Interview Episode: LGATs with John Hunter, Ph.D.

Special Guest: Dr John Hunter

Dr. John Hunter is a South African researcher and lecturer, based in Johannesburg. His interest in large group awareness trainings (LGATs) – and their impact on mood and psychosis – is grounded in his personal experience of bipolar disorder and his participation in an LGAT in 2010. In 2017, he completed a Ph.D. in psychology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, proposing a neurobiological explanation for the relationship between LGAT conditions and results.


April 17th, 2024

1 hr 34 mins 28 secs

Season 6 presenting partner:


For his 2017 PhD, John Hunter put forward a hypothesis that offers insights into both the “transformational” experiences associated with large group awareness training (LGAT) participation and the common claims of psychological harm and problematic behaviour associated with participation. In 2023, Dr Hunter presented this work at the annual International Cultic Studies Association conference in Louisville, Kentucky, and for this episode he breaks down some of his findings – including where LGATs may or may not intersect with cults and cult-like behaviour.