After the Twin Towers fell on 9/11, William Goldberg, L.C.S.W., Psy.A., was one of a team among several teams whose mission it was to inform surviving family members of the demise of their loved ones. He was there to support them, to make the unendurable endurable. He was there to share their suffering.
This kind of magnanimity seems to come naturally to Mr. Goldberg. In fact, he is gracious that he makes it look easy. By training and character, he puts himself in the background. Bill, as he is known, has been described as “affable.” Easy-going and approachable, his therapeutic art, though powerful, is nevertheless subtle. He has been a mental health practitioner for over 40 years and with seamless devotion has helped thousands of people and saved countless lives.
Bill’s first encounter with the cult phenomenon came when a relative of his wife was recruited by one. “We just thought it was a kooky group at first.“ After finding people who knew about cults and could help, “We received an education we never thought we’d receive.”
The family member was rescued, but Bill and his wife wanted to do more; they started a support group for ex-cult members which is now the longest-running such group in the world. Meetings are held monthly in Bill’s home in New Jersey.
Having grown up in Seattle, he describes in poetic terms the unique, wild beauty of the Pacific Northwest and how much he loved it there. “There are 10 months of rain, that’s true, but then you are rewarded with two months of this beautiful weather and rich greenery – like Hawaii in its lushness.” Asked why he would ever leave such a place, he replies with a wink and a wry smile, “I fell in love with a Jersey girl“ (Mrs. Lorna Goldberg, his wife of 43 years, President of ICSA). The Goldbergs have one son, Ben, of whom they are enormously proud. Ben is 38 and works in the music business.
From Rutgers, Bill graduated in 1968 with a degree in Political Science, followed in 1970 with an M.S.W. from NYU. Retired now from Rockland County Department of Mental Health where he worked for 36 years as Program Supervisor, he recently certified as a psychoanalyst and is Adjunct Professor of Sociology at Dominican College.
Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg together are the recipients of the Hall of Fame Award from the Authentic Cult Awareness Network and the Leo J. Ryan Award from the Leo J. Ryan Foundation. Mr. Goldberg has received many other awards, including the ICSA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, and appeared on major television shows, been called upon to testify as an expert witness, given numerous talks and written many articles. For ICSA Today, he serves as Mental Health columnist.
William Goldberg is a writer, a psychoanalyst, a healer, an award winner. But if you really want to about him, just ask anyone who is lucky enough to be around him and they’ll tell you, Bill Goldberg is a real mensch*
*Yiddish: a person of integrity and honor; great-hearted; a real human being.