ICSA ZOOM Coping with Stress of Corona Virus Free Two-Week Virtual Events Series now on You Tube

Cult Stories recordings and other resources for ICSA members International Cultic Studies Association Mar 24, 2020, 3:37 PM

We write in the hope that you are coping well with the stress of the corona virus pandemic. 

Because many of us are hunkering down at home, we thought that this is a good time to remind ICSA members about the interesting resources available to them on icsahome.com.

Go to the member portal: https://www.icsahome.com/memberelibrary (bookmark this page)

There you will find, among other resources, links to the following:

  • Recordings of events, such as the recent series of cult stories in which the following persons were interviewed about their personal stories: Joe Szimhart; Paul Lennon; Pat Ryan; Dan Shaw; Nori Muster: Charlene Edge and her daughter Rachel Chase.  You’ll also find recordings on JW recovery and interviews of key people discussing ICSA’s history.
  • Topic collections, including collections on academic disputes and dialogue, Catholic aberrations, children, cults and sex trafficking, exit counseling, governments and public policy, hypnosis, new age movement, second-generation adults (born-or raised), spiritual abuse, trauma.
  • An annotated book list
  • Free E-books
  • Back issues of all ICSA periodicals from 1979 to the present.

ICSA held a free two-week virtual events series streamed over Zoom. Many sessions had an expert available for Q&A at the end.

We especially hope that some of these videos can provide comfort for those who may be dealing with a reexperiencing of their cult trauma and a resulting reactivation of cult memories and ideas.

You will not run out of interesting readings and recordings!

Stay well during this difficult time!


ICSA (International Cultic Studies Association)

P.O. Box 2265

Bonita Springs, FL 34133

Phone: 1-239-514-3081

fax:  1-305-393-8193


Web sitewww.icsahome.com

Conferences and workshops  http://www.icsahome.com/events

Become a member of ICSA and gain access to an e-Library with over 23,000 items.


All talks listed are in US Eastern Time. Some sessions will offer the opportunity to ask questions (talk-back).

ICSA: icsahome.com, mail@icsamail.com

**Video Sessions are now available on the ICSA Youtube Channel**

Ashley Allen, MSW, LMSW, completed her Master’s in Social Work at Monmouth University where she was also selected to coordinate and present the School of Social Work’s Annual Clinical Lecture Series. Her lecture series focused on children born and/or raised in cultic groups with a special focus on issues of human rights. She has presented on cults, with a particular focus on second-generation adults (SGAs) at various mental-health agencies, universities, and at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) annual conference in New Jersey. Ms. Allen gained a breadth of experience volunteering at the Cult Clinic of JBFCS in NYC for three years and has gone on to work as a therapist with former cult members in community mental health. 

Dylesia Barner, LCSW,  is a licensed clinical social worker and a second-generation adult survivor. She received a Master of Social Work from Norfolk State University in 2013 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from Old Dominion University in 2011. From ages 15-18, Dylesia was a member of a cult of Christianity in Virginia. Having the perspectives of a survivor and a mental health provider, she is passionate about raising awareness about spiritual abuse and how to counsel those who are experiencing or have experienced it. Dylesia owns Existence, Consciousness, Bliss Counseling, Psychotherapy & Wellness Center in Nashville, TN and is a Doctorate of Social Work student at Millersville University.  Existence, Consciousness, Bliss Counseling, Psychotherapy & Wellness Center, 1033 Demonbreun St., Suite 300, Nashville, TN 37203. dylesia@ecb-nashville.org. www.ecb-nashville.org.  615-212-8955

Rachel Bernstein, MS, LMFT 

16255 Ventura Blvd., Suite 806 Encino, CA 91436 818-907-0036  rbpsychology@gmail.com RachelBernsteinTherapy.com 

IndoctriNation: A weekly podcast covering cults, manipulators, and protecting yourself from systems of control. 

