Sunday Meeting - Steven Hassan: Undue Influence in The Digital Age: How to Protect Yourself and Others

Sunday, October 22, 2017 - 11:00am
Ceremonial Hall - 4th floor

Only you should be in control of your mind! To do so, you need to know yourself, know how the mind works, and how to be open to learn and grow but protect yourself from predators and cults.

Social Psychology, Neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence, data collection and profiling, covert hypnosis and NLP have ushered in an age of unprecedented capacity to influence billions of people the world over in moments. This talk will build on my two previous talks with a focus on understanding mind control, brainwashing and undue influence with a focus on what we as citizens can do to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and make positive, ethical social change to protect human rights, our freedom of mind and the planet.

Shared charity: Freedom From Undue Influence: A Division of the Non-Profit Dare Association.

Steven Hassan is an expert is helping people leave extremist and totalist organizations. He is himself a survivor of a cult experience, a recognized authority in the academic study of mind control, and a licensed mental health professional who has led hundreds of successful interventions with families and counseled over 1,000 survivors in their recovery process. Visit his website at

Despite growing up in a loving middle-class family, Hassan was recruited into a cult as a teenager and gave himself so fully to the cause that he was ready to commit acts of terrorism. After his family arranged a forced intervention that included counseling from former cult members, Hassan regained his “authentic self.”

Inspired to turn his harrowing experience into something positive, Hassan studied the psychological dynamics of indoctrination and radicalization. After learning from leading academics and practitioners, Hassan earned his MED in counseling psychology and founded the Freedom of Mind Resource Center. The organization publishes guides and provides counseling support for families seeking to help loved ones leave a coercive and abusive environment.

Over the course of four decades, Hassan has led hundreds of interventions across the United States as well as Lebanon, Canada, Australia, Europe, and Central America. Drawing on those experiences, he has authored several books, including Combating Cult Mind Control and Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults & Beliefs.

Hassan has lectured at leading universities, including Harvard, Yale, MIT, and Stanford. He has appeared on 60 Minutes, NPR, CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and the BBC, and has been quoted in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. He has trained law enforcement officials (such as FBI, DHS, and police chiefs) and been featured in the FBI Bulletin and American Psychological Association Monitor.

Alongside experts such as Madeleine Albright, Hassan participated in an Aspen Institute special conference on “Countering the ISIS Message.” He was a featured speaker at the U.S. Department of Justice’s 2009 National Amber Alert Symposium. He also served as co-developer of “Ending the Game,” a curriculum designed to empower sex trafficking victims to leave pimps and traffickers.

Hassan brings deep experience to the field of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), infusing an emphasis on the complex psychological factors driving radicalization and the important support role families play in helping de-radicalize loved ones. The goal of his interventions is to help the radicalized individual regain their “authentic self,” prevent violence, and offer a means of reintegration into a free society.