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Group Psychodynamics and CULTS






Robert Berkow, M.D.. Editor-in-Chief

Andrew J. Fletcher, M.B., B.Chir., Assistant Editor

Editorial Board

Philip K. Bondy, M.D.
L. Jack Faling, M.D.
Alvan R. Feinstein, M.D.
Eugene P. Frenkel, M.D.
Robert A. Hoekelman, M.D.
Robert G. Petersdorf, M.D.
Fred Plum, M.D.
John Romano, M.D.
G. Victor Rossi Ph.D.
John H. Talbott, M.D.
Paul H. Tans r, M.D.

Published by


Division of


Rahway, N.J.


Ch. 136	Group Psychodynamics (page) 1467

Margaret T. Singer. Ph.D.
Professor. Department of Psychology. University
of California. Berkeley; Professor. Department of
Psychiatry, University Of California. San Francisco

Group Psychodynamics


The processes of influence that "occur among individuals, the interactional structures that emerge and the impact that these group processes have upon individual personality functioning.

The Learning of Behavior

We five in the most rapidly changing and complex environment that has ever existed. To cope daily with many and complex social judgments, we often rely on automatic, learned responses. However. because no one person has the knowledge and experience to deal with every decision that arises we allow our behavior to be influenced at times by others and by what is happening around us. Since we are social creatures - born dependent on others. living our lives interacting with others-we are prepared for group living by learning the language, demeanor, beliefs, attitudes, cultural norms, and social values of those around us.

Social behavior reflects both conscious and unconscious learning. presumably through 4 prime modes:

(1) Observational learning (modeling). in which we watch others behavior and then copy it.

(2) Classical (Pavlovian; respondent) conditioning, in which the pairing of a conditioned stimulus (bell) with an unconditioned stimulus (meat powder) elicits an unconditioned response (salivation). Repetition produces a conditioned reflex in which the bell alone elicits the salivation.

(3) Operant (Skinnerian; instrumental) conditioning. where learning occurs as a consequence of reinforcement. (If response is reinforced, its frequency will increase; if it it is punished, its frequency will decrease.)

(4) Cognitive social learning; ie. thoughts, feelings, images, and memories -- the person's inner experiences - are crucial factors in learning.

Recently, theories of learning have become more interactional, seeing acquired or inherited behavior. internal cognitive factors, and environmental influences operating as reciprocal determinants of each other (ie, behavior affects the environment and cognitions; cognitions affect the environment and behavior; and the environment influences behavior and cognitions).

Page 1468 Psychiatric Disorders

Modifying Behavior

Historically, the power of certain persons to dramatically influence others was considered supernatural; ie, the influencer was a magician or witch with secret potions, and arcane knowledge, or had godlike qualities. Some people have always attained compliance and influence through coercion, brutality. or the wielding of religious, political, or financial power.

Compliance is produced by 3 general methods of persuasion - reason. coercion or subterfuge - used singly or in various combinations; and these can be roughly arranged on an imaginary continuum. At the left end are those efforts to persuade that are characterized by reason and open exchange. in which each side looks at all the evidence and attempts to persuade the other. This is the approved method in a democratic society. Moving across the continuum. varying amounts of pressure are applied by the persuader to have his opinion prevail; eg. forms of advertising are followed by propaganda. At the far right end of the continuum would be placed fascism in Germany and Italy under Hitler and Mussolini and in the USA. the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi organizations. Here also are the cultic groups in which the persuader resorts to social, psychologic. or physical coercion. Since coercive methods make the process of persuasion obvious, subterfuge often is used. The persuader tries to keep his subject unaware of the intention to elicit compliance and less than fully aware of being moved along a preplanned course of action.

We are all influenced to some extent by advertising. or find ourselves "going along with the group" without realizing how influenced we are by merely being in a crowd (eg. at a rock concert or sporting event), or how our behavior is swayed by a political orator. But there is an almost universal uneasiness about admitting that one is persuaded or influenced by other persons to any marked extent. Such thoughts mobilize unacceptable feelings of powerlessness and dependency. Most persons like to think that their own minds and thought processes. their opinions. values. and ideas, are inviolate and totally self regulated although "other persons** may be weak-minded and easily influenced.

