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The Sullivan Institute Was A Psychotherapy Cult Based In New York's West Side That Demonized Nuclear Families

Updated 26 Feb 2020 6.2k views14 items

The Sullivan Institute may not be as notorious as other cults in America, but that doesn't mean its intent or practices were any less sinister. The group emerged in the 1950s with an agenda to demonize the nuclear family, specifically women's roles as mothers. Much like the Grail Movement in Germany blended elements of Christianity with the New Age movement, the Institute's founder, Saul Newton, took pieces of psychotherapy, teachings from Marxism and Communism, and his idea of polygamy to form a uniquely cultish ideology. 

The appeal of the cult started to dwindle in the 1980s. Media outlets began detailing the cult's multiple custody fights as defectors attempted to get their children back from the sect. After Newton's passing in 1991, the Sullivanians appeared to be no more. Unlike other cults that maintain an online presence, the Sullivan Institute remains only in news reports and the lives of people affected by its message of family destruction and maternal scorn.


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