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Member Update, 2013, Vol. 4, No. 3

News on the cult-related activities of ICSA members (in no particular order). Send us news (past 3 to 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 are here. Please contact ICSA at mail@icsamail.com if you want to reproduce any of this information. 


Please tell people who might benefit by attending upcoming ICSA events in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Oct. 13, 2013) and Santa Fe, New Mexico (Nov. 2–3, 2013). More information on these events, the call for papers for our 2014 annual conference in Washington, DC, and next year’s workshops for former members can be found on ICSA’s events site.
Janet Heimlich started a nonprofit organization called the Child-Friendly Faith Project. The organization is holding its first conference on November 8, 2013, in Austin, Texas. Janet and Steve Hassan completed a video about the conference. Speakers include Janet Heimlich, Steve Hassan, Rita Swan, Justice Deborah Lehrmann, and others. The conference will explore “the unique challenges that professionals face in combating maltreatment in certain faith communities and cultures and how to overcome those challenges. And we’re pleased to announce that the State Bar of Texas will grant attorneys who attend the conference 3 CLE hours.” 

Eileen Barker and Amanda van Eck Duymaer van Twist have informed us about a Call for Papers for the Inform 25th Anniversary Conference, Minority Religions: Contemplating the Past and Anticipating the Future, London School of Economics, London, UK, Friday, January 31, 2014, through Sunday, February 2, 2014. Submissions for papers (maximum 200-word abstract and 150-word CV) on topics relevant to the title of the conference are now being accepted. Please send these to inform@lse.ac.uk. The deadline for papers is October 1, 2013, with decisions by November 1, 2013. Unfortunately, no subsidies can be offered to participants, who will be responsible for making their own arrangements for accommodation. Registration will open on November 1, 2013. 

Michele Colon sent us an update on litigation involving the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG): “I’ve been involved in this litigation for almost 2 years and it’s reached a very critical point. Tyler [Newton] has been dismissed from the case, my ex-husband has also been dismissed from the case, but we will be going into discovery with regard to the cult’s claim that I defamed them. Because of this experience, I’ve created a website to encourage donations from anyone who has ever been affected by a cult or anyone who has had their 1st Amendment Right to Free Speech infringed upon.”

From Alex Stein: “Alexandra Stein is leading an education, support and recovery group in London. “We have first- and second-generation members as well as family members attending. The group is taking a short summer break, but will continue in late August. Email freemindsuk@gmail.com for further information.”  Alex will also teach a class entitled “Social Psychology of Cults and Totalitarianism” starting in September at the Mary Ward Centre in Central London. “This interdisciplinary course will examine the phenomena of cults and totalitarian regimes—closed, hierarchical systems led by charismatic, authoritarian leaders. Using in-depth case studies, we will use a variety of theoretical approaches to understand these systems, in addition to reading narrative and literary accounts. We will explore the processes of recruitment, conversion, conformity, commitment and disaffiliation, with a particular emphasis on understanding the extreme obedience found in these systems. This course will examine commonalities between cults and totalitarian systems including: the effects on personal life and relationships, social networks, a shared absolute ideology, and charismatic relationship between leader and followers.” 

A journal edited by Cristina CaparesiManipolazioni e Vessazioni, has published Italian translations of a number of articles by ICSA members: 

  • Álvaro Rodríguez-Carballeira, Javier Martín-Peña, Carmen Almendros, Jordi Escartín, Clara Porrúa e Massimo Bertacco. (2013). Un’analisi psicosociale del gruppo terrorista come setta, 2(2). A Psychosocial Analysis of the Terrorist Group as a Cult. Originally published in 2010, International Journal of Cultic Studies, 1, pp. 49–60. 
  • Fryshuset Exit- Svezia (Director, Robert Orell). (2013). Da “Una via per uscirne”- manuale per comprendere e rispondere ai movimenti estremisti, 2(2). The Way Out: a Handbook for Understanding and Responding to Extreme Movements, Exit Fryshuset, Sweden. 
  • Carmen Almendros, Manuel Gámez-Guadix, Alvaro Rodriguez-Carballeira, José Antonio Carrobles. (2012). Valutazione dell’abuso psicológico nei gruppi manipolativi. 1(1). Assessment of Psychological Abuse in Manipulative Groups. Originally published in 2011, International Journal of Cultic Studies, 2, pp. 61–76. 
  • Catena, Gina. (2012). La setta è cio che fa, 1(1). Cult Is As Cult Does. Originally published in 2011, ICSA Today, 2(1), pp. 10-12. 
  • Goldberg, Lorna. (2012). Diana, lasciare la setta: Terapia del gioco in infanzia e terapia della parola in adolescenza, 2(1). Diana, Leaving the Cult: Play Therapy in Childhood and Talk Therapy in Adolescence. Originally published in 2011, International Journal of Cultic Studies, 2, pp.33-43. 
  • Giambalvo, Carol, & Henry, Rosanne. (2012). Il modello del Colorado, 1(1). The Colorado Model. Originally published in 2010, ICSA Today, 1(1), pp. 2-9, 21. 
  • Furnari, Leona, & Henry, Rosanne. (2012). Lezioni imparate con gli adulti di seconda generazione (SGA) sul recupero e la resilienza, 1(2). Lessons Learned from SGAs About Recovery and Resiliency. Originally published in 2011, ICSA Today, 2(3), pp. 2-9. 
  • Kropveld, Mike. (2013). “Culti” e globalizzazione: Riflessioni e domande, 2(2). Cults and globalization: Reflections and questions. Originally published in 2012, ICSA Today, 3(2), pp. 2-5. 

