Steven Hassan

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, [...]

The Attempt to Redefine Religious Freedom

2018-12-15T19:47:51-04:00October 25th, 2018|Blog|

This week's blog is an effort to make people aware of a concerted effort to move the United States away from the Founding Fathers' plan in the Constitution. They wanted a solid foundational commitment for a clear separation of Church and State. However, we are currently seeing a trend towards giving rights to religious corporations that may impinge on the rights of others. Meanwhile, some powerful elements of the Christian Right are engaged in a well-funded effort to move us away from a democracy to a theocracy. This week, I had the good fortune to do a video interview [...]

Time to Abolish the Statutes of Limitation for Child Sexual Abuse!

2018-12-16T19:40:23-04:00October 18th, 2018|Blog|

"Children's Rights are Human Rights" is the first thing you see when visiting the CHILD USA website. CHILD USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit think tank dedicated to protecting kids and preventing abuse. Its two founders are law professor and author Marci Hamilton and Dr. Rita Swan. Both are dedicated to ensuring children receive proper medical treatment (but do not provide direct services). Marci is the Founder and CEO of CHILD USA, which is the successor organization to Rita Swan’s CHILD Inc. I have had the opportunity to meet and know both of these extraordinary activists through my involvement on the advisory [...]

Women in High-Control Groups: Disrespected, Treated as Subservient, Sometimes Abused and Even Raped

2018-12-13T21:01:44-04:00September 27th, 2018|Blog|

As the U.S. Senate has agreed to hear the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford about the alleged sexual assault incident that happened years ago with Judge Brett Kavanagh, people's attentions are back on women's rights, #WhyIDidn'tReport, and men's misuse of power and sex. Some Republican members act as if they will confirm Kavanagh as a new member of the Supreme Court no matter what they learn, even with a second and third woman coming forward with accusations of alleged abuse. Twenty-seven years ago, Dr. Anita Hill testified at the Senate confirmation hearing of now Supreme court Justice Clarence Thomas [...]

Tired of Being “On The Fence” With Your Life?

2018-12-16T21:10:57-04:00August 23rd, 2018|Blog|

Beginning to Doubt and Question There are moments when almost anybody can become disillusioned when in a totalistic, or rigid and intolerant, group (or controlling relationship). Losing one’s “faith” can happen for a wide variety of reasons. Maybe they become aware of some discrepancy or hypocrisy in the doctrine or in a leader’s behavior. Perhaps someone they respect decides to leave or is labeled an “apostate” by leadership. Exposure to critical information is a very common reason people begin to doubt. Destructive mind control groups try very hard to keep their members away from negative information about the leader, [...]

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 Ninth International Conference on Complex Systems 2018 Sponsored by NECSI

2018-12-15T19:51:11-04:00July 26th, 2018|Blog, News and Updates|

July 26, 2018, This past Sunday, July 22, 2018, I was honored to be the opening plenary speaker at the 9th International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. My talk was entitled, A Complex Systems Approach to Countering Mind Control, Trafficking and, Terrorism. It was well-received, the questions were many, and the feedback was excellent. Founder and President of NECSI, Dr. Yaneer Bar-Yam and myself ICCS is a unique interdisciplinary forum that unifies and bridges the traditional domains of science and a multitude of real-world [...]

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, [...]

Dr. Philip Zimbardo’s 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE): A Response to Critics

2019-02-13T12:18:44-04:00July 3rd, 2018|Blog|

Dr. Zimbardo photographed for his Heroic Imagination Project. Credit: Ferne Millen Photography July 2, 2018: At this moment, there appears to be a media attack on the reputation of Dr. Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Stanford University and former president of the American Psychological Association. Indeed, there seems to be a broader attack on the field of social psychology and some of its greatest contributors in the past sixty years. We live at a time of unprecedented scientific and technological knowledge and development and, sadly, there are powerful influential forces that seek to persuade the public and deny [...]

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 [...]