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The Three Stages of Gaining Control of the Mind

[Adapted from Kurt Lewin's three-stage model as described in Coercive Persuation, (Norton, 1961) by Edgar Schein]

1. Unfreezing

    a. Disorientation / confusion
    b. Sensory deprivation and/or sensory overload
    c. Physiological manipulation

      1. Sleep deprivation
      2. Privacy deprivation
      3. Change of diet

    d. Hypnosis

      1. Age regression
      2. Visualizations
      3. Story-telling and metaphors
      4. Linguistic double binds, use of suggestion
      5. Meditation, chanting, praying, singing

    e. Get person to question self identity

    f. Redefine individual's past (implant false memories, forget positive memories of the past)

2. Changing

    a. Creation and imposition of new "identity" done step by step

      1. Formally within indoctrination sessions
      2. Informally by members, tapes, books, etc.

    b. Use of Behavior Modification techniques

      1. Rewards and punishments
      2. Use of thought-stopping techniques
      3. Control of environment

    c. Mystical manipulation
    d. Use of hypnosis and other mind-altering techniques

      1. Repetition, monotony, rhythm
      2. Excessive chanting, praying, decreeing, visualizations

    e. Use of confession and testimonials

3. Refreezing

    a. New identity reinforced, old identity surrendered

      1. Separate from the past; decrease contact or cut off friends and family
      2. Give up meaningful possessions and donate assets
      3. Start doing cult activities: recruit, fundraise, move in with members

    b. New name, new clothing, new hairstyle, new language, new "family"

    c. Pairing up with new role models, buddy system

    d. Indoctrination continues: Workshops, retreats, seminars, individual studies, group activities

Remember,cult mind control does not erase the person's old identity, but rather creates a new one to suppress the old identity (John-John and John-cult).