BITE model

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

2019-10-29T23:17:35-05:00June 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

2018-12-16T19:23:59-05:00June 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”

2018-12-16T19:34:00-05:00May 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

2018-12-16T19:49:06-05:00May 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”

2018-12-16T19:34:15-05:00May 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”

2018-12-16T20:52:12-05:00April 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 [...]

Errant Belief #6: “He’s Too Intelligent to Join a Cult”

2018-12-16T19:34:44-05:00April 19th, 2018|Blog|

Intelligent People Fall Prey to Cults Creativity & Imagination Can Be Used to Control a Person Cult mind control groups thrive to the extent that they can recruit such intelligent, dynamic people. It is essential for all members of the Team (part of the SIA) to realize that cults target these people for recruitment. The more creative a mind a person has, the more his imagination can be used to control him. Indeed, bright people sometimes have even more sophisticated fantasies about the group and its doctrine than does the cult leader. The bright member usually follows his [...]

How to Rescue a Loved One from a Cult or Controlling Relationship: The Strategic Interactive Approach

2018-12-15T19:56:06-05:00April 11th, 2018|Blog|

Development of the Strategic Interactive Approach Family members and friends often feel angry, confused, hurt, frustrated and helpless when they realize a loved one has gotten involved with a controlling person or group. They often notice a radical personality change. They either try to argue the person away, are reassured or told to mind their own business. I have blogged about common errant beliefs. Getting informed, choosing a professional and their approach ideally needs to happen as quickly as possible. Then a plan can be developed. Almost everyone wants to just "fix the problem" and tries to do [...]

Shunning and the BITE Model of Mind Control in the Jehovah’s Witnesses

2018-12-16T20:48:16-05:00March 22nd, 2018|Blog, Current Events, News and Updates|

The Trauma of Being Cut Off: Disfellowshipped While Still Indoctrinated Unless it has happened to you, it is impossible to describe the pain, confusion and suffering a person endures when they are excommunicated from an authoritarian Bible group like the Watchtower Society. People's entire identities are molded around ideological conformity and dependence on commands from the Governing Body, believing that only those men know the Almighty's will and understand the Bible properly. It is especially difficult when a person is raised in such a group and their families and friends are all believers. The threat of being shunned is [...]

Errant Belief #4: “He’s an Adult. We Have No Right to Interfere.”

2018-12-15T20:04:50-05:00March 1st, 2018|Blog|

Undue Influence Undermines Autonomy It is completely understandable that people might resist any request to help a person who has been unduly influenced. The person might say, "Why should I? They are an adult. I don't think it is right to interfere with their decision." If the person isn't asking for help, why get involved? Americans generally have great respect for privacy and expect that people are functioning of one's own volition. In fact, the law states that once people reach the age of majority (usually eighteen but in some countries twenty-one), they are responsible for their own [...]