Annual Conference. ICSA’s 2014 annual conference will take place in Washington, DC, July 3–5 (preconference workshops on July 2). The conference hotel is the Sheraton Silver Spring (Maryland), which is a short subway ride to downtown DC. The program will be varied, with numerous sessions pertinent to former members of cultic or other high-demand groups, families, helping professionals, researchers, and others. A track within the program will include sessions that address aspects of the conference theme of government, human rights, and the cult phenomenon. More than a hundred speaking and poster proposals have been accepted, so there will be much to choose from. More info.Special Event: Program for Parents of SGAs. Bill and Lorna Goldberg will facilitate a special program for parents of second-generation adults (SGAs—those who are born/raised in cultic groups). The program will take place on Sunday afternoon, February 2, 2014, from 2 PM to 5 PM in Englewood, NJ (directions to be sent to attendees). The goal of the program will be to offer an environment in which parents can give one another mutual counsel and support. Parents will have an opportunity to focus on the complex relationships that result from multigenerational cult involvement. There is no cost for the program; however, participants will be expected to help ICSA help others by becoming at least a Web member of ICSA. Please let others know about this program. Space is very limited and attendance will be first come, first served. Interested persons should contact ICSA soon: firstname.lastname@example.orgICSA Workshop for Second-Generation Former Members. “Surviving and Moving On After a High-Demand Group Experience.” When: Friday, 4:00 PM, April 4, 2014, to Sunday, 2:00 PM, April 6, 2014. Where: Guest House Retreat & Conference Center, 318 West Main Street, Chester, CT 06412 ( 860–322–5770 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 860–322–5770 FREE end_of_the_skype_highlighting ). More info.ICSA Recovery Workshop for Former Group Members. Friday, 3:00 PM, August 1, 2014, to Sunday, 3:00 PM, August 3, 2014. Where: Franciscan Retreat Center at Mount St. Francis, Colorado Springs, Colorado. More info.Bob and Judy Pardon of MeadowHaven will run jointly with ICSA a topic focused support group at MeadowHaven in Lakeville, Massachusetts (south of Boston) beginning Saturday February 1, 2014 (9 am – 11 am) and continuing every other week for 8 – 10 sessions. Contact ICSA for more information.
Dan Shaw has a new book out entitled Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation, published by Routledge for The Relational Perspectives Series. Using his clinical experience as a psychotherapist, as well as his 13-year prior experience of living and working in a New Age yoga group, Dan presents his understanding of the psychology of the charismatic, abusive leader in a variety of contexts, including in cultic groups. He explores the impact of being the victim of this kind of abuse and proposes pathways toward recovery. Although written primarily for the professional mental-health worker, the book will be meaningful to any who have suffered abuse at the hands of what Dan terms “the traumatizing narcissist.” The book is available through Routledge.com, or at Amazon.com and other online booksellers.
Dan is also giving a talk entitled “Traumatic Narcissism: Systems of Subjugation” at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies in New York City on Sunday, January 26, 2014, from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM. In addition, Dan is the guest editor of a forthcoming special issue of International Journal of Cultic Studies (Vol. 5, 2014) dedicated to the subject of traumatic narcissism. Other contributors to this issue (spring printing target) include Shelly Rosen, Chris Carlson, Ann Stamler, Amy Siskind, and William Yenner.
Several ICSA members will speak at INFORM’s Anniversary Conference, Minority Religions: Contemplating the Past and Anticipating the Future, to take place at the New Academic Building, London School of Economics, London, Friday, January 31, to Sunday, February 2, 2014. Michael Kropveld and Michael Langone will participate in a plenary session, “A Word From the ‘Cultwatchers.’” Linda Dubrow-Marshall, Gillie Jenkinson, Steve Eichel, and Rod Dubrow-Marshall will contribute to a panel on therapeutic considerations. Many other interesting talks and panels will take place during the 3-day conference organized by Eileen Barker, Amanda van Eck, and the staff of INFORM. More information: http://www.inform.ac/node/1575
This special conference is related to a recently published Ashgate book edited by Eileen Barker, Revisionism and Diversification in New Religious Movements. Carol Giambalvo, Michael Kropveld, and Michael Langone contribute a chapter, “Changes in North American Cult Awareness Organizations.”
Eileen Barker also published “Stepping out of the Ivory Tower: A Sociological Engagement in ‘The Cult Wars’” in Methodological Innovations Online (2011), 6(1), pp. 18–39.
