Monday, November 05, 2007

The center of my concerns. Redux.

Folks, consider this an "encore performance" of an item that originally went up on April 3 of this year. I'm returning it to front-page status because of the enormity of the recent feedback (83 comments and counting, many of them from SHAMblog newcomers, and most of them from people who claim to have had firsthand dealings with the Center) and also because the issues raised here—particularly in the various threads spun off in/from the comments—are central to this blog's core mandate. Issues like the nature of real maladjustment (as opposed to perceived maladjustment), the nature of real therapy (as opposed to placebo therapy) and, if you think about it, the very nature of Self.

I invite all of our regulars to read this anew, meander through the comments (if you're so inclined), and add your own thoughts.


If you found yourself feeling worried or even fearful much of the time, and someone recommended the Midwest Center for Stress & Anxiety...what would that make you think of? What images might come to mind? A gleaming glass edifice—something Mayo Clinic-like, perhaps?—whose employees specialize in showering troubled souls with personalized TLC? A battery of psychiatrists, psychologists and other area-specific counselors available 24/7, making their rounds in their white lab coats (or maybe tweed jackets), studying the info on their ever-present clipboards, with nurses standing dutifully at their sides? Of course—as you continue to think this through—it would stand to reason that such a place is located in the midwest. That puts it at the heart of things, conveniently accessible by air to emotionally troubled people across the land.

Think again.

There is in fact something called the Midwest Center for Stress & Anxiety, Inc. (hereinafter, MCSAI). It has operated continuously since 1984 and is quite successful, at least if you measure success in terms of money. Only thing is, there's no actual Center, in the sense of there being a place where anxiety-ridden people can go to receive treatment. There's really not much Midwest to the Midwest (non)Center, either. There is an office building in the sleepy Toledo, Ohio suburb of Oak Harbor, but the principals, Lucinda and David Bassett, are long gone; annual revenues estimated between $50 million and $100 million* nowadays enable the Bassetts to live among the L.A. aristocracy. What's more, the business itself could really be run from just about anywhere, because relatively few of the (non)Center's 60 employees have much to do with any therapeutic objectives. They're primarily cogs in the marketing machine: customer-service reps, creative types who put together the company's endless string of radio spots and Tony Robbins-inspired** infomercials, et cetera. (David Bassett says that MCSAI ranks in the top-20 of American radio advertisers—one assumes he's proud of this—while industry sources name the spots as among the longest continuously running ads in the business.) In short, the bulk of MCSAI's 60 employees are the folks who fuel the (non)Midwest (non)Center's aggressive overtures to the general public. Those overtures, say the Barretts, generate some 26,000 inquiries a week.

Oh yes, I almost forgot, there's a product in there somewhere. It's a 14-week do-it-yourself anti-anxiety program, relying chiefly on workbooks and DVDs; it retails for $400. Though Lucinda Bassett has said that she consulted a Toledo family therapist during the development of that program, she also admits that the $400 regimen owes much to her own struggles with anxiety and depression. During her obligatory kiss-the-ring appearance on Oprah, Lucinda recalled being paralyzed by anxiety during her career as a top-performing ad-space rep for a Toledo radio station. That experience, as she told it, motivated her to investigate a course of behavioral changes that not only enabled her to defeat her obstacles, but led to the (non)Midwest (non)Center, as well as a pair of strong-selling books, From Panic to Power and Life Without Limits.

Look... Instead of playing this whole thing for laughs, or maybe tears, I'll be fair. The Bassetts can produce reams of testimonials, and even people with some standing in traditional therapeutic realms aren't as dubious about MCSAI's methods as you'd expect. (One study of the Bassetts' approach, later published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, suggested a "cure rate" of 58 percent, comparable to that attained in formal psychotherapy.) I'm not sure that's the point, however. During my discussion of Dr. Laura Schlessinger in SHAM***, I noted that formal mental-health organizations frown on the misleading use of doctorates and other credentials, especially those unrelated to mental health. In Schlessinger's case, for example, therapists tend to resent the fact that she took the one doctorate she does have (in physiology) and used it to add a patina of credibility to her career in pop psychology. As I also note in SHAM, fully three-quarters of confessed Dr. Laura junkies told The Washington Post that they just naturally assumed she was "a psychologist, psychiatrist or therapist." That, to me, is a problem. It's also a serious breach of professional ethics, when the central figure in the confusion not only fails to correct the false impression, but actually seeks to maximize profits from it.

The MCSAI story strikes me as much the same—beginning with the name the Bassetts chose for their enterprise. Maybe their advice is terrific. So what? As it happens, I know a great deal about cardiology. I think I have some solid insights into the more subtle workings of the human heart. And I can even empathize with Lucinda Bassett, because my knowledge was an outgrowth of the firsthand research I had to do in assessing some very odd cardiac symptoms I experienced some time back. Still, I did not, on the basis of that accumulated know-how, set myself up as the Eastern Center for Cardiac Research, Inc. And if you experienced heart trouble today, I don't think you'd want me practicing medicine on you. You'd go to someone who actually went to school to learn cardiology, and was duly and appropriately credentialed in that discipline.

Wendy Kaminer observed years ago that America is the least credential-conscious society in the free world. Things haven't gotten any better. Every day the meaning and marketplace value of proven expertise is eroded a little bit more by profit-minded charlatans who argue that a (relevant) doctorate means nothing, that formal education means nothing, that scientific validation means nothing; they argue that their mere good intentions should stand shoulder to shoulder with someone else's demonstrated competency (a delusional mindset that's only made worse by "positive-thinking" extravaganzas like The Secret). Maybe it's time to remind ourselves once again of exactly where the road goes, that is paved with good intentions.

* MCSAI is privately held, and therefore not obliged to disclose revenues to the SEC and others.
** The Bassetts admit this.

*** pp. 44-51.


Anonymous said...

There’s a fascinating point to be made about the Bassett’s (non)Center public relations arm. Using media strategies to pump up a company’s bottom line is okay – so long as you’re creating high viz for a product or service that ACTUALLY benefits the customer or client.

Dishonestly practicing grand-scale, perception building “secrets” to persuade unsuspecting people to buy a dubious product speaks to the corruption infecting my profession too. Like the credentialed psychotherapists lamenting the scamming, shamming and soothsaying of the Schlessinger ike, we in PR have a bone to pick with marketers and others doing anything for a buck.

We do need to be a more credential conscious people. I fear, however, that we have lost footing an already slippery slope. Look else where and the same phenomenon is occurring.

It is the American mentality to “wait until it’s broken” to fix anything. I wonder if Canadians would mind if we Americans started jumping ship?

Steve Salerno said...

Very nicely put, Mr. Spin. Your intensified emphasis on the PR component--building buzz for something that does not, in fact, exist, or falls far short of what the buzz would suggest--is a very important point that, as you suggest, has culture-wide relevance. Too often nowadays, "there's no there there," as the saying goes.

Also, the photo looks cool.

Incidentally, I just spoke to the Canadians last night--did a big radio/talk show out of Winnipeg, focusing mostly on The Secret and the American love affair with same--and I don't think they want us coming across the border.

Anonymous said...

Emily took the picture. You should check out her blog too --


Steve Salerno said...

Seen (and enjoyed) Em's blog many times, Rodg...

a/good/lysstener said...

In a way, I see a version of this even in my classes, Steve. Instead of quoting the most widely accepted experts, a prof will often quote his or her own "experts", who naturally are people that agree with the prof's position, even if those so-called "experts" are way out there on the fringe. It's like everybody today feels entitled to pick and choose which "truth" they're going to accept and which they're going to reject.

Cal said...


Did you see the NY Times interview with Suze Orman? In it, she admitted that she had never been intimate with a man and that she kept most of her money in safe securities, (i.e, not stocks). I know you mentioned her investment style in SHAM. Also that she never really discussed her own personal relationships, so how could she advise women? I don't care about her sexual orientation, but I do think she would not be the best person to listen to for advice in a heterosexual relationship. Unlike Dr. Laura, she is qualified to speak about financial advice (as she is a Certified Financial Planner) but it seems to me that she doesn't practice what she preaches with her investments. There was an uproar in the financial planning community when this interview was published.

On another note, do you consider Trump to be a SHAM artist? I must admit the guy is one of the best self promoters I've seen. But there hasn't been any real study about how financially successful he has been. I know most of his stuff is privately held. Some say his family members saved him in the early '90s when he had financial difficulties. He claims to be the biggest real estate developer in NYC, but most of the insiders there laugh at that proclamation. His books have been around forever (The Art of the Deal, The Art of the Comeback, etc.) even before his reappearance on the scene with The Apprentice. Although I think the show is on its last legs, I've seen late night infomercials with him touting his real estate strategies. He also has this new Trump University. I also read he was getting $1 million per speech through the Learning Annex. And this recent wrestling event he was a part of was a smart business move also. I don't see how women watch and support his show. The way he discards his wives every 5-10 years for younger women is disgraceful. He also claims what he does is always "not about the money" which is patently absurd. He is definitely not self promoting for his health.

Matt Dick said...

I am in a position professionally, where I am enormously unsatisfied. I want to do more of value to the world, and I want to enjoy what I do, if not everyday, at least some days.

So is there room for a Midwest Self-Help Center that actually has a building, and staff, to actually help people? One that offers practical and scientifically validated programs to help people become what they want to become? I mean there are real barriers to becoming something more, like the experience on how to take an idea and from it make a product to sell, information on how to get loans for schooling, and practical financial advice for how to live and pay rent while going back to school, like how to get the most out of a writing career or how to blog effectively? Or how to raise kids in an environment of a terrible illness in the family (I know people who have too much experience in this area).

I don't mean this all in a flip way, these are real services that are too often hard to find or are found in a SHAMmed-up wrapper that robs them of their usefulness.

Just thinking.

Cosmic Connie said...

It could be argued, though, that we *are* a credential-conscious society. We just don't care if the credentials are relevant, or if they're even legit. That's why folks such as some of those "Secret" stars are flaunting their purchased "doctorates." And their followers are reverently referring to them as "Dr." So-and-So.

Of course when the fake-degree holders get confronted about it, they find some way to gloss it over. They'll either ignore the question entirely, as did one "Secret" star recently when confronted by, I believe, our own Mr. Spin, or they'll have some rationalization. "Dr." John Gray, for example, never hesitated to exploit the Ph.D. he acquired from a diploma mill. When finally backed into a corner about it he said, "I don't need a Ph.D. I'm the most famous author in the world."

Cal said...


There is a book scheduled to be published next month titled "Practically Perfect- In Every Way" by Jennifer Neisslein. It is about an author who reads a bunch of SHAM books and the resultant difficulties in implementing all the advice given. It will be interesting to see how much publicity the author receives compared to your examination of the industry.

RevRon's Rants said...

Ever read Vonnegut's treatise on the notion that ideas are nothing more than badges? It appears in what I consider his landmark work, "Breakfast of Champions."

It really is pertinent to this discussion. Really. :-)

Verification word is joebgbj. I won't even speculate... :-)

Matt Dick said...

Connie, I have to admit, I don't know who John Gray is. I can make room in my egotism for believing that there are famous authors I have never heard of, but "the most famous author in the world"?!?

Okay, I just looked him up and he's the Mars/Venus guy. So now I understand his contention that he's the most famous author in the world. Turns out, he's a mistaken, confused, inflated, insulated egomaniac. This guy isn't the most famous author in the world, he's not even the most famous author who's still alive (JK Rowling, maybe?).

I have to imagine he's the most famous author in his house, almost certainly.


Steve Salerno said...

Geez, Matt, if you didn't previously know who John Gray is/was, then your love life must surely be a train wreck, at least to hear Gray (arguably the most self-important figure in the SHAMscape) tell it. If you have a copy of SHAM (the book) handy, check out the section on Gray (pp.51-54); pay particular attention to his bedroom tips at the top of p. 53.

I see a hot night ahead for you.

Anonymous said...

hCanadians are like their British founders in being more conscious of credentials and more prone to not jumping on the bandwagon right away. Perhaps it is the English influence on the education system. That said, I think that the US, being the home of many an Ivy League University, should be more conscious ... because I want a real doctor taking care of me versus the many quacks out there. Thanks for exposing more of them Steve. America is becoming way too therapy junkie oriented.

charlene walker said...

I would love to put my 2 cents in on midwest center from first hand experience. I did get caught up in their t.v. hype at my most vulnerable time in my life. I found myself very depressed over losing my daughter to murder. I chose the monthly payments of 64.98 for 8 months add that up and then the package. Wow I did get scammed I realized that. They take advantage of very hurt and vulenrable people. At the time I was so depressed that I never opened their silly tapes or workbooks. It is worthless in my opinion. I even went so far as to go into their fake web site for counseling and ask for help I have never heard anything from any one. I wish the truth will come out on these people or they will continue to take advantage of the hurting. thanks charlene

Steve Salerno said...

Thank you ,Charlene. This is a valuable addition to the dialogue; I just wish it had come earlier. But still, I appreciate your sharing this with us.

Maria said...

All of you are just jealous that you didn't come up with this program yourselves. Why the hating? I have used this program and it has worked tremendously well. It was worth the $400. I know at least 3 other people who have been amazingly helped. I have been to a myriad of doctors, and none could do what this program could do. I don't find anything wrong is using your own misfortune to make a fortune.

Cathy said...

If you don't use the program, you don't get to say, "It doesn't work" You have to do the program, it helps. I used it. I think mostly it's learning the Positive Self Talk, that helped me the most. Most people with anxiety have very negative attitudes. I would much rather get anxiety advice from someone who has had it than a DR who really does not really know how it feels. You wouldn't want to take flying lessons from someone who has never flown a plane.

Steve Salerno said...

Cathy/Maria: First of all, I put the name(s) that way because I strongly suspect that you may be the same person. In any case, if you found help, that's good; I am happy. Some people mistakenly assume (and I have no idea why) that because this blog is basically "against" the self-help movement, it is also against personal progress. Nothing could be more untrue! Indeed, it is precisely because I'm such a strong believer in people and humanism and "living the best possible life" that I oppose most self-help programs, which are either (a) useless or (b) hurtful.

Finally, I could not disagree more with the assertion that "if you don't use the program, you don't get to say it doesn't work." Come on, now; that "rationale" could be used to justify almost anything, no matter how absurd. I could say to you, "if you don't use crack cocaine, you don't get to pass judgment on whether it's a worthwhile activity." Also, even if you're right--even if this program DID work, in your case, and magnificently so--that's still just anecdotal evidence. And one or two cases (or even dozens of cases) can mean nothing at all. Look how many people swear by faith healing....

A Midwest Center Message Board Member said...

SHAMBlog's link to this was posted on the MidWest Center's message board after someone mentioned it casually in their chatroom, and a discussing followed.

That person was immediately booted from the chatroom and permanently banned from the board.

The threads (there were several of them) discussing the link were immediately deleted and everyone who participated in them got permanently banned from the site.

They do this every time anyone questions the program, Lucinda, or anyone or anything to do with them.

If Lucinda and The Midwest Center are legitimate then why are they so quick to hit the delete and ban keys? I would think that someone who has nothing to hide, hides nothing, and encourages ALL dialogue... good and bad about the program. Surely Lucinda and her croonies can't possibly think EVERYONE is going to love their program, or that everyone is stupid enough to spend $400 on 12 CDs and then an additional $2,000 for telephone support from an "anxiety coach" which is a person with no credentials at all. It's just a person who supposedly went through the program and now gets paid to help others over the phone once a week. They get paid minimum wage to do this. The rest of the money Lucinda pockets.

