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Test Migration New

Speakers for the 2017 conference have not yet been identified.  Since some of those who presented in 2015 will probably participate in 2017, we have left the 2015 speakers’ bios below.

Ashley Allen, MSW, LSW, completed her Master’s in Social Work at Monmouth University where she was also selected to coordinate and present the School of Social Work’s Annual Clinical Lecture Series. Her lecture series focused on children born and/or raised in cultic groups with a special focus on issues of human rights. She has presented on cults, with a particular focus on second-generation adults (SGAs) at various mental-health agencies, universities, and at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) annual conference in New Jersey. Ms. Allen gained a breadth of experience volunteering at the Cult Clinic of JBFCS in NYC for three years and has gone on to work as a therapist with former cult members in community mental health. Ashley is currently serving on ICSA’s NY Educational Outreach Committee. Email: aemeallen2004@hotmail.com Phone: 941-465-8696 [NY Committee]

Elizabeth Blackwell was born into a Christian family who became heavily involved in a Bible-based doomsday cult. She was not permitted to obtain a formal education, nor was she allowed contact with anyone outside of the group. In 2009, she sought help in coming to terms with her cult experience and became aware of the many unique challenges and strengths inherent to former members, particularly those who were raised in high-demand groups. She has since been an active member of the International Cultic Studies Association, presently through service on the NYC Educational Outreach Initiative. She also serves on the board of reFOCUS, a cult survivor support network. Ms. Blackwell is currently an honor’s student in the Psychology department at Columbia University. For her honor’s thesis she is researching attachment to caregivers, and traumatic childhood experiences of both physical and psychological abuse in Nim Tottenham’s Developmental Affective Neuroscience lab.

Samie Brosseau (born Batach Yaqara Brosseau), is the Founder and Director of Liberation Point, a New Jersey 501(c)(3) which provides assistance to cult victims and their families. She was born into the Twelve Tribes (formerly known as the Northeast Kingdom Community Church) and managed to escape at age 18. She received her BS from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and currently resides in New York City. Her life is dedicated to helping cult victims successfully transition into their new life of independence through mentoring and various forms of assistance. She is currently developing a mentoring program for those born or raised in cults who are living independently for the first time. 
Website: www.liberationpoint.org Email: samie@liberationpoint.org Phone: (413) 306-1282

Rev. Dr. Neil Damgaard, ThM, DMin, is originally from the Washington D.C. area. A graduate of Virginia Tech with a degree in industrial engineering and operations research, he worked for the U.S. Navy under contract as a management engineering consultant. After entering the ministry in 1976 he later graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with a four-year Master’s of Theology degree in historical theology, and has served as Senior Pastor of the Dartmouth Bible Church in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts since 1983. With an interest in students and young adults and long experience with them, Pastor Neil also serves as Protestant Chaplain with the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth (since 2007). He also earned his Doctor of Ministry degree in 2008 from Dallas Theological Seminary. His church experience, both in his own congregation and among a number of other local churches affords him a good perspective in the area of safe churches which espouse a healthy and balanced philosophy of ministry. Neil holds an endless fascination with history, culture, architecture, music, and film. He lives in New Bedford, Massachusetts and has been married to Renée (who loves being a public school high school math teacher) since 1975. Together they have raised two daughters: Jocelyn, a mechanical engineer and recent graduate of the Law School at the University of Connecticut. She is also a wife and mother, living in NYC. Susanna, a graduate of Messiah College and Yale University, is a public health registered nurse in Seattle, Washington.

