Attachment theory and post-cult recovery. Alexandra Stein
Submitted on 7th Apr 2020
Attachment theory provides a key to understanding the emotional damage from growing up in a cult, explain Alexandra Stein and Mary Russell
There are various definitions of cults. We use one grounded in the work of psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton3 and Hannah Arendt:4 ‘A cultic system is formed and controlled by a charismatic authoritarian leader or leadership body. It is a rigidly bounded, steeply hierarchical, isolating social system, supported and represented by a total, exclusive ideology. The leader sets in motion processes of coercive persuasion (also known as “brainwashing”), designed to isolate and control followers.
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