Dean Borgman hosted a conference, Confronting New Cults, at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Massachusetts on October 3, 2013. Bob and Judy Pardon and Michael Langone were among the presenters.
Cyndi Matthews sent us three news items. She gave a presentation for counselors in Texas, entitled “Counseling with Former Religious Cult and Highly Restrictive Religious Group Members,” regarding working with former second-generation cult members. The presentation was recorded by the Texas Counseling Association (TCA) and placed in its online library to be used by TCA members for continuing education. Texas Counseling Association, November 21–23, 2013, San Antonio, Texas. Cyndi also coauthored an article with Dr. Carmen Salazar entitled “Second-Generation Adult Former Cult Group Members’ Recovery Experiences: Implications for Counseling” (doi:10.1007/s10447-013-9201-0) that was published online (November, 2013) by the International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling. The article will be published in print in 2014. ICSA members can request a copy of the article from the author. Last, Cyndi’s dissertation was published by Proquest. Entitled Second Generation Adult Former Cult Group Members’ Recovery Experiences: Implications for Counseling, the dissertation is available through ProQuest.
Vega González (Manager and psychologist with AIS in Barcelona) spoke at a conference, Psychological Manipulation, Cultic Groups and other Social Addictions, on November 28, 2013, at the General Hospital of Granollers (Barcelona). Vega was also interviewed about psychological manipulation and cultic groups on November 29 by journalism students at the University Rey Juan Carlos (Madrid).
Alexandra Stein published an article on the Lambeth political cult in Opendemocracy.net.
Nori Muster was quoted in the National Enquirer, Sept. 16, 2013. The front-page story, “Vanna White’s Secret Heartache: She loses TEEN SON to religious cult,” concerns Nicholas “Nikko” White, who is rooming with an ISKCON monk while attending the University of Arizona.
Arthur Buchman was keynote speaker at an international conference in Poland on September 19, 2013. The conference, titled Socio-Technic Aspects of Safety in Higher Education Institutions, was organized and chaired by Piotr T. Nowakowski, PhD. It was held at the Off-Campus Faculty of Social Sciences of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin in Stalowa Wola, and sponsored by the Polish Sociological Association and cosponsored by the City of Stalowa Wola, International Police Association—Stoleczna Grupa Wojewodzka, and the academic quarterly Spoleczenstwo i Rodzina, of which Piotr T. Nowakowski is Deputy Editor-in-Chief. Arthur’s paper was titled “Staying Safe on Campus—How to Resist Cult Recruitment Tactics.” Some of the material he presented came from the excellent and still very relevant book edited by Marcia R. Rudin, Cults on Campus: Continuing Challenge (AFF, 1991).
A journal edited by Cristina Caparesi, Manipolazioni e Vessazioni —Vol. 2, No. 3, 2013), has once again published Italian translations of a number of IJCS and ICSA Today articles by ICSA members:
Stephen A. Kent. Giustificazioni religiose per l’abuso sessuale sui bambini nelle sette e nelle religioni alternative (Religious Justifications for Child Sexual Abuse in Cults and Alternative Religions).Amy J. L. Baker. Resistere alla pressione di scegliere fra genitori: un programma scolastico (Resisting the Pressure to Choose Between Parents: A School-Based Program).Barbara Martin. La storia del centro di recupero di “Wellspring” (History of the Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center).Lorna Goldberg. Il matrimonio dopo la setta (Marriage After the Cult).Larry Beall. L’impatto di un gruppo poligamico su donne e bambini (The Impact of a Modern-Day Polygamy Group on Women and Children).Cristina Caparesi has also published an original article in this same journal and issue: Immagini di mediazione famigliare nel “conflitto in ambito settario.”
Pressure to Behave, Believe, and Become: Workshop for Those Raised in Cults or High-Demand Groups. Workshop on Saturday, January 11, 2014 (10:00 AM to 4:30 PM), in the Marin County, San Francisco Bay Area. Facilitated by Colleen Russell.
Elliot Benjamin published a series of articles about the Wilber/Cohen cult/guru discussion, all of which can be obtained from the site www.integralworld.net by going to the Reading Room and clicking the link for his name. Titles of the articles include “What Makes Guru a Guru?: Cohen Is Responsible for Himself”; “My Response to Erdmann: Compassionate Philosophy Is Needed”; and “Wilber and Freud: The Guru Question Continued.”
