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People Profiles

Listed below are biographical sketches on some of the people who have published in ICSA periodicals or spoken at ICSA conferences.  If you are listed here, please let us know if anything needs to be updated. (Please highlight any changes that you wish to make.  Send a jpg photo if you wish.)

Johannes Aagaard, PhD, RIP
 (4/29/28 - 3/23/07), was
a Professor at the Institute of Missiology and Ecumenical Theology, Faculty of Theology, Aarhus University. He was also President and Chairman of The Dialogue Center, Denmark.  In 1991 ICSA hosted a special seminar with Dr. Aagaard at the law office of then ICSA (known as American Family Foundation at the time) president, Herbert Rosedale.  This seminar resulted in a special issue of Cultic Studies Journal (Vol. 10, No. 2, 1993).  Obituary by Viggo Mortensen.

Donna Adams-Weiss, PhD, LPC, is a licensed professional counselor and Executive Director of Miriam’s
Villa, an intensive outpatient treatment program for former members of cults, high-demand groups, and relationships in Montgomery, Alabama. Dr. Adams-Weiss is a former Clinical Director of the Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center in Albany, Ohio, a residential rehabilitation center for ex-cult members. She has worked in a counseling capacity with former cult members for about 20 years. She was formerly employed at Auburn University in the Psychology Department. While an adjunct instructor at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio in the Counseling program, Dr. Adams-Weiss taught a class on cults and cult treatment and served as a media consultant for the university regarding cult-related issues. She has been interviewed by numerous newspapers and radio and TV stations concerning cults. She is currently working on articles for publication in professional journals and is a contributing author of a chapter in a textbook for mental health professionals, entitled Values and Ethics in Counseling: Real-Life Ethical Decision Making. 

Douglas Agustin
was born in 1943 in Minnesota and continues to reside there. A retired account manager, he engages in part time cult awareness consulting. His formal education includes some college but no degree. He enjoys fishing, hunting, dog training, gardening, and his family when he is not sharing cult awareness information. Doug became involved in the cult awareness movement after a family member joined a known cult. After more than 30 years in the cult awareness field, he considers himself to be an RKP - -Reasonably Knowledgeable Person - if not an officially accredited expert. He has been a member of Free Minds of Minnesota since 1983 and served as the organization’s president for eight of those years. He chaired the committee that organized the National CAN/AFF Conference held in Minnesota in 1993. He has worked to educate and inform about 500 families/individuals over the past 28 years. He has given dozens of talks to church, civic, college/university, and government groups. He currently works with a number of cult affected families/individuals in the US and England, primarily on line.

Hazhar Ramadan Ahmed,was born in kurdistan region of Iraq has master degree in English language,and diploma degree In Science of Islamic Religion.he was teacher for more than 7 years at higher school Education on the other hand he is journalist for more than 8 years and he is member in international federation of journalists,he is a leader of nongovernmental organization under the name of islamic culture association in kurdistan,the aim of this organization is wanna to tell people about the risks of radical clusters ,and want to tell and show to people that we have to love peace and each other cos God created all human beings.and God is not the God of muslim people's only.

Peter Akerback Researcher in Religious Studies at Dalarna University. Director of Studies at the Department of Sociology, Stockholm University and Co-founder of FINYAR (The Association for Research and Information on Alternative Spirituality), Sweden. Presented his doctoral dissertation about collective suicide in 2008. Co-author with Liselotte Frisk of New Religiosity in Contemporary Sweden: The Dalarna Study in National and International Context and, together with Liselotte Frisk and Franz Höllinger, Size and Structure of The Holistic Milieu: A Comparison of Local Mapping-Studies in Austria and Sweden. Current research project, funded by Vetenskapsrådet, deals with children in minority religions (2012-2015) with Liselotte Frisk and Sanja Nilsson. 

Ashley Allen, MSW, LMSW, 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 as Outreach Coordinator for ICSA, on the Board of Directors for reFOCUS, and as an adjunct instructor at Middle Tennessee State University. Email: Phone: 931-450-4392 [NY Committee]

Carmen Almendros, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Biological and Health Psychology Department at
the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. She is on ICSA’s Board of Directors, and is International Journal of Cultic Studies, Co-Editor. She published a book and several articles on psychological abuse in group contexts, cult involvement, leaving cults, and psychological consequences of abusive group membership. Her research interests also include the study of parental discipline and psychological violence in partner relationships. She is principal researcher of a project entitled: Psychological abuse, influence and adaptation to violence in partner relationships, which was financed by the Comunidad de Madrid and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. She was the 2005 recipient of ICSA’s Margaret Singer Award, given in honor of her research into the development of measures relevant to cultic studies. [Directors, IJCS Editors]

Dra. Carmen Almendros, es Profesora Contratada Doctora en el Departamento de Psicología Biológica y de la Salud de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Miembro del Comité de Directores de ICSA y Co-Editora de la revista International Journal of Cultic Studies. Ha publicado un libro y varios artículos sobre abuso psicológico en contextos grupales, involucración y abandono de grupos de manipulación psicológica y las consecuencias psicológicas de la pertenencia a estos grupos. Sus intereses investigadores incluyen también el estudio de la disciplina parental y la violencia psicológica e influencia en las relaciones de pareja. Es investigadora principal de un proyecto de investigación sobre: Abuso psicológico, influencia y adaptación a la violencia en relaciones de pareja, que recibió financiación de la Comunidad de Madrid y la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Recibió el Margaret Singer Award, ICSA, en el año 2005, por su investigación para el desarrollo de instrumentos de evaluación relevantes al estudio de grupos de manipulación psicológica.

Ferran Alonso, MA in Psychology. PhD candidate in Social Psychology. Postgraduate in Jihadist Terrorism. Strategic Analyst in the Cabinet for Security in the Catalan Home Affairs Department. Catalan Home-Affairs Department Representative in the Catalan governmental Study and Analysis of the Situation of ‘Sects’ in Catalonia Commission.(2003-2005). In the last decade, he has been part-time teacher of different subjects in the Catalan Police School and in the Catalan Institute of Security Studies (ICES). One of theses subjects is Police Training about coercive persuasion groups (cults). He has published different articles about jihadist terrorism and cults. 

Ferran Alonso, Licenciado en Psicología. DEA y doctorando en Psicología Social. Experto Universitario en Terrorismo Yihadista. Analista estratégico en el Gabinete de Seguridad del Departamento de Interior del Govern de Catalunya. Representante de dicho Departamento en la Comisión Gubernamental de estudio y análisis de la situación de las sectas en Catalunya (2003-2005). Profesor de diferentes asignaturas durante la última década en la Escuela de Policía de Catalunya y en el Institut Català d’Estudis de Seguretat (ICES). Una de las asignaturas impartidas es Formación policial sobre grupos de manipulación psicológica (sectas destructivas). Ha publicado varios artículos sobre terrorismo yihadista y sectas destructivas. 

Edith Alufohai, PhD
, is in the Department of Educational Foundations, University of Lagos, Akoka-Lagos, Nigeria. She is a specialist in sociology of education and has published widely in this area. She is a seasoned educational consultant and Chief Executive Officer, AGLED Consulting Limited. She is very versatile in the sociology of Education.

Flávio Amaral graduated in economics, holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration, and works in the trade-finance sector. He has been personally interested in parapsychological and mind studies, with emphasis on Conscientiology’s volunteer organizations, where he was also a teacher, coordinator, and book author from 1999 to 2012. His works can be read at He currently lives in Florianópolis (Brazil) and studies parapsychology at the Instituto de Parapsicologia e Ciências Mentais in Joinville.
Alexandra Amor is the award-winning author of a memoir about ten years she spent in a cult in the 1990s, the upcoming Town Called Horse mystery series, as well as the Sugar & Clive animal adventure stories for middle grade readers.

Alberto Amitrani is the former president of GRIS Rome, Italy. GRIS (Group for Research and Information about Sects [Cults]) is a non-profit cultural and religious association, organized on February 8, 1987 and involved in researching, studying, and disseminating information concerning new religious movements. On September 25, 1990, the articles of association of GRIS received the approval of the Italian Bishops' Conference. Dr. Amitrani has two degrees, one in psychology (University La Sapienza of Rome, 1981) and one in Educational Science (Pontifical Salesian University, 1981). Moreover, he has the Superior Diploma in Religious Science from the Institute for Religious Studies Ecclesia Mater, linked to the Faculty of Theology of Pontifical Lateran University. He has been a teacher in a Senior High School in Rome since 1981.

Nancy Ammerman, PhD, is Professor of Sociology of Religion at Boston University. She is the President-elect of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and has written extensively on American congregational life. Her earlier research on fundamentalist movements contributed to the Fundamentalism Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was published in Bible Believers: Fundamentalists in the Modern World. In 1993, she served on the review panel convened by the Departments of Justice and Treasury following the Branch Davidian disaster.

Noomi Andemark 
(left) is the executive director of Hjälpkällan, a Swedish help organization for former cult members and their families. She grew up as a Jehovah's Witness and left her congregation as a fifteen-year-old. She has studied journalism and science of religion, and worked with organizational development and managing youth projects within Hjälpkällan since 2006. Noomi is also a part of the Radicalization Awareness Network (RAN DeRad) within the EU. 

Susan M. Andersen, PhD, an Editorial Board member of the Cultic Studies Journal, is Assistant Professor of Social-Personality Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has published on such topics as self-definition, sex role behaviors, psychopathology and the nature and functioning of religious cults. She is also affiliated on a part-time basis with Santa Barbara County Mental Health Services in a clinical capacity.

Barbara Anderson was a member of Jehovah's Witnesses from 1954 to 1997. She worked at their headquarters in Brooklyn, NY from 1982 to 1992, where during her last three years there she researched the movement's official history (published in 1993) and did research as well as wrote a number of articles for their Awake! magazine. She has done extensive research on issues related to child sexual abuse in the religion leading to interviews on major TV and radio programs as an outspoken critic of Jehovah's Witnesses sexual abuse policies. 

Pia Andersson is a former Jehovah’s witness who raised her children in the organization.

Sandy Andron, EdD
, is former Director of Education at Temple Kol Emeth in Atlanta. Additionally he serves as an education consultant who served for over twenty-five years as Director of a Religious Education high-school programs in Miami, Florida. His work in the anti-cult movement includes creation of a high school curriculum, Cultivating Cult-Evading. He was the recipient of the Leo J. Ryan Award in 1988, from the then Cult Awareness Network, for which he served as vice-president for five years. He handled media resources in south Florida for over a quarter century, has lectured throughout the world, and has been a seminar leader/director, and keynoter. He has Rabbinical Ordination. Some of his specialty areas include, educational leadership, curriculum development, elementary education, high school English, gifted, the martial arts, and magic. He currently lives in Atlanta. 

Linda Attoe, M.A., R.P.
, Psychoanalyst, has a private Psychotherapy practice in the Greater Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada. Her affiliations include: The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, The International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, The Canadian Art Therapy Association, and the Canadian Association for Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. Linda, a fourth generation member of the Closed Brethren, left this group in 1995. In her Private Psychotherapy Practice, Linda works with individuals, couples, and families and she has a particular interest in working with those who have left or are contemplating leaving high demand groups. 

Steven Autenrieth is a law student (2017) at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona. He began his studies of cults and other destructive groups as a part of his Cults and Alternative Religions law-school course taught by Professor Linda Demaine. In addition, he is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a degree in mathematics. 

Ron Avital LLM
, is a lawyer & mediator and Ph.D. student (Law). He is the owner of Law Office which provides consultation and litigation services, mainly in Civil & Family Law field. For several years Ron represent former cult’s victims and their relative in courts. Ron researches the legal aspect of cult’s phenomena in Israel mainly the constitutional aspects: deviation from constitutional rights, the scope of the right to freedom of religion and worship and the anti-destructive cult’s legislation attempts failure. He gave a legal commentary about court’s ruling in cult’s law cases in television and radio shows. Ron wrote adversary opinions also lectured in legislation issues.

Marybeth Ayella, PhD teaches sociology at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. She is the author of Insane Therapy: Portrait of a Psychotherapy Cult, published by Temple University Press. She is presently researching a book on sex and gender in cults. 

Donna Backstrom is retired from a large Midwest utility, where she worked in its energy efficiency department. Donna managed the energy efficiency website and was responsible for online content, brochures and other collateral. She has been an activist working against cults since 2004 when her sister asked her to help with her daughter, who moved to Chicago to join a group of sisters. The sisters are part of a cult, The Love Holy Trinity Blessed Mission. Family members haven’t been allowed to see or talk to Donna’s niece for almost 13 years. The only family members allowed to see her are Donna’s sister and brother-in-law, both of whom are in high positions of authority within the cult. This cult claims to be associated with the Catholic Church, but has never been recognized by the church. This type of spiritual abuse is unacceptable to Donna. She has done considerable research on the topic and is passionate about helping others in this situation. She believes in working against the infrastructure of this and any cult. Since 2004, Donna has been an activist investigating and sharing awareness of this cult. She has been a member of ICSA since 2006 and has attended several of its annual conferences. She had her private investigators license in Iowa for several years during which time she honed her investigative skills. She appeared at several Chicago court hearings regarding property owned by LHTBM. She presented a film called God Willing in Dubuque, Iowa, several years ago. She also held a meeting for local families impacted by LHTBM. In addition, Donna has spoken at Loras College in Dubuque on two occasions helping college freshmen realize cults really DO exist, even in small-town America! Donna also is hosting an Awareness of High-Control Groups educational seminar April 7, 2018, in Dubuque. The keynote speaker is Aaron Smith-Levin, a former Scientologist whose story was featured in the Emmy award-winning TV show, Leah Remini: Scientology & The Aftermath. Additional information can be found at and

Thomas M. Baier, MHS, LPC, CAC, CCS. Tom Baier is a behavioral health consultant and trainer. He serves as adjunct faculty for the Villanova University Certificate Program in Alcohol and Drug Counseling where he served as Program Coordinator for 10 years as well as teaching in the Drexel University College of Nursing & Health professions in the behavioral health tract. Mr. Baier serves on the board of directors for the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB) which credentials professionals for work in the substance abuse treatment field and other areas of behavioral health and where he is a three-term past-president and has served on the Ethics Committee for the past 20 years. Tom is the 1991 recipient of the Lorraine Hinkle Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to the field of drug and alcohol treatment awarded by Villanova University and holds a Master’s degree in Human Services (MHS), is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), and holds PA State Certificates as an Addiction Counselor (CAC), and Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS).

Lona Bailey, MA
in Professional Counseling from Liberty University, is working toward an LPC-MHSP licensure in the state of Tennessee. She is also currently in the doctorate program at Capella University working toward a PhD in General Psychology with a specialization in Social Psychology. She has her own private counseling practice in Brentwood, TN: Lona Bailey Counseling, and works as a contract therapist at a non-profit agency in Franklin, TN as well. Lona specializes in trauma and grief work with a special interest in cultic studies and spiritual abuse. She has completed her training in EMDR levels 1 and 2 and integrates the EMDR modality into her work counseling individual adults and teens. In 2015, she received her diploma in Crisis Response & Trauma Care through the AACC’s Light University. She also has received training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and has been trained as a Restore Ministries Group Facilitator. She is an active member of American Association of Christian Counseling, Nashville Psychotherapy Institute, International Cultic Studies Association, National Institute for the Psychotherapies. Lona is a Tennessee native and a published author who is passionate about walking alongside those who are struggling with a variety of concerns, from day-to-day stressors, to crisis, trauma, abuse, and loss. She uses an integrative empowerment approach to create a safe, non-judgmental, and compassionate environment in which individuals can explore and heal. In her spare time, Lona enjoys music, theatre, her dogs, spending time with family and friends, and strong coffee. Lona Bailey, M.A., LPC-MHSP (Temp),

Amy J.L. Baker, PhD, Director of Research, Vincent J. Fontana Center for Child Protection, is a researcher and author focusing on emotional manipulation of children by their parents, especially in the context of post divorce custody disputes. She has written several books (published by WW Norton, Columbia University Press, Rowman & Littlfield, New Harbinger Publications, and Routlegde) and over 100 scholarly journal articles. She has been quoted in the New York Times, the AP, U.S. News and World Report and has appeared on the Joy Behar show, CNN. and Good Morning America. She has conducted numerous trainings on the topic of children and loyalty conflicts to mental health and legal professionals and has served as an expert witness throughout the United States.

Robert Balch, PhD, is Professor of Sociology at The University of Montana. His research includes field studies of Heaven's Gate, the Love Family, Aryan Nations, the Church Universal and Triumphant, and other unconventional religious movements. His work has appeared in various sociological journals and scholarly books about religious cults. 

Raymond Ball, DMin, has been a priest of the Episcopal Church for 26 years and served as a minister of the Christian Congregation for 15 years before that. In addition to serving as Rector (Pastor) of All Saints Episcopal Church in Dallas from 1992 until 2011, he taught at the Berean Bible and Missionary College of Dallas (World Religions, History;1977-1979), the Anglican School of Theology at the University of Dallas (Church History, Liturgics;1989-2005), and the Formation in Direction (FinD) program for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas (Franciscan Spirituality, Creation Spirituality, Emerging Church movement; 2006-2011). He has been an active spiritual director since 1989 and is a Chaplain in the International Order of St. Luke the Physician. Eschatology has been a special interest on his for many years.

Masoud Banisadr, PhD, was born in Tehran in 1953. In 1976 he traveled to the United Kingdom where he
earned a PhD in chemical engineering and engineering mathematics at Newcastle University in 1981. Dr. Banisadr joined the Mujahideen-e-Khalq Organization (MEK) in 1979 and served as its representative in the United States from 1990-96. He left the MEK in June 1996. He wrote a memoir of his experiences entitled, Masoud: Memoirs of an Iranian Rebel, published by SAQI Books, London in 2004. He has also published 
a new book called Destructive and Terrorist Cults: A New Kind of Slavery. He has been active in exploring and explaining cult manipulation and has written many articles in Farsi about cults, available on his Website. With the help of few ex-MeK members, he has established a group called RIDC (Research Institute on Destructive cult) in the United Kingdom to inform cult members and ex cult members about destructive cults and how to face post-cult problems. The web site of this group in English and Farsi has all of his articles about destructive cults. There is also a Facebook page with the same name, RIDC (research institute on destructive cult). 

Livia Bardin, MSW, is a clinical social worker who has been engaged with cult victims and their families for more than fifteen years. She is particularly interested in the interface between high demand groups and cults and mainstream society. Her research in this area has been published in the Cultic Studies Review and the Journal of Public Child Welfare. Now retired, Ms. Bardin has provided training on cult-related issues for mental health professionals in the Washington area and elsewhere, She is the author of Coping with Cult Involvement: A Handbook for Families and Friends of cult members. She currently serves as book review editor of ICSA Today and the International Journal of Cultic Studies.  In 2014 Ms. Bardin received ICSA's Margaret T. Singer Award.

Eileen Barker, PhD, PhD h.c., OBE, FBA
, is Professor Emeritus of Sociology with Special Reference to the Study of Religion at the London School of Economics, University of London. Her main research interest is minority religions and the social reactions to which they give rise. She has over 350 publications (translated into 27 different languages), which include the award-winning The Making of a Moonie: Brainwashing or Choice? and New Religious Movements: A Practical Introduction. In the late 1980s, with the support of the British Government and mainstream Churches, she founded INFORM, an educational charity, based at LSE, which provides information about minority religions that is as accurate, objective and up-to-date as possible. In 2000, Queen Elizabeth appointed her as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for ‘services to INFORM’, and she received the American Academy of Religion’s Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion. She was the first non-American elected President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. A frequent advisor to governments, other official bodies and law-enforcement agencies throughout the world, she has made numerous appearances on television and radio, and has given guest lectures in over 50 countries.  In 2013 Dr. Barker received ICSA's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dylesia Barner, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker and a second-generation adult survivor. She received a Master of Social Work from Norfolk State University in 2013 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from Old Dominion University in 2011. From ages 15-18, Dylesia was a member of a cult of Christianity in Virginia. Having the perspectives of a survivor and a mental health provider, she is passionate about raising awareness about spiritual abuse and how to counsel those who are experiencing or have experienced it.

Larry D. Beall, PhD in Clinical Psychology, l987, Brigham Young University. Director of Trauma Awareness & Treatment Center for sixteen years. Established the Satellite Trauma Center for the 4th Street Clinic Homeless Coalition. Clientele includes children, adolescents and adults with stress-related disorders, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and Dissociative Disorders. Expert witness for trauma survivors, including assault, cult, and refugee trauma. Has authored materials used in professional presentations, including Life Skills for Trauma Survivors Workbook, Using Sand Tray for Treating Traumatized Children, Manual for Treating Traumatized Refugees, The Impact of Modern Day Polygamy on Women and Children, Helping the Traumzatized Child in Iraq, and a series of articles published in Iraqi newspapers to help Iraqi people and military personal deal with the stress and traumas of war.

Tara Beazley. Currently within the UK, professionals work with children and young people who are/at risk of being sexually exploited. Existing models of CSE are able to explain the different tactics used by perpetrators to lure in young people, to initiate them into sexually abusive behaviours and to keep them within these situations. As professionals we are able to highlight the difficulties in helping young people away from being sexually exploited due to the coercive control perpetrators have over their victims. My experience has highlighted that both coercive processes in recruiting children and young people are similar.  This link between these different types of abusive experiences can help professionals to increase their existing knowledge. This may help them to safeguard children and young people from recruitments into cults in their own practise.

François Bellanger, PhD, Professor of Law (University of Geneva), Attorney at Law, has been a legal expert on cults for the Department of Justice of the Canton of Geneva (Switzerland) and is one of the authors of the official report on illegal sectarian practices published in Geneva in 1997 (Audit sur les dérives sectaires). He has published several articles on cults and religious freedom. He is the President of the Information Center on Beliefs in Geneva. In 2009 ICSA awarded Professor Bellanger the Herbert L. Rosedale Award in recognition of leadership in the effort to preserve and protect individual freedom.

François Bellanger, PhD, Professeur de Droit (Université de Genève), avocat a été expert légal au sujet dérives sectaires pour le Département de la Justice du Canton de Genève (Suisse). Il est un des auteurs du rapport officiel sur les pratiques sectaires illégales publié à Genève en 1997 (Audit sur les dérives sectaires) et a publié plusieurs articles sur les dérives sectaires et la liberté religieuse. Il est actuellement Président du Centre Intercantonal d'Information sur les Croyances (CIC) à Genève.

Elliot Benjamin has a PhD in mathematics from the University of Maine, and a PhD in psychology from Saybrook University. He is currently the director of the Transpersonal Psychology program at Akamai University, and he teaches psychology at various locations, both on-campus and online, as well as teaching mathematics online. Elliot has published over eighty articles in the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, spirituality and awareness of cult dangers, creative art and mental disturbance, progressive politics, pure mathematics, and mathematics enrichment, and has a published book entitled Modern Religions: An Experiential Analysis and Exposé, available at <> Elliot lives in Maine and enjoys playing the piano, tennis, and ballroom dancing. 

Cameron Berger, MTS, MA, graduated from the University of Maine at Orono with a Master’s Degree in Communication, the emphasis of which was Rhetorical Theory and Criticism. His first Master’s Degree in Theological Studies was obtained from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, with a concentration in Christianity and Culture. His area of competency and primary research interests focus on the development, maintenance, and resolution of controversial religious movements through the use of persuasion and argumentation tailored to specific audiences. His secondary area of research and competency is an extension of the first and concerns conversion and deconversion narratives, and the ways in which preexisting ideological commitments and values impinge upon or facilitate these processes of affiliation or disaffiliation.