So you tell me it's not a scam. It's a scam big time. The quality of the tapes/CDs is very poor. The packaging is impressive, but the material itself is very unprofessional, Lucinda is very unprofessional, and it sounds like the program was recorded in someone's basement instead of a professional studio.

But what do you expect from a product that is only advertised and available through a 3:00 am infomercial - when anxiety sufferers are up unable to sleep and having another panic attack.

Mahs Golb said...


I’ll give you a little of what you want. You post this article link, in no less than 10 separate areas on the MWC forum…obviously trolling for attention. And for the limited time it takes me to respond, you shall have it. But beware, because I’ve read your little article probably more thoroughly than you have. And in the greatest testimony to how unsuccessful you were in making your claim about the MWC, 99% of the responders to your site didn’t even bother discussing the MWC Company in any form. It’s as if no one even understood what you were talking about? Oh…I get it…so that’s why you decided to troll the MWC forum (using the nickname Exposure…further establishing your lack of originality) looking for attention and self-satisfaction!! Mission accomplished Steve…you found 2 others and myself.

I’ll provide my credentials on the subject, which are quite clearly more substantial than your own…otherwise you would have provided them. I had zero answers for my battle with anxiety disorder & panic disorder up until I found the MWC Program. Without playing for the dramatic, that program saved my life. It gave me more than answers and more than an ideal to dream about…it gave me the steps, the tools, the thinking and the process by which people like myself can improve our living experience. I ordered the program in 2003, worked it for the 15 weeks (yes, your 14 week figure was one of many errors in this piece) and I still practice and make use of all aspects of that program today. I would recommend it to anyone.

And now to the flaws in your article and in your thinking.

1.With smoke and mirrors, you link the Bassetts with Dr. Laura Schlessinger…and this idea of phony credentials: even though you yourself find no grievance with the Bassetts on this point. So why link them? (Is this a Scam within your own article or a reflection of your poor writing skills?—I can’t decide. But as you say, I’m not sure that’s the point.) You needed filler, ammo and a slant…the problem was your slant is filler and your ammo is pathetically thin because of it.

2.You claim that profit-minded charlatans, among other things, argue that scientific validation means nothing. That’s a funny statement to add, since you clearly want to link the Bassetts to this form of charlatan—but just two paragraphs prior, you yourself quote a published study (from the Journal of Clinical Psychology no less) that states the MWC Program boasts a “cure rate” comparable to formal psychotherapy. Again—not that it’s the point—but is this just poor persuasive writing on your part or did you unprofessionally decide to roll with the SHAM idea, and never mind lacking the informational fact to support it?

3.You seem so caught up and out-dated with this idea of a brick and mortar business location and the lack of a “center” at the MWC. I find that laughably odd coming from a person who is relying on the technology behind the internet in order to produce this article/discussion. I guess you might next flame Amazon because they aren’t headquartered in South America and they don’t own a brick and mortar bookstore? Your theories are almost a joke dude. The message boards of the MWC provide a “center” far more encompassing, useful and accessible than any brick and mortar facility could ever hope to. The reason? People with this condition have been consumed by fear and have taken it beyond a level you comprehend. And that fear prevents actions ‘normal’ persons take without thinking…like eating, driving, socializing, visiting a doctor, talking on the phone, or leaving their homes. For these individuals (of which I was one), making an appointment with a psychologist, in an office setting, is never never never going to happen…and for that, and that at the very minimum, I will forever be grateful to the MWC. If they had a brick and mortar “center”…I assure you I would never have thought to attend. But the forum? The forum is the ‘center’ we can frequent everyday at all hours of the day and night without appointment.

4.The entire conclusion of your confusing viewpoint focuses entirely on this idea of credentials…and let me tell you, I still can’t ascertain your credentials as an author. Or what your credentials are for judging this company harshly? Let me get your thinking. You think “so what” if the MWC’s advice is “terrific” and “so what” if they have a scientific study revealing solid results, and “so what” if they don’t try to lie or inflate their credentials…you say you are sticking to your empty guns anyway! What a ridiculous, baseless and ego-driven piece of writing you’ve produced. Have you thought to consider the vast number of panic/anxiety/agoraphobic and depressed persons that have never—and would never—even consider seeking an appointment with a ‘credentialed’ professional?? No…probably not. And that is the point. You don’t understand your audience! Why is the concept of a tape/cd program even necessary? Have you given that any thought? Review point # 3 for the explanation. One of its key strengths, is it provides an alternative to one of traditional therapy’s key weaknesses…accessibility. If you can’t drive, don’t leave the house, don’t talk on the phone or haven’t the confidence to make an appointment…how does that credentialed therapist sitting miles away help you?

And lets talk about credentials and the importance you place on them as your backing for psychologists and the like, as opposed to a Scam program whose owner doesn’t possess them. I decided to give therapy a chance as a supplement to my nearly finishing the program—a step I could not have even explored prior to using this program. I wanted a professional to keep me going in the right direction. But therapy, in my experience, provided no comparison to the positive effects of the program. It wasn’t as focused or repetitive, wasn’t as informative, wasn’t as inspirational or motivating, wasn’t as accessible or understanding, and wouldn’t have sustained me when I most needed the help. Therapy did not provide a “Community” or a “center” of support. The advantage and concept of the internet must just fly right over your head on this one, and I don’t mean to rub it in, but it further indicates you don’t comprehend the subject matter at all. Now, therapy does have many advantages and many benefits, but here is an important consideration to remember Steve…you will find plenty of Scams within that business model as well, and in this day and age thankfully, there is zero need to choose exclusively between the two. We can employ both of them…they can both be positives. Your credential argument just doesn’t hold up.

You would have improved your appearance as a real writer, if you’d done a little research and inquired as to just how many ‘credentialed’ psychologists’ forthrightly recommend the MWC program to their patients…and even offer to use the program as a foundation for the weekly visits. Out of the 6 I interviewed prior to selecting a therapist, half told me they had recommended this program, and the other half had either looked into it or had heard favorable opinions of it. Maybe try a little research and talk to those professionals…or is laziness and ‘going with hunches’ your preference? And for the credential record, I don’t work for the MWC and have never met or communicated with the Bassetts.

You can write anything you want Steve and take any position you want and flame whatever entity you want. What raised my ire was your slamming of the MWC forum…for your own self-serving needs and ego (I guess you will get more hits this way and someone like me makes you feel less alone in the world.) You’re welcome. The offensive part of your Scam, is that you may turn a few people away from the last hope they believe they have…and while that’s not true, it just may prolong their search for help, simply because you posted this inept piece of work on the MWC forum and infer baseless doubt. I had HUGE doubt when I purchased the program…depressed people doubt and suspect scams at every turn. (hmmmm?....Steve?) I hated myself for purchasing something off of an infomercial…for being so desperate…and I just knew in my heart that it was a waste of money. Thank goodness I didn’t have a post like yours to lead me away…because it was anything but a waste of money…and shame on you for being so lazy and thoughtless…that’s my final point.

I apologize for the spattering of personal attacks…but you clearly don’t understand (nor apparently desire to understand) the MWC Program/business or its customers…so why write about it? Your actions have consequences like everyone else’s and I hope the next time you attack an entity and cry Scam, that you at least do some due diligence and actually determine that YOU believe it is a Scam—otherwise, you only Expose yourself and your blog as a Scam. There are plenty of topics in this world to write about without having to make them up…give it a try Steve and legitimize your own credentials.

Your reply to the last two contributors was asinine; as if it’s somehow the publics charge to budge the idiocy and immovability of your thinking…when it’s your blog…and it’s your self-given charge, to budge theirs. Just apologize for failing…it will be the first honest piece of writing you’ve done on this topic.

Steve Salerno said...

I'm giving you plenty of space to say what you want, because you make interesting points, and you make them well (though I think I've adequately addressed this type of reasoning in both my book and this blog)...but...your premise is wrong. I didn't post on the message boards, as "exposure" or anything else. Honest. In fact, I wish I'd thought of it first, but evidently someone who found some merit in what I had to say beat me to it.

ban said...

fzqqzzdI am one of the people that was banned from the mwc website. I would just like to say those of us who were banned were treated very unfairly. A link tour your blog was posted on the site as you know and posts were put in their forums.Those involved were kicked from the board. All this you already know, but it is being said that we broke their rules many many times and were disrespectful to mwc. That is a bunch of bull. Every one of the people banned were GREAT supporters of their program AND continually helped those in need on the chat and in the forums when they were in need of it.Whoever Mahs Golb is should get things straight and true just like those that banned us before they go off half cocked with their accusations.

Anonymous said...

jThe MWC program is definitely not worth $400. Their message board is a joke with Carolyn, the "educational director" LOL running it. She doesn't help anyone nor does she coach the members through the program. All she does is delete, censor and ban.

There are members on the MWC message board who have been there for YEARS. They're still not fully recovered because if they were, they wouldn't still be on that board 24/7. These members praise the Midwest Center, Lucinda, and the moderators to death. They also brutally attack anyone who says anything negative about the program, Lucinda, or the lack of professionalism and fairness displayed by the board moderators. But they never get censored, warned, or banned. They can say anything to anyone anytime. But other people have their posts regularly deleted without so much as a warning, and more often than that they'll just get outright banned.

There is also an unfair bias towards Christianity on that board. Nowhere in the program does Lucinda say anything about it being a faith-based program. Yet the message board is nauseatingly pro-christianity and if you're of another religion or god forbid an atheist, they attack you like rabid dogs! AND THE MODERATORS ALLOW THIS!!!!

I have no proof of this of course but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to strongly assume that the majority of people who praise the MWC program like it's the next thing since sliced bread are most likely fake profiles created by employees of the MWC and not real clients at all.

As a client of the non-existent MWC who spent $400 on the self-help program and over $2,000 on the one-on-one coaching AND I AM STILL NOT RECOVERED, I can tell you with all honesty and good conscience to save your money, and buy one of the many quality self-help books like "The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook" by Dr. Edmund Bourne for about $30. It is a much more thorough program, easy to follow, and a hell of a lot cheaper.

Lucinda's program is very "Mickey Mouse". There's very little meat but a lot of filler. And her voice, oh my god! For the money they charge, you would think they could hire a professional person with a nice soothing voice to record it. But no, they use Lucinda herself, which would be fine.... but she has a very annoying lisp.

The MWC program would be fine if they charged $50 for it. But for the outrageous price they charge, the poor way they treat people on their message board which is supposed to be a support group, and their laughable refund policy - the program takes 15 weeks to complete and often longer - but they give you only 30 days to return it. If it was a reputable product that really delivered what it promised, they would allow people to complete the program and offer a full no questions asked refund after the 15 weeks.

I can't tell you how many people have logged onto the board complaining that they can't get a refund from these jokers. Their posts and their profiles are promptly deleted.

If Lucinda and her program were 100% legitimate, and if she really did want to help people, she would supply proof that she actually had anxiety disorder. Nowhere can I find any proof that she even suffered from this. Nowhere does she explain exactly how she got over it. Most people never overcome it completely - at best it can be managed. Yet she claims to be "totally cured". And instead of taking all the money she makes from poor desperate sick people who buy her sham of a program, she would live comfortably for sure, but the bulk of that money would be put back into the program to perhaps bring the cost down and add more services. Instead, she and her husband and all the other people who help her with this sham live like kings and queens, and those of us too desperate to be able to think straight do whatever we have to to come up with the money for this program that promises to give us our health, our life, and our peace of mind back.

Someone should dig into Lucinda's past and find out what the real story with her is. That might shed a lot of light on this whole thing.

Anonymous said...

This is how they come up with their infomercial testimonials:
Notice how Carolyn contradicts herself. First she's looking for anyone who has used the product for only two months - anybody knows that you have to use a supplement for at least a good three months before you can even begin to notice if it's making a difference, but then when she's asked the question by Francesca, she contradicts herself by saying she does an anonymous screening process. Yeah right!

New Found Hope said...

Hello -- My name is Sherry also known as New Found Hope on the MWC site. Well, atleast I was until I was banned from it.

I am writing this for two reasons:

#1 --To let everyone know that Steve is NOT the person that posted the link to the blog on the forum -- I DID!! I am the person that logged on as EXPOSURE-- so maybe you can learn a lesson on getting your facts straight as well before blaming someone that had nothing to do with it.

#2--I have NEVER bashed the program or said that it didn't work because I know from experience of using it that it does work if you do the work that is required and it has literally changed and saved my life. As a matter if fact there were 8 members of MWC that were banned at the same time I was and they have all been helped by the program and also never bashed it.

We read this blog and were curious as to the validity of it and by the actions taken by MWC we can only assume it to be true. The staff at MWC has shown lately that they do not care about anyone but themselves and I could go into that in detail but I won't for now unless someone wants me to clarify it more.

Mahs Golb said...


I acknowledge that the space and latitude you provided my comments, did adhere to a level of ethics and integrity I mostly expected you would not meet: and I welcomed the chance to be wrong on that one. It’s not much of an honest enterprise if the reasonably and completely opposed are quietly silenced behind the scenes. I owe you that acknowledgement. Your claim not to be ‘exposure’ seems quite substantiated by New Found Hope…and this quite obviously stands in your favor and adds one error to my shoulders. While you might forgive me for having a lingering feeling that something in all of this ‘exposure’ business doesn’t pass the smell test…I also stand by my ethics and integrity and I do apologize for my errant assumption that you posed as ‘exposure.’ I believe the tact New Found Hope exhibited on the MWC site would have been unforgivable for someone in your position and as I explained in my first response…it was the driving reason I felt compelled to voice my indignation. That indignation having been misplaced as it relates to the ‘exposure’ business (and not holding anywhere near the same intensity for a person not in your position)…I stand firmly behind my beef with your article and my belief that in the case of this particular company (within an industry you find wholly unethical)…I say in the case of this company you’ve got it wrong and that’s as close as we’ll likely ever agree on the subject.

Eight people are banned and now they hate the company and think it’s a scam. Shocking! And they found a blog you posted interesting…while I found it completely inaccurate, misguided and thin as all get out. My claim would be this: For a person who has found such success with the program, to have read your article…and found it ‘interesting’ enough to slam it’s link in 10 separate areas on the forum—all at the same time and under an assumed new identity—I would claim this indicates someone with grievances prior to posting the link…not after. New Found Hope, I may be wrong on that reasoning…but it would certainly be Occam’s razor.

So I conclude with this thought for you Steve, and for those responders who would like to claim I must be some kind of blinded lemming…standing up for the shadow of what I have been brainwashed to believe is an infallible savior. I say hogwash…and I have never made the claim to another individual that my experience will be theirs; while on the other hand, these opposing individuals who have had a negative experience Always Always claim to others that their experience will be exactly as negative. (I have not read your work Steve, but I feel confident in assuming that the reverse of this point is something you’ve used in your favor…that the converts get all fired up and go to work converting.) Well…that happens on both sides as we all know…but I must say—knowing you’ll not be persuaded—that I have honestly found the disgruntled on the forum far more intent on converting those around them, than the satisfied people looking to take that next step towards their own personal survival. And to the guy who claimed all posts in opposition to Lucinda or the MWC are deleted etc, I just went there and it took me 2 search attempts to uncover 5 posts that prove otherwise. That required just 3 minutes worth of searching.

