Steven Hassan

Steven Hassan

Steven Hassan, PhD, MA, MEd, LMHC, NCC has helped thousands of individuals and families recover from undue influence (mind control). With over 40 years of experience, he is sought after as one of the foremost authorities on undue influence and controlling groups and individuals. Steve understands the subject from a unique perspective as both a former cult member and as a clinical professional.

Steven is the Founding Director of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center, a coaching, consulting, and training organization dedicated to supporting individuals to have the freedom to think clearly and to freely consider how they want to live their lives.  Steven pioneered a breakthrough method called the Strategic Interactive Approach (SIA), an effective and legal alternative for families to help cult members.  The SIA teaches family and friends how to strategically influence the individual involved in the cult.

Contact Freedom of Mind to schedule a consultation or to learn about offered services.

Learn about how the Strategic Interactive Approach can help rescue your friend or loved one out from under predatory influence.

Subscribe to receive updates on news, events, blogs, videos, webinars, and workshops.

Evangelical Christians’ Move Towards Right-Wing Politics with Frank Schaeffer

In my book The Cult of Trump, I present a thesis that Donald Trump was a symptom of decades of right-wing maneuvering to gain power and institute a theocracy by eliminating the separation between Church and State, which the Founders of the Constitution tried to ensure would not happen. White evangelical Christians, among other powerful groups like The Family, Opus Dei, and the New Apostolic Reformation, appear to support this movement and, indeed, are the driving force behind it because they believe Trump is being used to do ‘God’s work.’ Someone very experienced in talking about this issue is Frank Schaeffer. He was born and bred into an evangelical fundamentalist life and went on to play an active role in helping to politicize evangelical leaders. He has now bravely written and spoken about his regret at the part he played in this process and is an active religious reform activist.

The Traumatizing Narcissist’s Relational System with Daniel Shaw, LCSW

Narcissism is a word often overused to describe people who are selfish or generally uncaring of others. In the clinical sense, it has a set of criteria one must meet for diagnosis, and quite often, cult leaders meet these criteria. Daniel Shaw, LCSW and cult survivor, talks with us about his experiences within a cult, exiting the group, and his work on traumatic narcissism.  Shaw is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City and in Nyack, New York. Originally trained as an actor at Northwestern University and with the renowned teacher Uta Hagen in New York City, Shaw later worked as a missionary for an Indian guru. His eventual recognition of the cultic aspects of this organization led him to become an outspoken activist in support of individuals and families traumatically abused in cults. 

Humiliation, Media Shaming, Trauma as well as work with the FLDS with Dr. Christine Marie 

We can use psychology to understand media shaming and ask the right questions   Media shaming has been around for decades, but the advent of the Internet and 24/7 information cycles have taken it in an entirely new and intense direction. The effects of this on everyday people’s lives are monumental and sometimes deadly.   Dr. Christine

Jon Atack, author of Opening Our Minds

Opening Our Minds – on Predators and Prevention with Jon Atack

Jon Atack’s Opening Our Minds is quite simply the best new book on authoritarian cults. It digs into the reasons why authoritarianism is ruining the world and what we can do about it. Jon and I first met over thirty years ago; I was the “go-to” guy on the Moonies, and Jon was the “go-to” guy on Scientology. However, we found more in common than our expertise on cults – we hit it off immediately and have been fast friends ever since. There is much to admire about Jon: he is an artist, a musician, a writer, a historian and biographer, a scholar-practitioner, and a truly grounded, authentic individual. Despite decades of exploring the worst aspects of human behavior, he is also thoroughly life-affirming and believes that we have the tools to save the future from the human predators who are so intent on wrecking it.

Melissa Jo Peltier, who created a documentary about Trump Voters

The Game Is Up: Disillusioned Trump Voters Tell Their Stories

In my book, The Cult of Trump, I explored the parallels between Trump and cult leaders, arguing that his presidency was much like a destructive cult. The indoctrination techniques Trump used to build fanatical devotion in his supporters is akin to those of Jim Jones, David Koresh, Ron Hubbard, and Sun Myung Moon. Trump’s lies, lack of conscience, inability to admit when he is wrong, and projecting his shortcomings onto others can be seen in many cult leaders. With his rise to the presidency, he became more authoritarian and though he lost the election in 2020, he continues the lie that it was stolen and his supporters continue to believe him. 

The Colonization of Indigenous Peoples and Mind Control

In the past two years, I have been doing intensive research to understand authoritarian mind control as it relates to Indigenous peoples. Profound thanks to Desiree Kane, and especially Dr. Cindy Blackstock, CEO of The First Nations Child & Family Caring Society. I have read books, watched documentaries, and essentially been deprogramming myself from the cultural programming of American society. Colonization has been perpetrated on Indigenous cultures all over the world, essentially by countries wishing to impose Christian ideology and steal the land and resources of native peoples. I had the distinct pleasure of participating in two essential webinars sponsored by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.

A Billion Years: My Escape From a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology with Mike Rinder

I was excited when I learned that Mike Rinder wrote a new book, A Billion Years: My Escape From a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology. The book’s title was an ode to his billion-year commitment when he joined the Sea Organization (Sea Org) shortly after graduating high school in 1973. Rinder rose to become the top leader in the Office of Special Affairs (OSA), where, among other duties, he oversaw the “fair game” harassment of all perceived enemies, including the non-profit Cult Awareness Network. When he left Scientology in 2007, he decided to expose the criminal behavior of Scientology. I was very interested in asking him specific questions about his knowledge of Scientology.  

Kristi Nelson, author of Wake Up Grateful

Wake Up Grateful: the Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted – with Kristi Nelson

Committing to a practice of being grateful may seem like an odd prescription for healing from adverse life experiences. However, for over 46 years, I have worked with clients who have survived cult indoctrination and known many friends who have experienced various types of tragedy in their lives. Because of their experiences, many have become cynical and lost their sense of joy in life. When I came across the work of Kristi Nelson, I knew she had something valuable to contribute. Kristi is Executive Director of A Network for Grateful Living and the author of Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted. So, I invited her to appear on The Influence Continuum to share the healing effect of practicing gratitude with my clients, friends, and the general public.

Science and Torah: Ancient Wisdom for Healing the Earth

Our world faces many serious and deadly problems: extreme climate change, increasing threats to democracy worldwide, and critical levels of isolation and disconnection experienced by excessive internet and social media use. Science and technology can help in healing the earth but taken alone they are not sufficient. What ancient wisdom is lacking from our traditional

Daniella Mestyanek Young, survivor of notorious sex cult Children of God

Growing up in a Sex Cult with Former Army Captain Daniella Mestyanek Young

Have you heard the term “cult baby?” This refers to someone born or raised in a mind control religious human trafficking cult. Daniella Mestyanek Young is a third-generation survivor of the notorious sex cult Children of God (COG), later rebranded as “The Family of Love.” The cult group’s influence even extended so far that members