Ron Burks, PhD, holds an MDiv and an MA in counseling from Asbury Theological Seminary and a PhD in Counselor Education from Ohio University. He worked for many years at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center in Albany, Ohio. He and his wife Vicki wrote Damaged Disciples: Casualties of Authoritarian Churches and the Shepherding Movement, published by Zondervan. His other publications include a chapter on a connection between cults and addiction in the medical reference, Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook, published by Williams and Wilkins. He and Vicki now live near Tallahassee, Florida where both are licensed mental health counselors and operate an intensive outpatient substance abuse program at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Ron is a former president of the Wellspring board and is a clinical advisor to both Wellspring and Meadowhaven, a treatment center near Boston. Email: ron@ronburksphd.com Phone: 850-273-6678. Florida Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

Linda Dubrow-Marshall, PhD, Reg. MBACP (Accred.), is Chair of the Mental Health Network for ICSA, is Research Co-editor of ICSA Today, and a member of the Research Network for ICSA.  She is a co-founder of RETIRN (please also see www.retirn.com), a private practice that provides services to individuals and families who have been affected by cultic influence and abusive relationships. Linda has developed a new MSc Psychology of Coercive Control program at the University of Salford and is leading the program with Dr. Rod Dubrow-Marshall. She is also the Programme Leader of the MSc Applied Psychology (Therapies) Program at the University of Salford. She is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, United Kingdom, as both a clinical and a counselling psychologist, and she is a registered counsellor/psychotherapist with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. She is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, USA, and a registered psychologist with the National Register of Health Service Psychologists, USA. She attends as co-representative of RETIRN/UK as correspondent to the General Assembly of FECRIS (European Federation of Centres of Research and Education on Sects). Dr. Dubrow-Marshall is a Consultant in Clinical Hypnosis (advanced certification) with the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and is certified by the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Institute. She is certified as a Master Addiction Counselor with the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals. Website: http://www.retirn.com/Dr._Linda.htm Email: LJDMarshall@aol.com Phone: +44 7973 310599/ United Kingdom Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

Rod Dubrow-Marshall, PhD, MBPsS, is Professor of Psychology and Visiting Fellow, Criminal Justice Hub, University of Salford, United Kingdom. Rod is a Social Psychologist who has been researching the psychology and aetiology of undue influence and cults or extremist groups for over twenty years, and he has developed the Totalistic Identity Theory as an evidence-based theory to explain and tackle ideological extremism and ideologically driven violence. He is also an active researcher in a variety of other areas including organizational behaviour and healthiness, the social psychology of identity and prejudice, and public policy and education. A graduate member of the British Psychological Society, Rod is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Cultic Studies Association and is also Chair of the ICSA Research Committee and Network and he is co-Editor of the International Journal of Cultic Studies (since its inception in 2010). In 2006, he was awarded The Herbert L. Rosedale Award, jointly with Dr. Paul Martin, for their psychological research on undue influence. Rod co-founded the Re-Entry Therapy Information and Referral Network (RETIRN) UK in 2004 with Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall, where he serves as a consultant in helping individuals and families who have been adversely affected by destructive or damaging cults and other extremist and high demand/manipulative groups or relationships. He operates out of offices in Pontypridd, Wales and Buxton, Derbyshire, UK (please also see www.retirn.com). Rod has also served on more than a dozen Governing Boards of Schools, Colleges and Universities over the last two decades and he is currently a governor and director of the Akaal Primary School in Derby and is also a longstanding member of the Board of the homelessness charity the Wallich (headquartered in Cardiff, Wales). In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Buxton International Festival and is Chair of the Board of the Preston Guild Link charity (in Lancashire, UK) which is fundraising for the next Preston Guild cultural festival in 2032! Rod is also an experienced senior leader and manager in higher education having served for 15 years in the roles of Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Derby, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and as Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of South Wales and Dean of Applied Social Sciences and Humanities at Buckinghamshire New University. United Kingdom

