The information about sects and cults spread on the Internet and in the media is usually reduced to rumors and horror stories such as “a sect will turn you into a zombie and take away your apartment”. In general, reliable information can only be found on the websites of specialised centres and the few specialists who study such organisations. Therefore, when facing a sect or a cult, a person may be “captivated” by a set of manipulations, which are nothing like brainwashing or aggressive claims for another’s property. The family and friends of a person who becomes involved with a sect or a cult might bluntly explain to the victim that they are being delusional and, as a result, may in fact push the person away and straight into the arms of the destructive organisation. This situation served as the basis for developing a short course of lectures and seminars devoted to the problem.
1. Lecture “Sects and cults: definitions, signs and facts”
The lecture talks about what sects and cults are and how they differ from other organisations. Short stories, teachings and hidden aspects of the most odious sects and cults found in Russia are also provided. Special attention is paid to signs which help in distinguishing a sect or a cult.
2. Lecture “Techniques of psychological influence in sects and cults”
The lecture talks about the various methods of influencing a person involving persuasion, manipulation, group pressure, intimidation, deception, etc. Differences from non-violent influence methods are also shown. Examples are given of how these methods are used in sects and cults.
3. Lecture “How to help those involved in a sect or a cult?”
The lecture talks about what to do if a relative or friend becomes dependant on a sect or cult, about how to not lose contact with them and what is necessary for restoring their ability to think independently.
4. Lecture “How to protect teenagers from sects and cults”
The lecture talks about how sects and cults attract teenagers and how teenage identity crisis is being used in order to attract juveniles into such organisations. Recommendations on how to prevent such risks and information about what to do if such problems occur are also given.
5. Lecture “Formation of a new identity in sects and cults”
The lecture talks about how our identity (self-image) is formed and the methods sects and cults use to destroy it. The present lecture also shows a model for the formation of a new identity based on the values of the organisation that subordinate or replace our previous self-image.
6. Lecture “Middle age crisis as a risk for getting involved with a sect or a cult”
The lecture talks about how world perception changes during middle age (existential crisis) and how sects and cults are trying to use it.
7. Lecture “How to live with a member of a sect or a cult”
The lecture talks about how members of a sect or a cult feel and about how to communicate with them in order to not make the situation worse or fall under the influence of such organisation yourself.
8. Lecture “Communication with those who left a sect or a cult”
The lecture talks about the right methods of communication with those who have left a sect or cult in order not to increase their trauma. Special attention is given to the prevention of risks for recurrence and withdrawal into other self-destructive behaviour.
9. Practical lesson “Techniques of psychological violence and how to protect yourself from them”
The lesson shows various methods of psychological violence used in sects and cults and shows how to protect yourself from them.
10. Practical lesson “Manipulation of logic in a process of persuasion”
The lesson shows strategies of logical manipulation that are being used by representatives of sects and cults in order to confuse people and persuade them of their principles.
Course modules are adapted for several target audiences:
- general public;
- high school students;
- university students;
- specialists who, in their professional activities, face the problem of sects and cults (teachers, psychologists, social workers, law enforcement officers and employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations).
Our lecturers may be invited by schools, universities, state and public organisations and private individuals.
If you wish to book our classes please contact us in advance so that we can arrange a date and time, discuss your target audience and other technical issues.