Authentic Self

Recovery from Spiritual Abuse and Healing Oneself to Trust Again

2018-12-13T21:09:21-04:00August 9th, 2017|Blog, News and Updates, Resources and Support|

This past weekend, I attended and spoke at a conference at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. This one-day event was sponsored by MeadowHaven, The Protestant Chaplaincy of the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, Dartmouth Bible Church, and International Cultic Studies Association. The title of my talk was "Spiritual Abuse: Strategies to Help Someone to Exit, Heal and Trust Again," which was quite a large topic to cover in forty-five minutes! However, many people have told me that they really got a lot from it. I was invited to speak there by my colleague and friend, Rev. Bob Pardon who along with [...]

My Week at the IALMH Congress

2019-02-13T13:35:08-04:00July 20th, 2017|Blog, Current Events, News and Updates|

I want to share with you the wonderful experience I had attending the 2017 Congress of International Academy of Law and Mental Health (IALMH) in Prague. From July 9-14 I was among over 1500 people from over 100 countries who gathered at this event. Being at the congress was a fantastic experience. I truly learned a lot and got to spend time with some great people. One of the co-founders of Harvard's Psychiatry and the Law program, Dr. Harold Bursztajn, asked me if I would like to speak on a panel with him and Dr. Ivana Viani. I was [...]

Beware of Logical Fallacies when Seeking the Truth

2018-12-16T19:49:33-04:00June 30th, 2017|Blog|

Throughout my years as a mental health professional, I have made it part of my mission to educate people to be smart consumers. I believe that knowledge of how the mind works gives us true power, and that when a person takes the time to learn the facts about any given situation they will be better equipped to make informed decisions. True freedom of mind means that the “locus of control” for your life is within yourself and not with some external authority–someone else or some institution. How to think clearly and analyze words and claims is an essential tool [...]

Ex-Members Supporting One Another is a Good Thing!

2018-12-16T20:51:59-04:00June 15th, 2017|Blog, Current Events, Resources and Support|

I was going to New York City to tape an interview for a one hour documentary on Heaven’s Gate and reached out to see if I could finally meet Todd Kadish, an attorney who is an ex-modern Orthodox Jew. Todd and I had had several very interesting phone calls and I really wanted to meet him in person. He and Isaac Carmignani, an ex-Jehovah’s Witness, helped start what they termed an ex-fundamentalist support group a number of years ago. I had the good fortune of meeting Isaac previously and he kindly offered to assist me with a case in [...]

“Conversion Therapy” is Dangerous and Abusive

2018-12-15T20:26:38-04:00June 8th, 2017|Blog, News and Updates, Resources and Support|

The 48th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots is coming up on June 28, and many cities in America are holding Gay Pride parades and festivals around this time. With the Trump election and Mike Pence as Vice President, all the accomplishments advancing human rights seems like they are in jeopardy. This week, I attended the Pride Day celebration at Newton City Hall and Mayor Setti Warren created a liaison position and appointed trans activist Holly Ryan. Bob Parlin, founder of the Gay-Straight Alliance was recognized and given commendations from the Legislature. I’ve written before about how important it is to [...]

Parental Alienation Harms Children by Using Undue Influence

2019-01-15T15:12:10-04:00May 4th, 2017|Blog, News and Updates, Resources and Support|

This past week, a very important legal custody case was decided which involves Infowars’ Alex Jones and his ex-wife Kelly. Kelly Jones was able to successfully show that her children had been turned against her and unduly influenced by Alex Jones. The judge awarded her the power to decide where her children will live from now on. She will now have the opportunity to re-establish relationships with her own children. Parental alienation is real and its results are devastating. My friend and psychiatrist Nick Child's site is filled with wonderful resources. Through my work, I have had the opportunity to [...]

The Heaven’s Gate Tragedy–The 20th Anniversary of an American Doomsday Cult Disaster

2018-12-16T20:52:57-04:00March 23rd, 2017|Blog, Current Events, Media Reviews, News and Updates|

On March 26, 1997, the bodies of 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult were discovered by police. Poisoned, and with plastic bags over their heads, these victims of cult mind control were forever lost to their friends and families. This story, which gained worldwide attention, illustrates just how dangerous undue influence can be and I used them as an example in my books. I was on NBC's Today Show and Dateline that week, and a slew of other media as the world wanted to understand about doomsday cults. It was during that week of media frenzy that I watched [...]

Stereotypical Profile of Cult Members

2018-12-15T21:34:31-04:00January 27th, 2017|Blog, Resources and Support|

A few people have asked me recently what a typical cult member looks like. While every group and individual is unique, there are common patterns for how cult members think, feel, speak, and behave. Check out the BITE Model and the right side of the Influence Continuum graphic.  Cult members become “clones” of the group leaderCult mentality is usually absolutist, simplistic, rigid, and rooted in terms of black-and-white, Us vs. Them, good vs. evil. Rather than examining evidence and then forming beliefs based on that evidence, cult members start with the “answer” and pay much more attention to evidence or [...]

Robert Jay Lifton MD: An Interview with a Genius

2018-12-16T20:12:24-04:00October 7th, 2016|Blog, News and Updates|

As this year marks the 40th anniversary of the day I left the Moonies, I want to take some time to acknowledge an individual who played an important role in my personal and professional development. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the famous psychiatrist and my mentor, Robert Jay Lifton. I was first introduced to Lifton’s 1961 book on brainwashing, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, during my deprogramming in May of 1976. It helped me understand that the tactics used by the Moonies to indoctrinate me were the same used by Communist China and other cults [...]

Use of Words, Loaded Language, and “Thought Control” of Believers

2018-12-16T21:05:22-04:00July 29th, 2016|Blog, Resources and Support|

I recently read former Scientologist official Mike Rinder’s blog piece on “Word Clearing.” I suspect that most people who read his blog are ex-Scientologists, but I think it might be interesting for former members of other destructive groups to give it a read. I thought it could be a useful introduction to a blog I have been wanting to write for a few weeks on “Loaded Language. When it comes to freeing one's mind from cult influence, one of the hardest things for many to overcome is the involuntary use of “loaded language.” Loaded language is something I first [...]