Archive for the 'Torture' Category

Feb 05 2013

“Personal Growth Weekends”, Cults, and How They Use Recruitment as a Strategy for Survival and Profit

Cults…I talk a lot about the Yearning for Zion Ranch (YFZ Ranch) and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), but what are some of the characteristics of a cult?

Keeping it simple, it’s an organization of narcissistically driven (usually) men who use a variety of methods to manipulate and exploit vulnerable people.

Here are the essential characteristics of a cult:

  • mind control…use of bizarre religious or secular ideas to enforce the obedience of followers
  • emotional disclosure…participants are encouraged to disclose private, emotionally important information…while the leaders do not share emotional information with the larger group
  • recruitment…participants are encouraged/expected to go out and recruit others to join the cult organization using deceptive and manipulative tactics
  • restriction from all outside ideas and influences ( no radio, television, computer/internet, newspapers)
  • claims that the outside world is evil and will lead to the death or damnation of anyone who betrays the cult
  • participants are manipulated to believe that they can not survive without all the cult offers them
  • participants may also be physically and sexually abused, in addition to the pervasive emotional abuse
  • intimidation by threatening to harm others or animals, especially pets, like a pet white rat, a rabbit, puppy or kitten
  • leaders are a few men who directly benefit from the cult by abuse, manipulation, threat of harm, sexual control of women and intricate financial arrangements
  • methods during the activities include various rituals, guided imagery, psychodrama, native american spirituality, sweat lodges, and over-simplified and out of context psychological ideas
  • key to all these experiences is the claim they can “change your life”
  • marketing literature will often claim the programs are based on science, but they don’t mean research. These claims are often followed by non researched based psychological ideas, such as those of Carl Jung (the shadow and persona in personality archetypes)
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Nov 13 2011

Penn State and the Catholic Church

Examining the religious right wing activism defending catholic clergy sex abusers and the response of the church, it’s pretty easy to understand why Joe Paterno didn’t do anything to protect the children being raped by Jerry Sandusky.

He’s Joe Paterno and probably feels entitled to do whatever he wants, just like Bill Donohue, Bishop Finn of Kansas City, the catholic pope, and the entire catholic church hierarchy.
Bill Donohue, Executive Director of Catholic League Center for Religious and Civil Rights,

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Jan 20 2011

Scope of the Child Abuse Problem in America

The numbers of children abused in America each year are staggering.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services estimates 879,000 children were victims of child maltreatment in 2000. Of this total, 63% of the children were neglected, 19% were physically abused, 10% were sexually abused and 8% were psychologically abused.

I think we all have to agree it’s easier to ignore or deny the estimate that 87,900 children may be sexually abused in our country each year.

How do we wrap our minds around these very high numbers of children abused and neglected?

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Jan 20 2011

Psychologists and Lawyers Facing Professional and International Legal Action for Their Participation in the United States Torture Program

The United Nations Convention Against Torture  define torture as:“any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”

Mental health professionals, especially psychologists, have been grappling with the realization that licensed psychologists were involved in the design and implementation of the US torture program.
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Nov 05 2009

Colleen Conaway: Committed Suicide While Attending a James Ray Seminar in San Diego

Read about it here.

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Nov 05 2009

Mickey Reynolds: Caught Up in the James Ray “Movement” As a “Coach and Team Leader” and How Ray Betrayed His Trust

A video of Reynolds talking about his gullibility and feelings of betrayal by James Arthur Ray. Watch it here.

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Nov 05 2009

James Arthur Ray: Read His Smug, Hostile and Ignorant Views Toward Welfare and Health Care Reform and His Message of Extreme Personal Accountability for Everyone Else

Read his article here.

If you carefully evaluate the structure of his words and sentences, you will see that he is appealing to the ultra conservative, wealthy Americans who probably hate people on welfare.

Ray takes some very, very cheap shots at people on welfare, as well as people who are sick, need healthcare, or obese.

To him, these are all lazy people

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Nov 05 2009

Attachment, Psychological Influence and Mind Control

Would you stay in a sweat lodge where people around you are vomiting, passing out, and you are beginning to feel yourself losing consciousness?

It’s easy for us to say “no”, but people just as smart as us did not out in Arizona. Three of them died, and almost half of the other participants became very ill.

Mind control. These people weren’t taken into a room and hypnotized. They still had the ability to think and make decisions.

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Nov 05 2009

Preventable Sweat Lodge Deaths: The Ethical and Legal Problems of James Arthur Ray, Self-Help Guru

You may know by now the police are treating the three deaths in the Arizona sweat lodge led by James Arthur Ray as homicides.

Ray is not a licensed therapist of any kind, so he did not have the help of any professional ethical code to guide his behavior.

Whether he will ultimately be viewed as a huckster operating a sweat lodge wildly out of control or a thoughtful professional who led an experience where three people were killed accidentally remains to be seen.

There seems to be a lot of evidence right now pointing to the former possibility. Here are just a few of the ethical principals (see NASW Code Ethics) he may have violated:

  • Helping people in need to solve problems
  • Respect for the integrity and worth of human beings
  • Acting with integrity and competence as a professional

Also, here are a few ethical standards which he may have violated:

  • Commitment to the well-being of clients
  • Provide full explanation of services so client can make an informed decision about their participation
  • Competence in whatever service offered as demonstrated by completion of educational, training, and professional experience

Based on the information gathered from police, participants, James Arthur Ray and his

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Jun 20 2009

Roy Eidelson, PhD., No Place to Hide: Torture, Psychologists, and the APA


There are many psychologists and other behavioral health professionals concerned about the use of torture by the United States during the last decade. For a 10 minute video by Roy Eidelson, PhD., President-Elect, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, summarizing these concerns, click here.

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