Editor's Note: Steven Hassan is a licensed mental health counselor and an exit counselor and was a guest on Wednesday's AC360°.
I applaud the authorities in Texas who stepped in to rescue the hundreds of children and women who experienced what is likely years of sexual abuse. I am not shocked by the reports of what life may have been like inside the compound, since I've heard first hand and counseled two runaways a few years back from this group.
In fact, during my 30 years as a mental health counselor, I've helped thousands of people who were brave enough to escape from various dangerous cults. Mind control can easily happen to anyone, and often in the most unlikely of places.
As a former member of the Moon cult, I've experienced the dangers of mind control, and know that traditional psychotherapy almost never works. Today, I work with ex-cult members from various cults around the world who seek me out for specialized counseling. My experience and the methods I use and developed over the past three decades (Strategic Interaction Approach) allows me to help victims recover from symptoms other mental health professionals are not trained to address.
It is vital for society to recognize the signs of mind control, and have made this my life mission. My organization, Freedom of Mind Resource Center, Inc., keeps track of the hundreds of cults that lurk in society. Many go under different names and most are extremely dangerous.
Two cult groups that authorities need to expose is the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries – the similarities to power hungry Warren Jeffs is frightening – and another organization called The Children of God, also known as The Family. Both these groups sexually abuse children and women.
In fact, it has been reported that children as young as three years of age have been sexually abused in The Family group, which was led by the late self-proclaimed prophet Moses Berg. I've counseled runaways from both these groups, and hope that local and state authorities take action, like we are now seeing in Texas.
– Steven Alan Hassan M.Ed. LMHC, NCC
Hassan is author of Combatting Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults, and Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves
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