In tradecraft, coercive persuasion is a form of psychological manipulation that’s used to change an individual’s beliefs, attitudes, or behavior through the use of coercion, fear, and other forms of pressure.

These techniques of persuasion are similar to brainwashing, and is often used to describe the same phenomenon.

The methods used in coercive persuasion can include repetition, isolation, sleep deprivation, exposure to propaganda, and the use of fear, guilt, and other forms of psychological pressure. The goal is to break down the individual’s existing beliefs and attitudes, and replace them with new beliefs and attitudes that are more in line with the goals of the person or group doing the coercive persuasion.

Coercive persuasion has been associated with totalitarian regimes, cults, and other organizations that seek to control individuals and groups. It’s often criticized for violating an individual’s autonomy and free will, and for causing lasting psychological harm.

Like brainwashing, the concept of coercive persuasion is controversial, and its existence and effects are still debated among experts in the field of psychology and psychiatry. Some experts argue that coercive persuasion is a real phenomenon, while others believe it’s a myth. Regardless, it is widely agreed that any form of psychological manipulation or coercion that seeks to control an individual’s beliefs, attitudes, or behavior is unethical and should be condemned.

Implementing Coercive Persuasion in the Field

Controlled Communication

Controlling the flow of information is essential. This includes monitoring and filtering the target’s access to information, as well as employing tactics such as “gaslighting,” where the operative manipulates the target into questioning their own memory, perception, or sanity.

Reward and Punishment

Offering incentives for compliance and consequences for resistance can be effective. This doesn’t necessarily mean tangible rewards or punishments, but can include emotional or social ones.

Rapport Building

Establishing trust with the target is critical. An operative must understand the target’s background, motivations, and vulnerabilities. Building rapport might involve sharing seemingly personal information or demonstrating empathy.

Creating Dependency

Making the target dependent on the operative or the information they provide can be a powerful tool. This might include isolating them from their typical support systems and replacing those systems with ones controlled by the operative.

Coercive Persuasion Defense Tactics

It’s important to be aware of coercive persuasion so you can recognize it when it happens and protect yourself from its effects. Here are a few tips on how to do just that:

+ Don’t let anyone isolate you from your friends and family.

+ Pay attention to how you feel during conversations.

+ Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated through guilt trips or false promises.

+ Remain level-headed in the face of fear-mongering.

+ Do your research before committing to any decisions.

+ Beware of people who try to control information or limit access.

+ Be aware of sensory overload tactics.

+ Pay attention if someone seems overly enthusiastic about their message.

+ Take breaks if needed throughout conversations.

+ Be mindful of your surroundings at all times.

Coercive persuasion is a systematic approach used by various intelligence agencies and military units worldwide to influence individual beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. The technique encompasses a spectrum of strategies, such as psychological manipulation, induced stress or fear, and intermittent reinforcement, aimed at destabilizing an individual’s sense of self and reshaping their perception of reality.

The objective is to erode resistance, encouraging compliance and the adoption of presented views. Propaganda, misinformation, disinformation, and various forms of psychological operations (PSYOPs) fall within this paradigm.

It’s critical to note that these tactics are highly regulated by national and international laws, often under close scrutiny to prevent any form of abuse or human rights violations.

[INTEL : Psychological Manipulation Detection]