Jerry Bergman, PhD, teaches in the life science and social science area at Northwest State College in Ohio. He is a licensed professional clinical therapist and has worked at psychological clinics in Toledo, OH and other cities for several years. He has also published widely on the Jehovah's Witnesses and other similar groups. He has so far published 20 books and several hundred articles and his work has been translated into 12 languages. 

Lois Bernard, LCSW, Therapist, Clinical Social Worker. Ms. Bernard has specialized in the treatment of child, adolescent and adult survivors of sexual abuse and trauma for the past twenty three years. She utilizes her personal experience of involvement in a one-on-one cultic relationship and with the Hare Krishnas in 1975-6 in order to illuminate parallel processes utilized by both cult leaders and abusive partners, including isolation, control of information, the cult of confession, and love bombing. She is familiar with evidenced based modalities utilized in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She is a member both of ICSA and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

Eric Bernasek is a freelance writer and copyeditor who lives with his wife and son near Montreal, Quebec. Eric first came in contact with the Hare Krishna movement while in college in Hartford, CT. That initial exposure would eventually lead to full-time involvement. Just before leaving ISKCON, he was employed as a copyeditor and proofreader for the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, ISKCON’s official publishing house. Though the majority of his time in the movement was spent in temples on the East Coast of the US, primarily Hartford and Boston, Eric spent over three years in Hungary, on a farm the movement touts as being self-sufficient. It was during this time that he began to reconsider his involvement in the organization.

Catharina Berndtsson: Executive director of the treatment center Mannegarden. (more on her bio later on)

Rachel Bernstein, MS, LMFT
, has been working with former cult members for 25 years. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Educator, who lives in Los Angeles, CA. She has been a member of ICSA for many years and has presented talks and moderated panels at ICSA conferences. Rachel previously ran the Maynard Bernstein Resource Center on cults, named after her father. She was the Clinician at the former Cult Clinic in Los Angeles, as well as the Cult Hotline and Clinic in Manhattan. She now treats former cult members and the families and friends of those in cults in her private practice. Rachel has facilitated numerous support groups for former cult members, for people who were in one-on-one cults, and for the families of those in cults. Rachel has published many articles, made media appearances, consulted on shows and movies about cults, and has been interviewed for podcasts and YouTube videos. In addition to her private practice, she consults on cases through Freedom of Mind.,   

James A. Beverley, PhD, is Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Canada and Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, California. He is the author and editor of twelve books, including Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions, Religions A to Z and Counterfeit Code, a reply to Dan Brown’s famous novel.  He is a specialist on the study of new religions and did his PhD thesis on the inner teachings of Sun Myung Moon. He has been interviewed frequently by the media including BBC radio, Finnish television, CBC Radio, The Los Angeles Times, CBC television, Syrian television, CTV News, The Globe & Mail, The Washington Post, etc. He is a contributing editor for Christianity Today magazine and a columnist for Faith Today magazine. In 2000 he had a personal interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Professor Beverley is also an expert on the relationship of Christianity to Islam. He is the author of Christ and Islam (College Press, 1997), Understanding Islam (Thomas Nelson, 2011 rev. ed.), Islamic Faith in America (Facts on File, 2011 rev. ed.). He also wrote the entry on Muhammad in The Quran: An Encyclopedia (Routledge, 2005) and the entry on Islam in the six-volume Religions of the World (ABC Clio, 2010). He has done research on Islam in Africa, India, Europe, Singapore, North America, and the Middle East.

Professor Beverley is a member of the American Academy of Religion, Evangelical Theological Society, Canadian Society for the Study of Religion, Evangelical Philosophical Society, and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. His expert opinion has been sought in both criminal and civil trials, including the case of Holocaust denier Malcolm Ross. His testimony in a Toronto criminal case was included in a television documentary.

Professor Beverley holds an Honors B.A. in Philosophy (Acadia University 1974), Master of Divinity (Acadia 1977), Master of Theology (University of Toronto 1983) and PhD (University of Saint Michael’s College). During his doctoral work Professor Beverley studied with Hans Küng, the famous Christian theologian, and Antony Flew, the renowned philosopher. 

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. In 2017 Ms. Blackwell. graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Psychology from Columbia University and is currently preparing her senior honors thesis on the influence of primary caregivers on adult threat learning for publication. [NY Committee]

Miriam Williams Boeri, PhD, is an associate professor at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Her research focuses on ethnographic data collection and analysis of subcultures considered deviant, including drug subcultures and new religious movements. She has written one book on a new religious movement and currently is working on a book on women and methamphetamine use. Her papers have been accepted in The Journal of Ethnography, The International Journal of Drug Policy, The Gerontologist, and Human Organization. She is interested in finding ways to apply sociological insights to the help relieve the suffering of those who live on the margins of society. 

Zack Bonnie
is the author of the Dead, Insane, or in Jail memoir series, about his experience as a troubled teen incarcerated in the 80s at a cultish, Synanon-influenced facility called Rocky Mountain Academy. With a solid background in the entertainment field, he proposes that art is the antidote to thought reform. His presentation will encompass the mechanics of undue influence and cultic dynamics focusing on coercive institutionalized persuasion. His hope is to reach younger audiences as they enter careers in psychology and other social sciences. He works to create and promote media to illustrate the common dynamics of high-control groups wherever they appear: in the teen-treatment related programs, in religious failure, in strife at home, and as part of the US court system. Part of a larger plea for increased individual awareness, Zack Bonnie's mission is to educate the public - through the arts - about the systems applied in these institutions.

Rev. Dean Borgman
is the Charles E. Culpepper Professor of Youth Ministries at Gordon-Conwell
Theological Seminary and director of the Center for Youth Studies. He has spent his life in youth work, training, and as professor of youth ministries in seminaries around the world. He is an adjunct professor at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary (Brookline, MA), Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, CA), and DayStar University College (Nairobi, Kenya).

Mario Bosson
is a member of International Coaching Community (ICC) and works with development of individuals and teams. He is a former member of Jehovah's Witnesses, an episode of his life that lasted 20 years. As a public speaker he uses his background to speak about how to face the challenge of creating a meaningful existence after a major loss when life changes direction. Another of his subjects is the phase of trial and error one has to pass through as an adult, former cult member, trying to join the game of dating, and finding out that one doesn't even know the name of the game.

Judith Bourque has written a ‘whistleblower’ book called Robes of Silk Feet of Clay, the story of her love
affair with the famed TM Guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who claimed that he was a celibate monk. After graduating from Massachusetts College of Art with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, she went to India to become a teacher of Transcendental Meditation, and then worked for the TM movement for two years. She was seduced by the Maharishi when she was 22 years old, and he was 52, and has an insider’s understanding of the fragility of young adults entering into a cultic environment. She is an award winning filmmaker, teacher of meditation and a relationship counselor. She worked for Swedish Television for many years as a film editor, as well as producing and directing independent documentaries. Her films include “Sowing for Need, or Sowing for Greed?” a documentary on genetically modified seeds, “The Real Patch Adams”, and “Hot and Cold Mandala”, an experiential infrared film.

William H. Bowen is the president of Silentlambs, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to helping survivors of abuse. A second-generation Jehovah's Witness, he has been active in the movement for 43 years and served as an elder starting in 1985. 

Robin Boyle Laisure, JD
Professor of Legal Writing, St. John’s University School of Law, is on the editorial board of ICSA’s International Journal of Cultic Studies. She lectures on topics concerning cults and the law. Her recent article, Employing Trafficking Laws to Capture Elusive Leaders of Destructive Cults, is published by the Oregon Review of International Law (2016). She also wrote Current Status of Federal Law Concerning Violent Crimes Against Women and Children: Implications for Cult Victims, published in the Cultic Studies Review (2002). Two articles have appeared in the Cultic Studies Journal: How Children in Cults May Use Emancipation Laws to Free Themselves (1999) and Women, the Law, and Cults: Three Avenues of Legal Recourse - New Rape Laws, Violence Against Women Act, and Antistalking Laws (1998). In 2005, she received the Faculty Outstanding Achievement award from the President of St. John’s University.

Russell H. Bradshaw, EdD [A.B. (Wesleyan University), EdM, EdD (Harvard University), Cand. Polit. (University of Oslo)] was Associate Professor at Lehman College, City University of New York (retired September 2015). He has taught psychological and historical foundations of education and directed the MA program in Teaching Social Studies: 7–12. Dr. Bradshaw’s master’s and doctoral dissertations described alternative-living and child-care arrangements in Sweden (Samhem and Kollektivhus). During his undergraduate studies he received a stipendium to live in Samoa and wrote his honors thesis on religion’s effect on cultural stability and change in Western Samoan villages. Dr. Bradshaw’s continuing interest in alternative living and child-care solutions led him to an intensive experience of a Hindu-based religious cult in New York City. Dr. Bradshaw has received fellowships and grants from Wesleyan, Harvard, and Uppsala (Sweden) universities and from the City University of New York. He and his wife Gunilla currently live in Norrtälje, Sweden several months a year, where they are continuing their work for ICSA’s New York Educational Outreach Committee.  [NY Committee]

Craig Branch, M.R.E.,
Craig grew up in Richmond, Virginia, attended the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in psychology. Craig was a Unitarian in college and beyond until becoming a Christian. Later Craig earned a Masters of Religious Education from Birmingham Theological Seminary. Craig was a tennis professional for 12 years and went into full-time Christian ministry as singles director at Briarwood Presbyterian Church for 3 years, then Vice President of Watchman Fellowship (one of the largest counter cult ministries) for 15 years, then founder and director of the Apologetics Resource Center for 13 years, and is now serving on staff for 4 years with Search ministry ( a friendship, relational outreach to non-Christians with apologetics as needed). Craig is married with 3 children and 5 grandchildren. He also served as a board member of Wellspring Retreat Center (a rehab facility for victims of cult abuse and mind control). He also served for many years on the national board for Evangelical Ministries to New Religions (a counter cult coalition), and served as chairman of the clergy relations committee of the now ICSA.

Chelsea Brass, MPAff,
 is a health policy and planning professional and doctoral student in interpersonal communication at the University of Texas at Austin with a planned emphasis on public health and safety campaigns as well as a goal of designing clinical interventions for trauma center patients deemed at-risk of highly-controlling domestic violence. Chelsea received a Master’s degree of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a completed a bachelor’s degree at the University of California at Santa Barbara in Global and International Studies, with a regional focus on South and Central America, an emphasis on socioeconomic and political processes. She serves on the advisory board of International Cultic Studies Association and the Open Minds Foundation. She is co-creator of the Coercive Control Collective, an organization focused on sharing research and news about the concept of coercive control and advocating for the use of a coercive control framework for understanding extreme forms of abuse across disciplines, including policy initiatives, education and prevention efforts in the United Stat

Eric Brasseur, Directeur du C.I.A.O.S.N. (Centre d'Information et d'Avis sur les Organisations Sectaires Nuisibles) depuis sa création. Le C.I.A.O.S.N. est une commission indépendante instaurée auprès du Service Public Fédéral Justice (belge) par la loi du 2 juin 1998. Conseiller au Ministère de la Justice.

Charles Breinig has been involved in Cult Education for almost 30 years. For an outreach/education tool, Charlie hired a friend, D. W. Gregory, to write a One Act Play, called Salvation Road. It is designed to stimulate discussion and make people aware that a cult recruitment can start with a surprisingly normal interaction between two people. The recruitment is so subtle and effective that the audience understands how someone could be the target of a recruitment and not even know it. Everyone wants to know how the story ends. Charlie is located in the Philadelphia area, and produced the play at the Walnut Street Theater (Independence Studio), this past fall as part of the Live Arts Festival. He is hopeful that schools, churches and synagogues across the country will produce the play to educate youth and families. The play is not an issue play, but was masterfully written to be a compelling drama. The opening night was sold out, and reviews were fantastic. 

Madeleine Brink was brought up in a religious group in Sweden called Södermalskyrkan, part of charismatic Chistianity, and went to their school during her childhood.

Renee Brodie, a graduate student at the University of Queensland, Australia, is a PhD student who is currently researching New Religious Movements. She has published an article in the Journal of American Culture dealing with apocalypticism and white supremacy and plans to continue researching these areas. 

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: Email: Phone: (413) 306-1282

Carla Brown
has led support groups, taught recovery classes, and coached men and women in recovery from cultic groups. She is currently doing public education and outreach in the community to promote the awareness of cultic groups and their harmful effects. She is a member of ISCA and is well known as an 
advocate for freedom in all areas of psychological abuse. 

Daniel Brown, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School, is the author of 12 books, including 3 textbooks on hypnosis and Memory, Trauma Treatment, and the Law (co-authored with A. Scheflin & D.C. Hammond), winner of the Manfred Guttmacher Award from the American Psychiatric Association for the outstanding contribution to forensic psychiatry. Dr. Brown has been an expert witness in over 100 court cases involving trauma and memory, trauma damages, or undue influence.

Diana Brown 
hails from Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, the only town with two hyphens. If only this was the most interesting thing about her! She is a survivor of a bible-flavored Korean cult. How she got in and out of this cult is a story she brings to life in her one-woman "purely fictional" play entitled "So Amazing". She is a comedian, published playwright, and graduate of Rutgers University. She is also the Sales and Marketing Manager for a nationwide payroll company. Diana Brown is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.

Jeff Bryson
 completed his BA in Bible and Religion at Ohio Valley College in 1986, and went on to complete an MAR in counseling with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from Harding School of Theology in 1992. Later in life, he began work on his doctorate at Capella University, graduating two months after his 50th birthday in 2014 with a Ph.D. in Public Safety, specializing in Criminal Justice. He began his career working in community mental health, and began specializing in the treatment of anorexia/bulimia and sex offenders over 20 years ago. In 2005 he joined Paul Martin and the team at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center. Jeff was formerly in an employer cult and has faced a fundamental Christian cult in his family. His dissertation at Capella University was a qualitative exploration, Parental Use of the Sex Offender Registry: A Routine Activities Approach. Jeff holds the LPC and ALPS in WV, the IMFT in OH, is a Clinically Certified Sex Offender Treatment Specialist (CCSOTS), is a clinical member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA), and a clinical fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). He served three years on the AAMFT ethics committee (2015-2017), and was the chair of the committee his last year.

Arthur Buchman is an American-born psychologist and leadership coach in private practice living since 1990 near Copenhagen, Denmark, where he also works via Skype. Born in 1942, he holds a BA in Economics and an MA in Psychology. Arthur specializes in helping people recover from depression, phobias, trauma, relationship conflicts, and cult involvement. He has experience in two different cults, a yoga group and a pseudo-Christian occult music group. Arthur has developed The Life Cycle of Cult Involvement that he has presented at ICSA and other international conferences. He has been ICSA Today's News Correspondent for Scandinavia. Arthur is currently writing a book and presenting a workshop titled, "The Instant Optimist - a practical method for building and maintaining a dependable positive attitude." Arthur Buchman is one of the few mental health professionals in Europe who has expertise as an ex-cult member and is available to travel to help people and their families to recover from a cultic experience. Website: Email: Phone: +45 2825 4444.

Carrie Buddington is a former member of The Community of Jesus, Inc., a Bible-based Christian community. She joined in 1970 when she was a newly converted Christian, and she raised her three children at the Community. She worked in many of their offices and became a Senior Sister in the Convent. One by one her children left, and finally in 2010 she was also able to leave. Having been denied requests to pursue education while at the Community, she is currently attending Boston College for a bachelor’s degree in psychology while working full time as an Academic Support Assistant at Boston College, and plans to work toward a master’s degree in social work. She is a member of the International Cultic Studies Association and looks forward to being able to assist others who have left cultic groups to start a new life. As part of processing what she has lived with for 40 years, she is writing a blog: Her story appears in ICSA Today 6.3, and photographs and poetry in ICSA Today 7.3.

Leszek Buller, PhD. Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw.

Gerette Buglion is proprietor of Dream Haven of Vermont, which specializes in offering refuge for those who are healing from trauma related to a high control groups or cults. She works with individuals who are currently receiving counseling and have the support of their therapist to engage in a healing retreat and also works with family members and others who have been indirectly impacted by cultic dynamics or coercion. She is a certified Reiki Practitioner, has over 20 years of practice as a Dream Mentor, has been a professional housemother in therapeutic sessions and is a nature guide, cook and cleaner. All of these skills and more are integrated into the experience of creating self-designed retreats for guests. As a former member of a New Age/ Psychological cult for over 19 years she states, “When I snapped out of that destructive dependence in May of 2014, I began my life anew, deeply humbled and passionately riveted to the study of destructive groups. Throughout this time, reiki has been a foundation stone of my own healing process. Professional counseling for spiritual abuse, the healing balm of nature, the loving support of my family and friends and reiki, have nurtured me to a level of well-being that inspires me to turn with compassion towards others.

Perry Bulwer spent close to 20 years in The Family International. He dropped out of high school in 1972 to join the Children of God (COG), as the organization was then known, when he was just 16 years old. He lived in COG communes in Canada, the United States, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, Malaysia, and China. After he left the group in 1991, by then known as The Family of Love, or simply The Family, he went on to earn a law degree. He was called to the Bar in 2003 and is a member of The Law Society of British Columbia.

John Burke, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and a post-doctoral resident at the Autism Spectrum Disorders Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, Health Management Organization of San Jose, California. He also serves as the United Presbyterian Pastor of the Bonny Doon Presbyterian Church of Santa Cruz, CA. He recently received his doctorate in clinical psychology with a dissertation entitled Borderline Personality Disorder in Adult Males in Correctional Settings. His clinical psychology Internship was in the Colorado Department of Corrections from 2002-2003. Previously, he has worked for the County of Santa Cruz Juvenile Probation Department as a Substance Abuse Counselor; he also served as a Board Member and Board Chair for many years on behalf of the New Life Community Services, Inc., a 33-bed, not-for-profit, social model, inpatient alcohol and chemical dependency treatment facility in Santa Cruz, CA. Dr. Burke previously taught at Bethany University in Scotts Valley, California as an Assistant Professor of Addiction Studies from 1993-2002. He is also the published author of Internet Databases with Cold Fusion 3, a book describing use of personal databases on the Internet published by McGraw-Hill and is a contributing author to Running the Perfect Web Server, 2nd. Ed., (MacMillan Publishing). He presently lives with his wife Barbara, and their three children, Peter, Sean, and Michella in Santa Cruz, California.

Ron Burks, PhD
holds an MDiv and an MA in counseling from Asbury Theological Seminary and a PhD in Counselor Education from Ohio University. He worked for many years at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center in Albany, Ohio. He and his wife Vicki wrote Damaged Disciples: Casualties of Authoritarian Churches and the Shepherding Movement, published by Zondervan. His other publications include a chapter on a connection between cults and addiction in the medical reference, Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook, published by Williams and Wilkins. He and Vicki now live near Tallahassee, Florida where both are licensed mental health counselors and operate an intensive outpatient substance abuse program at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Ron is a former president of the Wellspring board and is a clinical advisor to both Wellspring and Meadowhaven, a treatment center near Boston.

Vicki Burks, MEd.,
 completed her Bachelor and Masters work at Ohio University. Her masters thesis was on the similarities in control dynamics between perpetrators of domestic violence and cult leaders. She was a senior addiction specialist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. After spending 17 years in a high-control group, she co-authored, with her spouse Ron, Damaged Disciples: Casualties of Authoritarian Churches and the Shepherding Movement. She now does individual counseling and co- leads the intensive outpatient program at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital in Florida. She and Ron have four children and 11 grandchildren.

Kent Burtner, M. Div., M.A.
, has consulted in various capacities with more than 1000 individuals or families about the cult affiliations of their loved ones, concerning adjusting to life after leaving a cult or other high control group, or assisting in interventions. Out of compassion, Kent is moved to work with people caught in cults, concerned that each individual reach her or his full potential after a cult experience. Professionally, Kent served as a Roman Catholic priest of the Dominican Order for twenty years, resigning from the priesthood in 1994. He subsequently served as a program manager for an interfaith social services agency (including as director of their Cult Resource Center), a public information officer for a local county public health department and a parish business manager. A published author of a book, periodical articles, and an audio series, Kent has also lectured extensively in the United States and in Canada and Spain, making over 130 major presentations. In 1983 he received the Leo J. Ryan Award from the Cult Awareness Network for his work educating the public about cults and thought reform programs. Kent makes his home in Portland, Oregon, and continues in his concern for individuals and families adversely effected by cults and other high control groups. Email: Phone: (503) 475-3429

Rev. Dr. Harold L. Bussell received an MA in Psychology from Santa Clara University in 1974 and a D.Div. in 1980 from Andover Newton Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. He established a drug rehabilitation center in Paris, France in 1968-1970, was a pastor in Saratoga, California from 1970-1976, served as Dean of Students at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts from 1976-1988, and was the Senior Pastor of the First Congregational Church in Hamilton, Massachusetts from 1984-1996. Since 1996 he has been Senior Pastor at El Montecito Presbyterian Church in Santa Barbara, California. He is the author of Unholy Devotion and By Hook or By Crook, as well as numerous articles in a variety of journals, magazines, and newspapers.

Professor Jude Butcher cfc, AM is the Director of the Institute for Advancing Community Engagement at Australian Catholic University with its Community Engagement agenda of Beyond Today focusing upon hope for a better tomorrow through the themes of Beyond Disadvantage, Beyond Borders, and Beyond Differences. In 2010 he was appointed a Member (AM) in the Order of Australia for service to teacher education, particularly in the Catholic sector, and to the community through contributions to social justice. His special research interests are in the areas of community engagement, capacity building and development, and transformational partnerships. He has been involved in Aboriginal education for over twenty five years, educational capacity building in Timor Leste for eleven years, and many other educationally focused community engagement initiatives with partner organizations and schools. 

Auri Bützow is a doctoral student in social work at the University of Helsinki. Her research focuses on former members' childhood experiences in closed religious communities (for example Jehovah's Witnesses, Laestadianism, Mormonism, and charismatic Christianity) and how social workers in child protection can intervene in issues that occur in religious contexts.

Cristina Caparesi has a master’s degree in Science of Education and in Psychology with post masters in Family Mediation and Psychodiagnostic/Psychological Evaluation. She works as project planner and Director of the Helping Centers for Job Harassment in the Workplace of the Udine Province and of CISL- Pordenone Province. She has an expertise in conflicts related to cultic affiliations and works as consultant of the Support Network Against Manipulation and Abuse in Groups for SOS Abusi Psicologici. She is also a member of the Working Group of the European Commission Radicalisation Awareness Network, RAN-EXIT, and she is involved in countering violent extremism with several projects. Editor of the online journal of SOS Abusi Psicologici, Manipulation and Abuse; she is an expert for the Criminal Court of Udine in the branch of education, with a specialization in criminology and problems related to cultic affiliations; Italian Co-correspondent for ICSA Today. She is a co-author, with Mario Di Fiorino and Steven Kent, of Costretti ad amare. Saggi sui Bambini di Dio, the Family (only Italian) [Compelled to love- Essays on the Children of God-The Family], and many other articles. Website: Email: Phone: +39 3384440566

Joan Capellini, RIP. From her husband Bob: The world lost a strong supporter of those who oppose destructive cults and who did much to alert many about the dangers of such organizations when my wife of almost 56 years Joan Capellini passed away on April 28, 2014. We became involved in cult awareness when our oldest son became a follower of Reverend Moon’s pseudo religion in 1978. Some may recall, that was the same year the tragedy in Jonestown occurred. When we learned of the details of what occurred there, and why, it prompted us to take some immediate action to save our son because many of the events and the methods taught to indoctrinate the poor souls in Jonestown were strikingly similar to what was happening to our son. With the aid of others, we rescued our son in December of 1978. My son and I returned home on Christmas eve – needless to say, that was a VERY merry Christmas in the Capellini household. He came home and was active in speaking to school assemblies and other local groups about his experience and warning his contemporaries about the dangers involved. Joan and I joined him in those talks and it soon became evident to me that Joan had the “touch” to reach people more efficiently than my son and I.

