A goldfish living in a bowl that is painted black on the outside will never know it lives in a bowl unless someone takes it out and shows it the rest of the world. Mindsets can be like that - locked into a `thinking box', unable to see outside because the web of beliefs is so all-encompassing.

Getting involved with a cultic group could be just that easy. In the USA alone there are an estimated 5,000 cults actively recruiting people of all ages, from all walks of life, at the rate of tens of thousands of new recruits every year. (from

  This is an article by Jan Groenveld on "Cultism in Action," 

 The Three Stages of Gaining Control of the Mind 

Remember, cult mind control does not erase the person's old identity, but rather creates a new one to suppress the old identity!!

I. Unfreezing
  A. Disorientation / confusion
  B. Sensory deprivation and/or sensory overload
  C. Physiological manipulation
        1. Sleep deprivation
        2. Privacy deprivation
        3. Change of diet
  D. Hypnosis
        1. Age regression
        2. Visualizations
        3. Story-telling and metaphors
        4. Linguistic double binds, use of suggestion
        5. Meditation, chanting, praying, singing
  E. Get person to question self identity
  F. Redefine individual's past (implant false memories, forget positive memories of the past)

II. Changing
   A. Creation and imposition of new "identity" done step by step
        1. Formally within indoctrination sessions
        2. Informally by members, tapes, books, etc.
    B. Use of Behavior Modification techniques
        1. Rewards and punishments
        2. Use of thought-stopping techniques
        3. Control of environment
    C. Mystical manipulation
    D. Use of hypnosis and other mind-altering techniques
        1. Repetition, monotony, rhythm
        2. Excessive chanting, praying, decreeing, visualizations
    E. Use of confession and testimonials

III. Refreezing
    A. New identity reinforced, old identity surrendered
        1. Separate from the past; decrease contact from friends and family
        2. Start doing cult activities: recruit, move in with members
    B. New name, new clothing, new hairstyle, new language, new family
    C. Pairing up with new role models, buddy system
    D. Indoctrination continues: Workshops, seminars, group activities

**REMEMBER: Some people are so confused and discontent with their daily life that a change of pace and a new outlook on life is all it takes – no matter how askew the point of view may happen to be!

[Adapted from Kurt Lewin's three-stage model as described in Coercive Persuasion (Norton, 1961) by Edgar Schein]

from (

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