To your poster ‘ban’ I say…it was not (1) link posted to the forum as you claim…it was (10) links. That is known as slamming and unless you are absolutely new to how message boards work…slamming is a cardinal No-No universally. That is a fact. Steve Salerno would not have posted my very critical response, if I had attempted to post it all over his site and in places where it clearly didn’t belong or apply. (Steve…can we agree on that one? Ignoring for the moment that you have total control over public viewing and are in no danger of this aggressive practice.) Most of the trouble on the MWC site stems from the ‘chat’ group—overwhelmingly compared to the ‘message board’ group…so it doesn’t surprise me to learn that this originally began in the ‘chats.’ At least, that is where it all began according to the responder above, ‘Midwest Center Message Board Member.’

To ‘Anonymous’ I say…your aggravation and complaints with the message board could be applied to any message board I’ve ever been on…just change the name. Moderators showing favoritism, people sticking up for friends who were banned, religion and politics forever great sources of rage and message board disruption. I wanted the MWC site to be different also—and I believe it actually was when I was a steady contributor—but the small town grew to become a city, and policing and management became more challenging I imagine. I agree with you on the Christianity bias…and I was around to see that change take place as well—but it was a function of the growing change in new members as I watched it grow…and not born from any policy change or personality change that I ever noticed. As to your scathing perception of those who praise the MWC Program…I am one of them and I assure you I am not a fake or an employee or hired PR. I am just a guy who battled what you have battled something awful for 25yrs…and I paid for the program…used it to the T for the 15 wks…and have never spent that amount of money better. That’s my experience and the experience of many others I made friends with during my tenure on the forum and that’s just what my experience was. I, of course hope that others have that experience…and believe me…when you find what works for you, you’ll stand by your experience as well and hope others stumble upon what worked for you. It’s just being human and knowing how incredibly unexplainable this condition is to those who’ve not endured it.

To New Found Hope. I trust this second reply to Steve addresses your point # 1. As to your point # 2? Only you can answer as to why you hit the site with those 10 posts under a second identity…but in my opinion…that type of tactic is considered ‘bashing’ by everyone I know. You had your reasons and you owe no explanation to me and while I’m sure this is all entertaining reading for our host Steve…I will be ending my involvement with it after this post, because I do not see it as my job to become the defender of anything other than my own voice and thoughts. My original response was to Steve and his article and it serves no purpose for me to shift my focus and begin arguing with 8 banned members. You guys/gals are angry as he**…I get that. I don’t ‘get’ how that turns the actual program from something that was good to something that is horrible and a Scam, but I had nothing to do with it and only wished to conclude by responding to those who directly addressed me.

So good night all…and a better day tomorrow.

Handsome Jack said...

Hello Steve, and as Paul Harvey would say, "and now for the rest of the story"

I'm the guy (Handsome Jack) that posted the link in the Midwest Center Chat room a few

days ago. Someone gave me your article to read, and I found it interesting and did not

see it as a scam article, I see only truth in everything that was written here, so I in

turn thought some people who were chatting in the Midwest chat room at the time might

like to read it. I did not mean any harm, no malice, nor to discredit the Midwest Center

in any way, I simply thought it was an interesting article. We are all entitled to our

own opinions in America arent we?

Well, after posting the link in the chatroom people who were there talked about it for a

few minutes, and some said the program has helped them, others said it was too expensive

and so on, but nobody including me, ever said anything to discredit Lucinda, or the

Midwest Center. One of the chat members known as " Mello Nello" who is a regular

participant of the online chatroom, and who I have known in there for about 4 years

began to tell me off, and told me I had no right posting that because it was a discredit

to Midwest. I told Mello Nello that she was entitled to her opinions, and I meant no

harm all I did was post something that I thought they might find interesting. Well,

Mello Nello left the chatroom, and within 5 minutes of her leaving, I got a popup

window telling me, that my IP address has been banned, and that I will no longer be

able to take part in the chat or participate in the online forums. So, it only took 5

minutes for The Midwest authority's to issue a command to the chat Admin to ban me. (I

may be wrong and if I am, I'll apologize, but my guess is Mello Nello made a phone call

to Carolyn, and thus the entire chain of events took place). Thankyou Nello, you have

smiled at me for 4 years and now I have seen whats on the other side of your face, this

is Handsome Jack by the way, and I still keep you in my prayers.

Now, let me tell you about my history with Midwest. I bought the Midwest Program tapes

about 16 years ago, when I thought all hope of my ever getting well was gone. At that

time I believe I paid close to $300 for the tapes and a workbook. I had seen the

informercial on TV, with Lucinda, and her so called " staff" along with all the

"miracle" testimonials from people who suffered needlessly with panic attacks, phobias,

depression and so on for years, and were now " cured " by the miraculous powers of this

Attacking Anxiety program.So I bought it.

Was it " Snake Oil" in a box ? No, it was not. Was it a "fake" program? No, not at

all. Was is "useless"? No, it was not. I listened to the tapes one by one, each week I

followed the lessons, and wrote in the workbook as instructed, and guess what? I began

to feel a little better. And by the way it takes at least 15 weeks to complete the

program if not longer, someone mentioned that Carolyn Dickman claims something like two

months? I think I missed something along the way.

I suffered for 20 years with panic attacks, dizziness, heart palpitations, depression,

loss of jobs because I couldnt keep the job long enough due to these panic attacks. So,

although I was not totally "cured" by the Midwest program it did help me. And although I

personally feel it is grossly overpriced, I was able to face a lot of my fears because

of what I heard on the tapes. But I'm willing to bet you that at that same time I could

have bought a $9.95 Self Help audio cassette that told me how to breathe properly during

an anxiety attack, and how caffeine and certain foods aggrivate anxiety, along with a

few testimonials from people who suffered the same symptoms that I could have saved

$300, because thats really about all Lucindas program teaches you. Its a pep talk, it

gives you instructions on how to breathe and eat properly, and tells you to write things

down in a workbook, and to be a positive thinker. All of this "good news" to someone

who feels that they are all alone in their suffering, and that nobody understands their

condition, because it is true, familys have a very hard time accepting a problem that

they cannot see. If your arm is broken and you have it in a cast, people can say, "Oh

boy, I see you broke your arm, poor guy" however, if you have Anxiety and Panic

disorder, they simply tell you to use your " will power" and to "shape up" because there

is "nothing wrong with you". So does it work? Yes, it helped me a lot I cannot deny


Basically if you are afraid of anything, and you force yourself to face that fear no

matter how uncomfortable you feel, no matter how panicy you feel, eventually you will

convince yourself that you can do it. This is a proven fact.

As a side note I would like to add that my real healing, and cure, was attained by going

to Recovery Inc. meetings once a week, which is free of charge, and all you are required

to buy is the book which each participant in the meetings reads a chapter from out loud.

This builds self esteem, and self confidence, and I can honestly say the Recovery Inc

method of Mental Health Through Will-Training, which was founded by Dr. Abraham Low a

pyschiatrist who studied thousands of anxiety patients for many years and came up with

the Self Help method in 1937, really does work, it worked for me and has worked

Worldwide for millions of people. So self help techniques that we see today are not new

at all. But even in Recovery Inc, sucess is not guaranteed 100% but it worked for me,

and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who has difficulty with Anxiety, Depression,

and Panic Disorder. You can find out more about it if you do a Google search on Recovery


Back to my story, so, for 16 years that I have owned to Attacking Anxiety program, every

so often, I would take the tapes out dust them off and listen to them just as a

reminder of the shape I was once in. And for 16 years of loyalty and 4 years of offering

my support for free in Lucinda Bassets online chat room, I get kicked out and banned.

(I sure am glad I had some Recovery Inc training because I am to this day very calm, and

basically anxiety free and this ban will only strengthen me. In the words of Lucinda

Basset, "its no big deal" I'm over it.)

I personally would like to thank Lucinda Basset, and Carolyn Dickman or whoever gave the

order for kicking me out, it really shows how much class the Midwest Center really

has. Now, I'm not bitter, and I have no negative things to say about the Anxiety Program

itself, but I feel that the Midwest Center should not have banned about 10 others who

gave their all to come and support new people who came in, and who promoted Lucinda's

program with all their heart and soul free of charge.

They did all this banning because I myself, and about 10 others supposedly must have

violated the chat room terms of service , which by the way keep changing each week.

So if anyone is to blame for all the static that has erupted from that chat room episode

its me, Handsome Jack. I'm the one who's responsible for pasting in the link to the blog

about Midwest. I did it without any intent of harm, malice, or any derogatory

intentions. My pasting the blog link in, was as I stated, just to let someone read it,

and whatever opinion they formed from your article here is their own. I already knew

from the time I got my program 16 years ago that Midwest was not a huge conglamorate

building, I knew exactly where they were located because I live in Ohio not far from

Toledo, and I am familiar with Oak Harbor. So, it didnt matter to me if Lucinda and her

company made 50 million dollars, or 500 million a year, I would say this is the result

of clever marketing, and because the program does help if you are willing to put forth

some effort, follow the instructions, and do some work. Nobody ever got anywhere in this

world with trying. However I dont feel that when Midwest charges people $1.99 a minute

for phone support, its justifyable at least not in my opinion. I feel that a company

that can pull in 50 million a year surely can afford a toll free phone line to offer

help to those having a hard time understanding the instructions or whatever. There is no

need to charge people $1.99 a minute after they have forked out almost $500 to buy the

program in the first place. The Midwest Center also offers a coaching service to the

tune of about $2,000 whereby a trained former sufferer will give you a phone call and

help walk you through the program. This is wonderful news if you are poor, and have no

health insurance, and suffer from Anxiety and Depression. However in Lucinda's defense I

believe they offer you a money back guarantee if it doesnt work, but you still have to

fork over the money and for many thats just not possible. And how did Lucinda get well ?

I believe she read books by Claire Weeks, and Dr Wayne Dyer, whom she quotes many times

in her program. And those didnt cost her $500 either.

I came on here to let everyone know the I'm the guy who put the link into the chat room,

and if I broke the rules by doing so, then so be it, but after supporting Lucinda for 16

years I would have expected the common decency to at least send me an email with a

warning or an explanation. I got nothing, zero, zip, zilch, nada, just a popup that says

"Your IP address has been banned, and you will no longer be able to participate in this

community" . And if that wasnt bad enough Lucinda, about 10 of my friends, who supported

you through thick and thin for many years even in the OLD chat room, were also banned

because they were innocent bystanders and took part in discussing this blog.

I purchased a chat room, and I have opened it up to all my friends from the Midwest chat

room who wish to come and talk with one another, as well as all my wonderful friends who

were banned because I posted a link into Lucinda's precious chat room. I did not make

any rules for the chat room, you can come in and say whatever you please because this is

America, and I believe in freedom of speech. However if you are in the Midwest Chat

room, and you mention Handsome Jack's chat room, you will get banned. They can discuss

Yahoo chat, AOL, ICQ, MSN and countless other chat rooms, thats not a problem and its

talked about in that chat all the time, but if you say "contact Handsome Jack and get an

account at his chat room", you're in violation of the Terms of Service, therefore you

will be banned. This is America isnt it? Can we say the words "Freedom of Speech" hello?

Lucinda, are you that afraid of me that you forbid any online chatters to even mention

my chat room? If so honey, you have more Anxiety issues than the the very people who buy

your program and support you for years, and you need to go back and listen to your

tapes. My chat room is in no way a liability to The Midwest Center, as I was told by the

Admin, who was instructed to tell me by Carolyn Dickman herself. I am not paid by

anyone, I did not open my chatroom to make any claims or implications that it is

affiliated with the Midwest Center in any way shape or form, it is not. I purchased it

privately, and it is a non profit chat place for all my wonderful friends to use 24

hours a day 7 days a week, day or night we're always there to support one another.

I dont ban people or kick them out for talking about other chat rooms, I welcome

discussions about any topic, and I do not, will not ever, and cannot read the

transcripts of my chat room when I am not around. I dont believe in such Gestapo

tactics, and I feel it is an invasion of ones privacy to read private chats between

users. However, we were all told in the Midwest Chat room by Carolyn Dickman, and the

Admin himself, that they in fact do read the room transcripts, and also read the private

whispers and private chats between the users. How disgusting is that? Read the

whispers? Play peek a boo on the private chats? Midwest has given a new meaning to the

words Chat Room Privacy. Its' called evesdropping, and in my opinion its not only

childish, but shows insecutity as well. Perhaps if Midwest spent more time marketing,

and less time eavesdropping on their chatters, they could double their annual income.

And I'm only human, I make mistakes every day, and I believe I made a mistake when I

posted that link into Midwests chat room, and I apologize to anyone who has been

offended in any way by the outcome of my actions. It was never my intention to

deliberately cause any friction, I've been a part of that chat room for 4 years and I've

always abided by its rules, and its Terms of Services, but I think I should have gone

back to the Forum and read the lastest version of the Terms of Service before posting.

Thankyou for listening to my side of the story, and I wish the Midwest Center much

success in their endeavors, their product in my opinion is not a scam, it does what it

claims to do if one is willing to put forth some effort and has the will to get well.

Sincerely, Handsome Jack

Steve Salerno said...

What strikes me here is that, if I'm reading things correctly, three different people have now claimed to be the anonymous poster that placed the link on the discussion site. (Only two are represented here; I rejected one comment because it included profanity.) I guess we'll see where this goes from here, if anywhere. I can't give this matter the attention it probably deserves right now--I'm traveling--but I'll tend to it further when I get back.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, about "Mello Nello". Does anyone really believe this person is anyone but Carolyn herself? I have been on that board since it's inception and "Nelly" aka "Mello Nello" has been there since day one as well. Every time anyone says anything even the slightest bit negative about the program she immediately goes for the jugular. She gets involved in every thread that has absolutely nothing to do with her and turns an otherwise respectful even if heated debate into an all out war. Once that starts, Carolyn deletes the thread and bans everyone who participated in it EXCEPT "Mello Nello". And "Mello Nello" is 99% of the time the only one who was causing any trouble! So tell me how "Nelly" isn't Carolyn or at the very least a person who is somehow affiliated with the whole sham that is the midwest center.

To the person who said that "now there are 3 people who claim to have posted the link". Learn to read. Two separate people posted the links on the board and one person, Handsome Jack, posted the link in the chatroom.

It doesn't matter who posted the link. What matters is that Carolyn and the rest of the staff at the MWC have proven time and time again that they are unprofessional and that they have something to hide, becuase if they didn't they wouldn't be so delete and ban crazy.

Save your money because the information that's on the MWC program is available for A LOT less in many books and audio cassettes, most of which were available long before Lucinda's program ever existed. Lucinda created nothing new. She's standing on the shoulders of the real trail blazers before her... except she's the one laughing all the way to the bank.

Anonymous said...

Lucinda is only the token anxiety sufferer used to sell the Attacking Anxiety program. The program is really the work of her husband, David.

How do I know this?

A couple of decades ago when this program first came to be, being completely anxiety-ridden and desperate for help, like many others I borrowed money I didn't have because I couldn't work thanks to the agoraphobia, so that I could purchase this "miracle program."

I called the supposed Midwest Center (I thought it was a real center otherwise why call it that?) and asked if I could speak with Lucinda because I was interested in starting a program similar to hers in Canada.

Lucinda was not the big shot she is now. She was just a woman who had overcome anxiety disorder and wanted to help others do the same. (I don't for one minute believe she was ever incapacitated by this disorder). Instead of Lucinda calling me back, her husband David did. I was shocked.

We had a nice chat and he explained that he took care of all the business end of things. I explained what I wanted to do. I thought he would suggest bringing the program here to Canada and opening up a Canadian Midwest Centre where people could go to to work the program, that I could be involved in - even as a volunteer. He completely ignored what I had to say. The only thing he was interested in was getting the names of key "anxiety disorder" people in Canada at the time (I knew them all since I was running support groups, etc). He falsely led me to believe that he would contact these people and a "center" would open up here in Canada.

