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What The Experts are Saying:
Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-Selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults.
I came away from this book with a heightened sense of the urgency of the problem of mind-controlling cults, and a heightened admiration for Steven Hassan’s work in understanding them and liberating people from them. It is a clear and valuable work.
Rabbi Harold S. Kushner
Author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, A Heart of Wisdom, and many other books
I want to go on record as strongly endorsing Steven Hassan’s approach to understanding the sources of cult power in controlling the minds and behavior of members. His now classic text on cultic mind control, Combating Cult Mind Control, integrates his personal experiences in a cult with his cogent analysis of the underlying dynamic processes, and then adds in to the mix current research and theory.
…Steven Hassan’s approach is one that I value more than that of any other researcher or clinical practitioner…Hassan is a model of clear exposition, his original ideas are brilliantly presented in a captivating style.
Philip G. Zimbardo, Ph.D.
Former president of the American Psychological Association
Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Stanford University
Author of The Lucifer Effect and Influencing Attitudes and Changing Behavior
President and Founder of the Heroic Imagination Project
Steven Hassan is one of our most eloquent defenders of freedom of the mind. For decades he has labored mightily on behalf of the majesty of the human spirit. His good work has brought psychological and spiritual relief to countless victims and families who have unknowingly stumbled into the clutches of mind control perpetrators. As a spokesperson for the ordinary individual’s right to be the master of his or her own thoughts and choices, Hassan has resisted the dangers and threats manufactured by manipulators who have sought to silence his courage.
Alan W. Scheflin
Professor of Law Emeritus, Santa Clara University
Coauthor of The Mind Manipulators and Memory, Trauma Treatment and the Law
We at My Life My Choice have been grateful for the opportunity to learn from Steven Hassan about mind control and its relevance to the trafficking field. As we learn new techniques to combat the debilitating effects of pimp control, Steven's wisdom as both a cult survivor and an expert in his field are invaluable.
Lisa Goldblatt Grace, LICSW, MPH
The Rev. Charles Foster Johnson
Mind control is alive and well and in many varied forms across America. Steven Hassan understands like no one else the human need to belong, how it is exploited, and how to retrieve those who have fallen prey to the false allure of a perfect parent.
Douglas Rushkoff, Ph.D.
Professor of Media Studies, Queens College
Author of Coercion
Steven Hassan was the first to take on the Moonies, and understands cults better than almost anyone else. Happily, he's still sharing his knowledge, this time with a 25th anniversary updated and revised edition of his classic book, Combating Cult Mind Control. Fascinating and important reading.
Author of Scandal of Scientology
Subject of Tony Ortega’s book,
The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper
In my judgment this is a singularly important and valuable book. I was especially impressed by the author’s candor in addressing his experiences both within the Unification Church and subsequent to his departure from it. Beyond the value of this illuminating personal account of a practitioner of “exit counseling” lies a remarkably useful collection of information about cult-related issues in contemporary American life. I heartily recommend this book to lay readers who for one reason or another wish to become better informed on this topic. It will also be valuable to professionals in health-related fields, clergy, attorneys, and others whose responsibilities bring them into contact with cults, their members, and the families whose lives are affected.
Louis Jolyon West, M.D.
Former chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine
We've known Steven Hassan personally, and his work, for over 25 years. Many times we have talked and shared information about particular gurus and cults as we are aligned in believing that healthy spirituality requires personal integrity and social responsibility. In 1989 we asked for his feedback on our booklet on gurus. He was so impressed that he said we should expand it into a book. The resulting book, The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power (1993) has become a classic in helping free people from authoritarian teachers and groups. Steven Hassan has been at the forefront of investigating cults, cult behavior, and successfully helping many of those ensnared. He has shown the very real dangers that cults bring to individuals and society. His dedication to freeing people from insidious mind control has been his focus since 1976. Since cult dynamics are linked withterrorismandhuman trafficking, the new edition of his landmark book Combating Cult Mind Control is an important contribution to a deeper understanding of these global dangers and creating a better, safer world.
Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad
Authors of The Guru Papers and Passionate Mind Revisited
Richard Packham, J.D.
