerance is God's Way by Jerry Falwell.

Marriage: A Sacred, Unending Bond by Liz Taylor (or just about any current Hollywood icon).

etc.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you had the balls to write about this. David's manner of dying is indeed relevant to the Bassetts' line of business.

Mike Cane said...

I'd never seen Lucinda before now. I heard her radio ads over and over and over again and wondered what she looked like. Never imagined that. (Elizabeth will beat me to death with a shoe if I dare say Lucinda's sorta kinda foxy!) (Running to hide under my bed!)

I don't know that I find this guy's death all that strange. Maybe I'm just getting old and more leery of things like this. I don't find it any more unusual than, say, a cancer doctor dying of cancer.

Steve Salerno said...

You're not the only one who thinks she's "kinda foxy," Mike. Apparently Lucinda thinks Lucinda is pretty foxy, too--quite the narcissist, if some folks can be believed. In fact, I've got a photo of her in the prime of youth--still deciding whether or not I should use it--but if you like her here, I'm sure you'd like her a lot better post-photo. ;)

I don't think the cancer doctor analogy is quite on-point, and my reasons, again, go back to what I was trying to say about the Jim Fixx analogy. You can be a great doctor and a wonderful advocate for early detection--and still come down with cancer, unbeknown to you, and die of it in a relatively short time. Cancer doesn't always signal its appearance until it's too late.

But mental illness, or the profound psychic malaise that normally leads to suicide? You usually know you're hurting. You know you're having dark thoughts. You know you're terribly unhappy, or frightened, or sick of feeling sick. You should especially know this if you run a "clinic" that is supposed to help diagnose and treat those symptoms in other people. What's more, if you're telling the world that you've got The Answer to that whole psychic complex of stress, anxiety, etc., how you can still be taken seriously after admitting to the world (in this case, via shotgun) that your program doesn't even work for you! Does that make sense?

If I'm peddling a sure-fire way to get rich and enjoy everlasting financial security--and you then find out that I'm in bankruptcy and hiding from the IRS-doesn't that undercut my credibility?

Elizabeth said...

If I'm peddling a sure-fire way to get rich and enjoy everlasting financial security--and you then find out that I'm in bankruptcy and hiding from the IRS-doesn't that undercut my credibility?

Of course it does. And Mr. Lucinda's death of suicide betrays their magical claims about curing anxiety, depression, and whatever else they claim to cure. Just like the fact that certain creators of the "positive psychology" and especially its off-shoot, the science of happiness, remain the chronic depressives they have always been, casts a dubious (and rightly so) light on their "scientific" helping programs.

I could go on, but now I gotta find an appropriate shoe for smacking Mike who should know better (than offering me this rare and irresistible opportunity). But, yeah, Lucinda is kinda foxy, with all the fox-like charm it entails. And, you know, it is a matter of taste, as we've found out already discussing cantaloupes, planets and other celestial bodies.

Anonymous said...

"If I'm peddling a sure-fire way to get rich and enjoy everlasting financial security--and you then find out that I'm in bankruptcy and hiding from the IRS-doesn't that undercut my credibility?"

You'ld think it would, but for some reason these clowns don't think so. I know a few corporate sharks in the subprime melt down that are "executive coaches." I have not kept track of their bookings, but they still think they are a demi-gods. I think narcissim works that way.

Cal said...

I thought this was interesting about Randy Pausch. ABC played a clip with a friend of, Steve Seabolt, who was with him until the end.

Steve, I know you mentioned before that he did not tell his kids about his illness.

The clip showed Seabolt and Diane Sawyer with the following as part of the video:

Mr. Seabolt also relayed a conversation he had with Dr. Pausch’s 6-year-old son, Dylan. They were talking about cancer and he told the boy that “some problems can’t be solved, or they can’t be solved yet.'’

Dylan responded, “My daddy has taught me that every problem can be solved, and that I should believe that every problem can be solved, and that I’m strong enough and smart enough that I should never let a problem get in my way.”

Steve Salerno said...

Cal, my man, you're psychic. I swear I was going to blog on that very exchange, but I felt that on the heels of this post about David Bassett (and my previous remarks about Pausch, which some deemed uncharitable), I might be labeled a cold-hearted SOB.

You see the hypocrisy, though? He says "tell the truth...all the time." Then he tells his kids that there are no limits, they can surmount any problem. Then he disproves both points by withholding his condition from his kids, and then, well, dying. ("Hey Randy...um...I thought you could beat any problem...no?")

I also loved the little bit of wisdom about how "brick walls are put there to discourage the types of people who'd be discouraged by brick walls." Say what? What a perfect example of totally b.s. SHAM-style circular reasoning. So I guess cancer was put here to kill the types of people who'd be killed by cancer, eh?

Cosmic Connie said...

Steve writes:

"If I'm peddling a sure-fire way to get rich and enjoy everlasting financial security--and you then find out that I'm in bankruptcy and hiding from the IRS-doesn't that undercut my credibility?"

Well, substitute "IRS" with the Aussie equivalent, and you could be describing, with fair accuracy, a certain Aussie star of "The Secret," (the one who dabbles in the stock market). Talk about hypocrisy.

And yes, at the risk of sounding a bit cold myself, I have to agree with you about Randy Pausch's hypocrisy. I thought you were stretching a bit when you first wrote about him, but the more I think about it the more obvious it was that he didn't necessarily practice what he preached. I'm still willing to cut him a little slack because of the circumstances, but I do see the inconsistency more clearly now.

I suppose, though, that most people will rationalize as they always do when SHAM inconsistencies are pointed out. They'll say Pausch's words and ideals are good ones to live by, even if he didn't always follow his own teachings. Clearly he wanted to leave a legacy, perhaps one that transcended his own human frailties.

Still, this is another good illustration of how the SHAM take on cancer (and other devastating life events) is, at best, not very helpful. And, of course, I am erring on the side of kindness here.

Anonymous said...

"Dylan responded, 'My daddy has taught me that every problem can be solved, and that I should believe that every problem can be solved, and that I’m strong enough and smart enough that I should never let a problem get in my way.'”

Did this guy really teach that to his kid? What is our world coming to? I am so glad I did not follow this story. Now I know what yahoos my children are going to have to be dealing with when they grow-up.

mikecane2008 said...

>>>If I'm peddling a sure-fire way to get rich and enjoy everlasting financial security--and you then find out that I'm in bankruptcy and hiding from the IRS-doesn't that undercut my credibility?

Touche, Steve. Which is why I always wanted to know the history of Napoleon Hill. When the rather glossy bio came out, it confirmed what I suspected. What he preached didn't work for HIM.

I must hold off on Pausch. No chance to catch the updated version via Net repeat yet.

And what's this? Elizabeth is *still* deciding on a shoe? Woman and shoes -- there's a topic for you, Steve! (Running to hide in my *bunker* now!)

fireballoh said...

let me tell you all something. you all talk because you have your beliefs and you think you have any idea of what you are talking about. First of all i know why he commited suicide, and none of you do. i am a personal friend and i am so sick of people saying o look at the company and look at what he did. well lets say that he did this for a reason that would drive anyone to do it and it wasnt because of lucinda or the company so dont even start rumors.

and for all of you who are calling this a scam you dont even know what she went through. She spent 10 yrs traveling around the united states going to meeting after meeting and helping others. and let me tell you something, you all think that her life is so glamerous, well think about who she has to pay. people just answering phones are getting payed the people producing all this are getting pait. so dont even say she is a scam artist or just a buissiness person.

and how would you feel if your husband just died and then somebody started this blog. so lets get over all of your feelings and if you have more questions about the truth about her and her company, then you dont deserve to know anyway. so how bout you all find something better to do then attack somebody who just lost her husband, father is law( natural reasons) and somebody whos brother is on life support because he had a seizure and drowned. i honestly hope you all feel like crap after attacking this poor woman.

Anonymous said...

My name is Steven Farris and I purchased the MWC program and it saved MY LIFE! So much so, that I wrote my testimonial and appeared in a MWC infomercial. I met Lucinda and she is charismatic, compassionate, and genuine. I was not paid or told what to say. How tragic that a family incident such as this is presented as a reflection on a program that has changed the life of so many. What a biased and insenitive post!

Steve Salerno said...

NOTE: In fairness to the previous two commenters (is that a word?) and to the Center, these are representative of five or six similar responses that I've received off-blog.

Anonymous said...

Well I for one would like to read all such comments - so please put them on .

I can understand why they are getting upset as it seems that you are being disrespectful however they miss the the whole point of the post - namely its irony.

Its like the time my dad and I were visiting my mom at the hospital after a large part of her colon was removed due to cancer. The surgeon walked in to tell her the not so great news that she would have to have chemo as they had found cancer cells in 2 adjacent lymph nodes.

As he spoke so I looked down at his hands where he held his mobile, car keys and you'd never believe it - a box of Camel Lights.

I burst out laughing - in what really wasn't a funny occasion but I had to explain why I was laughing so the Dr said to me "Believe me if I had one wish so I had to choose between winning the lottery or stopping smoking. I would stop the smoking but I just can't seem to do it"

It didn't make him seem to be any worse a surgeon, just someone human like the rest of us.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon (et al), just to be clear, I don't exclude comments from the blog unless they're profane or libelous. The comments to which I referred earlier were simply emails directly to me, not intended by their authors for publication. I did invite them to resubmit their comments on-blog, but they have not responded.

:) said...

I bought the program, and it heled my life! Lucinda and The Midwest Center have done some amazing things for me and my life! Since recovering for a horrible anxiety disorder I have set up a profile on Myspace to help others(myspace.com/as_seen)
Please understand what you are doing to someones family when posting articles like this. He was someones husband, father, son, grandson, nephew, uncle, and a great man to Many!
Have some respect!!!

LUVG said...

Wow! I have mixed feelings about this topic. I was tipped off to this site by a friend and am sickened to see how you people are so negative but more importantly naive.

I for one was one of those BANNED from her site. I did her program, which was a life saver for me and thousands of others, however, my spiritual views did not jive with the mainstream there and my views were not welcomed. I did not blame Lucinda herself...but her Ego centered staff. They had the power to pick and choose who's views were acceptable and who's were not. As a result of this, I was BANNED from their site without so much as a warning. So yes, I would agree there are some area's in need of improvement in her program.

With that said, you would think that I would have some satisfaction in reading this, but I feel quite the contrary. I am sickened to see people gloating at the irony in this. Her program teaches people with anxiety and depression to take hold of their thoughts and take back control over their lives. I had been down that dark road and her program was the light at the end of that tunnel.

David Bassett committing suicide is no different then any other soul who finds that their light isn't near enough, soon enough. Lucinda is NOT responsible for this, nor could she save a life thats light had left. Only someone who HAS NOT suffered this type of mental anguish, would participate in trying to "EXPOSE" and bring this woman down. For those of you who have nothing good to say, take a look at her site. Read the thousands of posts from people who HAVE suffered from anxiety, panic or depression and you'll see the MANY she has helped, FAR out weights all the negative, nasty, cynical people here.

I can only hope that this type of darkness doesn't visit your lives or those of the one you love. My guarantee would be, that if you did, her program would be the first grab on your sinking ship!

As for Lucinda keeping this under wraps....why would she not? Look at you people! YOUR sick. It will give the impression that her program was not effective and that would be a sad mistake. It is highly effective and the circumstances around David Bassett is a part of the irony that life holds.

In closing, Lucinda may not of "saved" the life of her husband, but HAS saved the life of THOUSANDS of "OTHERS"!!!

Steve Salerno said...

Thank you for taking the time to write out your thoughts and feelings in such detail, LUVG. If there's a "gloating" element here, it's born of something much deeper than the simple desire to take pleasure in someone else's misfortune. As I've noted previously, my family, too, has been touched by suicide--more than once. But I do think it's different, that the bar is set higher, when the suicide seems to be a reproach to the methodology by which people are making an awful lot of money. As we noted earlier, if I'm selling a "foolproof wealth-building program"--and I'm a bankrupt and a tax cheat--you have a right to know that, and to doubt my program on that basis. If I'm selling a "surefire way to get rid of ants for good!", and my house is crawling with the little buggers, that's going to raise questions, too. As it should.

And let's face it, I'm hardly the only person to wonder about the efficacy of Lucinda's program.

LUVG said...

{quote}And let's face it, I'm hardly the only person to wonder about the efficacy of Lucinda's program. {end quote}



The only ones wondering are those who have not experienced it! Gotta laugh. Trust me when I say...should you ever find yourself in a place of despair, a visit with a therapist (who more then likely has never suffered this evil) or a Dr. who prescribes meds (while most fear them) will be of little or no comfort. Your next option would be prayer of course and guess where that leads most...to Lucinda's program. Your naive on the subject Steve. You may "know" of others who have suffered, but you yourself have not.

Steve Salerno said...

