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Past Meet ICSA Members

Meet ICSA Members 
From time to time, this column will feature a short profile on an ICSA member.
Sharon Hamm became associated with International Cultic Studies Association in 1997 and has worked in an editorial 

capacity on many ICSA projects since then. She is copy editor for the International Journal of Cultic Studies (IJCS) and ICSA Today magazine. Her credentials include degrees in business and in secondary education (English, math, and psychology); postgraduate work in education, vocational education, and philosophy; and certification as a body-mind massage therapist (BMT). Her professional experience includes secondary teaching, executive-assistant positions in for-profit and nonprofit organizations, therapeutic massage, and food-service management; editorial positions in a computer-publishing company, including managing editor of the Books department; and more than 15 years as an independent editor/consultant for content focused on education, health/wellness, and other social sciences. In addition to her ongoing work with the ICSA, she currently edits postgraduate dissertations, along with various other academic research papers and projects, primarily in the areas of education and psychology. She can be reached via email at sl.articulate@gmail.com

Linda J. Demaine, JD, PhD (social psychology), is Professor of Law and Affiliate Professor of Psychology at Arizona

State University. She is founder and director of ASU’s Law and Psychology Graduate Program. Before arriving at ASU, Dr. Demaine was a behavioral scientist and policy analyst at RAND, where she led and participated in diverse projects, including an analysis of biotechnology patents and the strategic use of deception and other psychological principles in defense of critical computer networks. Dr. Demaine has held an American Psychological Association Congressional Fellowship, through which she worked with the Senate Judiciary Committee on FBI and DOJ oversight, judicial nominations, and legislation. She has also held an American Psychological Association Science Policy Fellowship, working with the Central Intelligence Agency’s Behavioral Sciences Unit on issues involving cross-cultural persuasion. Dr. Demaine’s research interests include the empirical analysis of law, legal procedure, and legal decision making; the application of legal and psychological perspectives to social issues; ethical, legal, and social issues deriving from advances in technology; and information campaigns and persuasion. 

K. Gordon NeufeldMFA, is the author of Heartbreak and Rage: Ten Years Under Sun Myung Moon, A Cult Survivor’s Memoir and Cult Fiction: One Writer’s Creative Journey Through an Extreme Religion. He was a member of the Unification Church from 1976 to 1986. Following his departure from the group, he graduated from the University of British Columbia Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing. His opinion piece about the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s mass marriages appeared in First Things magazine in January, 2003. He has read from his work three times at ICSA conference Phoenix Project exhibits. Living Water (a story read at ICSA’s 2010 annual conference) was published in The Windsor Review in the Spring 2011 issue. He is working on a novel and a collection of short stories. Mr. Neufeld now lives with his wife and step-daughter near Schenectady, New York. 

Greg Jemsek, MA, is a narrative therapist, author, educator, and leadership coach. His work in three different countries over the course of the past 38 years includes the publication of Quiet Horizon: Releasing Ideology and Embracing Self-Knowledge, an award-winning book using Greg’s own involvement working at world headquarters in a 1970’s cult as the foundation for deconstructing psychological, narrative, and transpersonal dimensions of the cult experience. In the 1980s, Greg taught this material in a religious-studies course, New Religious Movements, at John F. Kennedy University in California. Since then, Greg’s understanding of how ideologies work has broadened by virtue of his training as a narrative therapist, in which the approach to therapy is concerned in part with how issues of power imbalance arise when the dominant discourses a society or subgroup chooses undercut the multistoried nature of human experience. Greg currently teaches, The Dogma Dialogues, a course that examines how the interplay between dominant societal metanarratives, normalized narcissism, surrogate relationships, and confusion between emotional excitation and genuine transformation make all of us more vulnerable to the conversion efforts of religious and secular organizations. His passion is to assist people in reclaiming sovereignty over their lives through a commitment to their own self-knowledge. Website: www.gregjemsek.com Email: greg@quiethorizon.com Phone: (541) 646-5440

Laurie Schaffler was an ISKCON member from 1974 to 1983. After leaving the movement with her three children, she completed her BA in writing at Columbia University and eventually her MFA in writing at The New School. Laurie is currently working on her memoir and is writing a blog about her experiences. In addition to being a writer, Laurie is also a textile artist. As a profession, Laurie has worked as a higher education administrator for the past thirty years, mostly in student affairs and student financial aid. She currently works with a consulting company helping colleges and universities implement efficient business processes and software systems.

