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Profile – Goldberg

Lorna Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA, President of ICSA, is a psychoanalyst in private practice and Dean of Faculty at the New Jersey Institute of Psychoanalysis. Lorna first became aware of cults when a family member, reflecting the family’s longstanding idealism and desire to make a positive change in the world, became involved in a cult in the early 1970s. At first her family supported his desire to explore a new direction, but soon became alarmed about uncharacteristic behaviors they observed and sought explanations for these puzzling dramatic personality changes. Their research took them to the few professionals who were beginning to talk and write about their work with cult members and their families, most notably Dr. John Clark, a psychiatrist associated with Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Margaret Singer, who had started a support group for former members in Berkeley, California.

Partly because of this group, along with Dr. Clark’s continued inspiration, Lorna and Bill started a support group for former members in the NYC area in 1976. The group is still operating, 34 years later, and their insights from this group resulted in a seminal article in the journal, Social Work (1982). In addition to their professional writings, Lorna and Bill also began to see families and ex-members in their respective private practices, spoke to various parent groups associated with what was to become the Cult Awareness Network, and gave presentations to professional associations.

After having received a master’s degree in social work in 1970, Lorna began her psychoanalytic training in 1976 and was certified as a psychoanalyst in 1984. Simultaneously studying psychoanalysis and cults gave

Lorna an appreciation of the interaction of the inner psyche with the influences of powerful environments.

In 1981 Lorna participated in the first advisory board meeting of the recently founded American Family Foundation (original name of ICSA). She attended AFF’s annual advisory board meetings and conferences, participated in AFF’s Project Recovery, and wrote a chapter for therapists in AFF’s Recovery from Cults. Lorna, along with her husband, Bill, volunteered to facilitate AFF’s workshops for ex-cult members in the late 1980s, an activity that has continued to the present day.

Lorna joined ICSA’s Board of Directors in November 2003. She has been very active on the Board and, along with Rosanne Henry, created and developed ICSA’s mental health committee. Lorna became President of ICSA in 2008.

Lorna’s goal for ICSA is that it should continue to succeed at its primary mission to provide help to individuals who have been adversely impacted by cults. She looks forward to expanding ICSA’s membership and inspiring more volunteers to become active in its committees and study groups. Lorna’s family member has moved on to have a rich, full life that’s free of cultic involvement, and Lorna hopes that ICSA will continue to serve as a vehicle to help others do the same.

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