Doug Duncan, MS, LPC, was a member of an aberrant religious group for over twenty years. After defying the cult leader and marrying Wendy, they eventually left the cult and Doug began the task of rebuilding his life. He enrolled in a master’s program in counseling and earned a degree and license to practice therapy. After working on their cult recovery issues by reading all the available cult literature, attending conferences,

and becoming involved with ICSA, Doug and Wendy started a ministry to increase the awareness and understanding of cults. They are frequent presenters at churches, civic groups, and conferences, as well as facilitators of a support group for former members of cults and high-demand groups. Additionally, Doug offers individual counseling to ex-members. 
Wendy Duncan, MA, LBSW, has a Master’s Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a licensed social worker in the state of Texas. She has spent most of her career in the mental health field. Last fall, Wendy resigned from her full-time career position to devote more time to she and her husband’s ministry to cult survivors. Wendy is also the author of I Can’t Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas Cult. She and her husband, Doug, live in the Dallas metroplex where they are active in cult awareness activities and facilitate a monthly support group for former members of cults. 

Steve K. D. Eichel, PhD, ABPP, ICSA President, is Past-President of the American Academy of Counseling Psychology and the Greater Philadelphia Society of Clinical Hypnosis. He is a licensed and Board-certified counseling psychologist whose involvement in cultic studies began with a participant-observation study of Unification Church training in their Eastern seminary (in Barrytown, NY) in the spring of 1975. His doctoral dissertation to date remains the only intensive, quantified observation of a deprogramming. He was honored with AFF’s 1990 John G. Clark Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Cultic Studies for this study, which was published as a special issue of the Cultic Studies Journal and has been translated into several foreign languages. In 1983, along with Dr. Linda Dubrow-Marshall and clinical social worker Roberta Eisenberg, Dr. Eichel founded the Re-Entry Therapy, Information & Referral Network (RETIRN), one of the field’s oldest continuing private providers of psychological services to families and individuals harmed by cultic practices. RETIRN currently has offices in Newark, DE, Lansdowne, PA and Preston, England (U.K.). In addition to his psychology practice and his involvement with ICSA, Dr. Eichel is active in a range of professional associations. He has co-authored several articles and book reviews on cult-related topics for the CSJ/CSR.

Leona Furnari, MSW, LCSW, is a psychotherapist in Boulder, CO, specializing in recovery from trauma,

including recovery from abusive groups and relationships. Ms. Furnari is a former member of an Eastern/New Age group, and it was that experience that led to her commitment to help others recover from abusive groups. She has been a regular facilitator/presenter at ICSA’s former-member workshops and cult-education conferences since 1998. She has worked in child protection, community mental health, and as a school social worker. She is an EMDR International Association certified therapist and consultant. In 2010 ICSA awarded her the Margaret L. Singer Award for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence. 

Steven Gelberg, MA, while a member from 1970-1987, served as the Krishna Movement’s principal liaison to the international academic community (e.g., edited Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna: Five Distinguished Scholars on the Krishna Movement in the West, Grove Press, 1983), and its Director for Interreligious Affairs. He is author of a number of scholarly articles on ISKCON (and related historical, social-scientific, and cultic issues) published in various academic books and journals. He subsequently earned a Masters degree (comparative religion) from Harvard Divinity School in 1990. He currently lives with his wife near San Francisco, where he is an accomplished fine art photographer, and working on various writing projects. His most recent work is India in a Mind’s Eye: Travels and Ruminations of an Ambivalent Pilgrim. 

Carol Giambalvo is a former cult member who has retired as a Thought Reform Consultant. She is a cofounder of reFOCUS, a national support network for former cult members. She is on ICSA’s Board of Directors, Director of ICSA’s Recovery Programs, and is responsible for its Project Outreach. Author of Exit Counseling: A Family Intervention, co-editor of The Boston Movement: Critical Perspectives on the International Churches of Christ, and co-author of “Ethical Standards for Thought Reform Consultants”, and co-author (with Rosanne Henry, MA, LPC) of “The Colorado Model” in ICSA Today, 1(1), 2010. Ms. Giambalvo has written and lectured extensively on cult-related topics. In 2008 and 2010 (shared with the other Colorado workshop facilitators) Ms. Giambalvo received ICSA’s Margaret T. Singer Award.

