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Bonus Episode: The Psychology of Conversion and Deconversion (Adapted from Robert Jay Lifton)


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This special bonus episode draws upon the work of psychologist Dr Robert Lifton and his seminal 1961 work on the psychology of brainwashing, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China

In particular, I make use of Lifton’s 12-step model to explore further the psychology of conversion, as well as what happens to a person who deconstructs his or her religious faith and leaves their church or cult group behind–the process of “deconversion,” or spiritual transitioning.

This is a helpful discussion particularly for ex-evangelicals, but also for those who have left a cult. Unpicking the conditioning, and understanding how you were controlled and manipulated will help you reconstruct your sense of self–and your identity. 

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