Steven Hassan

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Steven Hassan
Hassan in 2019
Hassan in 2019
Born1954 (age 64–65)
United States[where?]
OccupationMental health counselor (specializing in destructive cults),[1] Author, Lecturer
SubjectPsychology, mind control
SpouseMisia Landau, Ph.D.

Steven Alan Hassan pronounced /hɑːsɪn/ (born 1954) is an American mental health counselor who has written on the subject of mind control and how to help people who have been harmed by the experience. He has been helping people exit destructive cults since 1976. Hassan has appeared on the TV news programs 60 Minutes, Nightline, and Dateline, and is a published author and lecturer.

Hassan is a former member of the Unification Church, and he founded Ex-Moon Inc. in 1979.[2][3] In 1999 Hassan developed what he describes as non-coercive methods to help members of cults to quit 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 (1988), he described his recruitment as the result of the unethical use of powerful psychological influence techniques by members of the Church.[4] He spent over two years recruiting and indoctrinating new members, as well as fundraising and campaigning.[5]


In 1979, following the Jonestown mass suicide and murders, Hassan founded a non-profit organization called "Ex-Moon Inc.". The organization consisted of over four hundred former members of the Unification Church.[5] Hassan studied the thought reform theories of Robert Jay Lifton, and concluded that he was "able to see clearly that the Moon organization uses all eight" characteristics of thought reform as described by Lifton.[6] Hassan also studied the work of Richard Bandler and John Grinder who developed Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), the works of Milton Erickson, Virginia Satir, and Gregory Bateson.[citation needed] Hassan's study of such sources helped him to develop his theories on mind control, counseling and intervention.[7]

Steven Hassan with Beth Lampron (US State Department Official) at Ralph J . Bunche Library on September 11th 2017.

Hassan has studied hypnosis and is a member of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis[8] and the International Society of Hypnosis.[9]

In 1999, Hassan founded the Freedom of Mind Resource Center.[10] The center is registered as a domestic profit corporation in the state of Massachusetts, and Hassan is president and treasurer.[11]

In his third book, Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs (2012), Hassan presents Lifton's and Singer's models alongside his own BITE model.[12]

Hassan has spoken out against involuntary deprogramming since 1980.[9][13] 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."[14]

In 1995, Michael Langone questioned Hassan's "humanistic counseling approach." Langone suggested that Hassan's intervention method "runs the risk of imposing clarity, however subtly" and "thereby manipulating the client."[15]

After the Boston Marathon bombing, Hassan was interviewed by some reporters to explain his view of the bombers' state of mind and how he believed mind control was involved.[16][17][18]

In August 2018, Steve delivered a TEDx talk on technology and mind control at TEDxBeaconStreet Salon, resulting in a standing ovation from the live audience. [19]

See also[edit]


  • Combatting Cult Mind Control, 1988. ISBN 0-89281-243-5 — reissued 1990 (ISBN 978-0-89281-311-7) and 2015 (Combating ..., ISBN 978-0967068824).
  • 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.
  • The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control, October 2019. ISBN 9781982127336.


  1. ^ "Data Mind Games". New York Magazine. New York Media Holdings. July 29, 1996. p. 52.
  2. ^ Chryssides, G.D. and B.E. Zeller. 2014. The Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements: BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING.
  3. ^ "Former Moonie Steven Hassan: My Fight Against Mind Control And Brainwashing". International Business Times UK. 2012-09-03. Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  4. ^ Combatting Cult Mind Control, Steven Hassan, 1998, Ch. 1, ISBN 0-89281-243-5
  5. ^ a b Biography of Steven Hassan, Freedom of Mind Center
  6. ^ Combatting Cult Mind Control, Steven Hassan, 1998, Ch. 2, ISBN 0-89281-243-5
  7. ^ Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves, Ch. 2, Steven Hassan, FOM Press, 2000
  8. ^ "Member Referral Search". Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  9. ^ a b "The International Society of Hypnosis". World News. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  10. ^ Lamoureux, Mack (August 11, 2017). "How Cults Use YouTube for Recruitment".
  11. ^ "Business Entity Summary for Freedom of Mind Resource Center, Inc". Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  12. ^ Hassan, S. A.; Shah, M. J. (1 January 2019). "The anatomy of undue influence used by terrorist cults and traffickers to induce helplessness and trauma, so creating false identities". Ethics, Medicine and Public Health. 8: 97–107. doi:10.1016/j.jemep.2019.03.002.
  13. ^ Mind Warrior. New Therapist 24, March/April 2003.
  14. ^ Hassan, Steven (1988). Combatting Cult Mind Control. ISBN 0-89281-243-5, p. 114
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Brainwashed? Wall Street Journal Live Interview
  17. ^ Radicalism and mind control NECN Interview
  18. ^ Officials: Suspect claims they were self-radicalized on Internet CNN Erin Burnett OutFront Interview
  19. ^ "Is Technology Controlling Your Mind?". TEDxBeaconStreet.