The erstwhile Cult Awareness Network (CAN) was formed on a national basis and Joan was elected President of our local chapter – she remained in that position from 1979 to 1988. During her term in office, Joan received a CAN Hall of Fame Award on October 22, 1988. She and I attended several national conferences around the nation and Joan was involved in several group discussions and activities helping to further the goals of CAN.

At home Joan spoke before many Service clubs, school organizations and church groups over the years. In our home, we hosted many parents and others to assist them in rescuing their loved ones from destructive cults. Joan was also featured in a week long expose of such cults on a local TV channel. She was on radio many times as well.  Joan was about 5 feet one inch tall and weighed no more that 103 pounds during our entire marriage – except when expecting each of our three children. She was small in stature but a giant when it came to informing the world about destructive cults and being instrumental in saving many from such a disastrous fate. In loving memory of my beloved Joan.

Paul Carden is the executive director of the Centers for Apologetics Research in San Juan Capistrano, California. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the field of cult-related research and outreach.

Chris Carlson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked for years in a New York hospital with a large variety of patient issues presented in a medical setting. He is married with two young adult children and is also involved with performing and theater. He personally experienced the cult phenomenon in the late 1970's when he became involved with the Unification Church, the Moonies, for 18 months. After leaving that group with the help of his parents and deprogrammers, he spent many years working with former members of cult groups and their families, as well as speaking publically across the country on this topic. He now hopes to continue this work by co-facilitating ICSA’s New York monthly meeting. {NY Local Meeting, NY Committee]

José Antonio Carrobles, PhD, is Full Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology and past Head of the Department of Biological and Health Psychology at the Autonomous University of Madrid. His work focuses in the areas of Psychopathology and Clinical and Health Psychology. He is President of the European Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Therapies (EABCT). He has directed numerous doctoral theses and is author of an important number and variety of articles and books in his areas of specialization. He has organized and participated in numerous national and international psychology congresses, among which stands out his participation as President of the Scientific Committee at the 23rd International Congress of Applied Psychology held in Madrid in 1994. He is a member of the editorial boards of several national and international journals. 

José Antonio Carrobles, PhD, es Catedrático de Psicología del área de Personalidad, Evaluación y Tratamiento psicológico y ex Director del Departamento de Psicología Biológica y de la Salud de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Su trabajo se ha centrado en las áreas de Psicopatología y Psicología Clínica y de la Salud. Presidente de la European Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Therapies (EABCT). Ha dirigido un gran número de Tesis Doctorales y es autor de un importante número y variedad de artículos y libros en su área de especialización. Ha organizado y participado en numerosos Congresos nacionales e internacionales de Psicología, entre los que destaca su participación como Presidente del Comité Científico del 23rd International Congress of Applied Psychology celebrado en Madrid en 1994. Es miembro del Consejo Editorial de varias revistas nacionales e internacionales.

Dr. Debbie Carroll, LGSMT, MTA
, is a music therapy professor at the Université du Québec à Montreal (UQÀM) where she has been educating and supervising students since 1985. She received her postgraduate diploma in music therapy from the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama (LGSMT), and worked as a music therapist in Germany (Heidelberg and Mannheim) and Canada (Montreal). Dr. Carroll is an accomplished pianist and music therapy clinician with extensive experience in special education and child/adolescent psychiatry. As a researcher, she has examined children’s intuitive musical understandings and the role of music (specifically rhythm and melody) in improving the expressive language of children with Down syndrome. She has also developed a guide for teaching clinical improvisation techniques which focuses on the specific use of music to establish contact with a client, elicit, structure, guide and/or redirect responses, and also to work on intrapersonal and interpersonal issues. Dr. Carroll has presented her work nationally and internationally. In 2009, she was awarded a lifetime membership from the Canadian Association for Music Therapy in recognition for her outstanding commitment to the organization and to the field of music therapy. Dr. Carroll also serves as a board member of the Institut Santé et société (Institute for Health and Society) at UQÀM.

Dr. Debbie Carroll, LGSMT, MTA, est professeure en musicothérapie à l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) depuis 1985, et est membre du conseil de l’Institut Santé et société à l’UQÀM. Elle a obtenu un diplôme post-gradué du London Guildhall School of Music and Drama (LGSMT), et a travaillé comme musicothérapeute en Allemagne (Heidelberg et Mannheim) et au Canada (Montréal). Dr. Carroll est une pianiste accomplie avec une expertise clinique en adaptation scolaire et sociale, et en milieu pédopsychiatrique. Comme chercheure, elle a examiné les connaissances innées musicales des enfants d’une perspective socio-constructiviste, ainsi que le rôle de la musique (spécifiquement la mélodie et le rythme) au cours du développement du langage verbal chez les enfants trisomiques. Elle a également développé un guide pour enseigner les techniques d’improvisation cliniques en musicothérapie, qui se concentrent sur l'utilisation spécifique de la musique pour établir un contact avec le client, susciter, structurer, guider et/ou rediriger ses réponses, et aussi pour travailler sur les aspects intrapersonnels et interpersonnels. Dr. Carroll a présenté ses recherches aux congrès nationaux et internationaux. En 2009, elle est devenue Membre à vie de l’Association de musicothérapie du Canada (AMC) en reconnaissance pour son engagement exceptionnel à l'organisation et au domaine de la musicothérapie.

Dianne Casoni, PhD
Full Professor, School of Criminology, University of Montreal. Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Université du Québec a Montréal. Psychologist. Psychoanalyst, member of the Canadian Psychoanalytical Society and the International Psychoanalytic Association. Dr. Casoni is the author of over 70 articles and book chapters on psychology and the law, sexual abuse of children, treatment of victims, wife assault, and the psychodynamic understanding of cults. She has just published a book on the psychoanalytical understanding of the criminal mind and edited a book on terrorism, both in French, co-authored and co-edited with Louis Brunet. [IJCS Editors]

Dianne Casoni, PhD, Professeur titulaire, École de criminologie, Université de Montréal. Professeur
associé, Département de psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal. Psychanalyste, membre de la Société canadienne de psychanalyse et de l'Association psychanalytique internationale. Professeur Casoni est l'auteur de plus de 70 articles et chapitres de livres sur la psychologie légale, l'agression sexuelle des enfants, le traitement psychanalytique des victimes de trauma et la compréhension psychodynamique des groupes sectaires. Elle a récemment publié un livre sur la psychodynamique délinquante et édité un livre sur le terrorisme, en français, en collaboration avec Louis Brunet. 

Gina Catena, MS, NP, CNM
, serves on ICSA's Advisory Board. She is Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nurse Midwife with a large medical group in the Bay Area, California. She has degrees from University of California San Francisco School of Nursing, University of California San Diego School of Medicine, and Dominican University of San Rafael. Gina writes and speaks about issues for those raised in cults, and about women's health. She was raised as one of the first enlightened children in the Transcendental Meditation (TM) Organization where she twice married, divorced and bore three children. Her adult children also now live successful cult-free lives.

Peter Caws, PhD, is University Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Human Sciences at the George Washington University in Washington DC. He has degrees in physics (from London) and in philosophy (from Yale) and has published widely in the philosophy of science, ethics, existentialism, and structuralism, among other things. He grew up in England among the Exclusive Brethren and his articles on Belief and Morals Among the Taylorites appeared in the Evangelical Times in the year 2000. His book Religious Upbringing and the Costs of Freedom: Personal and Philosophical Essays (edited with his student and colleague Stefani Jones, PhD) has just (June 2010) been published by the Pennsylvania State University Press. 

Robert Chaen. I am Cult Prodigal Coach and Ex-Cult Junkie.
● I’m seeking ICSA help in Asia where most cults originate.
● My brother and I were the World's First 2 Chinese to be leaders of Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Meditation. We co-founded the Brahma Kumaris Malaysia in 1981. I was in the innermost circle of Foreign Service and the BKM is still has the most successful service results outside India HQ. BK has more than 825,000 students, with 8,500+ centres, it’s rich, an UN NGO – but it is a Doomsday Cult who have broken up countless marriages with strict principles of celibacy & renunciation.
● I have vast experience with Large Group Awareness Training, having met Alexander Everett, Robert White (LifeDynamics, I took all the 3 levels), Werner Erhard (est), and Chris Gentry (Asiaworks, biggest LGAT in Asia).  
● I’m Host of Saving 72 Virgins (a cult awareness, rescue, and anti-sexual harassment platform) and Purple Army Youth, a youth CSR initiative tackling 3 Biggest Youth Problems: 1. Sexual harassment and addictions 2. Jihadists, extremist, racist cults  3. Mental illnesses; with 5 Youth Solutions: 1. Entrepreneurship 2. Learning 3. Charity 4. Mental Health 5. All Arts forms. 

Vineet Chander, Coordinator for Hindu Life at Princeton University, is the nation’s first and only full-time Hindu chaplain and program director. He has also served as an adjunct professor, attorney, and communications consultant. His areas of specialty include the Bhakti tradition, the Bhagavad Gita, models of pastoral counseling, and the Hindu-American diaspora community. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from the George Washington University Law School and is currently pursuing graduate study at Rutgers University in Religion with a concentration in Hindu Studies. Vineet worked for the communications ministry of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) for five years; during part of that time, he served as the North American Director of Communications for the organization. Since then, while he he no longer identifies as a member of ISKCON, he continues to engage with the broader community of Krishna devotees and identifies with the traditions of Hinduism that ISKCON draws from. Today, he continues to wrestle with the gifts and challenges of the spiritual journey as a student, teacher, Hindu chaplain, husband, and father.

Mark Chatfield is a graduate student in the Family, Youth, and Community Sciences at the University of Florida. He has a bachelor’s degree in Individualized Studies from Goddard College and his undergraduate thesis, Institutionalized Persuasion: The Technology of Reformation in Straight, Incorporated and the Residential Teen Treatment Industry, was self-published in 2014. He is a graduate of Straight, Inc. and is concerned about the potential for cultic dynamics and harm within totalistic treatment settings. He is interested in developing new ways to study and prevent institutional child abuse in the United States.

Laura Chatterton joined the Unification Church in California in 1976. She was matched and married in a mass wedding ceremony of 2,075 couples. One of her missions was to edit Reverend Moon’s speeches and other church publications. Her main mission, the mission of all the members, was to have babies. This her couple was not able to do. After years of therapy, a vision quest, and a series of deep spiritual awakenings, she left her husband, and the church, in 1998. She has since devoted her life to painting, drawing, and writing about her experiences. Laura’s visual artwork has appeared in the following exhibits: Absolutely Art (Madison, WI, 2006); Green Lantern Gallery (Mineral Point, WI, 2009); and, along with her literary work, numerous Phoenix Project exhibits at ICSA conferences, including Montreal, Stockholm, Dallas, and Poland.

Qingping Chen, PhD,
is a professor at the Institute of Psychology at Shaanxi Normal University in xi'an, China.Her research interest is clinical psychology. She has studied the cult problem for a long time, focusing on cult members' return and social-psychological rehabilitation. Dr.Chen has won a number of academic awards for her research.

Tianjia Chen, PhD,
Assistant Professor, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, is now councilor of Beijing Society for History and Sociology of Science. He received his PhD degree in History of Science from Peking University. His academic interests include cultural history of science and religion in China, pseudoscience and cult phenomenon, STS. For further information, please contact with him via email:

Timmy Chou, a third generation recovering cult member, spent forty years in Mormonism as a member, missionary, church leader, temple official, administrator, and teacher. He left Mormonism in 2009 after stumbling onto scientific research that contradicted church teachings. Since leaving the Mormon Church and discovering even more of its damaging legacy, he has focused his recovery on helping others in cult recovery support groups. He is a founder and currently the President of SLC Postmos, a non profit, support group development corporation for ex-mormons (, as well as a board member of the Exmormon Foundation ( Timmy joined ICSA in 2011. Professionally Timmy is a serial entrepreneur and founding partner of Spectra Consulting Group. He currently serves as a CFO, CEO, and as a corporate director for several companies, and is the inventor and CEO of the Bluapple Company.

Robert Cialdini, PhD, received undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate education in Psychology at the University of Wisconsin, the University of North Carolina and Columbia University, respectively. He has held Visiting Scholar appointments at Ohio State University, the Universities of California at San Diego and Santa Cruz, the Annenberg School for Communications, and at both the Psychology Department and the Graduate School of Business of Stanford University. He is currently Regents’ Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, where he has also been named Distinguished Graduate Research Professor. He has been elected president of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award of the Society for Consumer Psychology. He has recently received the Society of Personality and Social Psychology’s Donald T. Campbell Award for Distinguished Contributions to Social Psychology. Professor Cialdini’s book, Influence which was the result of a three-year program of study into the reasons that people comply with requests in everyday settings, has appeared in numerous editions and eighteen languages. Dr. Cialdini attributes his interest in social influences to the fact that he was raised in an entirely Italian family, in a predominantly Polish neighborhood, in a historically German city (Milwaukee), in an otherwise rural state.

David Clark
is a thought reform consultant from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mr. Clark has been active in this field for more than 30 years. Mr. Clark has been on the Board of the Leo J. Ryan Education Foundation and reFOCUS. He is FECRIS's New York main representative to the United Nations [2011- ] and science committee member [2015]. He was a contributing author for the Practical Guidelines for Exit Counseling chapter in the W.W. Norton book, Recovery from Cults. In 1985 he received the Hall of Fame Award from the original Cult Awareness Network He was a founding member of the original Focus and reFOCUS, a national support network for former cult members. David Clark was the 2004 American plenary speaker at Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the Ukraine for the F.P.P.S. International Scientific-Practical Conference with the presentation title of Thought Reform Consultation, Youth Cult Education Preparation and Sect Family Intervention Work. He was also the April 21, 2006 United States of America plenary speaker for the International Scientific Conference of Cardinal August Hlond Upper Silesian School of Pedagogy in Mysolwice, Poland. Mr. Clark also contributed to a May 16, 2006 History Channel special on Opus Dei and was featured in John Allen's important book, Opus Dei: An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church. He spoke on exit counseling/thought reform consultation at an international conference, Myth and Reality of Psychological Abuse and Practical Ways to Resist It, at the Russian State University of Humanities in Moscow (March 13-14, 2008). He spoke at a conference on cults and gangs, sponsored by Creighton University's Department of Psychiatry and the Douglas County (NB) Sheriff's Department (April 18, 2008). David has been the North American Vice President of the DIALOG Centre International since 2011. In 2016 he received an ICSA Lifetime Achievement Award at the Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas.

John G. Clark, MD, RIP.
The following is taken from the New York Times obituary of October 17, 1999, by Eric Nagourney. Dr. Clark was the founding scholar of American Family Foundation (renamed International Cultic Studies Association in 2004). 

Dr. John G. Clark, a Harvard psychiatrist whose study of new religious sects in the 1970s raised public awareness of the overwhelming influence of some groups over their members, died on October 7 at a nursing home in Belmont, Mass. He was 73 and had been suffering from a long illness, his family said. Clark immersed himself in the study of new or generally unfamiliar sects like the Unification Church, the Church of Scientology and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.  Over time, he counseled more than 500 former members of the groups and their families.

Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer, an expert on such groups and an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, said Clark was among the first professionals to turn attention to the subject, even before the mass suicide of Peoples Temple members in Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978. The following year, Clark wrote a widely cited guest editorial in The Journal of the American Medical  Association warning about the growing power of such religious groups. He was also called as an expert witness before a congressional committee investigating religious sects. “People paid attention,” Dr. Singer said. In his editorial, Clark wrote, “The new youth cults, though usually self-styled as religious for purposes of First Amendment privileges, are increasingly dangerous to the health of their converts and menacing to their critics.”

At first, Clark himself had to be convinced of what was then not a generally accepted principle: that an ordinary person, not suffering from any significant psychiatric problem, could within a matter of days be persuaded through simple group pressures to walk away from a previous life and devote everything to a particular group.

“I think, like most psychiatrists, initially he was rather skeptical,” said Dr. Michael Langone, executive director of the American Family Foundation, a 20-year-old organization that works against such sects. Clark was active in the organization. But Clark’s views changed as he met with more patients. “Orthodox psychiatric opinion has generally viewed conversion to deviant groups as a function of longstanding conflicts within individuals,” he said in a 1982 interview.  “Our evidence strongly suggests that these individuals are succumbing to pressures within the cult milieu, pressures that can induce radical personality changes as easily in normally developing people as among disturbed ones.”

Through the 1980s, Clark was called upon by the news media, families and psychiatrists for his expertise on the influence of sects. The Church of Scientology objected strongly to Clark’s assertions, and the church and Clark battled in court. Clark said the church had engaged in a campaign of harassment against him. In 1988, he settled with the church and received an undisclosed amount of money, but agreed never to discuss the group publicly again. (Cult Observer, Vol. 16, No. 11, 1999)

Christine Cole is a visual artist who hails from Canada. A three-time Phoenix Project participant, she has
created works that were not only well received, but also sought after for purchase. Christine’s artistic interest is lifelong: I always loved drawing and painting from the time I could hold a crayon. Discouraged from pursuing an art education, however, she got a degree in biochemistry, but found the work unsatisfying and began to take art courses, which she has continued to this day.

While at the university, Christine also took a yoga course, which led to some unusual mystical experiences. She views these as, a gateway into Eastern mysticism and the New Age movement, explaining that they led her to an interest in psychic phenomena and occult involvement, where it felt like a whole new world had opened up. In 1980, traveling alone by bus across the United States, Chris was exposed to various religions and pseudo-religions: Christianity, Transcendental Meditation, est, Scientology, and New Age groups. In Denver she met a Unification Church member who seemed to share her esoteric interests and told her of a gathering to discuss the intersection of Christianity with Eastern and New Age religions. She decided to attend.

I was taken to a lovely chalet in the Rocky Mountains and ‘love bombed’ by a group of clean-cut, bright, upper-middle-class young people who were doing ‘charity work.’ I didn't find out they were Moonies until two weeks later, but by then the psychological coercion they used had pulled me in and I had ‘snapped.’ I was soon recruiting others to come to their retreat center and to ‘find God’. Not unlike other artists in cult environments, Christine says that while [I was] in the group there was always talk about my being able to use my artistic talents. However, with the daily schedule of early prayers, lectures, finding new recruits and fund raising, Christine found that there was no time to even think, let alone pursue our love of art.

Christine states that she did not consciously draw or paint about my cult experience until the call for submissions came for the first Phoenix Project many years after she left the Unification Church with the help of friends. While sketching my three rough pieces entitled Entry, In the Cult, and Exit, I tried to capture my feelings and experience in visual form. Although I was not impressed with the finished pieces, I found the process to be very healing and cathartic. It has been especially gratifying to find that others were touched by, and could relate to my works.

The painting Breaking the Chains was done for the third Phoenix Project and is somewhat of a self-portrait. It depicts the freedom that I feel in breaking free, not only from the hold that the cult had on me, but [also] from other bondages in my life that I have been released from.

Christine lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband, Jeff. She works as a teacher’s assistant and is the mother of two grown sons and a teenage daughter. She has appeared on television and in a film on ex-members, and has produced painting during church services and in exhibition. 

Stephen Coleman is currently working in the mental-health field. He volunteers in prisons and travels, teaching simple mental health in poor nations. He is married and has four children from his first marriage.

Julie Colibri was born and raised in a large, multigenerational Mormon family of polygamous heritage. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in Psychology, and later earned a BS in Mass Communication, Cum Laude, University of Utah. Earlier this year (2015), she graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver with a Master’s in Social Work, Summa Cum Laude. While living in Santa Fe, NM from 2005-2007, she wrote the first draft of her memoir, which she wants to finish, publish, and use as a platform to educate others about Mormonism and destructive mind control. She is available to do training (presentations, workshops, conferences), coaching, and consulting regarding mind control, high-demand groups, and trauma recovery. Julie is a member of National Association of Social Workers, and International Cultic Studies Association. Julie now lives in Salt Lake City. Her website is:

Donna Collins
was the first Blessed Child of the Unification Church in the west. Her parents founded the UC in England. Her story is told in detail in the ICSA video, Blessed Child. She says: I began writing poems at age 7 and have done so ever since. Writing was a great way to survive, express, record and be heard even if only for my own thought process. As I grew with the written word it has remained a deep sense of relief and a profound gift of joy in my life. I have found, as have so many others, that knowledge is freedom, and freedom once attained can rarely ever be taken away. It gives a person power to write because in that moment you change your perception, and if it's any good you might influence another's perception of what is real and what is false. What is so engaging is that with poetry and prose you don't always have to be exacting or make sense, you can in truth be as ‘calm as you are crazy’ or as ‘loud as a stone.’ In essence you are free from the things that bind us here and from the logic of it all. I love poetry that makes a statement that asks something of the reader and suggests a challenge. I have been influenced by many writers mainly; T.S. Eliot, Marge Piercy, Audre Lorde, James Fenton, Sylvia Plath, Dylan Thomas, and Walt Whitman (to name a few). I especially love the dark devouring poems that linger long after the book has regained its dust. I don't pretend anything, greatness or mastership. Words liberated me from a great many griefs, but not all grief can be explained by words.

Michele Colon, MS RN, serves on the Board of Directors of the Intellectual Freedom Foundation - a New York based not-for-profit corporation dedicated to activism against controversial groups. She was herself a victim of a cultic group, and has written many articles online through the Foundation's current project. 

Ray Connolly was born in 1950 to an Irish Catholic family in New Jersey. Ray eventually dropped out of The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester and joined the hippie hitchhiking pilgrims in search of TRUTH. The journey eventually led to California (where else?) in 1970, and an encounter with the Gospel. What complicated things was that this led to a more than 20-year commitment in the Children of God. Dubbed "The storm troopers of the Jesus Movement" by Time magazine, Ray's involvement led to a life in over 20 countries, much of it in pioneer leadership positions. Along the way, he ended up fathering 17 children with 2 remarkable women. The groups ever changing beliefs and practices grew ever more bizarre, and eventually led to a messy exit in 1991. After years of working to salvage his family and grapple with questions of faith, Ray wrote a book, Something Somebody Stole, that attempts to make sense of the trip into, out of, and beyond the radical cult experience and the recovery process. (BTW, many thanks to The New England Institute of Religious Research for their significant help and frequent lifesavers along the way!) Ray and his wife Stephanie have served on the board for many years, and currently make their home in Grafton. Massachusetts.

Pedro Cubero, MD has worked as a clinical general psychiatrist at the Hospital 12 de Octubre (Madrid) since 1989. He has also worked for several years as an exit counselor and been the head of A.I.S. in Madrid (AIS, the main Spanish association in the field, is based in Barcelona). He has written several articles in medical publications. His main interest has been the psychiatric characterization of the behaviors induced by cultic groups, other than dissociative phenomena.

