Mind Control

The Netflix Docuseries “The Family”: A Review by Steven Hassan

2019-09-13T12:11:20-04:00September 12th, 2019|Blog|

I binge watched this excellent docuseries the day after it was released. I only recently have caught up to blogging about it. I want everyone to watch it! And ask friends and your family to watch it all also. Especially activists. Rather than covering the same ground as this superb review by Frederick Clarkson, I hope you will read Frederick's piece after you read this. If you haven't already watched the series, start by watching the trailer below. "The Family" is a five-part Netflix documentary described as: "An enigmatic conservative Christian group known as the Family wields enormous influence [...]

Alienated from her Mother at Age 4, Parental Alienation and Patterns of Cult Mind Control

2019-08-29T12:49:21-04:00August 29th, 2019|Blog|

Over the last four decades of my work with cults and destructive groups, I have seen the almost standard operating procedure for mind-control cults to instruct members to do parental alienation behaviors. For example, if one parent realizes they are in a cult and leaves, if the other parent doesn't leave with them, they are indoctrinated to remain loyal and keep the children. In destructive groups, like Scientology, Jehovah's Witnesses,  the Mormons, Moonies, and many others, the parent still in the cult is ideologically driven to poison the child against the parent who exited. This is known as parental [...]

Beware of Political Cult Groups that Manipulate and Control Members

2019-08-08T13:03:56-04:00August 8th, 2019|Blog|

Many destructive groups masquerade as religious when, in fact, their DNA is actually political. They are concerned with amassing secular power, wealth and control of government. And, many "mainstream" political organizations, on the left as well as the right, meet the criteria of an unhealthy cult. As discussed in a previous blog about religious cults, it is important to evaluate the major behaviors and characteristics of a group to see if it meets the criteria. A political cult often has an authoritarian leader who has a malignant narcissistic personality disorder.  Such a person claims to have all of the [...]

The BITE Model and Religious Cult Groups

2019-08-02T13:27:54-04:00August 2nd, 2019|Blog|

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? As an expert on destructive groups and mind control, I am often asked to give my opinion about specific groups and organizations, including religious ones. In fact, there is a wide spectrum of healthy and unhealthy influence. Individual experiences vary within the same organization based on how the individual conforms to the norms of the group. I have developed an Influence Continuum which shows [...]

The 2019 International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) Conference in Manchester, England

2019-07-17T06:57:34-04:00July 11th, 2019|Blog|

Last week, I attended the excellent ICSA 2019 Annual International Conference entitled, "Coercive Control and the Psychology of Influence Across Comparative Contexts – Implications for Policy, Practice and the Criminal Justice Process." I presented a 90-minute, well-attended workshop on the “The Influence Continuum and the BITE Model and its use for Determining Undue Influence in Trafficking and Terrorism.” The video is below for all who were unable to attend.  I was encouraged to present at this European conference because, at this time, there seems to be much more openness in Europe to the fact that cult mind control models [...]

The Solipsistic Reality of President Trump: A Discussion with Dr. Robert Jay Lifton

2019-06-27T17:12:23-04:00June 27th, 2019|Blog|

This past February of 2019, I interviewed Dr. Robert Jay Lifton about his thoughts about the current political situation in America. It is always a privilege. I have been fortunate enough to interview him a few times before. (Listed at end). Recently, he gave me permission to republish his Eight Criteria of Thought Reform. In his seminal work, he concisely explains mind control, brainwashing, and thought reform. I also posted a blog about Dr. Paul Martin's expert report on Raniere's NXIVM in which he used Dr. Lifton's criteria. He is a psychiatrist, an author, an expert, and an activist, [...]

NXIVM: Robert Jay Lifton’s Criteria of Thought Reform as Analyzed by Expert Paul Martin, Ph.D.

2019-06-13T12:46:30-04:00June 13th, 2019|Blog|

Dr. Paul R. Martin was a psychologist, expert witness, survivor of a Bible cult called Great Commission International and founder of Wellspring Retreat Center, a place where cult survivors could go for an intensive two-week rehabilitation program. It was located in Ohio and helped hundreds of cult survivors. In 1993, he authored the book Cult Proofing Your Kids. I always admired Paul as a smart, courageous mental health professional who was a pioneer in the difficult work of helpful cult survivors. He deserves to be well-remembered for his great contributions to the field. Dr. Martin was asked to submit [...]

Parental Abduction and Alienation: A Discussion with Psychiatrist Nick Child

2019-06-07T11:14:26-04:00June 6th, 2019|Blog|

A few weeks ago, I spoke to a gathering of a group of parentally alienated mothers and fathers in Waltham, Massachusetts. Parental alienation is a phenomenon where children are turned against one of their parents (either mother or father) by the other parent, usually when there is a divorce, without good reason. In some cases, children are physically and psychologically isolated for years and they are programmed against the non-custodial parent. Of course, negative programming is done all the time in cult groups, when a parent decides they want to exit the cult. What I have learned is that this [...]

Robert Jay Lifton’s Eight Criteria of Thought Reform (Brainwashing, Mind Control)

2019-05-30T12:36:02-04:00May 30th, 2019|Blog|

The following excerpt is used with permission from Robert Jay Lifton's The Future of Immortality and Other Essays for a Nuclear Age (New York, Basic Books, 1987) is a concise explanation of Lifton's eight criteria for defining mind control. His 1961 book, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of "Brainwashing" in China was instrumental in my deprogramming form the Moon cult in 1976. I thought it is long overdue for me to have a full exposition of his ideas presented in his "Chapter 22" of this seminal work. In particular, Chinese "re-education" programs are being used on [...]

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 [...]