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Steven Hassan

Steven Hassan, M.Ed., LMHC, NCC has been involved in educating the public about mind control, controlling groups and destructive cults since 1976.

He holds a Masters degree in counseling psychology from Cambridge College, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC).

Steven has written three books that have received extensive praise from former cult members, families of former members, clergy, cult experts, and psychologists, “Combatting Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults” (1988) and “Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves” (2000). In July 2012, he published the paperback and e-book,  "FREEDOM OF MIND, Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs."

Early Years

After being deceptively recruited into the Moon organization at the age of nineteen while a student at Queens College, Steven spent twenty-seven months recruiting and indoctrinating new members, fundraising, political campaigning and personally meeting with Sun Myung Moon during numerous leadership sessions. He ultimately rose to the rank of Assistant Director of the Unification Church at National Headquarters.

Following a serious automobile accident, and at his parent’s request, several former Moon members deprogrammed him. Once he realized the insidious nature of the organization, he authorized police officials to take possession of his personal belongings, which included a massive set of private speeches documenting Moon’s secret plan to take over the world.

During the 1977-78 Congressional Subcommittee Investigation into South Korean CIA activities in the United States, he consulted as an expert on the Moon organization and provided information and internal documents regarding Moon’s desire to influence politics in his bid to “take over the world.”

In 1979, following the Jonestown tragedy, Steven founded EX-MOON Inc., a non-profit educational organization composed of over four hundred former members of the Moon group. Although now defunct, it was the first and largest ex-member organization in the world.


Steven realized he wanted to help empower people to think freely for themselves and to be free from undue psychological influence. He also felt pulled to help uphold human rights, expose the abuses of all types of destructive groups and cults and promote consumer awareness. Steven founded the Freedom of Mind Resource Center Inc., a counseling and publishing organization to help him achieve those ends.

In his work to expose and neutralize the effects of destructive cults, Steven devotes the majority of his time and energy to educating people to recognize and avoid being influenced by destructive mind control practices. He has addressed hundreds of campus, religious and professional organizations throughout the world.

Steve’s Approach

Steven has pioneered a new approach to helping victims of mind control. His Strategic Interaction Approach (SIA) reflects the respect and care one must bring to the effort to help those involved free themselves.

Unlike stressful, sensationalized and illegal “deprogramming” techniques, his non-coercive approach is an effective and legal alternative that has assisted thousands of families help individuals victimized by destructive group and cult related mind control. This approach teaches family and friends how to strategically influence the individual involved in a group.


Steve’s work has been praised by former cult members and their family and friends, mental health professionals, religious leaders, psychologists, law officials, educators and cult experts.

During his many years of work, he has been asked to provide numerous training workshops and seminars for mental health professionals, educators and law enforcement officers, as well as for families of cult members.

As an expert on controlling groups and cults, cult counselor, and mental health professional, Steven has been featured in major media including 60 Minutes, Nightline, Dateline, Larry King Live, and The O’Reilly Factor..

Please contact Freedom of Mind if you have questions about how Steven or one of his associates might help you.

Related Steven Hassan Information

Endorsements for Steven Hassan

”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, Combatting Cult Mind Control (1990, Park St. Press) integrates his personal experiences in a cult with his cogent [...]


Steven Hassan, cult expert, author, and mental health therapist has lectured or given a program at the following Colleges and Universities: Harvard University U.C.L.A. Yale University Stanford University John Hopkins University M.I.T. Queens College Yale Divinity School Washington University University of Alaska, Anchorage Boston University Fairleigh Dickinson University Wesleyan University Emerson College Tufts University Bridgeport [...]

Celebrating 30 years of Freedom!

“Had it not been for a miracle, I might still be a cult member today. In 1976, after three days without sleep, I nodded off at the wheel of a Moonie fundraising van and crashed into the back of an eighteen-wheeler. This near-fatal accident gave my family the opportunity to help me leave the cult. [...]

What Others Are Saying:

"I am a professor who teaches a class on brainwashing and modern techniques of mind control in the History of Science department at Harvard University." ..."Steven Hassan has visited my class twice as a guest lecturer (this year and in a past year).  Each time his lecture was enthusiastically received.  The students were most interested to hear about his first-hand experience with cult recruitment..."  Dr. Rebecca Lemov