Founder and first president of the Exmormon Foundation
This newly revised version of Combating Cult Mind Control is an eye-opening, must read for victims and their families who are or were at one time trapped in a high-control pseudo-religious group or an abusive personal relationship. Steven Hassan skillfully describes the persuasion methods used by cult-like groups to overcome the free will and judgment of people who choose to listen and join. He also makes it easy to understand how and why intelligent people allow themselves to be unduly influenced and willingly sacrifice their best personal interests. In so doing, he makes a very compelling case for all readers about the clear and present danger of undue (unethical) influence in today’s world. In fact, I predict that most people will read this book more than once and share it with friends; the book is that relevant and it is that good.
Richard E. Kelly
Managing Director for Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses
and author of Growing Up in Mama’s Club
Hassan explains in clear and cogent terms how coercive and manipulative leaders/groups create psychological and spiritual hostages out of vulnerable or well-intended human beings—people who are either going through painful life transitions or who are searching for higher truth. Early in my career this book was an invaluable resource to help me understand the nature of this unique type of victimization. Hassan's work inspired me, helping me create more effective pathways for healing for individuals emerging out of criminal and underground cults and trafficking situations….Hassan leads the reader on a journey unveiling the universal emotional and psychological vulnerabilities that leave all of us human beings susceptible to undue influence and group takeovers of our minds, hearts, and spirits. In very accessible and clear language this book offers excellent analysis and guidance, hope for cult survivors and their families, as well as clinicians and clergy who may be part of the individual's healing and integration process.
Harvey Schwartz, Ph.D.
Author of Dialogues With Forgotten Voices and The Alchemy of Wolves and Sheep
Steven Hassan has nearly 40 years of experience and knowledge that will advance our efforts to develop methods for breaking bonds held by human traffickers. Steven is a leader in the field of social psychology and his one-on-one work to replace destructive bonds with healthy long-term relationships has the potential to improve responses to human trafficking rapidly and effectively. Steven's work goes far beyond physical removal of a victim from a perpetrator, empowering survivors to develop healthy memories and experiences in place of harmful and destructive thoughts and behaviors.
Carissa Phelps, J.D., MBA
CEO of Runaway Girl, Inc.
Author of Runaway Girl
Steven Hassan is a compelling spokesman on the topic of cult mind control, which encompasses issues of human identity and our innate psychological vulnerability to dissociate. In addition, he educates and challenges us to think about the groups using mind control techniques in our culture, and how to help those affected reclaim their lives. His commitment to this neglected area of human experience is exemplary. Atmy invitation, Steven has taught psychiatry residents at Brigham and Women's Hospital about these issues for the last 14 years. Knowledge of these issues is crucial for all mental health professionals.
Mary K. McCarthy, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School
Steven Hassan has successfully combined in one volume his personal story of involvement with a destructive cult, case histories of other cultists, and a sophisticated explanation of mind control from a psychological perspective. He has done a great job of pulling together a wealth of material. I especially liked the use of relevant literature in social psychology and psychiatry. I recommend it to parents, ex-cultists, and mental health specialists.
Arthur A. Dole
From abusive pimps in a trafficking setting to enforced radicalization and its concomitant violent extremism—Steven Hassan's work speaks extensively to the methods used to implement autocratic enslavements. He outlines what must be done to treat a survivors' devastating crippling of spirit so often effected through cultic-style thought reform. In my work as a forensic traumatologist, I find his books and trainings to be enormously powerful tools. His work is important in empowering and deepening my effectiveness and that of my colleagues toward promoting change in how these survivors are approached at every level of their treatment by all practitioners and agencies involved.
Halleh Seddighzadeh, Ph.D.
Always informative, often riveting, written by one of the country’s experts on mind control, Combating Cult Mind Control should be required reading for mental health professionals, clergy, and the many unfortunate families who are victimized by this ever-growing, insidious problem. Cult involvement is an often unseen and typically ignored problem worldwide. Pitifully few people realize the depth and breadth of the problem. Hassan is an ethical, informed, and dedicated crusader who has something to say to all of us.
Stephen R. Lankton, MSW, DAHB, LCSW
Editor: American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis
Author ofThe Answer Within
…a no-nonsense book which cuts directly to the core issues of destructive mind control. From firsthand experience he describes the power tactics used by cults to produce long-term psychological disorientation in unsuspecting “recruits”….Without question, this book will open your eyes to this serious continuing threat to our individual freedoms.
R. Reid Wilson, Ph.D.
Combating Cult Mind Control combines superb research with authentic personal experience. The result is a remarkable achievement.
