Lucinda Bassett: is it all a scam?

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Does Lucinda Bassett exploit anxious Americans?

As a therapist, I care about the reputation of therapy. I want people to know that the therapy I provide is worth the effort and expense. I want them to understand why it's better than just buying a self help book or taking a pill. Over the years, I've become concerned about Lucinda Bassett and her program "Attacking Anxiety". I've taken the time to review a copy.

Is Lucinda Bassett exploiting vulnerable Americans struggling with anxiety? Yes and no.

There is a real program behind the marketing, and that program is based on the same cognitive behavioral therapy principles that I use every day in my practice. Those principles result in some percentage of her customers finding relief from their anxiety. I can hate her high-pressure marketing, and I can get sick at the ridiculously high purchase price, but that's not fraud. It's not a scam.

But there's more to the story. In my humble opinion as a psychotherapist with more than a dozen years of providing similar services, Lucinda Bassett's program is really awful compared to what it could be. For one thing, she ignores the need for a good diagnosis.

Without a good diagnostic process, a therapist can easily mistake panic disorder for vaso-vagal syncope or hyperthyroidism. The differential diagnosis depends on one or two questions and coordination with a primary care physician. It's easily done in person or via Skype. Failing to take this basic step can lead to disaster for the patient.

Lucinda Bassett provides the same set of instructions for nearly any diagnosis within the broad category of anxiety disorders. It's just not specific enough. If she really wanted to help people, she'd start with self-diagnosis and then provide separate programs for each particular anxiety problem. Lucinda Bassett doesn't bother.

It's like providing patients with the same antibiotic for any infection. It's not snake oil. It will help some patients, but for many people it's bad medicine.

Lucinda Bassett promises vulnerable people with anxiety disorders that she can cure their problems. She gives them hope, and she exploits their suffering and that hope by selling her program at a ridiculous price. She then delivers a program which is not fraudulent, but unlikely to be effective for most people.

Lucinda Bassett hurts the reputation of cognitive behavioral therapy. She hurts people with anxiety disorders by adding CBT to their list of disappointments. Her program may make it less likely that these people will ever get effective treatment. I can only be amazed that she has gotten away with it for so long.

A better alternative to Lucinda Bassett's therapy

Lucinda Bassett's program is based on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT. There's nothing wrong with CBT. In fact, it has broad endorsement by government agencies and the medical profession. CBT works well when it is delivered properly.

If you've considered Lucinda Bassett's program, and if you truly have an anxiety disorder, you can do better. You have a better chance of getting lasting relief from anxiety by working with an experienced therapist who is capable of forming an accurate diagnosis and providing individualized therapy tailored to your problems and your personality.

If you have difficulty finding a therapist who provides CBT near you, or if your anxiety disorder makes it difficult to see someone in their office, why not try distance therapy? Using videoconferencing programs like Skype and Facetime you can connect to a therapist and have a reasonable one-on-one session even if you are hundreds of miles apart.

My recommendation is to look for a therapist who you can work with one-on-one, whether it's in their office or by videoconferencing. I hope that you will consider calling me.

You can learn more about my approach to anxiety by clicking here.

You can learn more about my use of Skype and Facetime here.

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