And LUVG, what makes you so sure that Lucinda has suffered (I'm not talking about now, with her husband's suicide, but years ago, when she first devised the program), or that she ever had any real basis for devising that program? Just because she says so? I'd ask you to stick around on the blog for a while. You may have certain impressions of Lucinda and the Clinic that turn out to be...misguided?

LUVG said...

Looking forward steve...maybe you'll get to see why I got banned. lol Won't back down when I feel passionate about a subject.

Anonymous said...

I did the program and it saved my LIFE!!! David was bi-polar, something that is Way beyond anxiety and depression. It can strike you happy or depressed at any moment. As much as I hate how ignorant you are Steve, I wouldn't even wish it on you...
I feel so sorry for all of you who speak so bad of something like this, where's your morals, compassion....the Karma that's comeing your way is SO very much deserved!

Steve Salerno said...

Now wait just a sec here, folks, before we start wishing (in a sly way) mental illnesses on one another.

One of my major gripes here is with Lucinda. If the circumstances are as described, and David was pretty much doomed no matter what anyone tried, then why hasn't Lucinda addressed this publicly? It's the perfect opportunity for her to delve further into the evil abyss of mental illness...isn't it? She'd get invited on every morning show and probably get a one-guest-only slot on Oprah. (That might still happen. Wouldn't surprise me at all.)

I'll tell you why she doesn't do that, in my opinion--because she's afraid of exactly what I'm alluding to here: that it might reflect unfavorably on her and her business. That it might be--as crass as this might sound--a professional embarrassment. And don't give me any crap about "privacy." She sure was open enough about her own supposed emotional travails back when she was launching the Center. And she sure made enough of that same subject when she did Oprah. And to this day, she sure expresses a note of personal understanding in her radio spots.

But we hear nothing from her on this. Nothing. Even the obits were carefully edited to make it sound like he might have died of a heart attack or fallen off a hotel balcony or something.

When David tragically killed himself--and yes, any suicide is a tragedy--Lucinda went underground. To me, that speaks volumes.

LUVG said...

Before addressing Lucinda and David, lets start with you Steve. From the looks of this site, you have made it your purpose and intent in life to defame others and bring as many as possible to the forefront of shame and scandal. What is so admirable about what YOU do? Because your not raking in the dough from your efforts, it makes what you do justifiable? hummm...Where is YOUR contribution to the world? What is it that you do that is worthy of praise? Exposing others is worthy of admiration? I find what you do to be a waste of precious energy as you are merely serving your EGO. When you brake it down to the finest minute point, you will find behind all actions is intentions. We know what Lucinda's are...what are yours? Let me guess...saving people from the scams of the world. Who saves the people from you I wonder?



Lets say for the sake of argument here that Lucinda is indeed a scam artist out to make a buck. So be it. Has she helped more then she has hindered? Yes. According the the statistics I read in the other thread, 58% of her customers have had a positive result having used her program. I guess my question would be, what's your gripe? Secondly, I can not speak for Lucinda but I will speak as a customer having benefited from her program. If I were to read that Lucinda's husband passed due to his own actions, yes, I would have felt that the program held very little hope for me due to the circumstances. However, he was Bi-polar from what the previous poster stated and that in itself is a whole other issue.



Before the answer as to why Lucinda went "underground" can be answered, you have to first understand the condition that she HELPS people with. Panic is key in it all. Panic is something that seizes the mind. All rational thinking is out the window when it visits. It's a condition that out weighs generalized anxiety by tons. Many suffer it daily, hourly. Her program breaks down the mind set of a person in panic/distress and helps to see the pattern in it and releases the fear about it = it lessons in frequency = taking back control.



Having said that, how many people would panic to hear that her husband commited suicide? A lot! It's a huge fear of many who suffer anxiety, depression and panic....of course you not having first hand experience would never know this. Maybe laying low until it rears it's ugly head (by nay sayers like yourself) is a better choice for the now. In addition to that, how hard must dealing with something of this magnitude feel? To question her position shows you lack all sense of decency and compassion.



I will leave you with one more thought. {{What if}} is huge in the world of anxiety and panic. What if I go down that path, what if the program DOESN'T work for me, what if.........you get the point. So let me ask you this. When you ceist to exist (which ultimately will happen) and there is no silly place like hell for people like you to visit (add me to the list of nay sayers as there is no literal place = hell) and you have no one to answer to but yourself.... {{What if}} YOU get to look over your existence here and judge your own actions and intentions? {{What if}} your only punishment for your actions was the disgust you would feel coming from the perspective of the other person/s you have wronged? Well I can say this for sure.....I would much rather be Lucinda viewing her actions and intentions then you Steve.

Steve Salerno said...

OK, LUVG. I let you have the last word. Now please go away.

LUVG said...

[Quote] OK, LUVG. I let you have the last word. Now please go away.[end/quote]

Ha! Is it say to say your banning me too? lol Isn't it nice to be in control? I guess I could rest my case on that....althought I do think that if you head up a site of this nature, you should be prepared to take the hits.

Our Egos are a funny thing...

Steve Salerno said...

LUVG, first of all, I didn't ban you. If I'd banned you, I wouldn't have run your comment. I just asked you to go away. That's different.

If you really spent any time investigating my blog at all, you'd see (a) that there are many perspectives represented here, but more importantly, (b) I have a firm policy against "ad hominem" attacks. (Look it up.) If your last comment doesn't qualify, I don't know what does. The point is, I did a lot of research in writing my book, and I continue to do research in composing this blog, and if I take swipes at people, it's based on something. I don't just go around name-calling and wishing people to Hell and all that sort of asinine stuff. Also, if you read this blog, you'll see that I am "big enough" to take the hits, that I frequently allow people lots of leash in differing with my opinions. But again, I usually insist that those differing POVs be based on something, and that they have a case to make, i.e., not just lame, grade-school putdowns like "Oh yeah?? Well you're stupid and I hope your ears fall off!! So there!!"

Any valid points you potentially make in your comments are undone by the nasty stuff you say, and--frankly--the inelegance of the way you express yourself. So I'm not surprised that you'd end up being banned from online forums.

Steve Salerno said...

A note to LUVG: You just keep saying the same things in different ways, all of it personal, all of it an attempt at one-upmanship, none of it bringing anything new to the (so-called) discussion. And it's getting very tedious.

You were the one who "got personal" here. I hate to sound like we're both back on the playground of our youth, but "You started it." Now it's finished. I'm not going to post anything you write from here on unless you bring new material (e.g. evidence or data or at least a reasonable argument rooted in logic, not pique) to the table. And if you send something else through without new material, I'm not going to read anything further.

Steve Salerno said...

NOTE FROM SS: I am posting this on behalf of someone who wishes to remain anonymous. Every word is original and authentic:

I would like to write anonymously on the subject of the David Bassett suicide. I am a disabled physician who has a long history of anxiety and have read many well written books on this subject and mostly dealt with my problem effectively in the many years I practiced and in the years since with which I have dealt with chronic pain which is part of my disability. I somehow found Lucinda Bassett's product appearing as an advertisement on my email site. I was curious and decided to attempt the 30 day trial. I found the CDs to be mildly helpful, but they were largely unprofessional and much of their information is unsubstantiated in medicine...i.e. low sugar diets affecting anxiety and depression and hyperactivity in a positive way. I found the cost of the program outrageous considering the quality of the merchandise offered. Also, these thoughts have been voiced in far more professional ways by mental health professionals who speak to the average person dealing or battling with anxiety and depression. I noted much hostility on this site when the center set up by the Bassetts came under fire and I must stress that mental health disorders can not always be handled by cognitive behavioral tools, especially if one is bipolar, as is being said of Michael [sic] Bassett. But, my point in writing is that much money was made off the sales of these products and never was mention made of David's condition. One was left with the notion that the Bassetts were a happy, healthy family that overcame any demons through the advice they professed. I would have found it immensely more believable had Lucinda discussed her husband's health issues and how one must seek medical help for certain issues (she does say this) and not promote so strongly a non-medical self help approach that belies ones own home situation.

scarlett said...

Just wondering if any of you have actually looked at the program. Sounds like you don't like the woman, but I actually ordered the program for my anxious son. It is SELF help--lots of excellent information---but the person does need to be the one doing it. It really helped my son. It's lots of good positive information at your fingertips with reinforcing audios, based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. No magic cure--just the promise to be better. Lots of work and information. Sorry if she bugs you. I find her comforting and sincere.

Steve Salerno said...

Scarlett, as I've often said--and I said this right in my book--there is almost no program that won't help someone. (Which is to say--putting it differently--every program is going to be of some benefit to someone.) The question is, what are the odds? How good is the program overall? And how many people end up feeling that they got "taken"?

I have a fair amount of behind-the-scenes knowledge that I haven't yet gone public with. That may or may not happen, depending upon whether I am able to interest some third party (a magazine or major newspaper) in having me do an investigative piece. I don't think I would assume the legal liabilities here without that kind of backing--not just for a blog item.

I'm glad you found the program useful. Just to be clear, it is not "in my interest" to see people suffer, so I never root for self-help programs to fail.

Anonymous said...

Steve, your a troubled man. I feel much sorrow for a tortured soul as yourself. I wonder how much effort you are putting into finding someone to help you expose the Midwest Center? So sad. You have so much to learn about life, so much to learn about yourself as well.

Steve Salerno said...

This is obviously a personal attack on me, made with no knowledge of me other than my comments about the Center, but I let it through so that I could make something clear: I have not been "putting effort" into "finding someone" to help me expose the Center. There was no need for that. People have been coming out of the woodwork, approaching me with their stories. And some of the people are quite close to Lucinda herself.

Anonymous said...

Personal attack? You got to be kidding me guy, your whole blog is a personal attack. Each day, new person, new subject. How does it feel to be the target yourself?

I noticed a blogger LuvG didn't return. Bet you silenced that one. She had some great things to say and magically disappeared. Whenever it gets good for your viewers, your viewers get going! Your something else man.

Steve Salerno said...

OK, I allowed that last one in. Happy now?

Here's the difference: When I "attack" someone, there are usually little things called facts involved. Like, for instance, right at this very moment, on the MySpace page Lucinda kicked off in October 2007, she listed her age as 43. (I've saved a screen-shot to protect myself, just in case she changes it. I've also brought it to the attention of others.) There are other age-related references and bios floating around implying that Lucinda was born in 1965. One can only assume that such information came from Lucinda herself.

That is simply and provably untrue. She's almost a decade off. Now that is a fact. By itself, it's not all that meaningful a fact--but it's a fact nonetheless, not a "personal attack." There are other, more material facts that I expect to reveal in due course.

The point--for now--is that I try to deal in facts, and logical consistency, and overall conformity to what we know to be true about life. When I find things that don't add up, I point them out on SHAMblog.

That is very different from the kinds of attacks that many people launch against me, which are more along the lines of "nya-nya-nya-nya-nya, you're a big poop-head!" Like, for example, your comment here, Anon.

Anonymous said...

Could you please share with your readers what it is you will gain from this? What positive will come from her husbands suicide and you bringing it out? I think this is a fair question.

Steve Salerno said...

This is a very complex question that can't really be answered without writing the article I'd like to write about Lucinda and the Center. I'm sorry; I know that sounds devious or evasive, but there's no way to do justice to the subject in just a few lines, and to cover it in any greater depth here on the blog would expose me to liability that I simply cannot assume without the knowledge that a major publishing entity is standing behind me.

In a general sense (and I emphasize that I am not specifically talking about Lucinda here), let me ask you this: If you went to a financial seminar led by a guy who promised to make you rich--and you later found out he was bankrupt and hiding from the IRS--would that, or would that not, affect your willingness to buy what he's selling? Doesn't someone have to force the gurus of self-help to prove that they practice what they preach, and that their vaunted program isn't just a house of cards? A "sham," if you will?

I am sorry about David Bassett's death. I truly am. If you've read this blog at all, you know how I feel about suicide. But does a death in the family insulate a person from all criticism?

Anonymous said...

I continue to follow this blog from time to time. I am the anonymous physician who wrote my thoughts last month. I write now to point out the minimal expense involved in putting together a series of CDs, which are quite disjointed as the topic goes from Lucinda's advice to the same five or so people giving their experience, often being interrupted before their words are spoken in detail. By comparison, the cost of these materials is beyond comprehension. There are wonderful resources out there in book and CD form that speak from a more medical perspective on cognitive behavioral therapy and are a fraction of the price of this handsomely packaged set of CDs. It is just such a profitable enterprise, that addresses such personal problems, that one must wonder what its motivation is.

I listened to almost every CD in Lucinda's program during my trial and grasped to find some new information. Something vital is missing in them, to help those who have done any self-research on the subject. Thus my surprise at the exorbitant price attached to it. There are many laughs, many happy family related accounts, but no concrete evidence that Lucinda had experienced what she spoke about.

