A group of international experts will come together in London on the weekend of August 22-24, 2014 to address some of the major concerns relating to the undue influence of extremist groups and cults. Scientology, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Islamic extremists are just some of the groups that will be considered. The context of their discussions will be the impact these groups have and the control they are able to maintain over people’s lives. This is an invitation only meeting. The meeting/workshop led by Steve Hassan – Freedomofmind.com will be recorded and the information will be shared with a wider audience at a later date. One aim of the workshop is to enable mental health professionals to gain a better understanding of the impact on people’s lives of “undue influence” by extremist groups and cults.
Undoing the damage of such groups is a huge task for governments and agencies who often struggle trying to understand their inner workings and cultures. Dealing with the fallout and damage is often left in the hands of professionals who are still trying to develop appropriate response and recovery techniques.
Some Government policy initiatives such as “social cohesion” are directed to the integration of such groups into mainstream society. But these policies do not directly address either the immediate or the ongoing impact of the beliefs and ideas disseminated by such groups. These cultish groups promote ideas that weaken or destroy family and societal relationships. The result is the creation of a continuum where mental health issues exist at one end – and extremism and terrorism at the other.
These groups operate using “undue Influence”
Undue influence is any act of persuasion that overcomes the free will and judgment of another person. People can be unduly influenced by urgent warnings, flattery, trickery, coercion and deception. In a court of law, “undue influence” is a legal term that applies when individuals or organizations take advantage of their position of power over other persons or groups.
On a continuum or scale from high to low of imminent threats to a free society and happy families, undue influence tends to rate low for most people. But overlooking such a threat can be very costly!
In the manipulative hands of charismatic cult leaders, high-control bible-based groups masquerading as benevolent religions, human traffickers, multi-level marketers, political action cults, human potential hucksters, terrorists and violent extremist groups – and yes, even abusive spouses and parents, undue influence is a major worldwide problem—and its damaging effects continue to expand.
PRESS CONFERENCE – August 22, 2014 at 1.30pm
On Friday, August 22,a day before a two-day workshop hosted by Steven Hassan about how to undo undue influence, a press conference will be held to draw attention to this issue, and to highlight what some experts consider should be the approach to tackling the fallout. The press conference is for members of the press and AAWA invited guests.
Details of the press conference
22nd August 2014 at 1.30pm
London College, Victoria Gardens, Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3PE
More details about the press conference – undue influence media alert
Experts at the press conference and two-day meeting include:
Steven Hassan – one of the world’s leading authorities on cults and undue influence, and author of two of the most acclaimed books on the subject – Combatting Cult Mind Control and Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults and Beliefs. A former member of the Unification Church (Moonies), Steven has appeared numerous times in television programs and on radio shows to share his professional insights on undue influence as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). Steve has developed the BITE model for addressing undue influence.
Masoud Banisadr – was at one time a representative of the group Mujahideen-e-Khalq Organization (MeK). He left the MeK in 1996 and has written of his experiences in the book Masoud: Memoirs of an Iranian Rebel (and more recently Destructive/ Terrorist Cults: A New kind of Slavery). He is active in raising awareness of undue influence and its links with terrorist organisations. Banisadr.info
Lloyd Evans – is a vlogger and the senior editor of JWsurvey.org – a blog site specializing in news stories involving Jehovah’s Witnesses (where he writes under the moniker “John Cedars”). Lloyd is a former Witness elder and graduate of the church’s now defunct Ministerial Training School. He has been shunned by his Witness family since January for blowing the whistle on the harmful policies and human rights violations of his former faith. He is presently writing his memoir. JWsurvey.org
Jon Atack – wrote the best-seller “Let’s sell these people A Piece of Blue Sky”, which was called ‘definitive’ by the Scientology cult’s former top PR. Pulitzer prize-winner, Lawrence Wright, called it ‘invaluable’ for ‘its history and insight into the character of L. Ron Hubbard.’ One time Village Voice editor, Tony Ortega, said it is ‘the most reliable of the many books on the subject.’ Former psychology professor, Richard de Mille, said ‘Atack’s book displays mastery of his material and subtlety of analysis and discussion that would be praised at the typical final of doctoral examination.’
Since 1983, Jon has been consulted by government agencies throughout the world, as well as the British Medical Association. He has worked on hundreds of media pieces, including articles in every leading UK paper, the Los Angeles Times, Time, Forbes, and documentaries with BBC Panorama, CBS, ABC, NBC, as well as in Canada, Australia and throughout Europe.
In 2013, Jon gave the paper Scientology: the Church of Hate at the Council of Europe’s annual FECRIS conference. His booklet, The Total Freedom Trap, has been translated into 11 languages. In September, Jon will give the keynote speech at the annual convention of the Orthodox Church, in St Petersburg. Wikipedia
Prof. Rod Dubrow-Marshall – Ph.D, MBPsS is Professor of Psychology and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Derby. He is a graduate member of the British Psychological Society, Chair of the Research Committee and Network of the International Cultic Studies Association, and co-Editor of the International Journal of Cultic Studies. In 2006 he was awarded The Herbert L. Rosedale Award, jointly with Dr. Paul Martin, for their psychological research on undue influence. Derby University Profile
Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall – Ph.D, MBACP (Accred.) is Research Co-Editor of ICSA Today and co- founder of RETIRN, a private practice offering services to those affected by cultic influence. She is Programme Leader of the MSc Applied Psychology (Therapies) Programme at the University of Salford, and is registered with the British Health Professions Council as a clinical and counselling psychologist. She is also a registered counsellor/psychotherapist with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Salford University (Manchester) profile