Steve K. D. Eichel, PhD, ICSA President, is Past-President of the American Academy of Counseling Psychology and the Greater Philadelphia Society of Clinical Hypnosis. He is a licensed and Board-certified counseling psychologist whose involvement in cultic studies began with a participant-observation study of Unification Church training in their Eastern seminary (in Barrytown, NY) in the spring of 1975. His doctoral dissertation to date remains the only intensive, quantified observation of a deprogramming. He was honored with AFF’s 1990 John G. Clark Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Cultic Studies for this study, which was published as a special issue of the Cultic Studies Journal and has been translated into several foreign languages. In 1983, along with Dr. Linda Dubrow-Marshall and clinical social worker Roberta Eisenberg, Dr. Eichel founded the Re-Entry Therapy, Information & Referral Network (RETIRN), one of the field’s oldest continuing private providers of psychological services to families and individuals harmed by cultic practices. RETIRN currently has offices in Newark, DE, Lansdowne, PA and Pontypridd, Wales and Buxton, England (U.K.). In addition to his psychology practice and his involvement with ICSA, Dr. Eichel is active in a range of professional associations. He has co-authored several articles and book reviews on cult-related topics for the CSJ/CSR. In 2016 he received ICSA’s Herbert L. Rosedale Award at the Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. [Directors]

Lorna Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA, Board member and past president of ICSA, is a psychoanalyst in private practice and Dean of Faculty at the Institute of Psychoanalytic Studies. In 1976, she and her husband, William Goldberg, began facilitating a support group for former cult members that continues to meet on a monthly basis in their home in Englewood, New Jersey. In1989, Lorna and Bill received the Hall of Fame Award from the authentic Cult Awareness Network and, in 1999; they received the Leo J. Ryan Award from the Leo J. Ryan Foundation. In 2009, she received the Margaret T. Singer Award from ICSA. Lorna joined ICSA’s Board of Directors in November 2003. Along with Rosanne Henry, she co-chaired ICSA’s Mental Health Committee until her term as President of ICSA from 2008 to 2012. Lorna has published numerous articles about her therapeutic work with former cult members in professional journals, most recently: Goldberg, L. (2012). Influence of a Charismatic Antisocial Cult Leader: Psychotherapy with an Ex-Cultist Prosecuted for Criminal Behavior. International Journal of Cultic Studies, Vol. 2, 15-24. Goldberg, L. (2011). Diana, Leaving the Cult: Play Therapy in Childhood and Talk Therapy in Adolescence. International Journal of Cultic Studies, (Vol.2), 33-43. She also wrote a chapter on guidelines for therapists in the book, Recovery from Cults, edited by Michael Langone. Lorna has co-written with Bill Goldberg, a chapter on psychotherapy with targeted parents in the book, Working with Alienated Children and Families (2012), edited by Amy J.L. Baker & S. Richard Sauber. She is also co-editor of ICSA’s Cult Recovery: A Clinician’s Guide to Working With Former Members and Their Families, which is due to be published in 2017. Website: blgoldberg.com Email: Lorna@BLGoldberg.com Phone: (201) 894-8515. New Jersey (Englewood) Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

William Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA, is a clinical social worker and psychoanalyst with over forty years’ experience working with former cult members. He and his wife, Lorna, co-lead a support group for former cult members, which has been meeting for over forty years. It is the oldest group of its kind in the world. In 2007, Bill retired from the Rockland County, NY Department of Mental Health, where he directed several programs and clinics. He is presently an adjunct professor in the social work and social science departments of Dominican College and he is on the faculty of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies. Bill has published numerous articles in books and professional journals, and he is one of the editors of a soon to be published book, sponsored by ICSA, which will focus on clinical work with former cult members. Bill is a frequent speaker at ICSA conferences, and he and Lorna have been the recipients of the Authentic CAN Hall of Fame Award and the Leo J. Ryan Award. In 2010, Bill was the recipient of ICSA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also co-editor of ICSA’s Cult Recovery: A Clinician’s Guide to Working With Former Members and Their Families, which is due to be published in 2017.  (201) 894-8515   Website: blgoldberg.com Email:bill@blgoldberg.com    New Jersey (Englewood) Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

