An apology is in order–update–read final comment

There has been a misunderstanding…I will write more tomorrow…to tired now…read the last comment, thanks.

I promoted in good faith a free web class, A Natural Approach to Treating Depression, being offered by Dr. James Gordon. His assistant Troy Centazzo, left a comment under the post in which I promoted the class saying:

Thanks so much for posting this info.

Jim (Gordon) wants to get this information out to as many people as possible, even if they can’t afford his book or attend one of his events. (emphasis mine)

To which I replied:

that is what I think is especially awesome about Jim…he wants to help people!!!

Most people with this sort of specialized knowledge cater to the rich and that’s a damn shame!!

thank him please…thank him very much.

Which is, obviously at this point a rather humiliating response on my part since the first “class” that was offered tonight was all of 6 minutes and shared absolutely NO helpful knowledge. Especially if one if privy to anything I write about on this blog. This “class” series was obviously about selling books and if you look at Troy’s comment probably also to get people to his “events.”

I also corresponded with another one of his assistants who told me registration for the “class” spiked after I promoted it on my site. And I can see by how many people clicked through to his site that, indeed, there was great interest in the class coming from my site.

And so I apologize for promoting a man who misled us only to sell books. I know some of you bought his book. I did not since I have so many books dealing with the same topics, but I was enthusiastic about learning something new or from a somewhat different perspective in his class. That seems not to be in the cards.

I have written to one of his assistants and called the other. If I hear something that unveils that I have been too quick to judge I will post and update, but for now I felt it important that I apologize to you all.

And I’d like to say, there is nothing wrong with wanting to sell books and I, in fact, thought that was part of his motivation. And that’s fine for those of us who can afford his book. But to blatantly mislead people to believe that they were going to get a real class without delivering such while also probably selling a lot of books to people enthusiastic to get the most out of the “class” as possible, is dishonest and misleading at best.

The population of people who are labeled depressed are repeatedly hurt and taken advantage of. I thought this man was different.

To view the “class” you can follow this link. Please tell us what you think!

I hope the book still has some good tips in it. It does seem to from the bits and pieces I’ve read about. You know I highlighted James another time on this blog, as well, when he was interviewed in Newsweek. He seems to truly have done some good work. Unfortunately, I think I should get a commission at this point but would feel dirty!

Anyway I’d rather have an apology or a really good explanation.


I got an email from Troy, which I’ve posted in the comment section. (followed by my own comments)

11 thoughts on “An apology is in order–update–read final comment

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  1. okay, I’ve seen the next 10 minute class, and while, yes, it’s very short…it’s a very good intro to meditation and though I’ve studied and practiced meditation for 20 years (off and on)

    in the spirit of Zen Mind Beginners Mind…

    it’s a really great intro and I got something out of it too…and it’s really basic so even someone without experience I think can get it!!

    so I’ll right a real post tomorrow..didn’t have the energy to do careful editing and what not now…

  2. I’ve had a phone conversation with Troy.

    They’re good people…who did not prepare well enough…

    They will be putting the whole series on YouTube where I told Troy it will probably be a huge success, given YouTubers only expect 5 – 10 minute spurts of information…

    I will be watching the next two episodes ahead of time…I will write a post at that point rescinding my criticism if it still seems appropriate that I do so as I feel it is now…

    It’s clear that Troy is a sincere man and that the problem was lack of research and lack of an understanding of different arenas on the internet.

  3. Well now I don’t feel so bad about missing the 1st class!
    (personal drama; private email forthcoming)
    But I’ve already got a stack of self-help books about half a mile high…
    [Pssst – can I make you a deal on some old Lucinda Bassett CD’s? ;-)]

  4. I got this from Troy:

    Hi Gianna-
    Sorry I missed your call last night. I would of course discussed the program with you. I am sending this email, which is identical to the one sent to Ms. Bernard.

    Thank you for responding so quickly with your thoughts after the first class. Honest feedback from the online depression community is crucial to us. So far, it has generally been overwhelmingly positive and people have found the materials useful. Our team (of mostly business people and health educators) has worked with Dr. Gordon for months to develop this program. We studied research on online education. We thought hard about how to reach the most people, how long the classes should be, what resources we could give away to make the experience useful. No one has been paid; we’re doing this project pro bono to promote the issue you feel so passionately about because we feel the topic has been inadequately addressed by the medical and media communities, and feel strongly that Dr. Gordon can effect changes that are needed. We had hoped this program would provide more visibility to “proper” and comprehensive ways to treat depression, and also question the manner our system typically treats it now. We intend to be your ally in this cause and still intend to work on our own time (just like you) to keep promoting the fact that there are other ways to treat depression.

    Please keep in mind that this was just the introductory class. The others are 10 minutes long and offer concrete, direct lessons on exercises to treat depression. I ask that you wait until the end of the series to make any judgments about the series or Dr. Gordon, whom I know has been working tirelessly for 40 years to try virtually any method to get the word out about prevention, wellness, and self care. I’ve worked directly with him on some of these efforts, and people generally cannot pay for the education. He is willing to use new methods, like the web, to reach more people. After the series, we would appreciate your feedback on how to change and update it to make it more useful. This whole webinar thing is new to everyone so we’re all learning as we go.

    If, after reading this email, you still feel the same way, and decide to post negative information about or a review of the class, then please give us the courtesy of posting this reply. However, I think you should wait a couple months, when we can study and evaluate how helpful (or not) the program has been to people and how many people we have reached due to the Internet, until you cast any judgment. Thank you.

    Troy Centazzo

    We’ll see…I still say calling a 5 or even 10 minutes webcast a class is questionable..

    maybe for people who have never heard such information it will be groundbreaking info…and if it sets off fireworks in a few people’s brain it will be a good thing.

    But any way you look at it I don’t understand how a 5 minute blurb can be called a class…

    Perhaps our criticisms will create the class! Lord knows it wasn’t class last night. I will continue to follow it.

  5. Don’t worry about it. I just feel bad that you and Susan were duped, and your readers were duped as well.

    Can we tar and feather the author? Or make him clean our cats litter boxes?

    As for books- when mine gets published you can promote it!

  6. Gabriel,
    I think his book is probably good…so I don’t need to give him good press when there are other places to get similar life changing advice..and I’ve already reviewed his book in some respects by posting about his interview in Newsweek which included a review of his book…

    So what if the words are beautiful if he’s misleading us all in his intent…anyone can do that.

    And people take advantage of others using basic truths all the time…it makes it almost more criminal.

    Because those of us who share that belief are so hungry to hear it validated by those with credibility. So yeah, I think he’s made it even worse…by taking advantage of those of us who share this view and making us look bad to those who MIGHT have been influenced but instead were misled by him — it makes his credibility look highly questionable…

    frankly, he’s just one more “doc” who has shown greed as a priority to care…and I see that among all western trained docs whether they bill themselves as alternative or not…

    they seem to get wired that way in medical school, if they weren’t that way already…I don’t know which comes first.

  7. At least I thought I heard a doc say “depression is not a disease”….

    I would normally say those words were “worth the price of admission”….

    But, because it didn’t cost anything to hear a doctor say those words….

    I consider them “priceless”!


  8. Dear Gianna,
    I couldn’t agree more. I, too, promoted the class on my blog, and I feel duped as well. I was so pleased to think that someone actually wanted to help people who are depressed instead of trying to sell a product and make a profit at their expense. What a disappointment!


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