Abraham-Hicks: Cult, Scam, or Legitimate? A Reference Guide

Abraham-Hicks: Cult, Scam, or Legitimate? A Reference Guide

Abraham-Hicks, the popular Law of Attraction ideology, is touted as “The Secret Behind the Secret.” At the time of this writing, Abraham-Hicks’s bestselling book on manifesting your desires has a nearly 4.2 star rating on Goodreads from over 17,000 ratings.

But is this system actually teaching a legitimate way to unlock the heights of success and human potential? Or is it a scam or a cult?

The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) has a list of characteristics that are associated with cultic groups. Below, I have included the entire list, comparing the Abraham-Hicks (A-H) group point-by-point.

I am writing this evaluation based on my own experiences from being involved, as well as my observations of others who were or are deeply committed to these teachings.

I have observed how A-H lures people in with grand promises. Followers are then coached to replace their natural, internal functioning with rules and superstitions that keep them preoccupied. I maintain what I’ve said before, that the A-H teachings rely on many spiritual and psychological ideas that are helpful. These ideas can benefit many people and have done exactly that. But Abraham-Hicks mixes these helpful ideas in with falsehoods and partial truths that will mislead, confuse, and harm followers in many areas of their lives.

Despite this and everything you will read below, rather than conclusively labeling A-H as a cult, I agree with ICSA’s statement that, “Tagging a label on a group is not as important as understanding it.

I have compiled the list below to do exactly that: compile a reference guide that will help people understand the hidden elements of this popular ideology.

For further reading, my previous articles comparing Abraham-Hicks with cult tactics are as follows:


Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups

The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).

The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and its members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).

The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).

The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before they joined the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).

The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.

Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends and to radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before they joined the group.

The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

The group is preoccupied with making money.

Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.

Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.


What do you think about these similarities between cultic groups and Abraham-Hicks? Have you noticed these same warning signs or others?

Share your thoughts in the comment section.

13 thoughts on “Abraham-Hicks: Cult, Scam, or Legitimate? A Reference Guide

  1. I am sad to see no one has commented here yet. My husband is mentally ill and abusive and I had to leave him earlier this year due to domestic violence. He was introduced to A-H and became obsessed with them. He still is. He began using their teachings as a justification for his abuse of me. They are preying on people and it is a crime. They are frauds and predators who become wealthy from other people’s misfortune. I do not believe for one second they channel anything but narcissistic and sociopathic pathology. I listened to my husband play their teachings over and over and heard all the manipulative and strategic techniques they used. It was blantant psychological persuasion. He tried to force me into joining and used it all to try to control me further. They are not responsible. It is not spirituality. It is a cult.

    1. Serena, what an awful situation. I’m sorry to hear it. Thank you for commenting with your experience. Your strong words are powerful and warranted. It is often the more extreme situations that effectively reveal the danger of something.

      Narcissistic and sociopathic is right. From cheating to other unethical behavior to abuse, people’s worst natures can be called forth through this belief system and then spun into feel-good tales for justification. There is no more right and wrong or accepting responsibility. Hurting others is suddenly the victim’s problem. And all that remains is: “what feels good to me?” And the Aber feels infallible, enlightened, even downright holy.

      On top of that, any “Aber” hearing your story would go through great mental acrobatics to explain your situation in a way that feels better to them and allows them to keep believing this ideology (usually blaming the victim for their point of attraction). Abers are coached to believe ANYTHING that feels better, rather than acknowledge reality or feel appropriate human empathy. This dogma is obviously not changing actual reality, just causing its followers to desensitize themselves to others and sink further into confusion and denial.

      Yes, for whatever reason, people have been shy to comment on this post even though it is the 2nd most viewed article on this blog! Your words here will be read by others, and hopefully inspire more discussion.

