Steve Hassan makes an interesting distinction between mental control and brainwashing. He says that in brainwashing the victim knows that the aggressor is an enemy. For example, prisoners of war know that the person doing the brainwashing and/or torture is an enemy and often they understand that remaining alive depends on changing their belief system. They are coerced, often with physical force, into doing things they would not normally do. However, when the victim escapes from the influence of the enemy, the effects of the brainwashing frequently disappear.
Mind control is more subtle and sophisticated because the person doing the manipulations is often considered a friend or a teacher, so the victim is not actually trying to defend themselves. In fact, he or she may be a ‘willing’ participant, and, believing that the manipulator has their best interests in mind, they often providing private information willingly, which is then used against them to continue the mind control.
This makes mind control as dangerous, if not more so, than physical coercion. In other words, it can be even more effective than torture, physical abuse, drugs etc.