Blog

The 2019 International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) Conference in Manchester, England

2019-07-17T06:57:34-04:00July 11th, 2019|Blog|

Last week, I attended the excellent ICSA 2019 Annual International Conference entitled, "Coercive Control and the Psychology of Influence Across Comparative Contexts – Implications for Policy, Practice and the Criminal Justice Process." I presented a 90-minute, well-attended workshop on the “The Influence Continuum and the BITE Model and its use for Determining Undue Influence in Trafficking and Terrorism.” The video is below for all who were unable to attend.  I was encouraged to present at this European conference because, at this time, there seems to be much more openness in Europe to the fact that cult mind control models [...]

Light the Way to Freedom to End Human Trafficking: 2019 Summit in Austin, Texas

2019-07-04T14:33:41-04:00July 4th, 2019|Blog|

On June 25 - June 27, 2019, I had the honor of attending an amazing gathering of over 800 case investigators, law enforcement, judges, and therapists convened by the Governor and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. This was an invitation-only event, closed to the public. Trafficking experts presented and offered training workshops. Survivor advocate experts were among the most knowledgeable, effectively educating any involved with helping those in need. I learned that the existing system in Texas (and indeed everywhere) does not take a systems-oriented approach, focused on helping those who are being victimized. Commissioner Whitman, former [...]

The Solipsistic Reality of President Trump: A Discussion with Dr. Robert Jay Lifton

2019-06-27T17:12:23-04:00June 27th, 2019|Blog|

This past February of 2019, I interviewed Dr. Robert Jay Lifton about his thoughts about the current political situation in America. It is always a privilege. I have been fortunate enough to interview him a few times before. (Listed at end). Recently, he gave me permission to republish his Eight Criteria of Thought Reform. In his seminal work, he concisely explains mind control, brainwashing, and thought reform. I also posted a blog about Dr. Paul Martin's expert report on Raniere's NXIVM in which he used Dr. Lifton's criteria. He is a psychiatrist, an author, an expert, and an activist, [...]

Donald Trump, Cults and Narcissism: A Discussion with Sociologist Dr. Stephen Kent

2019-06-20T15:39:30-04:00June 20th, 2019|Blog|

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of interviewing sociologist, Dr. Stephen Kent. Dr. Kent holds degrees in both religious studies and sociology. He is an author, professor, and expert on cults and conspiracy theories. He received two Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grants to study sects, cults, and new religions in Canada and the United States. He is very qualified to speak about coercive influence and cults, having a vast educational background, as well as, the largest book collection in North America on alternative and sectarian religions. I have known Steve for decades now and respect his work [...]

NXIVM: Robert Jay Lifton’s Criteria of Thought Reform as Analyzed by Expert Paul Martin, Ph.D.

2019-06-13T12:46:30-04:00June 13th, 2019|Blog|

Dr. Paul R. Martin was a psychologist, expert witness, survivor of a Bible cult called Great Commission International and founder of Wellspring Retreat Center, a place where cult survivors could go for an intensive two-week rehabilitation program. It was located in Ohio and helped hundreds of cult survivors. In 1993, he authored the book Cult Proofing Your Kids. I always admired Paul as a smart, courageous mental health professional who was a pioneer in the difficult work of helpful cult survivors. He deserves to be well-remembered for his great contributions to the field. Dr. Martin was asked to submit [...]

Parental Abduction and Alienation: A Discussion with Psychiatrist Nick Child

2019-06-07T11:14:26-04:00June 6th, 2019|Blog|

A few weeks ago, I spoke to a gathering of a group of parentally alienated mothers and fathers in Waltham, Massachusetts. Parental alienation is a phenomenon where children are turned against one of their parents (either mother or father) by the other parent, usually when there is a divorce, without good reason. In some cases, children are physically and psychologically isolated for years and they are programmed against the non-custodial parent. Of course, negative programming is done all the time in cult groups, when a parent decides they want to exit the cult. What I have learned is that this [...]

Robert Jay Lifton’s Eight Criteria of Thought Reform (Brainwashing, Mind Control)

2019-05-30T12:36:02-04:00May 30th, 2019|Blog|

The following excerpt is used with permission from Robert Jay Lifton's The Future of Immortality and Other Essays for a Nuclear Age (New York, Basic Books, 1987) is a concise explanation of Lifton's eight criteria for defining mind control. His 1961 book, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of "Brainwashing" in China was instrumental in my deprogramming form the Moon cult in 1976. I thought it is long overdue for me to have a full exposition of his ideas presented in his "Chapter 22" of this seminal work. In particular, Chinese "re-education" programs are being used on [...]

John Walker Lindh: Saving the ‘American Taliban’ By Steven Hassan, 12/19/2001

2019-05-23T12:41:46-04:00May 22nd, 2019|Blog|

I dug up an old OpEd I wrote. Now that Lindh is being released–17 years later– there is a concern that he may not have received proper counseling about cult mind control and brainwashing. My guess is that is correct. Whether or not he is a danger to commit any criminal atrocity, I do not know. What I do know is that the U.S. government continues to be blind to applying the expertise and knowledge of decades of cult experts. Why? In my opinion, if he was properly counseled he would be a huge asset to speaking out against extremism. [...]

Keith Raniere and NXIVM on Trial: Mind Control and Manipulation

2019-05-16T13:33:49-04:00May 16th, 2019|Blog|

Image By: Beyond My Ken The trial of NXIVM leader Keith Raniere began May 7th and is currently entering its second week in Brooklyn Federal Court, whose image is above. It is a very high profile case involving charges of sex trafficking, branding, racketeering, and forced labor. It also involves highly successful, educated people, who got ensnared including billionaire Clare Bronfman, actress Allison Mack, filmmaker Mark Vicente, and others. Five people, including Bronfman and Mack, were charged along with Raniere but all pled guilty and are apparently cooperating with authorities. In my opinion, they were probably all deceived [...]

Trump, Cults, and Deprogramming: A Discussion with Forensic Expert Dr. Steve Eichel

2019-05-13T00:16:47-04:00May 9th, 2019|Blog|

This week, I share an interview with my old friend and colleague, Steve Eichel, Ph.D. He is a forensic psychologist, an authority on hypnosis, expert witness, counselor, author, and educator. He specializes in destructive cults, coercive persuasion, brainwashing and deprogramming. In 1989, he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the subject of deprogramming. Dr. Eichel's introduction into the field of cults goes all the way back to 1975. He currently serves as the president of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) which is a cultic studies research and educational nonprofit organization. Dr. Eichel starts the interview by describing his extensive background, [...]