Gillie Jenkinson made a trip to the United States of America, where she conducted interviews for her doctoral dissertation. The question she asked former members of an abusive cult is “What has your experience been like post-cult and what helps former cult members recover from an abusive cult experience?” She has obtained rich and interesting data and now has the challenge of analyzing it. Gillie, a contributor to an upcoming book on the clinical state of the art in this field, also presented a draft of her chapter, “Relational Psycho-educational Intensive—Time Away for Post Cult Counselling,” at International Cultic Studies Association’s November 2013 conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In addition, Gillie was invited by Kate Thompson, a BACP senior accredited journal therapist who relocated to Boulder a few years ago, and who is a member of the Colorado Psychotherapy Association (CAP), to speak on “Working with Cult Survivors.”
Diane Hawes, a student member, completed two research papers this past semester, one on how narcissism is learned and another on cults; she begins a two-semester thesis in the spring.
Jim Rudin had a commentary, “35 Years After Jonestown,” published in the Washington Post, November 14, 2013.
An international conference, Scientology in a Scholarly Perspective, will take place January 24–25, 2014, at the Faculty of Comparative Studies of Religions (FVG)—Wilrijk (Antwerpen), Belgium, sponsored by The European Observatory of Religion and Laïcité (Secularism). Among the presenters are Eileen Barker, Massimo Introvigne, and Susan Palmer.
Michael Langone wrote a cautionary column, “How Cults Rewire the Brain,” for the Huffington Post of September 29, 2013.
Mark Roggeman and Grace Dominguez gave a presentation on cults to students at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, on September 19, 2013, and they gave separate workshops on cults at the Annual Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance (COVA) Conference on October 29. Mark’s workshop covered the many victims of cults and why law enforcement should be concerned; Grace talked about Waco, “A Survivors Story,” and her journey through recovery. They also jointly gave a presentation to a comparative-religions class at the Community College of Aurora, Colorado on November 1. During the Annual Crime Science Investigation (CSI) Conference at Regis University in Denver on November 15 and 16, Grace served on a panel that discussed Waco from a victim’s perspective. Mark will speak about the cult issue to a class at Regis University on February 11th.
Joe Szimhart posted a review on Amazon of A Manual for Creating Atheists.
Lisa Monroney of Rocky Mountain Resource Center says that the Center will cosponsor a conference on May 17, 2014, with NIOTA (Not In Our Town Alliance). The conference will be held at Harmony Presbyterian Church in Fort Collins, Colorado.
In November, 2013 Rod and Linda Dubrow-Marshall gave a cult-related presentation about psychotherapy cults, “Family Estrangement and Ethics in Psychotherapeutic Practice: Lessons From Case Studies and Unethical Practice.” The paper was presented at the Newport Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Conference, Newport, UK.
Lora Brown will present a workshop at Calvary Chapel South in Littleton, Colorado, April 4–6, 2014. The title of the workshop is “Freemasonry: It’s Not Just For Men.” The annual conference is cosponsored by Evangelical Ministries to New Religions and the International Society of Christian Apologetics. The conference theme is Apologetics and the Family.
Patricia Millar (left), who was one of the presenters at ICSA’s Santa Fe conference in November, says that ICSA members may request a reprint of any of her papers or presentations, including her dissertation. Some of them are available on her academia.edu page. Patti submitted a grant proposal for a study of how coaching can complement existing, standard domestic-violence prevention programs—these are similar to ICSA support programs in that they include psychoeducation, crisis management, and supportive counseling. She is also collaborating on a multimedia narrative project that explores the impact of incarceration on mother-child relationships. The documentarians include the award-winning Gabriela Bulisova.
Mary O’Connell, a high-school English teacher and profiles editor of ICSA Today, tells us that the St. Saviour high school newspaper Skyline (Park Slope, Brooklyn) published an article entitled “Cults on Campus.” Also, in connection with the sophomore curriculum this year, Mary has students read Alexandra Amour’s book, Cult, A Love Story, in connection with The Crucible and Fahrenheit 451, both of which are natural lead-ins to discussions about cults.
Millard Melynk has released a deliberately controversial book, Fun’s No F*cking Joke, aimed at disenfranchised, emotionally apocalyptic 15- to 30-year-olds. Millard says, “These people will see the title as a relief and a validation that they aren’t alone—others get why they barely restrain screams of indignant despair over what they see happening all around them.”
Monique Molendijk published an article, “Sektarische Relatie,” in the Dutch PSC Magazine in October 2013.
