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Template:Infobox scientist Steve K. D. Eichel (formerly Steve Dubrow-Eichel) is a psychologist known primarily for his work on destructive cults, coercive persuasion, mind control, brainwashing, and deprogramming. He is a former President of the Greater Philadelphia Society of Clinical Hypnosis and the 2006-07 President of the American Academy of Counseling Psychology, the national membership academy comprising American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) Board-certified counseling psychologists.[1]

Eichel graduated with his Ph.D. in 1989, from the University of Pennsylvania. He has performed research with fellow psychologist Linda Dubrow in the area of procrastination. Dubrow and Eichel studied cult characteristics of the group Al-Qaeda after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Eichel was an expert witness in the 2003 case of Lee Boyd Malvo, where he testified that Malvo suffered from a form of dissociative disorder caused by coercive persuasion. He has worked to expose fraudulent practices of credentialing organizations, by obtaining numerous certifications for his pet cat, Zoe, including the American Psychotherapy Association, the National Guild of Hypnotists, the American Board of Hypnotherapy and the International Medical & Dental Hypnotherapy Association. Eichel has practiced clinical psychology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Newark, Delaware. He has lectured on the subject of cults, brainwashing, and terrorism.

Early life and family

Eichel is the child of survivors of the Holocaust; his parents spent time in Nazi concentration camps.[2] His parents only recounted to him, "anecdotes here and there"; Eichel explained to The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Most of what I thought I knew about their experiences was my own fantasy that filled in the enormous gaps."[2]


Eichel received a B.A. degree from Columbia University, and M.S. from University of Pennsylvania.[1] He obtained his Ph.D. in 1989, at University of Pennsylvania.[1] Eichel is a Board Certified Diplomate in Counseling Psychology, American Board of Professional Psychology.[1]


In 1988, with fellow psychologist Linda Dubrow Eichel, he performed research in the area of procrastination.[3] During the Persian Gulf war, Eichel said that images from the conflict affected his teenage clients, "Those two things really hit my teenage patients hard."[4] He said that bad dreams about the battles were, "little red lights, saying it's time to step back, think about yourself, think about your life, talk to other people, gather information, connect with people who are important to you. It is a warning sign that you should not go on with life as usual."[4] He commented to The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2000 on the subject of the controversial religious group, the evangelical International Church of Christ; that the methodology behind the group "is that you give yourself over to the person who acts as your 'shepherd' or discipler, and they get tremendous control over you. ... Every minute [of your life] must be Christ-centered, and that when you give yourself over to Jesus, you give yourself over to the ICC."[5] In 2000, Eichel said he had counseled approximately six former members of the group in his psychotherapy practice.[6]

Linda Dubrow and Eichel worked together at the organization Re-Entry Therapy, Information and Referral Network (RETIRN).[7] With Dubrow, Eichel has researched media coverage regarding September 11, 2001, and has determined that the group Al-Qaeda is a cult.[8] With Michael Langone and Arthur Dole, Eichel performed a series of studies researching and defining the concept of "new age"; their research was published in the Cultic Studies Journal.[9] Eichel was an expert witness in the 2003 criminal trial of Lee Boyd Malvo; in addition to psychologists Dewey Cornell and Diane Schetky, and psychiatrist Neil Blumberg.[10][11][12] Eichel testified that Malvo suffered from a form of dissociative disorder,[10] caused by coercive persuasion.[11]

Eichel exposed the nature of the mail-order-credentialing of the organization "American College of Forensic Examiners" (ACFE), by obtaining board certification from its sub-organization "American Psychotherapy Association", for his pet cat, Zoe.[13] The only requirements he needed in order to obtain the fraudulent certification was an application and a doctored résumé.[14] He did the same procedure to expose organizations giving out credentialing in hypnotherapy in the United States.[15][16] The Washington Post reported in 2002: "Zoe has been issued credentials by the National Guild of Hypnotists, the American Board of Hypnotherapy and the International Medical & Dental Hypnotherapy Association, and is a Professional Member of the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists."[17] Eichel commented to BBC News regarding the motivation for this endeavor, "I felt I'd test my hypothesis and I did that by getting my cat certified by a number of the most prominent lay hypnosis organisations in the United States. It was a frighteningly simple process."[18] The certifications were obtained for his cat, under the full name, "Dr. Zoe D. Katz".[19]

