Hassan in 2019
|Born||1954 (age 64–65)|
|Occupation||Mental health counselor (specializing in destructive cults), Author, Lecturer|
|Subject||Psychology, mind control|
|Spouse||Misia Landau, Ph.D.|
Steven Alan Hassan pronounced (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 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.[disputed ] 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.
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."
In 1995, Michael Langone questioned Hassan's "humanistic counseling approach." Langone suggested that Hassan's intervention method "runs the risk of imposing clarity, however subtly" and "thereby manipulating the client."
In August 2018, Steve delivered a TEDx talk on technology and mind control at TEDxBeaconStreet Salon, resulting in a standing ovation from the live audience.