Lorna Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA, Board member and past president of ICSA, is a clinical social worker and psychoanalyst in private practice and Dean of Faculty at the Institute of Psychoanalytic Studies. In 1976, she and her husband, William Goldberg, began facilitating a support group for former cult members that continues to meet on a monthly basis in their home in Englewood, New Jersey. In 1989, Lorna and Bill received the Hall of Fame Award from the authentic Cult Awareness Network and, in 1999; they received the Leo J. Ryan Award from the Leo J. Ryan Foundation. In 2009, she received the Margaret T. Singer Award from ICSA. Lorna joined ICSA’s Board of Directors in November 2003. Along with Rosanne Henry, she co-chaired ICSA’s Mental Health Committee until her term as President of ICSA from 2008 to 2012. Lorna has published numerous articles about her therapeutic work with former cult members in professional journals, most recently: Goldberg, L. (2012). Influence of a Charismatic Antisocial Cult Leader: Psychotherapy With an Ex-Cultist Prosecuted for Criminal Behavior. International Journal of Cultic Studies, Vol. 2, 15-24. Goldberg, L. (2011). Diana, Leaving the Cult: Play Therapy in Childhood and Talk Therapy in Adolescence. International Journal of Cultic Studies, (Vol.2), 33-43. She also wrote a chapter on guidelines for therapists in the book, Recovery from Cults, edited by Michael Langone. Lorna has co-written with Bill Goldberg, a chapter on psychotherapy with targeted parents in the book, Working with Alienated Children and Families (2012), edited by Amy J.L. Baker & S. Richard Sauber. 

William Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA, is a clinical social worker and psychoanalyst with over forty years

experience working with former cult members. He and his wife, Lorna, co-lead a support group for former cult members, This group has been meeting for over thirty-five years, and is the oldest group of its kind in the world. In 2007 Bill retired from the Rockland County, NY Department of Mental Health, where he directed several programs and clinics. He is presently an adjunct professor in the social work and social science departments of Dominican College and he is on the faculty of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies. Bill is a frequent speaker at ICSA conferences, and he and Lorna have been the recipients of the Authentic CAN Hall of Fame Award, and the Leo J. Ryan Award. In 2010, Bill was the recipient of ICSA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Janet Heimlich is the founder of the Child-Friendly Faith Project, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to end religious child maltreatment or RCM, child abuse or neglect that is enabled by religious belief. She is the author of Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment (Prometheus Books, 2011) which novelist Anne Rice called “well researched and well written” and was lauded by such experts as Bishop John Shelby Spong, Dr. Richard Dawkins, and Dr. Ronald Enroth. As a freelance reporter for National Public Radio, Ms. Heimlich won nine journalism awards, including the regional Katie and the Houston Press Club’s Radio Journalist of the Year. She has also written nonfiction articles for such publications as Texas MonthlyAustin American-Statesman, and the Texas Observer. Ms. Heimlich lives with her teenage daughter in Austin, Texas.

Rosanne Henry, MA, LPC, is a psychotherapist practicing in Littleton, Colorado. For the past twenty years she has been active in the counter cult movement working closely with the former Cult Awareness Network and ICSA. She presently sits on the board of ICSA and heads the Mental Health Committee. She has facilitated ICSA’s Recovery workshops for twenty years. Rosanne’s private practice specializes in the treatment of cult survivors and their families. She is a former member of Kashi Ranch. In 2010 ICSA awarded her the Margaret L. Singer Award for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence.

Joseph F. Kelly, a graduate of Temple University, has been a thought reform consultant since 1988. He spent 14 years in two different eastern meditation groups. He has lectured extensively on cult-related topics, and is a co-author of Ethical Standards for Thought Reform Consultants, published in ICSA’s Cultic Studies Journal.  For many years, Mr. Kelly has also co-facilitated ICSA pre-conference workshops for ex-members. Recently, he helped to initiate ICSA’s monthly meeting in Philadelphia.  joekelly411@gmail.comWebsites:  intervention101.comcultmediation.comcultrecovery101.com

