Amanda Montell is a writer, language scholar, and podcast host from Baltimore. She is the author of Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism, about the language of "cults" from Scientology to SoulCycle.
As a reporter and essayist, Amanda's writing has been featured in Marie Claire, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Bustle, The Rumpus, Byrdie, and Who What Wear, where she formerly served as the Features & Beauty Editor. She holds a degree in linguistics from NYU and lives in Los Angeles with her partner, plants, and pets. Find her on Instagram @amanda_montell
Amanda explains to Rachel her experience growing up with her father, who was raised in the cultic group Synanon, an alternative community centered on group truth-telling sessions that came to be known as the "Synanon Game" a form of attack therapy. She explains how from a young age her father's story informed her skepticism of the language of high control environments. She also shares some of the insights she gained about cultic language while interviewing sources for her book. Throughout the conversation, Rachel emphasizes the important role language plays in the manipulation of victims of high control groups of all kinds.
Before You Go: Rachel elaborates on the idea of "Thought terminating cliches" and the dangers it can pose in the context of high control groups.
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