The death of Lucinda's husband had to follow a lifetime of pain in her family, but this is never alluded to; her family is presented in an almost too-perfect way. If one is truly trying to help those who suffer, the one rule is to be honest. One doesn't have to be detailed about how a mental health disorder led to an eventual suicide, but, as Steve noted earlier, this did not occur without serious trouble preceding it. Knowing this still would not have justified the price of the tapes, but it might have shed a bit more reality and humanity on Lucinda's story. I have extensively researched information on anxiety and depression from a medical and personal standpoint. I counseled patients on it and recommended local resources known to do justice to the problem and the patient, as well as suggesting CDs and books from very reputable people who were doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers. These are effective ways to deal with the problems contained in these CDs. David's health issue is a great tragedy when one considers its outcome, but many people suffer with bipolar disease, and a nod to the difficulties existing in her own family would have made Lucinda's words more meaningful.

I remain anonymous because I am known well in my community and have never written on a blog before. I am not embarrassed that I have suffered from anxiety over the years. But, as one writer wrote a long time ago, much of what Lucinda said had been spoken innumerable times in the past. Claire Weeks, M.D., an early pioneer of cognitive behavioral therapy as applied to the management of anxiety and panic disorders, wrote simple, very inexpensive books that allowed me to gain this same perspective and to continue on with a very active medical career. The books at the time cost less than ten dollars.

There has been much said on this subject and there has been much personal hostility voiced on this blog. I do think that the truth is important without exposing one's innermost suffering. And, realizing that I am belaboring this point, i will say again that huge monetary gain was achieved from repeating what had been said in the past by more credible sources.

Anonymous said...

So pretty basically here what the discussion is coming down to is a monetary issue? Why is this woman making money off a old secret that the medical community has all ready addressed? If what the medical community is putting out there is so effective, why then are people still suffering is what you should be asking?

Here's an analogy for you as I live by them...

There are a dozen or so Grape Jelly's to choose from in the grocery store. Does one jelly's grapes that are grown in their backyard opposed to the others that are purchased from an others field make it any yummier? NOPE! I like variety and gravitate toward the one that best suites my desires. People should be free to do the same.

As to Mr. Anonymous...as a physician yourself, I am a little baffled as to your lack of knowledge and insight into Bi-Polar. Since when is this diagnosis treated with a self help program addressing anxiety and depression? Yes, depression is a underlying condition of this disorder, it is NOT a treatment for it! Your assumption that Lucinda's husbands condition was even present at the time of the programs creation is merely an assumption. Furthermore, it attacks anxiety, panic and depression not a bi-polar diagnosis as a whole.

I think your all looking for excuses to justify your anger over someone Else's success.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon 12:19 (and others who've made the same point), why does that have to be the trump card played by all who defend the Center? To wit: "You're just jealous, that's all!" Is it not possible, at least possible, that we're interested in this topic because we have a soft spot for the "little guy," and maybe we don't think it's right that some opportunistic entrepreneurs (and I'm speaking in general here, not specifically about Lucinda) will try to profit off other people's misfortune?

Cal said...

At the time I am writing this (early October), I have heard three different radio commercials with Lucinda Bassett in them over the past few weeks.

Maybe she took some time off after the death of her husband, but my small sample size indicates that she may be back with a vengeance.

Steve Salerno said...

Oh she's surely back, Cal--and vengeance may be a surprisingly apt word.

Anonymous said...

10-04-2008

I am an anxiety sufferer and I have ordered and used this program. I went from not being able to leave my house to leading a relatively normal life. Admittedly, I still struggle with my anxiety occassionaly because anxiety is a normal part of life. However, nothing helped me so quickly, so effectively as this program did. It was expensive, about as expensive as sevreal appointments with a therapist. That's the truth. Anxiety and anxiety-related depression are not mental disorders, they are emotional disorders. They can be treated very successfully without medication, however Lucinda urges on the program to talk to your doctor about medication if you feel you need it because it can be very helpful in the process of healing.

I can't figure out what the hate for Lucinda Bassett on this blog is about? If you've done the program, which is obvious from the posts that most of you haven't, you'd know she admits nothing she's talking about is new information or ground-breaking. She points out time and time again that she IS NOT a doctor. She says over and over again, I am an ex-anxiety sufferer. I can show you the way out, because I've been there.

She is extremely candid and open about all of the details of her life, including her ex-husband. I am disgusted by the fact Steve Salerno has had discussions with this man. Give me a break. He was her high school sweetheart whom she married and divorced after a couple of years. You are talking about a man who hasn't known her since she was in her early 20's. She's now in her 50's. So if any of you are the same person that you were 30 years ago, I'll die of shock. It's ridiculous. It sounds to me like the man is angry and jealous he treated her like crap and she left him to go on and become a multi-millionaire. She even says in the program she went back and found him years later to apologize for the way she was during the marriage in order to get closure.

Also, I'm sorry about your sons friends suicide, but to try to compare that to the death of her SPOUSE is just unbelievable. It's obnoxious. There is no comparison.

I have to admit when I heard about her husbands suicide I was devastated and shocked. One of my heroes, the stable, knowledgeable person on those CD's was not able to help her own husband!? It is a big problem. If it gets out, it will ruin her company and her livelihood. She's probably in a state of shock over this situation, the suicide that is. Please tell me how you would feel if your spouse killed him or herself? Not only does she have to deal with that reality, the mourning her children must be experiencing, but she also has to worry about whether or not she can pay her bills because her company surely wouldn't survive this news. You're potraying her as a shrewd busniess person when you've probably never, ever dealt with anything so life altering, so damaging as this. What would you do? Honestly? She probably can't even think about the business actually. I'm sure any ad's you're hearing or anything like that is the work of other people within the business. They stand to lose their jobs too, you know?

Bottom line - the program was wonderful. It helped me immensly. Midwest Center really knows what it's like to have anxiety and they really know how to get you out of it because most of the people on the staff are ex-suffers, not doctors. They know first-hand what it's like to struggle with anxiety and how to get rid of it. Yeah, the production of the product is less than impressive. Who freaking cares? The snobby doctor you have posting on here is not impressed with the material because he's an overly intellectual person who complicates things. Normal, everyday people, will find this program to be very useful.

Mark my words. In one or two years when her healing begins, Lucinda will use this experience with her husbands death to do good for others. When the time is right she'll be very honest about everything. Now is not the time. For crying out loud the man has only been dead for a few months. Give her some time.

Steve Salerno said...

FYI, Lucinda basically sold the company this past week, but the trade reports are that she will remain on with a "significant role."

Anonymous said...

Yeah, so what? What exactly are you suggesting? She's an evil, wicked, lair and thief who is only out for herself and couldn't care less that her husband died! That's disgusting, seriously. Again, what would you do? You seem like a real scum-bag. I'm sorry to say that, but you do. You seem quite heartless.

I'm still trying to understand what you're trying to accomplish with your trashing of her? I'm someone who had the problem she treats. I KNOW THAT HER PROGRAM WORKS. You just have a big mouth and hatred for successful people, I guess. Like I said, give her some time. She will turn this into something positive.

This whole thing really just makes you look less credible. With all of the true scams and shams out there, why are you wasting your time trashing someone who is trying to do good work? I'm being sincere. I'm very curious what your logic here is. I think you might be a sham, my friend.

Steve Salerno said...

I don't know why I published that last one, since it's so obviously personal (and pretty vile). But I figured I'd let you get it off your chest, Anon, since--as a result of Lucinda's programs--you're so clearly well-balanced and at peace with the world.

Anonymous said...

I know the family and you would be suprised at the skeltons in the closet! Lucinda should do what she preaches in her overpriced program.

Anonymous said...

Revealing some of the skeletons in the closet! As of 10-2-08 Transom Capital Group has acquired the Midwest Center for Stress & Anxiety and also Good Living Labs a spin off company of the Midwest Center selling vitamin products. You can read the press release at: www.pehub.com/19248/transom-capital-buys-midwest-center-for-stress-anxiety

PhoebeMoses said...

A few years ago I was beginning to suffer from some serious anxiety attacks. Quite frankly I didn't even think panic attacks even existed. I happened on Ms. Bassett's book, "From Panic to Power" at the library and found the information helpful on many levels. I did not buy into her other programs considering the costs prohibitive. I think she wrote the first book somewhere around 1995/97? What happened between now and then is anyone's guess. The book is full of anecdotal experience definitely not a clinical book but I was able to glean much useful information and relate to her experiences. Now if you are telling me that her book was premised on a sham case of anxiety disorder then hells bells by all means expose her. BUT if true she has offered a product which from all accounts has helped an untold amount of people including me.

Anonymous said...

I am a person who bought the anxiety and depression program to conquer my anxiety. I found the program to be garbage - it did not help me at all. I did; however, find a group of people who were all suffering from the same or similar anxiety problems as myself. As a business person I do not have the time to join a support group and found the 24 hour a day availability to be wonderful support. I was able to ask questions about my symptoms, medications and concerns and get answers from people who had been through the same problems and came out the other end. I wish I had not spent the money but I would have never found the web site. Recovery from anxiety requires the ability to recognize what is happening to your body and the web site is fabulous for that.
As far as Lucinda goes, many worship her as a god. She is not a god, she is a person. Whether or not she has had these problems is irrelevant, she is making money off people who normally do not have the financial resources to pay and is very wrong for what she is doing. If she truly cares she would offer services for free.
Regarding LUVG, I am familiar with her and was on the site when she was banned. She was not banned for having different views but for being very cruel to those who did not share her views. Anxiety and depression are bad enough without having a person call you names and use profanity to describe you in a chat room. She deserved to be banned and her rude comments should be taken with a grain of salt.

Anonymous said...

All I can tell you is that her program saved and changed my life forever. It saddens me so much to read these posts. They are so heartless. But I am thankful to finally find out what happened to David, so thank you for that (assuming it is true). Lucinda must be going through hell and you people talk about her as if she is a sicko. I must tell you that her program works only if you do what she tells you to do. It is not an easy program, but it was the best money I ever spent in my life. I bought the program in 1995. Now all these years later I continue to get stronger by using the skills that she taught me. I thank God for her! Tragic things happen in almost every family I know. Humans are human. No one knows what was going on with David. Please stop bashing someone that really did give me hope and changed my life forever in more ways than I can explain to you. And I do still see her commercials on air and hear them on the radio since June. I hope and pray that your posts do not discourage someone from getting a program that can change your their life. Oh you can get her program on Ebay for really cheap, so maybe you should give the program an honest listen before you judge it. I bought the updated version on CD from Ebay for 11.00 which included an unused workbook. It is a miracle program sent by God above in my honest opinion! Her program is for people who are not wimps but for strong people that can commit to doing what she says and then get on the road to recovery, often times without pills! I was able to get off of Xanax that I had been on for many years. I can do so much now that I couldn't do before. I could write a book about how the program changed my life.

Thanks for listening,
Stephanie from the Sunshine State

Steve Salerno said...

Stephanie, thanks for writing. If it worked for you, and you feel better these days, then that's what matters in your case.

Steve Salerno said...

This morning (Feb. 1) I found it necessary to reject a comment that cast further doubt on the Center's marketing and methods. I believe I've mentioned in the past that, though I'm more than happy to publish even the most scathing opinions, I will not publish specific allegations of misconduct and/or illegal acts that could be libelous, especially when they come from anonymous sources who claim to be corporate insiders or have first-person knowledge of corporate management (as this person did, today). What's fair is fair.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to what led him to kill himself. Recently, I was watching the Insider:Weekend edition. And they were doing a piece on Barack Obama and how the office ages the presidents, and they interviewed Lucinda. I couldn't help but notice she looked really hurt, if not,tired. It seems that, after reading her books and going through her programme in 2006, that she is always losing people. If I were in her shoes, I'd probuably have a breakdown, but I know she has to stay strong for her kids. I do agree with one person, who questioned, about her keeping information about her husband private, (she has a right too anyways),but I do think it would reflect bad on her company. It doesn't matter how much postive talk you give yourself, still, we never know what can make a person snap.Despite the refrences to bipolar disorder, I think this has alot to do with their company being in the red for all these years, maybe he wad upset that they were going to lose everything they built?

Anonymous said...

I have to say, that I am very interested in the info you've mentioned. I bought the program, but also found many flaws in it . I am also well versed in the world of mental illness. I do believe that this program can and has helped some people, but I don't find any earth shattering revelations in it myself. I wish that all the people who are bipolar, and buy this program, thinking they may be cured, would understand that it is so important to stay on your meds. Not everything can be solved with diet, CBT etc. I am sorry for the death of David, and can surely sympathize with his struggles if indeed he was bipolar. Thanks for putting this info out in the open!!!!

Anonymous said...

