All posts tagged: Undue Influence

The Traumatizing Narcissist’s Relational System with Daniel Shaw, LCSW

Narcissism is a word often overused to describe people who are selfish or generally uncaring of others. In the clinical sense, it has a set of criteria one must meet for diagnosis, and quite often, cult leaders meet these criteria. Daniel Shaw, LCSW and cult survivor, talks with us about his experiences within a cult, exiting the group, and his work on traumatic narcissism.  Shaw is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City and in Nyack, New York. Originally trained as an actor at Northwestern University and with the renowned teacher Uta Hagen in New York City, Shaw later worked as a missionary for an Indian guru. His eventual recognition of the cultic aspects of this organization led him to become an outspoken activist in support of individuals and families traumatically abused in cults. 

A Billion Years: My Escape From a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology with Mike Rinder

I was excited when I learned that Mike Rinder wrote a new book, A Billion Years: My Escape From a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology. The book’s title was an ode to his billion-year commitment when he joined the Sea Organization (Sea Org) shortly after graduating high school in 1973. Rinder rose to become the top leader in the Office of Special Affairs (OSA), where, among other duties, he oversaw the “fair game” harassment of all perceived enemies, including the non-profit Cult Awareness Network. When he left Scientology in 2007, he decided to expose the criminal behavior of Scientology. I was very interested in asking him specific questions about his knowledge of Scientology.  

Daniella Mestyanek Young, survivor of notorious sex cult Children of God

Growing up in a Sex Cult with Former Army Captain Daniella Mestyanek Young

Have you heard the term “cult baby?” This refers to someone born or raised in a mind control religious human trafficking cult. Daniella Mestyanek Young is a third-generation survivor of the notorious sex cult Children of God (COG), later rebranded as “The Family of Love.” The cult group’s influence even extended so far that members

Jeffrey Augustine, dedicated to exposing cult propagandists

Exposing Cult Propagandists with ex-Scientologist Jeffrey Augustine 

The Cult of Cult Apologists is the name of a new blog based on months of research by Augustine, a journalist, and former Scientologist. Scientology is one of the most well-known destructive cults of our time. Well-funded and organized, they have a long history of pain and suffering, lies, and criminal activity. Jeffrey Augustine dedicates his

Alzheimer’s, Dementia and on being wise consumers: A conversation with Germaine Odenheimer, M.D.

Dr. Germaine Odenheimer is a geriatric neurologist and professor emeritus at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. The College of Medicine recruited her to help develop a geriatric curriculum for medical students; she spent her entire clinical career recognizing and caring for people with cognitive impairments. I had the good fortune to be at the Program in Psychiatry and the Law meeting last September when Dr. Odenheimer talked about her fight against fraud and deception by people claiming to have a cure for Alzheimer’s.  

 Freedom of Mind: Evaluating Undue Influence in Legal & Mental Health Settings

Earlier this month, I attended the 37th Annual Conference of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health (IALMH) in Lyon, France. The IALMH is founded on the belief that issues arising from the interaction of law and mental health can best be addressed through multi-disciplinary and cross-national approaches, drawing on law, the health professions, the social sciences, and the humanities.   

The Rise of Right-Wing, Anti-Democratic Ideology in India: A Conversation with Narendra Nayak

Almost four years ago, I spoke with my friend Narendra Nayak about the rise of right-wing religious and political extremism in India. I had contacted him after learning of the killing of Gauri Lankesh. Lankesh was an activist journalist who was openly critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and their extremist Hindutva ideology. There are many similarities between the rise of conservative, right-wing ideologies in India and the United States. I recently spoke with Nayak to discuss the current social and political situations in India and the United States. 

Marsha Gilmer-Tullis, of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® – An In-Depth Discussion with Marsha Gilmer-Tullis

Marsha Gilmer-Tullis and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® deal daily with the unthinkable. As the Vice President of the Family Advocacy Division, she uses her more than 40 years of experience in the mental health and child welfare fields to coordinate therapeutic services to the families of missing as well as sexually exploited children, including online enticement and child sexual abuse material survivors. I am honored to have interviewed her as one of my guests for the Influence Continuum podcast.

Carissa Phelps, Sex Trafficking survivor and advocate

Human Trafficking ­– Survivor Voices are Critical: A Conversation with a Survivor, Attorney Carissa Phelps

Human trafficking is a serious crime and abuse of fundamental human rights. According to U.S. Department of State estimates, trafficking of children and adults is a modern-day plague, with at least 25 million victims worldwide at any given time. Carissa Phelps, Esq. my guest on a recent episode of The Influence Continuum, is a survivor of human trafficking. She became a victim of sex trafficking when she was 12 years old, long before the term "human trafficking" was used. Phelps is now an attorney, Runaway Girl, Inc. founder, and a champion in the fight against human trafficking, oppression, and exploitation.

Indigenous Worldview

The Worldviews of Indigenous Peoples Can Help Repair Social & Political Discord

Last October, I did an interview and blog with Dr. Cindy Blackstock to discuss Indigenous People’s Day (no longer Columbus Day). I recently interviewed her again for my new podcast, The Influence Continuum. We had an extraordinarily rich and stimulating discussion that included the truck convoy’s presumable protest against COVID vaccination and mask mandates...

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...