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One of the hottest topics in modern psychology is utilizing psychedelics to aid psychotherapy. Research is being conducted on the potentially beneficial use of substances like psilocybin, LSD, DMT, and MDMA in a controlled environment. In recent years, it’s gotten attention for its efficacy in treating treatment-resistant depression and PTSD, addiction, and end-of-life anxiety. Related to this is the psychedelic underground, a movement that similarly wants to use these substances to improve lives but takes a different, more spiritual approach. I spoke with Rachel Harris, who has experience in both, about this exciting world. Rachel is the author of Swimming in the Sacred: Wisdom from the Psychedelic Underground and Listening to Ayahuasca: New Hope for Depression, Addiction, PTSD, and Anxiety. A psychologist who has been in private practice for 40 years, she spent ten years in an academic research department where she published more than 40 scientific studies in peer-reviewed journals and received a National Institutes of Health New Investigator’s Award. Join us for the fascinating interview! Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Ramadan was freed from prison on March 15th 2023, after 51 years of incarceration by  the parole board and finally Governor Baker who commuted his life sentence. A Vietnam vet Shabazz suffered PTSD and drug addiction upon his return from service and got involved in armed robbery that  resulted in the deaths of two innocent people. He was initially sentenced to death. Ramadan Shabazz is a rare success story and a model that proves a person who commits a horrible crime can reform and truly become a model citizen. In 1983, he began his 40-year association with the Parker family. While incarcerated, Ramadan earned his bachelor's degree and master's degree from Boston University. He also participated in programs to assist other prisoners with mental health struggles. Ramadan Shabazz and my friend, Dr. Richard Parker, joined me on the Influence Continuum podcast this week to discuss his life journey and the phenomenal effort to help him be a free man today. This is a heartwarming story which brings much needed light on a prison system that deserves reformation. Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
With Scientologist celebrity Danny Masterson being sentenced to 30 years in jail for brutal rapes recently, I want people to hear from a woman who was forced to grow up in this notorious cult., Katherine Spallino, the author of a new book, The Bad Cadet: Growing Up in the Church of Scientology’s Sea Organization, has had quite a life journey. Katherine grew up on a secluded ranch within the cadet org, Scientology’s Sea Org school for children. At a young age, Katherine began to journal about her day-to-day life, capturing the thoughts and experiences of a child coming of age in a cult. Katherine’s background offers the rare opportunity to tell the story of the hundreds of children who rarely saw their parents and were indoctrinated to become future Sea Org members. The Sea Org is considered the “elite” part of the cult, and members are made to commit to a billion-year contract. In other words, this lifetime and many future lifetimes. Potential Sea Org members take part in both manual labor and indoctrination classes. Katherine’s book is unique because it is told by someone who journaled as a child. Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
I speak with the acclaimed psychiatrist and my mentor, Robert Jay Lifton, M.D., about his new book, Surviving Our Catastrophes: Resilience and Renewal from Hiroshima to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Lifton’s research on thought reform and the psychology of totalism, specifically his study on “brainwashing” in China, has been widely regarded as groundbreaking. His book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism (1961) was used in my deprogramming. It was Lifton who encouraged my career which has spanned 47 years. In this new book, Lifton delves into “Survivor Power” and the transformation from victimhood to survivorship. He emphasizes the importance of drawing on the knowledge and wisdom gained from surviving traumatic experiences to continue living meaningful lives. The book takes inspiration from historical examples of survivors who have endured unimaginable suffering and trauma. Lifton highlights the remarkable responses of individuals who, in the face of unspeakable horror, have created activist movements, converted their experiences into art and literature, and demonstrated the resilience of the human spirit. From the people of Hiroshima, who responded to the atomic bombing by creating an activist “city of peace,” to the survivors of Nazi death camps who combated mass killing and showcased their healing through art and literature, these examples serve as beacons of hope. Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
