International Journal of Coercion, Abuse, and Manipulation (IJCAM) 

Vo. 3, (2022). Published August 8, 2022

DOI: 10.54208/1000/0003/001 

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The Theory That Won't Go Away: An Updated Review of the Role Hypnosis Plays in Mind Control

Steve K. D. Eichel


Over the years, hypnosis has been a central feature in descriptions of the process of behavior and attitude change that occurs in high-demand groups (HDGs, or cults). Cult specialist and mental-health counselor Steven Hassan (1989, 2000, 2014) has talked and written extensively about this process. In August 2000, Dr. Arthur Dole chaired a symposium at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA) entitled Can Hypnosis Explain Cult Conversion? Evidence From Science and Practice, which included a number of experts in the field (Dole et. al., 2000). In contrast to the premise suggested by these references, Spanish psychologist Jose Fernández Aguado (2015), in a provocative article entitled “Psychological Manipulation, Hypnosis, and Suggestion,” questioned the ability of hypnosis to induce people to engage in behaviors in ways they would not otherwise execute “out of” hypnosis.