Vulnerability to persuasion tactics: Everyone is influenced and persuaded daily in various ways, but the vulnerability to influence varies. The ability to fend off persuaders is reduced when one is rushed, stressed. uncertain. lonely. indifferent. uninformed, distracted. or fatigued. Alternatively a person with a sense of clarity and sureness about his own beliefs and values. with a feeling of being embedded in meaningful relationships with other persons. and with a sense of having a role in life that gives him support is much less likely to be vulnerable to persuasion.

Also affecting vulnerability are the status and power of the persuader. Further. certain persons and groups have been termed "compliance professionals" - high pressure salespersons, con artists. advertisers, fund raisers. and other people who have become skillful at employing some fundamental psychologic principles that underlie the influence process.


(Thought Reform Programs; Intense Indoctrination Programs; Intense Resocialization Programs; New Age Groups; New Movement Groups)

Groups with religious, political, psychologic, and other ideologies at their core, which almost universally offer as their central theme a special new psychologic awareness handed down by an indisputable and arbitrary authority that uses the technic of thought reform (intense indoctrination or resocialization, coercive persuasion brainwashing -ie, the systematic manipulation of social and psychologic influence distinguished from other forms of social learning by the conditions under which it is conducted and by the technics of environmental and interpersonal manipulation employed to suppress certain behavior and to train others).

The views of cults range from new psychologic theories of conduct sold commercially as training programs, to indoctrinations about religious beliefs, philosophies, politics. and health and eating practices. The groups vary in content, but appear to share certain contextual social and psychologic traits. Several million persons (in the USA, greater than 3 million young people) in the past decade have participated in cultic group experiences.

Most culls reject modern medicine. even considering physicians as enemies because the leaders usually do not want to relinquish any control over their followers. However, physicians receive requests for help from persons traumatized by their cult experiences, or from relatives of cult members puzzled by what his happened. Understanding the social and psychologic features of group influences and their effects on individuals can help in responding to these requests and obtaining assistance from other knowledgeable persons.

Worldwide examples of intense indoctrination experiences in the past 50 yr highlight how easily human conduct can be manipulated under certain circumstances. During the Russian purge trials in the 1930s men were maneuvered into both falsely confessing and falsely accusing. The early 1950s saw the effects of the revolutionary universities in China; an entire nation was subjected to a thought reform program in which millions were induced to espouse new philosophies and exhibit new conduct through psychologic. social, and political coercion technics. In the Korean War. United Nations prisoners of war were subjected to an indoctrination program based on methods growing out of the Chinese thought reform program and combined with other social and psychologic influence technics. At that time the term brainwashing was introduced into our vocabulary. Since there were no Turkish-speaking brainwashers available. Turkish prisoners of war were left to themselves and hence acquired the reputation of being resistant to brainwashing.

Later, the world was shocked by Charles Manson's influence and control over a small group of middle-class young Californians whom be sent out on a murderous rampage. Soon after. the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), a small self-styled revolutionary group in California, kidnapped Patricia Hearst and manipulated and controlled her behavior to the extent that she appeared with them in a bank robbery and feared returning to society. having been convinced by the SLA that the police and FBI would shoot her. By the mid 1970s thousands of families in the USA and Europe were beginning to be puzzled and alarmed as they saw the impact on their offspring of an array of mind manipulators. When Jim Jones led 912 followers to mass suicide in a Guiana jungle on November 18, 1978. attention was called dramatically to the extent of control one man could exert over his followers. Factors In Cult Development In the USA Throughout history cults have arisen when there have been breakdowns in societies' structures and rules. This kind of setting occurred in the USA during the social and political changes of the late sixties (breakdowns in family life, the sexual revolution, the drug culture, civil-rights protest matches, anti-Vietnam demonstrations, the - war itself. civil disobedience, and student rebellions). Cults that emerged tended to appeal primarily to the young. who felt disillusioned and estranged from their families and " the establishment." These cults offered father or god figures to youth needing such identification. Each self-appointed messiah claimed a simple solution for the complex problems of life and called for commitment, sacrifice, and zeal. Youth Communes flourished briefly but soon faded, for they did not provide the promised security. hope, and structure. Concomitantly. psychologic awareness, the consciousness expansion, and the human potential movement were strongly influencing our values. Youth were told that "mind trips" would bring nirvana. The first wave of cults drew heavily upon Eastern philosophies. in which meditation, yoga. and exotic practices were prominent. Soon these were supplanted by neo-Christian, political. and psychologically based groups.

