News on the activities of ICSA members (in no particular order). Send us news (past 3-6 months or future events) you would like to share with the ICSA community. Tell us who, what, where, when. Biographical sketches of many ICSA members can be found here: (http://icsahome.com/infoprofile.asp). Please contact ICSA at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to reproduce any of this information.
Please tell people who might benefit by attending upcoming ICSA workshops and the annual conference. There is a workshop for former members in Colorado, July 26-28, and the annual conference in Italy, July 4-6.
ICSA two-hour meetings for former group members in the Boston area continue. Meetings take place at MeadowHaven, a residential facility for former group members that is located about 25 miles south of Boston. Facilitators are MeadowHaven’s founders, Robert Pardon and Judy Pardon. The meetings are educational yet supportive. Former members of any high-control or cultic group are welcome. Directions. . If you are interested in attending the former member group, please e-mail ICSA. Please tell others who might be interested in these meetings, especially if you think they are not on our mailing list.
ICSA’s local meetings continue in Philadelphia and New York.
On April 14th, ICSA sponsored a meeting for Former Cult Member Parents of Second Generation Adults (i.e. individuals who had children while they were in a cult). The meeting was held at Lorna and Bill Goldberg’s home in New Jersey and was attended by eight individuals. This was a rare opportunity for the participants to discuss their situation with others who could understand the challenges they face as they deal with their own cult involvement and as well as the reactions of their now grown children. The feedback was uniformly positive and the group has agreed to meet again in the near future and to invite others who face similar challenges to join them.
Andrea Moore-Emmett was quoted in an article on Yahoo News: “Analysis: Women leavingextreme faiths” by Vera H-C Chan.
The Italian provincial law championed by Roberto Asquini and Cristina Caparesi was featured in an article on Favisonlus:
An ICSA member is involved in the following initiative: NJ Initiative To Counter Undue Influence
Concerned citizens are working with New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-District 37) to draft legislation to protect families from undue influence. The text of the draft bill can be found at the NJ Safe & Sound website.
The website also includes:
Confidential questionnaires to elicit case studies of families that have suffered or are currently suffering the trauma of an alienation
Sample letters encouraging legislators to address this issue
A petition that can be signed and circulated to others in support of the bill
For more information, log onto NJ Safe & Sound.
The Boston terrorist bombing led to many media interviews for Steve Hassan:
FOX25Evening News 5-3-13
NPR-Here and Now Sacha Pfeiffer filling in for Robin Young 4/26/13
PBS TV WGBH Greater Boston with Emily Rooney
CNN Erin Burnett OutFront 4/23/13k
CNN Erin Burnett OutFront 4/24/13
Radiointerview with Lisa Evers 4/28/13
TedCorless Radio 4/28/13
Alex Stein has begun a support group with Free Minds UK.
Elliott Benjamin has published two articles on Andrew Cohen that are available to anyone on the Integral World site: “Andrew Cohen’s Notable Supporter”; “Andrew Cohen’s Mis-Integration of Spiritual Philosophy into Life” –
The FECRIS annual meeting took place in Copenhagen, 30 May 2013. Steve Kent was one of the speakers, talking on: “Freemen, Sovereign Citizens, and the Threat to Public Order in British Heritage Countries.” Eric Brasseur, Director of CIAOSN, Belgium, talked on “Cultic organisations and the Rule of Law in Belgium.”
Gillie Jenkinson, has written an article entitled “Working with Cult Survivors,” for Therapy Today, a professional journal published by British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) in UK. The article is a basic overview of the cult field and an introduction to what therapists need to know in order to help former members in counseling. The journal is sent to 35,000 therapists in UK. Ms. Jenkinson has also been interviewed about herself and her work for the BACP website: . Alongside the article and the interview Ms. Jenkinson is delivering training for BACP on the same subject – on 22nd June in Bristol, UK and 7th September in Manchester, UK. This is open to all counselors whether they are BACP members or not. Gillie was also interviewed at length by Colin Feltham of TherapyToday.net.
Linda Dubrow Marshall also contributed an article for Therapy Today, “Curiosity and willingness to learn,” in which she offers advice for counselors on working with former cult members.
