Human beings have an inalienable right to invent themselves; when that right is pre-empted it is called brain-washing.
Behind this web of semantic.(and more than semantic) confusion [regarding the definition of thought reform] lies an image of "brainwashing" as an all-powerful, irresistible, unfathomable, and magical method of achieving total control over the human mind. It is of course none of these things, and this loose usage makes the word a rallying point for fear, resentment, urges toward submission, justification for failure, irresponsible accusation, and for a wide gamut of emotional extremism.
brainwashing: (a.k.a. thought control, mind control, coercive persuasion). A non-violent method that uses mind control techniques to convince a person to abandon some of their basic beliefs and adopt the beliefs of the indoctrinator.
She's one of a kind, the foremost authority on brainwashing in the entire world. She is a national treasure.
brainwashing is defined as an observable set of transactions between a charismatically-structured collectivity and an isolated agent of the collectivity with the goal of transforming the agent into a deployable agent. brainwashing is thus a process of ideological resocialization carried out within a structure of charismatic authority.
Given the problematic nature of scientific support for brainwashing based theories as they are applied to participants in new religions, it is reasonable to ask why such evidence was ever admitted [into court testimony], and why it is sometimes still admitted. The most plausible answer has to do with the operation of biases, prejudices, and misinformation in these cases that involve controversial parties and issues or, as Kassin and Wrightsman (1988) say: cases involving emotional topics over which public opinion is polarized.