José Miguel Cuevas Barranquero,
Psicólogo clínico y social. Doctorando en psicología social, está elaborando en la actualidad su tesis doctoral en torno al fenómeno de las sectas destructivas en la Universidad de Málaga. Es profesor del Departamento de Psicología Social de la Universidad de Málaga. Miembro fundador de la Asociación Iberoamericana para la Investigación del Abuso Psicológico (AIIAP). A nivel académico, tiene Máster en Terapia de Conducta y es Experto en Adicciones por la Universidad Complutense de Madrid. En el terreno profesional, desde febrero del 2001 se ha dedicado plenamente al campo de las adicciones, formando parte, como psicólogo del equipo profesional y multidisciplinar del O.A.L. Marbella Solidaria, en la provincia de Málaga, dentro del Plan Municipal de Atención a Adicciones de Marbella. Se ha especializado en la orientación y tratamiento de casos de persuasión coercitiva (dependencia grupal / sectas destructivas). Asimismo, ha asesorado a múltiples medios nacionales e internacionales en sus producciones sobre dinámica sectaria. Es autor del libro Sectas: cómo funcionan, cómo son sus líderes, efectos destructivos y cómo combatirlas.

Mary Jo Cysewski, MA, LMFT, LPCC,
is a marriage and family therapist and professional clinical counselor in private practice in Los Angeles, where she provides individual, family therapy and facilitates monthly support groups. Ms. Cysewski specializes in cult-related cases for former cult members and for families who have a loved one who is involved in a cult. Additionally, she provides counseling/coaching and practical tools for planning and pursuing career and education. Professional consultation and mediation are also available. Please feel free to call and discuss your concerns and to arrange for an initial, no fee, and private consultation.

Peter Daley
 is an Australian who has been living in Korea since 2003. He currently works as an English teacher at Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul. His first year in Korea brought him into close contact with a cult that was later described in the print media as one of the most notorious in Asia. Since little was known about the JMS cult outside of Korea, Peter began collecting information about the cult and its leader, who at the time was wanted by Korean authorities and INTERPOL on numerous rape charges. An interest in one rather obscure Korean cult naturally led to an interest in others, and over the next ten years Peter built - and continues to build – his website,, which contains the most amount of information on several lesser-known Korean cults. Peter has observed and recorded numerous events held by several cults, liaised with numerous former members and their family members, and initiated and assisted with journalist investigations. Peter recently assisted with his first family-centered intervention in September, which was successful, with an Australian JMS member from his hometown of Canberra.

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.

Anuttama Dasa is Director of Communications for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), a monotheistic, or Vaishnava, Hindu tradition. He has served as a member of ISKCON's International Governing Body Commission since 1999. Dasa has also served as Vice President of the Religion Communicators Council (RCC), a North American interfaith organization, and is convener of the annual Vaishnava-Christian Dialogue, now in its 14th year, and an annual Vaishnava-Muslim Dialogue. He serves as Board Member of the ISKCON Temple in suburban Washington, D.C, and Trustee of the Bhaktivedanta College, ISKCON's first accredited College located in Belgium. Dasa has participated in many ICSA conferences, including the panel presentation, Can Cultic Groups Change. He and his wife, Rukmini, live in Rockville, Maryland.

Jadwiga Daszykowska, PhD, Hab, Associate Professor at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin – Off-Campus Faculty of Law and Social Sciences in Stalowa Wola (Poland). Areas of research activity: social pedagogy, pedeutology, pedagogy of leisure time. Research interests relate particularly to the following issues: quality of life, leisure time, quality of education. Member of the Polish Pedagogical Association. Author of books: Jakosc zycia w perspektywie pedagogicznej (Quality of life in a pedagogical perspective, 2007), Czas wolny nauczycieli (Leisure time of teachers, 2008). Editor of books: Czas wolny: przeszlosc – terazniejszosc – przyszlosc (Leisure time: past – present – future, 2009), Przemiany wartosci i stylów zycia w ponowoczesnosci (Changes of values and lifestyles in postmodernity, 2010), Wokól problemów jakosci zycia wspólczesnego czlowieka (About the problems of quality of life of modern man, 2012), Dziecko w przestrzeni zycia spolecznego (Child in the dimension of social life, 2013), Pomoc czlowiekowi w obliczu cierpienia i smierci (Assistance to man in the face of suffering and death, 2013). Author of numerous academic articles in these areas.

Dr. Catherine de Boer is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Work at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. She has a Bachelor of Social Work from King’s College at the University of Western Ontario, a Master of Arts (in Religion) from the University of Toronto and a Master of Theological Studies, a Master of Social Work and a PhD in Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University. Her primary research interests are in the areas of identity development and transformation and narrative studies. She is particularly interested in the impact of social group memberships (such as one’s religious group) on one’s sense of self and likewise the associated identity implications of disengagement. Dr. de Boer’s dual academic credentials in social work and religion make her uniquely suited to exploring the impact of membership in and disengagement from religious totalistic groups. In addition to her academic work, Catherine has a small private practice called Liminal Space ( 709 743-4500) offering training, consultation and counselling (either face-to-face or online). Email: Phone: (709) 864-2554

John Debold
was born and raised in the New York City area. After completing a college degree in 1978 he traveled to California for a relatively brief planned tour. While in the city of San Francisco he met and was recruited by members of a high-pressure group. The planned short visit quickly turned into an extended involvement with the group including a typical spectrum of activities involving recruiting and fundraising. John’s family arranged a rescue/deprogramming which was successful. In 1979 John began a career as a school teacher. He currently teaches science to 11th and 12th grade students in Orange County, New York and occasionally speaks on the subject of new religious movements through the lens of personal experience.

Rev. Walter Debold, RIP
, was Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. A member of Cultic Studies Review editorial board, Fr. Debold lectured and wrote widely about cult issues for more than 25 years. He died quietly at the age of 90. His passing led to many unsolicited comments from the ICSA community. These comments, as well as eulogies and a message Father Debold left for ICSA can be found here.

Henri de Cordes was the parliamentary assistant of the Deputy, Antoine Duquesne, author of the report of the inquiry committee of the Belgian House of Representatives on the illegal practices of cults (1996–1997). In April 1999, he was appointed vice-president of the Information and Advice Center on harmful sectarian organizations (Brussels, Belgium). On June 9th 2005, the Chamber appointed him president for a six-year term. He is the author of L’Etat belge face aux dérives sectaires (Belgian State Faced with Sectarian Deviations), which covers the period 1997–2006.

Henri de Cordes a été l'attaché parlementaire du Député Antoine Duquesne, rapporteur de la Commission d'enquête parlementaire de la Chambre des représentants de Belgique sur les activités illégales des sectes (1996-1997). En avril 1999, il a été désigné président suppléant du Centre d'Information et d'Avis sur les organisations sectaires nuisibles (Bruxelles) créé par la loi du 2 juin 1998 en réponse à une recommandation de la commission d'enquête. Le 9 juin 2005, la Chambre l'a nommé président du Centre pour un mandat de six ans.

Jorge de la Pena, MD, es psiquiatra, psicólogo social y psicoanalista; profesor titular de Psicología social en la Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México; Consultor Internacional en Materia de Derechos Humanos en la Organización de las Naciones Unidas. Su línea de Investigación se centra en violencia, trauma y Religión. Ha publicado diversos trabajos de Investigación e impartido cursos y conferencias sobre el área de su especialidad.

Linda J. Demaine, JD, PhD
(social psychology), is Professor of Law and Affiliate Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University. She is founder and director of ASU's Law and Psychology Graduate Program. Before arriving at ASU, Dr. Demaine was a behavioral scientist and policy analyst at RAND, where she led and participated in diverse projects, including an analysis of biotechnology patents and the strategic use of deception and other psychological principles in defense of critical computer networks. Dr. Demaine has held an American Psychological Association Congressional Fellowship, through which she worked with the Senate Judiciary Committee on FBI and DOJ oversight, judicial nominations, and legislation. She has also held an American Psychological Association Science Policy Fellowship, working with the Central Intelligence Agency's Behavioral Sciences Unit on issues involving cross-cultural persuasion. Dr. Demaine's research interests include the empirical analysis of law, legal procedure, and legal decision making; the application of legal and psychological perspectives to social issues; ethical, legal, and social issues deriving from advances in technology; and information campaigns and persuasion.

Teresa Dennetta è avvocato, iscritta al Foro di Udine, con studio a Cividale del Friuli. Dal 2004 allo 2009 è stata assessore nel Comune di San Pietro al Natisone con delega ai rapporti socio-assistenziali, alle politiche giovanili, alle politiche sociali ed ai rapporti esterni ( <> Fortemente impegnata nel sociale, dal 2004 è vice-presidente di S.O.S. ABUSI PSICOLOGICI, un’associazione di volontariato per promuovere attività di ricerca e studi volti al riconoscimento delle varie forme di abuso psicologico sull’individuo ad opera di organizzazioni e singoli nell’adesione a sette e nuovi culti, nel lavoro (mobbing), ed in famiglia. È anche consulente legale per i casi di abusi che provengono all’associazione da parte di familiari ed ex aderenti di gruppi abusanti. Oltre a svolgere la libera professione presso il proprio studio, dal 2007 si occupa di mobbing come avvocato del Punto di Ascolto Anti-Mobbing della Provincia di Udine, un progetto con il quale la Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia ha voluto contribuire al miglioramento della qualità della vita sul lavoro.

Teresa Dennetta is a lawyer, entitled to the Court of Udine, with her own office at Cividale del Friuli. From 2004 to 2009 she was a Councilor in the local town of San Pietro al Natisone with delegation for socio-assistance relations, youth politics, social politics and external relations ( <> Engaged in social activities, since 2004 she has been the vice-president of SOS-Abusi Psicologici, a voluntary association which promotes studies on different forms of abuses on the person by individuals or groups, in the following environments: cults, work (mobbing) and family. She is also the legal consultant of the association to whom families and individuals turn to for help. Besides practicing the profession of law in her office, she is also the legal consultant for the Anti-mobbing Center of the Udine Province, a project through which the Region Friuli Venezia Giulia has intended to contribute to improve the quality of life in work.

Lorraine Derocher, PhD
, has published Vivre son enfance au sein d'une secte religieuse: Comprendre pour mieux intervenir (Growing up in a Sectarian Religious Environment: a Better Understanding for a More Appropriate Intervention, Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2008), which explores the challenges of integrating society faced by those raised in cultic groups.  She has developed a four-stage pattern clarifying the process which these people are going through after their departure. Furthermore, her thesis, which concerned youth protection interventions within cultic environments, received the Best Thesis Prize - Humanizes and Social sciences sector - of the Université de Sherbrooke (Qc, Canada). As a researcher at McGill University’s Centre for Research on Children and Families, she carries on with her work on victimization of children within cultic or religious contexts. Lorraine Derocher also provides training to professionals on topics related to minors raised in closed religious environments.

Kristen Skedgell DeVoe was born and raised in the greater New York area, where she was recruited at age 14 by The Way International, a religious fundamentalist cult. She remained active in the group until her mother rescued her when she was on the verge of suicide. She recounts her experience in her book Losing the Way: A Memoir of Spiritual Longing, Manipulation Abuse, and Escape (Bay Tree Publishing, 2008). After leaving the cult, she earned a master's degree from Yale Divinity School and Columbia University School of Social Work and worked as a licensed clinical social worker for 20 years. Recently retired, she is devoting her energies to raising consciousness about trauma, mental illness, mind control, and "that which is generally indigestible" through developing a new genre of poetic expression called "hairballs."

Robert R DeYoung, EdD, is the Founder and Director of the Family Center for Behavioral Health in Milford, Pennsylvania. Dr. DeYoung has been in the Mental Health field for over 30 years and was a licensed Forensic Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist, treating a wide range of problems with children, adults, couples, and families. He currently maintains a successful full-time therapy practice as a counselor, consultant, and addictions specialist. He is a "non-traditional" therapist who has given hundreds of presentations to parents, specialty groups, and students. He has been a consultant to the New York Union of Police, various local and state police departments and various Employee Assistance Programs. Dr. DeYoung is trained in a wide array of psychological testing procedures and is proficient in CBT, Marriage and Family Therapy, Biofeedback, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Forensic Hypnosis. He is a Certified General Topics Instructor with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. He maintains mental health licenses in both New York and Pennsylvania. Website: Counseling Services in Pike County Email: Phone: (570) 296-3825

Raffaella Di Marzio received her doctorate in Psychology at the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome, in June 2016, with a dissertation entitled Affiliation and Disaffiliation from New Religious Movements. Presentation and deep analysis of the integrated model of Rambo et al. In 2002 she set up a Centre of Information on cults, New Religious Movements and Anti-cult Movements: the Online Center She is a member of the managing board of SIPR (Italian Society of Psychology of Religion),and part of the Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) network of experts, which covers more than 20 countries. HRWF is a non-profit organization based in Brussels (Belgium) that promotes human rights through fact-finding missions, research, and advocacy. She has published more than 100 articles about cults, mind control, New Religious Movements, and anti-cult groups, is a contributor to CESNUR’s Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy (2013) and to Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, 6 vol., ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara [California] 2010), J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann Editors. Raffaella Di Marzio has BA degrees in Psychology (University La Sapienza of Rome, 1981), Educational Science (Pontifical Salesian University, 1981) and History of Religions (University La Sapienza of Rome, 2003) and Religious Science (Institute for Religious Studies Ecclesia Mater, linked to the faculty of theology of Pontifical Lateran University, 1986). She has been a Catholic religion teacher in a senior high school in Rome since 1981. Dr. Di Marzio is ICSA Today’s News Co-Correspondent for Italy. She is in demand as a cult expert for TV and radio shows and lectures widely. Websites: (English) (Italian and English), YouTube Channel:

Raffaella Di Marzio, ha conseguito il Dottorato in Psicologia presso l’Università Pontificia Salesiana di Roma, nel giugno 2016, con una tesi intitolata Affiliazione e Disaffiliazione dai Nuovi Movimenti Religiosi. Presentazione e analisi critica del modello integrato di Rambo e coll.. Nel 2002 ha fondato un centro per diffondere corretta informazione su sette, movimenti religiosi alternativi e movimenti anti-sette: il Centro online E’ membro del Direttivo della SIPR (Società Italiana di Psicologia della Religione) e fa parte del network di esperti accreditati da HRWF in oltre venti paesi del mondo. HRWF è un’organizzazione che si occupa di promuovere e difendere i diritti umani nel mondo, con sede a Bruxelles (Belgio). Ha pubblicato più di cento articoli su sette, controllo mentale, gruppi anti-sette e Nuovi Movimenti Religiosi, è collaboratrice dell’Enciclopedia delle Religioni in Italia a cura del CESNUR (2013), e dell’opera Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, 6 voll., ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara [California] 2010), J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann Editors. E’ laureata in Psicologia (Università La Sapienza di Roma, 1981), in Scienze dell’Educazione (Università Pontificia Salesiana di Roma, 1981) e in Scienze Storico-Religiose (Università La Sapienza di Roma, 2003). Ha anche il Magistero in Scienze Religiose presso l’istituto di Scienze Religiose Ecclesia Mater dell’Università Lateranense (1986). E’ insegnante di religione in un liceo romano dal 1981. E’ corrispondente per l’Italia della rivista ICSA Today’s News. Siti Web: < (in Italiano e in inglese) <> (English), Canale YouTube:

Ali Dizboni.
 Le Professeur Dizboni est titulaire d'une maîtrise (1997) et d'un doctorat (2000) de l'Université de Montréal en Sciences politiques et Relations internationales. Il a soutenu sa thèse de doctorat sur Islam and War en obtenant la mention " excellente ". Il est chercheur associé à certains instituts scientifiques et universitaires tels que CEFIR, TSAS, ICAMES (l’Université McGill) Chair Raoul Dandurand, CIDP (l’Université Queen’s). Seul ou en collaboration, il a obtenu plusieurs subventions de recherche et de conférences nationales et internationales (British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, International Studies Association, ACFAS, Société canadienne pour l'étude de la religion, gouvernement du Canada -ministère de la Sûreté publique, CRSH). Dizboni a publié plusieurs articles et chapitres de livres dans les champs de la politique comparée et relations internationales. À titre d'exemple : " Une deuxième révolution? La réforme iranienne et la révolution du paradigme de l'islam politique "dans Mouvements sociaux et changements institutionnels (PUQ, 2005), "Canadian Involvement in Middle East" dans Going to War (2016, Presses de l’Université McGill & Queen’s), "Does Canada Educate Strategic Subaltern" Infinity Journal, 2016. “The Terrorist Resourcing Model applied to Canada” dans Journal of Money Laundering (2017); “La République islamique et le fait minoritaire” Diplomatie, Février-Mars 2017, no.37. Son Livre Islam and War (2011 a été nommé pour le prix Herbert Jacob (Law and Society Association É.U.). Depuis 2010, il a été un contributeur de chapitre à la collection annuelle de l’AFCES sur les études stratégiques (Éditions Bruyland, Bruxelles). Il vient de soumettre deux chapitres aux deux éditions universitaires (OUP et MQUP) sur présence musulmane au Canada et sur Relations stratégiques Iran-Russie. 

RIP. Arthur A. Dole, PhD, ABPP, Arthur Alexander Dole, Jr., pacifist, scholar, and independent thinker, died peacefully at home on May 16, 2017. Art’s intelligence, humor and passion for nonviolence defined his long and varied life. Born in San Francisco on October 25, 1917, he has been affectionately known as Danny, “Red” “Old Dole,” or simply “Art.” The family would like to thank the staff at Birch Bay Retirement Village for the excellent care and support during his residency. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Marjorie Welsh Dole; two sons, Peter and Steven Dole, and a daughter, Barbara Dole Acosta. His six grandchildren are Isaac, Nathan, and Sam Dole, Alyssa Dole Witeof, and Margarita and Gabriela Dole Acosta. Two great grandchildren are Maya and Caroline Dole.

Dr. Dole was, Professor Emeritus, Psychology in Education Division, University of Pennsylvania. He was a member of the ICSA Board of Directors and the Editorial Advisory Board of International Journal of Cultic Studies. He conducted numerous research studies and presented many papers at professional meetings. Among his many publications was a chapter on terrorists and cultists in the four-volume, The Psychology of Terrorism. In 2010 ICSA awarded Dr. Dole the Herbert L. Rosedale Award in recognition of leadership in the effort to preserve and protect individual freedom.”

Dr. Steve Eichel, President of ICSA, captured the feelings of many who knew Dr. Dole: “Arthur Alexander Dole, the brilliant retired professor at the University of Pennsylvania who is responsible for bringing me to Philadelphia to study the psychology of cults and cultic processes, has passed away. He was 99. Art was the most gentle and humanistic soul I've ever met. This is a great loss...and his was a life incredibly well-lived. RIP Art. You have touched more people than I could ever count. My deepest condolences to his amazing family, especially his daughter Barbara. Your flame may be extinguished but your light remains forever.”

Sharon Doni (Israeli LCSW)  has served as the clinical manager of the Israeli Center for Victims of Cults since 2010. Sharon counsels cult victims and their families, provides guidance to the center’s staff and is actively involved in the ongoing process of the assessment of various potentially destructive groups. With over 20 years of clinical experience working with adults and adolescents in individual and group settings, Sharon has gained an extensive skill set working with trauma, ranging from single event trauma to complex PTSD. She has worked with victims of physical and sexual abuse, cult victims and holocaust survivors. Sharon’s work is rooted on psycho-dynamic and humanistic theories as well as deep knowledge of the trauma field. Her work combines various healing techniques such as Focusing and EMDR that support the recovery of patients, especially trauma victims such as cult survivors. Sharon holds a BSc from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel and an MSCW from Bar Ilan university, Ramat Gan, Israel.

Rev. Richard L. Dowhower (A.B., D.D. [Hon.] Thiele) is a retired Lutheran pastor.  He first worked with the ICSA (formerly American Family Foundation) at a seminar for educators in the early '80s in Pittsburgh, where he was then serving. This was a time when most professionals saw neither the right nor the reason to be concerned about cults. His engaging explication of the problem then reflected an already well-developed teaching ministry that reached a wide audience in a variety of forums.

As early as 1975, he was working, from his parish base, with the Pittsburgh Association for individual Freedom (an early affiliate of the Cult Awareness Network). By 1979 he was making a TV presentation on cults in Harrisburg, PA, while serving a new parish, and testifying at a hearing on cults convened by the Pennsylvania state legislature. Quite apart from cult-related counseling in his own parish - and with others who learned of his sensitivity to the issues - Rev. Dowhower worked hard to educate fellow pastors.

In 1979, he testified before his own denomination's department of Church in Society and authored a pamphlet for the Pennsylvania Conference on Interfaith Cooperation entitled "The Dangers of Pseudo-Religious Cults, a Statement of Pastoral Concern for Parents and Youth by Catholic and Protestant Religious Leaders." In 1982, he published "Confronting the Cults," a two-part article in LCA Partners (Feb. and Apr. 1982) a journal for pastors and church professionals in his denomination. He has also reviewed books touching on cult-related issues for other Lutheran publications and for ICSA's Cultic Studies Journal. 

Sjoukje Drenth-Bruintjes is exit counselor, counselor/coach, teacher, speaker, and sports consultant in the Netherlands. In 1982 she completed her study at the Academy for Physical Education in Groningen. After many years of teaching-experience she started to study health psychology in 1999 in Groningen. She decided to choose counseling as being the most suitable study. In 2005 she became a registered counselor. Since 2005 Sjoukje Drenth has her own private healthcare-praxis, called: Counseling en Consultancy Praktijk Sjoukje Drenth Bruintjes or Creative Counseling. It is situated in the province of Groningen in the Netherlands. Sjoukje Drenth Bruintjes handles the following disciplines: exit counseling, multidisciplinary counseling like stress counseling, relation counseling, and other, sports consultancy and personal/mental coaching. She became a well-known specialist in the Netherlands, especially on exit counseling, after interviews on Dutch National TV about her successful work as an exit counselor and the publication of two of her poetry books: Een knuffel voor jou (English: A hug for you) and Waves, in which Sjoukje describes the emotional impact of coercive persuasion on a friendship in a poetic way. Sjoukje Drenth participated in research on cultic groups in the Netherlands with her knowledge and experience as an exit counselor. Her knowledge is used by different writers and different media concerning themes like coercive persuasion, brainwashing, cults, and lover-boys. Besides Sjoukje’s work as a therapist, teacher, and writer, she also gives workshops and readings for students at universities, healthcare-takers, victims of coercive persuasion, and parents/family/friends of these kind of victims. Sjoukje Drenth Bruintjes is a member of several professional organizations for therapists and mental health and physical education professionals in the Netherlands

Samantha DuBarry earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a second major in Sociology from Florida International University. Currently, Samantha is working as a research assistant for the Criminal Mental Health Project Jail Diversion Program. In the past, Samantha has also provided research support for FIU’s Children with Anxiety and Phobia program and has held a managerial position as a Back Office Lead at Best Buy for five years. Samantha’s passion for global studies stemmed from her volunteer experiences abroad in Santiago, Dominican Republic. She volunteered as a mentor for disadvantaged youth for the Global Community Engagement organization, participating and facilitating lesson planning, teaching English, and social awareness of these disadvantaged youth. Samantha also volunteered as a mentor for an incoming freshman camp at FIU as a Panther Camp Facilitator and through the national Alternative Breaks program she worked with immigrant field workers and families in Immokalee, Florida, who live in poverty, and raised social awareness on immigrant maltreatment. Samantha is fluent in Spanish. Her interests include human rights, disadvantaged children, women’s rights, human trafficking, cyber security, and NGOs. Samantha hopes to bring a psychological perspective to the field of international relations.