Heidi I. Knapp is currently pursuing a B.S. in Psychology. Heidi has three certifications in Life Coaching. Her topics of study have included; Spiritual Abuse, Codependency, Healthy Boundaries for personal relationships, Stress Management and Skills for coping through crisis. She co-directs Becoming Free along-side her husband Pat with whom she co-facilitates support and recovery groups for those who have experienced spiritual abuse. Heidi contributes to the educational process of writing curriculum for these support and recovery groups. She has had personal experience with three different aberrant Christian groups. Heidi has spent 20 years of education on recovery issues and continues her education through accredited workshops. She is a member of the International Cultic Studies Association, The American Association of Christian Counselors, and The International Christian Coaching Association. Additionally, she has previously coordinated and lead support groups for parents raising special needs children. Heidi and her husband currently reside in Littleton, Colorado.

Patrick J. Knapp, M.A. Philosophy of Religion, Denver Seminary. Pat’s initial interest in cult recovery stems from his own involvement in a harmful bible-based group (1970-1984). His recovery resulted from individual and marriage counseling, in addition to several years of work in and facilitating support groups for ex-members and their loved ones. His M.A. thesis was titled: “The Place of Mind-Control in the Cult Recovery Process.” Over the past 25+ years he has formally mentoring Denver Seminary students for spiritual formation. Pat is the founder of and co-directs Becoming Free. This is an organization committed to facilitating compassionate, safe support/recovery groups for those who have suffered previous involvement in abusive/harmful religious or spiritual environments. He and his spouse (Heidi) co-facilitate these 12 week support groups. He has done doctoral studies in Marriage and Family Counseling (Professional Track), at Gordon-Conwell Seminary in Charlotte, NC. He has also recently completed multiple counseling internships at addictions treatment centers and at a local counseling center. Currently he is pursuing a PhD in Pastoral Psychology, at Graduate Theological Foundation (GTF) and is involved in several writing projects examining spiritual abuse and recovery. Email: becomingfree.org@gmail.com Phone: 720-227-8695.

Angie “Vennie” Kocsis is a writer, poet, artist and nu-folk singer. She draws her inspiration not only from the world around her, but from her unique experiences as an abused child growing up in Sam Fife’s Move of God cult from 1973-1983, ages 3-14. Vennie is outspoken about her experiences suffering severe physical, sexual and mental abuse including, but not limited to demon possession casting out sessions, beatings, violation of human rights by withholding food and sleep, regimented and harsh daily environments as well as religious brain washing and mind control. Vennie’s life in this cult started in Massachusetts and ended in Alaska until her family was ex-communicated from the cult. Transitioning to life outside of the cult was difficult adjustment. Vennie had to learn simple thingslike how to shop in stores, or what current trending music and television shows were, something she and her siblings had never even been exposed to. She struggled with understanding having basic social connections and many other life skills which caused integrating into a secular society quite emotionally painful. Vennie went on to study creative writing, art and music, and through these outlets was able to find deep healing and balance in her adult life. Her passion is centered around supporting creative outlets for survivors of abuse. She believes that having creative outlets and understanding how to utilize them as tools to express emotion can give abuse survivors a tangible way to transfer their pain to a medium. Vennie’s Books are available on http://amazon.com and http://venniekocsis.com: Cult Child, view the book trailer at: http://cultchild.com

Dusted Shelves; memoir of a cult child, and Becoming Gratitude.

Michael Kropveld is Founder and Executive Director of Info-Cult /Info-Secte, based in Montreal, Canada, and sits on the board of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). Since 1980 he has assisted thousands of former members and members of cults, new religious movements, and other groups, and their families. He has served as an expert witness on cult-related criminal and civil cases, and is consulted regularly by mental health professionals and law enforcement agencies. Since the mid 1990s he has collaborated on the organizing of the ICSA annual international conferences on cultic phenomena. He has been an invited speaker worldwide, and has appeared on many radio and television programs locally, nationally and internationally. Among other publications he co-authored, in 2006, The Cult Phenomenon: How Groups Function / Le phénomène des sectes: L’étude du fonctionnement des groupes. Both versions are downloadable for free. He was awarded the 125 Commemorative Medal in 1992 by the Government of Canada in recognition of significant contribution to compatriots, community and to Canada and in 2007 he received the Herbert L. Rosedale Award from ICSA in recognition of leadership in the effort to preserve and protect individual freedom.

