These conditions create the atmosphere needed to put a thought reform system into place:
The members serve as models of the attitudes and behaviors of the group and speak an in- group language.
Strip members of their main occupation (quit jobs, drop out of school) or source of income or have them turn over their income (or the majority of) to the group.
Once stripped of your usual support network, your confidence in your own perception erodes.
As your sense of powerlessness increases, your good judgment and understanding of the world are diminished. (ordinary view of reality is destabilized)
As group attacks your previous worldview, it causes you distress and inner confusion; yet you are not allowed to speak about this confusion or object to it -- leadership suppresses questions and counters resistance.
This process is speeded up if you are kept tired -- the cult will keep you constantly busy.
Your old beliefs and patterns of behavior are defined as irrelevant or evil. Leadership wants these old patterns eliminated, so the member must suppress them
Members get positive feedback for conforming to the group's beliefs and behaviors and negative feedback for old beliefs and behavior.
The only feedback members get is from the group, they become totally dependent upon the rewards given by those who control the environment.
Members must learn varying amounts of new information about the beliefs of the group and the behaviors expected by the group.
The more complicated and filled with contradictions the new system in and the more difficult it is to learn, the more effective the conversion process will be.
Esteem and affection from peers is very important to new recruits. Approval comes from having the new member's behaviors and thought patterns conform to the models (members). Members' relationship with peers is threatened whenever they fail to learn or display new behaviors. Over time, the easy solution to the insecurity generated by the difficulties of learning the new system is to inhibit any display of doubts -- new recruits simply acquiesce, affirm and act as if they do understand and accept the new ideology.
Members are not allowed to question, criticize or complain -- if they do, the leaders allege that the member is defective -- not the organization or the beliefs.
The individual is always wrong -- the system, its leaders and its belief are always right.
Conversion or remolding of the individual member happens in a closed system. As members learn to modify their behavior in order to be accepted in this closed system, they change -- begin to speak the language -- which serves to further isolate them from their prior beliefs and behaviors.