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The Influence Continuum with Dr. Steven Hassan

MeidasTouch Network, Dr. Steven Hassan

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Steven Hassan, PhD, is one of the leading experts on cults and undue influence in the world. A former member of the right-wing Moonie cult, Hassan was deprogrammed 45 years ago and has dedicated his life to helping people out of cults and destructive situations. Dr. Hassan is a licensed mental health professional and has written four books, including The Cult of Trump and the seminal book Combating Cult Mind Control. On this podcast, Steve will explain HOW mind-control works, and how to prot ...
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Empowering patients or clients to have authority and control over their medical experiences is vital to beneficial therapeutic care. Likewise, well-crafted use of professional communication skills in setting expectations about clinical procedures and outcomes can mean the difference between a traumatic medical visit versus one being remembered with…
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Russell Johnson is a former member of the Korean martial arts cult Chung Moo Quan. After much negative publicity, its name was changed to Oom Yung Doe. Now a professional security consultant, activist, and podcaster, Russell got involved with the cult as a teen and was involved for eight years. We first met in the early 90s when he contacted me aft…
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“America right now needs some exit ramps,” Jason Van Tatenhove said as we discussed his former role as national media director for the Oath Keepers, a group known for its far-right anti-government militia. While Jason would ultimately decide to leave the group in 2016 due to increasing racism and Holocaust denial within their membership, the Oath K…
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As a Protestant, Matthew D. Taylor, Ph.D., is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies (ICJS), where he specializes in Muslim-Christian dialogue, Evangelical and Pentecostal movements, religious politics in the U.S., and American Islam. ICJS produced a 30-minute documentary, Spiritual Warriors: Decoding Christian…
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Hypnosis is everywhere on the Internet- either covertly like ASMR or overtly, where people are enticed to learn hypnosis or NLP, a version of Ericksonian hypnosis. My guest is the lead editor of a comprehensive textbook on clinical hypnosis. Still, it also includes two chapters I co-authored with law professor emeritus Alan Scheflin on the dark sid…
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In this enlightening episode, I speak to Ryan McBeth, an experienced military veteran and a recognized figure in cybersecurity, military analysis, and artificial intelligence, to explore a range of thought-provoking topics. Ryan brings a wealth of knowledge from his 20 years of service as an anti-armor and heavy weapons infantryman and his prolific…
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Anthony Davis is a British broadcaster, journalist, and voiceover artist. He was born in London and has been based in Los Angeles since 2017, where he works remotely from his home studio with networks worldwide. Since November 2021, his collaborations with the MeidasTouch media network, including the Five-Minute News, The Weekend Show, and America …
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Analyzing online content and how people interact with that content is essential to understanding the process of online radicalization. Twitter/ X has been a major source of information for tracking QAnon and many bad actors from Russia as well as Christian Dominionists, Neo Nazis, and others. Bad actors worldwide use social media to post content to…
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The Trump University grift followed the same playbook as many predatory organizations, like Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) organizations. Victims are hooked through legitimate sounding offers, like a weekend sales course for $1,500. However, once the victims attend the weekend sales course, they are pressured into buying more courses for more money to…
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In this era of political polarization, the landscape in the United States is marked by the rise of Donald Trump as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election. This despite Trump facing numerous legal challenges–including over his involvement in the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol. However, Trump …
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Neşe Devenot is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Institute for Research in Sensing (IRiS) at the University of Cincinnati and the Medicine, Society & Culture Research Fellow at Psymposia. I decided to use the title of her profoundly important journal article for this podcast. Psychedelics are all the rage. When I gave a talk at the American Psychiat…
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Natural medicine might seem distant from the far-right fringes of society until you dig a little deeper and find the wealth of ‘wellness products’ being sold alongside political conspiracies. There is a constant quest for increasing well-being and less ‘toxic’ lifestyles. Meanwhile, conspiracy theories drain resources and instill fears, including p…
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Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the founder of iCivics, said, "The practice of democracy is not passed down through the gene pool. It must be taught and learned by each new generation." It is the continuing mission of the iCivics organization and its current Chief Executive Officer, Louise Dubé, to ensure that future generations of Ameri…
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Laura E. Anderson, PhD, was raised in a Christian family and experienced first hand what religious trauma is all about. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a Ph.D. in Mind Body Medicine from Saybrook University. She specializes in complex trauma, with a particular focus on domestic violence, sexualized violence, and religious traum…
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Legally released from an unenforceable NDA, the former 2016 campaign staffer discusses the cult-building tactics, Russian interference, and the who’s who of bad actors behind the scenes of the Trump campaign. Joining the campaign when then-candidate Trump was polling last in the GOP field, Alva is one of the very few former campaign staffers who wo…
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In this New Year, we offer an episode on healthy, ethical influence. What is Integrative Psychology? What is “organization of mind?” If a person is interested in embodied mind practices, which include concentration meditation training, it takes very specialized training and practice to navigate this terrain effectively. Nigel Denning is a Counselli…
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Ever wonder about basic training in the military? What about how the BITE Model of Authoritarian Control applies to military personnel? With so many veterans who have returned to society, many do not seem to have been given the necessary psychological support to integrate and thrive. There is large amounts of active trauma as well as a high suicide…