Linda Dubrow-Marshall, PhD, Reg. MBACP (Accred.), is Research Coeditor of ICSA Today and is a cofounder of RETIRN (please also see, a private practice that provides services to individuals and families who have been affected by cultic influence and abusive relationships. Linda has developed a new MSc Psychology of Coercive Control program at the University of Salford and is leading the program with Rod Dubrow-Marshall. She is also the Programme Leader of the MSc Applied Psychology (Therapies) Program at the University of Salford. She is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, United Kingdom, as both a clinical and a counselling psychologist, and she is a registered counsellor/psychotherapist with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. She is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, USA, and a registered psychologist with the National Register of Health Service Psychologists, USA. She attends as corepresentative of RETIRN/UK as correspondent to the General Assembly of FECRIS (European Federation of Centres of Research and Education on Sects). Dr. Dubrow-Marshall is a Consultant in Clinical Hypnosis (advanced certification) with the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and is certified by the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Institute. She has a Certificate of Proficiency in the Treatment of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders issued by the American Psychological Association. She is a member of the Mental Health and Research committees for ICSA.

Rod Dubrow-Marshall, PhD, MBPsS
, is a Professor of Psychology and is Visiting
Fellow at the Criminal Justice Hub, in the School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences at the University of Salford, UK. Rod is a Social Psychologist who has been researching the psychology and aetiology of undue influence and cults or extremist groups for over twenty years, and he has developed the Totalistic Identity Theory as an evidence-based theory to explain and tackle ideological extremism and ideologically driven violence. He is also an active researcher in a variety of other areas including organizational behaviour and healthiness, the social psychology of identity and prejudice, and public policy and education. A graduate member of the British Psychological Society, Rod is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Cultic Studies Association and is also Chair of the ICSA Research Committee and Network and he is co-Editor of the International Journal of Cultic Studies (since its inception in 2010). In 2006, he was awarded The Herbert L. Rosedale Award, jointly with Dr. Paul Martin, for their psychological research on undue influence. Rod co-founded the Re-Entry Therapy Information and Referral Network (RETIRN) UK in 2004 with Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall, where he serves as a consultant in helping individuals and families who have been adversely affected by destructive or damaging cults and other extremist and high demand/manipulative groups or relationships. He operates out of offices in Pontypridd, Wales and Buxton, Derbyshire, UK (please also see Rod has also served on more than a dozen Governing Boards of Schools, Colleges and Universities over the last two decades and he is currently a governor and director of the Akaal Primary School in Derby and is also a longstanding member of the Board of the homelessness charity the Wallich (headquartered in Cardiff, Wales). In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Buxton International Festival and is Chair of the Board of the Preston Guild Link charity (in Lancashire, UK) which is fundraising for the next Preston Guild cultural festival in 2032! Rod is also an experienced senior leader and manager in higher education having served for 15 years in the roles of Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Derby, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and as Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of South Wales and Dean of Applied Social Sciences and Humanities at Buckinghamshire New University. [IJCS Editors; Research Network; Directors]

Dan Dugan is well-known in audio engineering as the inventor of the automatic microphone mixer. His patented equipment is used on many popular television productions including PBS News Hour, the presidential debates, and ESPN sports. In addition to engineering, Dan has a lively interest in philosophy, particularly skepticism, the philosophy of science, and current controversies about scientific paradigms and alternative medicine. He is the Secretary of PLANS (People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools, Inc.), a whistle-blowing organization opposing taxpayer funding of Waldorf education. <>

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.Wendy and her husband, Doug, are former members of a pseudo-Christian, Bible-based cult and several years after leaving, they became active in cult awareness activities. They are frequent presenters at ICSA conferences. Wendy co-facilitates a monthly support group for former members of cults in the Dallas metroplex. Wendy is also the author of I Can’t Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas Cult. Website: Email: Phone: (214) 607-1065. Dallas, Texas

Timothy Dunfield is a PhD student in the Religious Studies department at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Stephen Kent. His interests include new religious movements, utopian literature, and religion and popular culture. 

Charlene Edge
. After a successful career as a technical writer and proposal specialist for a high-profile software company, Charlene Edge took wing, leaving the industry to devote herself full-time to writing. Her poetry has been published by Wordsmith (The Tampa Writers Alliance), the Rollins Book of Verse 1885-2010, heard on public radio, and, along with her fiction, has appeared in The Florida Writer magazine. Essays focused on her fundamentalist cult experience have been published in Shifting Gears: Small Startling Moments In and Out of the Classroom and in ICSA Today, magazine of the International Cultic Studies Association. She is a sought-after guest speaker for college-level religious studies, philosophy, and psychology classes. Charlene is a graduate of Rollins College and lives in Florida with her husband, Dr. Hoyt L. Edge, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Rollins College. They travel the world, and Charlene blogs about their adventures, as well as fundamentalism, cults, the writing life, and other musings on her website Her memoir, Undertow: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International,™ was published in 2016.

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 
Pontypridd, Wales and Buxton, 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. In 2016 he received ICSA's Herbert L. Rosedale Award at the Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. [Directors]

Roberta Cobrin Eisenberg, MSW, BCD
is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice and a cofounder (1983) and clinical associate of R.E.T.I.R.N. With a broad range of professional experience, she has served at community mental health centers, medical centers, and the Jewish Family & Children Service. She is a Board Certified Diplomate (BCD) of the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work. Ms. Eisenberg has completed training in both child psychoanalytic psychotherapy and Gestalt therapy. She is a Fellow and founding member (1972) of the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work. She provides individual and family counseling for depression, anxiety, loss, interpersonal relationships, mental and emotional dysfunction, and chronic physical illness. She works with all adults 18 years and older and specializes in older adults. With R.E.T.I.R.N., she addresses issues of psychological harm, cultic relationships, and counseling against coercion. She accepts insurance. Contact her by email at or by phone at (610) 622-3109. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area.

Philip Elberg is a New Jersey attorney who has served as President of the ICSA. He was the first recipient of that organization’s Margaret Singer award for his contribution to the understanding of coercive behavior. He has successfully represented the victims of abusive rehabilitation facilities, sexual abuse and psychiatric malpractice. He led the fight to close several abusive tough love behavior modification facilities and has been a leading activist in exposing the harm done by America’s troubled teen industry. In 2004 ICSA awarded him the Margaret L. Singer Award for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence. 

Hamed K. El-Said, PhD – Chair and Professor of International Business and Political Economy at the Manchester Metropolitan University Business School (UK), and advisor to the United Nations al-Qaeda and Taliban Monitoring Team (2008-2013). He is an active member of the Arab Thought Forum, founded and chaired by HRH Prince Hassan ben Talal of Jordan. From 1990-92, served as a member of the Centre for Strategic Studies at Royal Scientific Society (Amman-Jordan), then the research arm of HRH Prince Hassan ben Talal (Crown Prince of Jordan between 1965-1999). In 2008, he headed the research team of the United Nations Counter Implementation Task Force’s Working Group on Addressing Radicalisation and Extremism that Lead to Terrorism. This position was responsible for analysing counter radicalisation and de-radcalisation programs of United Nations Member States, identifying best practices and lessons to be learnt from these experiences, and evaluating the effectiveness of counter radicalisation programs in general. The findings were collated in a report submitted to the United Nations Member States in late 2008 ( Professor El-Said published extensively on the Arab World. His books include: ‘Globalisation, Democratisation and Radicalisation in the Arab World’ (With Jane Harrigan, 2011), ‘Deradicalising Violent Extremists: Learning from Counter Radicalisation and De-radicalisation programmes of Muslim-Majority States’ (Routledge, 2013), and New Approaches in Fighting Terrorism: Designing and Evaluating Counter Radicalisation and Deradicalisation Programs. He is a Jordanian by birth but lives in the United Kingdom and holds a British nationality.

Marianne Englund is a licensed psychologist in Sweden, working in forensic psychiatry. Former member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Volunteer psychologist and consultant for the help organization Hjälpkällan, targeting former cult members.

Ronald Enroth, PhD, Professor of Sociology, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA. An acknowledged national resource person on cults and new religious movements, Dr. Enroth has spent more than thirty-five years researching and writing in the area of the sociology of religion. In addition to many journal and magazine articles, he has authored or co-authored ten books, including two on the topic of abusive churches.

Edna Eriksson has worked with multiculturalism, diversity, equality and equal opportunities for almost two decades - as a journalist, commentator, civil servant on a variety of ministries and agencies, as well as an educator and lecturer. Edna Eriksson's subjects are equality, discrimination and equality - from theory to practice and to define target groups and skills in a global world. Edna also holds classes in speaking and training in how to work as a moderator, which she did on several occasions, both nationally and internationally around the topics of diversity, equality, inclusion, discrimination, human rights and racism.Contact:

Jordi Escartín Solanelles, European PhD, is Lecturer of Social and Organizational Psychology at the University of Barcelona (Spain). He has done internships in Europe (Aarhus Business School in Denmark / J.W. Goethe-University Frankfurt in Germany), America (Universidad de Costa Rica) and Australia (South Australian University in Adelaide). He has published several scientific publications on psychological violence and workplace bullying. He has been researcher of the Psychological Violence Research Group since 2005. He is a member of the European Association on Work and Organizational Psychology and the International Association of Applied Psychology.

Jordi Escartín Solanelles, European PhD, es Profesor Lector en Psicología Social y de las Organizaciones del Departamento de Psicología Social de la Universidad de Barcelona. Ha realizado estancias de investigación en universidades de Europa (Aarhus Business School en Dinamarca, J.W. Goethe-University Frankfurt en Alemania), América (Universidad de Costa Rica) y Australia (South-Australian University). Además cuenta con diversas publicaciones científicas en revistas tanto nacionales como internacionales. Desde el año 2005 participa activamente en el Grupo de Investigación sobre Violencia Psicológica. Es miembro de la European Association on Work and Organizational Psychology y de la International Association of Applied Psychology. 

Giorgio Fabbro is one of the founders of SOS Abusi Psicologici, an Italian charitiable association that works in the cultic field helping families and ex members. He is the association's current president. Giorgio had a personal experience with a destructive cult when he was young and since then he has always wanted to help those who suffer harm because of a manipulative group.  Giorgio speaks Italian, English, and Spanish, and this is why he is in charge of translating articles from English or Spanish into Italian for SOS Abusi Psicologici's journal, Abusi e Vessazioni ( He is also a volunteer for the administration of the association and helps organize public events.

Olivier Faelens has been co-operating with the Study and Advice Group on Sects (S.A.S.) since 2010. In january 2013 he became president of S.A.S. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with a minor in Law from Antwerp University and two Masters of Arts in International and Comparative Politics and World Religions, Interreligious Dialogue and Religion Studies from the Catholic University of Leuven. He also worked as an intern at the Belgian federal government's Information and Advice Center concerning Harmful and Sectarian Organizations (I.A.C.S.S.O.). 

Baoxiang Fan,
 BEng, MSc, Associate Professor, Center for the Study of Cultic Groups & Religious Culture, Beijing Union University, Beijing, P.R.C.

Hong Fan, PhD, Associate Professor, Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, the People`s Public Security University of China, Beijing.

Sharon K. Farber, PhD, is a Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work in private practice in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY., treating children, adolescents, and adults. She specializes in treatment of trauma and trauma-induced disorders, such as eating disorders and self-injury. She has published several papers and three books, When the Body Is the Target: Self-Harm, Pain, and Traumatic Attachments, Hungry for Ecstasy: Trauma, the Brain, and the Influence of the Sixties and Celebrating the Wounded Healer Psychotherapist: Pain, Post-Traumatic Growth and Self-Disclosure. In her Ecstasy book, which Lorna Goldberg reviewed in the International Journal of Cultic Studies (Vol.5, 2014), she has a chapter called "Cult-Induced Ecstasy and Psychosis." Her interest in cult involvement grew out of her experience of seeing her brother's ability to think critically be taken away by Transcendental Meditation. She has written on cult involvement in her Psychology Today blog at She has done workshops for several years at the Cape Cod Institute and has presented a number of times at ICSA conferences on the question of forgiveness, cult-induced eating disorders and self-injury, and the use of expressive writing for healing from the cult experience. She has been trained in EMDR. She is an adjunct professor at New York University School of Social Work. She runs a group for clinicians who want to learn to write in a lively and engaging way about their work.

Willy Fautré
is Director of Human Rights Without Frontiers International (Brussels, Belgium). He was a Chargé de Mission at the Cabinet of the Ministry of Education (Belgium). He is a frequent author and lecturer on human rights, religious freedom and related issues. Most recently he authored: "Religious Education in Belgium," in Handbook on Religious Education (pp 54-61, eds Derek H. Davis and Elena Miroshnikova ,The Routledge International, 2013); "The Sect Issue in France and in Belgium," in Law and Religion: National, International and Comparative Perspectives (eds. W. Cole Durham and Brett G. Scharffs ,Wolters Kluwer: Aspen Publishers, 2010); "On Religious Liberty in a Democratic Society - Aspect of Law, Religion and Philosophy," in Constitutional Theory and Reality (published by Gerhard Besier and Hubert Seiwert, Technical University Dresden, Germany, 407 p., 2009); "Models of State-Church Relationships in the Modern World" (in Russian language, published by Tula State Pedagogical University on 24 February 2009, contributions pp 106-136); "Legal Regulations of Religious Communities in EU Member States: A Human Rights Perspective" (pp 67-74, in Mitna Sprava Naukovo-Analytishnii Journal, Academy of Law, Odessa, Ukraine, 2009).

Dan Fefferman is an early and current member of the Unification Church in North America, having joined in 1968. He has held various leadership positions in the Moon movement, including executive director of the Forgive-Love-Unite campaign in support of U.S. President Richard Nixon, secretary-general of the movement’s U.S. anti-communist work under the Freedom Leadership Foundation, president of the UC’s campus group CARP, and publications director of the American Freedom Coalition. A graduate of the University of California in political science in 1971 and the Unification Theological Seminary’s divinity program in 1986, he currently heads the International Coalition for Religious Freedom in the Washington DC area. He has been participating in ICSA/Infocult annual conferences for more than a decade.

Rev. Robert C. Fellows, MTS, brings a unique perspective to the study of spiritual abuse informed by his widely varied background. He paid his way through Harvard Divinity School in the 1970's by working as a church youth director, performing magic shows, and teaching yoga under the direction of Swami Satchidanada at the Integral Yoga Institute. After earning a Master of Theological Studies, he ventured into the world of professional magic and mentalism (the illusion of mind reading). This led to a presentation he developed on "Mind Control and the Cults." The message is encapsulated in his book, Easily Fooled: New Insights and Techniques for Resisting Manipulation. Later, Fellows broadened his message to other topics and had a second career as a health and wellness educator. Finally, he was called to the ministry, and since 2009 has served as the pastor of Community Congregational Church (UCC) in Greenland, NH. He believes that healthy faith communities can learn about good boundaries from the study of spiritual abuse, and that boundary awareness can help us to identify manipulation and deception in groups rather than simply naming cults to avoid.

Jose Fernández
has a Degree in Psychology from the University of Barcelona and is credited as a Psychologist and Psychotherapist by the EFPA (European Federation of Psychologists Associations). He has worked as such in private practice in Barcelona for the last 14 years at Pehuén Institute of Psychology with a constructivist and systemic approach, subjects on which he has postgraduate studies, as well as in hypnosis. He pursued these postgraduate studies, which were directed by PhD, Guillem Feixas, at the University of Barcelona. He is involved with hypnosis both as a therapeutic tool and as a field of research, having published on the matter in La Revista de Psicoterapia international journal, as well as in the International Journal of Cultic Studies. He is interested in psychological manipulation and abuse at schools (Bullying), workplace (mobbing), and home (psychological maltreatment). He is also interested in the implementation of codes of ethical practices in all kind of organizations and associations in Spain. He was a founding member of the Catalonian College of Psychologists Task Force on Hypnosis and is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Experimental and Applied Hypnosis (AAHEA). He was a psychologist and exit counselor at AIS (Barcelona) for two years. Website: Email: Phone: 34938034914 

Stephen J. Ferriss, MA, is currently a PhD student at Regent University, in the Communication School. He began his PhD studies at the University of Connecticut and received an MA in communication from the University of Hartford. His interests center on high-control New Religious Movements’ communication with a special emphasis on the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He has over 16 years’ university and college teaching experience, mostly on an adjunct basis. A former member of the HQ staff of the Watchtower Society, Ferriss was a full-time minister for the Jehovah’s Witnesses in several states and held different teaching positions for them. He has published in other academic areas as well and has held numerous positions in non-profit groups, especially those focused on genealogy. Ferriss is an analyst on the HQ staff of a large U.S. government agency and pursues cultic studies part time. 

Ari Fodeman is a graduate research assistant and a Community Psychology PhD candidate at Georgia State University (GSU), as well as Transcultural Conflict and Violence Initiative Presidential Fellow at the GSU Global Studies department. He conducts research under Dr. John Horgan on terrorism, political violence and extremism. He also has an MA in Government for the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel (degree pending thesis publication), and obtained two BAs from American University, Washington, DC—one in Psychology, and the other in Interdisciplinary Studies titled “Ideology and Worldviews,” with coursework in Political Science, International Relations, Religious Studies, Philosophy and Psychology. Ari has also worked as a research assistant in labs such as Dr. McNamara’s Neurotheology Lab at Boston University, and Dr. Arie Kruglanski’s Motivated Cognition Lab at the University of Maryland. Ari has presented at conferences, schools and on the radio about terrorism, extremism and intergroup conflict. He is a tutor by trade and a teacher at heart. He will continue to teach, research, evaluate and consult on community-based extremism and violence prevention programs as a university professor.

Guy Ford, RIP, was a vital leader of AFF (American Family Foundation - the former name of International Cultic Studies Association) during its crucial first decade, when the organization's survival often hung by a thread. Guy organized our first advisory board meeting in 1981 at Dunfey's on Cape Cod and, because of his peerless management skills, ran our advisory board meetings for many years thereafter. His counsel helped us maintain organizational discipline and find our niche in this field. He understood the cult field from the perspective of a parent who struggled to get his daughter, Wendy, out of the Way International. But he also understood the field from the perspective of an executive who was always aware of the difference between good intentions and achievement and the complex process by which the former produces the later. Those of us who worked with him learned from him. And we enjoyed and admired his humanity and down-to-earth wisdom. The obituary below touches on his many other accomplishments. We were so very fortunate to have been able to rely on him during our organization's precarious early years.

(Newspaper Obituary).  Guy B. Ford, former Vice President of Industrial Relations for 20 years at the Gillette Safety Razor Company, passed away March 22, 2007 of natural causes. Providing a “moral compass” Guy’s wise counsel was often sought. Guy was also an author, sailor, skier, tennis player, and avid saltwater fisherman. He served as a lieutenant B-24 bomber pilot in the US Army Air Forces WWII. He is survived by his wife, Dolly, and 7 children, 6 grandchildren, 4 siblings and their spouses. Born in 1922 a native of Wenton, KY Guy Barrett Ford was born in the middle of six sisters. His father, born during the Civil War, was 61 when Guy was born. Colonel Robert Carrick Ford was an entrepreneur, former US Marshall for Eastern KY, and on the legislative staff of the late Governor James M. McCreary. His mother, Florrie Garrard Rodman, was a belle of KY. Guy was the stepbrother of Owenton County Attorney Robert C. Ford Jr., and brother of Owenton Circuit Judge James R. Ford. Guy grew up in the days before running water and of getting first to the washtub. Chores and clean living made up his life as he considered becoming a Baptist preacher. He graduated from Owenton High School in 1940 tied as salutatorian of his class. He was a member of the National Honor Society and the basketball team and represented OHS in extemporaneous speaking. After high school he was a B-24 bomber pilot in the Army Air Forces for three years in WWII and was released to inactive duty as a lieutenant. He moved to New York and entered Columbia University on the GI bill, where he graduated in 1949. A memorable part-time job was guide at the World’s Fair with his brother, later Judge James R. Ford. In September 1948 he married Dolly Elfleda Preston of Mount Vernon, NY whose father had been a pioneer of airship development during WWI. Dolly had been a reporter and was public relations director of the Hotel Gramatan in Bronxville, NY. They settled in NY later moving to Wayne, PA as the family and opportunities grew. Guy worked for The Vertol (Piasecki helicopters) division of Boeing doing Personnel work and later joined the Pennsylvania Railroad as Manager of Salary Administration. In 1962 the family moved to NJ when Guy took a job as Manager of Training at R. H. Macy & Co. Department Stores. Implementing a successful training program and lured by his former boss, Guy moved on to Boston, MA in 1964 joining Filene’s, part of Federated Department Stores, as head of personnel and labor relations. In 1968 he was appointed to the newly created position of Vice President of Industrial Relations for the Gillette Safety Razor Company, where he remained until retirement 20 years later. He is the author of “Building a Winning Employee Team” published by the American Management Association and co-authored with Jim Black, and “Front Line Management,” published by McGraw Hill. Guy’s civic contributions were any and his advice was often sought. In 1970 he worked with Junior Achievement of Eastern Massachusetts as General hairman of the fund raising campaign. For a few years in the early 1980s Guy served along with other Boston senior executives on the Advisory Council for the Harvard Extension School's graduate management program. He helped to found two still vital and leading  organizations: The Sportsmen’s Tennis Club for inner city youth and the International Cultic Studies Association (formerly the American Family Foundation). He played handball, squash, and tennis; enjoyed skiing at King Ridge in NH and sailboat racing off Marblehead. From 1991-1992 Guy was Commodore of the Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead where he and Dolly were members for over 40 years. A voracious reader and an avid sports fisherman, Guy was very well known for finding the blues and striped bass and sharing them generously with friends. 

Wendy Ford Wolfberg is author of Recovery from Abusive Groups.

Rebbe Fortune lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She is currently writing and illustrating a devotional book designed for use by women recovering from mind-control relationships experienced in legalistic Christian churches. Her purpose in writing the book is to help women heal from the fragmented view of themselves they received from abusive teachings regarding God’s view of them as women.

Matthew Forester, ABD, recently completed the coursework for his doctorate in English, specializing in rhetorical theory, at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He is currently an adjunct lecturer in the University Writing Program at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Matthew was born and raised in the Worldwide Church of God and indoctrinated with the ideologies of Armstrongism. After his emancipation from this group, he found the study of rhetorical theory to be therapeutic, as it offered a very powerful explanation for how his worldview had been the product of a very clever religious entrepreneur. Matthew is currently writing his dissertation, which focuses on the rhetoric of cultic groups and the implications these rhetorics provide about the role of language in the constitution of human subjects. 

Tamara Fosnight is a second generation former member of a network of congregations which splintered off from Shepherding movement. She is currently a senior at Ball State University majoring in Psychology and minoring in social work and sociology. She is a member of Ball State's Honors College and a member of various honor societies. She hopes to work with other former members of destructive high demand sects and groups. She feels she owes a great of gratitude and attributes much of her academic success to those who gave her hope at Wellsprings.

