This is part 3 of a series of posts I plan to make. The book has 16 chapters.
I will write my comments of Steven Hassan's latest book, Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs.
You can purchase the book in Amazon.com, there is a Kindle version which is very handy since you can read it wherever you have internet connection, or if you have an iPhone, an iPad, android phone, etc.
You can get it here:
The third chapter is called "The Strategic Interactive Approach"
This is the difference between Hassan's previous books and methods, and this new book.
"When a loved one enters a cult , the entire family system is impacted. Parents are often consumed with guilt, fear, anger , and frustration. Long-term successful marriages can buckle. Siblings who had very good relationships may feel annoyed when pressured by their loved one to join the cult, and angry or upset when they are labeled evil for refusing. At the very least, siblings feel frustration and anger as they see the pain the cult member is causing their family. If there were pre-existing problems, such as jealousy, mistrust, control issues, lack of communication or intimacy, a real quagmire can result. The first step in the SIA is to promote change and encourage growth in the family as well as in the cult member. Only then is it possible to create the conditions that will motivate the cult member to step away and begin questioning cult involvement."
I see a lot of this in people who are in this forum. You will or you do feel guilt, fear, anger, and frustration. If you are an UBM, your marriage may buckle because of the cult. You will be labeled evil for refusing to join the cult, or evil for leaving it. But you must put yourself outside of the JW shoes. Even if your entire family would have never been JW's, your family will STILL have issues to deal with. Deal with THOSE, AND the cult issue.
Hassan goes into various methods of getting people out of cults:
1. Forced "deprogramming": Used in the 70's, and illegal now, a group of people would kidnap a person and try to "break" the person's cult personality. It got the job done, but with many scars, and if the deprogramming was ineffective, it confirmed a cultist's worst nightmares about the 'outside world'. Cult members are told about deprogrammers:
"'They are heartless, unspiritual people, who might humiliate, threaten, possibly even torture you– and certainly will try to destroy your faith in God. Family and friends are not to be trusted.' The trauma of being kidnapped and imprisoned by strangers creates mistrust, anger, and resentment. Cult doctrine is reinforced."
2. Exit counselling: Is limited to making the cultist break free from the cult. It does not address other issues, that may remain, and create a 'perfect storm' for the cultist to go back. It could be said that it was Hassan's method in his previous book.
"Even when successful, the results of exit counseling are often less than optimal. The method doesn’t take into account the problems that may have existed before the cult involvement and which may persist. It doesn’t deal with psychological issues in the cult member or in the family. There is little room to customize the approach and address underlying issues."
3. The strategic interactive approach is considered by Hassan to be much better because it encourages growth and change in the family. It is not only the cultist that changes, it is the entire family that changes and improves. The entire family deals with issues such as fobias, addiction, lack of trust, etc. The cultist does not see him/herself as a victim, but as a part of the process of the improvement of the entire family.
In the strategic interactive approach, there are 4 goals:
Goal One: Build rapport and trust.
Goal Two: Gather information about the pre-cult self cult self, and the authentic self.
Goal Three: Plant seeds of doubt that may get the member to question his involvement.
Goal Four: Use mini-interactions that will help motivate the cult member to leave.
Notice how there is never any direct attack of the cult? It is very indirect, and it involves getting to know the person. You can probably notice that the process takes plenty of time.
Myself, personally, I thankfully have an incredibly close relationship with BOTH my parents, but especially my mother.
So I guess that rapport and trust are high in my family.
I have gathered information about my mother's pre-cult, cult self, and authentic self. Very enlightening. I recommend that everyone who has someone they love who are still in and want to get them out, to do this exercise, if you can. If you are still in, and very few people suspect that you know TTATT, then start doing this recon. Or if you are in a situation that you CAN build trust and somehow still talk to your loved ones, DO THIS!
With the information that I have (which I will share sometime in another post), I have planted seeds of doubt in my mom. For example, I learnt that she was traumatized by my grandma in a way that she UNDERSTANDS "mind control".... my "cult" that I use to let her know about mind control is my grandma. She even recognized that if there is a person that supplants your relationship with God, then you are worshipping that person. (My mom things that at one point she "worshipped" my grandma. She just doesn't know that she is "worshipping" the GB, and not God).
I still haven't done step 4... I have to re-read how to do it. I think I will just keep on doing steps 2 and three until I need to/are ready to do step 4.
I hope that my reviews help people. It is really me telling you how the book is helping me.