Eileen Barker, PhD, PhD h.c., OBE, FBA, is Professor Emeritus of Sociology with Special Reference to

the Study of Religion at the London School of Economics, University of London. Her main research interest is minority religions and the social reactions to which they give rise. She has over 350 publications (translated into 27 different languages), which include the award-winning The Making of a Moonie: Brainwashing or Choice? and New Religious Movements: A Practical Introduction. In the late 1980s, with the support of the British Government and mainstream Churches, she founded INFORM, an educational charity, based at LSE, which provides information about minority religions that is as accurate, objective and up-to-date as possible. In 2000, Queen Elizabeth appointed her as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for ‘services to INFORM’, and she received the American Academy of Religion’s Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion. She was the first non-American elected President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. A frequent advisor to governments, other official bodies and law-enforcement agencies throughout the world, she has made numerous appearances on television and radio, and has given guest lectures in over 50 countries.  In 2013 Dr. Barker received ICSA’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Erika A. Toren, MS,Ed, completed her Master’s Degree in Educational Administration at the University of Miami in 1994. She has worked for over 25 years in all levels of education and is Director of International Guidance and Outreach at North London Collegiate School Jeju, South Korea. She became interested in cultic studies early on when she volunteered for a committee at UM to fight against cult recruitment on campus. Erika currently serves as an Editor for Spain and Latin America for ICSA.

Friedrich Griess, educated as an electrical engineer, was in 1983 confronted with disastrous

consequences when one of his four children joined a questionable group. Since then he has been engaged in activities of consulting and prevention, being a board member of the Austrian Gesellschaft gegen Sekten – und Kultgefahren (association against the dangers from sects and cults) and from 2005 – 2009 the president of the European umbrella organization FECRIS. In 2013 he received an ICSA Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Xavier Leger was a member of the Legion of Christ from 1999 to 2006. Before joining the Legion he studied at the Faculté Libre de Philosophie Comparé in Paris. He is presently finishing his MA at the Catholic University of Lyon in order to become a teacher of philosophy. The subject of his thesis is Regarding the epistemological status of the concepts of mind control, cult and cultic influence. He is also a member of Regain Network (Religious Groups Awareness International Network). In December 2008, together with a number of families and former Legionaries, he created a web page, Prévention l’égard de la Légion du Christ et du Regnum Christi. In 2009 – 2010, he collaborated actively with Catholic newspapers such as La Vie, La Croix, and Famille Chrétienne to cover the sad revelations about the founder of the Legionaries of Christ. In March 2013 a TV report will be released by French channel Canal +. And in September 2013 his biography, co-written with the French journalist Bernard Nicolas, will be published by Flammarion. 

Angie “Vennie” Kocsis is a writer, poet, artist and nu-folk singer. She draws her 

inspiration not only from the world around her, but from her unique experiences as an abused child growing up in Sam Fife’s Move of God cult from 1973-1983, ages 3-14. Vennie is outspoken about her experiences suffering severe physical, sexual and mental abuse including, but not limited to demon possession casting out sessions, beatings, violation of human rights by withholding food and sleep, regimented and harsh daily environments as well as religious brain washing and mind control. Vennie’s life in this cult started in Massachusetts and ended in Alaska until her family was ex-communicated from the cult. Transitioning to life outside of the cult was difficult adjustment. Vennie had to learn simple thingslike how to shop in stores, or what current trending music and television shows were, something she and her siblings had never even been exposed to. She struggled with understanding having basic social connections and many other life skills which caused integrating into a secular society quite emotionally painful. Vennie went on to study creative writing, art and music, and through these outlets was able to find deep healing and balance in her adult life. Her passion is centered around supporting creative outlets for survivors of abuse. She believes that having creative outlets and understanding how to utilize them as tools to express emotion can give abuse survivors a tangible way to transfer their pain to a medium. Vennie’s Books are available on http://amazon.com and http://venniekocsis.com: Cult Child, view the book trailer at: http://cultchild.com
Dusted Shelves; memoir of a cult child, and Becoming Gratitude.
Rosanne HenryMALPC, is a psychotherapist practicing in Littleton, Colorado. For the past twenty years

she has been active in the counter cult movement working closely with the former Cult Awareness Network and ICSA. She presently sits on the board of ICSA and heads the Mental Health Committee. She has facilitated ICSA’s Recovery workshops for twenty years. Rosanne’s private practice specializes in the treatment of cult survivors and their families. She is a former member of Kashi Ranch. In 2010 ICSA awarded her the Margaret L. Singer Award for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence. [Directors, Workshop Facilitators, Mental Health Network]

