Amid ‘Smallville’ actress Allison Mack’s arrest for her alleged role in a sex cult, HL spoke to an expert to find out how you can help a loved one who has been ‘brainwashed’ by a cult similar to NXIVM.
Allison Mack was arrested on April 20 for her alleged NXIVUM role in which prosecutors have accused her of recruiting “slaves” to sleep with the group’s leader, Keith Raniere, and restrained them as they were “branded” with his initials. This news has brought attention to the harsh reality that there are sex cults in America. But if you find out that a loved one might be involved in a cult similar to NXIVM, there are ways to help them. “When you are dealing with a loved one over the age of 18 who’s been brainwashed by a cult your approach has to be one of love and acceptance,” Rick Alan Ross, the founder and Executive Director of the Cult Education Institute, told HollywoodLife.
So how do you go about saving an individual who’s been sucked into a sex cult? “Legally you can not force them out of the group or physically restrain them so what you have to do is give them unconditional love and tell them, I am here and I am always going to be here and if you need anything let me know,” Ross explained. “Then you wait and you don’t argue and don’t confront in an argumentative or negative way. And you hope that your loved one will reach out to you and then you can get them help.. But you can not get them help by forcing them to get help.”
Ross noted that the first step in helping a loved one who’s been “brainwashed by a cult” is to get educated on the topic. “Get online and read everything you can about the cult,” he said. “Then you have to decide if an intervention is possible. Do you have enough access and communication with your loved on to stage an intervention? Or do you have to wait until the time is right?”
An intervention is a method that can be used, but in order to be effective it should “be done at the right time and must be with the cooperation and consent,” Ross added. “Although it starts as a surprise, the person can’t know you are staging an intervention, ultimately it can’t be done against their will. In many ways it’s similar to a drug and alcohol intervention. You would have family members and other loved ones there as well as an expert in cult deprogramming.”
The next stage in the process is to discuss four things: the definition of a cult, the definition of cult brainwashing, information about the cult itself, and the worries that family members have. This should be done “over the course of several days, for 8 hours a day.” Ross broke down these topics in greater detail, which you can read below:
What Is A Cult?
“The first is what is the definition of a cult. How do you define it, what are some examples and how does it parallel the group you loved one is in?”
What Is Cult Brainwashing?
“The second is what is cult brainwashing? How does it work and what is it like. What groups have used those techniques and how are they similar to the group your loved one is in?”
What Do We Know About This Cult?
“Number three is information, what information is available about the group that this person doesn’t know and should know so that they can make a more informed choice about continuing. For example is there financial information they are not aware of, has the leader hurt people in the past that they are not aware of? Is there any litigation against the cult that your loved one is not aware of.”
Why Are People Worried About This Cult?
“The fourth main block is spent on ‘Why am I here?’ Why did your family bring you in; why is your family worried about you. There are family members present and ready to share what their worries are, why they are so concerned that they are showing up to this intervention.”