Steven Hassan

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 [...]

Announcing My New Book with Simon and Schuster Entitled The Cult of Trump

2019-08-15T13:18:45-04:00August 15th, 2019|Blog|

Many of you are aware that I have been writing a large number of blogs concerning the current President of the United States, Donald Trump. I have been working tremendously hard on an extremely short deadline to produce a book that connects the dots with my involvement with the Moon cult since 1974 and my fasting on the Capitol stairs for President Richard Nixon because "God wants Nixon to be President" despite Watergate and calls for impeachment. Sun Myung Moon was brought to meet Nixon right after the Family's National Prayer Breakfast in 1974. Jeffrey Sharlet wrote about this group [...]

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 [...]

Jehovah’s Witnesses, Child Abuse and the Child Victims Act: A Discussion with Mark O’Donnell

2019-07-29T23:12:44-04:00July 29th, 2019|Blog|

In the last year, we have seen a major change in how sexual and child abuse is viewed and handled by authorities. In the #MeToo and #ChurchToo era, more courageous survivors are safely telling their stories. Even cult leaders are being held accountable for abuses they inflicted. For example, recently NXIVM leader Keith Raniere was convicted. Other harmful groups are also being sued such as Scientology. Attorney Marci Hamilton, founder of the nonprofit think tank ChildUSA, is accomplishing many victories. I previously published a blog and video of her talk about my forensic think tank at Harvard called the [...]

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 [...]

Light the Way to Freedom to End Human Trafficking: 2019 Summit in Austin, Texas

2019-07-04T14:33:41-04:00July 4th, 2019|Blog|

On June 25 - June 27, 2019, I had the honor of attending an amazing gathering of over 800 case investigators, law enforcement, judges, and therapists convened by the Governor and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. This was an invitation-only event, closed to the public. Trafficking experts presented and offered training workshops. Survivor advocate experts were among the most knowledgeable, effectively educating any involved with helping those in need. I learned that the existing system in Texas (and indeed everywhere) does not take a systems-oriented approach, focused on helping those who are being victimized. Commissioner Whitman, former [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]