What ended up happening was, David used me for all the contacts he needed, and then he brought Lucinda here for a conference that people could attend to hear her speak and buy the program.

So Lucinda and David left with a nice pocketful of cash and Canada STILL has no Midwest Center 20+ years later.

I challenge Lucinda to offer verifiable proof that a) she ever had anxiety disorder; b) she was rendered debilitated by it to the point where it interfered with her life on a daily basis; and c) exactly HOW she overcame it - step by step. Her books don't do this.

The information in her books is very general, and again the same information was available from Dr. Claire Weekes's books decades before the MWC scam was even a twinkle in David's eyes.

Anonymous said...

Lucinda and the entire Midwest Center don't care about anyone with anxiety disorder. They only care about making money, and they've targetted the easiest set of people to make money from.

If they even remotely cared about honestly helping people overcome anxiety disorder they would run their board a lot better and hire some professional moderators instead of the jokers they have doing that job now.

Take a look at their board. There's a forum on there asking people to suggest new forums. Over the years many good suggestions have been made and not one of them has been turned into a new forum on the board.

When questioned about this, the laughable Carolyn replied that the MWC simply cannot financially afford to add forums to the board. I find this laughable because a company that charges obscene amounts of money for a lacklustre product can't afford to add a forum to the board? I run a message board myself. It takes exactly 2 seconds and a click of the mouse to add a forum to the board. The administrator could change the entire layout of that board in an hour if s/he is a professional. How much would that possibly cost?

MWC Client said...

Someone with the know-how should investigate Lucinda, her husband David, Dr. Fisher, and every other key person involved with the MWC.

I'm sure that would uncover the real story behind the program that everyone agrees, even the ones who recommend it, that it's outrageously priced and that clients are treated like garbage if they question anything.

Maybe one of the major investigative news shows should get involved. The public deserves the truth.

MWC chat board member said...

Has anyone else noticed how few people log on to the MWC board anymore? They've lost all the good people by either banning them or driving them away.

If anyone knows of an anxiety message board that is run professionally and fairly, and which actually offers real help, I'd really like to know because the MWC is a waste of time. With all the politics going on there, the moderators causes more anxiety instead of helping us get rid of it.

Steve Salerno said...

Folks, I want you to know that I welcome, and very much appreciate, the volume of feedback that we've been getting from present and former clients of Ms. Bassett. However, I have found it necessary to reject several comments, now, because of concerns over libelous material. I know that many blogs and chat boards play fast and loose with public comment, but (a) I am a reasonably visble, published author with an obvious stake in the matter, so I can't afford to be quite so cavalier about it, and (b) even aside from that, (b), I try very hard to uphold the standards of fair comment that were commonly observed prior to the online revolution. I cannot permit remarks containing unproven personal accusations against Ms. Bassett and her husband. You are entitled to voice your opinions about the value of the program itself, and even the motives behind it--as I myself have done in this blog--but we must be ever-careful about crossing the fine (but important) line between a strong opinion and a reckless allegation of unsubstantiated fact.

This is not "censorship." It is simply observing the canons of the law in such matters as libel and defamation of character.

Anonymous said...

Why is Lucinda who is not a doctor involved in the making, selling, and recommending "feel good tabs"?

Read about it yourselves:

Wasn't Kevin Trudeau prosecuted and banned from selling anything that claimed to treat anything for pretty much the same thing?

SHOCKED! said...

fOh my god check out the price of these supplements Lucinda is selling!
Keep in mind that MANY people with anxiety disorder are disabled because of it. They can't work, so they're on welfare. So for these people who need help the most, they will have to decide between buying these "miracle" pills or buying groceries.

And let's not forget that the price of these supplements is ON TOP OF the $400 dollars for the program AND ON TOP of the $2,000 for the telephone coaching.


Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that ilovewinter is Lucinda, herself. She's the only good thing about that forum/chat.

wham! said...

Everyone who wants people on the MWC message board to read this should either go to an internet cafe, or get a proxy IP, or rotate your own IP address, and daily post the link to this site there. Sure it will be deleted and the IP of the person who posts will be banned, but if someone posts the link every day, and if you do it with an IP other than your own, many people will be able to be warned about the MWC sham and then make up their own mind armed with ALL the information - not just what Lucinda et all want them to know.

Anonymous said...

I personally am still a member of the MWC Chatroom and know majority of the people who are posting all to well. Im honestly sick and tired of reading all the poor me all know why you were all were all notified. The MWC program works for those of you who ACTUALLY do the program...but what majority of you did was come to chat got addicted and spent endless upon endless of hours there hooking up and starting gossip and attacking Carolyn Dickman telling her bluntly that you were not going to follow the rules of the MWC chatroom!!! The chatroom is a tool not a place to hang out 24/7 and cry about how your life is going nowwhere day after day..well duh get up and get out of the house and do something about it. That's why the chatroom was cut down in its hours because it was being abused and alot of you thought it was a yahoo chatroom after hours...but then you all say well I can't sleep at night I have anxiety well you were given the ability to get some sleep at night but instead you made another chatroom so you could stay up endless upon endless hours...and that's fine if that's what you want to do then do it...but dont whine about how the program did not work for you when you were doing nothing about your lives but glued to a chatroom 24/7. My life has changed for the better...I have actually finished the program and I used the chatroom for what it was a "tool". Yes I was there alot in the begining...grew, obtained knowledge and then got out of the darn house and practiced driving, practiced the skills that I was taught...and before I knew it I was thriving on my own..and yes I still visit chat to give help and offer advice if I can. But when I do come in I see the same people whining about the same things they were whining about 6 months ago and STILL HAVE DONE NOTHING TO BETTER THEIR LIVES!!!! I found this blog interesting...and to me I could careless how the program was made or who actually did saved my life and that's all that matters to me. Best Wishes to You all.

David said...

lI think people are finally getting the message. Today for the first time in 3 years that I've been a member of the MWC message board, NOT ONE PERSON IS LOGGED ON at the moment. I have NEVER seen the board empty of people.

If Lucinda and Carolyn and anyone else in charge don't start making some major changes, they can kiss their business goodbye.

There are a lot of anxiety programs on the market that are far better and a hell of a lot cheaper than the one from the MWC. People will only put up with being treated poorly and taken advantage of for so long. Then they wise up and they take their business elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Truth in the Puddin
perhaps people should read terms of service of any site before clicking they "accept"? This is partial list of MWC terms of Service

Midwest Center reserves the right to reveal your identity in the event of a complaint or legal action arising from any message posted by you. Simply put, if you attempt to slander or maliciously harm others thru our site or post inappropriate personal information about people's personal lives you will be revealed to them. Not only your Email address but also your IP address. All Internet services keep logs of when and what IP number was assigned to whom during all connections.

Anonymous said...

HAHAHA! Mello Nello is the only one on the MWC board at the moment. I swear the woman lives there! But supposedly she is "recovered" thanks to the "miraculous" Attacking Anxiety program. Yeah right!

Anonymous said...

No one, except Mello Nello of course, has been on the MWC site since yesterday. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know David the MWC Chat is down because they are doing upgrades to better the site for its memebers so don't think that you and about 8 people have brought down MWC...

Grateful said...

Thank you for this site. Because of you opening my eyes, I am going to send Lucinda's program back while I'm still within the 30 days refund time period. I think I would much rather invest my money in a more reputable recovery program.

Fed the **** up! said...

I haven't been able to log onto the MWC site since yesterday and since there haven't been any members on except Mello Nello obviously something's wrong with the board. Which makes me wonder why can Mello Nello log on when nobody else can? That right there proves to me that she's involved with the Midwest Center and she's not just another anxiety suffer client like the rest of us.

I am fed up with the level of unprofessionalism displayed by everyone representing the Midwest Center. I can't believe I spent $400 plus over $2000 for telephone coaching and $70 a month for vitamins from these people only to find out that the MWC is run by a bunch of amateurs! I want my money back - ALL OF IT INCLUDING THE VITAMINS because I don't see a difference taking them, and the cost of the coaching program even though I had to sign a "contract" like a child to agree to finish it all. They had better give me a refund IN FULL or else I am going to take them to court!

They can't even run a lousy message board properly. How on earth can anyone trust their mental health to these people? I really must have been crazy to hand over my hard earned money to these jokers.

Anonymous said...

truth in puddin
Please refer to this section of terms of service in the agreement made by you and Midwest Center.
Rule #14
No complaining about the web site, its members, or its management on the forums. If you have a complaint about the web site or any of the members or management of the web site you need to send an email to: and we will get back with you as soon as possible to address the problem.

Just so you know Steve, these rules were posted on every forum site for several months, along with when you sign up to use the Midewest center site, you had to agree to abide by them.
Many sites have and follow these sort of rules. Perhaps your complainers should of realized this before becoming members.

Anonymous said...

The moderators read private messages on the MWC board. Why? Talk about invasion of privacy! And how paranoid do they have to be to have to eavesdrop on what are supposed to be private conversations. Why are they so paranoid? What are they afraid people are saying? I'm going to go to an internet cafe and PM the link to this board to as many people on MWC as I can! People really need to open their eyes to this whole MWC scam.

Steve Salerno said...

Once again, I feel compelled to say that I wish I had more time to respond to the very worthy topics that are being brought to light here, but this explosion of comment comes at a time when I'm traveling (Vegas) and really unable to free up time for SHAMblog. Thank you, again, to all who are making room in their schedules to visit my blog and share their thoughts. I am especially grateful to those of you who have firsthand experience with the Center, and can at least address the topic with the added perspective of personal experience--although, of course, all such evidence, good or bad, must be weighed as "anecdotal."

Mister N said...

Don't you just love the person who is posting the MWC rules? (Hi Carolyn lol) Aren't they the most ridiculous rules you've ever heard? They sound more like the rules a communist country would implement rather than the rules of a message board designed to help people overcome anxiety and depression.

Why exactly can't a complaint about the board and how it's run be made ON the board? Obviously it's to repress people and to ensure that the new people who check out the board don't find out BEFORE BUYING THE PROGRAM all the problems that there are with it. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a need for such childish censorship.

A reputable company producing a quality product ENCOURAGES ALL comments and they take the time to properly respond to each concern. They do not delete and ban like crazy.

Hey Lucinda, if you really want to help people overcome anxiety disorder and if your product really does that, then do this:

1. Extend your guarantee to 15 weeks, allowing the person to go through the ENTIRE program before deciding whether or not it helps them.

2. Invest in some people who can moderate the board professionally and who has the ability to be consistent and fair with ALL members, not just her favorites.

3. Except for posts that contain advertisements, foul language or threats DO NOT delete or close any threads. IF (big if) you ever really had anxiety disorder, you would know that people with this condition NEED to discuss MANY MANY issues - some controversial and very unpleasant.

4. Either slash the price of the program in half or include with it the telephone coaching.

5. Either get rid of the spirituality forum altogether or get moderators who are unfairly pro-christian to the exclusion of all other religions.

6. Delete the "Suggest a Forum" forum if you're not going to ever add a new forum to the board. It's insulting to ask us for suggestions and then ignore each and every one.

7. Delete the "and Depression" part in the title of the board and the program because your program does NOTHING for depression. All it is, is the same exact original material from the early 1980s when it first came out, recycled, and put in a prettier more updated package.

8. For the love of everyone's good mental health, get rid of Mello Nello! She does more harm than good, and she's supposedly recovered so she doesn't need to be on there anymore. If you get rid of her, replace Carolyn and "bakedpears" with moderators who can run a board properly, your business will boom.

9. Revise the message board rules so that they don't make you sound so paranoid. Unless of course your "Center" is more of a dictatorship than it is a place for healing.

10. Get rid of the word "Center" from the title of the board and the name of the program because there is no "Center". A "Center" implies that there's an actual building with doctors and other qualified and properly trained professionals where I can go to for treatment.

Paige Turner said...

Unless you have money to throw away, do not waste anywhere from $400 - $2,400+ on Lucinda Basset's Attacking Anxiety & Depression. There is no need when you can spend $25 or so and get a more professional, more thorough, more concise, more effective, and very easy to follow self-help program in the "The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook" by Dr. Edmund J. Bourne.

I did spend an obscene amount of money on Lucinda's program, did it TWICE, and it did not work for me. I of course had gone way over the 30 day refund policy so I was unable to get a dime back.

Since I had already wasted so much money, I decided spending another $24.95 wasn't going to matter, so I bought Dr. Bourne's self-help book and did the work prescribed in it. It worked. The first time. I have been fully recovered for over one year.

I have just started a Yahoo support group for people working "The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook" program. Unlike the moderators on the Midwest Center's message board, I will coach, encourage, and support you through each step.

I am not in any way affiliated with Dr. Bourne or his publisher and I do not get any compensation whatsoever for promoting his product. I am just a very satisfied customer whose life was restored thanks to his self-help program and I want others who are suffering like I used to, to know that you do not need to spend outrageous amounts of money on a program or be subjected to, in my opinion, verbal and emotional abuse by the moderators and "favored members" on the message board of a non-existent anxiety "center" who's sole purpose is in making a hefty profit instead of helping the people who need it most.

I literally just created my support group. You're invited to check it out and join if you like. If you prefer to stay with Lucinda's program, best of luck to you. I wish everyone who is plagued by this debilitating disorder a full recovery, regardless which form of treatment you choose.

Here's a link to my group:

Steve Salerno said...

Just FYI, I've written a new post that references the controversy over the Center this past week. You'll find it on the blog's main page today.

Thanks again for all of your valuable comment.

Anonymous said...

The following is a direct quote from Lucinda, found on the website. My question is, how can Lucinda who has no medical or science background be qualified to "develope" supplements:

"If you’re interested in this product, I’m guessing you’re like me. You’re a person who has a lot going on in your family and personal life, and maybe at work too. You’d like to feel better, stronger, and healthier – both physically and emotionally. That is what I wanted. That’s why I developed the Good Days Positive Mood Formula – to calm and refresh your mind and body, and to help you feel energized and strong – both physically and emotionally. I spent years working with doctors and Nutritional Experts to develop a single product containing all of the best nutrients nature offers for people like us. I hope you like it as much as I do.
To a Healthier, Happier way of living...


Anonymous said...

My question is WHY DONT these people get a life? If this so called program doesnt work, is of no value,, The find out what does work for you and DO something with your life. Instead of bellyaching, whining, throwing pity parties for yourself, DO something positive in your life. Make a difference in your life and maybe there is an off chance you can make a difference in someone elses life.

another anonymous said...

To "anonymous":

It's about exposing Lucinda and the MWC for what it is so that people do not waste their time and money on a program that is marketed to be something it's not. If all we do is get on with our lives, then we're doing a disservice to all our fellow anxiety suffers who look for help and pay obscene amounts of money for a program that does not come from a "Center" anywhere and that does not deliver what it promises. It also behooves us to inform people that better quality self-help programs are out there for a small fraction of what Lucinda's program costs. That IS making a difference in someone else's life. So go back to worshipping Lucinda and the MWC pack and help them get filthy rich while the people they're supposed to be helping continue to suffer and go broke or in debt in the process.

Anonymous said...

I would rather spend $400 on a self help program, that takes 15weeks and you have it to go over anytime you need it, THAN spend $150 or more an hour for a therapist, or PROFESSIONAL who does nothing but give you medications, and you return, month after month for YEARS!!!!
Which is what most people in this country do! You talk about getting RICH!! and SCAMS!! My GOD, try therapist, Physic docs!!
Ill take the self help anyday, at a one time price of $400 dollars anyday over quacks!!