Scientology: The Sickness Spreads (Readers Digest 1981) Scientology faces new charges of Harassment - 1988

Time Magazine - The Thriving Cult of Power and Greed - 1991

The Scientology Story LA Times - 1990

Superman Christopher Reeves bashes Scientology - 2003

Why it is worse than you think

Maragret Singer on George Orwell ( thanks to Jules Mac)

The "Not Me" Myth: Orwell and the Mind

"They envision Big Brother coming in storm-trooper boots, holding guns to heads and forcing persons to change their beliefs, alter their personalities, and accept new ideologies. Orwell drew on the wisdom of the ages -- most manipulation is subtle and covert. Orwell envisioned the evolution of an insidious, but successful mind and opinion manipulator. He would appear as a smiling, seemingly beneficent Big Brother. But instead of one Big Brother, we see hordes of Big Brothers in the world today.

Were George Orwell alive, he might be intrigued with the variety of situations in which mind-bending and thought manipulation techniques are applied today. His genius centered on seeing how language, not physical force would be used to manipulate minds. In fact the growing evidence in the behavioral sciences is that a smiling Big Brother has greater power to influence thought and decision-making that a visibly threatening person. As Orwell's last words in his prophetic book stated: "He loved Big Brother." "
-- Margaret Singer, Ph.D.

The "Not Me" Myth: Orwell and the Mind

On Mon, 24 Nov 2003 23:30:37 -0800,

On 24 Nov 2003 "arnie lerma -" wrote:

I have only spoken to Margaret Singer a couple times, she told me a great story about about being deposed by Moxon and Ingram using the 'suitable guise' of one of Gerry Armstrong's cases.

60 minutes on the telephone with her, left me feeling GREAT. It was one of the most uplifting experiences, far superior to anything in Scientology, comparable to skydiving....

She struck me as kind, gentle, smart as a whip, quick witted and tougher than nails.

Anyway, here is my Margaret Singer story...

She told me that she went to a big law firm in a high rise, and rose up in the elevator alone with Eugene Ingram. She said that she asked Eugene how much does Scientology pay you? and he replied $600,000 a year. (More on Eugene here: )

When she got into the conference room, there was the Unindicted co-conspirator in US vs Mary Sue Hubbard criminal case there..

Lawyer Kendrick Moxon, with Eugene Ingram ( the muscle ) and some other guy Im sorry i forgot the name .

Moxon started the deposition, Margaret Singer had turned her cushy swivel chair around and had been gazing out the glass walls of the conference room at the lovely view from the upper story window of the high rise office building that the big shot law firm was in, that the scientologists had hired.

Moxon said something like, "Ms. Singer, you need to turn around and look me in the eye when Im asking you a question"

Margaret Singer replied without hesitation or even turning around to glance at Moxon: "Mr. Moxon, please show me where, in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, it states that I have to be looking AT anything, while you are asking me questions"

She continued to gaze out at the lovely view.

One of the PI's started making a little noise, as he tried unsuccessfully to supress laughing out loud (LOL) AT Kendrick Moxon...

The deposition was concluded shortly thereafter....

End of story..

Arnie Lerma

See you when I get there Margaret, hope we have more time to talk, say hi to my mom, and Joe Harrington...meanwhile I'll just keep on trying to the best I can down here. and.thanks for being tough enough while still having compassion and thanks for teaching me and opening my eyes to what was going on. And thanks for helping out Phil Scott.

"Them that's not busy being born are busy dying" Bob Dylan

PS: Phil Scott - you want to tell your story of Margaret helping you out?

Phil: Sure...I've posted it a few times.

In 1999 after Brian Quigely the cult op and his pal Keith Chiles arranged to forge messages in my name and cancel my posts with forged cancels (admitted to by Quigley later...that was felony wire fraud.....90% of those posts, over 3000 of them since vetted from google...fortunately a few hundred remain in the courts hard copy record.)

Chiles (worked for my ISP and Bay Alarms a security company in the bay area) subsequently called the police in my area and said that I had threatened to commit suicide...the police arrived 30 minutes later and are required by law to put the person on a 72 hour hold in a mental they hauled me off half way through my budweiser and cheeze sandwich.

