Apr 8, 2016

Alum discusses psychology of cult phenomenon

The Webb School
April 5, 2016


Allen Tate Wood '66, center, with Matt Wilson, director of alumni and development, and Collin Jones '18, who assisted Wood with his presentation in Upper School Seminar.
Allen Tate Wood '66, center, with Matt Wilson,
director of alumni and development, and
Collin Jones '18, who assisted Wood with his
presentation in Upper School Seminar.
Allen Tate Wood ’66, author, educator and consultant on thought reform and the psychology of the cult phenomenon, recently spoke to students in upper school seminar. His topic was “Addict, Idol and Cult Member: Reflections on The Loss of Self.”

Wood enrolled at Webb as a 10th grader and also included Webb memories in his presentation.

Wood received a B.A. in psychology from Livingston College, Rutgers University and is certified as a drug and alcohol counselor in Texas, California and New Hampshire. He serves as a full-time adult education instructor in California.

His chief academic interests include psychology, language, literature, mythology, comparative religion and teaching. In the past 25 years, he has had two principal areas of study and clinical experience: working with cult victims and their families (providing peer counseling and a specialized form of family therapy) throughout the United States and Europe and working with alcoholics and addicts in private treatment centers, non-profit agencies as a certified drug and alcohol counselor and in the California county and state prison system as an adult education instructor.

“I use the psychology of religion as a vehicle for exploring the psychopathology of extremist and totalitarian movements. I also apply the psychology of religion to modes of therapy for the treatment of addiction,” said Wood.

“During my 20s, I spent five years in the Unification Church. This was for me a fire baptism into the world beyond my family. It was also a desperate attempt to find some external authority that would take the reins of my life,” said Wood. “Mr. Moon, of course, had no compunction about taking the reins. I wandered out of the ‘Moonies’ in November of 1973. Metabolizing this experience has been the psychological core of my life's work. My subsequent work with cult victims and their families opened the door to work in the addiction field.”

For more information about Wood’s presentation, go to:

http://www.allentwood.com/essays/lossofself.html

http://www.thewebbschool.com/news/detail.aspx?LinkId=10081&ModuleId=56
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