Bouchey’s view of Raniere, NXIVM, described in article published [November, 23, 2017] How a Secret Society That Brands Women Sold Empowerment.  Writer Sarah Berman interviewed cult experts Steve Hassan and Rick Ross and ex-Nxivm members, Sarah Edmondson and Barbara Bouchey.

I found Ms. Bouchey’s comments particularly interesting.

Barbara Bouchey offers her views on Keith Raniere and NXIVM in recent article.


Taken from the article:


According to Bouchey, [NXIVM] participants often report profound and life-changing experiences.

“Keith developed a questioning technique that lets you peel back layers to get to where a negative pattern came from, why it’s controlling you,” she told VICE.


Bouchey agrees there are certain words Nxivm shares with Scientology, like “parasites” and “surppressives.” But having observed behind the scenes for many years, Bouchey says Raniere has developed much of his own material—thousands of hours of it, in fact—and that she still recalls taking some good away from it.

For example, Bouchey said she was personally prone to anxiety around being late for appointments. She claimed her training with Keith helped her get to the bottom of what that meant about herself and other people. “I worked on that, had some ‘ahas’ and was able to get rid of that pattern,” she said.


Bouchey cautions against hypnotic explanations. In our interview she asked me straight: did I think [Sarah] Edmondson sounded hypnotized? I honestly didn’t think so. Reports of “brainwashing” and starvation diets have certainly grabbed tabloid headlines, but don’t tell the whole story, she said. “I don’t think she was on a 500 calorie diet, I don’t think she thought she was hypnotized—other people used those words.”

Bouchey is also an NLP practitioner, something she learned to better understand the psychology of her financial planning clients. She claimed it’s far less insidious than it sounds. Simply rephrasing a sentence so that the listener feels they have a choice falls under the banner of NLP, according to her.

Bouchey  compared the indoctrination that happens [In NXIVM to, as an example] when parents teach their kids whether it’s better to buy a house with cash or with a loan. There’s good reasons to do both—leverage money vs. avoid debt—but being swayed from one side to another is a rearranging of values.

Bouchey says followers like Edmondson looked up to Keith as they would an author of an uplifting spiritual book, like Herman Hesse and his classic self-discovery novel Siddhartha.

“She’s had 13 years of admiring and respecting these people, she’s read it so many times she loves the book,” Bouchey told VICE. “You don’t expect that in Mr. Herman Hesse’s inner circle they have hidden chapters of the book, and they’re using it against you—you can’t imagine it in a million years.”

NXIVM discredits its critics the way a family might discredit an estranged parent, according to Bouchey. It encourages people like Edmondson to cut off communication, and trust first-hand experience. When people express skepticism, some leaders start bringing in more tough-love tactics—suggesting if you don’t join or commit, there may be business or personal opportunities you’ll miss.


Bouchey calls this the “hidden chapters” of the Nxivm story, where women are asked to submit nudes as a proof or pledge that they won’t leave or tell anyone about the group. According to her, the leaders have earned so much trust they can actually cause harm without risk of losing the follower. “You start to think, I on’t like this chapter, that doesn’t belong in the book,” she said.

According to Bouchey, there is likely a negative propaganda campaign in full swing smearing those who have left, likely using some of the personal issues they may have revealed in the class. She knows first-hand that Raniere supporters quickly wrote her off as sociopathic, unfeeling, even developmentally delayed.

Bouchey left Nxivm nine years ago, and has since spent hundreds of thousands of dollars defending herself in court.

*** previously published  Why I joined a secret society that branded me  by Sarah Edmondson [as told to Sara Berman] on Nov. 2, 2017.


About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • What Confuses me is why is Bouchey defending Raniere and the NXIVM Cult?

    She appears to be an individual who claims to provide “value-free,” or “neutral,” information about NXIVM other than a few kind of nice things to say about them.

    She never acknowledged the sociological, legal, moral and/or theological problems with NXIVM

    It was like she was saying NXIVM is misunderstood – but legitimate. It only seem weird because people don’t know enough about them and that individuals misrepresent the beliefs and practices.

    What’s next, will she be saying that claims are coming mostly from disgruntled former members with an ax to grind.

    It appears that Bouchey has attempted to create a credibility gap between herself and cult experts or is making herself out to be the “self-proclaimed ‘cult experts’.”

    It appears that most dangerous thing here is that we can trust Bouchey can be trusted to tell the truth.

    It appears from what others are saying she might not have done enough exit counseling to heal her wounds from being as deep within the cult for as long as she was.

    • That’s nonsense. I didn’t get that at all. I think she sounded like a non-biased expert on the other side of all this, and she clearly was not portrayed to be defending them. She simply explained what the value was. This is a sensitive thing to do as it provides former members dignity. It also reduces victim blaming. Your comment seems like you have an underlying malignant agenda to discredit a highly credible ex-member.

