Hulu’s Documentary on Teal Swan — If it Looks Like a Cult…


The following is opinion and it is based on a single documentary.  Do your home work and learn more about the controversial self-help guru, Teal Swan. 

If it looks like a cult to you, then you’re not alone. Teal Swan’s YouTube videos and “therapy” techniques have inspired followers and the following of her YouTube videos has been growing rapidly for years and even more so since the a controversial documentary about her premiered. Hulu’s documentary on Teal Swan, The Deep End examines Swan’s story and how her followers became a part of it.

Teal Swan — cult leader or self-help guru?

Freeform is running a four-part docuseries (in conjunction with Hulu) on what has to be described as a “cult of personality.” Teal Swan has previously gained attention for her life and traumatic upbringing. Her cult-like following has grown to hundreds of thousands on social media, with one channel (YouTube) alone attracting more than 79 million views. The Freeform series premiered on Hulu on May 18, 2022.

Her YouTube videos

Freeform’s documentary series explores the story of spiritual influencer Teal Swan, who claims to be a source of inspiration and routinely battles accusations of being a “cult leader.” But is she really just a spiritual leader? This new film shows how Teal Swan’s followers have become a cult of sorts and its connections to other cult-like phenomena.

Swan the “therapist”

If you’re interested in alternative healing, you might want to check out Hulu’s new documentary series and see Swan’s approach.  In this docuseries, filmmakers follow self-proclaimed spiritual teacher Teal Swan, who has over sixty thousand followers on Instagram. Her followers have compared her to Jesus, and she even half jokes about becoming more influential than the Pope. But despite her massive following and her ability to influence peoples’ lives, many critics have questioned her credibility as a genuine healer. Furthermore, they find many of her techniques controversial and even dangerous.

Her followers

Hulu’s documentary will attempt to make sense of this controversial leader and those that follow her. The film features interviews with members of Swan’s group, business partners, and a former romantic relationship she had. Swan, who calls herself a “personal transformation revolutionary” and “spiritual catalyst,” claims to have clairvoyance, clairsentience, and clairaudience. Nonetheless, the series will make viewers question the extent of her influence, both good and bad.

Her cult of personality

A Freeform documentary, “The Deep End,” explores the cult of personality of motivational speaker Teal Swan. It takes viewers behind the scenes of, what will appear to viewers as a cult. It will endeavor to understand the nature of Teal Swan’s movement. The program was made after several years of research, and it shows the rise of what is described by the group as a “self-restoration program” that includes meditation and spiritual teachings from a charismatic leader.

Swam appears very anxious throughout the series and the viewer will quickly observe:

  • She has zero tolerance to dissent or even questioning
  • She has made it clear that she is trying to isolate her followers from others, particularly their family members (a hallmark indicator of a cult)
  • She faces serious legal scrutiny that could prove costly and even criminal over time.


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