As a volunteer, I have participated in the rescue work of many Falun Gong followers. In helping a college student surnamed Zhang, we used Maslow's hierarchy of needs to develop programs on the basis of respect and to create conditions to improve his social environment, encourage him to carry out self-examination, and meet his needs at a high-level while promoting self-education. Through long-term and consistent help, Zhang was successfully transformed. This paper tries to analyze how to use the demand - level theory to save college students who areFalun Gong addicts.
What is the demand level theory?
In the analysis, we must first understand what demand level theory is. It was put forward by the American psychologist Abraham Maslow. Maslow argues that there are two distinct needs in the human value system: the first are related to instincts or impulses that are progressively weaker along the biological spectrum, called low-level needs, including physiological needs and security needs. The other category is the potential or need to evolve with the evolution of life (called the high-level needs) including social needs, need for respect and self-realization. Everyone possesses these five different levels of needs, but the urgency of the needs expressed in different periods is different. It is the most urgent need that motivates action. Human needs use external satisfaction to gradually get the satisfaction of the inner world.
Falun Gong, as a highly deceptive cult, also uses this theory intentionally or unintentionally. In order to achieve the purpose of controlling believers, Li Hongzhi consciously meets their potential needs of existence and uses them as a temptation. So these believers unconsciously enter his pre-set Ecstasy and become unable to extricate themselves.
Analysis of Reasons of Obsession
First of all, we use the demand theory to analyze Zhang’s reasons of obsession. Zhang, male, was born in Fufeng, Shaanxi in September 1972. In 1996, he graduated from Kunming University of Technology. After graduation, he became an engineer at Baoji Non-ferrous metal Processing Plant. As a 1990s college students and an engineer of a large state-owned enterprise, he had a bright future and good income. It seems that his basic needs have been met, but the actual situation is not the case. He also feels a lot of confusion and demand. Because of this, he was dragged into the quagmire of Falun Gong step by step. The process of satisfying his various needs is the process of being enticed by Falun Gong.
He was gradually trapped for low-level desires.
Zhang had no worries for food and clothing, but he had high myopia, which seriously affected his life. His fellow practitioners of Falun Gong said it could help him keep fit without taking medicine and claimed that their original myopia was now much better by practicing Falun Gong. To this end, he touched Falun Gong with a try-and-see attitude. Zhang's parents lived in Zhengzhou, so he was unfamiliar with Baoji. Especially as he had just graduated, there were no relatives and he found it hard to communicate with people. Thus he was plunged into deep solitude. After practicing Falun Gong, the group made him feel a certain sense of security, even a kind of "warmth", which greatly satisfied his security needs and made him obsessed with Falun Gong. Through this physiological need of security, Zhang unconsciously strayed into the wrong path.
High-level needs induce him to voluntarily accept and consciously serve Falun Gong
As he had no relatives and friends to keep him company for a long time, through the practice of Falun Gong with a circle of "friends", his dull life became rich. At the same time, due to his high cultural level in the circle, many people asked him to solve problems they encountered in practice. As he was a computer guru, many asked him for help as they wanted to learn to use the Internet to reach Li Hongzhi. Gradually, he was fascinated by this feeling of being respected and was unable to extricate himself. In this way, he seemed to feel the care and understanding of the Mater, the respect from fellow practitioners, and great satisfaction absent in his normal working life. In his own words: "As a college student, in the campus I did not get the recognition and respect I got here. I feel a sense of superiority and great satisfaction. Thus practicing Falun Gong became my top priority, overwhelming anything else in my life.”
Through the above analysis, we believe that the low-level needs of Zhang for physical health and safe environment, which tempted him into Falun Gong, were no longer his real needs as time and environment changed. But he never seriously reflected on it. It caused his long-time obsession with Falun Gong. He preferred to break the law and "promote the Falun law", which was caused by the hidden high level needs for social respect and self-realization. Therefore, in helping him, we must fully respect his inner need and create a positive social environment to encourage self-reflection and self-education while meeting his higher level needs for respect and self-realization.
Firstly, we used facts to eliminate his attitude of confrontation. We believed that to respect his identity as a college student should be the basis of our approach. As long as we let the facts speak, he will understand the scam of Falun Gong and walk away from the confrontation against our help. In terms of physical benefits, we said to him that after practicing Falun Gong for more than 10 years, his health conditions had gone from bad to worse. He failed to recover his vision but the myopia rose to 900 degrees. As to the sense of security offered by fellow practitioners, we asked him to list the specific help provided by them and he prevaricated. In view of Li Hongzhi's "Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance", after the outbreak of flood in 1998, he said that it was a providence and didn’t allow practitioners to donate money to the false "good". Moreover, Li had instigated the practitioners to act against the government. Through these facts, Zhang began to doubt Li Hongzhi's teachings and began to reflect on himself. At this moment, his attitude of confrontation was removed.
Second, guide them to self-learning and self-examination to break through its psychological line of defense. Zhang began to struggle ideologically. We believed that we must take advantage of his love for books to promote his self-education and self-examination. To this end, we recommended that he read a number of psychological books, and sent a number of psychological volunteers for regular exchanges with him. After six months of persistence, Zhang gradually realized that the mental control of Falun Gong was an external cause, but his own psychological problems were the internal cause of temptation. He wrote an article "My Lost Road." From the psychological point of view, i.e., psychological needs, herd mentality, psychological implication, psychological energy balance principle, group psychology and five other aspects, he analyzed his own inner uneasiness and how Falun Gong lured him step by step. Since then, Zhang actively cooperated with the rescue and developed a new understanding of Li Hongzhi's crooked heresy. Thus, he was initially transformed.
Third, provide a better environment to consolidate the transformation. Later, we thought that Zhang was obsessed with Falun Gong because he was recognized and respected, and he got a self-fulfilling satisfaction. To consolidate his transformation, he had to be re-created in a new working environment to get this kind of satisfaction. We helped him land a job in a construction company as the budget engineer, so that he could experience the achievements and happiness at work. We guided his wife to share his success, be happy for him and make him feel relaxed and satisfied at home. We also asked a number of people with similar hobbies to make friends with him, such as playing chess and reading. In this way, he could change his life habits and become a social person.
Through several years of persistence, Zhang completely got away from Falun Gong and now leads a normal life.
Zhang's successful rescue gives me the following inspiration:
1. Cult fanatics, in essence, are a group of people with psychological problems. Their rescue work should be based on the principle of medical treatment and to adopt a scientific approach of psychological intervention.
2. Everyone has needs, cult followers are no exception. We need to face up to their needs, remove the unreasonable part of them and meet the reasonable content. Through patient work, we will be able to yield results.
3. The work of helping cult addicts is a full-fledged systematic project that requires more dedicated volunteers to join. At the same time, it is a long and arduous process, which requires meticulous and repeated work.