From Academic Kids

The article is excessively long. Many deprogrammers served prison terms for this activity, so it is strange that their opinions are quoted in length, but the fact that this is not lawful is somehow omitteed. Will restore the balance when have time.


Derogatory words

Removed words like "cultist". When I have time, I will add more info. Especially interesting practices among deprogrammers were raping their "clients" and forcible injection of drugs. That is why many were indicted, not because "interventions" were "unsuccessful". CAN tried to combat it by issuing a "code of conduct" that forbade having sex with the "clients", drugging them etc and indroduced a new term "exit counselling" so that to distance itself from crimes. But some exit counselors continued to do that, that's why the CAN went bankrupt as a result. It had nothing to do with Scientology. I will add this information later.


while preventing the person from choosing incorrectly is a contradiction in terms.. as is the phrase you can have any color as long as it's black. who has the authority to say to someone what is an incorrect choice unless, in the opinion of the court, the person is a danger to themself and others? -- anonymous

I happened to meet Lorne Fyvie's sister when she came to Boston to deprogram Lorne. To make a long story short, Lorne eventually got away from the deprogrammers and informed me that Steve Hassan was present during some of the sessions.

If helping a kidnapper makes one an "accessory", what does this make Hassan? Anyway, I'm not sure the Wikipedia should take my word for it so if anyone reverts I won't complain. --Uncle Ed 22:41 Feb 14, 2003 (UTC)

Can anyone repair this paragraph?

Fringe organizations (who resist the use of the term "cult") often describe the practice as "forced deprogramming." Literature put out by these organizations may describe such methods as incarceration, physical restraint, and even "shock therapy" (ECT) as common methods of deprogramming, though most deprogramming sessions usually involve lengthy sessions with one or more counselors.

What's a "fringe organization"? What's all this about "describing the practice as forced"? And the argument about "may describe as...though usually involves a counselor" makes it sound like the person volunteered. This smacks of POV from a deprogramming advocate. --Uncle Ed

Ed, your accusation against Steve Hassan is a very serious one -- something that probably shouldn't be brought up on Wikipedia, because of the potential trouble it could cause. There's a statement on proof which states that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof," and this statement certainly seems valid here. Being "told by someone" that he took part in a deprogramming could easily be considered hearsay, or libel. Let's not go down that road. --Modemac 17:00 21 May 2003 (UTC)

I am not accusing Mr. Hassan of anything. He has admitted taking part in deprogrammings that took place 30 years ago. Also, Miss Fyvie told me that Hassan was present during the later incident. Anyway, the following paragraph needs revision:

(Steve Hassan, author of the book Combatting Cult Mind Control, is a counselor often accused of being a "deprogrammer" by such organizations as the Unification Church and Scientology. He states that he took part in a number of deprogrammings in the late 1970s, but he no longer approves of the practice and has not participated in any deprogrammings since then. He is one of the major proponents of exit counseling as a form of intervention therapy, and he refers to his method as "strategic intervention therapy.")

I don't know about Scientology accusations, but the idea that the Unification Church "often" accuses Hassan of being a deprogrammer is incorrect. All our public pronouncements about Mr. Hassan describe him (correctly) as a former deprogrammer.

I think the issue is not a matter of who did what, but rather is deprogamming good or bad? From the mid-1970s though the 1980s, many people thought deprogrammaing was necessary to "save" people from cults, especially the UC. In the last 5 or 10 years, deprogramming has been discredited and pretty much died out as a threat to religious liberty (at least in the US).

I have a lot of legal information about deprogramming, if anyone's interested... --Uncle Ed 14:41, 7 Aug 2003 (UTC)

From the article:

Organizations accused of engaging in mind control (who resist the use of the term "cult" -- see list of purported cults) often describe the practice as "forced deprogramming." Literature put out by these organizations may describe such methods as incarceration, physical restraint, and even "shock therapy" (ECT) as common methods of deprogramming, though most deprogramming sessions usually involved lengthy sessions with one or more counselors.

The above seems designed to pre-emptively disprove the POV of "cults" and exonerate the POV of "deprogrammers". Let's find a way to describe the conflicting POVs neutrally.

(I think this is the second time I've moved the same paragraph...) --Uncle Ed 15:41, 30 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Proponents of deprogramming often have downplayed its coercive aspects, decribing the sessions as involving "counseling".

