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Steven Hassan

Steven Hassan is one of the foremost authorities on undue influence (mind control) and destructive, authoritarian people and cults. He understands the subject from the unique perspective as both a former cult member and as a clinical professional who has been working full time in the field since 1976. Hassan holds a Masters degree in counseling psychology from Cambridge College.

As a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), Hassan is the author of several books that have received extensive praise from international mental health professionals, educators, law enforcement, former cult members, families of former members, clergy and other professionals. Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best Selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults (1988, 1990, 2015), Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves (2000) and Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults & Beliefs (2012, 2013).

Hassan is the founder and Director of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center Inc., a counseling and publishing organization dedicated to helping people become psychologically empowered, upholding human rights, promoting consumer awareness and exposing abuses of undue influence. He is also the Co-Developer of Ending the Game, a non-coercive curriculum designed to educate and empower sex trafficking victims to leave pimps and traffickers.

He has pioneered a breakthrough method called the Strategic Interactive Approach (SIA) to help loved ones rescue cult mind control victims. Unlike stressful and sensationalized "deprogramming," this non-coercive method is an effective and legal alternative for families to help cult members. SIA teaches family and friends how to strategically influence the individual involved in the cult. Using this unique technique, Hassan has helped thousands of people victimized by destructive cult-related mind control groups.

During his many years of work, Hassan has been asked to provide numerous training workshops and seminars for mental health professionals, educators, and law enforcement officers worldwide, as well as for families of cult members. Steven was a featured speaker at the U.S. Department of Justice’s 2009 National Amber Alert Symposium, where he explained why victims like Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Lee Dugard denied their real identity to police and others due to psychological coercion. In 2013, Hassan was invited by Carissa Phelps (Runaway Girl) to assist in training over 600 Law Enforcement professionals at the Joint Regional Intelligence Center on psychological coercion used by pimps and traffickers. In 2014, My Life, My Choice sponsored Hassan’s 4-hour workshop on understanding traffickers mind control methods and how to help survivors. Hassan has written and spoken out about the importance of viewing ISIS and other terrorist groups as destructive cults.

With almost 40 years of cult awareness activism, Hassan’s insightful perspective and expert commentary have made him the definitive source for hundreds of national and international media outlets including: 60 Minutes, CNN, Fox News, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Newsweek, ABC NightLine, NPR, Oprah Winfrey Show, The O’Reilly Factor, USA Today and Washington Post.


“Steven Hassan’s approach is one I value more than that of any other researcher or clinical practitioner”

- Philip G. Zimbardo, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Stanford University, Former President of the American Psychological Association


"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

"Steven Hassan is a liberator.  He frees peoples minds from the enslavement of cults and he does it with clarity, honesty and deep understanding of the human spirit.  Freedom of Mind is a very important book."

- Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, author of "Why Faith Matters"

“You saved my son’s life. We will be forever grateful!”

- A Father

“Reading Combatting Cult Mind Control helped me finally walk away after 27 years. Thank you so much for your courage!”

- Ex-member Scientology

"Steven Hassan’s writings and life work fill a critical need in our health and our lives. Health care professionals have long ignored the essential role that social psychology and influence play in our efforts to be healing. Beyond the skills of therapeutic persuasion in our own clinical effectiveness, too many sources of undue influence pervade our culture to ignore its significance in health and illness. Our work must include investing in the resiliency of those for whom we care by teaching them to test their realities, to value their intuitions, to know their own minds. This is Hassan’s mission. He succeeds largely because of his intelligence, passion and dedication. Those are contagious characteristics and just cause for due influence."

- Laurence I. Sugarman, M.D. F.A.A.P., A.B.M.H., Director and Research Professor, Center for Applied Psychophysiology and Self-regulation, Institute of Health Sciences and Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology; Past-President, American Board of Medical Hypnosis. Co-author, Therapeutic Hypnosis with Children and Adolescents, Second Edition.