Help for Someone You Care About Who is in a Controlling Group or Cult
Have hope! There are effective ways you can help a loved one who is involved in a group or cult that is negatively affecting their lives.
“My family’s active support made all the difference.”
Again and again, members who have left controlling groups or cults tell us that the support their family and friends gave them was crucial to their decision to leave the group.
What you do can make a real and important difference. But beware, you can also drive your loved one further into a cult by being judgmental, critical or heavy-handed. The approach developed and practiced by Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind consultants, encourages a positive, warm relationship while helping to raise essential questions for group members to consider.
Evaluating Your Concerns
If you’re in doubt about the group your friend or family member has become a part of, you may find it helpful to look at our list of some of the Major Warning Signs of a destructive group or cult. This can help you make a quick self-assessment of how serious the situation is. Steven Hassan’s BITE Model shows the methods that groups use to control individuals. We also welcome your call to 617-396-4638 to discuss your concerns with a staff member of Freedom of Mind Resource Center.
If you want to arrange for an evaluation of your situation, please give us a call. We encourage you to submit a Case Evaluation Form to give us further background information. The form is also available in a Word document and a PDF here . Please note, that for lengthy submissions, it is recommended to download the Word document, fill it out then copy and paste the answers into the online submission form. This prevents the webpage from timing out and losing the information inputted.
You may find it useful to read what ex-members of the group you’re interested in have written about their experiences. Check our extensive List of Groups that people have raised questions about in the past. If you don’t see the group that you’re interested in, call us. We have additional information, which we will share with you.
It is important to remember the fact that if a group appears on this list, it does not necessarily mean they are a destructive mind control cult. They appear because we have received inquiries and so we have established a file on the group.
Information and Support
Since you want to help your loved one make a free and conscious choice about their future, it is important to start by offering them respectful support. Of course you also want to help get them the information they need in order to accurately evaluate the group or cult they’re involved with. We assist and support you to do this in the most effective way.
We start with an initial consultation including a complete review of the situation. We listen closely to your questions and concerns. After we are sure we understand your concerns, we share our extensive knowledge and experience about what can work in your specific situation. We recommend next steps and plan future options.
Quick solutions may seem appealing, but can carry the risk of further alienation and drive individuals deeper into the control of a group or cult. We help you evaluate the difficulties of the situation you face and the time and financial costs of implementing a solution in your situation.
As your consulting partners, we will work with you to tailor an approach – phone or in person, intense or deliberately paced, involving just family or also friends, with additional support staff or a simpler style – that meets your needs.
If you would like additional information about our approach, here is a link to a talk Steven Hassan gave in 2003 in which he describes his Strategic Interaction Approach. Strategic Interaction Approach
It’s Important to Remember
Past experiences show that members of controlling groups are relieved that their families helped them break free from the invisible bonds that held them to a group; but this process takes patience and persistence as well as love.
The Place to Start
An Initial Consultation
Please call 617-396-4638 for a chance to ask questions and to learn more about arranging for an initial consultation.
The consultation will give you an opportunity to ask specific, detailed questions about how to begin the process of helping your loved one leave a cult or controlling group.
You will get even more benefit from a consultation if we have a chance to preview basic information about your situation beforehand. Our Case Evaluation Form can be faxed or emailed back or completed securely online. You can use it as a guide to what is important for us to know. Please be assured that your information will be kept completely confidential. We know how important it is to follow the highest ethical standards of privacy.
It’s fine if you prefer to not fill out the form. We will, of course, be glad to do a consult anyway. To learn more or to schedule an initial consultation, please call our office at 617-396-4638. You are also welcome to arrange for a longer consultation if you choose.
You may use Visa or MasterCard or if you prefer, you may mail a check or money order before the appointment. Please call 617-396-4638 with any questions or concerns.