      1. Thank you. I appreciate that someone has courage to write publically about these kind of personality cult phenomenon that take advantage of people and try to generate discussion. I am pleased to participate. And yes, it is hard to speak out. I have been silenced due to threats made to my life. It is very hard to move forward in this situation.
        Personally, I do not believe that if any individual had that kind of authentic divine connection they would not charge thousands of dollars for it. It is immoral and unethical.
        While going through the worst time of my life, I have been utterly shocked by the level of support my husband has received in his abuse of me and this has included Abraham Hicks material that people like him interpret in ways that seem like they are telling him to do the things he does. They are not accountable in any way for what they preach and this is unconscionable. Thank you for your support and all the best.
        With regards …

  2. I have a friend who believes pretty strongly in the A-H philosophy, and she has been trying to convince me to adopt it. I’m going through a difficult time right now financially – I had to leave a job for medical reasons and haven’t been able to find a new job since treatment – and she often brings up LOA ideas with the implication that I attracted this misfortune to myself, that I should – rather than discussing what I’m going through for validation or to brainstorm solutions – not even think about it. She also recommends actions – moving out of the place where I currently live, going on trips rather than saving the money I have, purchasing expensive homeopathic or spiritual items – that would put me further in debt, as well as insisting that I shouldn’t continue to visit doctors during my recovery.

    How can I get her to stop doing this? She is a friend of my family from way back; I’ve known her since I was a child. She is much older than me and genuinely seems interested in trying to support me, so I’m hesitant to argue with her over beliefs that I think got her through some really difficult times in her own life. But one of the CDs she gave me had Hicks implying that the Holocaust happened because Jewish people were too negative, and I’m now caught between trying to politely accept that she (my friend) hasn’t given this much thought (I brought it up to her, and her answer was not to worry about that part and focus on the positive), and my disgust that there is someone that people listen to who can insist that people who find themselves in bad situations through no fault of their own somehow ‘attracted’ that to them.

    I was hoping for advice, or a reference to somewhere I can find advice. Like I said, I don’t feel comfortable aggressively calling her out on her beliefs, but that those beliefs lead her to conclude that what has happened to me is a result of my being too negative, and that she keeps insisting this to me, is very emotionally distressing and makes me feel worse. I don’t know how to broach the subject rationally with her without triggering an argument or the response that ‘I just don’t get it’. I do get it; it just doesn’t make any sense.

    1. Hi Kai,
      I want to respond to you as I really feel for your situation. My husband has just handed over the last of his money to A-H and is leaving the country to follow them. You do not owe this friend anything. If you do not accept the teachings and what she is doing does not feel right, then please trust your instincts. You know what is best for you. Not her or A-H. Do not trust anyone who tries to tell you they know better. What I hear from you is that you are in somewhat vulnerable place in your life and she is trying to take advantage of that. You will not convince her to stop. She really believes A-H crap. Distance yourself from her. I recommend seeking a counsellor that you can talk with confidentially if you can afford one. I hear you need support.
      Yes, when you listen to some of the things they say, it is incredulous. To say that about the Jews is horrific. Trust your instinct and get away from this person. I send you positive thoughts and hope this has helped a bit.

      1. Thank you, Serena! Great advice from someone who, unfortunately, knows all too well the mindset of LOA fanatics.

    2. Hi Kai, I’m glad you commented. I am a couple months late, so I do not know your situation now. However, I am sorry your friend is being so invalidating at such a stressful time. LOA turns its followers into lousy friends.

      She is definitely incorrect about how to deal with this situation. Talking about reality is important. Trying to get support for what’s happening is right and helpful. Being realistic and making logical financial plans is the best thing to do. Good for you. Taking the kind of action she recommends is all about attempting to feel abundant to attract wealth but will obviously have the opposite of the intended effect. I wrote about it in the post, Digging a Financial Hole with Abraham-Hicks. Following her advice would make you worse off… then she would blame the negative results on you and your vibration too.

      I still remember the insensitive “digs” I received from people into LOA at vulnerable times. It caused me to move away from them. That is what happens when we are invalidated, blamed, and burned. I hope you will not take on any of the blame she is slinging your way. You are the one that is living in reality. I think it is also very compassionate of you to realize these beliefs got her through hard times. You can see her better than she can see herself at this point.

      As far as recommendations, you won’t change her beliefs, but you can make it clear that her opinion is not welcome. It’s something LOA-ers deal with a lot: trying to convert everyone and realizing that most people aren’t interested in the BS! Since you seem most comfortable handling this gently, find a phrase you can comfortably use. For example, “You know, I actually feel a lot worse after these conversations. I prefer not to discuss this.” How you “feel” is something an Aber can hear. Whatever phrase you choose, stick with this boundary, EVERY single time, simply repeating yourself if necessary (“Again, I prefer not to discuss this. Thanks for understanding.”).