Michael D. Langone, PhD, a counseling psychologist, received a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1979. Since 1981 he has been Executive Director of International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), a tax-exempt research and educational organization concerned about psychological manipulation and cultic groups. Dr. Langone has been consulted by several hundred former cult members and/or their families. He was the founder editor of Cultic Studies Journal (CSJ), the editor of CSJ’s successor, Cultic Studies Review, and editor of Recovery from Cults: Help for Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse (an alternate of the Behavioral Science Book Service). He is co-author of Cults: What Parents Should Know and Satanism and Occult-Related Violence: What You Should Know. Currently, Dr. Langone is ICSA Today’s Editor-in-Chief. He has been the chief designer and coordinator of ICSA’s international conferences, which in recent years have taken place in Barcelona, New York, Rome, Philadelphia, Geneva, Denver, Brussels, Atlanta, and Madrid. In 1995, he was honored as the Albert V. Danielsen visiting Scholar at Boston University. He has authored numerous articles in professional journals and books, including Psychiatric Annals, Business and Society Review, Sette e Religioni (an Italian periodical), Grupos Totalitarios y Sectarismo: Ponencias del II Congreso Internacional (the proceedings of an international congress on cults in Barcelona, Spain), Innovations in Clinical Practice: A Sourcebook, Handbook of Psychiatric Consultation with Children and Youth, Psychiatric News, and all of ICSA’s periodicals. Dr. Langone has spoken widely to dozens of lay and professional groups, including the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion American Association for the Advancement of Science, Pacific Division, American Group Psychotherapy Association, American Psychological Association, the Carrier Foundation, various university audiences, and numerous radio and television stations, including the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour and ABC 20/20.

Yuval Laor received his PhD in culture studies from Tel Aviv University, where he was supervised by leading evolutionary biologist Eva Jablonka. His dissertation explored the evolution of religious psychology, with an emphasis on evolutionary accounts of the human capacity for fervor and sudden conversion, and his subsequent, highly original work has focused on the nature of fervor. Yuval has published articles in the Journals of Religion Brain and Behavior and History and Theory. He is currently working on a book entitled The Religious Ape: What cults and fervor can teach us about the evolution of religion.

Dhyana Levey grew up on a commune connected to the United Lodge of Theosophists, an offshoot a group formed in 1875 by controversial Russian aristocrat and spirit medium Helena Petrovna Blavasky. She has a degree in journalism and worked as a newspaper reporter for about 15 years, covering environmental issues and law in California, as well as labor at an English-language newspaper in Cambodia. She now writes regularly for a couple of Bay Area magazines and is working on a book about adults who were raised as children in cults. 

Luna Lindsey was born into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) and left the faith in 2001, at age 26. She now lives in Seattle, WA and writes about topics of interest to her, including psychology, mind control, social justice, culture, autism, and science fiction. Her book, Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control, connects known mind control techniques to doctrines and policies of the LDS Church, and it has been helping exmormons recover from the totalist manipulation they experienced. http://www.recoveringagency.com

Eva Mackey Meyrat, MD, is a second generation adult whose father was a tenured professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. Her mother was a devotee of an eastern cult that practiced a branch of Hinduism called Advaita Vedanta, a non-dualistic philosophy that teaches that the self is one with the ultimate truth or reality. Half of Eva’s childhood was spent in an ashram in India where she and the other children were unsupervised much of the day. Despite the upheavals and instability that characterized her childhood, Eva managed to get out of the cult at the age of 16 and eventually earned her MD from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Dr. Meyrat has a busy Family Practice and she lives near Dallas with her three small children.

