Dr. Robert Jay Lifton
Last Wednesday, I had a profound experience with renown psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, author of 20 books, including Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, Destroying the World to Save it, The Nazi Doctors, Home from the War, and Death in Life to name just a few of the most important volumes. Dr. Lifton has a new book of his memoirs that has just come out, entitled, Witness to an Extreme Century, and I called Dr. Lifton to see if he would sit down with me and catch up, and at the same time allow me to interview him on video to put online.
The result is a 67 minute video interview which was extraordinary. Dr. Lifton was clear, lucid and able to share some of his most important work.
For me, on a personal note, it was a very special, personal encounter with the man who was so pivotal to my life decision to go into psychology and ultimately into my work to help people who have been victimized by deceptive mind controllers of every orientation. It was fall of 1976, and Dr. Lifton agreed to meet with me and hear about how his book, Thought Reform and the psychology of Totalism was so instrumental in my realization that indeed, I had experienced a form of extreme influence which mirrored, in very fundamental ways, brainwashing in Communist China. It was Dr. Lifton who did the huge “therapeutic reframe” of my identity- from college drop-out, ashamed and embarrassed ex-moonie into a person who have invaluable experience and insights into the process of cult recruitment and indoctrination processes, as well as strong ideas about how to help people to step and reevaluate their commitments.
I decided to go back to college, switch my major from English creative writing to psychology, and I had no idea t the time that 36 years later, having written two books of my own, I would be able to sit down and thank him for all of his contributions- personally and professionally.I invite you to take the time to watch this strictly amateurish video done solely by me. I wish I had a videographer and professional editor, but I just set up the tripod and let it run, and later spliced in the footage of his books, which were at my office. Please watch it and let me know what you think.