Undue Influence

Christian Nationalism, Dominionism, the New Apostolic Reformation; A Discussion with Dr. André Gagné

2019-03-14T13:32:57-04:00March 14th, 2019|Blog|

André Gagné, Ph.D. This week, I have the pleasure of sharing an interview with Dr. André Gagné. We discuss his journey as a former evangelical pastor, his academic journey becoming a tenured professor and his work involving the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).  André Gagné, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Theological Studies at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. He works on the Christian Right, fundamentalism, religious violence and the interpretation and reception of the Bible. In his public scholarship, Dr. Gagné seeks to explain how sacred texts and traditions are used by fundamentalist groups and individuals [...]

Terror, Love & Brainwashing: A Discussion with Alexandra Stein About Extremist Political Cults

2019-02-28T12:54:32-04:00February 28th, 2019|Blog|

This week, I have the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Stein, a cult survivor and renowned expert on cults and totalitarianism. Alexandra Stein, Ph.D. is a writer and educator specializing in the social psychology of ideological extremism and other dangerous social relationships. She is an academic, having taught at the University of Minnesota, Birkbeck, and the University of London, now teaching at the Mary Ward Center. Dr. Stein is a Ph.D. sociologist and expert on social psychology. She teaches as an academic but gives talks, as well as, writes books.  Her memoir Inside Out: A Memoir of Entering and Breaking Out of a Minneapolis [...]

Human Trafficking: Learn to Recognize the Signs and Help Save a Life

2019-02-07T13:03:20-04:00February 7th, 2019|Blog|

Danielle Bastien, Henry Ford Health System Trafficking is a Large-Scale Issue of Undue Influence Meet Emergency Room nurse, Danielle Jordan Bastein. Kudos to her! Danielle has pioneered the development of a new protocol to more systematically identify warning factors for the ER that a patient might be a trafficking victim. Trafficking victims almost always suffer a myriad of health problems and it is in the ER, that an important opportunity to offer them help exists.  This crucial screening protocol would train nurses and other health care workers to ask the right questions and do the right assessment to flag a [...]

Exvangelicals Find a Voice and Speak Out Against Authoritarianism

2019-01-30T17:35:58-04:00January 17th, 2019|Blog|

  Dominionism A few weeks before the 2016 Presidential election, Stanford Russian history Ph.D. Dr. Christopher Stroop wrote an article, "After the Trump Tapes: Evangelical Authoritarianism Revisited." In it, he shared his concerns about what he saw was a powerful group of people publicly defined as white evangelical Christians who were supporting Trump and who exhibited the characteristics of an authoritarian movement. While many might not identify with the term Dominionism directly--the belief that Christians should take over America and the world and make it Christian in a very narrow way--they were Christian nationalists pursuing a de facto, and sometimes explicit, Dominionist [...]

Islamophobia and Psychiatry: Recognition, Prevention, and Treatment

2019-01-12T19:49:43-04:00January 12th, 2019|Blog|

  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 connected mental health challenges arising from Islamophobia. The text addresses three related but distinct areas of interest: Islamophobia as a destructive force, Islam as a religion that is threatened by stigma and misinformation, and the novel intersection of these forces with the field of psychiatry. [...]

Scientology and The BITE Model

2018-12-20T21:18:14-04:00December 20th, 2018|Blog|

BITE Model In June of 2018, I did an interview with psychologist and ex-Mormon John Dehlin for his Mormon Stories podcast. In preparation for the show, John read Combating Cult Mind Control and told me that the book was transformative. Then he did a wonderful analysis of the BITE model of the Mormon Church which we included in a blog. Afterward, we got the idea to do a similar analysis of the BITE model and the Jehovah's Witnesses. Now, it is Scientology's turn. I encourage people to use the BITE model to systematically evaluate the core beliefs and behaviors to [...]

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 [...]

Help For Those That Leave a Cult But Still Have Beliefs That Are Harmful

2018-12-16T19:15:56-04:00September 13th, 2018|Blog|

I previously wrote a blog about people who are still living inside high-control groups that no longer believe in the leader or group. They remain trapped inside due to a variety of reasons, but there are also practical reasons which include the high exit cost of losing family, money, and friends. Most people can and do leave the group eventually, sometimes taking years. As I wrote in that blog, creating a workable exit strategy is important. This includes networking with former friends and family who have already left, developing alternatives for income production, and helping to apply the strategic interactive approach [...]

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, [...]

I Happily Join the TEDx “Cult”

2018-12-13T21:03:59-04:00August 16th, 2018|Blog|

I recently gave my first TEDx talk on August 1, 2018. I decided to give this blog the funny title to make a point. There are, in fact, many definitions of the word "cult." Most of these have a strongly negative association. However, I wanted to try to help people expand their minds when they hear the word cult and not assume it is just a bad involvement or group. In fact, the word is the root of the word culture. For many people, who are emphatically involved with groups and associations of all types with wide interest, that [...]