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How do you drop cult thinking? I’m looking into this for a friend, who follows a very peculiar guru-like woman, and I’d love to help her regain some clarity in her life direction. But I’m not entirely sure what the best approach is to encourage this. Anyone have any suggestions or hints on where to look?

By Denker
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11 comments

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To me taking the responsibility of "guiding" someone through their life is a bad idea everyone has to find their own way. I feel that I got enough problems in my own life without trying to go through and fix everybody else's

Drsmash253 Level 5 July 11, 2018
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Ignoring sam harris for example.

GipsyOfNewSpain Level 8 July 11, 2018
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Some people in this world have a need to follow something or someone. I am not sure that one can in any way brake that pattern, only put them on a pattern that is not dangerous or destructive.

Jolanta Level 7 July 11, 2018
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If you go straight on all you will get is resistance. May I suggest you talk about sales as a career. Then give a book or show her videos on sales techniques. If she does not want to listen? Say your thinking of sales and what she thinks about the techniques? When she sees the way simple physiological tricks can alter someones thinking. She may put things together and sort her self out.

273kelvin Level 7 July 11, 2018
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What's the name of the woman?

Ellatynemouth Level 8 July 11, 2018
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She calls herself E’Asha Ashayana Arhayas these days, she has changed her name several times. She disseminates teachings in CD based packages from the US, at irregular intervals.

2

Read some psychology textbook chapters on cults. Fascinating stuff. You will gain lots of insights as to what's going on inside your friend's mind.
Then you could (very slowly & gently) try Daniel Dennett's 4 rules for arguing:

  1. You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way."
  2. You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
  3. You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
  4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

That should hopefully defuse the Backfire Effect.

AlmostVulcan Level 4 July 11, 2018
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Keep asking questions and be aware if you sense any distress from her. And be a trusted friend. That's all you can do.

bleurowz Level 7 July 11, 2018
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Man, that's tough. I do think your best bet at helping your friend is to ask pertinent questions.

Questioning things is what got me out of a cult.

Donotbelieve Level 8 July 11, 2018
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First-hand experience... i’ll take this to heart.

3

Deprogramming cult members is a very difficult task. I ran into it as an educator, as in hitting a brick wall. Saw a few members move on after a long time. They were the ones who really quested after information. The ones who have found what they were seeking and stopped looking will die with their true faith. A broad based education and an open mind are the key. Keep asking hard questions.

CrazyQuilter Level 7 July 11, 2018
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You can try street epistemology on Facebook. There ARE some very experienced people on the site. But if you have regular contact and communicate with this person, you may start by getting them away from the surrounding influence and ask questions. A LOT of questions.

PaultheApostate Level 3 July 11, 2018
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I’ll attempt the “asking difficult but non-dangerous questions” track, it sounds worth a try.

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You can do what you can, but I think it might end in failure. The brains of cult followers just do not perform normally. Just my opinion.

jlynn37 Level 8 July 11, 2018
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