I purchased the "program" not once, not twice but three times(over a 10 year period). And recently purchased what she was selling on QVC. I wish I would have found this out first. Her new "5 day worry/stress less" from QVC was just produced within the last few months. Lucinda speaks of the death of her sister ('93), her father, her s-i-l, her brother, who died in 9/08...but nowhere does she even ackowledge that David passed away. I fee dupped, stupped and pissed off. What a fool I was to think she was genuine. Also, LUV her Malibu pad. WOW, I guess a lot of talking can get you a coveted spot in southern Cali!?

Anonymous said...

If anyone visists their (MWC) site you will see that any posting making mention of David's dealth has been deleted. There is a lot more covering up going on there then people realize.

Steve Salerno said...

Well, looking at this optimistically, maybe Lucinda's program cured him....

Anonymous said...

Actually, there is a section on the MWC forums under "In memory of david Bassett". Just posted there but will see how long it stays. Also, counted atleast 35 posts by admin. for Lucinda about being back on QVC this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Lucinda is also going to be selling her 5 day program on QVC this weekend....must not have enough money and QVC must enjoy working with deceitful people.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve,

Just want to first send out much respect for how you're moderating this blog. It is pretty rough to stay objective when certain posts and posters could actually be working for the company that is being questioned.

That being said, I can say from personal experience and will not disclose any information beyond that for privacy, that reputation management is a big business and people/companies with deep pockets always have the upper hand.

Stating that bit, I read your blog as well as all the other comments and have come to the conclusion that there are many agents working at discrediting this post. I can smell them from a mile away. But no worries, because in the world of Search Engine Optimization, every added post simply gives more leverage to your blog so more and more readers will stumble upon this blog. (like I did)

Looks like the Midwest Center agents are actually inadvertently working for you in some regards. :D

All in all, everyone will have their own opinions... All I have to say is, for the extremists that are banishing Lucinda into exile as the devil herself, just speak your opinion and let everyone decide for themselves. (like I have)

For the extremists that claim Lucinda is an angel and a saint, speak your opinion and let the people decide as well.

No sense in evangelistic behaviors and aggressive manipulations for either party.

All that being said, here's my honest opinion.

I don't trust Lucinda Bassett and therefore the program would not work for me. Her face, her voice and her marketing practices are an unattractive combination that just doesn't sit well with me. From my experience, people who have asymmetrical faces have the same conflicts expressed inwardly and I can clearly see a devious eye (her left eye) when I look at her pictures.

So there you have it!

Keep up the hard work Steve and continue in your efforts to cast an objective field of play in the unfair sport of the internet.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon 5:17: Thank you.

Paul Hogan said...

Interesting Blog. Be Careful Out there!

Death, especially suicide, is very unfortunate. However, I think this suicide is very relavant in deciding whether or not to try Lucinda's product.

I made the mistake of trying the program, and it did not do anything for me. I listened to some of the CD's and all you hear is Lucinda talking in her pleasant tone. Useless to me.

The really bad news is I cancelled the product within the free trial period, but the vicious phone service reps disagreed, and attempted to deny the cancellation. My credit card has been charged for a few months, and Midwest Center put bad marks on my credit record following my refusal to pay for something I declined.

While Midwest Center advertises a kind product, they are borderline scam artists. To be fair, the methods may work for some people, but they don't for me. And the company perhaps should be taken to court for their deceptive tactics to a vulnerable audience.

Anonymous said...

I stopped having panic attacks and was able to get myself over anxiety issues due to her program. I do believe that the program works much better than most talk therapy. Also fyi, I am a working professional and not religious and would not buy into something cultish or weird.

Brad said...

Are there any credible sources to David Bassett's death?

Steve Salerno said...

Brad (et al), here ya go:
http://tiny.cc/lBN76

I also called the coroner's office.

Steve Salerno said...

P.S. Scroll down to the story headlined, "Body in Field Ruled a Suicide."

Anonymous said...

I just started using the program a few weeks ago. I've suffered from severe panic attacks for 20 years and I have to say that these CD's have helped me already, more than the millions of therapists I've been to. I'm in no way cured, and still have to take anti-depressants, but her sessions have given me hope and I've been trying hard to follow her advice. She actually sounds like she cares, and that makes all the difference. I can't imagine how she feels with her husband committing suicide. I mean, it's horrible enough to have that happy, but with the position she's in? No one can help everyone. One thing may work for some and not others. This is true with anything, whether it's a program such as this, therapy, or medication. I believe that Lucinda is trying to help people like me, and I was devastated to learn of her husband's suicide. Question for those that slam her for making money...why is that so bad? Isn't that what we all try to do? Just because she's making money from her business, does that make it a scam? And because her husband did what he did, who knows what went on in his personal life. I think those who think this is a scam either due to the death or not should keep their mouths shut and accept the fact that this program works for some and not for others, not because it's a "scam", but because every one is different. It's what makes us unique human beings.

Anonymous said...

I see where all of you are coming from regarding your opinions of Lucinda Bassett - positive and negative. I bought her program back in Sept 1995 and it's my own fault that I just didn't feel like doing the daily writing,constant affirmations, and other requirements after I heard all 15 cassette tapes. I guess I still doubted that I could be helped - and somehow I'm still alive 14 (mostly) very unhappy years later.

But how can people knock her for the price tag? If one is truly dedicated to learning this, and not exhausted by it's daily requirements due to adding it with your career plus time with signif other, friends, family etc, then it very well could work. She seemed sincere in this original program of hers and the $180 I paid would have well been worth it. Even if it's $500 now it would still be WELL worth it to eliminate a paralyzing and humiliating mental state such as panic/anxiety. I especially felt her sincerity in the video tape that was provided with my 1995 purchase. She really helped me feel like she knew where I was coming from with all the humiliation and shame I suffered in those first 28 years of my life.

In April 1996 her company called me to see how I was doing with the program and informed me of her newest release Life without Limits. It seemed like a good idea since I could return it if I didn't like it - only losing the S/H fee.

When it arrived I put in the video since it introduces one to what the program is and how it intends to help you. After watching the video twice I repackaged everything and sent it right back. To me it was like watching a someone who made a room of people laugh hysterically so the person kept repeating the exact same jokes to re-create the laughter. But it now causes the others to feel annoyed or even repulsed by this person just being an insincere ham. This video took any joke she made from the first video and she just ran with it ad nauseam. There was no way I was going to go any further on Life Without Limits.

It is so puzzling to me why she wouldn't feel people could use her program and also be on meds. Why not? If meds slightly help the person then so be it. Hopefully she has a nice $$ net worth because it cannot help her business by not really discussing her husband's suicide. That was not to come off as cruel. All the people who are accusing her as being a fraud would be pointing to this as part of their reason. In no way should her programs for anxiety be discredited with his suicide - as that simply wouldn't be fair. But she could keep her self-help methods the same while now realizing the value of people being on meds simultaneously.

There is nothing in life like eliminating a major problem via one big discovery/realization and now it disappears. But that's not how panic, anxiety, depression, works. For example, an effective medication does remove about 25% of the horror (it was my 7th one that finally worked - and each one had to be taken for 7-9 weeks before determining they were useless). A fast daily walk of 30 minutes minimum might remove another 5% of the anxiety. Staying with regular counseling may curb an extra 5%. Eating right but not to the point of being a health nut also helps out. The right amount of sleep helps everyone. Imagine not being exhausted and unenthused when waking up. Fially, daily self-affirmations.

So with all of the above added together, you could realistically kill about 70% of this disease. It is a given we will not be 100% cured, but 70% cured (or however much) is definitely livable. That's how I'm finally on my way.

zaomeiyuezaomeiyue [a_t] Gee mail Dawt Cawm said...

Original article with details of the suicide: http://www.malibusurfsidenews.com/archives/06122008.pdf

Dante said...

I've listened to Lucinda's program and I have to admit from personal experience that overcoming anxiety and depression takes a lot of hard work and personal effort.

It could be that Lucinda's program really does work, but that her husband didn't want to put forth the effort to cure himself. He knew how to do it, but he didn't want to. The bottom line is, you have to WANT to be happier. In other words, Lucinda's "pill" might cure you, but if you don't want to take the pill, you'll never get better.

Steve Salerno said...

Dante: I don't dispute what you're saying here. What bothers me, however, is that the advertising materials for these programs over the years have tended to make them sound almost "foolproof." And if your foolproof mental-health program can't even keep your own husband (and business partner) from taking his own life...how are we to interpret that? Isn't it valid for us to be just a wee bit cynical?

Anonymous said...

I tried the Midwest Center Program, got off medication and four months later suffered a serious bout of depression. One red flag that came up about the program was the "free" counseling session that came with the purchase of the program. It turned out to be a sales pitch for personal coaching which was very expensive and out of my price range. They guaranteed that if you did not achieve results you could get your money back. The catch was, you had to follow their instructions and do everything they told you to do. They put a lot of pressure on me to purchase this program and even when I said it was out of my price range, they encouraged me to find some way to borrow or come up with the money. The whole exchange created so much anxiety for me that I pretty much just said no. It really soured me on the program.

Anyway, I went back on medication and doing more traditional counseling.

I think people with mild anxiety and/or depression may be helped with some of her methods. Some of the information she supplied about symptoms of anxiety and depression were helpful. But for me, this was a program that did NOT work.

Jim said...

Was there ever any updates in the past year of David's "alleged" suicide ever going public? Was she "Cindy" ever cornered with this on any public stage?

I ordered the material back in Feb this year and currently I'm in dispute with her company honoring their refund policy.

Steve Salerno said...

Jim: You're not alone (insofar as complaints), as you will easily discover by simply Googling "midwest center stress" + "complaints."

As for the suicide, here is the only media coverage that remains online, to the best of my knowledge:

http://www.malibusurfsidenews.com/archives/06122008.pdf

Cindy/Lucinda has done her best to avoid the issue, as you probably know.

Anonymous said...

Early last year (2009) i was researching Lucinda Bassett online and IIRC article on Wikipedia had much more info than it has now:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucinda_Bassett

It had her age for example, and i believe mentioned a death of her husband w/o cause of his death.
BTW Lucinda it seems is pathologically sensitive to the question of her age. I've listened to her tapes (all 15 sessions) and found out that she always gets confused about her age and dates in general, and always talks about them in the form of questions.
Tapes i've been listening to appear to be recorded in late 1997- early 1998, she mentions the following timemarks:

1. She watched movie "Exorcist" when she was 13 (on the tape she says "Oh, how old i was then? Like 13?"). Movie came out in 1973
2. Her daughter Brittany is 12 years old, she graduated from Malibu High in 2003
3. They moved to California in 1994 "a few years ago"
4. Everybody is talking about El Nino (1998)
5. They've been married for "how long we have been married? like 14, 16 years?"
6. Midwest center was established in 1984 "we've been doing it for how long now? 12, 14 years"?
7. "It's 90s now"
8. "... and i'm, how old am i now? like 40?"
9. She finished 4-year college (did she?, maybe it was 2-year college?) before starting Midwest center

So:

1. if she was 13 when Exorcist came out, she was born in 1960
2. if she was 40 in 1998, she was born in 1958

Her first husband i guess know her DOB for sure :)

Steve Salerno said...

Thanks, Anon. An interesting analysis.

Her first husband knows many things. And maybe when the time is right...

Anonymous said...

Time IS right :)
Regarding the Lucinda's materials - she has no formal training in psychotherapy area, her tapes are full of water and self-promotion, but nonetheless they could be helpful, especially group sessions. She didn't invent any methods, she's used well-known and proven CBT techniques to compile her course.
All her materials (including DVDs) are easily available online for free, so no need to pay her a dime. And i personally wouldn't buy from her, i saw her commercials, she doesn't look as a trustworthy person at all. After researching her personality online and listening to her tapes i lost even that 1% of trust i had.

And on a side note - i don't believe she is drug-free for many years as she claims, i'm almost positive she's still on medications.

Anonymous said...

Public records database reveals her year of birth - 1956, so she was 17 not 13 when Exorcist came out, and she was 44 in 1998 while she thought she was 40 :)
I wonder why she's been so concerned about her age. On one of the tapes she talks about anxiety attacks she experienced in the past, and mentions article in the newspaper about her where "...they got everything wrong, everything, starting with my age... and... and... almost everything..."

Anonymous said...

I used The Lucinda Bassett Program about a year ago and found it very helpful, infact, I purchased another one off e-bay for $200 for my friends son as I am so convinced it helps, and told two friends to buy it. It doesn't cure you 100% of anxiety but it definitely improves ones life and I will always be thankful to her for that. So give her a break, she's not that evil!

Steve Salerno said...

Anon: No one said she was "evil." At least I didn't. I said she was devious, and perhaps not nearly as interested in her customers' well-being as in her own accumulation of wealth. And I stand by that. Search online for complaints against Bassett and the Center, both in terms of program content and business practices. You'll find no shortage of either.

Anonymous said...

