About the Foundation

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About the Foundation 2017-07-25T15:56:42+00:00

Who We Are

Open Minds is based upon a belief in independent choice and freedom of mind.
With your help, we will make the world a better place.

What We Are Doing

We have many projects already in mind, and we welcome ideas for new projects, both large and small. At Open Minds, we are collaborating and partnering with world-class experts at existing organizations to increase awareness and expose violations of free choice through manipulation, coercive control and undue influence. At this website, we are bringing together the valuable material created by these experts. The website is designed to be a vital and accessible database and information resource that will continue to grow as we add more blog posts, reviews, resource lists, videos and audio recordings.

We are Writing

Several of our principals have book projects, including Dr. Yuval Laor’s Religious Ape, which explores the evolutionary and neurological basis of fervent belief; and a series of children’s books by Spike Robinson on much needed topics such as shunning, recognizing predators, and recovering from abuse. Jon and Spike are also working with Christian Szurko to publicize his insights into counseling, drawn from 40 years experience in the field.

Principles of Influence – a Graphic Novel

We are working on a graphic novel explaining the principles of influence to teenagers. We are developing seminars showing how to recognize and avoid undue influence for schools and colleges. We are constantly producing new material about resistance to manipulation.

Recognition of Human Predators – a Video Game

As part of our outreach to young people, we are developing video games that will teach recognition of human predators and their manipulative tricks in the context of an exciting gaming experience.

Guides to Train Counselors How to Help Victims

Very few counselors have the experience or skills to help survivors of high-control groups. We are working on a program to teach counselors about our area of expertise to fill this need. We are also preparing a seminar on counseling for survivors.

Funding Research to Understand Manipulation

We plan to fund studies into all areas of manipulation, especially psychological, legal and historical studies. There have been very few full-scale studies of the effects of involvement in cults, gangs and other groups that use undue influence, and we want to remedy this.

Expert Interviews

Jon Atack has been working on a series of in-depth interviews with Christian Szurko on recovery and with Yuval Laor on his groundbreaking model of awe and fervor. Jon will continue to interview experts for the website, and Spike is collecting a wealth of survivor stories in order to show the depth and wide range of undue influence not only in high-control groups but in families, romantic relationships, businesses, governments, and society at large.

Improve the Laws on Coercion & Undue Influence

A review of undue influence and coercive control in law is long overdue. There are many excellent ex-member books and articles, we will sponsor proper historical studies of destructive cults, gangs and the sociology of abusive relationships.

We are developing new projects as we grow, and are always open to new ways to better understand and share our findings.

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