Brainwashing

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, [...]

The Anatomy of Undue Influence: Scientific Study and Journal Article

2019-04-27T07:36:44-04:00April 25th, 2019|Blog|

This is my first peer-reviewed academic journal article. It's genesis began when I gave a talk entitled, The "anatomy of undue influence used by terrorist cults and traffickers to induce helplessness and trauma, so creating false identities" at the prestigious 2017 Congress of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health in Prague. I blogged about it here. This July, I will be attending the next Congress in Rome, Italy. I will be presenting a paper on a model on how to do a forensic evaluation for undue influence using Scheflin's Social Influence Model. I intend to write another journal article [...]

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 [...]