It is a shame to the world that people like the owner of this blog exists. Unfortunately, one can't control the world and because of freedom of speech, blogs like these are allowed to exist. It's all common sense. I used the MCW program and I have to say I'm still working on changing my attitude so that I can live a more positive life, but to say that such program is a scam would be a lie. The program may work or may not. However, to actually start a whole blog to uncover the business tactics of a business is ridiculous. There are better things to do. The program has done wonders for me but being that the blog owner's cynical ways, I would probably get a reply from Mr. Salerno (let's be proper) saying, "Good for you."
I have read most of the posts on here and Mr. Salerno seems to be bitter with too much time on his hands. If it wasn't for a break I got from studying between campuses and doing Biochemical research at Berkeley and UCLA, I probably wouldn't habe the time to post my opinion on here. I will use the energy that I used to place on my anxiety and panic attacks on something beneficial, fruitful, and positive than to defame Lucinda Bassett and criticize the ways she decides to make a living. It is only people that have not gone through anxiety and depression who can easily talk and spew their venom on the net. Really, even to criticize her facial expressions? Could you find better use of your time? I could easily be convinced, but fortunately I have acquired excellent writing skills and pretty good brains/judgement to state clear opinions and defend something that I stand for.

I don't know why Mr. Salerno is so mad at this woman. Her program is still around, so it definitely sells and works. I used to look up how Bally's Total Fitness was so run down and people felt they were being ripped off, but that corporation is still around while those complaining on rip-off report are probably sitting around gaining more weight and bitter about not having the motivation to head to the gym.

My family was destroyed by the cult that is the Jehovah's Witnesses and I could be on every blog to uncover the truths behind the religion but I will not do so. Mr. Salerno is using simply the same language that many "apostates" such religion abhors and it's kind of funny that a harmless company that is the MCW is targeted to the extent of being a malevolent cult. Guess what? After persecution,violence, and hate from people like Mr. Salerno, the Jehovah's Witnesses are still around after 120 years. The MCW Anxiety program will still prevail even with this negative blog. She is critized physically constantly on here, which contradicts Mr. Salerno when replying to LUVG, because he states he thought he had left the schoolyard attitude behind decades ago.
Well, I could go on and on and get very confrontational and defensive, but I have no time for more of this and even though I am gay, my family still instilled that every woman should be respected, and I find Salerno's bashing on Bassett to be highly unmanly. As for that, it is another topic. Now, if all can excuse me, I need to isolate a few proteins and possibly publish a few journals rather than publish books that contribute nothing to this world. God bless everyone.

Anonymous said...

I'm a journalist and marketing writer, never worked for or with the MWC. I suffered from anxiety disorder for years and Lucinda Bassett's book and program were not a magic bullet -- but were a key and perhaps essential part of my ongoing and very successful recovery. With most people, recovery is a recipe with many ingredients and the MWC was one of those for me.

Having said that, I think the MWC as a business model got too big, too fast. I don't have insider knowledge, but that's my impression. They tried to market the coaching program to me, and I suspected it was not worth the money. Once a successful program like this gets rolling it is so easy to overreach from a business perspective. Then the founder ends up getting lots of other players involved with different motives, the business stakes get higher, goals loftier (including financial) . . . and before you know it, you get new parts of the program that don't work as well, you get disgruntled employees, and people leaking "dirt" which is usually just typical of any business that has grown, and grown maybe too fast. Nothing out of the ordinary or criminal, but just negative stuff that inevitably occurs in a fast-growth business. And of course, there are ALWAYS dissatisfied customers (some with legit complaints, like reneging on refunds) to complain on blogs.

That's how I interpret a lot of negative comments on the Center. Some are marginally valid, but nothing sinister or that I think should keep people from trying the basic program like I did. I would also recommend Claire Weekes' books, and there are some others out there on cognitive therapy. And if meds help take the edge off, I'd advocate trying them; but also combining it with this program or some other good cognitive therapy so that you only use the meds if absolutely necessary.

Regarding the comments by the physicians on this site: I wonder what program they reviewed! Many of their slams are off-target. Bassett never claims to be a doc, is very open about her own struggles, says that your battle will be ongoing but that you can get to a level of control, and admits very openly that she has merely repackaged cognitive therapy in a more user-friendly way--and a way that is cheaper than lots of appointments with a counselor.

Re: personal quirks like forgetting her age -- I frankly don't care. People have quirks.

Re: her husband's suicide -- I think that does legitimately raise questions, but in the end is not totally relevant for reasons that other posters here have given. The guy was apparently bipolar, and when you add that to the stress of running a company that probably grew way too quickly and generated a lifestyle that was too fastlane . . . well, that's the kind of thing that has otherwise very stable guys on Wall Street jumping out windows. So yeah, it's a problem, but I don't think his suicide invalidates the MWC any more than a minister having an affair invalidates the message he preaches.

Regarding the "inside info" that this site has kept promising over the past 2 years: It never seems to come. I just stumbled on to this today and read all the posts since 2008. Lots of breathless, teasing, tantalizing promises of a big BREAKING NEWS-style revelation. Maybe that merits a website on sham Shamblogs.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon 7:53: Thank you for your lengthy and eloquent comment.

I do indeed possess inside info, and a fair amount of it at that, gained mostly via interactions with Lucinda's former husband and two other Bassett family insiders. Alas, this is one of those projects--Byron Katie also comes to mind--that kept getting back-burnered, in large part because I thought it was the kind of thing that I would one day try to develop into a serious work of journalism--that is, something larger (and, frankly, more commercially rewarding) than a blog post. That said, you're probably right; I should have filled in at least some of the gaps at some point. Maybe I'll get to it soon. (Or is that just another worthless "teaser" that provides more ammunition for you to impugn me?)

Keep in mind that a blog is just, well, a blog. There are (in most cases) no editors, there is no long-range planning, there is no research staff, there are a lot of decisions made very much on the fly. To expect the sort of continuity in coverage from a blog that one might expect, say, from the New York Times, strikes me as an unfair burden to place upon those of us who slog along in this (largely) unpaid industry.

Steve Salerno said...

Just FYI, I have just rejected a comment, from "JodyBeckham," defending Lucinda and the Center. If she simply stated her case I would've surely let the comment through, but it seemed to me that her remarks turned into a sales pitch for the Center's products midway through, including a link to a site where the product is available. I'm not going to allow my blog to be used that way.

Anonymous said...

Yea her husband killing himself is creepy!! I mean she owns a business to help with depression and anxiety, but she couldn't save her own husband? She went silent for almost a year following her his death. Now I see she has a brand new infomercial out. But hey, a house in Malibu is pretty expensive. I feel bad for in a way, but she is a con-man and a half. I bet her tapes contain the same out-dated material. You should blog about other things you know!! Let us in on it.

Franca said...

I spoke with David Bassett years ago when Attacking Anxiety was first marketed - I am very saddened by his tragic death.

It was clear back then that he was the brains behind the product and that Lucinda was the convenient "poster girl" for anxiety disorders. This was probably a smart business move, since women tend to suffer more than men from this disorder -- or at least admit to having a problem and seek treatment.

I have bought the program - twice. First time was the original tapes - and did the entire program as prescribed. While it did give me a slightly better understanding of what anxiety disorder was and was not, and the relaxation tape relaxed (or bored) me so much it put me to sleep, it did nothing to help me overcome any part of my debilitating anxiety disorder.

I found the quality of the program to be very unprofessional - like something you would record in your basement on a hand-held recorder. There's too much talk about nothing, that seemed to act as unnecessary and time-consuming filler. The meat and potatoes of the program could probably be summed up nicely, and more professionally, in maybe two or three tapes.

I then purchased the program AGAIN - what I thought was the new and improved version - when she added "and depression" to the title. I assumed the program had been revamped. It was not. It was the very same program with a new title and now in CD form.

What really makes me feel uncomfortable about the entire thing is that a) there is no "Midwest Centre" so that in itself is not only misleading but false advertising, in my opinion. And, b) the "coaching" they offer is ridiculously expensive (like the CDs) and is done by people who have supposedly successfully completed the program and recovered. Translation: these people are similar to, do you remember those psychic hotlines? Yeah. An psychic operator was always standing by to take your call. Problem was, none of them were psychic. They were just customer service reps working a minimum-wage job. Similarly, the "coaches" at the non-existant Midwest Center are just people like me and you offering support. Hey, I'll talk to you and coach you for free... you can save yourself the couple thousand dollars this "added service" will cost you.

So, when you find out the $500 program you just bought does not work for you, Lucinda will gladly offer you one-on-one telephone coaching for an additional $2000 (maybe more now) for a limited number of sessions (12 I believe, but I may be wrong about the number and it may also have changed). And if you still don't recover, well, you can send the program back for a full refund, minus the shipping cost, but wait... you must return it after ONLY 30 DAYS when it'll take you at least 3 months to complete the whole program and, I don't know but, don't you have to complete the program to find out if it helps or not? And if the coaching doesn't work, well then you're just shit out of luck because that money does not get refunded.

Oh and don't even get me started on the joke their message board is. If you're anything but a Christian (and I am) you will be attacked, belittled, and even banned from the site. Where in Lucinda's program does it say it's a Christian-based program?
Save yourself a lot of money and addes stress...if you like the concept of Lucinda's program, you can buy it for $30 in the form of a well-written, professional self-help workbook called The Anxiety Disorders and Phobias Workbook.

If Lucinda's program helped you - GREAT. I sincerely am happy for you - and jealous! I wish it had helped me. But consider this, her supposed success rate is a little over 50%. Well hell, there's a 50/50 chance we could all go into spontaneous anxiety remission.

Steve Salerno said...

Franca: Thank you for this comment; it is surely one of the most well-reasoned and insightful comments (if not the most, in each of those categories) we've had on this topic. And, of course, it has the added resonance of personal experience behind it.

Again, I much appreciate your taking the time to give us your thoughts.

chula said...

I participated in the Bassetts' program three years ago and it gave me immediate hope and more relief than the therapist I had started seeing. I quit going because he himself said the program was doing a great job helping me. I also used the coaching program (I had OCD as well as depression and wanted a more tailored approach) and I will be forever grateful to my coach who truly helped me through a dark, dark time. On the advice of the therapist, I did end up going to a psychiatrist who "officially" diagnosed me with depression and moderate OCD and put me on an antidepressant because OCD is difficult to treat without it. He just gave me the medication, no counseling. The antidepressant took 6 weeks to kick in, so all I had to work with for a long time was the Bassetts' program and my coach's help and encouragement. They helped tremendously.
People with disorders other than anxiety or depression, like bi-polar and OCD, will often need medication to help with their symptoms, but that doesn't mean this program is not helpful to them. As for her husband's death, she doesn't claim to deliver people from bi-polar disorder and says several times that if suicide is a comforting thought to see a doctor right away. I can understand some people not feeling like this program helps them; many people go from therapist to therapist until they find one they like that works for them.

My husband is now experiencing extreme anxiety due to his job situation and he has already experienced relief in just a short time period watching the dvd's and listening to the cd's.

I posted this comment because Lucinda Bassett's program and the coaching were critical to my healing (I'm happily depression-free and have mastered my OCD)and I would hate for someone who could benefit from the program not try it because they read it's a scam.

Anonymous said...

I am a Marine Veteran who has been in the Veterans Administration hospital for ten weeks due to injuries from combat in Iraq. Albeit naive, I ordered their product to help cope with PTSD symptoms. I was expecting a demo CD, and received a ton of products which I did not open. They refuse to take it back outside the 30 day window without proof of dates of my stay. I now have to inconvenience my family and doctors.

What a complete sham. They simply prey on people at their weakest moments.

Franca said...

I have PTSD too. It doesn't work for that AT ALL. I even posted on their site posing the question, "Has anyone recovered from PTSD and Emetophobia (fear of vomiting, which I also have) using this program? Not one person replied YES. The only reply I got, was the following, which has nothing to do with PTSD or emetophobia. I copied it here exactly as it was on their message board:

"Greetings one and all. This is an update on my life thus far. Since graduating the AA&D program some years ago, I've gone through a Wellness Program of 10 weeks long. That's helped me realize how badly my diet was and helped me to fix it.One of the steps to fix was to stop drinking so many soda a day, like 5 to ten a day. Now I've lost 30 lbs. and I'm down from a 38 waist to 32.

As far as my Small Business is doing I've recently gone through a Business Planning Class which has allowed me to create a business plan on one of my idea's called WED-TOONS With these I can capture the images of any future newlywed couple in a fantasy SNAP-SHOT graphically and then once laminated it can then be placed on the summit of their wedding cake and exposed to their entourage at their reception party. So as far as those of you out there coming up with every excuse under the sun telling yourselves that this program won't change you for the better.

I say HA! This program has litterally given me back my life for the better or better yet it has given me a CHANCE FOR A BETTER LIFE! Oh, me and some friends of mine are hopefully going to set up a website to show off some more of my art like my incredible comic strip of MADAME X INCORPORATED. So once this is completed I'll be sure to pass on the link to all of you.

