Steven Alan Hassan, M.Ed., L.M.H.C.
|Born||1954 (age 62–63)
|Occupation||Mental health counselor, specializing in cults, Author|
|Spouse||Misia Landau, Ph.D.|
Hassan is a former member of the Unification Church. He founded Ex-Moon Inc. in 1979 before assisting with involuntary deprogrammings in association with the Cult Awareness Network developing in 1999 what he describes as his own non-coercive methods for helping members of alleged cults to leave their groups.
Hassan became a member of the Unification Church in the 1970s, at the age of 19, while studying at Queens College. In his first book, Combatting Cult Mind Control (1998), he described his recruitment as the result of the unethical use of powerful psychological influence techniques by members of the Church. He spent over two years recruiting and indoctrinating new members, as well as fundraising and campaigning.
Around 1980, Hassan began investigating methods of persuasion, mind control and indoctrination. He first studied the thought reform theories of Robert Lifton, and was "able to see clearly that the Moon organization uses all eight" of the thought reform methods described by Lifton. He later attended a seminar on hypnosis with Richard Bandler, which was based on the work that Bandler and transformational grammarian John Grinder had done in developing Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Hassan felt that this seminar gave him "a handle on techniques of mind control, and how to combat them." He spent "nearly two years studying NLP with everyone involved in its formulation and presentation." During this period, Hassan moved to Santa Cruz, California for an apprenticeship with Grinder. He became concerned about the marketing of NLP as a tool for "power enhancement", left his association with Grinder, and "began to study the works of Milton Erickson M.D., Virginia Satir, and Gregory Bateson, on which NLP is based." His studies gave him the basis for the development of his theories on mind control.
In his third book, Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs (2012), Hassan says his approach has evolved over the last 13 years and offers a more extensive bibliography. In addition, Hassan presents Lifton's and Singer's models alongside his own BITE model. The book has garnered a favorable review from Jerome Siegel, PhD who says: "Its weakness is repetitiveness, flatness, and some theorizing that might turn off professional readers. Nonetheless, I recommend it highly for its intended audience."
Hassan has spoken out against involuntary deprogramming since 1980. In Combatting Cult Mind Control, he stated that "the non-coercive approach will not work in every case, it has proved to be the option most families prefer. Forcible intervention can be kept as a last resort if all other attempts fail."
Michael Langone has questioned Hassan's "humanistic counseling approach." Langone suggests that Hassan's intervention method "runs the risk imposing clarity, however subtly" and "thereby manipulating the client."
- Combatting Cult Mind Control, 1988. ISBN 0-89281-243-5.
- Releasing the Bonds|Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves, 2000. ISBN 0-9670688-0-0.
- Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs, 2012. ISBN 978-0-9670688-1-7.
- Combatting Cult Mind Control: 25th Anniversary Volume, 2015. ISBN 978-0967068824.
- "Data Mind Games". New York Magazine. New York Media Holdings. July 29, 1996. p. 52.
- "Steven Hassan Verification - Psychology Today". psychologytoday.com.
- Chryssides, G.D. and B.E. Zeller. 2014. The Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements: BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING.
- (notarized) Declaration of John M. Sweeney, Jr. on deprogramming and the Citizens Freedom Foundation. Maricopa County, Arizona. March 17, 1992.
- Combatting Cult Mind Control, Steven Hassan, 1998, Ch. 1, ISBN 0-89281-243-5
- Biography of Steven Hassan, Freedom of Mind Center[self-published source]
- Combatting Cult Mind Control, Steven Hassan, 1998, Ch. 2, ISBN 0-89281-243-5
- Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves, Ch. 2, Steven Hassan, FOM Press, 2000
- "Member Referral Search". asch.net. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
- "The International Society of Hypnosis". World News. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
- "Freedom of Mind". freedomofmind.com. Archived from the original on October 17, 2006.[self-published source]
- "Business Entity Summary for Freedom of Mind Resource Center, Inc.". corp.sec.state.ma.us. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
- "Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs". Psych Central.com.
- Mind Warrior. New Therapist 24, March/April 2003.
- Combatting Cult Mind Control, Steven Hassan, 1998, ISBN 0-89281-243-5, p. 114[self-published source]
- Langone, Michael D, ed. (1995). Recovery from cults : help for victims of psychological and spiritual abuse (Norton paperback ed.). New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 9780393313215.
- Was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Brainwashed? Wall Street Journal Live Interview
- Radicalism and mind control NECN Interview
- Officials: Suspect claims they were self-radicalized on Internet CNN Erin Burnett OutFront Interview