Why People Join Cults

1482 words 6 pages

I. Introduction Thesis: The forces that draw individuals into cults can be explained by psychological doctrine.

II. What is a cult
A. Brief description
B. Types of cults
1. religious
2. psychotherapy or personal growth
3. political
4. popular or faddist

III. Popular cult groups
A. People's Temple
B. David Koresh
C. Heaven's Gate
D. The Family

IV. Charismatic group
A. Brief desciption
B. Characterization

V. Sigmund Freud's beliefs
A. Belonging to a group
B. Super-ego

VI. Thought Reform
A. Brief description
B. How thought reform works

VII. Effects of a cult
A. Stress
B. Isolation
C. New lifestyle
D. Dissociative
E. Anxiety
F. Personality disorders

VIII. Conclusion

…show more content…

186). Freud also believed that the super-ego represented influence in the past, essentially, of what is taken over from other people (Young-Bruehl, 1997). He expressed this belief of why people do the things that they do in his book, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego. The topic of discussion was that individuals want to remain in harmony with the group (Galanter, 1989). In this book Freud stated "If an individual gives up his distinctness in a group and lets its other members influence him by suggestion, it gives one the impression that he does it because he feels the need of being in harmony with them rather than in opposition to them" (qtd. In Roth, 1998). This statement explained Freud's belief that love brought groups together despite people's obvious antagonism towards one another. This is a love - hate relationship with the underlying need to be part of the greater whole. Another way people are drawn to cults is by thought reform. Cult leaders manipulate their members in a way that they are unaware that they are being

controlled. Psychological mind games are played. Thought reform is organized to "destabilize a person's sense of self, get the person to drastically reinterpret his or her life's history and radically alter his or her worldview and accept a new version of reality and causality, and develop in the person a


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