Cindy Foster. A native of Sugar Land, Texas, Cindy grew up in an Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) home, attended an Accelerated Christian Education high school, and graduated from a Baptist Bible College. She and her husband spent the next twenty years assisting her sister and brother-in-law with pastoring an IFB church in Oklahoma. When the church dissolved, along with her eight homeschooled children, her family relocated near Tulsa. After much healing through resources from Ministry Stress Management, she and her husband eventually became facilitators for the organization. Still growing and learning (and after managing a family-based business), the two also now pastor a home church which they established two years after leaving the IFB. They are currently developing a program for missionary kids to help them assimilate into American culture upon leaving parents’ field of service.

Jacqueline Fowler, LMT (licensed Massage therapist,) HAPP (holistic Alternative Psychology Practitioner) member MINDS association (changing one mind at a time) website:  I am a touch and talk therapist for PTSD. 501(c) 3 Mobile pain management clinic. My bio is on my website.

Dr Campbell Fraser is a faculty member of Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. He is a leading authority on international human organ trafficking and in this role he extensively investigated the claims of so-called organ harvesting in China. His engagement with medical professionals in China have established Dr Fraser as a central target for reprisals, and this ongoing campaign has motivated him to spend the last two years observing the behaviors of the leadership and modus operandi of the movements making these claims. These investigations have given Dr Fraser a unique insight into the so-called organ harvesting phenomenon, and he regularly presents and consults to both governmental and private agencies throughout the world on this subject.

Esther Ruth Friedman, MA, LMHC, is an expressive arts therapist and licensed mental health counselor with a Master’s Degree from Lesley University. She is also a former member who is establishing a Boston area practice designed specifically for ex-cult members: The Gentle Souls Revolution, Healing Arts. She recovered her voice, and life, through writing, songwriting and music. In turn, she has helped others using the insights and tools gleaned, including family members of current members, active members who have reached out for help exiting, and former members who needed support while transitioning back into their lives. In 2014, she volunteered to interview defendants who were being, or had been, threatened by cultic litigation for an ICSA study on free speech, and reported on their experiences. She presented her findings in 2015, at ICSA’s conference in Santa Fe, which included an interview with Attorney Peter Skolnik, who has been providing legal counsel to Rick Ross, Cult Education Institute, since 2000. She published an article about that interview in ICSA Today. She believes recovery from cultic groups requires the exercise of free speech, through which former members take the narrative back, reclaim their voices and thus, their identities. (781) 951-4433;

Edward J. Frischholz, PhD, RIP. (Eulogy by Alan Scheflin, JD, LLM, MA.) My friend, Ed Frischholz, 58, passed away unexpectedly on May 10, 2014 from septic shock following bacterial pneumonia. He obtained his PhD. in clinical psychology from the University of Illinois in Chicago. He was a talented clinician with a private practice as a psychologist in Chicago, where he was very devoted to his patients.. Ed was nationally and internationally known for his expertise and research in hypnosis, forensic hypnosis, and dissociation. His professional life was dedicated to the field of hypnosis, and he was one of the rare people who obtained diplomate board status in both experimental and also clinical hypnosis from the American Board of Psychological Hypnosis.

He served in editorial positions for 25 years with the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis and the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, including 6 years as the Editor of AJCH. He further served as President of the Society of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis. Ed selflessly worked as the scientific meeting program chair in ASCH for 5 years, and as program co-chair for the International Society of Hypnosis in 1997, where he virtually saved that meeting from disaster. He received 12 awards for his work, including twice receiving the Milton Erickson Award for Scientific Writing in Hypnosis, the Morton Prince Award for Excellence in Scientific Research on Dissociation and Dissociative Disorders, the Arthur Shapiro Award for the Best Book on Hypnosis, the SCEH Humanitarian Award, the APA Division 30 Award for Early Career Contributions to Hypnosis, and the SCEH Presidential Commendation Award.

He was a member of the of the DSM-IV Work Group on Dissociative Disorders and an Assistant Editor of the journal Dissociation for 9 years. He was a co-author of the book Clinical Hypnosis and Memory, which set the standards for the use of hypnosis with memory and in forensic work. He published 48 professional articles or chapters in books and numerous lectures and workshops. He was honored to be mentored by Herbert Spiegel, to be his research assistant and colleague, and he was an authority on the Hypnotic Induction Profile. Ed himself mentored many youthful colleagues clinically and in getting their work published. Anyone who knew Ed was impressed with his energy and tremendous enthusiasm. People always knew where they stood with Ed. He had a direct style and would passionately express his beliefs, but even when he vigorously disagreed with a colleague, he sought to remain a personable friend. He was a remarkable, loyal and devoted friend, and showed exceptional generosity and kindness, even to new acquaintances. Colleagues were regularly impressed with his exceptional memory for virtually anything that had been published in the field of hypnosis. In his personal interactions he was effulgent in his praise and demonstrated far more interest in others than in talking about himself.

A bachelor for many years, Ed found again his first love from college, and married Connie three years ago. They were kindred spirits who could talk to each other about everything. Thereafter, whenever friends would see Ed, he would emotionally express to them how very happy he was to be married to Connie. She was truly his soul mate. The greatest tragedy about Ed's premature death is that Ed and Connie were the happiest they had ever been and they were looking forward to a long life together in Florida. "Fast Eddie" (as he liked to be known by his friends), you are sorely missed and we grieve your loss.

Liselotte Frisk. Professor in Religious Studies at Dalarna University since 2006 and current Chairman of FINYAR (The Association for Research and Information on Alternative Spirituality), Sweden. She presented a doctoral dissertation about new religious movements in 1993 at Åbo Akademi, Finland, and after that worked as a lecturer at Umeå University in Sweden for a few years. In 1999 she moved to Dalarna University where she created a profile of studying new religious movements within Religious Studies. Research projects, including two projects about the New Age in the 1990s, and later on a 3-year project about what happened to the new religious movements from the 1960s and 70s over the decades, funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond. Another research project, together with Peter Åkerbäck, Stockholm University, dealt with a local mapping of the new spirituality in Dalarna (2008-2011), funded by Vetenskapsrådet. A current research project, also funded by Vetenskapsrådet, deals with children in minority religions (2012-2015). All research projects have resulted in books and articles in Swedish, as well as in English. Liselotte Frisk has been coeditor for International Journal for the Study of New Religions between 2010-2013, and is currently coeditor for Aura, a Nordic journal publishing academic articles about new religious movements. She was the director of International Society for the Study of New Religions for four years (2010-2013).

Leona Furnari, MSW, LCSW
, is a psychotherapist in Boulder, CO, specializing in recovery from trauma, including recovery from abusive groups, spiritual abuse and harmful 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 or cultic experiences. 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. Website: Email: Phone: (303) 444-0992
 [Workshop Facilitators]

Mariusz Gajewski – Ph.D. comes from Poland. He earned a master’s degree in theology from the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome; a master’s degree in philosophy from the Jesuit University in Cracow and a doctoral degree in psychology from Jagiellonian University. After this, he worked as the assistant professor at the Jagiellonian University as well as at the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Cracow. He is the author of more than 10 books including: Controversial cult groups and sects: Psychological and legal approachesSatanism. History, controversies, questions; New reli­gious movements and sects. Between salvation and destructionSects. Psychological guide. He also wrote more than 40 of research articles and studies. He lives in USA. He is member of: M. C. Psychological Association and The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

April Galamin was born in Chicago, Illinois. Raised in a Catholic home, she is the 3rd eldest of 11 children.
Being discontented with the religion of her youth, she found herself searching for something better. In college she began listening to audio tapes of a preacher that a friend recommended. Upon graduating college she was still listening to the sermon tapes frequently and was sucked into the group - an IFB (Independent Fundamentalist Baptist) with a Calvinist bent and King James version Bible proponent. Over time she and her family were persuaded to uproot their lives to move closer to the cult. This relocation was the beginning of the end as through time and experience she realized what was being taught was not the reality of life in the group.

During her years living in Michigan, she home schooled her children and was an at-home mom. She became burned out and over time put her kids into a Lutheran school, where she was very active, volunteering and teaching art to the children. During this time she and her husband began to seriously question the dogma of the group they had joined.

Involved with the group for 19 years, she and her family walked away from it in 2007. These were very dark days for her as people she thought were her true friends shunned her and her family. In addition she was excommunicated/church disciplined as her former pastor devoted a whole sermon to discrediting her and her husband’s character for no longer wanting to remain members in that “church.” It took time, but in 2010 she and her family then uprooted yet again to move back to their home state of Illinois to rebuild their lives.

During her years in the group she tried to remain creative. This included volunteering at her children’s school and having a small art exhibit at the Sterling Heights, Michigan City Hall. In addition she was involved with the ACLU’s Lady Liberty Project, Annual Dinner & Silent Auction in Dearborn, Michigan, where she donated a watercolor painting for the Silent Auction.

April received her Bachelor of Arts degree before joining the group. She has been painting with watercolors for over 3 decades and has been published internationally. She has created a comic strip, My Life of Hell in the Kingdom, some of which were shown at the 2012 Phoenix Project at the ICSA Conference in Montreal. In addition some were published in the ICSA Today magazine, volume 3, issues 2 and 3 – 2012. April not only paints, she often works with digital art and photography. Within the last year she has worked to become an Adobe Certified Associate for Photoshop and is an Adobe Certified Expert for Illustrator. She is getting her skills back to par to get employment in the arts /graphic arts and design industry. Currently, she is a member of the Illinois Watercolor Society, The Park Ridge Art League, and International Cultic Studies Association. She has volunteered with the Ethical Humanist Society and their soup kitchens among other volunteer projects. Mostly, April is busy trying to make up for lost time, and is enjoying life free from the constraints of abusive religion.

Rubén García-Sánchez, PhD candidate, is a researcher in the Biological and Health Psychology Department at the Autonomous University of Madrid. He is a specialist in Gender Studies and Emotion Management, has extensive experience in psychosocial intervention with adolescents at risk of social exclusion, and clinical therapy with adults and couples.

Angel Garden started her career as a successful stand-up comedienne and actor. Her mediating skills and love for Ki Aikido led her to design highly praised community courses in assertiveness training.  But her first love has always been filmmaking and journalism, which led her to create Amazon Films with her husband Steve Paris, through which they have made and released Yam, a full length comedy feature, “birth-trust”, documenting the first Holistic Birth Trust conference and many other environmental, and community shorts.
On stumbling onto an extremely controlling group, the repercussions of this event allowed her to strengthen her investigative reporting and presenting skills. This gave birth to the acclaimed political satire show “Beehave”, which used the course of an education law change to lobby MPs in New Zealand.  This then led to the creation of Amazon News Media, increasingly reporting on health, education, and community issues. Meanwhile Amazon Films is increasingly involved in projects focusing on the rights of children and young people.  Angel is physically disabled and has three children.

Guillaume Garih, after living 18 years in France, left la ville des lumières for Canada, in order to study Cognitive Science at Carleton University. Although he ended up settling for a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, he is now a 2nd year Law student at the University of Ottawa, in the bi-jural and intensive « Programme de droit canadien », and in the process of obtaining a Juris Doctor and a Licentiate of Laws simultaneously. 

Ken Garrett, DMin, is senior pastor of Grace Church, located in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. After a twenty-year career as a paramedic he completed seminary studies and transitioned to the pastorate. Ken has traveled to Vietnam, Uzbekistan, and Northern Iraq with Medical Teams, International, assisting with the development of pre-hospital emergency care systems. For twelve years Ken and his wife Sharon were members of a high-demand, abusive church whose members lived communally, adhering to an extreme application of Christian discipleship. Ken and Sharon made a painful exit from the church in 1996 with their three daughters. They now enjoy many opportunities to counsel and care for survivors of abusive churches from the Portland-metro area, and have begun a quarterly meet-up to promote friendship and education related to spiritual abuse. Recently Ken completed his doctorate, focusing on the recognition of spiritually abusive churches, and recovery from the trauma they inflict on members. 503.522.4309

Kevin Garvey, RIP
, pioneering exit counselor, formerly of Hamden, CT. and New York City, died after an extended illness on May 27, 2008 in Middletown, CT. His loving family was by his side. He leaves many grieving friends in the ICSA community.

Many of his ICSA friends may not have realized that Kevin was a world class sailor. He completed the 1973 Honolulu Race, crewed in the Newport to Bermuda Race and the America's Cup, and placed in such competitions as the North American Championship, the Atlantic Coast Championship, the Chesapeake Soling Bowl, as well as placing in numerous U.S. Olympic Trials in the Soling class.

Kevin was over thirty when his very considerable analytical talents were accosted in the mid-1970s by the cult phenomenon. He had been a Manhattan stockbroker for the better part of a decade when, having turned with some commercial success to songwriting, he discovered that his business partner had become enmeshed in a mind-controlling "Jesus" group. The revelation to Kevin came in his partner's response to subtle romantic interest shown him by a young woman: the partner broke out in a rash. Kevin learned that the group had conditioned his partner to react with morbid guilt when he thus felt "satanic" romantic responses in himself. During the same period, Kevin dated a woman who began to suffer from a tri-partite personality conflict as a result of a new age training group. These experiences, plus his own interaction with recruiters to popular New Age training groups, set him on a new path.

Kevin enrolled at Columbia University and began to read what literature there was on the subject, and actually fashioned his own course of study. He persuaded the head of the graduate philosophy department to supervise a double-credit tutorial on issues of contemporary cultism. He then did tutorials in other disciplines, focusing on various aspects of the phenomenon. He based his exit counseling approach on the epistemological principles and metaphysical conceptions of Thomas Aquinas. He said that Aquinas's understanding of the way the intellect deals with the senses is "down to earth" and thus extremely helpful in encouraging the dialogue needed for successful exit counseling. Aquinas’ metaphysics added to Kevin's natural empathy and capacity to discuss both religious issues and the ethics of cult manipulation, which arise in many cult involvements.  In addition to exit counseling, Kevin provided industrial consulting on New Age training programs and testified in cult-related court cases.

Kevin wrote and co-authored numerous articles and chapters for books on cults and recovery issues, including a well-received series on est in Our Town. He contributed to a landmark chapter on exit counseling in ICSA's Recovery from Cults: A Handbook for Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse, and also contributed to that book a chapter entitled, "The Importance of Information in Preparing for Exit Counseling: A Case Study."  In the early 1990s he developed a keen interest in the phenomenon of Satanism and published (with Linda Blood) an article, "Interesting Times," in ICSA's Cultic Studies Journal. During his last year of life, despite his debilitating illness, Kevin was working on a paper, "Alcoholics Anonymous: The Disorganized Cult?" He had hoped to present this paper at the 2008 ICSA Annual Conference in Philadelphia. Sadly, he was never able to make that conference. 

Kevin's colleagues considered him to be a "walking encyclopedia" of modern and ancient cultic practices alike. Even a simple question could generate an extraordinary conversation over a cup of coffee, for which Kevin, a raconteur as well, was famous. His quick wit, great sense of humor, and loyalty will be missed by all who knew him.

Joe Gass spent a year in a high-demand eastern-based group. He has a BS in Health Sciences and currently works in the health communications industry. 

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.

Peter N. Georgiades, Esq., is an attorney and counselor at law practicing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. A graduate of Carnegie-Mellon (1973) and George Washington (1977) Universities, he is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. Between 1980 and 1995, his practice consisted primarily of representing the victims of cults and authoritarian groups, nationwide. Over the years he has successfully recovered millions of dollars from a wide array of cults and their leaders. His last major cult case was Robert A. Miller, et al. v. Tony and Susan Alamo Foundation, a federal case which resulted in a $2.8 Million judgment, and an IRS investigation that resulted in the conviction of Tony Alamo for tax fraud and the imposition of a six year prison term.

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. [Directors; Workshop Facilitators]

Dr Kerry Gibson
is a senior lecturer in Clinical Psychology now based at the University of Auckland. She has a longstanding interest in research in children and trauma and has published widely in this and related areas. As a clinical psychologist she has also worked with survivors of various forms of trauma, including political violence, torture and sexual abuse. Kerry recently completed a three-year study looking at retrospective accounts of people who spent their childhood at a New Zealand community called Centrepoint in which the sexual abuse of children was known to have occurred. This research was conducted under the auspices of Massey University where Kerry was, until recently, the Director of the Centre for Psychology. 

Gene Giguere, MA, has been the senior pastor of Harvest Community Church of Woonsocket, RI for the past 17 years. He received a call to full-time Christian ministry in 1989 and was ordained in December of 1995. He and his family served the Lord as missionaries in Thessaloniki, Greece throughout most of 1996 to 1999. In late 1999, he began meeting with a small core group of believers in Woonsocket in what would soon become Harvest Community Church. Two years later, Harvest moved to its own building at 60 North Main St., where it currently resides. In 2005, the Board of Directors and Staff of Family Resources Community Action presented Gene with the city’s prestigious Paul H. Dempster Award. In 2006, The Rotary Foundation named Gene a Paul Harris Fellow, in appreciation for the significant assistance he'd given for “the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.” Gene and his wife Mary have been partners in ministry since 1985 and are the parents of two married daughters, Allison and Amy. Both are walking with the Lord. Amy and her husband Ryan have given them two grandchildren – Jacob Eugene and Bella Rose – who are a source of inestimable joy. Gene’s passion for teaching, encouraging believers, and reaching the lost are threads that run through all he does. It is his conviction that it would be “an affront to the Scriptures to use them as a mere convenience to hang his own thoughts upon” (A.T. Pierson). More than 2000 of his sermons/teachings are currently available free of charge. He holds an MA in Urban Ministry Leadership (MAUML) from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he graduated summa cum laude.

Mark Giles
, APR, BPE, CD, MDS, pcsc, is a military officer specializing in public affairs and influence activities, including psychological operations. Referred to as one of Canada's chief cult experts, he recently returned from overseas service with the Canadian Armed Forces information operations cell in Latvia. Previously the head of communications for Interpol, the Canadian Forces Military Police and National Investigation Service, and Atomic Energy Canada (PHAI), he served for 10 years as a police officer with the Calgary Police Service and more than four years as a monthly columnist with Blue Line, Canada's national law enforcement magazine. Raised in the Mormon Church, he stopped practicing in the 1980's after spending two years as a full-time missionary in Belgium and France – resigning his church membership in 2001. Now a passionate presenter, he has spoken on cults, communication and control at the Canadian Public Relations Society conference in 2011, and the ICSA and Ex-Mormon conferences in 2016.

Dolors Gironés, who translates abstracts into Spanish for ICSA’s academic journal, International Journal of Cultic Studies, has a degree in Library and Information Science. She works as a librarian. 

Narangkar Glover
was born in Española, New Mexico to members of the high demand group 3HO Sikh Dharma. Because of this group, she and her siblings spent their entire childhood away from their parents at a boarding school called Guru Nanak Fifth Centenary School located in Uttarakhand, India. She left the group at age nineteen and began studying art. Glover’s work revolves around her formative years in this group ­– the chaos, the hostility, and the trauma – which have driven her to be interested in what it is about early life experiences that can fundamentally influence who we are, how we navigate our worlds, and why we are driven to create work from it. Glover received a Bachelor in Fine Arts from The California College of Arts and Crafts in 1999, and a Masters in Fine Arts from The University of California at Berkeley in 2011. She has exhibited her work in New York, Michigan, Los Angeles and all over the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s the recipient of the prestigious Joan Mitchell MFA Award in Painting and Sculpture, the Headlands Center for the Arts Graduate Fellowship, and The Phelan-Murphy-Cadogan prize. She has been published in New American Paintings 93 (MFA Annual) and 91 (Pacific Coast Edition), and is currently represented by Andrea Schwartz Gallery in San Francisco. Glover lives and works in Oakland, California. 

Débora Godoy Izquierdo, PhD, is Full Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Granada (Spain). She has taught a wide diversity of pre-graduate and post-graduate courses related to Health Psychology. Her main research lines are related to the psychological factors involved in the protection and promotion of health, well-being, quality of life, happiness, prevention, and treatment of disorders and diseases. Among other research lines, she is currently researching in love and romantic relationships and their relationships with abuse and violence against women. A particular focus is made on women and gender studies throughout her teaching and research. She has been principal researcher of a variety of investigation projects and has participated as researcher in others. She has numerous publications, including books and chapters in prestigious publishing companies, as well as scientific articles in well-known national and international academic journals. She has been the recipient of scientific awards and recognitions. Lastly, she has experience in academic administration tasks within the rector's office.

Juan Fco Godoy García, PhD, is Professor in Psychology at University of Granada (Spain). He has taughta wide diversity of pre-graduate and post-graduate courses related to Health Psychology in different Spanish, European, and North-American universities. His main research lines are related to the psychological factors involved in the protection and promotion of health, well-being, and happiness, prevention, and treatment of disorders and diseases, clinical neuropsychology, psychology of physical exercise and sport, and personal models of beliefs about health and disease. He has been principal researcher of a variety of investigation projects, has participated in the development of patents. and has numerous publications, including books and chapters in prestigious publishing companies, as well as scientific articles in well-known national and international academic journals. He has been the recipient of diverse scientific and professional awards and recognitions. Lastly, he has ample experience in academic administration tasks at the levels of direction of departments and within the rector’s office.

Lorna Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA,
Board member and past president of ICSA, is a clinical social worker and psychoanalyst in private practice and Director, Institute for 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. In1989, 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. She 
is also co-editor of ICSA's Cult Recovery: A Clinician's Guide to Working With Former Members and Their Families, published in 2017. She also has written a chapter entitled, “ Therapy with Former Members of Destructive Groups,” for a book, New Religious Movements and Counseling (2018), edited by Sarah Harvey, Silke Steidinger and James A Beckford.   [Directors; Workshop Facilitators]

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, which has been meeting for over forty years. It 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 has published numerous articles in books and professional journals, and he is one of the editors of ICSA’s Cult Recovery:  A Clinician’s Guide to Working With Former Members and Their Families, published in 2017.  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.  Website: BLGOLDBERG.COM. Email: Phone: (201) 894-8515 Englewood, New Jersey. [Workshop Facilitators]

Vega González Bueso, Degree in Psychology from the University of Barcelona. Diploma Specialist Clinical Psychology from the University of Barcelona. Diploma in Nursing from the University of Barcelona. Master in Language Disorders, University Polytechnic of Catalonia. Graduate Judicial Expertise University Polytechnic of Catalonia. Currently Manager/ Director of AIS (Care and Research Social Addictions). Clinical psychologist specialist. Professor at the University of Valencia and the University of Barcelona in the subject Groups of Psychological Manipulation (coercive sects). Since 2003 also works within the scope of care and research for people affected by their membership in groups or sects using coercive psychological manipulation. Email:   Phone: 93301.30.24 

Maria Göransson comes from the town Linköping in Sweden and has a bachelors degree in psychology. She has a
special interest in cultic environments and the effects they can have on their members and the members' families. The study she made as a thesis for a bachelor degree is about cults and the psychological well being among ex-cult members. She is now studying medicine to become a doctor. Her own experiences from cults is that from the age of 15 she was engaged in the Swedish pentecostal church, where she was an active but reluctant member for about 15 years. Although the pentecostal church is not considered a cult in Sweden, her experiences from that period and how it affected her raised an interest to learn about cults. This interest became even stronger when a family member became deeply involved in a church with connections to the Word of life in Uppsala, Sweden, part of charismatic christianity.