Ashlen Hilliard is the Assistant to the Executive Director for the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). Before ICSA, she worked in Salt Lake City, Utah as a case manager that helped individuals leaving polygamy out west. ICSA has provided her with a greater appreciation of the spectrum of coercive control and its international dimension, her current focuses are event organization and former member outreach. She was also born and raised in the fundamentalist churches of Christ, and attended the sect’s choice of higher education at Florida College, where she received her BA in Communication with a minor in Biblical Studies.

Ashlen relocated to Portland, Oregon in March of this year, where she looking forward to connecting with fellow survivors at the SAFE Meetups (Spiritual Abuse Forum for Education), and focuses on building a network of survivors and helping professionals in the Pacific Northwest. This is her second year helping to implement a local Portland conference that will provide resources for those who have experienced spiritual abuse and high-control groups.

Gillie Jenkinson, PhD, is an accredited counsellor and psychotherapist in UK and is experienced in delivering counselling face-to-face as well as on the telephone and Skype. She served two internships at Wellspring Retreat Center, Ohio, and has many years’ experience working with trauma victims, including survivors of spiritual and cult abuse, and sexual abuse. She has developed an approach to counselling former members – “Time Away for Post-Cult Counselling.” Gillie was a member of an abusive Bible-based cult in the 1970’s. She is a regular presenter at conferences and a published author, including a co-authoring a chapter entitled “Pathological Spirituality” for a medical text book entitled Spirituality and Psychiatry, published by RCPsych Publications in UK – 2009. She is the Mental Health Editor for ICSA Today. Gillie’s doctoral research dissertation is entitled: ‘Freeing the authentic-self: Phases of Recovery and Growth from an Abusive Cult Experience’. Hopevalleycounselling.com.   info@hopevalleycounselling.com.  +44 1433 639032

Kathryn Keller, Ph.D.  is a Licensed Psychologist and Licensed Professional Counselor – Supervisor in Dallas, TX.  She co-owns a group counseling practice, Dallas Therapy Collective, where she sees clients for individual therapy. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University with her doctorate in counseling psychology. She conducted her doctoral dissertation on the topic of spiritual abuse, resulting in the first known measure of spiritual abuse. Kathryn’s practice is focused on clients who have experienced traumatic stress, including spiritual and religious trauma. She works particularly well with people who have experienced high levels of control in fundamentalist and evangelical Christian traditions. In addition to therapy, she enjoys training, consulting, supervising, and running many of the behind the scenes business aspects of her group practice. 

Joseph Kelly 

1300 S. 13th Street Philadelphia, PA 19147 267-679-5493 joekelly411@gmail.com 

Intervention101.com, Cultmediation.com: These sites offer resources designed to help thoughtful families and friends understand and respond to the complexity of a loved one’s cult involvement. 

Cultrecovery101.com: assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice. 

Dr. Colleen Logan’s career spans decades of activism, advocacy, and diversity training. She is known in particular for her expertise in providing diversity training related to the unique needs of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) communities.

Dr. Logan has been a Licensed Professional Counselor since 1994. She has maintained a private practice for over twenty years. She holds a License as a Supervisor in Texas. She has been recognized and commended by the American Counseling Association (ACA) and The Association of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling, a division of ACA for her contributions to the field of counseling and affirmative therapy with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and their significant others. She is co-founder of the Texas Association of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues in Counseling, a division of Texas Counseling Association. She is a Fellow and former past president of the American Counseling Association (ACA). She remains active in the organization and currently serves as a trustee on the American Counseling Association Foundation (ACAF). She is also active in the Texas Counseling Association (TCA) and serves on the Board of Directors.