So to conclude. Once more the AA&D has proformed miracles in my life and given the chance at living a decent and wholesome life and I believe it could do the same for all of you.

Oh, and this December 1st I'm turning 52 and I just LOVE MY LIFE AND WHERE IT'S GOING NOW!!!So just know that whatever your suffering with they're those of us whose gone through the program that had them too. Notice I said "HAD".
Thanx you The Mid-West Center SSSooooo much." - by someone who goes by the name slimjim

To which I replied:

"Thanks Jim, I'm so happy that you're doing so well! But did you have PTSD or Emetophobia? That's really what I want to know, is if this has helped anyone recover from these two specific conditions.

And Jim, really? You needed a program (any program) to tell you that pop (you guys in the US call it soda), especially in excess, isn't good for you? haha"

So there you have it. Not ONE person has recoverd from PTSD or emetophobia... not even partially. But hey, if you don't know that drinking a lot of soda is bad for you, then pay the several thousand dollars the whole program, with coaching, will cost you, and then you'll know. :)

Anonymous said...

A comment in several parts. This is part 1.

I´m German and live in Germany, so English isn't my native language. Therefore, please excuse my mistakes.

I came across Lucinda Bassetts books and the anxiety program a few years ago. Having suffered from anxiety all life long, I developed a severe anxiety disorder in 1999, when several things happened in my life that I couldn´t cope with. I have been through therapy, tried several medications (none of them reall helped me, only had weight gain and terrible side effects). There is no book available about anxiety that I haven´t read, at least on the German market, and eventually I bought Lucinda Bassett´s “From panic to power”, which is one of the very few ones translated into German.

It was the first book about anxiety that wasn´t written by a docor or psychologist/psychiatrist but from a person´s view who has been through panic and anxiety herself. AND she has been through that in a time when this disorder was hardly known or understood (even in America) and mainly medicated with tranquilizers, which are addictive. Meanwhile there are more and better books available, and through the blessing of the internet, I had the chance to read a lot about anxiety disorders, write in internet forums, exchange experiences and along the way, improve my English (which enabled me to read English books, as well. Also thanks to Amazon!)

I know that you think Lucinda is a fraud, but if you read her book (and if you only had the faintest idea of what it means to live with anxiety!) you will understand that she must have written her own story here. And even if it wasn´t her own but someone else´s story, it is true and comprehensible. Moreover it was the first book that really helped me and gave me hope to get over this!

Later, I eventually came across the Midwest Center homepage and joined the forum. There you can get in contact with other people who suffer from anxiety, you can place any thinkable problem there and find someone who responds. That´s a great help, and also fascinating, as we are living on the different sides of this planet and suffer from the same crap. I didn´t know that people can also get bullied or banned in this forum if they say things that criticize “The Program” or Lucindas ideas. I had no clue!

I never expected any personal help from the Midwest Center staff, or called any numbers because it wouldn´t have helped me (remember, my mother tongue is German), and I was afraid my telephone bill would kill me, then. It was enough for me to post in the forums, where I had the time to use a dictionary. When I learned about “the program”, I was curious, but of course, it was way too expensive for me. 400,- bucks plus shipping costs and customs - no way!

Eventually a nice lady who was also posting there wrote me a personal message and then offered to lend the program to me. She still had the old taped version and she didn´t need it anymore. When I received it (without the work book, of course, which is filled with personal stuff while working through the program), I started to listen and it took me several times to understand everything properly. On the tapes there is a part when Lucinda explains the subject, then there is a discussion with 4-5 people sharing their experiences, then Lucinda again, who summarizes the lection. She speaks very fast, the people in the group have different accents, and Lucinda also is very bubbly, so it took me some time to understand everything they said. But as the program should be repeated several times, anyway, it was a good training for me.

I still listen to the tapes every now and then, when anxiety and the physical sensations and old thinking patterns overwhelm me again. Like it or not, it really helps ME. So far to my story. When I got the anxiety program, I didn´t have any expectations, as I really had no clue what was on the tapes; I was just open and curious. And of course I hadn´t spent that amount of money on them!

Anonymous said...

(This is part 2.)

From my point of view, the tapes can be really helpful (even for me as a “foreigner”!). Every tape is focussed on a special aspect of anxiety and its causes; you learn about the connections and links between people´s upbringing, experience, personality, behaviour, reaction patterns ect. You learn how to deal with it, how to change things, see things in a different way and practise all the things again that you avoided because of the anxiety. It´s hard work, and Lucinda doesn´t promise that it´s easy. There´s no instant solution.

The group members tell personal stories, which is a great help, too, (how often did I think: “Oh yes, I can relate to that!”) and Lucinda also tells a lot about her personal experience (and her life). And although she seems to be a little bit too self-confident and tends to dominate others in the discussion, she is quite self-critical, candid and genuine. However, she has an annoying voice and speaks extremely fast, which can be irritating. (That´s why her “relaxation tape” wouldn´t work for ME!!) Not the kind of woman I need to have around me every day, but I think she´s a good-hearted person.

Well, she doesn´t have to become my best friend. The material she uses isn´t revolutionary, as many people here already posted, but however, it helps. She doesn´t tell anything that´s wrong or nonsense or irresponsible. I think for someone suffering for anxiety who hadn´t heard of cognitive behaviour therapy yet, or people who can´t leave the house for a long-term therapy, the program can be eye-opening; and it´s all positive and encouraging.

However, the sound quality is poor, and I think the price is absolutely outrageous, as they obviously use the same material like years ago! I think that many people probably can´t afford it (especially if you lost your job because of the anxiety!) That´s a shame! And I was irritiated that the people on the tape constantly praise “The program”, how it has helped them, probably talking about the older version. I understand that all the participants of the group have been through the anxiety program before, but it´s weird because while using “The Program”, you have to listen to some kind of advertisement for the product itself( and you paid for it, too!).

I still suffer from anxiety, maybe I always will, more or less. I´m a very sensitive person who has many things going on in her life that cause trouble and anxiety, so I wouldn´t describe myself as “healed”. But I understand now what´s going on in my body and brain then, when I have anxiety spells, and I can handle it much better. I don´t feel so helpless anymore, I´ m more in control of my life. And Lucinda´s book and the program (besides other things) helped me to change my life, my attitude and my reactions to improve my condition. The tapes/CDs could be made better (quality wise) and they should be much cheaper, as I already said. But besides this, I don´t agree with you that Lucinda betrays people or takes much money for a fake product.

Referring to the “Midwest Center” and your complaint about the missing building, so to speak, I think you´re right. I also had the impression that there was a “Center”, literally, like you described in your article. A place, a real building where people could go to and see groups or go to workshops or seminars and get doctor´s help. On the other hand, I think it´s not really necessary, as someone already wrote here. The message board is this place to get information, advice, encouragement and exchange of experience. From people who have been (or still go) through the same stuff like you. Just to know that there are people out there who understand your pain can really make your day! And I don´t remember having been pushed to buy “The Program” or Lucinda´s books, everyone can participate and profit from the forum without spending any money.

Anonymous said...

(This is part 3.)

Thank God for the internet, you don´t have to drive or fly to this place, you just need a computer.

A last word on Lucinda´s husband. I was really shocked to read that he passed away two years ago, but I found it weird that nowhere was the slightest hint WHY he had died. As he was only 53, I thought it might have been cancer or a heart attack. By reading your blog now, I learned that he committed suicide and that he was bipolar. That´s really tragic, and I´m so sorry for him and his family! I think we shouldn´t jugde about that, as we don´t know any of them personally.

The anxiety program is mainly for people with anxiety, panic and (mild) depression, for emotional disorders that stem from childhood traumas and toxic life patterns, things like that. I think being bipolar is a much more severe problem that must be medicated. From Lucinda´s book I know that David was the love of her life, a person who was (at that time) stable and giving unconditional love to her, her rock and soulmate. By his love, he helped her to find the strength to fight the anxiety and to establish the program.

It must have been devastating to learn that her husband had this terrible condition, and we don´t know anything about the circumstances that let him take his own life…Maybe Lucinda didn´t want to discuss this after his death because 1) she had to deal with the loss in the first place, 2) deal with the fact that her husband had committed suicide (as far as I know they were both Christians!), 3) deal with the painful truth that she couldn´t help him while they had helped thousands of other people and 4) an open discussion of his suicide could have harmed the whole business, I presume she was responsible for the jobs of many people working for the Midwest Center…

I also think that eventually she will use this life experience for something good, but as she has lost several family members already, maybe she simply wasn´t able to be open about it yet. Who are we to judge? I hope my opinion about this was useful and written understandably, (maybe because or although I´m not American), and I also hope my statement wasn´t too long. Some things just can´t be said in a few sentences.

Steve Salerno said...

Thank you, Anon 6:43-6:45, for taking the time to post your thoughts at such length.

As is not true of the Center itself, all comments--pro, con, or some combination thereof--are welcome here.

Anonymous said...

I share the experiences and the opinion of the German woman above, being the foreigner and all. I must admit that I have downloaded the tapes from the net, but when I compare with price of the group therapy I attended - it is a bargain. If somebody had offered any help to make me feel better at times I suffered the most, I would have payed $$$ on the spot.

Her voice is annoying at times and she does pitch like a saleswoman, but the story told is REAL. So many times I said to myself "oh yes, this just what I was thinking or feeling", whether it is some unusual body sensation, or strange thought when you look at the knife, or some other anxiety symptom mentioned by her or her guests.

Regarding her husband... we had one bipolar girl at our support group who attempted suicide 10 years ago. She was OK for number of years, got nice job, was engaged and appeared to look forward to the wedding. When she didn't show up at the weekly session, we were informed that she attempted suicide again. It is much more serious medical condition where things can happen out of the blue and you can't pinpoint the reasons. So yes, it is possible to spread enthusiasm today and kill yourself tomorrow. And it can't be treated with her tapes, which are clearly labeled "attack anxiety". It's OK to be skeptical, but try not to be plain malicious ("well, he was living with the chief guru").

Anonymous said...

I purchased the program as well (later sold it on eBay) and although it did give me some insight, it definitely didn't cure me. The message board gave me support, but actually probably kept me "sick" as members continue to rehash their symptoms and problems and it made me feel like I'd be like this forever. I tried for years to get better using her techniques (except the relaxation CD because her voice drove me crazy)and finally saw a doctor when my anxiety got so bad I would have stretches of 3 days at a time I couldn't eat or sleep. I was given a low dose antidepressant and a low dose anxiety medication. Within weeks I was feeling MUCH better. I also was speaking to a counselor during this time, who had been trying to tell me fo a long time that my problem was primarily chemical, exaggerated by some trama in my life, and it would help. Because of my fear of medication and because I "bought into" the program's promise that I could get better by thinking differently, I unecessarily suffered about 3-4 years longer than I really needed to.

These days I'm still more high strung and nervous than a lot of folks, but I go to work, go to parties. . . live my life. . . like a "normal" person, thanks to correcting the imbalance that I was born with, that is common to almost every woman on my father's side of the family.

I'm saddened by the loss of her husband; I can't imagine how horrible that would be, especially being in the public eye like she is. I do think she was trying to help, but I also feel this program simply isn't enough for most people. Visit the message board and you will see people that are there year after year with the same problems.

I will say that her original book helped me very much, and at the time it came out, I did call a few times during a panic attack and they were very helpful in helping me understand at a time that I just thought I was "going crazy"

12-Step Phobia Recovery said...

I don't know if David's suicide says anything about Lucinda's ability to help those suffering with anxiety disorders and depression. If a cardiologist's spouse dies of a heart attack, do we then conclude that the doctor is a quack?

Some people swear by Lucinda's program. More seem to say it didn't help them. Not everything works for everybody, but everything works for someone.

The problem I personally have with Lucinda's program is that it's a 15-week (not sure - give or take) program, yet you have to receive it, do it, and ship it back BEFORE the 30 day money back guarantee expires. Now, I'm no anxiety treatment guru, nor am I a mensa member, but I do have a bit of common sense. How on earth is a person supposed to determine whether or not the program works unless they complete the whole thing?! If the program is designed so that you'll know for sure it'll work for you after having done only one or two weeks of it, then what is the need for the other 13 or so CDs?

So, I feel this program isn't so much a sham -- because it does work for some -- but certainly first and foremost a huge money-making "let's manipulate people into buying the program and make it difficult for them to get a refund" kind of deal (when you call to send it back, the customer service rep aggressively tries to talk you into keeping it and doing more of it).

In my opinion, if Lucinda's first priority was to help people and making a lot of money, which she has every right to do, was second, she would offer a full no-questions asked rerfund AFTER however long it takes to complete the ENTIRE program.

