Recently the Cult Education Institute (sponsor of CultNews) received a very serious complaint about Steven Hassan, a cult specialist and licensed mental health professional based in Boston, Massachusetts. Hassan is also the president, treasurer, secretary and director of a for-profit corporation called “Freedom of Mind.” The complaint concerned the fees and questionable conduct of Steve Hassan concerning the counseling he provided to a former cult member.
Hassan charged thousands of dollars for his services draining the former cult member’s savings.
Steven Hassan’s former client said that Hassan’s counseling was worse than his bill. The former client characterized Hassan’s counseling as debilitating and damaging. The former cult member stated, “I did feel traumatized both during and after my therapy with [Steve Hassan].” Hassan’s former client subsequently sought and received professional help to recover from the counseling. The former cult member noted that “other professionals in the field” who were subsequently consulted described Steve Hassan’s counseling “as both unprofessional and potentially dangerous.”Steve Hassan has a long history of complaints, including complaints filed with his licensing board.
On April 20, 2012 Hassan was officially notified by the Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health Professionals in Massachusetts that he was facing an official complaint filed by a former client against him. The board advised Hassan in an Order to Show Cause, that he might have his license as a mental health professional revoked or suspended.
The Massachusetts licensing board decided to forward the complaint for prosecution (In the matter of Steven A. Hassan Docket No. MH-12-014).
In June 2011 Hassan was served with three subpoenas and he retained an attorney to respond to those subpoenas. Hassan’s attorney then wrote a letter to the individual that served him, which contained the names of two former clients. Subsequently Hassan posted the letter publicly at his website “Freedom of Mind” and also used both Facebook and Twitter to further share the contents of the letter.
According to Hassan’s licensing board he violated ethical provisions of both the American Mental Health Counselors Association and the American Counseling Association (ACA). Specifically regarding “client confidentiality” and the expectation that “no information will be released without the client’s permission and written consent.”
Hassan’s licensing board also cited an ACA ethical code violation of “failing to respect the dignity and promote the welfare of clients.”
The Massachusetts licensing board concluded that Hassan’s conduct constituted “unprofessional conduct and conduct that undermines public confidence in the integrity of the profession.”
Attorney Jessica Uhing-Luedde was the prosecuting counsel for the Division of Professional Licensure. And a court proceedings later took place in Boston, Massachusetts.
On November 16, 2012 the Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Service Professionals in Massachusetts officially notified Steve Hassan that the complaint filed against him by a former client, which was forwarded for prosecution, was dismissed without prejudice.
It must be noted that when a complaint is dismissed without prejudice, unlike a dismissal with prejudice which is final, the complaint may not be dismissed forever and can potentially be reopened.
Within its official notification of dismissal the licensing board felt it was necessary to “remind [Steve Hassan] of the rules and regulations that govern all licensed mental health counselors in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
The board specifically focused on “the limitations of social media and the importance of maintaining confidentiality.” The board told Hassan that he must “monitor any posts on social media websites to ensure that patient confidentiality is never compromised.” And that “the responsibility for maintaining patient confidentiality always falls upon the mental health counselor.”
The board admonished Hassan, “All licensed mental health counselors are expected to adhere to these standards and failure to do so may result in disciplinary action against your license.”
It would seem, based upon the prosecution of the complaint and admonishments by his licensing board that Steve Hassan narrowly escaped disciplinary action.
CultNews learned that another complaint was filed against Steve Hassan with his licensing board more recently. However, this complaint was dropped and not prosecuted.
The Cult Education Institute has had a disclaimer posted concerning Steve Hassan since May of 2013. This disclaimer notes the numerous complaints received about Hassan.
From time to time the Cult Education Institute receives complaints and reports of other concerns expressed about cult intervention practitioners. The institute makes every effort to follow up on those reports and relay them to the individuals involved for their response. Steve Hassan is the only deprogrammer/exit-counselor about whom CEI has received numerous and consistent complaints over a period of years involving matters of cult intervention methods, fees, and professional ethics.