Dr. Logan has authored or co-authored a number of articles and chapters as well as a book regarding how to work effectively with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender clients and their significant other. In 2016, Dr. Logan authored a document entitled Inclusion and Wellbeing of LGBTQ Youth, an award-winning document created for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America staff and volunteers. Moreover, in 2017, Dr. Logan co-authored a seminal guide to counseling the LGBTQ+ community across the lifespan.


Dr. Cyndi Matthews is an Assistant Clinical Professor from Southern Methodist University and graduated with a PhD and Masters in Counseling and Counselor Education from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Dr. Matthews previously worked at the University of Louisiana Monroe and the University of North Texas at Dallas before coming to SMU. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S) and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) with over 17 years’ experience working with individuals, couples, and families. She is also a Cult Consultant who works with former cult members and their families from around the world.

Dr. Matthews’ research interests include religious/spiritual abuse along with its long-term effects and counseling best practices; counseling with LGBTQ+ individuals; and counseling individuals born and raised in religious cults. Her dissertation examined the long term effects of those born and raised in religious cults. She has published in the International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, The Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, and the International Journal of Cultic Studies.

She is a member of ACA, ASERVIC, ALGBTIC, CSJ, TCA, TxCSJ, TALGBTIC, TAMFC, and ICSA and currently serves on the ICSA, ASERVIC, and ALGBTIC boards.

Dr. Matthews’ private practice specializes in Depression/Anxiety/Stress, LGBTQ+ Issues/Gender Identity, Addiction, Religious Abuse & Cult Recovery, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Sexual, Emotional, & and Physical Abuse, Anger Management, Domestic Violence, Sex Therapy, Premarital Counseling, Communication Skills, Crisis Management, and Relationship Effectiveness.

Dr. Matthews is trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), EMDR, Couples’ Gottman (Levels I and II) and Couples’ Imago therapy, Sandtray Therapy, Online Counseling, and Psychodrama.


Patrick Ryan 

1300 S. 13th Street Philadelphia, PA 19147 215-467-4939 pryan19147@gmail.com 

Intervention101.com, Cultmediation.com: These sites offer resources designed to help thoughtful families and friends understand and respond to the complexity of a loved one’s cult involvement. 

Cultrecovery101.com: assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice. 

CultNEWS101.com: Daily news, links, resources. 

Robert E. Schecter, PhD

Daniel Shaw, LCSW, is the author of Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation, published by Routledge. He is a Psychoanalyst in  Private Practice in New York City and Nyack, NY; and he is Faculty and Clinical Supervisor at The National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP), in New York City. Shaw spent thirteen years as a staff member in Siddha Yoga (SYDA Foundation). There he wore many hats, including: manager of the residential Manhattan facility, educator, spokesperson, public relations coordinator, community organizer, and writer/director of public programs. Shaw exited Siddha Yoga in 1994, published an Open Letter about Siddha Yoga on the internet in 1995, and helped create the Leaving Siddha Yoga website, one of the first internet websites for ex cult members. Shaw is the author of Traumatic Abuse in Cults: A Psychoanalytic Perspective, published in the Cultic Studies Journal, numerous psychoanalytic papers, and the editor of a special issue on the traumatizing narcissist in ICSA’sInternational Journal of Cultic Studies. In 2018 Mr. Shaw received ICSA’s Margaret T. Singer Award for for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence. Website: www.danielshawlcsw.com Email: danielshawlcsw@gmail.com Phone: (845) 548-2561.

