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Steven A Hassan PhD


Steven Hassan, Ph.D., a mental health professional, cult, and undue influence expert, has been working in the field of relationship, group, and political cults for over 47 years.

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Dr. Hassan's expertise includes undue influence in cases of destructive one-on-one relationships, families, parental alienation, mini-cults, religious cults, therapy and self-improvement cults, professional abuse, institutional abuse, human trafficking, and hate and violent extremism. He writes and speaks out about the importance of viewing terrorist groups as destructive cults. The author of several books and peer reviewed published papers, his most recent book is The Cult of Trump. Other books include Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue and Recovery from Destructive Cults, 30th Anniversary Edition, and Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults and Beliefs. His current online courses include Understanding Cults: A Foundational Course, Understanding Cults: A Foundational Course for Clinicians (with 9 APA CE credits), and a Recovery After Mormonism Workshop (with Dr. John Dehlin).

In 1974, at the age of 19, Dr. Hassan was recruited into the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon. After more than two years, his family successfully deprogrammed him from the cult. This experience led him to his work helping save others caught by the predatory influence of cult leaders and gives him a unique personal perspective on the process of freeing the human mind from the effects of undue influence on individuals, families, and society.

Dr. Hassan holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Cambridge College and a Doctorate in Organizational Development and Change from Fielding Graduate University School of Leadership Studies. He is a member of the Program in Psychiatry and the Law at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hassan is an experienced educator, having served as an instructor for the Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop, as a presenter in the course Spirituality, Religion and Psychiatry in the Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Training Program, as a repeat presenter of Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Grand Rounds, and in other educational and training capacities for higher education, professional, law enforcement, governmental, non-governmental and advocacy group audiences.

Hassan has done extensive keynote speaking, training, and media appearances, including TEDx talks such as "Is Technology Controlling Your Mind" and "Dismantling QAnon."

He is the Founding Director of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center, which provides training, consulting, and support to individuals who are struggling to leave a cult, and to families and organizations that are concerned about cult behaviors. He developed the Strategic Interactive Approach (SIA), as an effective and legal intervention alternative for families to help cult members, the BITE (Behavior, Information, Thought, Emotional) Model of Authoritarian Control, and the Influence Continuum model.

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