Mahs Golb said...

For the record, and to those who make it sound like the MWC program is obscenely expensive—linking the Program, the coaching and the supplements as one purchase.
1. You need purchase nothing but the approx. $450 program—that’s what I did—I didn’t pay $75/mo. for supplements or $2000 for coaching. It is not an all-or-none proposition. The program worked just fine for me.
2. What else can you buy for $450? Hmmm…how about 15 visits to a therapist assuming you have insurance and a $30 co-pay? Yep! How many of you have put far far more money into those therapy visits than one years worth?? How about medication at $30 a month (assuming you have insurance and a co-pay)...that’s $360 per yr…obscene when you have no hope of EVER coming off them?
3. And what if you don’t have insurance? $450 buys you THREE therapy visits at $150 each. So if you can’t work due to your anxiety condition (and I was one of those people) and you don’t have insurance…then please tell me how a $450 Program is obscene when your other 2 choices are 3 therapy visits or 3 months of medication? And once the therapy visits are over…they are over. And once the medication is consumed…it’s done. However, the program is something I can use still…4 years later and whenever and however often I like.

Is $450 a lot of money? Yes, it certainly was to me and still is. When I realized how much the program cost…I waited a year before making the commitment. Are there other options? Sure…you can buy a book…but in my opinion, a book isn’t going to give you Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and that’s what you get with therapy and that’s what you get with the program. Start with a book…that’s a great and smart move and it makes sense as it is the least expensive—no one is suggesting otherwise. You can be bitter about your circumstances and the price tag of the program, but I defy someone to justify how the price tag is obscene in light of the above.

These Lucinda/MWC “Haters” just love to proclaim that everyone in disagreement with them must be Lucinda “worshippers.” Why? Because they can’t see past themselves or their own self-driven anger and they want a war…and they must label those who disagree with them in order for it to make sense to them and for it to be easy for them. They recognize their own extreme emotion…therefore their own need demands the other side must embrace the opposite extreme; it’s just self-justification for the unconditional stance/actions they are taking. They don’t want discussion or understanding…they want to hurt something or someone.

Do you see how far they’ve gone in this thread? Feeding off of themselves even when they had no opponents to fight or set their sites on?? It was amazing to watch really. I’m mean, the one guy is talking about website terrorism; how to use proxy IP’s and internet caf├ęs to attack the MWC, by disrupting the lives and normal goings-on of the everyday people who frequent the site and believe differently than he does!! It’s the same point I made earlier—the people who are acting crazy and trying to do all of the converting are not those who say they benefited from the self-help (as the creator of this blog would have bet on); it’s the other way around.

I honestly think it’s funny, how many posters have recommended alternative forms of self-help as a means to prove how expensive and worthless the MWC program is. It’s funny because the author of this site thinks ALL SELF-HELP is equally suspect! These posters are so blind with spite; they don’t even realize they are helping to support Steve’s viewpoint more than their own. I imagine Steve recognizes what strange bedfellows he has made with this angry group…but they sure don’t seem to see it.

(These final comments are specifically directed to the ‘anonymous’ poster who began their comment with this: “It's about exposing Lucinda and the MWC for what it is…”)

In his article, Steve puts forth the company’s annual revenues are estimated between $50 and $100 million—footnoting that as a privately held company, they are not obligated to disclose revenues. So I don’t know where he came up with his big broad-ranged figure and unlike a lot of you…I don’t automatically assume his figure is gospel. But what if it is? If you have purchased a car lately…someone is getting ‘filthy rich’ off of you. Shopped at Wal-Mart lately…someone is getting ‘filthy rich’ off of you etc etc. If you’ve gone to a ball game lately…those players are getting ‘filthy rich’ off of you. What on earth kind of point is that suppose to make? The cars today don’t remotely pay for themselves as they used to, the products at Superstores are cheaper for a reason and still we all buy buy buy, and the ball players today have zero loyalty to team, city or fans and yet you support them week in and out and willingly throw hard-earned money at them. But what about the MWC program?

I say it worked for me and many others in this ‘discussion’ claim the same—even the majority of those who were banned from the site, concur with it’s usefulness to them. You say it didn’t deliver what it promised to you—so now you’ve decided that your experience and your opinion is the only “real” opinion and experience out there. You think if it didn’t work for you than it can’t possibly work for anyone. You think that just because you’ve decided that it is a scam…then it must be because you’re never wrong! You are going to save people from themselves because you know what’s best for them. You say there are “…better quality self-help programs out there…” and even “…for a small fraction [of the costs.]” and yet you don’t name these programs or mention their costs—and you don’t share with us how they’ve uniquely helped you!! So how exactly are you helping others? I’ll answer that one for you…you are not helping anyone at all or even really making that effort.

So what is my angle and why am I posting to this blog? First, because I do not believe that ALL self-help is a scam or that ALL self-help is weakening this nation and its people. So, I am posting because I oppose the broad net Steve Salerno casts over the self-help industry—because my hugely negative view of the self-help stereotype kept me from helping myself for 20+ years and I now speak as someone who is much stronger, not weaker thru a self-help program. And secondly, I am posting to offer some balance to an otherwise lopsided bash fest. I have gone thru the program and I am a reasonable and frugal person…and the absolute last thing I feel these 4 years later is scammed or a sense of zealotry.

So, not everyone spends the money and comes out thinking the program is wonderful…is that a surprise? I can’t even imagine the total money I’ve spent on booze over the years self-medicating…maybe I should start bashing the alcohol industry because everyone in their commercials always look so happy after a drink or two? There is not a doctor out there who wouldn’t have 100% guaranteed my status as an alcoholic and guess what: once I began to figure out and address my anxiety/panic issues per the MWC program, suddenly I just didn’t feel the need to drink anymore. I was a person who could drink a full case of beer BEFORE going out to party with friends (and then proceed to drink most of them under the table); and I went from that, to a person who doesn’t drink 24 beers in a year. I didn’t use AA to accomplish this, I don’t fear drinking…I just no longer need it. That’s just one example of what I gained using the program—and that change took place in less than 15 weeks.

So yeah!...I think it’s a pretty darn good program…you bet; And if you think it’s a scam then that’s fine by me. But if you’re going to start hollering to others about what a scam it is, then at least have some proof to back it up…and screaming about how much it costs doesn’t amount to proof in my book—not by a long shot. (Especially when you fairly compare it to its true competition) The price of gasoline is outrageous—perhaps you think that’s a scam--but will you try to convince me that gas is ineffective because of the cost? C’mon.

And one last comment. Someone recommended the Recovery Inc. Company and stated that this help was free. The truth is you must by the book and then they maintain the weekly meetings by collecting donations at the end of each meeting. My group was consistent with a $5 donation. That’s $260/year and that doesn’t sound like “free” to me. But even stating that, I absolutely would recommend people giving Recovery Inc a try, because it does have benefits. You do get to sit face to face with others who do understand the challenges you face (that is a hugely refreshing experience for those who always believed themselves to be alone in this life). And while their take on helping you is more psychiatrist-based than psychologist/CBT-based…you will pick up useful information and become better informed.

anti-MWC said...

You can buy "The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook" by Dr. Edmund Bourne for about $20 and get a better quality product than Lucinda's. If you want it on tape to carry with you wherever, buy a bunch of tapes at the dollar store and as you read through each chapter of the book, record it - voila! Your very own portable taped self-help programs for a few dollars instead of $450+.

Oh have you all seen the new changes on the MWC board now? They're going to start charging people to chat on there. Can you believe it? Talk about money hungry! You can't tell me they don't make enough through everything else they sell to cover the nominal cost of running a board like that especially since it's probably the most poorly run board on the internet.

Next thing you know they'll be charging to have people call in just to inquire about the program.

justme said...

I wonder how long it will take for this to get deleted and "kash" to get banned from the MWC site:

S/he said:

" You know they're in it for the money when...

I signed up for the free trial and paid the $14.95 for the shipping. When I talked to the rep on the phone, I requested to call back before I put my order through because payday was coming up and I didn't have enough in my account to cover the charges. This was on a Wednesday and I get paid on Friday. The rep told me he could take my card number, it'll be charged on Thursday and will go through on Friday when my money was in the account. It was deducted from my account on Thursday resulting in a snowball effect of charges which I could not cover.

I requested a refund and Phil told me he would review the recording of the call to see who was in the right in order for a refund. He did that and earlier this week he called to inform me that I was responsible because the rep had told me my card was to be charged on Thursday. Technicality.

Then when I cancelled and got a RA #, he said I had 3 days to get it in the mail or I was resposible for the entire $480.

For a program thats suppose to help with stress and anxiety, they sure did a fine job on creating it."

This is/was on the thread "Q & A with Lucinda".

Anonymous said...

MWC is NOT charging for thier site, boards or chat. They had an update on the site, a SERVER update. People are so paranoid, its become laughable. lol

Anonymous said...

Poor Kash, if you read what he wrote, doesnt it seem strange he would order it on wednesday, knowing he wouldnt get paid till "friday"?

Hmmm, whats wrong with this picture? All he had to do was wait till MONDAY! the funds would of been in his account... sounds very fishy to me

Freedom From Fear said...

Here's a RECOVERY program the midwest center doesn't want you to know about. It will not only let you understand your anxiety, where it comes from, etc, but it also lets you FULLY AND PERMANENTLY recover. It also has a 12 MONTHS MONEY BACK GUARANTEE, unlike Lucinda's ridiculous 1 month refund policy.

Best of all, it costs only $100 as opposed to Lucinda's ridiculously high rate.

Check it out:

All the MWC loyalists have been brainwashed into believing that Lucinda's program is the be all and end all and the best. It's far from it. All that it has going for it that other BETTER programs don't is the extensive advertising. ANYTHING that's marketed proprely, and extensively advertised will become a success. Doesn't mean it's any good though. Just look through your supermarket at the most popular items. They're not the best, they're just the ones people know about through aggressive advertising.

Lucinda and her program are nothing more than the result of good marketing... and gullible consumers.

Mahs Golb said...

I think it’s truly interesting how those who ‘promote’ other forms of self-help other than the MWC, find it absolutely necessary to denigrate the MWC (and even more Crazy—their customers). Has anyone else picked up on this trend??

Let’s take "Freedom From Fear’s" post as the latest example. ‘Freedom’ claims those who’ve had success using the MWC are “brainwashed” and then moves on to call us “gullible.” In addition, they—as others have—have made their own new outrageous and unsubstantiated claim: this one being that the MWC doesn’t want the public to know about what???? Dr. Claire Weekes??? Are you nuts ?? You’ve got to be joking!

For those who don’t know what ‘Freedom From Fear’ is promoting…it appears to be a guy who used the teachings (or books) by Dr. Claire Weekes to put his own program together. Dr. Claire Weekes and her books are probably mentioned weekly on the MWC forum and always in positive terms with loud and undeleted recommendations to read her work. Dr. Weekes is no longer living and her books—if I’m not mistaken—are no longer in print…but they can usually be easily found on ebay for very low cost. I loaned-out my copy of Lucinda’s first book and don’t have access to it, but I believe Lucinda even mentions Dr. Weekes somewhere in her book.

So the guy selling this program—is it just him reading Dr. Weekes work? I don’t know? He says he suffered with anxiety for a little over 2 years and made his full recovery. (I’m getting my info by reading the site provided by the Freedom from fear poster.) Two years is not a very long time to have dealt with this issue, I dealt with it for 20+ years for example and I’m naturally a little suspicious about someone who compares the two time frames as equal…but that’s just me perhaps. But if you’re so convinced this program is far superior…than at least be honest and open about the cost and product!

The cost for ordering the physical (8) cd set is $169.00…not $100.00, and the MWC physical program consists of (15) cds not (8)…so if the information is half, then you are comparing apples to apples, $338 to $450 essentially. Now, I completely understand that the “Freedom” poster will scream-out that it’s not half the information just because it’s half the cds and he may be right…but then, maybe he’s not? I honestly don’t know. I could also wonder out loud about the 12 month guarantee. If the guy who put this program together is simply recycling Dr. Claire Weekes' professional studies and lifetime of work and experience…and if he only suffered the anxiety condition for a period of 2 years…then how much has he really invested into putting his program together?? Maybe that is a legitimate reason for his program cost and ability to offer such a premium return policy?? He hasn’t put that much in and therefore doesn’t have as much to lose…makes sense to me.

Look, it might be a tremendous program and might really help people…I’m not saying it isn’t or that it doesn’t. What I’m saying is this. It’s easy to pick apart something if you want to. What has this guy added of his own? How is paying him $169.00 justified, when you can go out and find Dr. Weekes’ books for a fraction of that cost and read her very own words? Is his program an improvement on Dr. Weekes work? It could be: but it could also just prove to be fodder for anyone who has had a negative experience and wants to go around slamming it! You see! Do you understand the game you are playing?

And as far as any of this relates back to Steve Salerno’s original blog article
(have you even bothered to read that “Freedom From Fear?”) the program you are promoting is strapped with the same glaring failure as the MWC program…IN Steve Salerno’s eyes that is! I’ll explain: The guy selling the Freedom From Fear program is a layperson…just as Lucinda is a layperson. Steve—if I understand him correctly and I believe I do—Steve believes this immediately cripples the credibility of any program…yours as well as the MWC. I believe self-help can hugely improve a person’s life and therefore, improve the lives of those dependent on that person. You and I seem to agree on that. However, I would not in a million years try to stop someone from exploring that type of help—I’d even encourage them getting help and advice from those around them who are not struggling, in order to guard against being taken by self-help that promises too much or a quick-fix. So it just totally dumbfounds me that you are actually trying to corrupt that process and make it even more difficult for those who are really hurting!! I sometimes question how much suffering a person like yourself has truly endured…because if it was anything like my experience…your basic approach just doesn’t make sense.

The MWC program helped me in ways I thought impossible and gave me the opportunity to actually live, as opposed to just survive day by day; and it has helped dozens of people I know personally—having met them while working the program, from all walks of life, with wide age variance and with quite different specific challenges to my own. I’ve actually traveled and met two of these people. Therefore, I know the material is not a scam. The concepts, skills and teachings you buy are not a scam. I feel people like you are doing an incredible injustice to those who suffer, by claiming anything otherwise. I wouldn’t stop someone from looking into what helped you…because God forbid it turns out to be the one source of help that saves their life. It is my feeling that if you have truly moved forward, you would be out there like I am…encouraging people to keep researching until they find what works for them. Instead, you have some kind of chip on your shoulder and you’re trying to influence and direct people towards ONE source of help…it’s sad.

The MWC loyalists are not brainwashed as you claim…they have been the most open and honest people in this whole discussion and the least belligerent. So far, I have personally claimed there are positives to be gained from a good therapist, attending Recovery Inc., the MWC program…and now reading Dr. Weekes books. You however seem to be claiming your one solution fits and fixes all. I think that says a lot. I pulled up a link concerning Dr. Weekes books and someone wondering if they’ll cure you.

(Steve, if you don’t include the link, I’ll understand—I’m not sure what your policy is on providing links and which you approve.) At any rate…the few responses provided, are what I would expect. The more a panic stricken person knows about what is physically going on with them…the better they will be. Coming from any source and right-off-the-bat, that information will be a tremendous help.