Michael Shemwell is a life coach, and started the podcast “Shunned” in which he now helps others tell their stories. The 40 episodes to date cover people shunned from not only Jehovah’s Witnesses but other high control groups as well. For more information on Michael: https://michaelshemwell.com/

Joseph Szimhart began research into cultic influence in 1980, after ending his two-year devotion to a New Age sect. He began to work professionally as an intervention specialist and exit counselor in 1986 on an international scale. From 1985 through 1992, he was chairman of an interdenominational, cult information organization in New Mexico. Since 1998 he has worked in the crisis department of a psychiatric emergency hospital in Pennsylvania. He continues to assist families with interventions and former members in recovery, including consultations via phone and Internet. He maintains a cult informational website, lectures, consults for the media, and has published articles, book reviews, and papers related to the cult problem. His first novel, Mushroom Satori: The Cult Diary, was released in 2013 through Aperture Press. He has an art studio at Goggleworks Center for the Arts in Reading, PA. In 2016 he received an ICSA Lifetime Achievement Award at the Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. Website: http://jszimhart.com/ Email: jszimhart@gmail.com Phone: (484) 529-1936. Pennsylvania

Julienna Viegas was born and raised in Belgium. She grew up as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints. She left the mainstream Mormon Church in 2015 after going through a faith crisis which led her to question the foundation of her childhood beliefs. Since then she has published several articles in the Salt Lake Tribune questioning practices in the Mormon Church, she was interviewed on Mormon Stories by John Dehlin, she participated in multiple podcasts and hosts her own Faith Transition Podcast. Julienna studied International Politics at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She currently works as a business developer in a FinTech company and also volunteers to lead a faith transition support group in North Dallas. Julienna is the mother of three children. She is currently finishing a book about faith transition. She enjoys traveling and staying physically active.

Website: https://thefaithtransitionpodcast.com/if6oq2yk6qk6l453u5oxl38ojb66y4

Op-ed: https://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=3826343&itype=CMSID

Doni Whitsett, PhD, LCSW, is a Clinical Professor at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work where she teaches various courses in practice, behavior, mental health, and human sexuality. She has been working with cult-involved clients and their families for over 20 years and gives lectures to students and professionals on this topic. She has presented at national and international conferences in Madrid, Poland, Canada, and in Australia, where she helped organize two conferences in Brisbane. Her talks have included The Psychobiology of Trauma and Child Maltreatment (2005, Madrid) and Why Cults Are Harmful: A Neurobiological View of Interpersonal Trauma (2012, Montreal). Her publications include The Psychobiology of Trauma and Child Maltreatment (Cultic Studies Review, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2006), A Self Psychological Approach to the Cult Phenomenon (Journal of Social Work, 1992), Cults and Families (Families in Society, Vol. 84, No. 4, 2003), which she coauthored with Dr. Stephen Kent, and Why cults are harmful: Neurobiological speculations on inter-personal trauma. ICSA Today, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2014. Dr. Whitsett also has a specialty in Sexuality and was awarded a Fulbright Specialist Scholarship in 2016 to study, teach, and do research on this topic in China. Email: whitsett@usc.edu Phone: (323) 907-2400

Mark Wingfield is associate pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas and author of the new book Why Churches Need to Talk About Sexuality. He is a regular columnist for the Dallas Morning News and Baptist News Global and presented a 2016 TEDx Talk, “The Baptist Pastor And His Transgender Friends.” He is a former print journalist who combines his passion for social justice with his role as a pastor to serve as an advocate for those estranged from organized religion.

Website: https://www.wilshirebc.org/about-wilshire/ministerial-staff/

Ted Talks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugl5hDuaVwQ


1) Gillie’s Powerpoint

2) Cult Recovery: A Clinician’s Guide to Working with Former Members and Families (pp. 215-240)

3) Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition by Robert B. Cialdini

4) The Discipling Dilemma, Chapter 2: Personality assessment tool results amongst members of the International Churches of Christ (Boston Movement)

5) Out in the World: Post-Cult Recovery By Gillie Jenkinson

6) PDF of this article Questions to Ask a Potential Therapist Adobe Cloud Viewing link

7) PDF of this article ‘Leaving Psychologically – Breaking the Confluential Trance’ By Gillie Jenkinson in the latest version of the International Journal of Cultic Studies (IJCS)

