What is Brainwashing? Counseling Therapy Facts

posted Aug 25, 2012, 4:23 AM by AJ Centore   [ updated Aug 25, 2012, 4:24 AM ]

Brainwashing is a topic that has been talked about for years and years--and many people have different opinions about what brainwashing is. For instance, some people think brainwashing is when someone doesn’t make contact with anyone else, for instance, someone who gets sucked into videogames and does not communicate with others while they’re playing. Others, however, feel that brainwashing concerns someone controlling the mind of someone else. The majority of the population feels that the latter opinion is brainwashing (article written by non-clinical Philadelphia Therapy Staff Writer).


Brainwashing has been spotted around the world and continues to be reported. For instance, imprisoned nationalistic American soldiers during the Korean War were reported to having pledged allegiance to the concept of communism. Also, after those imprisoned American soldiers were set free, they refused to return to the US (Layton). In psychology, brainwashing is viewed as “thought reform”, which has to do with changing someone’s original thoughts. The key to successfully brainwashing someone is persuasion, but the problem with persuasion is the fact that everyone has their own concrete, unchangeable beliefs. It takes a lot of persuasion to alter someone’s core beliefs. These American soldiers in the Korean War, for example, were once proud Americans. What changed them? How did the Koreans change their core beliefs of being American?


When brainwashing someone, you are imposing ideas that they usually disagree with. You are imposing  ideas that concern religion, politics, etc.  However, controlling someone’s thoughts can also happen on a small-scale. Brainwashing is practically persuasion to the extreme. How do you tell someone to do something they originally did not want to do? You state various reasons of why they should do it and how they would benefit from doing it. For those of you who have younger siblings,  you may have brainwashed them at some point to do something for you. You might have told your younger siblings to get you something, make you something, clean something for you, etc.


The interesting thing about brainwashing is that it can be caused by the conscious and the subconscious. When telling someone to do something or believe something, you can do so by using verbal techniques that appeal to their emotions, or you can solely use your facial expressions. The reason why brainwashing exists is because humans are more driven by emotion rather than logic. When persuading someone, it is best to aim at their emotions rather than their brain; this is because the mind and body are different.


When one is subjected to brainwashing, they tend to do things they do not originally intend to do such as change their beliefs regarding religion or politics. When one is a victim of being brainwashed, they don’t turn into zombies, rather they let the brainwasher alter their original thoughts. Brainwashing is a topic that is uncertain since everyone has an independent mind. However, with the right persuasion and patience, altering one’s behavior is possible; it is just a matter of whether or not the victim is consciously and subconsciously vulnerable. For more information, contacts Thriveworks Philadelphia Therapy Center at 1-855-2-THRIVE.