As far as recovery? That’s much more difficult to define in a limited space—I believe ‘recovery’ is an inappropriate term and I use “Healing” instead. In much the same way a person tries to heal after suffering the loss of a spouse, parent or child…I believe we try to heal from anxiety/panic disorder. In the same way a person heals after losing an arm, leg or their sight, I believe we heal from this disorder. It is not possible to recover a lost loved one or to recover your sight…but it is possible to heal and not stop dead in your tracks, and I think this is what people with anxiety/panic disorder need to also pursue. It is not about recovery and getting back something you lost…it’s all about finding a way to move forward having been dealt that loss. With the right skills, learning about what we are actually up against and what causes our overriding fear response and the subsequent self-destructive and misguided attempts to control them…healing is possible, just as it is possible to heal after you’ve lost a child etc. That is my belief.

So don’t use your anger to dissuade another from reaching out for help. Don’t fall into the trap of believing there is only one thing out there that can help you or anyone…that’s only slightly better than living the way most with this condition live, believing that there is NOT ANYTHING that can help us. That belief and that fear is absolutely what drives people with this condition inward and downward—it’s what sustains the silent suffering and the sense of total loneliness. It is the very crux of this condition and why it is so painful and devastating. I thought I was alone for 20yrs until I saw that frigging wonderful infomercial…those people told their stories and in their stories I saw my own. They weren’t people trying to convince me that they knew how I felt…I sat there listening and KNEW how THEY felt. Talk to a car guy and you’ll know he’s a car guy, if you’re one. Talk to a garbage man and you’ll know he’s a garbage man, if you’re one. And you’ll also know if someone is BS’ing you.

How can you complain about ‘Marketing’ when it actually reaches people like me who would have never heard about or understood what I was experiencing any other way? Up until very recently, most people with anxiety/panic disorder not only had NO idea what they had, they never ever tried to talk to anyone about it…as I said, that is the very crux of this condition as you should know. People with cancer talk to other people who have cancer. People with anxiety disorder don’t talk to anyone about it—ever. That marketing program filled this absolute need and then the product delivered. I wish anyone would have done it sooner and I would have given anyone of them the credit! You want to be angry that the MWC did it first…fine! I choose to say thank you! Because I’m here to sit at a desk and type this to you.

I think it’s great that there are choices out there…I wish there were choices and people talking about this on infomercials 20yrs ago. To anyone reading this, I’ll say it again. Start with the books and become informed, talk to a few doctors and therapists as part of your research, look into every program, visit the sites and interact on the forums and then give something a try. It’s not like it was even 10 years ago…it’s much more difficult to be scammed if you just use some diligence. You don’t have to sign up for something cold…we have the internet and the ability to research everything and to talk to millions of people. I was just on a site offering a “full money back guarantee” for furnace pricing reports. I paid $25.00 for the report and it didn’t give me anything it promised. So I followed the site’s instructions and requested my ‘full money back.’ They never responded…so I contacted my credit card company and filed a grievance. The credit card refunded my money. So whatever the claim of guarantee is on internet sites…you never know if they are real or not, but today we have options and ways to ensure a company lives up to them.

To: Mahs Golb said...

Do you honestly think anybody's going to ready a comment that consists of something like a dozen paragraphs? (I didn't even want to do THAT!)

Satisfied Customer said...

Lucinda's program works for some but I tried her program and after doing it not once, not twice, but three times, it did not work for me. I finally found a local program that is like nothing I'd ever seen before. They finally put a blurb up on a blog so I can share it with you so you can see what I'm talking about.

It's a really extensive year-long program even though I started feeling A LOT after the first month.

You get your own personal recovery counselor and not a bunch of cd's.

The program is 1 year long but they work with you for as long as you need to should that not be enough and they give you free follow-up counseling after you're recovered to make sure you stay recovered.

I did this program, it'll be 7 years ago now and I have been completely recovered ever since except for a handful of what I consider to be very minor setbacks which my recovery counselor quickly helped me overcome.

What I liked about them was that they assess you first and if they can't help you they will turn you away as a client, so I knew they weren't in it just for the money, plus when you calculate everything you get and that it's essentially a lifetime flat-rate deal, it really costs pennies a day for every day you use their services.

I don't believe in miracles but this program has really been a godsend for me.

Here's the link:

I did Lucinda's program said...

I absolutely hate the MWC. Their program sucks. I did it THREE times from start to finish and it did nothing for me. They kept telling me I was doing something wrong. Nice huh? Put the blame on the person suffering. I showed it to several doctors and therapists to find out why it wasn't working for me, what I was doing wrong. They all agreed it's not very good. There's nothing new in there. Lucinda's standing on the shoulders of real pioneers in the treatment of anxiety and depression and she's making a lot of money for using their work. If they really had a good program, they wouldn't be so paranoid about sharing information on their board about other treatment options and they wouldn't be so ban and delete happy.

Save your money and find a program or a therapist that can really help you LONG term. Lucinda's program won't. I know. I wasted more than enough money on ALL her products. I can't even give them away now.

Anonymous said...

Stuart Bloom, Ph.D., CA
"The ATTACKING ANXIETY & DEPRESSION tapes and workbook finally provide a roadmap that is clear, comprehensive and user friendly for those traveling the lonely and often terrifying road of anxiety. I find the program is a powerfully helpful resource."

Nancy Margulis Martina, A.C.S.W., NY
"It used to take 6-9 months for my clients to reach the level of recovery that they now achieve in 15-weeks with The Midwest Center Program, ATTACKING ANXIETY & DEPRESSION."

William K. Van Dyke Ph.D., MI
"We have used the Program with individuals and groups since 1992. Our clients find the design and structure of The Program to be very helpful in hastening and maintaining recovery from panic and anxiety. It is a reasonable financial investment considering its effectiveness and therapeutic value."

Michael Smith, Group Health HMO, Madison, WI
"I think this program treats the issues and the illness better than I do. It is really thorough. It covers all the things that I know about but I usually don't get them condensed and delivered in an efficient way. It's very cost effective. I think one of the things that all HMO's in the country are trying to find is a way to save money and yet provide really high quality services to their clientele. And what ATTACKING ANXIETY & DEPRESSION is doing is treating the problem directly. It's cost efficient because the people who are using the tapes and using the support through the tapes are getting better. And as they get better, they present less anxiety and depression related symptoms to their doctors."

I keep hearing that no doctor or clinical person endorses the MWC program.. Well strange how these professionals DO!

Oh PLEASE with the endorsements! said...

You can find professionals to endorse any product - look at all the infomercials that sell useless products that are endorsed by professionals. Oh yeah, stupid me, MWC's Attacking Anxiety and Depression IS an infomercial product! If it was the super product it claims to be, you'd think that after 20 years that it's been on the market it would have graduated from being sold exclusively through late night infomercials to being available at reputable book stores, healthcare centers, doctors offices, etc.

Hell even a best-selling memoir based on lies was endorsed by many well-respected professionals - I'm talking about A Million Little Pieces by James Frey.

So "professional endoresements" mean squat unless you a) personally know the professional who is endorsing, and b) the endorsed product provides varifiable proof of what it claims (and not anecdotal evidence) and a full no questions asked money back guarantee after, in the case of Lucinda's program, the consumer has used the ENTIRE product from start to finish.

You can't take a product that takes a minimum 15 weeks to use but offers a mere 4 week money back guarantee seriously. And on top of that they push a coaching program that costs around $1,700 to help you get through the program. If the program was as good as they claim, a) you wouldn't need anyone to coach you through it OR b) if it does need caoching because let's face it, most people can't successfully do any recovery program for any condition alone the coaching would be included for free because $450 is MORE than enough for the tapes/CDs and to talk on the phone to a person with no credentials for about 40 minutes a week.

So "anonymous" you can quote all the endorsements by professionals you want, and they're not worth squat if the majority of people on the MWC board keep saying the program doesn't work for them. Problem is, Carolyn, you keep censoring people to death by deleting any negative comments and banning the author of such comments regardless of their legitimacy. But you KNOW those comments are legit otherwise you wouldn't be so quick to censor censor censor.

Bottom line: Attacking Anxiety & Depression is nothing more than a cleverly advertised informercial product who's biggest accomplishment has been to make Lucinda and those associated with her rich beyond belief at the expense of people who suffer - the very people the program is supposed to help but rarely does. That's my opinion as a client of the MWC and the opinion of MANY other people - if only the MWC would have the guts to leave ALL reviews up on their board - not just the positive ones.

Chosing to leave the positive reviews up and deleting the negative ones - right there that proves that there's something that stinks about this whole MWC thing.

The MWC should be investigated, audited, Prime Time should do a show on it to expose what's really going on and the percentage of people it really helps. It is my opinion that if an unbiased an independently done investigation like this would be done, the MWC would quickly go out of business... even though the principals would still be rich with the money they took from the sick and suffering.

Why such parnanoia at the MWC? said...

The MWC won't even let you post about a support group that's available in your area. Now I understand their not allowing links to other (better) programs because they're financial competition, but what's the harm in posting about a free peer support group in the middle of Timbucktoo? What could possibly be their REASONABLE objection to sharing that information? Is it maybe because the MWC is afraid that the people will compare notes on how Lucinda's program is (not) working for them and a lot of people will then figure out that they are not the exception and that infact many people have the same (negative) result and that the only reason few know about it is because any time someone posts "this hasn't worked for me" on their board, it disappears faster than a dish of food in front of a rabid famished dog?

You would think that a "center" commited to helping people overcome anxiety disorder would ENCOURAGE support groups where people with the same problem can meet, chat, and feel "normal" for a couple of hours. But noooooooooooooooooooooo! Not the Midwest Center.

uh huh said...

yAny and all infomercial products have "professional endorsements" so your list, anonymous, does not impress. It just underscores that Lucinda's program is nothing more than just another infomercial product that promises to change people's lives - just like all infomercial products do. And they ALL have endorsements - medical ones where it's appropriate.

Show me a regular run of the mill doctor I can go do anywhere in North America who has ever even heard of Lucinda's program nevermind endorses it and THEN I'll be impressed.

If not, keep quoting all you want - doesn't change the facts or what REAL people's results when using the product are and for the most part they are not good. Problem is, you don't allow free speach on your board so the results are skewed for the benefit of the MWC instead of for the benefit of the consumer.

I challenge the MWC to allow ALL reviews of their products on their board without censoring, deleting or banning - it will NEVER happen. We can all guess why.

to anonymous with the quotes said...

Anybody can pay for or give a kickback to a doctor for a professional endorsement. Isn't that how they get those doctors, who are real doctors btw, in commercials to endorse every medical product imaginable? I'm not saying this is what the MWC has done, because I don't know that. I'm just saying your quotes don't impress me and I doubt they impress any reasonably intelligent person who can think for himself and use common sense.

For once I would like to make an appointment with a family doctor or walk into an OR or into a walk-in clinic and have even just one of the doctors be familiar with the Attacking Anxiety program.

I have lived in just about every major city in north america over the last 20 years (since this program has been on the market) and not one doctor in not one city has ever heard of it. Why do you think that is?

Anonymous said...

My Goodness, Youve lived every major city in america and talked to every doctor, or therapist in every city, and NONE of them ever heard of the MWC program. Gee man, when did you have time to even work?
It had to take most of your life visiting every doctor and therapist in each major city to find out if they knew what the MWC program was?
Fact is, The program as stated by Mr Selarno himself said was "Reviewed by the Journal of Psychologoy" and found they had 58% success rate! Doesnt matter what I say, or You say, or even Steve says. Thats a pretty good success rate for self help program!
Im all for doing whatever is necessary if your sufferening from anxiety/depression. You want to spend thousands, going for years to therapist, its not skin off my behind. If you want to do a cheaper self help program, that doesnt bother me or anyone else either. But come on, most the people here are Against, Hate, and Bash MWC becasue they were banned from a website? LOL Think About it!

laughing out loud said...

A 58% success rate isn't a "success". What other product would boast about having a 58% success rate? You have a half and half chance - like flipping a coin!

Can you imagine even an aspirin advertising a 58% success rate? "Take asprin. We guarantee that you'll have a 50/50 chance of it relieving your tough pains."

Just Me said...

You have to ask yourself why a website would ban people. It's probably to shut them up about information they don't want others to find out because it will affect their bottom line.

The Attacking Anxiety program is an infomercial product so obviously their main interest is the almighty dollar, otherwise it would be available through reputable medical centers and pharmacies and not along side the hard egg peeler gadget that's also sold through infomercials with people swearing up and down that this product saved their life.

Would you trust cancer medicine that was sold in a candy store? Then why would you trust a mental healthcare product that's sold exclusively on an infomercial?


Lucinda's GOOD DAY VITAMINS that she pushes with the program can actually CAUSE ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION because they contain GINSENG and here are the possible side effects of ginseng:

Rashes, itching, diarrhea, sore throat, loss of appetite, EXCITABILITY, ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, insomnia, dizziness, blood pressure abnormalities, chest pain, palpitations, rapid heart beat, nausea/vomiting, OR MANIC EPISODES IN PEOPLE WITH BIPOLAR.

Now let me ask you, how many people doing lucinda's program are bipolar? LOTS. Just read her board. And all those side effect symptoms listed above, aren't they the symptoms of a panic attack?

So WHY would she be selling a vitamin saying it HELPS the disorder when there's at least one ingredient in it that can actually CAUSE panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and manic episodes?

to anonymous with the quotes said...

Anonymous, your sarcasm really isn't necessary nor does it help anyone on either side of this debate. Obviously I did not see every doctor in every city. But having lived in every major city all over the world, and having seem many doctors in each city, you would think I would have come across at least ONE who heard of it. But i didn't - not one. That's my point. If the program was even half as good as it claims to be, at least one doctor I've seen SOMEWHERE would have heard of it and recommended it, no?

And the 58% success rate you throw at me is laughable! Hell, you have about the same chances of the disorder disappearing on its own spontaneously LOL.

And I have not been banned from the board. I'm a very active member there. But WHY are so many people banned? THAT is the question you should be asking. I have been a member of that board for YEARS and only twice have I seen someone do something that justified being banned. The rest of the people that I know of that got banned did so simply for questioning the program or for talking about a religion other than christianity which seems to be pushed on that board even though nowhere in the program does it say it's a christian-based program.

Watch the board yourself. Any time someone says the program doesn't work or that there's something better out there, they get banned. Any time someone questions Christianity, they get banned.

Why? Obviously because they are aware that their program is not very good and they don't want anybody saying so and scaring business away. And because the people who swear by the program, even though they're still not recoverd after YEARS and YEARS are devout christians, anybody who isn't and says so loudly is looked down upon.

If the MWC had a legitimately excellent product, negative comments wouldn't bother them in the least. In fact, they would welcome debate on the pros and cons of their program - but they don't. LOL Think about it!

Patiently Waiting said...

In my opinion, this empire that Lucinda has created is similar to the ones built by tele-evangelists who at first are viewed as practically the second coming and who then fall from grace when exposed for what they really are and what they're really doing with the money they take from desperate people. It's only a matter of time. What goes around, comes around. Nature has a funny way of evening the score in the end.

People can be desperate, but they're not stupid.

An Anxiety Counselor said...

The program offers absolutely zero help for emetophobia which is one of the top 5 debilitating phobias world-wide.

The program offers absolutely zero help for menopause and hormone fluctuation is one of the top causes of panic attacks, and anxiety disorder affects more women than men.

And other than the words "and Depression" being added to the title, what help does it offer specifically for depression? None.

The program offers absolutely no help for people to start dating and building a life. Yet the majority of people with anxiety disorder have agoraphobia and meeting people is a huge challenge, so they're often isolated. Isolation is like poison to a person with an emotional disorder.

The program doesn't speak at all to things like heavy metal toxicity, food allergies, and as mentioned above, hormonal imbalances. Yet these things mimick the very symptoms of an anxiety disorder and are often misdiagnosed and dismissed as "just anxiety".

