How A Self-Help Guru Brainwashed 3 People To Their Death

How A Self-Help Guru Brainwashed 3 People To Their Death

How A Self-Help Guru Brainwashed 3 People To Their Death

“It’s a timeless formula for brainwashing: convince people that they are lacking something and you are the only one who has the answer”, says Los Angeles based Therapist and Human Behavior Expert, Patrick Wanis PhD.

Self-help guru James Arthur Ray was found guilty of 3 counts of negligent manslaughter after three people died in his Sweat Lodge, during his Spiritual Warrior Retreat in Arizona.

“James Ray rose to fame and fortune because of his charisma, use of psychological persuasion and the spectacular marketing of the book and movie ‘The Secret’ that featured him while also playing into people’s vulnerabilities and desires for instant gratification” says Dr. Wanis.

“James Ray sought out people who were lost, emotionally vulnerable or searching for something and promised them unimaginable rewards – including the experience of transcending death – but tragically, he wasn’t able to deliver on the latter.”

“James Ray also used two other secrets of psychological influence: 1) Authority and; 2) Scarcity. Ray built himself as an authority God-like figure and the participants and followers sought his approval and feared his rejection; Ray convinced them that his knowledge and techniques were secrets” says Dr. Wanis. “And after paying $10,000 for the experience of a lifetime, participants believed they were part of the privileged few to access those secrets and they sought Ray’s approval so many of them stayed in the extremely hot tent even as their bodies were entering alarm mode and shutting down.”

Finally, Wanis asks “Remember 1978, the Jones Town Massacre when a reverend led 909 people including children to their death? James Ray isn’t the first person to brainwash people or lead them to their death and he won’t be the last: James Ray created his reality the way others before him have – ego, greed, narcissism and lust for power and control.”

“Humans have basic needs so it’s not only the weak-minded people get drawn into a cult or get brainwashed” warns Dr. Wanis. “Our emotional needs include significance, attention, a safe, secure environment to mature and develop; an emotional connection to other people; acceptance, a connection to the wider community, and meaning & purpose. And when those needs are not being met, a charismatic man like James Ray appears claiming he is the only one who can help you – he has the secret – but his secret was not spiritual – it was deadly.”

Read the detailed article by Dr. Wanis “How A Self-Help Guru Brainwashed 3 People To Their Death – Story” published on

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