The destructive results for people who have spent time in extreme or abusive group have been well documented by the likes of Steve Hassan [See disclaimer regarding Steve Hassan below]
among many others, as has the techniques used by these groups which result in these outcomes. Hassan describes the process it as the BITE model. He outlines the control destructive groups subject the individual to as behavior, information, thought and emotional control.
Behavior control involves regulation of every part of the life of the target person, from what they wear and eat to what they do each moment of the day. This is typically coerced by repeated punishment of self-willed actions, plus reward of actions that follow given rules.
The information that the person has access to is strictly controlled, such that all information supports the group, its beliefs and that which directs the person's action. Outside information is blocked to avoid disconfirming evidence. Information within the group is based on 'need to know' and seniority rules, thus ensuring individuals do not get hold of inappropriate information (whilst also helping to increase the status and desirability of higher positions within the organization). Information made available is massaged to provide 'proof' of group ideals. Individuals are encouraged to report on one another and also on their own innermost thoughts and confess 'sins'.
The thinking of individuals is controlled first by an implicit assumption that the ideas and ideals of the group are correct and unchallengeable. Anything else is framed as a polar opposite and hence to be avoided or destroyed. Words are invented and reinterpreted to have special meaning. Buzz phrases and clichés are used to simplify complex situations into trivial things that can be discounted or adopted without deep thought. 'Thought-stopping' practices such as chanting; meditation and prayer are used to create altered states of suggestibility and lack of challenge.
Emotions are both controlled and used to persuade. Guilt is regularly used to show a bad past that must be shunned and overcome. Fear is induced about outside threats, losing salvation, punishment within the group and doing anything without approval. Self-sustaining phobias are thus created about anything that may challenge the group's ideals. People who leave are framed as weak or evil. Extreme positions are taken that jerk emotions between excitement and dread.
Lifton describes eight criteria needing to be present for mind control to be effective and others have described a three-step process of mind control where the individual is "unfrozen", rebuilt and then "refrozen" in the new "cult" personality.
Sure people are free in many countries to follow whatever beliefs or teachers they wish which is great. I think a cult is distinguished from a religion when there are high levels of deception between what a new or potential member is told (or sold) and what they will actually be living or believing after they have begun to live within the principles and daily practices of the group.
I believe it is a great warning sign if a group is not totally upfront with new members of what will be required or expected of them as full members. The new member may be told that they are not ready, not evolved enough to learn about the most intense practices or perhaps they simply have not paid enough. For me if someone is drawn to such an organization in a personal searching of truth they should be weary if they are told to “leave their mind at the door” and simply accept whatever they are told before considering the consequences or validity of the new beliefs being taught. I believe truth should be able to stand free of such cosseted rules for all to see, discuss and test.
To whom it may concern:
]Disclaimer regarding Steve Hassan
The Ross Institute of New Jersey/May 2013
The inclusion of news articles within the Ross Institute of New Jersey (RI) archives, which mention and/or quote Steven Hassan, in no way suggests that RI recommends Mr. Hassan or recognizes him in any way.
News articles that mention Steve Hassan have been archived for historical purposes only due to the information they contain about controversial groups, movements and/or leaders.
RI does not recommend Steven Hassan.
RI has received serious complaints about Steve Hassan concerning his fees. Mr. Hassan does not publicly disclose his fee schedule, but according to complaints Steve Hassan has charged fees varying from $250.00 per hour or $2,500.00 per day to $500.00 per hour or $5,000.00 per day. This does not include Mr. Hassan's expenses, which according to complaints can be quite substantial.
Steven Hassan has charged families tens of thousands of dollars and provided questionable results. One recent complaint cited total fees of almost $50,000.00. But this very expensive intervention effort ended in failure.
Dr. Cathleen Mann, who holds a doctorate in psychology and has been a licensed counselor in the state of Colorado since 1994 points out, "Nowhere does Hassan provide a base rate and/or any type or accepted statistical method defining his results..."
Steve Hassan has at times suggested to potential clients that they purchase a preliminary report based upon what he calls his "BITE" model. These "BITE reports" can potentially cost thousands of dollars.
Steve Hassan runs a for-profit corporation called "Freedom of Mind." Mr. Hassan is listed as the corporate agent for that business as well as its president and treasurer.
RI does not recommend "Freedom of Mind" as a resource.
RI also does not list or recommend Steve Hassan's books.
To better understand why Mr. Hassan's books are not recommended by RI read this detailed review of his most recently self-published book titled "Freedom of Mind."
Steve Hassan's cult intervention methodology has historically raised concerns since its inception. The book "Recovery from Cults" (W.W. Norton & Co. pp. 174-175) edited by Dr. Michael Langone states the following:
"Calling his approach 'strategic intervention [sic] therapy,' Hassan (1988) stresses that, although he too tries to communicate a body of information to cultists and to help them think independently, he also does formal counseling. As with many humanistic counseling approaches, Hassan’s runs the risk of imposing clarity, however subtly, on the framework’s foundational ambiguity and thereby manipulating the client."
RI has also learned that Mr. Hassan has had dual-relationships with his counseling clients. That is, clients seeing Mr. Hassan for counseling may also do professional cult intervention work with him.
Professionals in the field of cultic studies have also expressed concerns regarding Steven Hassan's use of hypnosis and Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).
Based upon complaints and the concerns expressed about Mr. Hassan RI does not recommend Steve Hassan for counseling, intervention work or any other form of professional consultation.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2013 10:27PM by rrmoderator.