The program offers absolutely no help to people who are alcoholics, substance abusers, or who have eating disorders. Yet anyone who knows anything about anxiety disorder knows that the majority of alcoholics, drug addicts, and anorexics/bulemics are self-medicating an underyling anxiety disorder. But treating the anxiety disorder itself will not take care of the problem because in this case it's become a dual problem and both things need to be addressed equally.

The program dismisses one's past as not being important to recovery. Bullshit. SOMETHING has caused the disorder and in a lot of cases, unless you figure out what that is and work through the root cause, you can do all the relaxation, breathing, and positive thinking you want, and pop all the "feel good" vitamins you want, and it will never ever be enough to completely get rid of the anxiety and depression because it's like putting a bandaid on a gaping wound.

The program is missing a lot of crucial components necessary to recovery.

If you're stressed the program is great. But if you have a true anxiety disorder complicated with things like agoraphobia, emetophobia, serious depression, etc., it MAY take the edge off but it will never make a real difference in your quality of life long-term.

Buyer Beware said...

I work for the MWC and we're trained to do whatever it takes to talk people into buying the program. If they want to send it back before the 30 days we're trained to talk them into keeping it by offering more affordable monthly payments if money is the problem or by telling them that they need more time doing the program to see results. That way they go over the 30 day money back guarantee.

My best friend is a telephone coach at the MWC and not only did she not ever do the program because she never had anxiety (she just said she did to get the job) but she received no training at all before being put on the phones.

Steve Salerno said...

Re the comment from "BUYER BEWARE" (which should be immediately above, but may not be, due to the way Blogger stacks comments): I urge readers to be highly skeptical of anonymous comments from people who say they're MWC employees. I have "spiked" similar comments before, and I am posting this one--almost against my better judgment--simply, I guess, because this thread has taken on such a life of its own. But readers should be aware, of course, than anyone can claim to be an employee (or even a principal) of just about anything. Though I want to continue to serve as a forum for such comments--if indeed they are true--I also urge readers to use extreme caution in deciding how much weight to give them. Despite my own innate cynicism about the Center and its true aims, we do need to be fair to all, here.

Anonymous said...

Ever thought about the fact,more and more people are doing self help programs becuase of DOCTORS! Talk about dubious, lets talk about licesned doctors for a second here. How many Unecessary hysterectomys are done every year? How many screw ups on limbs supposed to be operated on, where they cut the wrong limb off or operate on the wrong limb?
How many doctors prescribe the wrong medicines for their patients? And as far as cancer, i wont even begin with that one. Chemo therapy is the biggest farce of all, it doesnt cure anyone, it basically makes the person sicker than the cancer does.
Now, lets talk about therapy. Chances are you start going to a therapist for any reason, anxiety, depression, bi polar, whatever the reason, I can guarntee you they will suck you dry until your insurance runs out. Then they will drop you like a hot potato. As will MOST doctors.
Most insurance policies only pay 20% of physic bills. How bout that? So you end up paying 80%. Thats if you have any insurance at all.
As far as menapause go, You can buy books on menapause, you dont need a forum or chat to give you information on that. Very good doctors have written excellant books on Menapause, Hormones, etc.
If someone can get "self help" and it works, you have saved money, hours with a doctor and mucho money on NO medicine. I would be willing to bet you that Steve makes LOTS of dough off his books, his colum or where ever he speaks! If your going to question, then question it ALL!! I say if the information someone has , helps someone elses life to be better, more enriched in daily living, SO WHAT! if they make money. If i had any information that could help thousands of people feel better be more healthy, you darn right i would sell it.
oh and by the way, did you ever think of how many people are getting knee transplants, hip transplants ? Do you have any ideal how much the manufacterers and reps make off selling those implants to doctors? Well my nephew represents a company that sells those,, he make 2 million dollars a YEAR!!!
$400 to help those who benefit from a self help program is PENNIES compared to the SHAM doctors, manufacturers , pharmacutical companies are making.

Satisfied Anxiety Disorder Support Services Client... said...

You can spend a small fortune on all of Lucinda's products and have a 58% chance of success. If it doesn't work, then what? You will have to look for another form of treatment and spend even more money.

OR you could check out "Anxiety Disorder Support Services" and for a one-time flat rate that is cheaper than the MWC's very limited coaching program alone, you get:

52 one-hour therapy sessions
unlimted 24/7 support
free follow-up for as long as you need it (life long)

The people at the Anxiety Disorder Support Services will work with you FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES to get you fully recovered all for one flat rate without additional or hidden fees.

So either invest in yourself and make yourself healthy, or invest in Lucinda and the MWC and make them rich. The choice is yours.

Anonymous said...

So, Anxiety satisfied customer,, You invested $1200 dollars with another program, where they call you everyday. Its still the same principal, only YOU can overcome anxiety regarless how many phone calls you make, or what kind of help you get. Its still up to YOU essentinually! I went to the website you talk about. Trust me, IM sure this place excepts anyone will to pay them the 1200 dollars.
And if you live out of thier calling area, you get to pay the long distance calls.
And its still a self help program. How many people have they turned down, any numbers on that?
How many people have had good results, any numbers on that?
How long has this program been around? Do they have any credintals either? Does it matter?
If it helped you , it was worth your 1200 dollars right?
so some people pay 400 dollars for a self help program and get results, and they have thier 400 dollar program the rest of thier lives to go to back if need be.
All our point are mute actually, because something helps everyone, whether it costs $19.95 or 1200 dollars. And the program you used is making LOTS of dollars to..

Satisfied Anxiety Disorder Support Services Client... said...

Yes I did spend $1200 but I'd rather do that than spend an additional $2000 on a mickey-mouse coaching program that the MWC offers. The program I'm doing is available to me 24/7 for the rest of my life if I need it. The MWC coaching program is available to me for about a 1/2 hour a week for a few months. And about having the MWC self-help tapes to refer back to, I have those, but I'd rather pick up the phone and call a real live person who's available to help me 24/7 than have to rely on a tape. If I can't afford the long distance charges because I live in the US and this program I'm on is based in Canada, I can do my sessions online for no additional cost. Plus I have a really good flat-rate long distance thing with my phone company so I can call anywhere in the US and canada for pennies.

But even if I had to pay the long distance each time, having a real live person at my disposal 24/7 for as long as I need him or her is worth it for my peace of mind, mental health, and overall well-being. No tapes can do that.

Steve Salerno said...


Inasmuch as this has now achieved the status of this blog's No. 1 post as measured in reader comments, I'm tempted to update it to the front of the blog next week, to see if some more of our "regulars" want in. I appreciate all of the feedback--and the fact that you chose to have this very meaningful debate on SHAMblog.

In many ways, the discussion items here touch on many of the core issues in self-help.

Anonymous said...

With so many people out there desperate to find help for their depression or general sense of "not being quite right," I don't understand why you'd attack any method that provides help. No method works for everybody. If some people say they've found help at the midwest center, then who are you to judge, especially since psychology has such a spotty success record anyway?

Steve Salerno said...

Anon, though I appreciate your sincerity--and I do believe you're sincere--you've given us an argument I've heard many times before from partisans of self-help. And it's one of those superficially persuasive arguments that breaks down just a hair beneath the surface. If you think about it--and I don't use that phrase lightly--your argument could be used to justify almost anything, no matter how silly or fraudulent. The fact that people are "desperate" for help, to use your word, does not mean that the marketplace should be allowed to supply just any old placebo-for-profit. In fact, it is especially because of that desperation that I find so much of this stuff so objectionable!

In a general sense, would you not agree with me that one of the most reprehensible things an entrepreneur can do is take advantage of someone else's desperation? Use other folks' pain and confusion as his unethical path to riches?

What do we say of sharks like that in everyday life?

Anonymous said...

And you dont think "doctors" with degrees do the very same thing??
Come on Now!!! And what about vets?
I can remember when you could take your very ill dog to the vet and he would charge you 30.00 give the dog a shot, and meds and you would take your dog home.
You take your dog to vet for anything now, its 100.00 just to walk in the door, and if he gets shots and meds, its another 75.00
And if you animals is extremely sick, they charge you 500.00 or more to keep him in the hospital overnight, and you dont get to pay it out, you have to pay RIGHT then or you take your dog home!!!
Probably to die. You go to a family practioner for any reason, its 80.00 Dentist, 150.00 to pull a tooth. And you think Self Help people are getting Rich??? LOL
You have a blog here, and you wrote a book, and you have appeared on all kinds of talk shows, radio, ect. I bet you dont do that for Free!!!! Self Help uses basically the very same techinques as a therapist. Cognetive Behavour Method has been around a long time. Why pay every week, sometimes twice a week, a therapist which costs these days up to 200.00 an hour , when you learn these techniques and USE them yourself,, for 200.00 to 400.00..? You get the very same results, and you get those results at a cheaper price. Anxiety isnt a mental illness although many "degreed" people would like you to believe that! So, each person has a choice for themselves.
Many chose the "self Help" method and get great results, some use "credintialed" therapist and get results. Personally, i wouldnt give you two cents for MOST of the professional therapist!

Steve Salerno said...

Anon,you have raised a number of provocative points here, and I hope you'll be patient with me as I try to address them.

1. Re my book, profits, etc.: It is dirty pool (and logically askew as well) to draw an analogy between the person who writes a book to sell people snake oil (e.g. a self-help guru), and the person who writes a book to expose the person who tries to sell snake oil (e.g. me). Do you not see that? Your way of thinking is almost like saying that a disease and a doctor are functionally and morally equivalent, because they both take up a patient's time. Well, no. Were it not for the disease, you wouldn't need the doctor.

2. I received no money--not one thin dime--for any of my 200+ media appearances (to date). That is pretty much par for the course, unless you're, say, a reclusive A-list celeb who's giving a much-coveted interview and is basically putting the rights out for bid.

3. Sure, doctors make a ton of money. But their actions are based on something--in general, a body of knowledge that has been tested and retested and then tested again, and is continually under peer review and refinement. So maybe they charge a good chunk of money, but they have committed themselves to a demanding path of expertise that entitles them. Also, doctors are credentialed by an organized body with (generally) high standards. How is any of that the same as some hot new self-help guru peddling some crazy New Wage regimen that he or she dreamed up in the shower one night after several hours with a bong (or whatever)?
4. "Self Help uses basically the very same techniques as a therapist" is such an impossibly broad statement that I really don't even know where to begin in refuting it, but since you posed it as a universal statement, I'll give it a universal response: Self-help is no more like therapy than my pathetic efforts at weekend baseball are the equivalent of serious, professional play. In fact, my weekend efforts enjoy more validity than self-help, because at least they're based in something: I use the same exact skills and strategies that proven major leaguers use. I study from the same books and game plans in preparing myself to play.

That's not quite the same as, say, Rhonda Byrne telling people to imagine themselves into a seven-figure lifestyle....

Steve Salerno said...

Anon,you have raised a number of provocative points here, and I hope you'll be patient with me as I try to address them.

1. Re my book, profits, etc.: It is dirty pool (and logically askew as well) to draw an analogy between the person who writes a book to sell people snake oil (e.g. a self-help guru), and the person who writes a book to expose the person who tries to sell snake oil (e.g. me). Do you not see that? Your way of thinking is almost like saying that a disease and a doctor are functionally and morally equivalent, because they both take up a patient's time. Well, no. Were it not for the disease, you wouldn't need the doctor.

2. I received no money--not one thin dime--for any of my 200+ media appearances (to date). That is pretty much par for the course, unless you're, say, a reclusive A-list celeb who's giving a much-coveted interview and is basically putting the rights out for bid.

3. Sure, doctors make a ton of money. But their actions are based on something--in general, a body of knowledge that has been tested and retested and then tested again, and is continually under peer review and refinement. So maybe they charge a good chunk of money, but they have committed themselves to a demanding path of expertise that entitles them. Also, doctors are credentialed by an organized body with (generally) high standards. How is any of that the same as some hot new self-help guru peddling some crazy New Wage regimen that he or she dreamed up in the shower one night after several hours with a bong (or whatever)?
4. "Self Help uses basically the very same techniques as a therapist" is such an impossibly broad statement that I really don't even know where to begin in refuting it, but since you posed it as a universal statement, I'll give it a universal response: Self-help is no more like therapy than my pathetic efforts at weekend baseball are the equivalent of serious, professional play. In fact, my weekend efforts enjoy more validity than self-help, because at least they're based in something: I use the same exact skills and strategies that proven major leaguers use. I study from the same books and game plans in preparing myself to play.

That's not quite the same as, say, Rhonda Byrne telling people to imagine themselves into a seven-figure lifestyle....

Anonymous said...

Im not talking about NEW age Crap! Im talking about Anxiety! Huge difference. You dont need a doctor for anxiety, its Not a mental illness, its a "behavural" disorder. You dont need a doctor to know that! Now way back up in your posts, you tried to compare a cardioglogist with Anxeity. You said, "if you had a heart problem, you wouldnt diagnose yourself "
Heart trouble is a ridiculus comparison to Anxeity. Almost every person with anxiety, had already been to doctors, had every test run, and finally been told, they have anxiety.
Therefore, once you know what it is, and you do the research, and trust me, plenty out there. You have information at your fingertips. Comparing Rhonda Byrne to an Anxiety Self Help Program is ridiculus as well.
According to what ive read, the MWC program has been around since 1984. And before that, Claire Weeks had books about cognitive behavorual therapy. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to use the tools they have given, sold, etc. to help anyone overcome anxiety.
You wrote a book, because? Let me ask you something? Did you write the book because you tried any of the self help programs for anxiety? Or did you write the book because it was fair game, knowing it would bring you attention and money?
Im sure you will tell me you wrote it because you wanted to "help people". But you didnt give your book away free either, nor the information in it. Right?
Look, im not saying there arent shams and scams out there. People cash in on conspiracy theories, who done it books, all the time. I just think with this topic, You like the Pot calling the Kettle black..

Mahs Golb said...


Please address your own “universal statements” and “universal arguments.”

Speaking specifically about your belief in the “professional” as it relates to “therapy” vs. Self-help. Please define who fits into your universal definition of professional therapist. Are they L.C.S.W., L.S.W., M.S.W., S.W., M.F.T., L.P.C., M.D., Psy.D., Ph.D., M.C.C., M.A., L.P.C.C., M.S., Ed.D., M.F.C.C., L.I.S.W., and there are of course more—including the fast growing and credentialed field of Life Coaches. HMO’s support all the titles I list above…many ‘Life Coaches’ posses them and none of those titles are created equal. Who is it you champion when using the “universal” term Therapist?

Are you the guy who believes a person can’t manage others expertly unless they obtain an M.B.A title?? Well, an M.B.A. MUST know MORE than a non-M.B.A. right? So they MUST be more expert? Have you ever talked to a recent M.B.A. graduate with no experience…LOL!

Are you a guy who hires the ‘fresh-out-of-college’ B.S. degree student for entry Mgmt position, over someone with only 5 yrs experience doing the specific job—simply because of degree and title? And here is the big question: Do you think those who’ve endured 5yrs of Anxiety Disorder are at an “experience deficit” compared to an M.S.W. who has No Personal experience with the affects and only 2 years of professional practice? We’re not talking about learning quantum physics…we’re talking about learning to Change behaviors, responses, self-defeating thoughts.

Someone like you accidentally hits a child with your car and you grieve, but quickly realize you are not a bad person or a monster and you don’t think for a minute you actually MEANT to do it. People with anxiety disorder automatically don’t cut themselves the same break…they worry about the worst-case, “What-if maybe…just maybe…what if I did that on purpose?” Then, “Aren’t I horrible and suspect for just ‘thinking’ that it’s even a possibility?” (It’s an example; not inclusive of all) But those thoughts, that doubt…it’s what many obsess about that you do not…fears…and it’s all downhill from there if you don’t know what’s happening.

