Allen Tate Wood:

Author, educator and consultant on thought reform and the psychology of the cult phenomenon:

B.A. Psychology, Livingston College
Rutgers University 1977

Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor
Texas 1987 | California 1987

Permanent Full Time Adult Education Instructor


I number among my chief academic interests psychology, language, literature, mythology, comparative religion and teaching.

In the past twenty five years I have had two principal areas of study and clinical experience: these include working with Cult victims and their families(providing peer counseling and a specialized form of family therapy) throughout the United States and Europe and 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. In my work with addicts I have found that some form of spiritual practice grounded in a living myth is the beginning of recovery. In working with the cult member and the addict I have been struck by the parallels between doctrine (the role of religious doctrine in organizing the psyche) and defense structure (the role that a denial system plays in maintaining addictive behavior). Religious doctrine and psychological defense structure both serve to organize and defend an "interior" by blocking new or antithetical information from gaining entry.


During my twenties 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. 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. In working with addicts I was nearing home. Three months after I began work at Help Is Possible(a drug and alcohol treatment center) in East Dallas in 1986, I began to realize that I was a co-dependent and that I had been raised in a family of alcoholics and addicts. No wonder I felt at home. Today I draw strength and meaning from having been in the "Moonies" and from acknowledging my co-dependence. These psychic wounds are the eyes through which I see the world and myself. I find myself in the lives of the struggling men in jail, in the young cult member possessed by an ideology that forbids introspection , in the co-dependent who is tearing his or her hair out in an attempt to " love" a loved one into submission .

My initial flight from the world has metamorphosed over time into an embracing of the world. I see engaging in continuing public education about the cult phenomenon and about addiction as steps toward the heart of the battle, as a way for me to find and create value.