Steven Alan Hassan (born 1954) is an American mental health counselor who has written on the subject of mind control and how to help people who have been harmed by the experience. He has been helping people exit destructive cults since 1976. Hassan has appeared on the TV news programs 60 Minutes, Nightline, and Dateline, and is a published author and lecturer.
Hassan in 2012
|Born||1954 (age 64–65)|
|Occupation||Mental health counselor, specializing in destructive cults, Author, Lecturer|
|Subject||Psychology, mind control|
|Spouse||Misia Landau, Ph.D.|
Hassan is a former member of the Unification Church, and he founded Ex-Moon Inc. in 1979 before assisting with involuntary deprogrammings in association with the Cult Awareness Network. In 1999 Hassan developed what he describes as non-coercive methods to help members of cults to quit their groups.
Hassan became a member of the Unification Church in the 1970s, at the age of 19, while studying at Queens College. In his first book, Combatting Cult Mind Control (1988), he described his recruitment as the result of the unethical use of powerful psychological influence techniques by members of the Church. He spent over two years recruiting and indoctrinating new members, as well as fundraising and campaigning.
In 1979, following the Jonestown mass suicide and murders, Hassan founded a non-profit organization called "Ex-Moon Inc.". The organization consisted of over four hundred former members of the Unification Church.
Around 1980, Hassan began investigating methods of persuasion and approaches to therapy. He studied the thought reform theories of Robert Jay Lifton, and concluded that he was "able to see clearly that the Moon organization uses all eight" characteristics of thought reform as described by Lifton. Hassan also studied the work of Richard Bandler and John Grinder who developed Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), the works of Milton Erickson, Virginia Satir, and Gregory Bateson. Hassan's study of such sources helped him to develop his theories on mind control, counseling and intervention.
In his third book, Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs (2012), Hassan says his approach has evolved over the last 13 years and offers a more extensive bibliography. In addition, Hassan presents Lifton's and Singer's models alongside his own BITE model. The book has garnered a favorable review from Jerome Siegel, PhD, who says: "Its weakness is repetitiveness, flatness, and some theorizing that might turn off professional readers. Nonetheless, I recommend it highly for its intended audience." 
Hassan has spoken out against involuntary deprogramming since 1980. In Combatting Cult Mind Control, he stated that "the non-coercive approach will not work in every case, it has proved to be the option most families prefer. Forcible intervention can be kept as a last resort if all other attempts fail."
Michael Langone has questioned Hassan's "humanistic counseling approach." Langone suggests that Hassan's intervention method "runs the risk of imposing clarity, however subtly" and "thereby manipulating the client."
- Combatting Cult Mind Control, 1988. ISBN 0-89281-243-5 — reissued 1990 (ISBN 978-0-89281-311-7) and 2015 (Combating ..., ISBN 978-0967068824).
- Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves, 2000. ISBN 0-9670688-0-0.
- Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs, 2012. ISBN 978-0-9670688-1-7.
- "Data Mind Games". New York Magazine. New York Media Holdings. July 29, 1996. p. 52.
- Chryssides, G.D. and B.E. Zeller. 2014. The Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements: BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING.
- (notarized) Declaration of John M. Sweeney, Jr. on deprogramming and the Citizens Freedom Foundation. Maricopa County, Arizona. March 17, 1992.
- Combatting Cult Mind Control, Steven Hassan, 1998, Ch. 1, ISBN 0-89281-243-5
- Biography of Steven Hassan, Freedom of Mind Center
- Combatting Cult Mind Control, Steven Hassan, 1998, Ch. 2, ISBN 0-89281-243-5
- Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves, Ch. 2, Steven Hassan, FOM Press, 2000
- "Member Referral Search". asch.net. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
- "The International Society of Hypnosis". World News. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
- "Business Entity Summary for Freedom of Mind Resource Center, Inc". corp.sec.state.ma.us. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
- "Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs". Psych Central.com.
- Mind Warrior. New Therapist 24, March/April 2003.
- Hassan, Steven (1988). Combatting Cult Mind Control. ISBN 0-89281-243-5, p. 114
- Langone, Michael D, ed. (1995). Recovery from cults : help for victims of psychological and spiritual abuse (Norton paperback ed.). New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 9780393313215.
- Was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Brainwashed? Wall Street Journal Live Interview
- Radicalism and mind control NECN Interview
- Officials: Suspect claims they were self-radicalized on Internet CNN Erin Burnett OutFront Interview