Rev. Dr. Neil Damgaard is originally from the Washington D.C. area. A graduate of Virginia Tech with a degree in industrial engineering and operations research, he worked for the U.S. Navy under contract as a management engineering consultant. After entering the ministry in 1976 he later graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with a four-year Master’s of Theology degree in historical theology, and has served as Senior Pastor of the Dartmouth Bible Church in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts since 1983. With an interest in students and young adults and long experience with them, Pastor Neil also serves as Protestant Chaplain with the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth (since 2007). He also earned his Doctor of Ministry degree in 2008 from Dallas Theological Seminary. His church experience, both in his own congregation and among a number of other local churches affords him a good perspective in the area of safe churches which espouse a healthy and balanced philosophy of ministry. Neil holds an endless fascination with history, culture, architecture, music, and film. He lives in New Bedford, Massachusetts and has been married to Renée (who loves being a public school high school math teacher) since 1975. Together they have raised two daughters: Jocelyn, a mechanical engineer and recent graduate of the Law School at the University of Connecticut. She is also a wife and mother, living in NYC. Susanna, a graduate of Messiah College and Yale University, is a public health registered nurse in Seattle, Washington.

Cristina Caparesi has a master’s degree in Science of Education and a specialization in Family Mediation. She is an educator and family mediator with an expertise in conflicts related to cultic affiliations. She is president of EXIT ONLUS Cooperative Enterprise, Director of the Helping Centers against Harassment at the Workplace of the Udine Province and of CISL- Pordenone Province; and Director and consultant of the Support Network Against Manipulation and Abuse in Groups project of SOS Abusi Psicologici. She is also a member of the Working Group of the European Commission, First-line Deradicalisation Practitioners; president of ANPE-FVG, the Italian association of Educational Professionals in Friuli Venezia Giulia; Editor of the online journal of SOS Abusi Psicologici, Manipulation and Abuse; an expert for the Criminal Court of Udine in the branch of education, with a specialization in criminology and problems related to cultic affiliations; Italian Co-correspondent for ICSA Today; and a member of the Italian Society of the Psychology of Religion. She works professionally in the areas of undue influence and family mediation, multiculturalism and bilingualism, educational services. She is a co-author, with Mario Di Fiorino and Steven Kent, of Costretti ad amare. Saggi sui Bambini di Dio, the Family (only Italian) [Forced to love- Essays on the Children of God-The Family], and many other articles.

Stephen Bruce Mutch PhD, LLB, (UNSW), is Honorary Fellow in the Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. A retired solicitor and parliamentarian, Stephen served in the New South Wales Legislative Council (State Senate) and then the Australian House of Representatives from 1988-98. His 2004 doctoral thesis is entitled Cults, Religion and Public Policy: A Comparison of Official Responses to Scientology in Australia and the United Kingdom. Dr Mutch has taught Australian politics, public policy and foreign policy. His research interests include cults, sects, new religious movements and secularism, from a comparative policy perspective. He also conducts colloquiums for the Macquarie University Global leadership program on Religion, Secularism and the State. He is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Cultic Studies and is a reviewer for the Polish quarterly, Society and Family.

Gina Catena, MS, NP, CNM, serves on ICSA’s Advisory Board. She is Nurse Practitioner and Certified

Nurse Midwife with a large medical group in the Bay Area, California. She has degrees from University of California San Francisco School of Nursing, University of California San Diego School of Medicine, and Dominican University of San Rafael. Gina writes and speaks about issues for those raised in cults, and about women’s health. She was raised as one of the first enlightened children in the Transcendental Meditation (TM) Organization where she twice married, divorced and bore three children. Her adult children also now live successful cult-free lives.

Daniel Shaw, LCSW, is the author of Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation, published by Routledge. His affiliations include: Psychoanalyst, Private Practice, New York City and Nyack, NY; Faculty and Clinical Supervisor, The National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP), New York, NY; Clinical Supervisor and Faculty, Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, NY; Adjunct Clinical Supervisory, Smith College of Social Work, MA; former co-chair, Continuing Education Committee, The International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. 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’s International Journal of Cultic Studies.. Mr. Shaw leads the monthly New York area ICSA group with Chris Carlson. This group offers support, education and interaction for all those who have been harmed by, or want to learn about high demand groups. [NY Local Meeting, NY Committee]

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.  [Directors; Workshop Facilitators]

Willy Fautré is Director of Human Rights Without Frontiers International (Brussels, Belgium). He was a Chargé de Mission at the Cabinet of the Ministry of Education (Belgium). He is a frequent author and lecturer on human rights, religious freedom and related issues. Most recently he authored: “Religious Education in Belgium,” in Handbook on Religious Education (pp 54-61, eds Derek H. Davis and Elena Miroshnikova ,The Routledge International, 2013); “The Sect Issue in France and in Belgium,” in Law and Religion: National, International and Comparative Perspectives (eds. W. Cole Durham and Brett G. Scharffs ,Wolters Kluwer: Aspen Publishers, 2010); “On Religious Liberty in a Democratic Society – Aspect of Law, Religion and Philosophy,” in Constitutional Theory and Reality (published by Gerhard Besier and Hubert Seiwert, Technical University Dresden, Germany, 407 p., 2009); “Models of State-Church Relationships in the Modern World” (in Russian language, published by Tula State Pedagogical University on 24 February 2009, contributions pp 106-136); “Legal Regulations of Religious Communities in EU Member States: A Human Rights Perspective” (pp 67-74, in Mitna Sprava Naukovo-Analytishnii Journal, Academy of Law, Odessa, Ukraine, 2009).   