Opponents of deprogramming have collected 100s of sworn depositions from people who swore that they were captured by surprise and taken by force to undisclosed locations and prevented from contacting friends, lawyers or their own doctors. --Uncle Ed 16:16, 30 Sep 2003 (UTC)

ExitControl, where are the references for your assertions about rape? Thanks in advance. Andries 20:31, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC) Sorry for not providing links in the first place, but you will surely find enough by googling: "deprogramming"+"rape". To my knowledge, there wasn't much reported facts, but take into account the CAN professional conduct code for exit counsellors that specifically forbade forcible injection of illegal drugs, alcohol intoxication and rapes. - ExitControl

deprogramming terminology

  • deprogram
  • deprogrammer
  • deprogramming - refer to getting someone to agree to leave an NRM, a process usually initiated by their parents (even when the target person is an adult)
  • forcible deprogramming
  • involuntary deprogramming - when the target person does NOT censent to the process

The term deprogramming can refer to the process (whether voluntary or not), or specifially to involuntary, forcible deprogramming.

  • Exit counseling USU. refers to voluntary sessions of this type, but not always.

I think Wikipedia should either develop a standard, or take pains to use unambiguous phraseology

Phrases that can't be misinterpreted:

  • forcible deprogramming - person is held against their will and subject to the process even though they don't want it
  • involuntary deprogramming - person is subject to the process even though they don't want it
  • voluntary exit counseling - person agrees to the process

Not the the "voluntary" process is almost always initiated by the relatives of the target person, and OFTEN involves an element of deception and/or surprise: a sudden, unexpected "intervention", or "set-up". -- Uncle Ed (talk) 04:37, Mar 13, 2005 (UTC)

My impression it that deprogramming rarely happened in Europe. Is this true? If so, can we write it? Also, I am not happy with non-scholarly references and quotes (Bernie)Andries 07:27, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I dunno, so excuse me if I change the subject; I just had a brain flash. -- Uncle Ed (talk) 21:25, Mar 17, 2005 (UTC)

What it all boils down to

Deprogrammers say that cults use (1) deception and (2) coercive emotional manipulation to get people to join and stay. Therefore, they argue, the only way to get people out of cults is to "fight fire with fire" and use deception and emotional manipulation. And while they're at it, why not take advantage of physical force (like kidnapping people and locking them up)?

Religious believers generally say that religious conversion does not (or need not) result from lies and tricks like that. The Unification Church in particular seeks out "prepared people", ones who are already searching and receptive. They gradually unfold the complex teachings and hope the person will recognize the truth and join.

Deprogrammers reply, "No way that it could be so simple! People don't quit jobs or careers in a matter of days, just because of some idea. There must be something fishy about it."

Parents say, "We couldn't have failed them so badly." (They would lose face if they conceded that someone else knew what was better for their kids.)

The inductee himself is given the ultimate cop out: "Just say you were a victim of mind control, and all will be forgiven. We'll all blame the cult, and you'll be welcomed back with open arms!" -- Uncle Ed (talk) 21:25, Mar 17, 2005 (UTC)

It is so transparent, Ed... pity that some people don't see it that way... --Zappaz 02:22, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Open issues

Degree of force (and terminology)

Various parties have emphasized or glossed over the degree of force used in deprogramming. And some seek to distinguish between forcible and "voluntary" deprogramming.

Hassan and Fefferman both want to use deprogramming only for forcible interventions, preferring the term exit counseling for interventions wherein the target is not physically restrained or trapped. (Leaving aside the issue of emotional manipulation, of course - see coercive persuasion).

Element of surprise

We need to distinguish between the competency hearings of the 1930s and conservatorships - for the "legal" deprogrammings. In a competency hearing, the target could be represented by counsel, call witnesses, etc. With a conservatorship, as far as I know a judge would grant rights to a person's family to cart him off for deprogramming but without (a) informing the person that a conservatorship had been requested or (b) giving the person any chance to defend himself against it.

Interestingly, the "non-forcible" deprogramming technique also relies on the element of suprprise. In this kind of intervention, families are cautioned not to reveal any of the plans until the day before (or even the morning of) the intervention. -- Uncle Ed (talk) 21:18, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

Yikes! --Zappaz 21:41, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)

This article is biased

I just happened upon it, and found it extremely one-sided: from the article itself and this discussion page, the article is clearly one person's attempt to smear and destroy the concept of 'cult' to eliminate it as a threat to their own religious beliefs. Furthermore, by linking to this from other articles, the credibility of those articles is severely compromised, nullifying the painstaking efforts of many people at presenting knowledge backed by hard facts and/or careful thought -- both of which are glaringly missing in this article.


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