José Miguel Cuevas Barranquero, Vice-President of e la Asociación Iberoamericana de Investigación de Abuso Psicológico, was interviewed or cited in a number of news reports recently. On August 4th, 2013, Málaga Hoy published an in-depth article entitled “Unas 70 sectas operan en Málaga atraídas por su multiculturalidad. A companion story was published on August 18th in Granada Hoy: “Las sectas que operan en Granada ‘atrapan’ a casi un millar de adeptos.” Málaga Hoy published another article on September 9th, “El monte Gibralfaro se convierte en escenario de rituales de santería” 

Dan Shaw has a number of forthcoming events: (1) He will be speaking in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the Psychology and the Other conference, sponsored by Lesley University, on “Traumatic Narcissism and Cults.” Conference details. (2) In October 2013, Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation, by Daniel Shaw, will be published by Routledge in the Relational Perspectives Series. The book is available for pre-order on Amazon.com. The Amazon link has book synopsis and reviews. (3) He will be speaking at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, in January 2014, on “Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation.” (4) In April 2014, at the Div. 39, Conference of the American Psychology Association, Spring Conference, he will be discussing his book in a “Meet the Author” session. (5) On Nov. 14, 2014, he will be addressing the Tampa Psychoanalytic Society on the theme of “Traumatic Narcissism”—an all-day workshop. 

On July 1st, 2013, Patti Millar’s dissertation received the excellence award from dissertation.com for 2005. This is a global venue for making academic work that is useful and in the public interest more easily available. Summary: “Pressure to Behave, Believe, and Become: Identity Negotiation Stories from People Who Grew Up ‘Cult’” received the annual Excellence Award from Universal Publishers, Inc. and BrownWalker Press based on the work’s originality, usefulness, writing style, presentation, and potential public interest. The dissertation is now published outside of an academic firewall and available to the public as a PDF, eBook, or paperback through the publisher, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.”   
Patti also had a conference call on July 23rd with Dyhana Levey, a journalist who has a personal book project started about the community that she was raised in. Ms. Levey wanted to talk with an expert on the experiences of people born and raised in cultic groups (SGAs). 

Raffaella Di Marzio in July 2013 became the first Italian contact of Human Rights Without Fronteirs (HRWF), headed by Willy Fautré. This makes her part of the HRWF network of experts. She has contributed a personal reflection to HRWF’s Newsletter, Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. “An Early Warning Mechanism Monitoring Freedom of Religion or Belief.”   Raffaella also contributed a chapter to Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia (Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy), edited by Massimo Introvigne and PierLuigi Zoccatelli, and published in April, 2013 by Elledici in Torino. The 1,240 pages of the Enciclopedia includes entries (with information on history and doctrine, short bibliography, address, telephone, email and URL) on more than 800 religious and spiritual groups active in Italy. On May 13th, 2013, the Agenzia Radicale online newspaper interviewed Raffaella about her experience of “Persecution and anti-cult campaign” in Italy. An Italian delegation will participate both in a plenary and side event in the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) 2013 in Warsaw on September, 26, 2013, the day dedicated to Freedom of Religion and Belief. Raffaella will participate in this event in order to inform OSCE representatives about the violation of “Freedom of Religion and Belief” in Italy. Every year in Warsaw, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) organizes a 2-week conference, the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM). The HDIM is a forum where OSCE participating States, together with Partners for Co-operation, civil society, OSCE institutions and field operations and other international organizations, discuss the implementation of human dimension commitments that were adopted by consensus at prior OSCE Summits or Ministerial Meetings (http://www.osce.org/hdim_2013). 

Gillie Jenkinson delivered a training program, “Working with Cult Survivors,” for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) on Saturday September, 7, 2013 in Manchester, England. That the training was fully booked indicates a high level of interest in the subject. This is a repeat of her training in Bristol, England in June, the feedback from which was very positive. 