I talk with the forensic psychiatrist and an internationally recognized expert on violence who edited the best-selling book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President. Years after she and other mental health experts warned Trump was unfit and a danger to the public, we continue to see vivid proof that the public has suffered by censoring experts! Her recent book is Profile of a Nation: Trump’s Mind, America’s Soul. What was behind the mainstream media silencing of credible experts like Dr. Lee and myself? We discuss this and many important topics like the “duty to warn” and the importance of mental health, especially in people who are supposed to be public servants. We discuss the 25th Amendment of the Constitution and how it could be bolstered to prevent anyone who is so grossly incompetent from coming to the Presidency again. We also discuss the corrupt and authoritarian family court system in the United States- the subject of a forthcoming book. Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Did you know that my BITE Model of Authoritarian Control was translated into Chinese and used by Chinese netizens during the November 2022 protests in China against the zero covid lockdown policy? This week’s fascinating interview is with Matt Bywater, who lived in China for years teaching English and who is now on a quest to do a PhD to create a new internationally recognized human right: Freedom of Mind.  Matthew Bywater learned about Freedom of Mind from a statement on the World Mental Health Coalition founded by forensic psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee. Dr. Bandy X. Lee edited the best-selling book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, with 37 experts weighing in on Trump. This work seeks to establish a political and legal framework for incorporating freedom of mind within the international human rights architecture. Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In my book, The Cult of Trump, I identify many groups who are deeply involved in politics and influence believers to vote according to the leader’s direction of who is “godly.” Here to discuss his experiences with this and his evolution away from religion is Dr. Darren M. Slade, a graduate of the controversial Liberty University’s seminary and apologetics program. Darren is a professor of history and comparative religion in Denver, Colorado. He specializes in the socio-political development of religious belief systems. He serves as the Director of the North American Committee on Religious Trauma Research. He is also the President of the Global Center for Religious Research ( and Founding Editor of the peer-reviewed academic journal Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry ( Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Pam is a 70-year-old Boise, Idaho resident, who, while recovering from cancer treatment traveled to Washington, DC and was arrested, charged and sentenced for her connection to the January 6th 2021 attack. Hemphill pled guilty and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, 36 months of probation and fined $500 in restitution. Jack Smith has now announced that Trump has been indicted and faces four counts of Federal charges for his activity regarding the insurrection attempt. Pam Hemphill has been active calling out Trump and the MAGA cult for using her for propaganda on his Truth Social platform. Hemphill chose to plead guilty and has said the Capitol police saved her life from being trampled. I hope many more ex-members will speak up and renounce the Cult of Trump. Pam and I talk about her being harassed since speaking out, strategies for messaging and healing techniques. Join us for this fascinating conversation. Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Kelvin’s father, Dr. William Pierce, was a notorious white supremacist and founded the National Alliance, a prominent hate group. Dr. Pierce wrote the novel The Turner Diaries, which racists widely cite as inspiration for their racist beliefs and actions. Kelvin was subjected to physical and emotional abuse and was taught to believe that Jews and non-whites were responsible for society's ills. Despite the personal abuse he suffered, Kelvin accepted his father's teachings and held onto these racist beliefs as he transitioned into adulthood. It shaped his worldview and interactions with others, even though he didn't openly broadcast these beliefs. Kelvin was able to shed his indoctrination, create the charitable organization "Divine Child Foundation" to help orphans in Georgia, publish his memoir, and live a life of activism and inspiration in fighting racism and extremism. Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Gun-related deaths are already over 17,000 as of May of this year. In 2021, they were at their highest ever at almost 50,000 murders, suicides, and accidental deaths involving firearms. These statistics are personal to me due to my experiences in the Moonies cult with the Rod of Iron Ministries, Kahr Arms, the AR15 factory, and two compounds (TN and TX) training people for civil war. I spoke with expert Jonathan Lowy who told me he successfully sued Kahr Arms. Jonathan founded Global Action on Gun Violence, a nonprofit working with the international community to stop gun trafficking and violence through litigation, human rights, and other strategies. He has been litigating and advocating against gun violence for over 25 years. He helped win over $100 million for victims in verdicts and settlements, created the precedent that holds gun companies accountable and reformed dangerous gun industry practices. His articles include “The Right Not to Be Shot.” He has been named one of the 500 leading lawyers in America for over ten years by Lawdragon magazine. Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Under the Yoga Mat: The Dark History of Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga, is a new book that helps expose the destructive authoritarian cult of Yogi Bhajan, Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization (3HO). When allegations of half a century of concealed abuse and criminal actions by Bhajan and his associates came to light in early 2020, which impacted the lives of hundreds of his followers and their children, Els Coenen, Ph.D., felt compelled to stop teaching and promoting kundalini Yoga and wish to help reveal the facts. In 2021, she created the website Abuse in Kundalini Yoga, a platform aimed at exposing and addressing sexual abuse, child abuse, homophobia, exploitation, business fraud, and drugs and arms trafficking within the community. If you have ever seen white-turbaned people calling themselves Sikhs, done yoga, or gone to a workshop, you will be educated about the reality of this billion-dollar corporate empire. Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Michelle’s memoir, Forager: Field Notes on Surviving a Family Cult, showcases her life growing up on an isolated mountain in California as part of an apocalyptic cult and how she found her way out of poverty and illness by drawing on the gifts of the wilderness. Michelle was raised on a mountain in the Angeles National Forest, where she learned to identify flora and fauna, navigate by the stars, forage for edible plants, and care for the earth. A highly accomplished journalism professor and contributor to many top national publications, she was the 2022 Faculty Lecturer of the Year at Chaffey College. She founded the award-winning literary journal and creative collective, The Chaffey Review, advises Student Media, and teaches poetry and critical thinking in the California Institutions for Men and Women in Chino. Interestingly, former Manson follower Leslie Van Houten assisted her courses for incarcerated women. We discussed her and her hopefully impending release from jail.  Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The Breach: The Untold Story of the Investigation into January 6th is former Republican congressman Denver Riggleman’s book as a senior technical advisor for the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol. Denver Riggleman has served for over two decades as an intelligence officer, NSA adviser, federal contractor, research and development technology lead, and successful CEO of support companies for the Department of Defense. A veteran of the Global War on Terror and multiple worldwide operations, he served honorably in the US Air Force for nine active-duty years. We discuss his exit of the LDS (Mormons) and being shunned. Also his conviction to stand up for his values and to put his country over his party. This was a truly fascinating conversation. Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
There are few people in the field of forensic psychology with the training, background, and experience of Dr. Steve Eichel. In 1975, almost a year before I was deprogrammed from the Moonies, he decided to do his dissertation research on my former cult. He has had a long distinguished career, serving as the President of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), and remains an active member of their Board of Directors. He has been published extensively in the field and has served as an expert witness on undue influence in many cases. I asked him about his experience working for the defense in the case of DC sniper Lee Boyd Malvo. Steve joined the podcast to discuss these experiences and his expertise in therapeutic hypnosis. He was one of the experts I interviewed in researching my last book, The Cult of Trump. Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
With Trump’s Indictment, the GOP is being described as the Cult of Trump, and the other GOP candidates are scrambling to figure out how to position themselves. Come listen to a fascinating talk with the award-winning documentarian Jen Senko on her film, The Brainwashing of My Dad, and the book based on it. Jen Senko’s experience with her father, Frank, hits close to home for many Americans today. Frank was a happy-go-lucky progressive Democrat when he came across a talk radio show hosted by Bob Grant. He started being more critical of Democrats and was somewhat combative about it. When he fully retired, he discovered Rush Limbaugh and listened to him for three hours daily. Then he started watching Fox News. At that point, his personality changed. He was always angry and couldn’t have discussions with his family anymore without them turning to politics. She delves into the experts who use social psychology to recruit and indoctrinate people. The good news is her father comes back to himself—a fascinating interview. Of course, as the author of the Cult of Trump, I weigh in. Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Parental alienation is a highly destructive form of undue influence where one parent systematically manipulates their children to reject the other parent. This damaging form of psychological abuse not only disrupts family dynamics but can also leave lasting emotional scars on the child, potentially impacting their development, mental health, and future relationships. Often, children are not only alienated from their mother or their father but the entire side of the family, traumatizing all who are related. The BITE Model of Authoritarian Control can be used to analyze any case. I have previously done multiple blogs on this topic. Dana Laquidara, a professional author and writer, brings a unique perspective as an adult survivor of parental alienation. Through this memoir, she seeks to raise awareness and support parents and children ensnared in this devastating form of mind control and abuse. Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dr. Austin and Dr. Bock are accomplished Christian scholars with extensive experience in ethics and philosophy. Although I am Jewish by faith, I support the principles of Christianity and all major religions that promote truth, peace, love, and forgiveness. Their collaborative work, QAnon, Chaos, and the Cross, is a compendium of essays exploring the rise of conspiracies like QAnon, an online conspiracy group I wrote about in my book, The Cult of Trump. Their book raises awareness about the allures and pitfalls of conspiracy theories and draws upon Christian principles for discerning truth from misinformation and fostering productive dialogues. Anger and fear are potent emotions that tend to override our critical thinking and common sense, sometimes leading to falling out with loved ones who have an opposing view to our own. Accepting a conspiracy theory as fact does not make a person weak, stupid, or gullible. This is an extremely important interview that I believe everyone would benefit from listening to.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, was convicted of fraud and sentenced to 11 years in jail. Her company claimed to be able to determine health issues from merely a pinprick of blood. She conned many famous, educated people, and the company was valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. Dr. Dennis Tourish is a Professor of Leadership and Organization Studies at the University of Sussex Business School and wrote a journal article on Theranos as an authoritarian corporate cult. Dr. Tourish was himself involved in a left-wing political cult and wrote the book On the Edge: Political Cults on the Right and Left with Tim Wohlforth. In 2023, understanding how corporations can act like authoritarian cults is vital for everyone to understand. Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
For anyone interested in understanding why religious extremism has such a large influence in America, this fascinating interview focuses on an elite group of Catholic Bishops who oppose the current Pope and his policies of wishing to move the Church away from its abusive authoritarian past. Want to understand more about our current Supreme Court and why they demonstrated that they lied during their confirmation hearings when they said that Roe v. Wade was established law after fifty years. As soon as they had the majority, they showed their true allegiance, and it wasn't to the law and the majority of the American people. Mary Jo McConahay is a Catholic journalist who takes the position of supporting the changes in Vatican 2, which included allowing the mass to be given in languages other than Latin. Vatican 2 stated categorically that Jews were not Christ-killers but affirmed God is Almighty and that His promise to Abraham was eternal. We discuss the Manhattan Declaration which was signed by Catholics and Protestants to work together to undermine gay rights, and women’s right to choose and to promote the freedom to religious impose their version of religion on all others. Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The term ‘gaslight effect’ was introduced by Dr. Robin Stern in her 2007 book to describe the long-term consequences of persistent gaslighting, a subtle and often hidden form of emotional abuse. Gaslighting is a devastating form of undue influence. It occurs when an individual manipulates another person by distorting, twisting, and dismissing their experiences, making them question their memories, perceptions, and reality. Gaslighting can occur in a romantic relationship, among family members, in the workplace, within mind control cults as well as by politicians. Robin Stern, Ph.D., has been a practicing psychoanalyst for over thirty years and is the co-founder and associate director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She’s the author of The Gaslight Effect and the newly released The Gaslight Effect Recovery Guide.  Learn more about Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (1)

Claire Voyant

Dr Hassan you hardly give your guest a minute to speak. The entire episode is a monologue!!!

Aug 9th
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