A group of international experts will come together in London on the weekend of August 22-24, 2014 to address some of the major concerns relating to the undue influence of extremist groups and cults. Scientology, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Islamic extremists are just some of the groups that will be considered. The context of their discussions will be the impact these groups have and the control they are able to maintain over people’s lives. This is an invitation only meeting. The meeting/workshop led by Steve Hassan - Freedomofmind.com will be recorded and the information will be shared with a wider audience at a later date. One aim of the workshop is to enable mental health professionals to gain a better understanding of the impact on people’s lives of “undue influence” by extremist groups and cults.
Undoing the damage of such groups is a huge task for governments and agencies who often struggle trying to understand their inner workings and cultures. Dealing with the fallout and damage is often left in the hands of professionals who are still trying to develop appropriate response and recovery techniques.
Some Government policy initiatives such as “social cohesion” are directed to the integration of such groups into mainstream society. But these policies do not directly address either the immediate or the ongoing impact of the beliefs and ideas disseminated by such groups. These cultish groups promote ideas that weaken or destroy family and societal relationships. The result is the creation of a continuum where mental health issues exist at one end – and extremism and terrorism at the other.