Sure, there would be a few sleezeballs who would do the program, benefit from it, and still send it back. But I beleive those would be a very small minority, because most people are good, decent, honest people. Plus, I'm sure there are people now who receive kit, copy all the CDs, and send the originals back.

Bottom line - obviously people are buying, and they have been for years, otherwise her company and infomercials would have gone bye-bye a long time ago. Supply/demand and all that good stuff. So, either the program does work for the majority of people OR she's a genius businesswoman and you/we/they are falling for her "late night seduction."

Judy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annette said...

Wow, these are just about the lowest comments I have ever seen about a tragedy like this. I think they say much more about you than Lucinda or David Bassett.
Suicide is a tragic, tragic thing. Just because your son's friend committed suicide doesn't mean you know anything about it. And just because Lucinda Bassett created a program to help people deal with STRESS and STRESS MANAGEMENT and MORBID NEGATIVE THINKING (which we all apparently need, some more than others) as well as anxiety, doesn't mean it's a scam.
Thanks to her program I got diagnosed with a potentially deadly illness--Celiac disease, because my main symptom was anxiety and the program urges those who begin to get medical help first. One thing the program does is suggest valuable information and books, one of which is by Dr. James S. Gordon (look him up if you know how to do research, he's very legit.) But I suppose Lucinda, above all, warns people in the program to avoid people like you, who are opportunistic (at a vulnerable event like suicide), mean-spirited and toxic.

Steve Salerno said...

Annette: I can certainly see how you'd interpret this post that way. But you don't know the whole back-story here. Though I'm not sure I know "the whole story," either, I know enough of it to have multiple reasons to doubt Lucinda's sincerity. You should also know that I am not high on Gordon or mind-body medicine as a whole. Too much of it is quackery or touchy-feely psychobabble dressed up as "deeper insight." Here's a piece I wrote about everybody's favorite TV doc, Mehmet Oz:

http://tinyurl.com/2e4u2uq

Please understand that I don't do this to be "mean-spirited," and I certainly don't do it to be "opportunistic," if you mean that in a financial sense. Believe me, there is far more money and "opportunity" on the Bassett/Gordon/Oz side of the game!

All that said, thank you for weighing in, and I'm glad you were helped.

Franca said...

Annette, yes, this, like any suicide is an extremely tragic thing. But does that mean that just because David died in such a tragic way, people cannot be honest about their experience with Lucinda's product? Or express their opinion about whether or not the product delivers what it promises? Or their
opinion of Lucinda herself?

I purchased Lucinda's program TWICE. First time was some 20 years ago when it was in the form of cassette tapes and named simply, "Attacking Anxiety". It didn't help me. Giving her the beneit of the doubt and assuming that the new and improved CDs with a the new name "Attacking Anxiety & Depression" including something new, I again purchased the entire "new" program. It didn't help me this time either. Why? Probably because nothing except the name had changed. The same old programmed was repackaged to give the impression that it was updated and new, but it wasn't.

Should I not share that just because her husband committed suicide?

Based on my experience with the Attacking Anxiety & Depression program TWICE, I would not recommend the program to anyone who has a REAL anxiety disorder or SERIOUS depression. It won't help. The program should be marketed exclusiveley to people suffering rom mild anxiety and depression. When you see her late night inomercial, it cleary advertises to people who have difficulty functioning in their day to day life because of this disorder. So, because of that, it's a sham... it's false advertisement.

That's MY opinion based on, as I already said, having done the entire program TWICE as perscribed and as a long-time anxiety disorder sufferer.

So -
That David committed suicide - tragic. Absolutely tragic. And no, Lucinda is not in any way responsible.

About the Attacking Anxiety Program - tragic. Absolutely tragic that Lucinda has built an empire at the expense of desperate anxiety/depression sufferers, when more often than not, her program does NOT deliver what she promises.

Anonymous said...

Its not that her program didn't work for me. I was in such a deep slump with depression that I couldn't even get the energy to start the program. It sat on my shelf collecting dust for many months before I started it.

Now that I have the spark I needed to get myself motivated, I am now finding that her program is alot more effective and beneficial to me.

However it is not a miracle program for treating SERIOUS depression. Nor is it a standalone treatment. I am doing a combination of things and it is now working for me.

What the prgram does is this. It shows you another way of looking at your anxiety and depression so that your less affected by it. It also makes it controllable to a point where you can still live and enjoy life without feeling completely crippled by it.

So yes, in that sense it does work. But it is not perfect, but then again no treatment is.

However, if your not generally a self motivated person and need more hands on support or have serious depression or other mental disorders then no it is not for you.

I think the only issue I have is that they could probably have a better disclaimer so that people could be more aware of what to expect from the program and offer a better refund policy for those who can't be helped by the program.

As to the death of her husband. I cannot imagine what she must have went through. Its tough enough dealing with the death of a loved one. But when someone close to you takes their own life that is devestating, to a family especially to children.


While, I agree nobody is above criticizm or reproach. I don't think its fair to judge her based on her husbands actions. She has no more control over what he did than you or I have over our husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, girlfriend, boyfriend,children etc...

Neither should she have to bear any of the responsibility. He was a grown man and sickness or not, Independent of his family, He made a decision to end his own life.

Its easy to place the blame on her or point a finger but logically no one knows what happened because we were not there.

While I think its fair game to criticize the business I don't think its right to do that based on her husbands death and the fact that it was suicide but thats just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

I purchased the product in 2007 and it changed my life. While it was expensive, it was worth every penny to me and I've shared with family and friends.

I think if you can get it used you should definitely use it. It works if you actually do what she tells you to do and listen to it 3 times a week and do the homework. You can't expect to change overnight, but if you practice what she tells you to do, it really, genuinely works. I still listen to it to this day if I'm going through a relapse. Truth is, you cannot completely eliminate anxiety, unless you heavily drug yourself and ignore everyday stresses.

If you say it doesn't work, maybe your anxiety is more severe than mine ever was and you need to see a doctor. Maybe you aren't using the program properly.

For the record, she is not against medication for depression, only anti-anxiety medication.

While I may have been "duped" into paying too much money, and her stories might be fictional, and she has made a great deal of money, I still support her program and I think it is a useful self-help tool for people who don't have severe anxiety.

It really changed my life and has made everything better for me.

How much were you really expecting from this product? Did you think it was going to make all of your problems go away?

B.E. said...

I’m interested in what information you have on Lucinda Basset. Hypocrites always make entertaining headlines such as Elliot Spitzer. I also think it’s great you let some of these comments onto your blog. The one German lady who went on and on… I almost felt like it was an advertisement.

I’m sure Lucinda is a bit narcissistic; in her program she says she had an opportunity to be a model. I can’t help but wonder if the fa├žade that her life is perfect in fact helped heal her own pain. My main problem with her is her sales department, marketing tactics, and censorship. Her program is definitely overpriced for what it is, but people will pay any price for a cure out of desperation. The Midwest Center has no problem taking advantage of people’s vulnerability. When I first called the center I pretended to be a concerned parent wanting to know more about the program for my child. The sales rep on the phone laid it on me heavy saying things such as don’t you care about your child and want the best for them, and when it comes to your child you can’t put a price tag on helping them. Thank god I don’t have a child or I would’ve probably paid for their outrageous coaching fees too. I’m not denying Lucinda is a good person, but that company is beyond money hungry and should know better than to take advantage of anxious and depressed individuals that they’re supposedly trying to help.

Anonymous said...

I used the program several years ago, and it really helped me tremendously...and I had tried everything else up until then (for years!). It was just what I needed at that time, and it got me over a significant, long-term, very difficult hump in my life. I wish it had cost less, but it turned out to be worth the money...every penny. Some things will help some but not everyone...that doesn't mean it shouldn't be available or that they shouldn't try to sell it. Some diets work for some, but not others...doesn't mean it's not legitimate. If the information is valid at all, it will work for those who are ready to receive it...bottom line. Lucinda came across as very relatable, believable, and likable to me, and her contributions were something I enjoyed most about the program. Anxiety is a condition that is never entirely overcome for most, but the program taught me how to handle it...and that's invaluable. As for her husband's death, there is some irony there, but we don't know his entire story...some people are beyond help, and it must have been particularly painful for her that she could not help him. Just imagine the pain in the irony it presents to her, as his wife.

Liza said...

Since there are so many posts already, I will be short - I completely agree with what Annette said.

Anonymous said...

Her program works!!!

Here's an interesting story for you non-believers.

I've been suffering from anxiety and depression since I was very young. Lately, I'd been having panic attacks with more frequency.

I had a panic attack at work that was both terrifying and embarrassing. So I decided to finally do something about it. I took the week off of work to "work" on myself...

I met with my PCP and asked for the name of a therapist that I could talk to. Turns out the therapist was on vacation this week...so, in the meanwhile, I figured I'd go to the bookstore and get a book on anxiety and panic attacks to read so at least I was doing something while I was waiting.

Out of all the books, I chose "From Panic to Power'. I didn't pay attention to who the author was. I had skimmed through a couple pages of all the panic/anxiety books, and this one seemed an easier read to me.

I read the first chapter. It was okay- nothing mind-blowing or anything.

Okay, so I decided to take a road trip to escape for awhile. Realizing I had a long drive ahead of me, I thought to myself that it would be great if there was some audiobook out there on the panic disorder/anxiety subject that I could listen to while I was driving...

So I did what any red-blooded American would do- I did a torrent search on Pirate Bay for "anxiety", hoping I would hit upon an audiobook that I could download for free...and I found one. It was called "attacking anxiety and depression". Great, I thought, I'll give that one a shot and hopefully it's good.

I had no idea at first who the author was and I had never heard of the program before. But I was encouraged when I did discover that it was the same author as the book I had just bought. Interesting, that's all...still with no expectations, and being completely unfamiliar with the author.

I'll tell you what- after listening to those tapes/mp3's during my trip, I'm a changed person. I don't know who this lady is or what she looks like- and I don't care. I only listened to maybe the first 5 or 6 CD's but I've learned a lot and there's been a tremendous difference. My anxiety is almost completely gone. I know it's a 15 week program and all that, but just hearing the information has really enlightened and helped me. I don't have the time or patience for a 15 week program anyway.

I'm a pretty critical person, so I do have to say that the author talks about herself a lot and promotes the program a lot in the tapes, but...my experience so far has been great. I don't care as long as the information comes across, and it does.

I was so excited tonight at how much better I felt that I decided to find out more about Lucinda and her "center"...and now I'm kinda sorry I did.

You can imagine my disappoinment to find this blog after a google search on her name...

I'm shocked to hear that her husband committed suicide. That is really terrible. Even more terrible is your attempt to capitalize on it and insinuate that her teachings are not valid. They are!

I don't care that her husband committed suicide and it's hugely ironic. I don't care that she's full of herself and a big promoter. I don't care that she's made a lot of money and has been succesful, been on TV, etc.

Anonymous said...

-continued-

I consider myself very forunate that I discovered her program in the way that I did because overselling and narcissism are turn-offs to me as well. If I saw her program on TV or saw her face, I might not have taken it seriously.

I'm here to tell you and anyone stumbling upon this "blog" in the same way I did that her program- or should I say the information within it- has really helped me and helped many others. It shouldn't be discounted due to these other circumstances or issues. As they say in the internet "eat the watermelon and spit out the seeds"...and of course, YMMV - (your mileage may vary)

Shame on you if anyone needing help doesn't get it because of your "blog". Anxiety and depression is a terrible thing to live with.

Anonymous said...

My mom bought me this program back in 2000. I had bad post partum depression and anxiety. I must say it really did help me at the time. I would listen to her tapes in the car and while I walked my son. I still have those old tapes and occasionally pull one out and listen to one. They are very comforting to me. I have looked on her website to try to purchase the CD set but they are so expensive and you get sucked into buying pills etc...and they say a free trial and you have to put in your credit card info without knowing how much it will really cost. This is sad to me. I wish they could be straight forward like it used to be on the website many years ago. I think the growth of it and $$$$ has just changed things. I do think her original intentions were good and to help others. I also think her program is excellent though and I would recommend it if you can afford it. It did help me.

Anonymous said...

I have used her program and found it quite helpful. While I agree that her advertising and business practices leave something to be desired, her theories are basiclly sound. Her materials are lacking a little in depth and specifics, but the overall theory of CBT is sound and proven as effective (or more so)as medications. I also found it helpful to hear the others in her group because it let me know that I'm no alone in my feelings.

The program is quite expensive. There are books for Boston University (the Mecca of anxiety treatment IMHO) that are much cheaper and more in depth. Also, Claire Weekes has books and an audio book that are outstanding (groundbreaking really for her time). Bassette's own books are cheap and basically say the same thing as her program.

I'm not associated with Bassett in any way, and actually bought the program on ebay and copied it and re-sold it (as I said, it's expensive). But I still appreciate her program and did find it helpful. Just my opinion. I'm sorry to hear of the death of her husband.