      • A lot of people felt they were victimized by Barbara Bouchey while she was in NXIVM. Her comments in VICE seem to open old wounds for many judging by the number of people coming forward about her on this blog. To dismiss people’s feelings is irresponsible and victim blaming.

      • I can’t remember whether you’re her “Media Coach” or her “Publicist”. She has bragged about having both.

        Either way, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

      • Christine Marie, it’s clear your Bouchey’s media coach and get paid to try make her look good. You opinion is noted but since you were not a part of NXIVM your opinion holds no weight and your defense of her is meaningless since your have a paid agenda.

        Personally, and in a lot of opinions stated here, you got it WRONG when coaching her for the story. It didn’t make her look non-biased, it made her look like she was still drinking kool-aid and attached to Raniere in an unhealthy way.

        She did victim blame, she blamed everyone who has spoken out about their experience
        regarding being in NXIVM as wrong and she is right. In my opinion she didn’t come off as highly credible person nor do you as a media coach or PR person or whatever you do.

        Sarah on the other hand was spot on with her story and has been consistent from day one. She is the true hero of the story and the one that is highly credible ex-member. She owns her true story take a strong stand against NXIVM.

        Bouchey stand is wimpy and a slap in the face. Bouchey journey was different with different wounds. Sarah shared her wounds, Bouchey made it look like, someone called it day camp. You might consider real media coaching school.

  • I think Barb Bouchey isn’t yet healed from Raniere. She still believes he’s good. She wants to be the special one in all of this. Like she knows best. But she might not recognize that the new generation of NEXITERS are smarter than she appears to be. They can see that she is probably using them for publicity.

  • Wherever there’s this kind of money and debauchery allied with power people eventually start being killed for various reasons. I predict this is the path everyone involved is heading down.

  • Bouchey admits to being an NLP practitioner and a board member of NXIVM. The only people who make it to the board of NXIVM are those that are will to do NXIVM deeds for them. At the time Bouchey was on the board, all other board members were women who were also sleeping with Raniere other than Nancy Salzman.

    Did Bouchey learn NLP from Nancy Salzman? Did she use here NLP skills in NXIVM to sway students into doing things that would benefit the cult? Take classes they really couldn’t afford because of the value it would give them, trust Raniere as he was the noblest, honest, ethical man in the world? Remember this is the man who lost 1.2 million dollars of her money in the commodities market and never paid her back. Now she defends him.

    Many who have left have stated that the inner leadership of NXIVM was the “cult” of NXIVM, the brainwashes, the mind-benders. (NLP is one of the tools used for mind-bending) Bouchey defends NLP and makes it out to be totally harmless.

    Give her a break, Bouchey went on the record defending her position while in NXIVM and her relationship personally and professionally with Raniere to boost her public persona now that Bouchey is outside of the cult?

    It’s complex, and one has to question why. Has she even started the healing process need to recover once someone as deep as Bouchey was within the cult of NXIVM was to realized how dangerous, NXIVM and Raniere really are, or is she still blinded by her love for her Master?

    Is she coming to the press in defense of NXIVM and her ex-love Raniere in hopes that it will stop the litigation machine she claims she has been a victim too for so many years?

    Either way, she sounds like she is traumatizing those that left NXIVM by standing up and defending the very evil she participated in and then left.

    I hope Sarah Edmondson recovers from being run over by the bus Bouchey drove over her several times in the article.

  • Long before Bouchey left NXIVM, one of her staff spilled the beans about how much she was earning from managing the Bronfman’s money. Apparently, she ended up earning a lot more than she lost covering Raniere’s crappy commodities investments. But, for some reason, she never mentions anything about that. Wonder why that is.

    • Every rich person that came to NXIVM was filtered over to Barbara Bouchey Assess Management firm.

      The Bronfman’s were the icing on her cake. She made millions on everyone who had money who walked through the door that “they” could convince to move their money to her.

      This way she could give some back to the “mission” ie Keith her boy toy. Bouchey was the Queen of NXIVM for many years, Keith’s #1

      Than came Ivy Nevares, way more pretty and Raniere sexual apatite for her was strong and knock Bouchey off his #1 platform sexually.

      When the Bronfman’s came, Raniere no longer needed her money and Bouchey was no longer the Queen. this was the start of her downfall in the cult. Bouchey was no longer #1 and she started to decompose and started to become an emotional wreck.

      When Bouchey left, she lost at least 50% of her company within a week. All active NXIVM member moved their money out of her firm. The Bronfman’s was a huge financial hit. She went from a large office with a huge staff to working out of her home with one staff member.

