Margaret Singer

Margaret Singer bigraphy, stories - clinical psychology

Margaret Singer : biography

1921 – November 23, 2003

Margaret Thaler Singer (1921–2003) was a clinical psychologist and a part-time Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, U.S.

Singer’s main areas of research included schizophrenia, family therapy, brainwashing and coercive persuasion. Singer performed research at the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine, Walter Reed Army Medical Center Institute of Research, the National Institute of Mental Health, the United States Air Force and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She received many awards for her work, including the Leo J. Ryan Memorial Award, the Research Scientist Award from the National Institute of Mental Health, and both the Hofheimer Prize and the Stanley R. Dean Award from the American College of Psychiatrists.

In the 1960s she began to study the nature of cults and mind control and served on the board of the American Family Foundation. She is the author of the book Cults in Our Midst. She gave expert testimony in several cult-related trials, including the 1976 trial of Patty Hearst, who had previously been kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, and the 1977 hearing for five members of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church.

In 1987, as head of the APA taskforce on Deceptive and Indirect Methods of Persuasion and Control for the American Psychological Association, Singer oversaw the production of a report that was later rejected by the APA’s Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for Psychology. Thereafter, Singer’s expert testimony in four subsequent cases was not accepted. In 1992 she sued the APA for "defamation, frauds, aiding and abetting and conspiracy", but in 1994 she lost.

Articles in The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times reported complaints by Singer and her family that she had been enduring harassment and death threats due to her "battles" with the cults.



  • Cults in our Midst, 1995, ISBN 0-7879-0051-6
  • Crazy Therapies: What Are They? Do They Work?, 1996, ISBN 0-7879-0278-0
  • Las Sectas Entre Nosotros/Cults in our Midst,1997, Language:Spanish, ISBN 84-7432-605-2
  • Recovery from Cults, Contributor: Preface, as Margaret Thaler Singer, PhD, 1995, ISBN 0-393-31321-2
  • Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology, Contributor: "New Age Therapies", as Margaret Thaler Singer and Abraham Nievod, pgs. 176–205. 2004, ISBN 1-59385-070-0 , ISBN 978-1-59385-070-8
  • The Anatomy of Suicide: Silence of the Heart, by Louis Everstine, With a Foreword by Margaret Thaler Singer, PhD, 1998, ISBN 0-398-06803-8 ISBN 978-0-398-06803-5
  • Personality Measurements in the Aged, In Birren et at., ed. 1963


  • , Singer, M., Goldstein, H, Langone, H., Miller, J.S., Temerlin, M.K., and West, L.J. (1986)
  • , January 19, 1996, Vol.2, no.2,
  • , Cultic Studies Journal, Volume 10, Number 1 1993
  • ,
  • , Psychology Today, January, 1979
  • , Cultic Studies Journal, Psychological Manipulation and Society, Vol. 9, No. 2, 1992
  • , The Cult Observer, Vol.11, No.6 (1994): 3–4
  • , Cults, Psychological Manipulation: Arlington, Virginia, 1992
  • , by Margaret Thaler Singer, PhD, and Richard Ofshe, PhD, Psychiatric Annals, 20:4, April, 1990


  • , 2000: Cults and the New Millennium, "Getting Help Program"
  • , Biographies of all Psychological Manipulation: The Abuse of Women Conference, "Keynote Address- Psychological Manipulation: How it Works and Why Women are Vulnerable", 1997

Harassment and death threat complaints

An obituary in The New York Times described harassment, death threats against Singer, and dead animals found on her doorstep, due to her "battles" involving cults and brainwashing. A biography of Singer published by Thomson Gale states that her "enemies among cults" were responsible for harassing her.Contemporary Authors Online, Thomson Gale, 2005. Entry updated: October 18, 2005.Singer’s work earned her numerous enemies among cults, whose members were known to leave dead rats on her doorstep, threatening letters in her mailbox, and hack into her computer. Undeterred, Singer continued her work right up to the time of her death, her most recent projects involving con artists and the frauds they perpetrate on senior citizens such as herself.