Ford Greene, Esq., Attorney at Law (California State Bar No. 107601), is a former member of the Unification Church who walked out after eight months of indoctrination and was never deprogrammed. Before commencing law school as a result of my experience in the Moonies, I acted as a deprogrammer for a number of years and am in part the subject of the book, Moonwebs, by Josh Freed, which was later the basis for the feature film, Ticket to Heaven. I have litigated against the Church of Scientology for over 10 years. In addition, I litigated and won an appellate court decision, Molko v.Holy Spirit Association (1988) 46 Cal.3d 1092, in which the California Supreme Court held that the First Amendment did not bar civil causes of action for fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress and restitution when a cult used deception to cause an unsuspecting individual to expose himself to brainwashing techniques and suffered damage as a result. My cult-related litigation experiences also include the successful use of the choice of evils defense in a criminal prosecution for kidnapping and false imprisonment based on an unsuccessful and forcible recapture and deprogramming (State of Colorado v. Whelan and Brandyberry) and a $1.625 million jury verdict rendered in February 1998 in Bertolucci v. Ananda Church of Self Realization in San Mateo Superior Court, California for fraud, coercion and sexual exploitation. 

Mystified by a spiritual experience that saved her life, Alicen Grey became convinced that a new friend had supernatural powers. This new friend quickly became a guru, controlling and manipulating Alicen for a year. But after the relationship ended and Alicen learned about one-on-one cults, she realized that she had been deceived through an intricate series of mind games, and that in order to heal, she had to follow her own truth. In March of 2014, Alicen decided to speak out about the abuse in verse, telling her story in a collection of poetry entitled Wolves and Other Nightmares. Her poetry was included in the 2014 Phoenix Project.

Evangeline Griego is a veteran independent filmmaker, director, and media activist making her feature length Documentary directorial debut with the film, God Willing. Previously, Griego produced Sir! No Sir! with David Zeiger, which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award. Griego’s company, About Time Productions, in association with Red Envelope Entertainment (Netflix) produced the documentary Chevolution, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. She also directed the Breathless in LA segment of the seven-part environmental series, Sierra Club Chronicles, which aired on the Sundance Channel. Griego also directed the award winning documentary, Paño Arte: Images from Inside and the bilingual documentary, Border Visions/Visiones Fronterizos funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Friedrich Griess
, educated as an electrical engineer, was in 1983 confronted with disastrous consequences when one of his four children joined a questionable group. Since then he has been engaged in activities of consulting and prevention, being a board member of the Austrian Gesellschaft gegen Sekten - und Kultgefahren (association against the dangers from sects and cults) and from 2005 - 2009 the president of the European umbrella organization FECRIS. In 2013 he received an ICSA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Friedrich Griess, de formation ingénieur électricien, dû faire face en 1983, à des conséquences désastreuses, lorsqu’un de ses quatre enfants adhéra à un groupe discutable. Depuis lors, il s’est engagé dans des activités de consultation et de prévention en tant qu’administrateur de l’association autrichienne contre les dangers des cultes et des sectes «Gesellschaft gegen Sekten - und Kultgefahren» et de 2005 à 2009 le président de la FECRIS, une organisation européenne de coordination. 

Joe Griffo is an ex-member of The Church of Bible Understanding as well as several fringe churches. His current interests lie in helping people pursue their spiritual journeys while avoiding the pitfalls that he 
experienced.  [NY Committee]

Maureen Griffo, MA, MEd, an ex-member of The Church of Bible Understanding as well as several fringe churches, is Chair/Coordinator of reFOCUS and also was one of four collaborators who established the Leo J. Ryan Education Foundation. Ms. Griffo moderated an online chat/support group for former members for many years. Currently she is spearheading the ICSA New York City Educational Initiative. She has begun a support group on spiritual abuse ("Wounded Pilgrims"), which meets the first Friday of each month (starting in November 2017) at St. Andrews Roman Catholic Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. She has a Master's in Sociology with a focus on cultic practices as well as a Master's in Education with a focus on special education. She works with children with severe emotional and developmental disabilities in New York City. [NY Committee]

Paul S. Grosswald is an attorney known for his work in fighting cultic groups. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Cult Information Service, Inc. and as legal advisor to the Intellectual Freedom Foundation, Inc. He is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey. Over the past twenty-five years, Paul has presented over 200 seminars teaching people how to protect themselves from cult recruitment by thinking critically and being good consumers. He has been interviewed by local and national news media, including Dateline NBC, Fox News Channel, WNBC-TV and Redbook Magazine. 

Susan Grotte. As a teenager in the 1980s, Susan endured 29 months at Hephzibah House, a troubled teen residential home for girls operated by an Independent Fundamental Baptist affiliate in Winona Lake, IN. She has contributed vital information about life within the walls of religious teen homes through many media interviews and documentaries. Her website,, documents the testimonies of her former sister residents and workers at the "boarding home" which continues to operate today. She resides happily in the Midwest with husband and family.

Susan Groulx is a former member of the Tony Alamo Ministries, an aberrant religious group that has been around since the early days of the Jesus Movement. She is dedicated to helping individuals who have been adversely affected by this destructive cult and was involved in bringing polygamist leader, Tony Alamo, to justice for his crimes against women and children. She is pursuing a degree in Counseling and Human Services.

Martin Gurvich (Mahaprabhu dasa) was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1963. Son of Jose Gurvich a talented and renowned Jewish artist and Julia Anorga a Catholic High School teacher. Spent his childhood in several places like Montevideo, Israel and New York. Studied Political Science in Syracuse University, USA and joined the Hare Krishna movement (ISKCON) in 1983 in Paris. He has performed many different activities in the movement and at present he is the Communications Director for Belgium and Europe. He has started together with other Hindu leaders in Belgium the Hindu Forum of Belgium as well as the Hindu Forum of Europe together with several Hindu umbrella organizations from Europe. He has also started an interfaith organization in Belgium affiliated with URI (United Religions Initiative) called Convictions in Dialogue. His responsibility as Communications Director for ISKCON Belgium and his responsibility as General Secretary of the Hindu Forum of Belgium allow him to meet many different religious leaders and political leaders and thus have first hand information and participate in discussions on issues like religious diversity, neutrality of the State, social cohesion, recognition of religions, etc. He has been granted Belgium nationality and lives with his wife and daughter in a Hare Krishna community and Temple in Durbuy, Belgium about an hour from Brussels. He is involved in the management of the Radhadesh community one of the largest Hare Krishna communities in Europe with over 120 devotees. He is known in the Hare Krishna movement as Mahaprabhu dasa his initiated Hindu name. 

Steve Guziec, MS, LPC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois. He holds a Masters of Clinical Psychology from Benedictine University in Lisle, IL. Steve practices with Behavioral Health Providers in Sycamore, IL, and is a consultant for Freedom of Mind. Steve specializes in helping people who have been born into cults and families that have been abused by a cult or other coercive entities, especially destructive religious groups. In addition to providing one-on-one treatment, Steve hosts a podcast, Sunshine After the Fog, that provides information, resources, and support for victims of cultic and coercive groups and is creating a training program for other mental health professionals with Freedom of Mind. Website: & Email: Phone: (630) 677-2070

Jennie Hallberg is a Swedish psychologist in training, currently working with children and adolescents in the school setting. She works mainly from the perspective of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and related disciplines. She has been involved in the process of evaluating the project initiated by Hjälpkällan in Sweden aimed at supporting parents and relatives of people joining cults, and has been responsible for data collection and the subsequent analysis.

David Halperin, MD, RIP, who was Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Mt. Sinai Medical School, died peacefully on December 3, 2003 at the age of 69. A graduate of Harvard University and the University of Virginia Medical School, Dr. Halperin, in addition to being a published poet, was the editor of Psychodynamic Perspectives on Religion, Sect, and Cult, as well as many articles on cults. A long-time board member of ICSA/AFF, Dr. Halperin contributed a number of articles to Cultic Studies Journal, including "The Dark Underside: Cultic Misappropriation of Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis" and "Cults and Children: the Abuse of the Young" (with Arnold Markowitz, M.S.W.).

Christopher Hamacher
 has been practicing Zen Buddhism since the late 1990s. Prompted by a number of incidents of student abuse by Zen teachers, Christopher has since been attempting to spread awareness thereof among the Zen community and exposing the cult-like elements within it; he presented a paper on that topic at the 2012 ICSA conference. Christopher lives and runs a Zen centre in Munich, Germany. He works part-time as a translator.

Eric Hamell
was born in 1961 to parents who belonged to the Socialist Workers Party, at that time a Trotskyist organization. As an adolescent he joined the SWP's youth group and was subsequently forced out on trumped-up charges because he couldn't stop thinking for himself. He remains politically active and still considers himself a socialist, but is no longer affiliated with any socialist group. 

Professor Marci Hamilton is the CEO and Academic Director of CHILD USA, which conducts evidence-based legal, medical, and social science research to identify laws and policies affecting child protection. With these facts, CHILD USA shines a light on the better pathways to truly protect all children from abuse and neglect. Professor Hamilton is a leading national expert on legal remedies to child sex abuse, including statute of limitation reform. Prof. Hamilton has been extensively quoted in national media, and is the author of two seminal books: Justice Denied, What America Must Do to Protect Its Children and God vs. The Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty, which was nominated by Cambridge for a Pulitzer Prize. Prof. Hamilton has received many honors and awards for her pioneering work to protect the vulnerable, including the Voice of Courage Award, Voice Today, 2016; the Annual Religious Liberty Award, American Humanist Association, 2015; the Free thought Heroine of the Year, Freedom from Religion Foundation, 2014; the Frank Carrington Champion of Civil Justice Award, National Crime Victims Bar Association, 2012; Pennsylvania Woman of the Year, 2012; and the E. Nathaniel Gates Award, Cardozo Law School, for outstanding scholarly work and public advocacy, 2008. Earlier in her career, Prof. Hamilton clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor at the United States Supreme Court and Judge Edward R. Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. She is a Penny and Robert Fox Family Pavilion Distinguished Scholar in the Program for Research on Religion, Fox Leadership Program, University of Pennsylvania and holds the Paul R. Verkuil Research Chair at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.

Sharon Hamm became associated with International Cultic Studies Association in 1997 and has worked in an editorial
capacity on many ICSA projects since then. She is copy editor for the
International Journal of Cultic Studies (IJCS) and ICSA Today magazine. Her credentials include degrees in business and in secondary education (English, math, and psychology); postgraduate work in education, vocational education, and philosophy; and certification as a body-mind massage therapist (BMT). Her professional experience includes secondary teaching, executive-assistant positions in for-profit and nonprofit organizations, therapeutic massage, and food-service management; editorial positions in a computer-publishing company, including managing editor of the Books department; and more than 15 years as an independent editor/consultant for content focused on education, health/wellness, and other social sciences. In addition to her ongoing work with the ICSA, she currently edits postgraduate dissertations, along with various other academic research papers and projects, primarily in the areas of education and psychology. She can be reached via email at

Camilla Hanke is a 32-year old exmormon. She grew up in a highly active Mormon family and one day her parents suddenly questioned and left the church. She was still active and it was a very tough time. Growing up she did what was expected and married as a young women. It was a less than happy relationship. As the first person in her family and after a near death experience she filed for divorce. At the same time she decided to leave the church. She quit her job, stopped seeing her friends and moved to Asia. She came home a year later with a freedom in her mind she never knew existed.

Madeline Hardess – Bachelor of social science (Policy and Research) & Vice President of Victorian Cult Information and Family Support Services. Madeline is currently an Honours student with the Social Science faculty at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). (Her honours year thesis is due for completion in January 2012.) She is writing a thesis on the political discourse on cultic activity in Australia. Madeline has focused on the work of Senator Nick Xenophon because of his ground-breaking attention on cultic activities. Madeline’s research has given her a valuable insight into the strengths and limitations of Australia’s attempts to regulate cultic activity. Her analysis is also developing a broader statement on the positioning of Human Rights in Australian political discourse because of the unique relationship Australian politics has with religious freedom. Prior to 2011 Madeline completed a Bachelor of Social Science at RMIT, and spent one semester in Sweden at Lunds Universitet studying Swedish social policy and political history. This produced a passion for drawing on the political history of a country to better understand the policy outcomes of the current day. Madeline’s interests in cultic activity and academic aspirations have developed from her two year experience of being in a cult and further time spent recovering from that experience. More specifically, Madeline’s experience as an ex-member of the Jesus People of North Queensland has led her to grapple with understanding the dynamics and traits of cultic organizations. Madeline’s thesis proposal was recognised by the Australian University Women in 2011 and awarded the Madeleine Capicchino scholarship for Human Rights. 

Gina Harding: After suffering spiritual abuse at the hands of a well-known high control/cult group, Gina Harding chose not to be a victim but rather to search for answers that led to healing. In stark opposition to what she'd been taught, she believed a formal education was step number one. She earned an MBA from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio. Almost by accident, Gina discovered her next step in the healing process. She began to seek out individuals who'd been subjected to the same kind of high control tactics and abuse that she had. She quickly realized that she could come along side and support others in their quest for healing. Gina currently runs a social enterprise focused on working with people who have been forced out, or have voluntarily left a high control or cult group, and as a result have experienced spiritual, mental, financial and even physical challenges due to shunning or excommunication. In collaboration with Vineyard Church of Columbus, Gina facilitates a nonjudgmental, Christ-centered support group called Redefining Christ, for people who have been given a false witness as to who Jesus Christ is, but desire to know him and have a close personal relationship with him. Within the framework of the relationship, a referral system exists for issues requiring clinical counseling, financial counseling and even includes a “Road-to-Home-Ownership” program. Since 2014, numerous people have received the help they need to better deal with the aftermath of escaping a high control group. Gina has spoken at various Christian churches about her unique approach to assisting people who are escaping the often lethal grip of a high control or cult group. She is also in the process of publishing her support group curriculum for national syndication, and welcomes program inquiries and support. In her spare time, Gina enjoys tennis, singing, reading, writing, and spending time with her husband and 5 children.

Cathy S Harris
is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in San Diego, California with over 20 years' experience treating and educating about cultish groups and trauma. She has been licensed in Iowa, Arizona, California and Texas. She trained for the Master of Social Work degree at the Inpatient Trauma Unit under the direction of Dr. Colin Ross in Dallas, Texas. Cathy has worked in hospital settings, inpatient and outpatient, with adults and adolescents. She was in private practice in Ames, Iowa for 7 years, working in collaboration with Dr. James Trahan, who calls her “my local trauma expert.” In addition, she has worked as an in-home therapist, residential counselor with adults and adolescents coping with addictions, crisis center clinician, Military Family Life Counselor and Licensed Independent Practitioner with the US Navy's residential substance abuse program in San Diego. Cathy has maintained a private practice from the time she became independently licensed, in 2004. Throughout her career she has endeavored to share her knowledge and experience working with trauma-Informed perspective. Cathy found little professional support while leaving a cult. Today, she offers support to ex- and exiting members of high-control groups via psychotherapy and coaching—face-to-face and online. She focuses on two core concepts that helped her make sense of shame, internalized self-blame, and ambivalence about leaving. She has developed strategies for coping and for pursuing real freedom while creating her own best life.; 619-807-9159

Steven Hassan, M.Ed., LMHC, NCC
, Director of Freedom of Mind Resource Center, Newton, MA 02459. A licensed mental health counselor and former leader in the Moon organization, Steven has been helping people on cult issues since 1976. He has written three books that have received extensive praise from former cult members, families of former members, clergy, cult experts, and psychologists: Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults (1988,1990, revised updated edition as ebook and paperback 2015)); Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves (2000); and FREEDOM OF MIND, Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs, a paperback and e-book (2012, 2013). Steven has pioneered a new approach to helping victims of mind control. His Strategic Interactive Approach (SIA) reflects the respect and care one must bring to the effort to help those involved free themselves. Unlike stressful, sensationalized and illegal deprogramming techniques, his non-coercive approach is an effective and legal alternative that has assisted thousands of families help individuals victimized by destructive group and cult-related mind control. This approach teaches family and friends how to strategically influence the individual involved in a group. In 2013, he participated in a California training for the Joint Regional Intelligence Center presented to law enforcement professionals and has been teaching about mind control in human trafficking and terrorism. In 2014 Mr. Hassan received ICSA's Special Recognition Award and co-developed Curriculum for “Ending the Game” (ETG), a ground-breaking “coercion resiliency” curriculum that reduces the feelings of attachment to traffickers and/or a lifestyle characterized by commercial sexual exploitation, thereby reducing the rate of recidivism among sex trafficking victims.

Abigail Dalgleish Hazlett
 is a researcher and victim advocate. Abigail has presented on the issue of sexual violence to a variety of audiences and, while in school, she co-founded a community organization focused on the prevention of sexual violence and advocacy for victims. Her undergraduate research examined Christian clergy’s training in handling sexual violence in their congregations. She hopes to use her research to develop a training that can be implemented into seminary school curricula. She now resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and two children. She will begin graduate work in Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin in Fall 2018, focusing on trauma’s impact on victims and their relationships, as well as institutional responses to trauma and abuse. She is co-creator of the Coercive Control Collective, an organization focused on sharing research and news about the concept of coercive control and advocating for the use of a coercive control framework for understanding extreme forms of abuse across disciplines, including policy initiatives, education and prevention efforts in the United States.

Gina Harding: After suffering spiritual abuse at the hands of a well-known high control/cult group, Gina Harding chose not to be a victim but rather to search for answers that led to healing. In stark opposition to what she'd been taught, she believed a formal education was step number one. She earned an MBA from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio. Almost by accident, Gina discovered her next step in the healing process. She began to seek out individuals who'd been subjected to the same kind of high control tactics and abuse that she had. She quickly realized that she could come along side and support others in their quest for healing. Gina currently runs a social enterprise focused on working with people who have been forced out, or have voluntarily left a high control or cult group, and as a result have experienced spiritual, mental, financial and even physical challenges due to shunning or excommunication. In collaboration with Vineyard Church of Columbus, Gina facilitates a nonjudgmental, Christ-centered support group called Redefining Christ, for people who have been given a false witness as to who Jesus Christ is, but desire to know him and have a close personal relationship with him. Within the framework of the relationship, a referral system exists for issues requiring clinical counseling, financial counseling and even includes a “Road-to-Home-Ownership” program. Since 2014, numerous people have received the help they need to better deal with the aftermath of escaping a high control group. Gina has spoken at various Christian churches about her unique approach to assisting people who are escaping the often lethal grip of a high control or cult group. She is also in the process of publishing her support group curriculum for national syndication, and welcomes program inquiries and support. In her spare time, Gina enjoys tennis, singing, reading, writing, and spending time with her husband and 5 children.

Denis Healy’s specific expertise is in working with Senior Executives, either individually, in “corporate couples,” or in teams to get beyond the “noise” of current dysfunctional behaviors and illuminate their underlying causes. He brings a unique set of skills through his own career in senior management roles, extensive coaching experience with senior executives, and formal qualifications in counselling, coaching, and psychotherapy. Over the past twenty-five years Denis has become one of Australasia’s most experienced executive counsellors. His clients have included Federal Cabinet Ministers, Chairmen and CEO’s of publicly listed organizations, Partners and Managing Partners of the Big 4 Accounting Firms, Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries within both State and Australian Public Service organizations and a Chief Judge. He has over 10,000 hours of “1 on 1” development sessions with senior executives. Denis’s credentials include: Master’s Degree (Counselling & Applied Psychotherapy); Grad Dip (Counselling); Bachelor of Arts (Psychology); Fellow, Australian Human Resources Institute; Member CAPA; PACFA Registered; Accredited Coach; Fellow, Australian Institute of Management. Website: www.the Email: Phone: (61) 41146-3534

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 Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman, and the Texas Observer. Ms. Heimlich lives with her teenage daughter in Austin, Texas.

Diane Hendel, FNP-C, MSN, MBA, is a primary care provider in an urgent care setting, an adjunct professor of nursing, and a hospice and palliative care nurse practitioner in the Washington, DC area. She is the co-founder of TM-EX, a nonprofit providing counseling and education to former members of Transcendental Meditation. She has been interviewed by, and appeared in, major media, including The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, BBC Radio, and 60 Minutes Australia. In 1990, she sued the TM organization in Federal Court for racketeering and fraud. 

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-five 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. 
She is also co-editor of ICSA's Cult Recovery: A Clinician's Guide to Working With Former Members and Their Families, published in 2017.  Website: Phone: (303) 797-0629 [Directors, Workshop Facilitators, Mental Health Network]

Alice Herron
was a member of a Hindu-based group for more than two decades. After she left she returned to her studies and achieved a Masters Degree from Heythrop College, University of London, in Psychology of Religion Her primary area of interest is examining and understanding the psychological forces operating in New Religious Movements.

Marie Hélène Hessel is the best friend of a victim caught in a situation of mind control, which has now been to court. She understands the suffering of those on the outside who do not have news about a loved one, in this case for 8 years. After her friend left the group, she stayed with Ms. Hessel and her husband for several months. Through this experience, Ms. Hessel learned to listen to her friend and respect her silences in order to help her get her feet back on the ground in the real world, and this according to her desired rhythm. Afterwards, we accompanied her in exit counseling missions to get 8 other members of her family out of the group's influence. Within SFRAEM (Société Française de Recherche et d' Analyse en Emprise Mentale), Ms. Hessel's role is to use her experience and outlook to complement professionals in the cases that are presented to them. With victims and their families her role is to carefully listen to and share with them her experiences in order to give them renewed hope for the future.

Ashlen Hilliard
has long been a student of cults, and an advocate for helping individuals navigate away from them into supportive and positive cultures. A long-time resident of Utah, she's dedicated her life to helping individuals who have left the Mormon Church. She has a B.A in Communication from Florida College, with a minor in Religious Studies. Her passions include public speaking, intercultural studies, and educating others about cults. She gained experience in a variety of workplace settings and has continued research. Most rewardingly, she started volunteering with “Holding out Help,” a non-profit organization devoted to providing pathways of independence to those who have left abusive polygamous family situations in FLDS communities. Part of her task has been to assist in constructing and teaching classes that teach essential life skills such as budgeting or applying for college. She hopes to continue her education in the coming years, and provide new conversations to the International Cultic Studies Association community.

Petra Hólmgrímsdóttir was born and raised in Iceland. She has a BSc in Psychology and a BEd in Primary and Lower Secondary Education. Currently Petra is applying for further education and has her goals set on clinical psychology, with a focus on psychological trauma, abuse, and PTSD. At the age of 16 Petra got into a Bible-based cult and spent the next 11 years of her life in various Bible-based congregations in Iceland. She attended a bible school in Florida at the age of 17 and was a youth pastor for a few years. Her experience from those years in a cultic environment has given her a different insight to the mind control that goes on in manipulative groups and the effect on people‘s lives when they leave. Petra is working on founding a counseling program or exit counselling for ex-fundamentalists, since there is none in Iceland. She did a research/final thesis with her close friend and fellow psychology student, Sigríður Sigurðardóttir, at the University of Iceland - instructor: Ragna Benedikta Garðarsdóttir. The title is: "Religious abuse: A Study on mental health of former members of Christian fundamentalist groups in Iceland."