Gene said...

her program changed my life. I owe my life to Lucinda and the Midwest Center. I am sad for her loss, and of course she doesn't want it publicized. would YOU? especially knowing that it might affect your business and sites like this will try to discredit your life's work based on a tragedy that you had no power over? if you have problems with anxiety, the program can change your life. -Gene

Steve Salerno said...

Gene, thanks for weighing in. I value (almost) all opinions--meaning only that I won't tolerate trolls and people who want to argue just for the sake of arguing. But legitimate disagreement is always welcome.

For the record, I don't think your "sites like this" comment applies here. First of all, I was following the Midwest Center, and cynical of its activities, long before Cindy's husband killed himself. So it's not as if I launched SHAMblog in response to her tragedy. Second, many, many people other than myself have been critical of the Center's materials (and marketing approach); the word "scam" comes up often. Third, I have background knowledge, rooted in discussions with members of Cindy's inner circle and other folks who "knew her when," that people like yourself do not have.

Point being, I didn't write this as a lark in order to dance on anyone's grave.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read every single post on here, bu I did skim them and got the gist that some are negative and some are positive. A few points I would like to add: 1) I used her program years ago and I found it to be wonderful. I also know, from experiece, that is was months, if not several years before I was able to see the patterns of my anxiety and the ways in which all the elements of the program came together. It is not a quick fix for sure but the contents help one to change his/her personality and reactions to those that are more functional. I do not regret ever purchasing the program. 2) the cost of the program: yes, not a cheap investment, I think I paid about 400 for it about 15 years ago. However, I was able to pay in installments, and if I had not done the program, I am sure I would have ended up having to take medication, which over time, would have amounted to much more money in the long run. There is nothing wrong with medication but I see many people complaining about the cost. Also, I have coping skills now that I could not have gotten in any other way except for dealing with my issues. She says very clearly in her program, that it takes 15 weeks just to be introduced to the material. She does not say you will be over agoraphobia in 15 weeks. She never says that. 3) All these posts about her getting rich off the program etc.....I have seen that several places that talk about Lucinda. I say so what? Capitalism is not a crime. Also, unless things have changed, the program came with a refund policy. At least when I bought it. Has that changed? 4) Just because Lucinda developed a mental health program, that does not automatically guarantee her husband would not have his own tragic issues. To suggest otherwise is cruel and insensitive. I lost an immdiate family member to suicide, and that is burdensome enough without others making nasty, insensitive comments that only add pain to the situation.

Anonymous said...

It's easy to talk the talk, but try walking the walk...you have no idea. I was married to David Bassett. Let him rest in peace...

Don_in_Texas said...

Steve,

Based on what you have posted, I don't think you know a thing about cognitive behavioral therapy, how widely it is used in counseling/therapy, or the science behind it, namely the many studies that have been conducted which have proven it to be a very effective treatment for mood disorders. I'll give ya a few links at the bottom of this post so you can read for yourself

I've struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life, from age 18 on. I was an insecure kid growing up. Looking back, I think some of that was both genetic and environmental.

Some children don't get the coping tools they need as they grow up and that certainly was my situation. Maybe some kids just don't give a damn, I don't know, but I was a people pleaser. My self esteem was based on pleasing my family, girlfriend, boss, you name it. If that didn't work my self esteem was low or non-existent. Lucinda's program, based on CBT, helped me understand what I was doing and helped me change that. It gave me coping skills I didn't possess before. There are other ways to learn about CBT, such as seeing a psychologist, or through reading, like Dr. David Burns' books, but the Midwest Center's program was very effective for me. CBT is not a panacea for anyone. You have to keep applying its principles for it to work, and some of us have very ingrained thinking patterns from childhood, teen years, and some challenging adult experiences that require continual monitoring to counter.

Some well known examples of others who have struggled with coping with life are: Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Anna Nicole Smith, and possibly Whitney Houston. Some of us simply don't get what we need as children to develop and mature into emotionally healthy adults. One well known MD puts the figure as high as 80% to 85%.

Who knows what happened to David Bassett or what he struggled with? Maybe cognitive behavioral therapy prevented him from taking his life much earlier? Did you ever consider that as a possibility?

CBT and its effectiveness have nothing to do with David Bassett's death. It's not fair to say that because he took his own life that CBT is a sham. It's simply not true.

The Midwest Center offers a free forum where people can open up and talk about their issues. That was very helpful for me and I made a few close friends who helped encourage me as I was working with the program. For some people the forum alone can be life saving. While I can't defend the Center's marketing of its vitamins/supplements (didn't exist when I bought the program), when it comes to David Bassett, I think you are totally out to lunch.

http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/cognitive-behavioral-therapy-for-depression

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2008/task-force-finds-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-effective-for-children-and-adolescents-exposed-to-trauma.shtml

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/psychotherapies/index.shtml

http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20020523/therapy-as-good-as-drugs-for-depression

Anonymous said...

Years ago I ordered the "attacking anxiety" tapes from The MW Center for Stress and Anxiety. A couple years later, someone from The MW Center called me and tried to sell me a follow up set of tapes. I told this person I wasn't interested and then it turned into an extremely lousy experience on the telephone with a relentless hard sell from this person. I lost ALL respect for this organization as a result of this telephone call.

Elizabeth J. said...

I realize this is an old post, and has no bearing on whatever your current opinion happens to be on this subject - but as someone who has used this program myself, I felt the need to leave my opinion.

I was told about 4 years ago that I'd have to be on anxiety medication for the rest of my life, because there was pretty much no hope otherwise and that's all you can do for someone who has anxiety disorder.

I wasn't happy with that, so after searching around for different options, I found Lucinda's program - and even though I personally had to go through it twice for it to really sink in (that's how bad my anxiety was) - it absolutely saved my life. I'm not on any anxiety medication and never have been, and had it not been for this program, I don't know where I'd be.

Obviously, my opinion is biased here - because even though it may not work for everyone, it obviously DOES work for a lot of people. And they're not just gullible, weak minded people either. I'm not the kind of the person that's easily led, and anyone who would assume that this is the kind of thing that only works for people like that is sorely mistaken.

It may not work for everyone... but that's reality. Not one thing can work for everyone, it's personal chemistry. But the way that you chose to write this article is ridiculous, in my opinion. Especially when you drag something as petty as her ex-husband into the argument... there's a reason why he's an EX husband, whether what he's saying is true or not - you're better off not bothering to listen.

I'm not going to say much more than this, because there's no reason to. But I do want to add that I'm honestly disgusted that you would talk about her husband's suicide in this manner... you didn't know him personally, you had no idea of what was going on in his life - and neither do I, so thus we have no right to judge him or her life.

I feel sorry for anyone who just sees this as a sham, because most likely they're not very happy with themselves and are angry that she just doesn't offer some magic pill to make them better. This program takes work and a lot of effort... but if it's right for you, it sure pays off.

Anonymous said...

I used this program back in 1999 with success and have referred back to it several times. I must admit, it took work and repitition to be affective. I've actually loaned it out quite a few times to friends and family. The Midwest program is a step by step cognitive therapy program for changing the way you think. The way you think is the root problem for anxiety and depression. If you don't work on changing the way you think, the program won't work for you. Criticising the Midwest program for not helping with anxiety (if you don't work at it), is like criticising P90X for not helpling you lose weight because you watched the video.

Anonymous said...

I do not have a google account so this will be posted Anonymous.
I bought the program from the Midwest Center and it worked perfect for me. Every week I started a new cd and was amazed! It was like they had lived my life. I lived with bad anxiety for over 40 years and realized that it was NOT something I would get over in a couple of days,weeks or months. It takes years to not go back to old behavior. The program saved my life! I am not sure about the people it does not work for but if you are convinced from the beginning that it will not work, then you probably should not buy it to start with. I know Lucinda repeats the fact that they offer a refund over and over again but it sounds like they do not want to give the money back easily. The stuff not ordered or not refunded is wrong on their part.

Anonymous said...

your whole blog is just vomiting...
nothing gives you right to talk about suicide, unless you did it yourself... just vomiting...

just prove that YOU are not A robot...

Anonymous said...

Lucinda Basset's personal life aside, I bought her book "From Panic to Power" from Amazon.com some years ago. This is a do-it-yourself 'therapy', which worked well for me. Once I reached the point that there is no miracle cure and I had to make the effort to change my thinking, life has become much better. Every person is different, and I am thankful that I was strong-minded enough to be able to help myself.

Jeana said...

If your children are in school, they already are dealing with, in fact being indoctrinated by, these worldly philosophies. <><

Steve Salerno said...

Jeana, I'm not sure I get the reference (i.e., which "worldly philosophies"?), but I figured maybe your comment would be a springboard for...something. Thanks.

Erin said...

Thanks Steve for this article and blog.

I came here looking up the Midwest Center after hearing promos on the radio; was curious to see if this was as big a fraud as it sounded and I'm not disappointed in that respect.


To Annette et al;

The point is NOT about attacking a person who committed suicide, and if you think that's the point being made about this issue than you're blind.

The point is, her husband helped run this business that seems to promise magical cures for stress, anxiety, depression, etc., yet her husband (who helped her implement all these seemingly magical cures) wasn't helped by any of it. No, she's not responsible for his actions, but again, that's beside the point. The program he supposedly worked on did not help HIM, and in light of this the claims she makes regarding her pseudo-scientific methods come off as nothing but hypocritical BUNK.

It's completely unscientific nonsense, and to label it as anything otherwise is disingenuous at best!

Erin said...

One more thing: In 2008 Ms. Basset sold The Midwest Center for Stress & Anxiety to TransCap Corporation (formally Transom Capital Group); a private equity firm. What exactly, do private equity firms specialize in? Making ONLY obscenely wealthy people, that much more wealthy - this is vulture capitalism at its finest. Look it up for yourself if you don't believe it.

The people claiming they've been helped by this chicanery (assuming they're not all liars); good for you, but there's also plenty people who believe they've been duped and want a their money back.

Don_in_Texas said...

To all of you who believe that Lucinda's program is chicanery and bunk: you don't know one thing about it. If you do research on CBT, you'll find that it has been proven in clinical trials and studies to be effective in treating depression and anxiety.

Thinking can make a person emotionally sick. It can also make a person much better or completely well

If it didn't work for you, that's unfortunate. That does not change the evidence and research one iota. Meds don't work for everyone either. Yet, I don't hear you saying that meds are a farce.
I challenge you to address the evidence regarding CBT. Steve, or anyone else.

Don_in_Texas said...

Look at the link below and the other links in my first post in Dec., 2011, then tell me it's all a sham. Totally ridiculous.


http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_Treatments_and_Supports&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=7952

Marcia H. said...

Steve, did you read Lucinda's new book about her husband's suicide? This post of yours is one of the reasons she wrote it, she says so in the book. Her son saw this post and it really hurt him. She wanted to honor her husband and set the record straight on a lot of different things.

And to all those of you who are bashing the Attacking Anxiety program or for people who want to get the Attacking Anxiety program but are unsure whether or not to get it, I'd like to say, everyone is different. It may help you, it may not. It's kind of up to you and if you're ready to change or not. But it helped me immensely. I do not work for the Midwest Center either, I actually live in Alberta, Canada and I'm writing this post from my heart.

I'm in my 30's and I have suffered from panic attacks and anxiety since I was 10 years old. My parents sent me to a psychiatrist who put me on all different kinds of drugs. I didn't know anyone else who had anxiety and I wasn't given an option to do CBT or see a psychologist, I didn't even know those were options! I came across Lucinda's "From Power to Panic" book when I was 16, in a library. It saved my life. I cried from relief that other people had gone and were going through the same thing I was. My parents bought me the Attacking Anxiety program and it really helped me, more than any other drug. It taught me to change the way I think and react to things differently. It taught me that I would not die or go crazy from a panic attack. These are just some of the things I took away from the program.

As for the price, yes it's expensive. But you know what? In the city I live in, to see a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist it costs $180.00 for 50 minutes! The program is well worth the money.

Am I 'Fully Recovered' from anxiety? No. I still get anxious from time to time but the difference is I know how to handle it. I know it's just anxiety and I know how to cope, thanks to Lucinda's books and program. I'm sorry a lot of people had problems with the phone people, who were badgering customers. Lucinda talks about that in her book too, how she was disappointed in the telemarketing team assigned to the Midwest Center and tried to change that.

Also, I'd like to mention that David Bassett did not suffer from anxiety, he suffered from bipolar disorder which is completely different from anxiety. He was mentally ill, he wasn't "anxious." He was MANIC. Read the book "Truth Be Told." Lucinda talks all about her husband's suicide. I actually bought the book after coming across this post, I didn't know David Bassett had passed away and I was curious to know why and what happened.

Anyways, I hope the negative posts about the program don't deter anxiety sufferers from giving the program a decent try. Because it may really help them, like it did me.