I called Grady Ward from the mental hospital and Grady called Arnaldo Lerma and Arnaldo called about 90 people world wide including Margaret Singer in Berkeley who just happened to be the hospital staff psychiatrist's professor when he was at UC Berkeley...Margaret called me and and mental hospital ...and the dear doctor, and filled them all in on issues related to the criminal cult of scientology... bless her heart, she talked with me for half an hour on the phone from the institutions pay phone.

The police switch board was jammed with calls filling them in on the criminal cult....the police dept switch board and the mental hospital switch boards lit up all that night, from about 7 pm to 10 am the next morning \

When I was first brought in they looked at me like another nut case and did thier interview...and I tried to explain that I had criticized scientology on the internet and that now the scientologists think I'm a Marcab from outer space out to destroy them...and in response had sent thugs after me to forge posts and lie to the police as was their usual and well published practices....

The psychiatric intake nurse was 100% sure at that point that she had a live one on her hands...and became very very patronizing.

I informed her and wrote across the top of the sign in form that I was not going to pay their bill, and declined also to be medicated. (a tricky little paragraph ...sign that baby and you can be forceably medicated...I told them that I would sue of I were medicated in any way.)

Finally I succeeded more or less in explaining to her that it was not me that was having trouble with the Marcabs but that it was the scientologists thus afflicted .....that helped but she remained ...errmm doubtful....since I was just another gentleman in hospital robe and slippers who needed a shave.

That was at 7 pm an hour after the police nabbed me......the hospital staff were referring to me as 'hey you' more or less at that 8 pm Arnaldo and Margaret had the phone lines burning up with expose' re Scientology to the staff at the mental hospital and the local PD station however.

I was now being called. Mr Scott ..."boy you sure have a lot of people interested in your welfare"..."we are getting calls from all over the world"... about 15 calls were put though to me also. (thank you one and all who called offering support and educating the nice folks at the mental hospital and the police dept on the issue of the cult of scientology tactics and methods for ruining their critics utterly).

By 9 pm I was being called 'sir' and asked if I needed more ice tea or if there was anything anyone could do for me....and the staff wanted to know what the deal with the scientology cult was.... so I filled them in with URL.s ...Arnaldo's and ....and got the orderlies in the TV monitoring room hooked to google.

One of the staff knew Attorney Ford Greene who called also... that made a huge difference in how I was treated and got the staff asking me more detailed questions about scientology and its tactics.

They remained thusly preoccupied... The other patients, some dear dear people btw, humble and shy..some terrified, one heavily sedated but sweet as they come asked me if i could get them some more ice cream from the locked freezer in the tv room.

The powers that be unlocked the freezer....this was about `10 pm... these wonderful people, very shyly and like they were stealing cookies ... gradually all got a few more ice creams for the evening.

My view on mental patients changed radically in the few hours I was with these people.

At 8am the next day one of the patients came to me as I was having breakfast... visibly upset...she had a lot on her mind. I asked her if she wanted to do a few drills that would help her get a perspective on what was going on in her life. These were drills I developed for hyperactive kids in Houston Tex (1993) and did a trial for two of Houstons finest educators (4 hyper active kids and their mothers, 12 hours over 5 days).

This young lady in the mental hospital and I did the drills for about 5 minutes and she brightened up, said she had come to see how she had become obsessed with some of the difficulties in her life...etc..and the drills don't even address such things directly..... She elaborated on what she had come to realize.... we finished and she walked away happy with a note I gave her on the drills.

As I was getting ready to leave two hours later she came by the door I was leaving from ...looked at me directly, with tears in her eyes and said .... thank you..she was clutching the piece of paper I gave her. .she had come a long way in a short time.

I was pronounced more or less sane at 10 am, if ever so faintly just a bit off dead center.... after spending the night in a room where the door locked itself as one slept and bathroom mirror was wavy plastic (not a good thing for a person that might be nutz you understand)...

The nice folk at the mental hospital tried to let me go while forgetting to give my $400 watch back and the $600 or so cash I had when admitted...a gentle reminder solved the problem. I fled by yellow cab at 10:30 am.... the first person to be released first thing in the morning instead of being held for the legally mandated 72 hour hold.

I called Arnaldo, and Margaret to thank them...the experience however with the lies and frame up and being hauled off by the police was took months to get back to normal and feel confident again.... being taken away forcefully is not good for a person. Yet another gift from the criminal cult of scientology.

