How Do Abusers Groom Their Victims? A Therapist Dissects ‘Leaving Neverland’

Michael Jackson's abuse happened long before any sexual acts took place.


After watching Leaving Neverland, most people come away with numerous questions.

How did this even happen? Why didn’t they mention this right after it happened? Wouldn’t parents know? Wouldn’t they do something?

In today’s Psych Cinema, therapist Jonathan Hetterly discusses how Leaving Neverland explores the psychological concepts of grooming a family for abuse, processing trauma as an adult, and implicit bias.

Watch it here:

Psych Cinema is our video series where licensed professional counselor Jonathan Hetterly explores the psychology behind the films that he watches and loves.

To hear Jonathan Hetterly discuss the psychology behind other films he watches and loves, visit our YouTube channel.

Click here for more content by Jonathan Hetterly, LPC. 


  1. You hurried too much in this analysis . Should have waited for more consulting , I guess the mental health bible , namely “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” , especially at the page 134 (5-th), were a very important distinction is made. Check that out!

  2. Family felt special beacuse Michael was rich and they could get money!! Greedy mothers stopped watching child thinking only of money!
    If child 7 years old was anally abused how not possible signs of that? Who batch the child?mothers should be in prison!


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