All posts tagged: recovery

Jon Atack, author of Opening Our Minds

Opening Our Minds – on Predators and Prevention with Jon Atack

Jon Atack’s Opening Our Minds is quite simply the best new book on authoritarian cults. It digs into the reasons why authoritarianism is ruining the world and what we can do about it. Jon and I first met over thirty years ago; I was the “go-to” guy on the Moonies, and Jon was the “go-to” guy on Scientology. However, we found more in common than our expertise on cults – we hit it off immediately and have been fast friends ever since. There is much to admire about Jon: he is an artist, a musician, a writer, a historian and biographer, a scholar-practitioner, and a truly grounded, authentic individual. Despite decades of exploring the worst aspects of human behavior, he is also thoroughly life-affirming and believes that we have the tools to save the future from the human predators who are so intent on wrecking it.

Kristi Nelson, author of Wake Up Grateful

Wake Up Grateful: the Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted – with Kristi Nelson

Committing to a practice of being grateful may seem like an odd prescription for healing from adverse life experiences. However, for over 46 years, I have worked with clients who have survived cult indoctrination and known many friends who have experienced various types of tragedy in their lives. Because of their experiences, many have become cynical and lost their sense of joy in life. When I came across the work of Kristi Nelson, I knew she had something valuable to contribute. Kristi is Executive Director of A Network for Grateful Living and the author of Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted. So, I invited her to appear on The Influence Continuum to share the healing effect of practicing gratitude with my clients, friends, and the general public.

Invisible Storm: A Soldier’s Memoir of Politics and PTSD by Jason Kander 

If you have read Jason Kander’s book or listened to his self-read audiobook, you know why the title – Invisible Storm: A Soldier’s Memoir of Politics and PTSD – is important. Jason sat in President Obama’s office as the president said, “I think you should run for president.” Dropping out of that race in the lead, Jason made what would have been a successful run for mayor of Kansas City. Yet, he eventually recognized his need to get help as a former army captain in the intelligence division for what he describes as a “secret psychological disorder,” PTSD. 

Robert Jay Lifton

Moving from Victim to Survivor in Precarious Times — A Conversation with Robert Jay Lifton, M.D.

I’ve been hosting the Influence Continuum podcast for over seven months, and I’ve spoken with guests on topics ranging from election integrity to 4th Generation Warfare and the Christian Right. It is plausible to say that I would not even be investigating any of these topics had I not encountered the work—and later met—the esteemed guest of my first ever podcast episode, Dr. Robert Jay Lifton.  

NXIVM survivors Sarah Edmondson and Nippy Ames talk to Dr. Steven Hassan

Leaving NXIVM, an Authoritarian Cult, Was Not the End: A Conversation with Sarah Edmondson and Nippy Ames

Two years ago, in May of 2020, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Edmondson for my blog. Sarah, and her husband Anthony (Nippy) Ames, met while both were high-ranking members of NXIVM, a cult founded by Keith Raniere. At the time of that interview, Raniere had been convicted of federal crimes that included sex trafficking and conspiracy. In October 2020, Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison.

exmormon

LDS (Mormon) Church, Leaving & Recovery–Reddit AMA: ExMormons

This past Sunday (January 9, 2022), I was invited to answer questions about the Mormon Church during an Ask Me Anything (AMA) for the subreddit group, ExMormon. This is the link to the entire thread: AMA: I'm Steven Hassan, Ask Me Anything! : exmormon (reddit.com). I had recently written...

Synanon

Synanon and Enthusiastic Sobriety: Cults Disguised as Drug Treatment

Cults take on many disguises to recruit and control members, including religious organizations, marketing schemes, drug treatment, and even yoga or martial arts groups. But the tactics of recruitment and control are very similar, and the malignant narcissists who profit from the cults also act in similarly destructive ways.

Bill and Lorna Goldberg

Lorna and Bill Goldberg: Fifty Years of Helping People Out of Cults

I often find it hard to believe that this year marks my 45th anniversary of freedom from the insidious cult indoctrination of the Moonies. For the 40th anniversary of my deprogramming, I wrote a blog to thank the people directly responsible for the intervention that liberated me. As I reflect, there have been many people

The Definitive Guide to Helping People in the Cult of Trump

Under the right circumstances, even sane, rational, well-adjusted people can be deceived and persuaded to believe the most outrageous ideas and leader. President Trump uses the same deceptive psychological techniques that cult leaders do (cult leader’s playbook) that influence his devoted followers’ behavior, information, thoughts, and emotions. Some people are also unwilling to entertain the

For Ex-Members: Surviving the Holidays

Updated 11/28/2019 Infographic For many people, family-oriented holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah are loving, happy times: baking, singing, playing games, decorating, sleeping in, giving gifts, and spending time with family and friends. However, for former members of “high-demand” groups, it can be a very difficult time. Especially for those with family members still involved

Islamophobia and Psychiatry: Recognition, Prevention, and Treatment

Introduction The book begins by covering the general and clinical challenges that are unique to Muslims, drawing from an internationally, ethnically, and intergenerationally diverse pool of experts.  The text covers not only how psychiatrists and other clinicians can intervene successfully with patients, but how we as clinicians can have a role in addressing other societally

Freedom of Mind: Index of Blogs

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