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Sochil Martin is a Mexican-American woman who was born and raised in a religious high control group called La Luz del Mundo (LDM), which claims to have over 5 million members in 58 countries worldwide. This group was established in 1926 and features a power structure like New Apostolic Reformation megachurches. It has been very involved in politics…
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Navigating a deeply divided, polarized world filled with vulnerable souls to the siren calls of conspiracy theories, I find it essential to shine a light on the shadows where undue influence thrives. In this discussion with historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat, we discuss the subtle and often sinister ways authoritarianism intertwines with the psychological me…
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Monica C. Parker has authored a remarkable book which was such a positive in the current concerning times. It is titled, The Power of Wonder: The Extraordinary Emotion That Will Change the Way You Live Learn and Lead. Our conversation delved into how this powerful emotion could revolutionize learning, relationships, work, and societal interactions …
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Human trafficking is defined in international law as the use of fraud, force, or coercion to enslave people. It is a scourge that operates not just through physical coercion but through the devastating use of mind control, a method of psychological enslavement. Rebecca Bender is a courageous survivor and advocate who works tirelessly to empower sur…
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Did you know that Koch Corporation is the second largest private business in the United States? That Fred Koch, father of David Koch, helped to found the John Birch Society? That Koch is one of the largest corporate lobbying entities in America. That their belief is libertarianism is a destructive ideology that undermines government functioning? Th…
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In his latest book, Seeing Through the Smoke: A Cannabis Specialist Untangles the Truth About Marijuana, Peter Grinspoon, M.D. has written an excellent, comprehensive, and authoritative book. Grinspoon is a primary care doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He has been a medical cannabis s…
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Philip Goldberg has been studying the world’s spiritual traditions for more than 50 years as a practitioner, teacher, and author. An ordained Interfaith Minister, spiritual counselor, and public speaker, he has presented at major venues throughout the U.S. and has been featured in numerous publications. He has authored or co-authored more than 25 b…
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Do you worry about your teenager's safety and fear they could fall into the deceptive webs of manipulative, cult-like groups? Are you a desperate parent seeking intervention services for your struggling teen? If so, you can't afford to miss this interview with Melanie, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a survivor of the infamous Troubled Teen I…
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Growing up in the Assemblies of God, the second-largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States with approximately three million members, Paul Jensen witnessed firsthand the controversial culture and beliefs that define this religious movement. Founded in 1914 and initially considered a fringe group by mainstream Protestant denominations, the…
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In a world marked by political extremes, high-control groups, and the Influence Continuum, the story of Rich Logis stands out as both compelling and enlightening. Formerly a true believer pundit for the MAGA movement, Rich’s transformation offers a deep dive into the mechanics of belief, mind control, the allure of belonging, and the power of self-…
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Large Group Awareness Trainings (LGATs) bill themselves as transformational multi-day workshops. You often feel pressured to attend, perhaps by your corporation or a family member or friend, and you are deliberately not told what will happen there. These workshops often utilize eight to twelve-hour marathon sessions to wear down a person's identity…
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Esther Friedman is an expressive therapist and former five-year member of the Odyssey Study Group (OSG), a secretive cult utilizing the Gurdjieff ideology. Her excellent book is The Gentle Souls Revolution: A Secret Cult, an Open Rebellion, and Lessons in Protecting and Honoring Your Gentle Soul. This memoir and guide offer valuable insights and gu…
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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, addic…
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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 se…
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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. Kathe…
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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 groundbreak…
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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 pr…
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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 n…
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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 apol…
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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 th…
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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 n…
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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 an…
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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 …
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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 …
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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…
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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 Stud…
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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, Fr…
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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 fu…
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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 t…
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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 an…
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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 an…
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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…
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The Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) is a widely recognized Christian organization with around 20 million members worldwide. However, many of its beliefs and practices fall under my BITE Model of Authoritarian Control, which I developed to evaluate control of Behavior, Information, Thoughts, and Emotions. To gain more insight into this organizati…
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