Cyndi Matthews, PhD, LPC-S, NCC is an experienced Counseling Clinician working in Private Practice and as a Counseling Professor currently at the University of North Texas-Dallas. Her passion for social justice and advocacy is exemplified in her counseling practice and current research, both of which focus on effective counseling interventions for marginalized populations, such as cult survivors, domestic violence survivors, and LGBT populations. Based on her scholarship and clinical expertise she has researched and developed theory for counseling with former second generation adult (SGA) cult recovery survivors. Website: www.drcyndimatthews.com Email: cyndersm@verizon.net Phone: (469) 316-7290

Nancy Miquelon , LPCC, is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor specializing in trauma recovery in adults and children. She currently practices in Dulce, New Mexico, home of the Jicarilla Apache Nation, and has been in practice since 1993. Nancy is a co-founder, and serves on the board, of reFOCUS, a cult survivor support network. She is a regular facilitator at ICSA’s Recovery Workshop. In 2010 Nancy received ICSA’s Margaret T. Singer award. Nancy was a member of the Emissaries of Divine Light.

Nori Muster, MS, is the author of Betrayal of the Spirit: My Life Behind the Headlines of the Hare Krishna Movement (University of Illinois Press, 1997), Cult Survivors Handbookeven Paths to an Authentic Life (2000), and Child of the Cult (2010). She was an ISKCON member from 1978 – 1988, then earned her master’s degree at Western Oregon University in 1992 doing art therapy with juvenile sex offenders. She is currently an adjunct professor at Mesa Community College, in Mesa, Arizona. 

Judy Pardon, M.Ed., has been a teacher and a counselor. Since 1992 she has been Associate Director of the New England Institute of Religious Research and Meadowhaven, where she has worked with former cult members, including some who have experienced profound trauma. She has also spoken widely on the subject and conducted training programs for human service personnel.  In 2014 Ms. Pardon received, with her husband Robert, ICSA’s Herbert L. Rosedale Award. [Boston Local Meeting]

Robert Pardon, M.Div
., Th.M., is the Executive Director of the New England Institute

of Religious Research and MeadowHaven. During the past five years he has specialized in Bible-based communal groups. Much of his work involves counseling, support groups, working with those born and/or raised in groups, and helping former members rebuild their lives. To facilitate the recovery process MeadowHaven, a long term rehabilitation facility was opened in 2002. It can accommodate individuals or families who require long term (up to a year) care to recover from trauma and cult abuse.  In 2014 Rev. Pardon received, with his wife Judy, ICSA’s Herbert L. Rosedale Award

Dawn Racine, M.S.Ed., graduated from Northern Illinois University with a dual major in Special and Elementary education. Her first teaching position was instructing students with Learning Disabilities, and then went on to teach 5th grade, 4th grade, and gifted students. After 30 years of teaching she is currently retired and does dog therapy with her black Labrador, Stone, takes continuing education classes at Roosevelt University, and accompanies at her church during Saturday evening services. Her daughter, age 37, has been in a religious doomsday cult for almost 8 years. Dawn has been involved in the Dear Demeter support group for 2 years.

Dr. Jaime Romo is a Commissioned Minister in the United Church of Christ for Healing and Healthy Environments in San Diego, a consultant with the Center for Applied Research Solutions and the National Mentoring Resource Center, and a Child-Friendly Faith Project board member. He earned his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of San Diego. Following a career of K-12 teaching and administration and teacher education, Dr. Romo developed and implemented trauma-informed policies and healing community practices for churches and values driven organizations. He is a certified Traumatic Incident Reduction Facilitator and has worked with and seen scores of individuals resolve their PTSD, anxiety and depression symptoms in a short period of time. Dr. Romo is a certified consultant with the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems and a Primordial Sound Meditation Instructor. His is the author of Healing the Sexually Abused Heart: A Workbook for Survivors, Thrivers, and Supporters, and co- author of Reclaiming Democacy: Multicultural Educators’ Journeys toward Transformative Teaching. Dr. Romo currently serves as a Hospice Chaplain with Seaport Home Health and Hospice in San Diego.