Rabbi A. James Rudin
Former Director, National Interreligious Affairs, The American Jewish Committee
Co-author of Prison or Paradise: The New Religious Cults
Combating Cult Mind Control puts everything into proper perspective. [Hassan] explains the differences between coercion and freedom. He plunges right into the intricacies of mind manipulation to produce a clear understanding of the process and its dangers.
Rev. James J. LeBar
Former Consultant on Cults
Archdiocese of New York
A major contribution....For the first time, a skilled and ethical exit counselor has spelled out the details of the complicated yet understandable process of helping free a human being from the bondage of mental manipulation....Steven Hassan has written a “how to do something about it” book.
Margaret Singer, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley
Steven Hassan has demonstrated his openness and ability to bring a broad range of knowledge and scholarship to bear on vexing questions of cult methods and alternatives for intervention. The result is a significant contribution to public understanding of the modern reality of mind control and the widening dimensions of the cult experience.
Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman
Authors of Snapping and Holy Terror
I strongly recommend Combating Cult Mind Control. Cults are a major problem that affects more than a few people....Steven Hassan is a bright and superior person who has authored an important book. Go to a bookstore to buy it....Really try to get it!
Entertainer, comedian, and songwriter
Creator of the original Tonight Show
Parent of an ex-cult member
Author of Beloved Son: A Story of the Jesus Cults
Combating Cult Mind Control is the best book available on the entire cult scene.... [Hassan's] explanation of mind control makes this frightening and sophisticated topic understandable to lay readers, and his own personal story is gripping.... an indispensable tool for helping to educate young people about cults.
Marcia R. Rudin
Former Director, International Cult Education Program
I can think of no one more qualified than Steven Hassan for writing a book that explains in understandable and compelling terms what a truly serious and growing threat destructive cults pose for all of us. I only wish my family had known about the problem before it was too late. Steve's book should be required reading for every family in America.
Daughter of Congressman Leo J. Ryan (killed at Jonestown)
In the search for answers to this civilizational plague, Steven has developed a protection for the public. It is immunization through exposure. Mind control is unveiled for what it is, how it works, and the damage it does...Steve's expose is exceptional.
Dr. Sandy Andron
High School Director for the Central Agency for Jewish Education
CAN/AFF Board of Directors
Leo J. Ryan Award Recipient
"The author probes beyond doctrine to uncover the thought control techniques common to many cults. Without this insight into the mental processes involved, a Christian worker can expend great effort trying to reach trapped individuals with no positive results."
David A. Reed
Christian Research Journal
Ultimately, this book is about empowerment—how individuals and societies can defend themselves against unethical applications of behavioral sciences. The reader is provided with resource lists, usable definitions, and simple communication and investigative strategies for when a loved one falls under cultic influences...
Senior Fellow, Political Research Associates
The book's practical value is enhanced by the author's extensive experience as a counselor to concerned families following his own involvement in a well-known cult. It is both readable and informed by scholarship.
Ronald M. Enroth, Ph.D.
Author of The Jesus People, Why Cults Succeed Where the Church Fails,
and A Guide to Cults and New Religions
A valuable, well-written book on a topic of genuine importance. Steven Hassan explains precisely how cults operate to control minds and, in the process, he provides sharp insights into how the influence process works in everyday situations as well.
Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D.
Author of Influence and The Small Big: Small Changes That Spark Big Influence
It is my hope that Combating Cult Mind Control will reach many readers, including parents of children in cults, ex-members, and the public at large. A result of Hassan's experience and laborious research, this work is a most crucial contribution to the understanding of cults and the prevention of their further destructive influence on our society.
Dr. Phillip Abramowitz
Former Director, Interfaith Coalition of Concern About Cults
Hassan is a master in the difficult task of opening closed minds. Anything he writes is on my booklist concerning destructive religious practices.
Robert Watts Thornburg
Former Dean of Marsh Chapel
Chaplain to Boston University
…the serious clinician will find Hassan's book a challenge to the ignorance and prejudice that tragically surround the cult phenomenon.
Paul Martin, Ph.D.
Founder of Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, a rehabilitation facility for ex-cult members
His book is well worth reading by professionals in mental health, particularly those involved with students, because early recognition and appropriate intervention depend on greater awareness of this menace.
Peter Tyrer, M.D.
Review of Books, The Lancet (British medical journal)
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