Linda and Rod Dubrow-Marshall gave a poster presentation at the Annual British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Conference, Birmingham in May 2013. Their poster was entitled, “Ethical and practice issues when psychotherapists encounter or encourage family estrangement: Lessons from case studies.” In April they presented a paper at the Tri-University Symposium on Conflict Studies, Salford, entitled “Conflicts, cults and totalistic identity: Psycho-therapeutic intervention and resolution.”
Three ICSA members contributed to the May 18th INFORM seminar, “New Religious Movements and Counselling,” at the London School of Economics: Pat Ryan and Joe Kelly spoke on “Restoring Family Connections.” Linda Dubrow-Marshall talked about “The Psychological Aetiology and Sequelae of Involvement with New Religious Movements: Counselling Issues for Members, Former Members, and Families.”
Grace Dominguez presented a class on cults on March 22 to a Comparative Religions Class at the Community College of Aurora, Aurora, CO. Topics covered included: what is a cult, types of cults, Lifton’s 8 Criteria for Thought Reform, supporting family and friends, and a cult survivor’s story. Ms. Dominguez also traveled to Waco, Texas, to attend the 20th Anniversary since the tragic death of her sister, a member of the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas. Grace was accompanied by Rob Harley, a journalist from New Zealand, who is doing a follow up documentary of Grace’s journey through recovery after leaving the Branch Davidians in 1991. The documentary will be one of several survivor stories that will be featured in a series called, “Survivors Guide to Hell.” It will be aired on New Zealand television sometime this year.
Alain Bouchard welcomed participants to a colloquium in Quebec City: “30 ans après Le cortège des fous de Dieu de Richard Bergeron, où en sommes-nous?” Speakers included ICSA member Dianne Casoni (« Latransformation philosophique comme moyen de favoriser la conversion continue :le cas de la Mission de l’Esprit-Saint »).
Michael Langone was quoted by Matthew Brown in a Deseret News article, “Lesson from Waco: Religion matters when dealing with the nonconventional.”
Steve Hassan will speak at a colloquium organized by the French organization, La Société Française de Recherche et d’Analyse en Emprise Mentale. The event will take place in Bordeaux on June 29th. Steve will speak on “Exit Counseling : La rencontre Franco-Américaine.”
Marie-Andrée Pelland of The University of Moncton organized a conference on March 26th: La Religion Minoritaire Hors-la-Lois. She spoke on: “La «burqa» en Occident: Un cheval de Troie dans les États de droit?” while Lorraine Derocher (Université de Sherbrooke, Canada) gave a public talk on “La protection de la jeunesse en milieu sectaire: un défi.”
Joe Szimhart has published a novel, Mushroom Satori: The cult diary
Lee Marsh has told us about a new resource regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Association of Anti-Watchtower Activists (AAWA). She says that the organization is “a legally incorporated organization representing an international group of campaigners against the Watch Tower Society. Most of its associates are either current or former Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Association’s founders are both male and female, and are spread across three different continents. They are all committed to pursuing responsible and well-informed activism against the Watch Tower Society’s harmful teachings and practices. Support is also freely offered for those who struggle mentally and emotionally as a result of leaving the Watchtower organization, which many consider to be a damaging cult. They also have a Facebook page The Association of Anti-Watchtower Activists. Lee is “on the Advisory Board and am the Team Leader of Support that will provide assistance to people contacting us for information and support regarding the emotional and psychological damage that this cult does to not only those who leave but those who are still in.”
Nancy Mereska published an opinion piece in the Vancouver Sun on April 12th: “Polygamy is banned, but only on paper.”
Monique Molendijk reports: “I have written my dissertation (Bcs) ” Welke significante psychosociale omgevingsfactoren spelen een rol bij toetreding tot een sektarische relatie.” Free translation: “Which psycho-social environment factors can play a role to adhere to a sectarian relationship? Please also note that I finally have a new website with all information including an English summary. www.monique-molendijk.nl.
The Biography Channel broadcast their 3-part series on people who have left cultic groups, entitled “Escaping Evil: My Life in a Cult.” It features commentary by ICSA member Dr. Stephen Kent, and ICSA President Dr. Steve Eichel. The first show aired on March 10, 2013 and the second on March 24, 2013: www.biography.com.
Alexandra Stein, Steve Hassan, and Lois Kendall participated in an on-line live debate for ITN Productions in the UK. – Truthloader on April 4, 2013. The title: “Are cults a hidden epidemic?”