Brainwashing

Dr. Bandy Lee and Dr. James Gilligan: Do We Surrender Our Moral Compass to Technical Rule?

2019-03-11T16:44:47-04:00March 7th, 2019|Blog|

On February 27, 2019, Dr. Bandy Lee and Dr. James Gilligan spoke at The Program in Psychiatry and the Law (the Harvard forensic think tank). The talk was entitled, "Do we surrender our moral compass to technical rule?" They further discuss the question, "Given our professional responsibility to society, if we see dangers to public health and wellbeing, should we refrain from speaking up in professional ways because of a technical rule?" Dr. Lee and Dr. Gilligan are both experts on violence.   Dr. Bandy Lee is an expert on violence on the faculty of Yale School of Medicine’s Law and Psychiatry Division who has served as [...]

Terror, Love & Brainwashing: A Discussion with Alexandra Stein About Extremist Political Cults

2019-02-28T12:54:32-04:00February 28th, 2019|Blog|

This week, I have the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Stein, a cult survivor and renowned expert on cults and totalitarianism. Alexandra Stein, Ph.D. is a writer and educator specializing in the social psychology of ideological extremism and other dangerous social relationships. She is an academic, having taught at the University of Minnesota, Birkbeck, and the University of London, now teaching at the Mary Ward Center. Dr. Stein is a Ph.D. sociologist and expert on social psychology. She teaches as an academic but gives talks, as well as, writes books.  Her memoir Inside Out: A Memoir of Entering and Breaking Out of a Minneapolis [...]

What is a Cult? Whiteboard Animation Explaining the BITE Model

2018-12-16T19:12:28-04:00November 22nd, 2018|Blog|

BITE Model Since my deprogramming from the Moon cult in 1976, I have come to learn of countless thousands of groups that I have never heard of before. Are they cults? Do they use mind control? Is it brainwashing? I have also been asked to comment on destructive family systems and controlling relationships. Over the decades of research, my way of systematizing a method to evaluate a weird group with crazy beliefs from a destructive one has come to be grounded in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It seems to me that while there are countries, [...]

Jonestown and the Mind Control Cult of Jim Jones: A Survivor’s Story

2018-12-16T19:15:10-04:00August 9th, 2018|Blog, News and Updates|

Forty Years Later November 18th, 1978 will be a day I will never forget. I was glued to the television as images came over the screen about a horrible mass suicide. I had never heard of the People's Temple before but I was about to learn. Ultimately, it changed the course of my life as it summoned me to be involved in a much higher level of activity than ever before. This November marks the 40th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre where over 900 people were killed and the 10th anniversary of the publication of my first book, Combatting [...]

The BITE Model and Jehovah’s Witnesses

2018-12-16T20:48:05-04:00August 2nd, 2018|Blog|

August 2, 2018: This past June, I did an online survey on influence to conduct, analyze and publish research on undue influence. Scientific data is required to help establish specific evaluation criteria to update legal and social policy in the United States and around the world. The initial results of my research show that former members of the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses report many meaningful behavioral criteria. With over 700 respondents, there is significant preliminary evidence that both groups use specific methods and techniques that influence how a person thinks, feels, and acts to instill obedience over conscience.  I formulated the [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

Errant Belief #10: “We Have Lost Hope”

2018-12-16T19:33:48-04:00June 21st, 2018|Blog, Resources and Support|

Have a Positive Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Not a Negative One In my opinion, giving up hope is a dysfunctional coping mechanism to deal with the pain. Unfortunately, it suggests incorrectly that there is nothing constructive that can be done. If family members and friends no longer believe that the person will reestablish contact (if they have disconnected) or leave the group, then at least they will no longer be angry, frustrated, sad, disappointed and even depressed. Some people have actually told me that they have grieved their loved one as if he had already died. I say, “If the person [...]

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. [...]