Positive self-talk for anxiety sufferers, is nothing more than learning to at first, start thinking more like you Steve. (Yes, as hard as that is to say) However, then—as it has been our nature to think the worst possible first and often only—we need to learn how to think even more consistently positive/realistic than a person like you. That’s it…no hooey…no “everyone is beautiful and the world is all sunshine!” It’s “ooops…why did I have a thought that I’m a bad person. I’m not and here’s all the proof.” It’s the same thing “normal” people do—we just need to actually learn it, and work at believing it. Then on with my day just as you go on with yours. Yes IT’s Hard to Change!! But the TOOLS and MEANS by which a person CAN change are not mystical, and these tools need not be locked up in the hands of a few…explain to me why they would need to be so?

Does this narrow our comparison? Make it less universal? So you want to compare only the worst of self-help to only the Competent and Qualified GOOD credentialed Ph.D.’s and Psy.D.’s? If so…good luck in finding that real-world model and good luck in your search to locate that Competent, Qualified, Experienced and GOOD therapist when you need them. Visit just 6 and see how likely it is you end up feeling comfortable that the field is under continual peer review by an Organized body. How many people are ripped by the big 3 insurance companies every year? Big organized bodies do not equal consumer protection.

Having a teacher…is that a good thing? Absolutely! I would have hated learning to swim without one. But isn’t it usually Dad, Mom or Uncle Al who typically do the teaching…not a “credentialed” lifeguard? You might deem Anxiety and Depression different than learning to swim, but they are both about learning NEW behaviors and who are you to blanket judge a teaching program that turns out as many competent swimmers as the local lifeguard instructor?? Especially when the local lifeguard is as messed up and confused as that person earlier in this debate, who claimed to be an Anxiety Coach…hmmm, they didn’t provide their degree did they? You bet they didn’t.

If you want to help and protect those who need help and protection…seek out those help-forms and teachers who are doing good work and then spread that word and write about that—otherwise you are just preaching to a choir of those who don’t think they need the help or protection anyways—and all you accomplish is helping and protecting yourself and your thinking. WOW! Steve! It turns out you are a self-helper after all!! ☺

Welcome aboard! Ha

Leonard Martin said...

All of this boils down to four observations:

1. Desperate people will grab onto any proffered solution to their suffering (in the US, in particular, because often here they lack any access to health care!)

2. The placebo effect is very powerful. so sometimes even the most bizarre approach to a health problem works.

3. But today we live in a scientific culture, which we all know has been spectacularly successful in many fields. This has been because it relies on EXPERIMENTS--lots of them! And most cogently in double blind form in the medical field! Its conclusions are based on the results of these controlled interrogations of nature, not someone's mere assertions.

4. After all the marvels we have seen science produce, it seems most rational to me to turn to people trained in its results, i.e., doctors, for help when you have an illness.

4. But Americans will sometime have trouble getting this because of an unexamined cultural assumption: We live(supposedly) in a democracy, which is interpreted by many as meaning that everyone's opinion on any given subject is just as good as anyone else's.

As long as 1. and 4. persist, quacks will flourish.

Leonard Martin

Anonymous said...

Strange world we live in is right.Speaking of doctors, there are as many who get it wrong, as get it right. True case of just ONE person. Woman 63 yrs old, goes and gets a colonscopy, doc find a tumor, takes biopsies from not just the tumor but 12 other places in the colon.
Specifies the tumor is worriesome. All the biopsies come back negative. Woman has a followup with GI doc and a surgeon is sitting in on the meeting. GI doc says all is clear, but leaves the room to check another patient, and the surgeon tells woman, she has to have the tumor removed and have a resection on her colon. Will probably undergo radiation and chemotherapy!!!!
Woman is very confused!! Leaves the meeting freaked out.
She then decides to go to major city for a "second opinion".
Specialist in colorectal area tells woman, all the tests results show NO cancer, but does need to have it removed with resection...
Woman decides to go with 2nd doctor. Has the resection and doctor does biopsys of the tumor and the section removed.
60,000 dollars in testing, from head to foot and TWO OPINIONS, the woman is healthy!
So dont give me this garbage that just because a Doctor has a degree, that they are GOD, or KNOW what they should KNOW!!!
Thankfully, this woman had the presence of mind even in her confusion to go get another opinion. She also had the money to go and do this. "IF" shed stayed in the town she got the first opinion, she would have been operated on, and gone through chemo and radiation for NO REASON!!
Again i reinterate, Anxiety is NOT a mental illness!!! You dont need speicalist to get you over it!
You dont even needs medicine to get over it!! No one on this post has compared apples to apples!!!

Anonymous said...

Adolph Hitler once said "everyone is in love with lies, the bigger the lie the better" as justification for his lies to the German people. People are gullible out of desperation or greed and those who understand how to exploit those two (weaknesses) become very wealthy at our expense. Such exploitation is pure evil but in America we have become so secularized and so conditioned we are led believe there is no wrong and only shades of gray to describe human actions.

The bottom line is we can only be exploited if we allow others to do so. If we take responsibility for our actions, stop blaming others, stop looking for quick fixes, start believing in that feeling we have in our gut that "something is not right" we can shrink away from wrong choices and make better ones. It is a hard road with a lot of suffering but it is given to us so we can deal with it properly.

Anonymous said...

ya know its like you people think that you know what you are talking about. i know lucinda bassett and i can tell you right now. she has the advice of a md at st charles hospital in toledo and oak harbor is not a suburb of toledo. how credible can you be when you talk about what a scam it is and when you say this is such a horrible thing, when you dont even know. lucinda bassett started by doing free seminars all over the united states. she tested and refined her program. and if you are going to say that you need to have a degree to do this lets look at bill gates. the richest man in the world at one point without a degree. wow, what does that tell you. its like you said in one of the begining post it doesnt matter if one or two people are healed or even a dozen. but i believe the figures were above 50% which you would think would require you to say it doesnt matter if i didnt help one or two or a dozen people. you just have alot of nerve coming onto a website and making up a bunch of "facts" that you have no base too. and dont talk bad about people you dont know, thats just rude, didnt your mother ever teach you that....

Steve Salerno said...

I think that previous Anon comment speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

To all of you, I am glad to see that we realize that we all have opinions and in our great country we are able to express them freely. Let me say this since I have been slammed for being someone who really cares about other people's lives and the hell most go through. Been there myself and it can be a very frighting place. I have coached for the MWC. I don't believe it is really so much about the contents of the program that help some people move forward in a positive way. It is about the way people learn to think in a more healthier way that brings the changes in their life to a happy place. I have helped people most of my life and have many cards and letters thanking me for being there when no one else understood their pain. Am I rich for it, only in the smiles and laughter and happiness I hear and when I get to meet some of my past clients when the come to visit me, or when they call me or e-mail me to tell me all the wonderful things that they can now do in their life because they no longer fear things anymore. It is the best reward I could ever ask for. So to all that didn't get the help they needed I am truly sorry to hear that I wish you had been my client. My clients are allowed to call me if they have problems I just don't walk away from them. Oh and by the way Steve I have written my own program which is based on spirituality and learning to heal from the pain. I let you know when it comes out. Please go easy on me. Blessings to all.

Joyful said...

There's that old saying that there are "two sides to every story." I wonder. Is it possible that there are two sides to this story, and that both sides are true?

I first purchased the "Attacking Anxiety" program in 1994. At that time, from my perspective, the center seemed very small and tight-knit. The staff was very supportive. Many on staff went above and beyond the call of duty in aiding me as I went through the home study program. They corresponded with me at length. They offered reduced-fee phone consultations. I really owe a lot to them.

After I went through the "Attacking Anxiety" program, I learned that Lucinda Bassett had created a new program called "Life Without Limits." I purchased this program, and I learned on it that Lucinda had relocated to Los Angeles where she was attempting to jump-start a large scale career as a motivational speaker. I went through the Life Without Limits program and was not impressed. I drifted away from the program and the Center. I felt the "Attacking Anxiety" program had given me everything it promised, but it was time to move on....

A few years later, I was experiencing something Lucinda refers to as a "growth spurt," but which most others would refer to as a "relapse." I then decided to go through the program again, and upgrade by purchasing some new supplemental products the Center offered.

This second time around, I noticed that the Midwest Center seemed to have changed a great deal. It seemed that what was once a supportive and compassionate staff had become a relatively cold (occasionally verging on bitter) staff prone to a hard sell with customers. It just didn't seem like the same center anymore.

I don't think the Attacking Anxiety program is a scam and I don't think Lucinda is a fraud. As for her husband's recent suicide, we can only speculate. Yes, common sense seems to say that if your wife is a world famous motivational speaker then you should not be depressed enough to commit suicide. But do we really know the specifics? Maybe he had emotional and psychological issues beyond the scope of what Lucinda could accommodate. Maybe he had lost several family members lately and couldn't deal with it. We just don't know. And I think it's unfair to suggest that the suicide of Lucinda's husband is indication that Lucinda is a fraud. My personal experience is that the "Attacking Anxiety" program does indeed work -- if you work it!

On the other hand, there's no denying that Lucinda Bassett had stars in her eyes. She admitted this all along. On the program she talks about the fact that she was once a singer and had wanted to be famous. She was open about the fact that she moved to LA in hopes of making it big time. And somewhere around the late 1990s, the Midwest Center went very, very corporate and began to rely on the hard sells, and part of that hard sell is the suggestion that the program is the end-all be-all of anxiety recovery.

I'll try to sum it up this way: the program works, but it is very expensive and is not the final say on anxiety and depression recovery, and the Midwest Center has gone very corporate in the past 15 years and just is not the company it used to be.

Anonymous said...

A quick response regarding the Midwest Center forum.

For a time, I offered "peer support" on the Midwest Center forum. I had a great time doing this, and I actually received a signed book from Lucinda in gratitude for my support on the forum. I did not get paid for the support I offered. But I got to connect with many other people and thereby re-learn what I had learned the first time through the program. In gratitude for my work on the forum, I even received a free updated version of the program. I thought this was all extremely generous on the part of Lucinda and Carolyn, and I look back fondly on my time working on the forum in this capacity. I think that at base, the MWC program really has a great deal to offer.

However, a wedge was placed between me and the rest of the forum when it became apparent to me that the members of the forum are overwhelmingly Born Again Christian. In particular, a moderator who goes by the name "Baked Pears" is a Born Again Christian, and quite forceful in her views. At the time that I left the forum, Baked Pears set the tone of the forum. I viewed the forum as recently as this year, and she was still present on the forum.

Baked Pears (I can't remember her real name) actually appears on the program and is a close associate of Lucinda Bassett's. I believe her husband was a business associate of Lucinda's late husband. So, she (Baked Pears) carries a lot of clout around the Midwest Center, or at least on the forum. Therefore, non-Christians (read non-Born Agains) and atheists certainly are NOT welcome on the forum. They will be attacked and/or driven off of the forum, as I was.

That much said, I still use materials from the program now an then. Whatever marketing schemes are used, whatever the bent of the forum members, wherever Lucinda really lives, whether her husband committed suicide or not, the simple reality is that (in my opinion and experience) Lucinda has a lot of good advice and in some instances was very generous with me. My life is better for it.

One thing Lucinda talks about in her program is that nothing is perfect in this world. This includes Lucinda, the program she created, and the company she founded.

Anonymous said...

About the highly religious people who have been on the Midwest Center forum for years ... this is actually related to why I ended up leaving the forum.

You see, in the program Attacking Anxiety and Depression, Lucinda Bassett claims that one of the causes of anxiety disorder is having a highly religious upbringing. Lucinda says that religiousity often leads to anxiety disorders.

Shortly before I left the Midwest Center forum, I pointed out the irony. The forum by this point was dominated by devout Born Again Christians who seemed to think that the answer to all problems were in the Bible. These members of the forum spent a great deal of time monitoring the rest of us. I pointed out that it was interesting that they were so highly religious and had anxiety problems. I suggested that maybe the two were connected. I didn't think this was too radical a thing to say because this is what Lucinda says on the program.

Well, that was pretty much the end for me..... I left shortly thereafter.

motorolafans said...

There’s a fascinating point to be made about the Bassett’s (non)Center public relations arm.

Anonymous said...

I had never even heard of Lucinda Bassett or any of the stuff that people on this board are moaning about. But a friend told me there was a good program for anxiety and depression. I tried it, and guess what, I am not suffering anymore. I saw a comment here how someone feels scammed by the program. I don't think she even did the program. She got the bill and immediatly looked for proof that it was a scam. People with depression are negative thinkers. It's a fact. I think it's cruel that other people who posted made her feel like that. She also had a chance to change her life. Everyone does. It's unfair to rob them of that chance. My advice, DON'T LISTEN TO THE CRAP on here. Do the program with an open mind and heart. Put yourself into it 100%. Go past your anxiety that it won't work. If it doesn't, sell it on ebay. We are sensitive people. We get discouraged. We feel like victims. Of course there will be negative comments from people like us. Be one of the positives. Be happy. Live well. Make educated choices. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

@ Mahs Golb, re: "Are they L.C.S.W., L.S.W., M.S.W., S.W., M.F.T., L.P.C., M.D., Psy.D., Ph.D., M.C.C., M.A., L.P.C.C., M.S., Ed.D., M.F.C.C., L.I.S.W.?"

Mahs, I am a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT). You are confusing a lot of terms in your sentence above. The Marriage Family Child Counselor (M.F.C.C. is now the M.F.T. and I suppose that's where you go M.C.C. from). Those are all one profession. Same thing for the first four. Licensed Clinical Social Workers start out as M.S.W. and when they finish their licensure they are L.C.S.W. ( L.S.W. and S.W.) all being short-cut terms that aren't usually used. I think that you're trying to imply that there are a bazillion credible mental health professionals out there, but you have your facts wrong. There are four branches of credible mental health professionals - two at the master's level (marriage and family therapist, and licensed clinical social worker), and two at the Doctorate level (PhD which is more research based and PsyD which is more clinically based). No one within the profession gets these confused.

You're also adding in extra abbreviations like M.A. or M.S. (master's of arts and master's of science, like the bachelor of arts and bachelor of science).

This is not a complete clusterball of confusion in the field.

Maybe if you are trying to discredit the field, you would like to pretend that there are so many licenses out there that it is complete mayhem. But that is just another illustration of how not being IN the field can cause you to misunderstand and misconstrue things about it.

Steve, I applaud you. I read your book and loved it. I think that any time you can expose someone who is mostly doing their job for money and not the quality of their service nor based on appropriate experience, the public deserves to be warned. Of course there will be people helped by anyone, even a scam artist, due to the fact that there is usually a grain of truth in anything, and of course the placebo effect and people's motivation already leading to change. But I also know that if someone can't afford to work with a therapist, there are MUCH cheaper programs out there than this one (books: Anxiety and Panic Workbook by Bourne, and When Panic Attacks [anxiety] or Feeling Good [depression] by David Burns), which are available for free at the local library! And it just bothers me for ethical reasons when people lie to their customers about themselves.

Unknown said...

Are they relates to bassetts in toledo sounds an awful lot like charmaine bassetg who was just taken down here my federal marshalls for claiming to be a dr.prescribing people weed and mushrooms claiming to cure cancer anxiety all disease and drug addiction etc. She was given 3 yrs probation at end of day for 3 trafficking charges money talks