NY1 reported Newman’s death and described him most notably as the “founder of the controversial New York City Independence Party”.
Fred Newman was a philosophy teacher, but was fired from seven colleges. Later he created something that he called “Social Therapy.” According to Newman, who was not a psychologist, this “therapy” helped people to “overthrow” what he labeled the “bourgeois ego.”
However, some former participants called Newman’s process “brainwashing.”
According to Newman his therapy is about “two workers, revolutionary therapist and slave/patient, [and their] struggle together to make a revolution through their practice.” The goal is “helping the slave reach the point of insurrection” and “to make proletarian truth and freedom where there is now bourgeois truth and slavery.”
However, Newman was hardly a “revolutionary” and somewhat “bourgeois” himself, with a four-story townhouse in Greenwich Village. He also often spent his summers in the Hamptons and was chauffeured about in a Lincoln Town Car.
Newman taught that his therapy should include social activism. The net result of this activism appeared to be people working for Fred for free. This might include fund raising for one of his charities like All Stars, or perhaps petition drives for the Independence Party.
Newman headed a myriad of front organizations populated by his fervent devotees often called “Newmanites.”
“He had a long career of promoting unethical behavior in his clinics, children’s programs and politics in NYC”, explained Cathleen Mann. Mann, a psychologist and court expert witness who once debated Newman on television.
Long-time cult-watcher and researcher Dennis King describes the Newmanites as a “very bad…tightly organized cult composed of psychotherapists and skilled political operatives.”
King credits Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s support as playing a pivotal role in giving the group “access to teenagers in New York and to young adult volunteers whom they recruit…” The researcher’s blog contains critical articles offering detailed information and penetrating analysis about the Newmanites, their fund-raising and political connections.
CultNews has reported about Fred Newman and his followers in the past.
A mental health professional once involved with Newman, but who later left his Social Therapy organization observed, “Therapy should be empowering and inclusive; it should help people build the lives they want. It should not be used as a recruitment tool for a particular movement.” The licensed counselor concluded, “Anyone considering cooperating or working with..and/or practicing Social Therapy should first read whatever historical and critical information is available.”
This week upon learning of Newman’s death the same counselor said, “If there is anything to be relieved about in this, it’s that maybe the group will fizzle out and stop using ‘therapy’ to introduce vulnerable people to their political agendas.”
Psychologist Cathleen Mann warned, “They are a disastrous group posing as legitimate psychology and counseling”. She added, “They still have Dr. Lois Holzman and nationwide recruiting centers, plus a large body of written work, and they might just find another leader”.