      • Bouchey was a top field trainer for NXIVM for about 9 years. She was merciless. Getting people to charge up their credit cards and in debt into oblivion. She easily made over $100K a year in commissions for a long, long time with NXIVM. On top of that she charged 5% annually for all the money she managed at her firm which included the $100 million plus she managed for the Bronfman’s. That does not include all the other rich NXIAN clients who had money with her. If she was an honest and caring person the first thing she would have done when she left NXIVM was refund her commissions to her victims. Did she do that? Uh, no.

        Did she call all those victims and say “I am sorry for enrolling or participating in this with you, here is your thousands of dollars that I earned off of pressuring you to take yet another training?” Uh, no. What does that tell you about her? A LOT.

        • Wow, I am in shock at how bitter you are. Why don’t you use your real name? Is it because you yourself have written all these comments under different names? This victim bashing is appalling and will not help your cause. If you cannot acknowledge that Barbara Bouchey was unduly victimized by NXIVM, you are absolutely out of touch with reality.

          • Speaking of honesty, why didn’t you mention that you are Bouchey’s “Media Coach” or her “Publicist”? And, by the way, you’re doing a hell of a job in helping the world understand what a self-serving bitch Barbra is.

    • Bouchey made huge money off NXIVM and was the Queen Bee of the harem. Hard to imagine how far she has psychologically dissembled to think these stories would fly. We watched you up Keith’s ass Bouchey and not caring about his harem as long as you were #1. Are you kidding? If you want to help the Expians be honest. As for all the good things in the training it is evil from the first module on. If you can’t see that I feel pity for you, you must be in a pretty dark place.

  • Bouchey now claims to have had a “normal” relationship with Keith Rainere’s as his girlfriend.
    While he is having sex with other women and Bouchey was still married.
    In the eyes of “normal people,” this does not seem like a normal boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.

    It begs for an answer, was Bouchey lied to like all the other women to get her to have a “sexual relationship with Raniere” like other women were or did she agree to an open relationship since she was still married to another man while having sex with Raniere?

    Since she doesn’t think Raniere (and others) uses hypnosis and NLP to mind-bend their members than she must not of been abused while in NXIVM.

    I guess NXIVM. the Bronfman’s, Salzman’s and Raniere can now rest assure that Bouchey will never be involved in any kind of law suit claiming any damages of abuse from Bouchey since all she saw was good in them.

    • Use your real names. I have never seen anything like this. I will gladly stand up for Barbara Bouchey because I have come to get to know her very, very, very well. She would never intentionally allow another person to be hurt. She truly cares about people and is perhaps the most honest person I know. Too honest, perhaps. The Internet world lets people hide in anonymity and feel empowered by the “online disinhibition effect” where they can lie, be cruel, bully, troll and harass without consequence. Studies show that trolls are more likely to have personality traits from “the dark triad.” I respect and honor Barbara, a truly inspiring person, for telling the truth as she witnessed it. My heart goes out to her for having to put up with additional persecution from trolls here. Let’s all be kind and caring and forgiving and supportive.

      Love is the answer, always.

      Christine Marie (Katas)

      • How much did you charge Bouchey to write this crap? Or did she just write it and have you post it like you’ve done so often on this site?

      • Christine Marie, People don’t use their real names on this blog as it’s read by NXIVM. I’m not going to use my name either so get over yourself. Why isn’t Bouchey on here defending herself? Is she pulling a Keith and being to noble to do so?

        If Bouchey doesn’t like whats written here she doesn’t have to read it nor do you. It’s pretty clear that some people need or want to vent.

        You want to make it out that it’s just one person doing the writing. If that makes you and Bouchey feel better, OK. She was in a long time, in the inner inner circle and in my opinion was not the nicest person. She rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and was high and mighty most the time.

        It was either shut up and do as your told or if you tried to stand your ground when you disagreed you were in for verbal manipulation from her NLP skills. Personally, I tried to stand my ground and got punished from her a lot for it while in NXIVM. I couldn’t do anything about it than as she was too powerful with her boyfriend being Keith. I got fed up with it and left long before she did.

        If I’ve blown off some steam here on the blog over some pent up angry, well it just what it is. It’s been therapeutic of me to do so. If it’s hurt her feelings, it’s just karma coming right back at her. If she can’t handle it, tell her to stay off this page or any page that has to do with her. I can’t promise I won’t do it again.

        Have I written every post? Hell no, I’m not that angry. I have enjoyed reading every post. Your a bit irritating but you have to earn a pay check so keep writing as I love her to spend her money and I agree I think you two a perfect fit, you both morons.

  • The author, Sarah Berman, was trying to understand and communicate to readers how people get recruited by cults, and stay in even when they begin to learn disturbing things.

    The initial, entry-level, of Executive Success Programs really does teach some skills for dealing with yourself and others. Many people, particularly young adults, will find them genuinely beneficial. All that Barbara Bouchey is saying is that she found some of the training useful.