      Her behavior drives people away, and you don’t have to disguise that fact. The way she is treating you is distressing and unwelcome, and you don’t have to pretend otherwise to keep things nice for her. As the commenter Serena noted, trust your instincts, and keep yourself safe and protected by putting distance between the two of you.

  3. Hello.
    I would love some advice from anyone who can help. My sister in law has been involved with Abraham Hicks for a few years now and I’m really worried about her. When she first started, I thought it was a positive way for her to overcome her depression. But it’s gone way way too far.
    Her personality has completely transformed; she’s quit her job, detached herself from her friends, and she’s cut off her family. She may be in massive debt, I don’t know. She’s given over her whole life to AH and I’m so scared for her. She’s become a hollow, self-centred and robotic person with no empathy, nor the ability to engage in “normal” social interactions. It’s come to the point where I’m terribly worried and wish I knew of a way to help her out. Can anyone advise as to what approach I should / shouldn’t take. She’s not responding to anyone in then family’s emails or phone calls etc at the moment.

    1. Hi Anushka. Your description of your sister in law perfectly matches the trend of many others who get involved in LOA. It helps at first, then goes way, way too far. That is the nature of this: followers get invested in the promises and have to work themselves into more and more faith and belief. It ends up ruling mind, emotion, and life. It is frightening and very sad to see. It is like having a person stolen from you.

      There’s really not an easy answer to the question, “How can I save this person?” You can’t make her choices or change her beliefs. She has to do that. I have also started to see that looking at this from the point of view of cult rescue / cult deprogramming is probably the most useful way to go. I will be doing more research on this.

      My piece of advice, as a person who WAS the Aber at one time, is to keep her feeling like you’re on her side (because you are). In other words, if you confront her in a way that makes her feel defensive or raise your eyebrow skeptically every time she talks, you become just one more person who “doesn’t get it.” You become an enemy that she has to sequester herself off from. But if you accept her and that she thinks this way while also remaining very truthful when you have opportunities to give feedback, that gets heard somewhere inside and can be helpful for waking up later.

      I don’t know how close the two of you are, but I think it’s a good time to be real, because there is something at stake here (her personality, her life). You can be real and say what you are noticing and what you fear the future holds if things go on this way. Revealing your genuine empathy and concern without being overtly challenging is a good balance. And you will probably have to be patient.

  4. I just found this and I really agree! I recently started listening to A-H and it just felt so nice and good…. until it didn’t. And whenever anyone brings up a difficult question it gets twisted and things entirely beyond a persons control are all their fault. I think A-H is especially dangerous because a lot of what they’re preaching does make sense. I do believe in the law of attraction, I have for a long time, and I do believe in the power of thought. To an extent. I feel like abrahams “teachings” take these good vibe things and really twist them into something dark. I’ll always believe in good vibes, but I’ll also always believe that if you get sick you should see a doctor and not a spiritual coach. And I feel like A-H really preys on people who, like me, already believe in manifestation and vibes so that its easy to mislead people and get them to buy in to this very happy sounding message of complete irresponsibility.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on A-H. It’s wonderful that you maintained your critical thinking to sort through what made sense and what didn’t. You’re so right that it easily appeals to those who already believe in the power of thought on some level: These teachings get their foot in the door with that instant resonance, and then followers easily overlook the falsehoods, even the ones that are completely ridiculous or twisted.

  5. Abusive irresponsible behavior is not a A-H thing. If people use that as an excuse for poor behavior, that’s on them. How can teaching people how to look at positive aspects and guide thoughts to make you feel better be so terrible…Did you even read any of the books?
    Maybe the A-H fans you know are just douche nozzles. No one is preying on anyone. Enjoy and have fun with your life! That’s what it’s about

    Anything can be twisted by anyone into something horrible just look at most religions

    1. Hello, I am a daughter of a parent who is into A-H. While not the abuse you expect of them like physical and manipulation, their teachings in my opinion are outright harmful. Its covert abuse to feel brainwashed into a spirituality that shifts blame onto the person for thinking such bad things because the victim brought it into their life, by thinking. It takes out critical thinking aspects a child needs and replaces it with passiveness instead of being proactive or even reactive. I have to state its not for fun and the more this goes on the less joy they earn from it. This is cult like behavior from the start.

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