Michael Langone, Ph.D. on manipulative methods used by spiritual abusers
From "Cults and Mind Control" on the ICSA Website:
What is Mind Control?
Mind control (also known as "brainwashing," "coercive persuasion," and "thought reform") refers to a process in which a group or individual systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator(s). Such methods include the following:
- extensive control of information in order to limit alternatives from which members may make "choices"
- group pressure
- intense indoctrination into a belief system that denigrates independent critical thinking and considers the world outside the group to be threatening, evil, or gravely in error an insistence that members’ distress-much of which may consist of anxiety and guilt subtly induced by the group-can be relieved only by conforming to the group
- physical and/or psychological debilitation through inadequate diet or fatigue the induction of dissociative (trance-like) states via the misuse of meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, and other exercises in which attention is narrowed, suggestibility heightened, and independent critical thinking weakened
- alternation of harshness/threats and leniency/love in order to effect compliance with the leadership’s wishes isolation from social supports pressured public confessions