This week, my guest is Steve Hassan. He is a licensed mental health counselor who has written on the subject of cults and published three books through his Freedom of Mind Press. One of those books is Combatting Cult Mind Control, which is an excellent breakdown of how destructive cults work, what undue influence is, how to recover from a cult experience and what family and friends can do for their loved ones who may be stuck in a cult situation. I have recommended this book many times on my channel and really cannot give it enough praise.
Steve is a former cult member himself, having been involved with the Unification Church, i.e. the Moonies, for two years in the 1970s. He and I have known each other for a couple of years but it’s been a bit of a ships in the night situation trying to get him on my podcast. We first met at the Toronto Getting Clear conference and had a great time doing some presentations about Scientology and some of the mechanisms it uses to gain mental and emotional control of its members. In this interview, I wanted to talk to Steve about destructive cults in general and how the mind control mechanisms work. So without further ado, here’s Steve.
Steve’s website is here.
Questions covered during our talk:
(1) Just give some background on yourself and your experience with destructive cults for my listeners
(2) Can you talk about the cognitive biases or other mechanisms that prevent people in destructive cults from thinking rationally? They see themselves as being perfectly rational yet the facts say otherwise. How does that work?
(3) There’s a lot of discussion and concern about radicalized Islam and rightly so but it’s a nuanced conversation and not a black and white issue. Sam Harris said recently on Bill Maher’s show that this is a war of ideas and that banning all Muslims from the US, for example, is not the way to go because it keeps out moderate Muslims who would be our allies in the fight. From your experience, how do you see this and what do you think is an effective strategy for western countries to take in dealing with it?
(4) How do people find you and what can you do for them?
Music by Pale Blue.