Patrick Ryan is a graduate of Maharishi International University. He has been a cult intervention specialist (exit counseling, mediation, religious conflict resolution, thought reform consulting) since 1984. Mr. Ryan is the co-founder of TM-EX, the organization of ex-members of Transcendental Meditation.  He established ICSA’s online resource (1995-2013), and has presented 50 programs about hypnosis, inner-experience, trance-induction techniques, communicating with cult members, conversion, cult intervention, exit counseling, intervention assessment, mediation, religious conflict resolution, thought reform consultation, eastern groups, transcendental meditation and workshops for educators, families, former members and mental health professionals at ICSA workshops/conferences. Mr. Ryan received the AFF Achievement Award (1997) from AFF, the Leo J. Ryan “Distinguished Service Award” (1999) from the Leo J. Ryan Foundation, and a Lifetime Achievement Award (2011) from ICSA. pryan19147@gmail.com. Websites:intervention101.com;  cultmediation.comcultrecovery101.com.

Debby Schriver. A native of Chicago, Debby Schriver earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her major studies were in educational counseling psychology and early American literature. Schriver’s curiosity in the psychological and sociological ways that people develop, particularly during the formative years, found a professional home in higher education. At the University of Tennessee she served as Associate Dean of Student Conduct and Orientation for 13 years and Manager of Employee Training and Organizational Development for 18 years. Her books include: To Read My Heart, the Journal of Rachel Van Dyke 1810-1811 (Co-edited with Lucia McMahon, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000); In the Footsteps of Champions: The University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers, the First Three Decades (The University of Tennessee Press, 2008); Ice ‘n’ Go: Score in Sports and Life (Co-authored with Jenny Moshak, The University of Tennessee Press, 2013); Whispering in the Daylight, The Children of Tony Alamo’s Christian Ministry and Their Journey to Freedom (The University of Tennessee Press, 2018 release date). Schriver is actively involved in civic organizations, particularly those that direct their services to children. She is a Girl Scout volunteer, member of the Board of Directors for the YWCA (East Tennessee) and serves as a member of the Foster Care Review Board for the Knox County Juvenile Court.

Ann Stamler, MA, MPhil, graduated from Brooklyn College summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1965, and earned graduate degrees in Latin from Columbia University. From birth until age 41, she was in the Aesthetic Realism movement, which her parents, both artists, had joined before she was born. In 1971, along with her parents, Ann was one of the first people the founder designated as teachers of Aesthetic Realism. During the years before and after the founder’s death she began to recognize cultic behavior in her fellow Aesthetic Realists, and chose to walk away from it in 1985. In 1987, she married Joseph Stamler, whom she had first met in Aesthetic Realism. For 22 years she was a senior executive of a nonprofit agency in New York that worked with the labor movements in the U.S. and Israel. She helped found a pluralistic Jewish High School in CT, and was elected three times to the legislative body of her town. Ann delivered a paper about her experience at a Cult Information Service conference in New Jersey in 2002. In 2006, she received a notice of ICSA’s first annual workshop for Second Generation Adults, people born or raised in cultic movements. She attended the workshop as a participant from 2006 to 2011, and was invited to become a co-facilitator in 2012.  She is ICSA Today’s Associate Editor. In 2014 she received ICSA’s Margaret T. Singer Award.

Lois Svoboda, M.D., L.M.F.T., is a former family medicine physician who has been trained in Marriage & Family Therapy and worked as a medical family therapist for 23 years in Wichita Kansas. Since retiring to Fremont, Nebraska in 2004, she opened a counseling practice and is working with people who have exited cults. She has planned and been responsible for a full day workshop for former cult members in Omaha, Nebraska., as well as a one day symposium for medical, law enforcement, clergy, mental health professionals, and the public on Cults and Gangs in Omaha in 2007. She also worked at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center in Ohio during Dr. Paul Martin’s final illness, together with Patricia Cartledge. Dr. Svoboda is ICSA Today’s Family Editor. 