Myriam Declair has been giving lectures for the past 25 years. In 2013 she gave two lectures to youth groups and their parents (15- to 17-year-olds) as preventive education. Myriam says that she likes to “show them a DVD made by the Gemppi for young people, depicting four different types of cultic groups.” This year she also published her much-updated book in electronic format (E-pub, PDF and Kindle): Se libérer d’une secte : récit, conseils et prevention (www.myriamdeclair.org, which is in English and French). In October, she attended a conference in Marseille organized by the GEMPPI. On December 14 she spoke at the University Decartes in Paris to a group of doctors, lawyers, and professional social workers who are following a special training set up by the MIVILUDES.
Nancy Mereska wrote a letter to the editor of the Edmonton Journal about November 23 being the second anniversary of Chief Justice Robert Bauman’s decision that Canada’s law banning the practice of polygamy is constitutional, although nothing so far has been done to stop polygamy in Canada.
Pablo Luis Guérez Tricarico, a law professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid, wishes to inform the ICSA community about a blog that he has recently begun on victimization. The blog is in Spanish, but it includes for the moment a few articles in English. He is interested in contributions to the blog concerning victim-blaming and related topics: email@example.com
Xavier Leger (left)has written a letter to Pope Francis, posted on the ReGAIN website. Xavier’s book has also been published recently: Moi, ancien légionnaire du Christ, 7 ans dans une secte au coeur de l’Eglise, Xavier Léger (Auteur), Bernard Nicolas (Auteur)—Récit (broché). Paru en 09/2013: On September 18, 2013, Xavier also participated in a radio program, “L’heure du crime,” on the Legion of Christ.
Paul Lennon says, “Kudos to ICSA and REGAIN member, Xavier Leger, who, with two other Catholic activists, brought this issue to the bishops’ attention and received a letter of solidarity from the president of the French Catholic Conference of Bishops.” Xavier replied, “Thank you for your good words, dear friends. I just need to say that this is the fruit of a team work led by Yves Hamant, whose great reputation was a key point. (He is a famous teacher of political sciences, specialist of Russia and the orthodox culture … and used to be a close friend of Cardinal Lustiger (former archbishop of Paris, and a great figure in the catholic Church). You will find the whole letter on that link. It’s an enormous step, but we are now expecting deeds.”
Sjoukje Drenth-Bruintjes tells us, “The most recent activity and media interview is about the Dutch cult report. I have been interviewed by the researchers of Buro Beke, being an expert on cult issues in the Netherlands… So now I am acknowledged by the government in an official research [capacity] about cults in the Netherlands. When the report came out, I gave a lot of interviews. One of them was for the news in Holland. Others were in newspapers. I have been interviewed by many journalists in the Netherlands.
Shelly Rosen, a longtime ICSA member and psychological-trauma expert, gave a presentation on cults to a class at Yeshiva University’s School-Clinical Child Psychology PsyD program. This is a seminar regarding special topics for third-year students who are externs in community schools, hospitals, and agencies. The students were fascinated by the topic and how it relates to issues such as undue influence in groups, cognitive dissonance, and human vulnerability. Shelly will return to the class next semester to present on the trauma of harmful group involvement, and to introduce trauma theory and practice as a lens for looking at emotional dysregulation.
Steve Hassan was interviewed by Fox on terrorism (takes time to load) on September 24, 2013. Steve also spoke, as did Janet Heimlich and Rita Swan, at the Child Friendly Faith Project (CFFP) 2013 conference.
Anita Solomon presented at Grand Rounds at a hospital in Catonsville, Maryland, November 21, 2013, on “A Team/Resource Approach to Complex Cases in Resolving Conflict and Violence in a Psychiatric Setting.” She has been exploring the relationship of cultic dynamics and gangs.
Dennis Tourish was interviewed on all the main UK news programs, including Sky, ITV, BBC, and BBC World News, to provide expert commentary on a case that fascinated and appalled both the media and the public. He was also interviewed on several radio programs, including in Australia, and quoted extensively in major UK newspapers, including The Daily Telegraph and The Observer. People in the UK and around the world were horrified by a story that broke in late November of three women in London who were rescued by the police from what was initially described as a case of slavery. It has since emerged that for more than 30 years the women were part of a small political cult run by a married couple.
Pat and Heidi Knapp are beginning a new group for who have exited formal cults or abusive churches. Meets once per week, for 12 weeks, beginning January 12, 2014, Sundays at 3:00pm for two hours. It will meet in the Ft Collins, Colorado area. The cost for materials is $60. Some scholarships may be available. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org.