Are you getting together with family this Thanksgiving? Are you WORRIED because some of these family members have extreme/irrational beliefs?

If you're interested and invested in learning HOW to help these family members OUT of these extreme beliefs, this thread is for you! 👍

1. Start with YOU. Do your homework. Research cults and mind control. My books are a great comprehensive guide, but my website is also filled with fabulous (free) information.
2. Realize that helping a person will be a process requiring patience, effort, flexibility, & love. Arguing or debating doesn’t work. Criticizing the leader, doctrine or policy makes people feel persecuted. Assisting people to reevaluate requires a different communication toolkit
3. If possible, try to understand their value system and motivations. What are their values? Are they concerned with “safety,” “tradition,” “fiscal responsibility?” Though you likely will disagree with them, try to get “inside” WHY they believe the things that they believe.
4. Build rapport and trust. For you to be effective, the person you wish to assist must TRUST you. If your relationship is fractured, before attempting to employ any of my suggested methods for a Strategic Interactive Approach, work to first rebuild your relationship...
If you were the one to break contact, apologize. Reach out and be warm. Focus on common values & areas you both enjoy (children, pets, sports, cars, etc). Agree to both avoid controversial topics. Just try to connect with the other person and have positive warm interactions.

1. Pretend you are an impartial therapist. Good therapists listen and don’t react when their client says something outrageous yet they are able to still push and ask thought-provoking questions. Step into this role! This is the mindset you want to embody.
2. Adopt a general tone of curiosity & interest in their positions. Communicate that you have NO intention to debate. You just want to “interview” and understand how they tick. Make it fun. Act like an inquisitive (impartial) reporter who only wants to understand what they think.
3. Keep conversations positive, productive, and civil. Never get angry. Stay resourceful. It is better to end the interaction than to get upset and say something counter-productive.
4. Try to connect them with their authentic identity. Remind them of the good times you had together before their extreme beliefs. Try to take them back in time (through telling old stories, etc.) to the person they were before these new extreme beliefs.
5. Ask thought-provoking questions while being warm and curious. Be prepared to listen deeply. You will know if you have listened well if you can repeat back to them what they said. Be humble and open to hearing what they say.
6. Share feelings and perceptions, not judgments. Use “I feel” statements. Don’t claim to be “right.” Stick to what your perception is when reflecting back to them.
7. Make your goal understanding, not “winning.” Conversations should never be competitive or about scoring “points.”
8, Don’t “tell” them anything. The best way to persuade someone is to help them to persuade themselves. Help them make discoveries on their own.
9. Understand their value system and make gentle suggestions if you notice inconsistencies. Kindness doesn’t mean you can’t push or ask questions or point out inconsistencies in their positions. Just be sure to do so in a way that doesn’t cause them to completely tune you out!
10. Don’t stage interventions in front of other people who haven’t done the preparation you have. There’s nothing worse than finally making progress with your loved one and having someone on the outside getting defensive and derailing the whole conversation!
11. Try to get them to look at reality from many different perspectives. Hypothetical questions where they embody a belief they don’t have is good practice. Model this by doing this yourself with their belief.
12. Teach them about indoctrination and mind control using examples they have NO attachment to, help them to discover that the manipulative techniques they decry with cults like Scientology are strikingly similar to techniques practiced by the cult they follow.
13. Remember, more facts don’t always help. Do not overwhelm them with information, especially if it attacks the leader or doctrine.
14. Ask a question and then wait for them to think and respond. You do not need to FILL silence. Pauses are where the thinking happens.
15. Lead by example. Model this technique for your other family members. Encourage others to keep the conversation positive if you see things going astray.

And that's it! This is just an abridged guide-for a FULL guide, my book "Freedom of Mind" is key-but this should help.
If you want to read all of these tips in ONE place, I put them all together in my latest blog. 👍…

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More from @CultExpert

25 Nov
One of the best ways to AVOID hot topics and concurrently build rapport are conversation starters!

I've compiled some fun ones you can use at the Thanksgiving table today:
-What does your PERFECT day look like?
-If you could instantly become an expert in anything, what would it be?
-If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
-If you had a time machine for just one day, what would you do with it?
-What is your best memory over the last year and why?
- If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you choose and why?
-What’s one thing you can’t live without?
-What’s your favorite movie of all time? Why?
-What about your favorite book? Why?
Read 7 tweets
22 Nov
Joe Rogan recently did a podcast with Alex Jones & others and said the media response to the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict is proof of a "left-wing cult."

I want to first say to @joerogan that I WELCOME this conversation! I've been on Joe's show before & enjoyed the discourse.

I would love to know the CRITERIA that Joe is using to make this assessment.

When studying cults, we look at several factors to make this determination. We look at the leader, the structure of the organization, and how individuals are treated (see my influence continuum)... Image
We also look at the specific set of methods and techniques leaders and groups use to determine if they are indeed controlling peoples' minds. This is what my BITE model speaks to... ImageImageImageImage
Read 8 tweets
19 Nov
Undue influence isn't JUST about cults.

Undue influence is any act of persuasion that overcomes the free will & judgment of another person.

An area of undue influence of particular concern to me is the undue influence of children exerted by a parent...against the OTHER parent.
Experts in the field refer to this as "Parental Alienation." Common behaviors include:

-Bad mouthing the parent to the child.
-Encouraging a child to call the targeted parent by their first name.
-Sharing inappropriate information (even if it’s true) about the targeted parent.
I became more familiar with this topic from Dr. Amy J.L. Baker. Dr. Baker has a PhD in developmental psychology and is an expert on parental alienation. She has authored or co-authored 9 books and 120 articles and provides training to legal and mental health professionals.
Read 11 tweets
18 Nov
I often get accused of being a "liberal activist" because I've said Donald Trump is a cult leader, but the people who say this don't know my work.

Today, on the 43rd anniversary of Jonestown, it's important to remember that Jim Jones & the People's Temple were a LEFT WING CULT!
Jones studied and promoted racial harmony, Marxist theory, praised communism, and other ideas that today we would construe as "leftist."

But ideology isn't the thing we should look at. We should look at the BEHAVIORS of the group and how the leader acts.
And on EVERY one of these fronts, Donald Trump fits the psychological profile of a cult leader and shares traits with Jim Jones.
Read 4 tweets
18 Nov
Today is the anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre.

On this day, 43 years ago, 912 people (including 300+ children) died from drinking cyanide laced fruit punch because their cult leader ordered them to.

See that sign in the background? Let's take a closer look...👇
This sign hung above where Jim Jones used to sit when he would lecture. A malignant narcissist, Jones saw himself as a modern-day Jesus who said the government was trying to "crucify" him. 🙄

But I see this sign as a reminder for something else. I see it as a reminder for TODAY.
Though we might think we've learned these lessons, I'm not sure we have. Today-as in Jonestown-we have large swaths of our population that are being swayed by a malignant narcissist cult leader.

So today, on the anniversary of this very sad event, here is my ask:
Read 4 tweets
11 Nov
Today on #VeteransDay, I want to post a message that will likely be a little different than most Veterans Day messages. :)

This message is both for veterans and friends and families of veterans....
First off, THANK YOU to everyone who's served. Your sacrifice should never be minimized. My hope is that all veterans get the care & attention they deserve. 🙏

Veteran suicide is still a big problem and many vets deal with persistent healthcare challenges from the VA.
We need to remedy these issues and understand the TRAUMA that veterans deal with. Whether it be the trauma of war, the trauma of losing a friend, or the trauma of dealing with recurring injury, veterans go through a lot.

Veterans are also susceptible to undue influence.
Read 7 tweets

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