Cult Warning Signs & How to Help Someone Trapped

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Playing How to Help Loved Ones Trapped in Cults Like Nxivm!

The Doctors continue the discussion about the sex cult Nxivm and how India and Catherine Oxenberg were able to finally free themselves from the group with cult expert and therapist Dr. Rachel Bernstein who shares tips on recognizing you might be in a cult and how to free someone trapped.

Watch: India Oxenberg Shares Details of Her Branding with Keith Raniere’s Initials

The expert says the possible warning signs that you or a loved one might be involved in a nefarious group include:

Deception: She explains destructive cults will never reveal what the group is about until someone is already involved and deeply entrenched.

Becomes All-Encompassing: Often, cults will keep someone completely occupied as a means to control and separate them from family and friends not involved in the group.

Secrecy about the Group: Cults will prevent outsiders from learning about the group possibly through legal means or intimidation tactics, to prevent anyone from speaking out or exposing them. 

Watch: What India Oxenberg Would Say to Jailed Nxivm Leader Keith Raniere

To avoid pushing someone further into a cult, Dr. Bernstein recommends speaking to a professional about how to approach the issue with a loved one. She explains often these groups will have already convinced members that if their involvement is ever questioned by someone that the person is attempting to sabotage you and the group, and they do not love and care about you. She says a fine line is required when trying to intervene in these situations and approaching the issue might seem counterintuitive. She also notes helping someone involved in a cult to realize the reality of their situation can take months and will not usually happen overnight.

Dr. Ian Smith warns, "It is important to be diligent in your research before joining a new group," noting that cults and groups like Nxivm are more common than we realize.

See more of India and Catherine's gripping and harrowing story of survival in the four-part STARZ Original docuseries “Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult” will premiere on Sunday, October 18 at 9 PM ET/PT on STARZ in the U.S. and Canada.

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