ICSA History Collection Interview with Steve Eichel (Current President of ICSA)

Robert E. Schecter, PhD, interviewed Steve K. D. Eichel, PhD, on July 7, 2018 as part of a series of interviews designed to illuminate ICSA’s history. Dr. Eichel, who has served as ICSA’s president, discusses his early work in this field, including co-founding the counseling organization RETIRN. He also discusses changes he has observed in the field and his views on ICSA and its future.​Building Bridges; Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships: A Webinar for Families and Former Members

  1. Why people join groups, leave groups and stay? 
  2. Why people join groups?
  3. Why people stay in groups?

Rachel Bernstein, MS, LMFT Joseph Kelly, Patrick Ryan

Panel – Inside the Therapeutic Space w/ Ashley Allen and Doni Whitsett

Ashley Allen; Doni Whitsett In the Mental Health Cult field little, if anything, has been written about the therapeutic process from both the perspective of the therapist and the client. In contrast, much has been written by therapists and clients individually about the symptomology of former members, application of theoretical frameworks, case examples, and personal accounts. However, to our knowledge there has not been anything written or presented on the simultaneous experience of both the therapist and the client. This presentation is a unique opportunity to hear perspectives from “both sides of the couch.” It will open the door and give participants a chance to explore the therapeutic space from the point of view of a therapist, Dr. Doni Whitsett, and an SGA, Ashley Allen, MSW. We will share pertinent themes in the recovery process from our respective positions, highlight what worked and what didn’t, and explore the rationale behind those interventions. While each therapeutic experience is different and “one size doesn’t fit all,” this presentation will provide a fuller picture of the therapeutic process and jump start this important conversation.

Building Bridges; Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships: A Webinar for Families and Former Members

Why do families become concerned?

a. Notice disturbing behavioral changes. 

b. Lack of contact. 

c. Major changes of goals. 

d. Disapprove of the group’s beliefs or practices. 

e. Don’t know anything about the group, so fear it. 

f. React against terms: “cult” “brainwashing”. 

Rachel Bernstein, MS, LMFT Joseph Kelly, Patrick Ryan

A Prison of Shame and Fear: Understanding the Role of Shame in Cult Indoctrination and Recovery – Dan Shaw

Fear and shame are what bedevil all traumatized people, as they struggle to feel safe in a world where they have felt the trapped, helpless, powerlessness of traumatic experience. I explore in this talk how shame plays a part in successful cult recruitment; the role of shame in the cult leader’s psychology; the use of shame in cults as a means of control and domination; and the ways that shame haunts those who leave cults.

Building Bridges; Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships: A Webinar for Families and Former Members

What approaches have families used to address their concerns? What has worked? 

a. What has not worked? 

b. Sharing Ideas About What Works Best? 

c. What can families do when these approaches are not feasible or appropriate. 

d. Why many groups don’t fit the “cult” stereotype? 

Rachel Bernstein, MS, LMFT Joseph Kelly, Patrick Ryan 

Building Bridges; Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships: A Webinar for Families and Former Members

Intervention101 (an alternative) Approach, and how to assess your unique situation.

a. Do no harm. 

b. Who wins? The group, family or Member? 

c. How to Assess your unique situation? 

d. Ethical issues. 

Rachel Bernstein, MS, LMFT Joseph Kelly, Patrick Ryan

Building Bridges; Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships: A Webinar for Families and Former Members

World views.  

a. How do people adopt a worldview? How can families  effectively communicate across worldviews? 

b. In our next session we will discuss why relationships are so important, and how to communicate with your loved one. 

Rachel Bernstein, MS, LMFT Joseph Kelly, Patrick Ryan

Building Bridges; Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships: A Webinar for Families and Former Members

Why are Relationships so important? How to improve communication? 

a. Developing problem-solving skills. 

b. Formulating a helping strategy.

  Rachel Bernstein, MS, LMFT Joseph Kelly, Patrick Ryan