BITE model

The Ninth International Conference on Complex Systems 2018 Sponsored by NECSI

2018-12-15T19:51:11-04:00July 26th, 2018|Blog, News and Updates|

July 26, 2018, This past Sunday, July 22, 2018, I was honored to be the opening plenary speaker at the 9th International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. My talk was entitled, A Complex Systems Approach to Countering Mind Control, Trafficking and, Terrorism. It was well-received, the questions were many, and the feedback was excellent. Founder and President of NECSI, Dr. Yaneer Bar-Yam and myself ICCS is a unique interdisciplinary forum that unifies and bridges the traditional domains of science and a multitude of real-world [...]

Freedom of Mind: Index of Blogs

2018-12-16T20:52:05-04:00July 19th, 2018|Blog|

June 19, 2018 I try to blog every week with updates about my work, research, current events, high control groups, coercive control, media and other topics.  I have written pieces on U.S. politics, world news, child abuse, human trafficking, terrorism, undue influence, multi-level marketing, and healing and recovery.  Whether you are new to Freedom of Mind or have been a long-time supporter or even former client, I think you will benefit from this resourceful list of previous articles. If you like one of these blogs, please share it on your social media. If you have suggestions for future blogs, [...]

Freedom of Mind Resource Center: Mid-Year Update 2018

2018-12-16T20:13:06-04:00July 12th, 2018|Blog, Current Events, News and Updates|

Steven Hassan speaking at 2018 ICSA conference July 12, 2018, 2018 ICSA Annual Conference Last week, I was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and gave a talk on the Freedom of Mind Approach to helping people raised in cults and dysfunctional families at the 2018 annual ICSA conference. The theme of the conference was "The global challenge of young people born, raised or recruited into extremist groups, abusive religious organizations, or coercive/exploitative relationships."  Next year, July 2019,  there will be another conference. They alternate locations, having one in the U.S. and the next in another country. This coming international conference will be [...]

Dr. Philip Zimbardo’s 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE): A Response to Critics

2019-02-13T12:18:44-04:00July 3rd, 2018|Blog|

Dr. Zimbardo photographed for his Heroic Imagination Project. Credit: Ferne Millen Photography July 2, 2018: At this moment, there appears to be a media attack on the reputation of Dr. Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Stanford University and former president of the American Psychological Association. Indeed, there seems to be a broader attack on the field of social psychology and some of its greatest contributors in the past sixty years. We live at a time of unprecedented scientific and technological knowledge and development and, sadly, there are powerful influential forces that seek to persuade the public and deny [...]

A Response to Academics Who Say There Is No Undue Influence in Destructive Cults

2019-02-13T10:41:11-04:00June 28th, 2018|Blog|

June 28, 2018 This Influence Continuum graphic describes my model for evaluating influence–from the healthy to the unhealthy. My BITE model offers a list of concerning practices that represent unhealthy mind control: Behavior, Information, Thought and Emotional control designed to create dependent and obedient slaves to a person or ideology. One example of many is the lack of informed consent when recruiting new members. Healthy groups are honest, destructive cults lie–by withholding vital information, distorting information to make it seem more palatable or outright lies. It is my assertion that any academic who writes about controversial groups and insists [...]

The BITE Model & Mormonism: An Exploration with Ex-Mormon John Dehlin

2018-12-16T19:23:59-04:00June 14th, 2018|Blog, Resources and Support|

June 14, 2018 Dr. John Dehlin & Mormon Stories Podcast STEVEN HASSAN – WHAT THE MORMON CHURCH CAN LEARN FROM CULTS TO DO/BE BETTER Mormon Stories Podcast 938-939 About a month ago, we received an email from John Dehlin requesting an interview for his podcast Mormon Stories and his Youtube channel. Frankly, I have been so busy with clients and with my doctoral program that I was going to decline. But when I read further down in his email, he wrote: "For some background on me, my excommunication from the Mormon Church was covered in the New York [...]

Errant Belief #9: “She’ll Walk out on Her Own When She Is Ready”

2018-12-16T19:34:00-04:00May 31st, 2018|Blog|

Is She Really Free to Leave? This attitude presumes that the cult member has the freedom of mind, finances, and the resources to just "leave." The bars are invisible but very real. In my experience, depending on the length of his involvement, the "exit cost" is usually very high to walk out of a high demand group. The indoctrination of the group's beliefs, along with the habits ingrained into behavior, make it difficult to leave without help. If she did have freedom of mind, I can say from my own experience, she would have left the group long ago. [...]

The Freedom of Mind Approach to Recovery and Healing from Destructive Cults

2018-12-16T19:49:06-04:00May 17th, 2018|Blog, Resources and Support|

The Freedom of Mind approach to recovery and healing from destructive cults is customizable and designed to meet the needs of most any person who has been influenced by a cult. People who were born or raised in a cult have spent their early developmental years under cult control. Other people may have entered into a cult later on in life as adolescents, young adults, adults, or older adults. Both sets of former cult members may have very significant needs for recovery and healing. The Freedom of Mind approach to recovery and healing helps the former cult member to [...]

Errant Belief #8: “She’s Better Off Where She Is”

2018-12-16T19:34:15-04:00May 10th, 2018|Blog|

Are They Better Off Being Left in the Group? Sometimes family, friends, and even mental health professionals may think that a person is better off in the cult. This way, the family, and friends may not feel obliged to do anything to help rescue the individual. Sometimes this is because the person has been a member for a really long time. Sometimes this is because people think of how the person was when they first got involved. This is especially true when the cult member gives a convincing argument that they would have committed suicide or overdosed on drugs [...]

Errant Belief #7: “He Must Be Weak, Stupid or Looking for Easy Answers or Someone to Tell Him What to Do”

2018-12-16T20:52:12-04:00April 26th, 2018|Blog|

"Don't Blame the Victim" This is a very commonly held, but fallacious generalization about people involved with destructive relationships and cult groups. People often try to find fault with people who experience tragedy by blaming the victim. Laying blame gives people a false sense of control over their own lives by distancing them from the victim. However, the idea that people knowingly join destructive cults is patently wrong. Most people are recruited at a vulnerable moment, without understanding the forces that are brought to bear on them. Sometimes a cult manipulates a recruit’s strength. For example, by playing to [...]