    Later, Raniere asked her to help cover his $1.5 million margin-call in the commodities market, which she did. Raniere never paid her back, saying that it was a gift of “tribute” from her. When she left NXIVM, Raniere pursued her in court for many years, bankrupting her. She knows he’s a liar and a sex-addict and a sociopath.

    But Raniere is a talented liar, and like many, Barbara didn’t figure things out for years.

    • “Later, Raniere asked her to help cover his $1.5 million margin-call in the commodities market, which she did. Raniere never paid her back, saying that it was a gift of “tribute” from her.”

      She should’ve kicked the wimp’s ass. Fucking liar.

    • Bouchey’s kudos to Raniere’s “Rational Inquiry” bullshit are the equivalent of German soldiers stating that they learned how to be really good fighters in Hitler’s army. And let’s not forget that she was near the very top of this Ponzi scheme and making a lot of money off it. Sounds to me like she’s still got a lot of kool-aid in her.

    • To Give Barbara Bouchey A Break: Do some research and find out what really happened in Bouchey’s bankruptcy. It’s certainly not the fairy tale that you’re trying to sell here.

      • If memory serve me correctly , Bouchey bankruptcy was dismissed by the judge was she improperly applied for it. It’s a public recorded by she never went through bankruptcy, Like Records Checker says, might want to get your fact clear before posting. Too many of us know the truth and will bust all lies

        • If Bouchey’s banrkruptcy was dismissed for fraud that would be scary. So she pretend files for bankruptcy to make it look like she was a victim when in reality she was a huge complicit perpetrator. Leader of the harem, leader of squeezing every lasts penny from people, profiteer of the brainwashed. If anyone knows why she really left please share. Another poster says it was because she was dethroned from #1 by Ivy Nevares.

    • Really, you are going to go there? Sarah E did a pretty good job at explaining the same thing an never once defended Keith, the classes or NXIVM. The crack between the two sides of the story could not be more clear. You must either be Barbara, paid by Barbara or under her mind-binding NLP control.
      Have some hot lemon water and do some detoxing please for your own sake.

  • Barbara, I think you may want to educate yourself further regarding hypnosis and brainwashing. If you haven’t received adequate help or education regarding the nature of these groups (and it sounds like you may have not) I would not take the role of commenting on other’s experience or generalizing the good that you got from the group. The man is a sociopath, and all the “thousands of hours of material” have been developed with one aim in mind – to destroy people’s lives and enslave them. Please take better precautions and educate yourself before playing expert.

    • Anonymous, it sounds like she is selling for their next level 2. I’m with you Bouchey make NXIVM sound like summer camp.

  • High-control groups often genuinely have beneficial and helpful teachings/practices in the beginning. It’s the bait in the trap.
    I don’t doubt people who say they initially got something good out of NXIUM. It’s important to know that this is part of how high-control groups keep people in even after red flags appear.

  • Although my first instinct was to blast Bouchey for being such a bubble-head in extolling the wonderfulness of being part of NXIVM, my years of working with returning war veterans has given me a different perspective on this sort of situation. Just like there are soldiers who come back from war so traumatized that they can no longer function in society, so too are there are NXIVM/ESP “veterans” who are so broken that they are incapable of returning to the lives they led before they got involved in the cult.

    Bouchey is a prime example of the fact that some of those who were brainwashed by Keith and Nancy may never recover fully – and that, short of being institutionalized for a long period of time, they will quite likely remain in a delusional state. Maybe it’s the weakest people who end up that way – maybe it’s the ones who feel the most guilty for what they did while they were in the cult. But whatever it is, we have to recognize the deficiency – and deal with people like Bouchey accordingly.

    • I think your on to something Mental Health Counselor,

      Bouchey seems to be suffering from a laundry list of psychological problems when an ex-cult member leaves cults, and they do not get proper support from family and friends nor the psychological help in deprogramming needed to re-enter the “real world.”

      In Albany Bouchey is known for having no family support when she left NXIVM. Bouchey had two brothers with special needs, and one brother had turned his back on Bouchey due to her involvement in the cult. Her father was a severe alcoholic who was out most nights, and when he was home, the children walked on eggshells who had passed away, and her mother died young.

      Sad sorry as it is Rags to Riches kind of thing while beating her own drum.

      Bouchey was a child from a dysfunctional family that had to have caused emotional scaring for her who then joins a cult ripe for the taking. It appears she has not started to detox from the kool-aid after eight years. Maybe she’s been too busy in and out of court defending herself.

  • “The universal appeals are improving yourself, becoming more effective as a communicator, more effective as a human being, having better relationships, and making the world a better place,” Steven Hassan of the research organization Freedom of Mind told VICE.


    Too bad it makes you worse at it. It cuts you off from others and makes you selfish, less considerate, less compassionate, sympathetic, and empathetic, etc., and allows you to rationalize it via a “virtue of selfishness”.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

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Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083