Linda Dubrow-Marshall and Gillie Jenkinson published companion articles in Therapy Today, a periodical that goes to 35,000 therapists. Gillie’s article was “Working With Cult Survivors”; Linda’s was entitled “Curiosity and Willingness to Learn.”  ICSA Today plans to reprint these articles.

Mike Kropveld and Marie-Andrée Pelland published an article in News from Info-Cult (No. 25, June 2013), “Gurus and Followers.” The article also appears in French (“Gourous et adeptes”) in the French version of the newsletter. 

Joe Szimhart’s novel, Mushroom Satori: The Cult Diary, is now available from Aperture Press. The book is also available on Amazon.com. On July 25th, Joe did a podcast for “The Age of Transitions.” 

On July 2, Nori Muster was on the TV series “Deadly Devotion.” It aired on ID TV (Investigation Discovery), a sister station of Discovery TV. The segment focused on the 1986 murder of Steven Bryant in Los Angeles. 

On June 25th, Rita Swan published a letter in response to a history professor’s defense of religious exemptions from child health laws. Her letter was entitled “Protect Children and Faith with Religion-Neutral Laws.” 

In August, Jen Guerriero gave a training for social workers for the NASW Florida Chapter in Palm Bay, Florida. Entitled “The Impact of Cult Awareness Education on Social Work Practice,” the half-day program provided CE credits. The presentation addressed what a cult is. It drew parallels to college-student development theory, victims of domestic violence, substance abusers, gangs, and bullying. The intent was to introduce social workers who work with these populations to basic cult-awareness concepts and to provide them with an understanding of how cult-awareness education may enhance their practice with these populations. 

On April 19th, 2013, Jose Fernández conducted a 5-hour course, “Psychological Manipulation and Hypnosis,” addressed to psychologists and last-year psychology degree students, organized by the Professional Association of Psychologists of Catalonia in Barcelona (Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos). On October 18th he will also deliver a paper, “Psychological Manipulation and Hypnosis,” in a panel at the Conference on Hypnosis, organized by the Professional Association of Psychologists of Catalonia Task Force on Hypnosis, to be held in the Abat Oliba University, Barcelona. 

The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) interviewed Steve Hassan on August 14th, 2013. 

Robert Marshall published a critical book review of the novel Wake Up Lonely by Fiona Maazel, in which he expressed his concern about how cults are misrepresented, misunderstood, sensationalized, or trivialized in fiction and in popular culture. 

Dana Wehle was interviewed on NYC local radio on Friday, June 6th, 2013, on a show called “Tell Us More: A Program That Brings Psychology to Your Everyday Life,” hosted by Dr. Nicolleta Skoufalos, Cosmos FM 91.5, Hellenic Public Radio. Dana spoke about a current Bible-based group in the news (The Fellowship of Martyrs, which it was suggested is linked to the man who almost bombed 48 churches in Oklahoma and which Rick Ross spoke about on the Dr. Phil show in May). The host and Dana had a lively discussion about religions versus cults, signs that a group might be a cult, susceptibility to cults during transitional times, cult recovery, and the potential harm of cult involvement, from mild to extreme violence. 

Steve Martin of Wellspring gave a presentation on understanding and healing the former cult member, April 24, 2013, at Nelsonville Wesleyan Church in Nelsonville, Ohio. 

Pat Knapp of Becoming Free continues to offer professionally facilitated support/recovery groups to those adults having suffered previous involvement in various abusive and harmful religious or spiritual environments. There are now two groups, one a former member group for those who have exited cults or abusive churches, and another for concerned friends and family members. The groups meet once per week for 8 weeks. 

Steve Kent spoke at the 2013 FECRIS conference in Copenhagen on the topic “Freemen, Sovereign Citizens, and the Threat to Public Order in British Heritage Countries.”

Steve Hassan interviewed Paul Lennon on the Legion of Christ as a sect-like group. The video, called “Out on a Limb About Cult-Like Groups in the Catholic Church,” is found here

Dingcheng Ren and Tianjia Chen published a report and review of cultic studies based on the ICSA 2012 Annual Conference in Montreal: “The New Trend in Cultic Studies: Observations on ICSA 2012 Annual Conference,” Router: A Journal of Cultural Studies, 15, 523–535. 

In July 2012, Anita Solomon presented a paper in Capetown, South Africa at the International Congress of Psychology on the topic “Expressive Arts in Psychiatric Settings Using Music and Poetry.” In June of 2013, Anita nominated her professional team at Spring Grove Hospital for the DHMH innovative and Creative Team Award, for which they received the Award on the topic “A Team Approach to Preventing Violence in Psychiatric Settings.” 

Colleen Russell, who has a psychotherapy office in Marin County (north of San Francisco), has opened a second office in San Anselmo (south of San Francisco). The support group that she has run since 2003 continues, meeting every other Saturday from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM in her Marin County office. Colleen also gained certification as a grief specialist.

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