That evening Brian Quigley called me at midnight to gloat... he had been described to me as immature, unprofessional, fat, crippled.. and a looser...misdirection from one of the cultie boys posting ACT at the time.

.... but his voice was that of a totally competent professional, slight english accent, very well spoken.... he was one of the cults ops...working from his post with Oracle corporation. I called Brenda Woodson at Oracle's legal dept the next day and filled her in...she didn't believe me.

I told her to talk to Brian since he had been bragging about the op on ACT...she did..... I had long talks with Oracles legal dept on the espionage issue after that....(further research disclosed that Oracle was founded on CIA contracts, and still does 27% of its published work for the CIA and much more on the black budget... many of its top executive posts are held by CIA people as well.... it seems when you stick a pin in some of the cultie businesses, CIA guys spill out...Mikie Kobrins company for instance and WWC...and ATEG the Laundry ball fraud..

All of this is the subject of many other posts.

In summary.... I predicted before the mess started that if the cult was caught running espionage from US software firms that the rest of the world would black list US software...that was in May of 1999.... by Oct of `1999 the Germans and French had begun 2000 they had both begun to charge Microsoft with espionage via back doors and mentioning 2003 half the world is deserting Microsoft and mentioning espionage as an issue. Scientology's gift to US industry.

The aftermath. Cult espionage is running rampant in US govt and corporations world wide, all the rest of the world is up to speed on scientology espionage via US software it has infiltrated...the US State Dept defends scientology however.

Last month in Greece a book addressing the US CIA's tactic of using american cults as vehicles or fronts was published...Scientology was mentioned extensively including the trial on the issue of top secret Greek military documents found in scientology files.

So whats the espionage all about you ask?...Industrial trade secrets are worth billions... tax fraud black mail is worth billions, insight into a corporations plans and strategies is worth mailed public officals allows control of governments.... who comments on this besides me? Well the German, French, Belgian, Netherlands, Spanish and Greek govts do... and have held trials on the issue and convicted cult members.

Its an issue. It was the Brain Quigley op that precipitated much of the action.

Phil Scott

(415) 927 7573 Tory Christmas added:

Amazing story, Phil.....truly amazing. I'd say I cannot believe it, however since I've experienced their "Fair Game" Insanities......I don't doubt it one second.

Arnaldo (Arnie) Lerma added:

And that is precisely how it went down. I'd been trying to sort out who I could really trust to call on that "A" list when something went down.... as was done to Phil Scott, or Tom Klemesrud, or the raids on Dennis, myself and FACTNet ..and a quick response was needed

"Our incredulity is our best defense" said the KING of CONs - L Ron Hubbard

It's truly incredible how they turn people from disinterested to avid critics.

I wonder if their outrageous conduct is not just a means to direct attention onto how bad they are.

Scientology doesn't really give a rip about people saying or writing or talking or webbing about HOW BAD THEY ARE.

You know what Scientology can't stand?

The FRAUD word, that should be made Scientology's KEYWORD...and anyone who explains how the trick is done.

Scientology is like a 19th century seedy carnival side show, whenever someone in the audience would yell out how the trick was done, he would be dragged outside by a couple of toughs stationed there for this purpose, and beaten up. Scientology’s demeanor is identical to this, only in the ‘civil’ 20th century they use lawyers, then the entire sordid affair is cloaked in bogus religiosity.

That's ~their~ you well know. What a 'religion'....huh?

In depositions and court briefs, Scientology will repeat the RELIGIOUS word or the CHURCH word OVER and OVER and OVER again...

Get that word, that hypnotic neurolinguistic PROGRAMMING out of your mind....

In the last deposition I was summoned to by Scientology, I refused to describe Scientology except with utter and whole truth..

I'd never say 'church of scientology,' or reply directly to a question that included the word 'church...'

Id only describe the machinations and activities of:


That was the last time Scientology tried to depose me.

Arnie Lerma


Religion or racket?
Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi
University of Haifa
Haifa 31905 ISRAEL

Scientology and the European Human Rights Debate:
A Reply to Leisa Goodman, J. Gordon Melton, and the European Rehabilitation Project Force Study
Stephen A. Kent
Department of Sociology
University of Alberta

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