deprogramming

Anti-Semitism and Psychiatry: Recognition, Prevention, and Interventions

2020-03-18T12:34:48-04:00March 13th, 2020|Blog|

I am very pleased to share a remarkable new book to help clinicians,–as well as the general public,–to have a deeper understanding of Anti-Semitism. This text by Springer, a leading academic publisher followed the publication of a previous Springer volume, Islamophobia and Psychiatry: Recognition, Prevention, and Treatment. I wrote a previous blog about my chapter for this earlier book with psychiatrist and editor Ahmed Hankir. The description below is for the chapter Anti-Semitism in Cults and Hate Groups that I and Jon Caven-Atack, an Independent Scholar,–and former Scientologist wrote for this book. "For many centuries, Jews have been the focus of [...]

The Cult of Trump: Some Frequently Asked Questions

2019-12-08T09:25:49-05:00December 5th, 2019|Blog, Resources and Support|

On Friday, November 22nd, 2019, I did an interview with Brian Stelter of CNN's Sunday Reliable Sources show. This was put online as an audio Reliable Sources podcast. That Sunday, November 24th, The Cult of Trump was the focus of the last segment (approximately 4 minutes) of this highly regarded CNN cable tv show. It began with mentioning Anthony Scaramucci, Dan Rather, as well as, Republican John Weaver who each talked about the GOP becoming the cult of Trump. I was grateful to have my new book shown and to have an opportunity to discuss this important topic. Naturally, [...]

What Is Wrong with Asking “How to Deprogram People from a Fervent Belief in Trump?”

2019-10-31T14:32:24-04:00October 31st, 2019|Blog|

I have been doing interviews for The Cult of Trump book and, increasingly, the question of deprogramming is used, especially in the header. What I would like my readers to understand is that this comes from the editor or producer and not at my request. I have never liked the term "deprogramming", even though I was successfully deprogrammed from the Moonies in 1976 and spent a year of helping people exit the Moonies using a forcible method. When judges would no longer grant an ex-parte conservatorship to parents of cult members, it became clear that it was illegal to do [...]

The Cult of Trump Book is Published!

2019-10-18T11:22:55-04:00October 17th, 2019|Blog|

My fourth book, The Cult of Trump, is finally out and on bookstore shelves everywhere. I have been receiving selfies from friends all over. If you are at a bookstore with the book, snap a selfie and share it! For those who prefer to listen to books, please be aware that I was able to read the audiobook. People who have been listening to the book say I did a really good job. After all this effort, it is truly gratifying to hear from people how important they think the book truly is. Many have told me that they never [...]

The BITE Model and Jehovah’s Witnesses

2018-12-16T20:48:05-05:00August 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 [...]

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. [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Errant Belief #5: “He Has the Right to Believe What He Wants to Believe”

2018-12-16T19:34:53-05:00March 15th, 2018|Blog, Resources and Support|

The Right to Believe Anything vs. Reality-Testing Freedom to believe is only a real freedom if you also have the freedom not to believe. Having the right to believe something carries with it a presupposition of the right to not believe it, too. When recruiters deceptively ensnare people into a closed belief system, it violates informed consent. If a person wants to believe that David Koresh is the Christ, that is his right. If people want to believe that Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han are the perfect True Parents, they are entitled. However, my religious freedom was [...]

Errant Belief #2 “Everything is Mind Control”

2018-12-15T20:10:03-05:00February 1st, 2018|Blog|

Errant Belief #2: “Everything is Mind Control” Mind control is everywhere, some people state—in psychotherapy, advertising, education, and the military, for example— so it must be acceptable. When we generalize and say that everything is mind control, all distinctions are lost. No insight is gained. A more productive model is to think in terms of a continuum of influence: at one end, respectful, ethical, growth-enhancing influence that recognizes the value of individuality, human rights, and creativity; at the other end, conformity, dependency, and slavery, where the value lies in the leader and the group. Everything is not mind control, [...]