Carol Giambalvo is a former cult member who has retired as a Thought Reform Consultant. She is a

cofounder of reFOCUS, a national support network for former cult members. She is on ICSA’s Board of Directors, Director of ICSA’s Recovery Programs, and is responsible for its Project Outreach. Author of Exit Counseling: A Family Intervention, co-editor of The Boston Movement: Critical Perspectives on the International Churches of Christ, and co-author of Ethical Standards for Thought Reform Consultants, and co-author (with Rosanne Henry, MA, LPC) of The Colorado Model in ICSA Today, 1(1), 2010. Ms. Giambalvo has written and lectured extensively on cult-related topics. In 2008 and 2010 (shared with the other Colorado workshop facilitators) Ms. Giambalvo received ICSA’s Margaret T. Singer Award. [Directors; Workshop Facilitators]

Patrick J. Knapp, M.A. Philosophy of Religion, Denver Seminary. Pat’s initial interest in cult recovery stems from his own involvement in a harmful bible-based group (1970-1984). His recovery resulted from individual and marriage counseling, in addition to several years of work in and facilitating support groups for ex-members and their loved ones. His M.A. thesis was titled: “The Place of Mind-Control in the Cult Recovery Process.” Over the past 25+ years he has formally mentoring Denver Seminary students for spiritual formation. Pat is the founder of and co-directs Becoming Free (www.BecomingFree.org). This is an organization committed to facilitating compassionate, safe support/recovery groups for those who have suffered previous involvement in abusive/harmful religious or spiritual environments. He and his spouse (Heidi) co-facilitate these 12 week support groups. He has done doctoral studies in Marriage and Family Counseling (Professional Track), at Gordon-Conwell Seminary in Charlotte, NC. He has also recently completed multiple counseling internships at addictions treatment centers and at a local counseling center. Currently he is pursuing a PhD in Pastoral Psychology, at Graduate Theological Foundation (GTF) and is involved in several writing projects examining spiritual abuse and recovery
Nancy Miquelon , LPCC, is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor specializing in trauma recovery in adults and children. She currently practices in Dulce, New Mexico, home of the Jicarilla Apache Nation, and has been in practice since 1993. Nancy is a co-founder, and serves on the board, of reFOCUS, a cult survivor support network. She is a regular facilitator at ICSA’s Recovery Workshop. In 2010 Nancy received ICSA’s Margaret T. Singer award. Nancy was a member of the Emissaries of Divine Light. [Workshop Facilitators]
                                Andrea Moore-Emmett, MA is the author of God’s Brothel, The Extortion of Sex For 

Salvation in Contemporary Mormon and Christian Fundamentalist Polygamy and the Stories of 18 Women Who Escaped. She is the author of several articles covering polygamy for various national magazines and was the researcher for the A & E documentary, Inside Polygamy, which also aired on the BBC. As a journalist, she has been the recipient of five awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Utah Headliners Chapter, including the Don Baker Investigative Journalism Award. She was also awarded a Women in Communications Leading Changes Award and the Leadership Council on Abuse and Interpersonal Violence and the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma 2008 Award for Distinguished Service and Excellence in Journalism. Moore-Emmett served as Utah NOW President and on a Salt Lake City Mayor’s commission. She has an MA in psychology. 

Stephen Parsons
is a retired Anglican priest living near Carlisle, England. His interest in cultic and high 

demand religious groups goes back to the 80s when he researched material for a book on Christian healing. He realised that among practitioners of spiritual healing there were some whose healing practice was abusive and exploited the vulnerability of the sick. This led eventually to a study  of abusive Christianity, Ungodly Fear, which collected and interpreted stories of individuals who had joined certain fundamentalist Christian groups in the UK but suffered in the encounter. Since the book appeared in 2000, and especially since retirement in 2010, he has been reading widely in the areas of social psychology and psychoanalytical theory to understand this phenomenon of abuse within certain churches. He runs a blog, www.survivingchurch.org which attempts to set out the fruits of this study and reflection. He has the hope that it will be of use to those coming to terms with an encounter with a religious institution or church that exploits and abuses.

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1 239 514 3081 mail@icsamail.com