Madeleine L Tobias, MS RN CS, has been a psychotherapist working with ex-members since 1987. She

contributed a chapter to Recovery From Cults and has spoken widely about cults for many years. She co-authored (with Janja Lalich) Captive Hearts/Captive Minds and then Take Back Your Life. She worked as a Clinical coordinator and Military Sexual Trauma Specialist for the Veterans Administrations Vet Center in White River Junction, VT from 1994 – 2012. As an Approved Consultant for the EMDR International Association she provided EMDR (Eye Motion Desensitization and Reprocessing) for both traumatized veterans as well as clients in her private practice. During her work at the VA, she trained and utilized Cognitive Processing Therapy with both veterans and ex-members of cults. In September 2001, she participated in a team supporting and debriefing Veterans Administration witnesses of 9/11 in NYC and NJ. Mady is now semi-retired in Virginia. She is currently working on adapting the Veterans Administrations’ CPT manual for the treatment of ex-members of cults, and preparing a chapter on CPT for an upcoming book for ICSA. She provides consultation for EMDR and CPT for trauma survivors. She is a Hospice volunteer and serves on the Advisory Board of the Loudoun Medical Reserve Corp.

Viviana Vega is above all a passionate Catholic, who loves Jesus, and her Church. Her education was in Catholic Schools led by Catholic Franciscans (T.O.R), The Prelature of the Holy Cross religious institute, and the international Catholic lay movement Opus Dei. Graduated with a B.S. degree in Economics, a Master degree in Mathematical Economics; B.A. in Elementary Education with an endorsement in TESOL , Modern and Classical Languages, and Bilingual Education, with a Master degree in Education, she is currently pursuing a M.A. in Psychology focused in Pastoral Counseling. She also has Orchestral Direction, and Music Composition studies. Since she was 15 years old, and because of her passion in what she calls her “Golden ATM”( Apologetics, Theology, Mathematics, and Music), she enrolled in several groups to study them from the inside: The Universal Great Brotherhood by Serge Reynaud de la Ferriere; Esteban Mayo Institute; CICET (Research Center for Extraterrestrial Education); PROSER (Christian Metaphysics); The Wiccan Religion Center; The Rosicrucian Order; Blavatsky Study Center ; Theosophy, and Kabballah Center; Tibet House (Tibetan Buddhism); Zen House (Zen Buddhism); The Fourth Way, and Siddha Yoga.
She became a member of the International Lay Catholic Movement Regnum Christi founded by Fr. Macial Maciel, also the founder of the Legionaries of Christ religious institute, who was accused of sexual abuse in a massive Catholic pedophilia scandal. She worked for them at the Catholic Territorial Prelature Cancun-Chetumal, Mexico as a Planning and Development Director, under the direct supervision of the Bishop Pedro Pablo Elizondo Cardenas, Legionary of Christ. She left the Regnum Christi Movement In 2009, after the Holy See revealed the sexual abuses of the founder, and the existence of sexual victims. In 2016, she conducted the 1st Ex-Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi members International Conference, during the ICSA International Conference in Dallas Texas, with the participation of 16 countries, and around 242 former members.

Doni Whitsett, PhD, LCSW, is a Clinical Professor of Social Work at the University of Southern California

School of Social Work. Dr. Whitsett teaches various courses in practice, behavior, and mental health. She has been working with cult-involved clients and their families for 20 years and gives lectures to students and professionals in this area. She has presented at national and international conferences in Madrid, Poland, Canada, and in Australia, where she helped organize two conferences in Brisbane. Her talks have included The Psychobiology of Trauma and Child Maltreatment (2005, Madrid) and Why Cults Are Harmful: A Neurobiological View of Interpersonal Trauma (2012, Montreal). Her publications include The Psychobiology of Trauma and Child Maltreatment (Cultic Studies Review, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2006), A Self Psychological Approach to the Cult Phenomenon (Journal of Social Work, 1992), Cults and Families (Families in Society, Vol. 84, No. 4, 2003), which she coauthored with Dr. Stephen Kent, and Why cults are harmful: Neurobiological speculations on inter-personal trauma. ICSA Today, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2014.

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