Eichel utilizes hypnosis in his practice of psychotherapy.[17] In 2003, Eichel practiced psychology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and treated victims of sex addiction.[20] He practiced within the arena of clinical psychology.[15] In 2008, Eichel resided in Newark, Delaware.[21] He lectured in 2008 on the subject of "Cults, Gangs, Terrorism or Brainwashing, Mind Control and the Law", at a conference on cults held by Creighton University.[22] Eichel is scheduled to speak on June 19, 2010 at a conference titled: "Understanding Radicalization and De-Radicalization Strategies" in East Hartford, Connecticut, along with Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, and psychologist Michael Langone.[23]

Awards, honors

Published works


  • All You Need to Know about Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Lorman Education Services 2005


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Steve K. D. Eichel, Ph.D., ABPP". (Re-Entry Therapy, Information & Referral Network). 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Remembering the Holocaust". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC): p. D01. April 15, 1983.
  3. Towarnicky, Carol (Knight-Ridder Newspapers) (March 30, 1988). "Procrastination is not always negative, say psychologists". The Lewiston Journal: p. 8B.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bauers, Sandy (February 24, 1991). "When war invades our dreams". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC): p. L01.
  5. O'Reilly, David (February 28, 2000). "Disciples at forum deny cult claims - The International Church of Christ was seeking new members. Critics say the faith is too controlling.". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC): p. B01.
  6. Remsen, Jim (February 26, 2000). "Controversial group to hold a conference - Tomorrow's gathering is for women. Complaints have dogged the organization since its founding 15 years ago.". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC): p. A14.
  7. Kemp, Daren (2004). New Age: A Guide. Edinburgh University Press. p. 113. ISBN 0748615326.
  8. Stout, Chris E. (2002). The Psychology of Terrorism: Volume III, Theoretical Understandings and Perspectives. Praeger. p. 221. ISBN 0275978672.
  9. Chryssides, George D.; Margaret Wilkins (2006). A Reader in New Religious Movements. Continuum. p. 364. ISBN 0826461670.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Bradley, Paul; Kiran Krishnamurthy (December 10, 2003). "Critical Malvo witness grilled - prosecution challenges claim that teen was a pawn of lead sniper". Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond Newspapers, Inc.): p. A-1.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Hopkins, John; Tony Germanotta (December 10, 2003). "Tacoma killing was Malvo's 'First Big Test,' expert testifies". The Virginian-Pilot: p. A1.
  12. Costanzo, Mark; Daniel A. Krauss, Kathy Pezdek (2006). Expert Psychological Testimony for the Courts. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. p. 190. ISBN 978-0805856484.
  13. Cwik, Cynthia H.; John L. North (2005). Scientific Evidence Review: Admissibility of Expert Evidence. American Bar Association. pp. 7–8. ISBN 1590312201.
  14. Cosgrove-Mather, Bootie; Jim Acosta (January 16, 2004). "Is Your Psychotherapist Qualified?". CBS News (CBS). Retrieved 2010-06-18.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Boodman, Sandra G. (April 13, 2004). "Risen From the Ashes". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company): p. F01. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
  16. "Pet Cat Becomes A Professional Hypnotist". Digital Journal (Newstex). October 28, 2009.
  17. 17.0 17.1 "The Litter Box of Profession ...". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company): p. F03. December 3, 2002.
  18. "Cat registered as hypnotherapist". BBC News (BBC). October 12, 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
  19. Gombossy, George (August 3, 2008). "Dubious vibes at hypnosis centers". The Hartford Courant (The Hartford Courant Co.): p. A1.
  20. Elias, Marilyn (August 11, 2003). "Sex 'addiction' is real but exaggerated, experts say". USA Today (Gannett Company, Inc.): p. 7D. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
  21. Zuckerman, Edward L. (2008). The Paper Office. The Guilford Press. p. ix, 242, 245. ISBN 1593858353.
  22. "Gangs, cults subject of Creighton conference". US Fed News (Omaha, Nebraska: LexisNexis). April 8, 2008.
  23. Campbell, Susan (June 17, 2010). "Understanding radicalization (and de-radicalization strategies)". Fear Itself (The Hartford Courant delivered by Newstex).
  24. "Understanding Cults, New Religious Movements, and Other Groups". (Atlanta, Georgia: International Cultic Studies Association). October 14, 2004. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  25. "John Hochman, M.D.". The FMSF Scientific and Professional Advisory Board - Profiles (False Memory Syndrome Foundation). 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  26. "Steven K. D. Eichel, Ph.D.". (International Cultic Studies Association). 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-19.

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