Anke Holst (born 1970) grew up in East Germany and joined the Hare Krishnas three weeks after the Berlin Wall came down. After opening a temple in Cologne, she joined their North European publishing arm in Sweden, got married to a devotee, and had a baby. Becoming a mother brought home the impossibility of spending an entire life, and raising a new one, within the confines of the organization, so she left and re-integrated in society. She now lives in London and works in digital media, still using her experience with cult mentalities to speak about both the internet and issues like meditation as the current, very damaging, cure-all for mental health problems.

Fan Hong, PhD, an associate professor of Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Chinese People`s Public Security University, Beijing. He got his first degree in language (1984) at The Institute of International Politics, and his master degree in sociology (1989) at Chinese People`s University. He earned a PhD in philosophy at Peking University. His recent research interests focus on public security, crime control and cult group.

Maya Horton
is a second-generation adult born and raised in a closed new religious movement. Through extensive focus and personal therapy, she has come to learn that her experiences are similar to many children born in such organisations. She has fought to understand the ways in which she experienced so much psychological harm in a group that may not be considered ‘bad’ by existing conventional standards and assumptions, and now she fights to challenge those assumptions. Maya saw many therapists after leaving her group: some were very helpful, but others misunderstood cults and the needs of SGAs. Maya hopes that by speaking out and sharing her experiences she might help professionals understand some of the issues that may face young adults leaving cults. Maya received no formal education after the age of 13, but has since completed undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in biological sciences. She is also an artist, and her current work spans both arts and science. She is currently studying for a psychology degree part-time, and her long-term goal is to eventually conduct academic research in the field of developmental trauma in children and adolescents. 

Heidi Hough was fortunate enough to escape, as an SGA, from a Christian fundamentalist cult at the age of sixteen. After graduating cum laude from Occidental College in Diplomacy and World Affairs Heidi worked as a journalist for publications including The Los Angeles Times and taught creative writing to students ranging from inner city Hispanic fourth graders to rural Vermont Advanced Placement English seniors. Her current graduate school thesis in Interdisciplinary Studies at Dartmouth College is informed by her personal experiences with trauma healing and narrative recovery, the research and exploration of which she hopes to expand into a PhD in Human Development or Religious Studies. She believes everyone – fundamentalist or atheist - has an important story to tell and that the development of receptive audiences is a necessary step in the equalization of spirituality for all. Part of her current thesis includes a documentary exploring these topics

Biaowen Huang,PhD, is the assistant professor at the Department of Journalism and Communication, University of Chinese Academy of Science. He earned his PhD in journalism and Communication at Renmin University of China, Beijing, and was an exchange doctorate student at National Chengchi University, Taibei. His major research areas are health Communication and public understanding of science and faith. He recently work on issues about public understanding of science,technology and faith(including cults, new religion movement) by content analysis and discourse analysis of media coverage.

John Huddle lives in Western North Carolina. He works providing services to Credit Unions. In addition to writing his blog, since January 2010, John serves as a member of the Faith Freedom Fund. This non-profit group helps survivors with their immediate needs after leaving high-demand religious groups. This work allows him to serve survivors of his former group, Word of Faith Fellowship, by helping them make the first steps into a new life. Advocating for survivors has provided him with many opportunities to share the warnings about high-demand groups. In September of 2015, John released his first book, “Locked in- My Imprisoned Years in a Destructive Cult.” John’s next book revealing the struggles and victories after leaving Word of Faith Fellowship is expected to be published in 2016.

Elizabeth A. Ianelli, LCSW
, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New York State. She has a private practice in Carmel, New York (Putnam County) where she treats survivors of the troubled-teen industry. She can be reached for consultation at  Artist page and store:

Tammy Ichinotsubo-Ezzi, PhD has been a psychologist in private practice in the state of California for 20+ years and a spiritual director for 10+ years with a focus on working with trauma survivors, particularly survivors of childhood abuse, spiritual/religious abuse and narcissistic family dynamics and other high-demand relationships. She is Board Certified as an Expert in Traumatic Stress through the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. She previously taught as an Assistant Professor at Alliant University, California School of Professional Psychology in Alhambra, CA and as a Lecturer at Antioch University and the University of California, Irvine. She also served as the Spiritual Development Coordinator at Mary and Joseph Retreat Center in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA for six years.

Massimo Introvigne, Jur.D. is a partner in one of Italy's largest law firms and a member of the Religions division of the Italian Association of Sociology. He is the author of more than thirty books and one hundred articles in international journals on the sociology and history of religious movements, and has been the chief editor of the award-winning Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy (2001). He is the head of CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions). In 2012 he was appointed Chairperson, Observatory of Religious Liberty of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rome, Italy

Laura Illig
is a social worker from Aachen, Germany. She is currently pursuing a Master in clinical-therapeutic social work.

Josep Mª Jansà López del Vallado, is a medical doctor specializing in public health and preventive medicine. Since interning at ICSA in 1985, he has worked with AIS (Assistance and Investigation on Social Addictions), where he has assisted families, group members, and former group members. In addition to clinical experience, he has participated in different teaching and research projects in this field and issued various publications on this topic. At present he is a member of the board of AIS and also of that of the Cultic Studies Review. Dr. Jansà has also worked as epidemiologist and public health officer in various public health organizations with different responsibilities. He is member of the staff of the Barcelona Public Health Agency. Among the areas of expertise on which he has focused in recent years are health and migration and global health. He is professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona where he is the director of a master on tropical medicine and international health. In 2005 ICSA awarded Dr. Jansa the Herbert L. Rosedale Award in recognition of leadership in the effort to preserve and protect individual freedom.

Håkan Järvå, Former Scientologist and now a licensed psychologist in Sweden. Editor and co-author of the book Sektsjuka (Cult Illness) and a former lecturer for the psychology department at the University of Gothenburg on the subject of manipulation, influence, and cult illness. He offers psychotherapy to former members of cults and is also employed as a consultant by the help organization for former cult members in Sweden, Hjälpkällan, to train their nationwide network of volunteer workers. He is currently involved in a project aimed at high schools in Sweden together with a professional magician with the purpose of educating and vaccinating teenagers against manipulation.

Federico Javaloy, PhD, es Catedrático de Psicología Social de la Universidad de Barcelona desde 1990. Elaboró su tesis doctoral sobre Psicología del fanatismo, 1983, de la que surgieron un libro (Introducción al estudio del fanatismo, 1984) y diversos artículos. Se ha interesado particularmente por el fanatismo sectario y fundamentalista, tema al que se ha dedicado en distintos artículos en revistas. Obtuvo una ayuda de investigación para estudiar las sectas en la Universidad de California, Berkeley, en 1988. El estudio del fanatismo y el sectarismo le ha conducido a la investigación de estos fenómenos en el marco de los movimientos sociales, sobre los que ha publicado un libro (Comportamiento colectivo y movimientos sociales, 2001).

Karim Richard Jbeili
is a Psychologist since 1974 (Lyon University, France) and a Psychoanalyst since 1987. He has lived and worked for long periods of time in Egypt, Lebanon, France, and Canada. Between these countries, between East and West, between different religions and beliefs he closely frequented, Karim considers himself as a smuggler, a savior of transitional spaces, a messenger between cultures -- even if, unfortunately, he witnessed the sinking of many transitional spaces and rupture between cultures. Karim works halfway between psychoanalysis, history, and anthropology. He tries to forge links between these disciplines that seem orphaned from one another. Psychoanalysis must account for its evolution according to the evolution of history and zeitgeist. Anthropology must fill handicaps of psychoanalysis worried only by interiority. Karim is also much concerned about East and West relations and Kamikaze phenomena. He has a number of texts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Greg Jemsek, MA, is a narrative therapist, author, educator, and leadership coach. His work in three different countries over the course of the past 38 years includes the publication of Quiet Horizon: Releasing Ideology and Embracing Self-Knowledge, an award-winning book using Greg’s own involvement working at world headquarters in a 1970’s cult as the foundation for deconstructing psychological, narrative, and transpersonal dimensions of the cult experience. In the 1980s, Greg taught this material in a religious-studies course, New Religious Movements, at John F. Kennedy University in California. Since then, Greg’s understanding of how ideologies work has broadened by virtue of his training as a narrative therapist, in which the approach to therapy is concerned in part with how issues of power imbalance arise when the dominant discourses a society or subgroup chooses undercut the multistoried nature of human experience. Greg currently teaches, The Dogma Dialogues, a course that examines how the interplay between dominant societal metanarratives, normalized narcissism, surrogate relationships, and confusion between emotional excitation and genuine transformation make all of us more vulnerable to the conversion efforts of religious and secular organizations. His passion is to assist people in reclaiming sovereignty over their lives through a commitment to their own self-knowledge. Website: Email: Phone: (541) 646-5440

Gillie Jenkinson, PhD
, is an accredited counsellor and psychotherapist in UK and is experienced in delivering counselling face-to-face as well as on the telephone and Skype. She served two internships at Wellspring Retreat Center, Ohio, and has many years’ experience working with trauma, including survivors of spiritual and cult abuse, and sexual abuse. She has developed an approach to counselling former members - "Time Away for Post-Cult Counselling." Gillie was a member of an abusive Bible-based cult in the 1970’s. She is a regular presenter at conferences and a published author, including a co-authoring a chapter entitled "Pathological Spirituality" for a medical text book entitled Spirituality and Psychiatry, published by RCPsych Publications in UK - 2009. She is the Mental Health Editor for ICSA Today. Gillie’s doctoral research dissertation is entitled: ‘Freeing the authentic-self: Phases of Recovery and Growth from an Abusive Cult Experience’. Website: Email: Phone: +44 1433 639032

Tony Jenkinson, MA (Cantab),
graduated in mathematics at Cambridge University and is currently working towards a degree in Social Sciences and Psychology with the Open University. He is a tax consultant and a Director of Hope Valley Counselling Limited which specialises in assisting survivors of cults. He is a former cult member and lives in the Peak District in central England with his wife Gillie.

Carolyn Jervis, MA (CCST)
is the Exhibition Experience and Interpretation Coordinator at the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. She is also a freelance visual art writer and curator. Her curatorial projects include a nationally-exhibited participatory art installation and her consulting work includes assisting the creation of exhibition space for an art therapy and creative arts-focused college. In 2012, Carolyn first visited the alternative religion archive of Sociology Professor Stephen Kent at the University of Alberta, and immediately became interested in the research and exhibition potential of the collection from the perspective of art history and visual culture studies. Since then, she has been working on formulating an exhibition about print culture and alternative religions, and about the work of artists in collections and archives. Carolyn has a Master of Arts degree in Art History, Critical Curatorial Studies from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Arts Committee]

Jenny Joelsson is a teacher and former Jehovah’s witness. She raised two children in the organization. Took the fight for sole custody in court, with a case based on the doctrines of JWs and their impact on children.

Rev. Charles Foster Johnson
 is founder and pastor of Bread, a non-traditional faith community in Fort Worth. Throughout his thirty-five year pastoral ministry he has served churches in Mississippi, Kentucky, and Texas, including Second Baptist Church of Lubbock, where he led in a complete church relocation, and Trinity Baptist Church of San Antonio, where he helped build a multi-cultural and multi-racial community of faith among the 6000 member congregation.  He served interim pastorates with Immanuel Baptist Church of Nashville and Broadway Baptist Church of Fort Worth, and served a two-year term on the faculty of McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University, as Visiting Professor of Preaching.  In 2013, he founded Pastors for Texas Children, a statewide ecumenical organization mobilizing the faith community for public education ministry and advocacy. His child advocacy also includes his service on the Board of Trustees of the Child Friendly Faith Project and with New Horizons Treatment Center for Children.  He is a frequent preacher and speaker in university, church, business, education, and non-profit circles.  He has written for numerous publications, and has made guest appearances on several cable network news shows.  He is involved in civic and denominational life, including the Mentor Pastor faculty at Perkins School of Theology, SMU and the Board of Trustees of Brite Divinity School, TCU.  He was named “Baptist of the Year” by the Baptist Center for Ethics in 2004.  He was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in 2008.  He is married to Jana, has three children, and three grandchildren.  He enjoys reading, hunting, and spending time at his ranch in Desdemona, Texas.  You may read his blog at and find him on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Karen Jonson
 was a spiritual seeker for over a decade, dabbling in a variety of spiritual practices until she found one organization that captured the heart of her divine longing. It was headed by two Hindu men, who she called “guru” for 15 years. Then, she learned their dark secrets. Now, she exposes them. When Karen escaped the charismatic grip of these two powerful Hindu men, she realized an inner strength that was even more powerful than their authoritarian grip. She used her reclaimed power to expose the gurus’ corrupt organization to the world. Her dedication to exposing this dangerous cult resulted in Karen writing her memoir of the experience, Sex, Lies, and Two Hindu Gurus. This memoir is a cautionary tale for people seeking spiritual guidance in organizations ruled by charismatic, nefarious forces. It is also a crime drama—telling the story how one guru of the two gurus went from convicted pedophile to one of Texas' 10 most wanted. Finally, it is a story of how the power of pure faith, honest intentions, and sheer determination will surmount even the darkest experiences of our lives. In her memoir, Karen shares her journey of travelling from innocent spiritual seeker to a voice of truth, wisdom, and transformation for many others. 

Nitai Joseph was born into the fringes of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Hare Krishna) and at 18 joined an offshoot sect called Sri Caitanya Sanga. Over the course of 7 years, he lived as a monk in their temples in North and Central America. As part of the group’s leadership, he held positions as the guru’s personal assistant, temple manager, administrator, editor, and so on. He later moved off the group’s properties but remained heavily involved. Slowly he came to realize that he had been the subject of extreme psychological and financial manipulation and began seeking out support and information to make sense of his past. Now living in Asheville, North Carolina, Nitai works and maintains a blog about his experience and cultic conditioning in general. He plans to make the most of a troubled past and return to school for psychology and enter into the realm cult awareness and recovery.

Randy Francis Kandel, PhD, J.D. is an attorney practicing in New York, an anthropologist, and Adjunct Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. Her numerous publications include the new book Family Law: Essential Terms and Concepts (Aspen Law & Business 2000), and Litigating the Cult-Related Child Custody Case (originally published in Cultic Studies Journal, 4(2)/5(1) and republished in Cults & Consequences: The Definitive Handbook (Commission on Cults and Missionaries of the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, 1987). Her current research focuses on the human rights of children, youths, and families in Europe and the United States. 

Elizabeth Kaluaratchige. Maître de Conférences à l’Université Paris-Diderot, Paris 7. Chercheuse Centre de Recherches Psychanalyse, Médecine et Sociétés (CRPMS), (axe de recherches Corps, Pratiques Sociales et Anthropologie Psychanalytique). Chercheuse dans Pôle de Recherches-Sciences de la Ville, Université Denis-Diderot Paris 7. Doctorat, Science de l’Education à l’Université Paris 5. Doctorat, Psychopathologie et Psychanalyse à l’Université Denis-Diderot Paris 7. Maîtrise, Ethnologie et Préhistoire Université Paris 1. Recherches et publications sont centrées autour des problématiques et thématiques de la clinique du corps, selon la dimension anthropologie psychanalytique du lien social en relation avec les pratiques de soins corporels actuels. Les principaux thèmes : La clinique de l’adolescent : la violence dans les banlieues. La clinique de l’adolescente : les transgressions et les actes sacrificiels. Interface psychopathologique de la psychanalyse et sociologie : “ psychologie des foules ” et “groupe psychology ”. Travaux sur le féminin (la religiosité, la spiritualité au féminin, le mariage, la domination masculine, l’exogamie/l’endogamie, les anthropologues femmes et le féminisme). Le corps féminin intriqué dans les troubles digestifs ; l’anorexie et l’orthorexie, les critères comportementaux dans les TCA, les représentations collectives du corps féminin, les soins psychiatriques et gastro-entérologiques. La clinique de l’isolement et l’engagement collectif dans le bouddhisme occidental et le phénomène “ auto-thérapie ”. Investigation sur le sentiment océanique, le “ maternel ” et la fonction paternelle dans le bouddhisme en Asie et en Occident, les dérives sectaires et le travail de la pulsion de mort dans le

Christine Marie Katas, MBA, PhD student
at Fielding Graduate University. She is an educator, human rights activist, and author, having published 19 educational books. She is the founder of Voices for Dignity, an organization that creates educational content, media and activities to help create awareness about and empower survivors of cults, religious abuse, polygamy, prostitution, and human trafficking. She is on the board of the Sound Choices Coalition which advocates against polygamy, and she has appeared on the popular TV shows “Sister Wives” and “Escaping Polygamy.” Her own cultic experience was featured on the History Channel, Lifetime, Crime Investigation and other networks in the U.S. and abroad, but her story was misrepresented, motivating Christine to return to school to get a PhD in Media Psychology. Her special research interests include promoting media sensitivity to prevent victim-blaming, public humiliation and retraumatization. She is currently working on a guidebook to trauma-inform the media, and to help cult and other survivors navigate the process of going public with their stories in a way that empowers their lives. In addition to helping survivors rebuild happy lives, Christine educates and assists them in understanding how to take control of their media, maintain power over their personal narratives, and use digital media to foster their life victories.

Kathrin Kaufmann is a social worker from Aachen, Germany. She is currently pursuing a Master in clinical-therapeutic social work.

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.

Rev. Steve Kelly, M.Div., MA, NCC, LPC, has been a pastor for over 27 years. He is currently the Spiritual Care Counselor at Caron Texas Addiction Facility. Rev. Steve has a Masters of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology located on the campus of Southern Methodist University and Bachelors in Religion from Centenary College in Louisiana. In 2007, he received a Masters in Substance Abuse Counseling from University of Louisiana at Monroe. Rev. Steve is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas.

Lisa Kendall, MPA, is a human and animal rights advocate. Years of work with youth experiencing extensive challenges led Lisa's advocacy focus back to her roots. Growing up in the Move of God, one of the largest and most exploitive cults in the U.S. gives her insight into how such groups operate. Life in the Move excluded the family from the protection of public agencies while introducing more abusive people into their lives. Today, Lisa documents abuses associated with members of the Move of God while working with legislators and protective service agencies to better protect children in all high-demand groups. Raising awareness of the needs of those leaving such groups is the current focus of her advocacy work. Her soon to be released memoir, No Place Like Home, explores the aftermath of life for second generation members of religious cults.

Lois Kendall, PhD
Dr Kendall has spoken widely in this field and written a book entitled Born and Raised in a Sect: You are Not Alone. Her research has examined the psychological effects of former sect membership, looking at both first- and second-generation former members of sects and also current and former members of non sect-like groups. She was born and raised in an English sect, which she left when she was 17.

Stephen A. Kent, PhD, Professor of Sociology, University of Alberta, 
teaches undergraduate and graduate
courses on the sociology of religion and the sociology of sectarian groups. He has published articles in numerous sociology and religious study journals. His 2001 book, From Slogans to Mantras: Social Protest and Religious Conversion in the Late Vietnam War Era, was selected by Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2002. In 2012 he received The Margaret Thaler Singer Award for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence from the American Cultic Studies Association.

Chantal Kern is a social worker from Aachen, Germany. She is currently pursuing a Master in clinical-therapeutic social work.

Aftab Khan, M.D., is a Psychiatrist with a Fellowship in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. Currently he is Director of Residency Training and Vice Chair for Education at the Department of Psychiatry, Penn State College of Medicine and Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA. Born and raised in Pakistan, ethnically pushtoon, he graduated from Khyber Medical College, Peshawar, Pakistan in 1988. He trained in Psychiatry for two years in Pakistan and then did a residency and fellowship at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Khan returned to Pakistan and practised and taught psychiatry in Islamabad for eleven years before returning to US. One of his areas of interest is Psychological Make up of a Muslim Suicide Bomber. 

Nedjma Khelifi-Otmane. Doctorante à l’Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis en Pratique et Théorie du Sens : psychanalyse. 1, Square Buffalo 92120 Montrouge 06 11 17 81 15. Nedjma Khelifi-Otmane est actuellement doctorante à l’Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis en Pratique et Théorie du Sens : psychanalyse. Elle prépare une thèse sur le transhumanisme actuel et une nouvelle représentation à l'époque du réel génétique: métamorphose, corps, lettre, sous la direction de Gérard Miller et en co-direction avec Gérard Wajcman. En tant que représente des doctorants, elle a co-organisé en mai 2016 une journée d’étude sur le thème « (S’) Exiler » (Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis). Elle a également communiqué à l’Université Paris 7 Diderot en 2016 lors d’une conférence intitulée Passionnément à la folie ?

Chae Young Kim, Korean, is Professor of Religious Studies in Sogang University (Jesuit Foundation). He served as president for Korean Association for Religious Studies from 2014-2016. He is serving now as an editorial board member in international journal, Religion and British Journal of Religious Education. He published several English articles in The Heythrop Journal, The Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Journal of Dharma, and The Journal of Religion and Health and coauthored books on religious studies and philosophy of religion in Korean. He is the translator of William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience and Ernest Becker’s The Denial of Death into Korean. He has been researching and writing on psychology of religion, contemporary Korean religious experience and its interpretation theories in relation to William James, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Carl Gustav Jung, and Bernard Lonergan.  

W. Dennis King is a writer and expert on extremist groups. Based in New York City, he is the author of the critically acclaimed Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism (1989) and the standard manual for investigative journalists Get the Facts on Anyone, 3rd ed., 1999. Mr. King was the first journalist to write about Fred Newman’s organization in 1977 and has tracked the group ever since.

Peter Kingsland is a retired professional mechanical engineer who lives in Surrey, British Columbia. Surrey is a suburb of Vancouver, Canada. Although Peter is not an expert in psychology or cults, he has been actively interested in cultic groups and their founders for over twenty years, since his daughter joined a women's religious group that is a lay apostolate associated with an order of Roman Catholic priests. Peter has been proactively making others aware of the group. Working together with Paul Lennon, Peter is co-editor of ReGAIN, a website that provides outreach to unite and support those touched or adversely affected by the Legionaries of Christ religious order and the Regnum Christi Movement, both of which are under reform by a commissioner from the Vatican. He has written a number of articles based on his experience. He has attended a previous ICSA conference and at one time retained a cult and mind control expert in an attempt to improve his daughter's situation. His daughter remains a member of her group as of June, 2012. Peter remains an active practicing Roman Catholic. He has contributed a chapter for one of Paul Lennon's latest books about the Legion and Regnum Christi: Father Macial Maciel, pedophile, psychopath and Legion of Christ founder, from R.J. Neusaus to Benedict XVI, 2nd. edition. 

Autumne Kirkpatrick is Pastor of Engrafted Word Fellowship Church and Associated Ministries, She is also a former member of two high-demand religious groups. She helps Christians recognize and overcome abuse, including spiritual and marital abuse. She is an advocate for believers who want to retain their faith and beliefs in God and the Bible while sorting through the unhealthy and legalistic directives, practices, and belief systems of former high-control leaders and groups. Recognizing that both the Christian and therapeutic communities have some inherent prejudice towards each other, she supports training and education in both groups so that Christians may better access the evidence-based therapeutic resources available today, and so that clinicians may become more sensitive in responding to the unique needs of Christians in recovery. She has a broad base of experience and training within the non-Christian and therapeutic communities, as well as in Christian ministry modalities. Autumne is also a published author, artist, and photographer, who writes books about God’s love for every person and about restoring loving relationships with God, oneself, and others.

Masaki Kito, Esq, is a founding partner of LINK LAW OFFICE Kito and Partners in Tokyo, established in 2001. He has been an advocate for the victims of various cultic groups for over 20 years in Tokyo. He was the vice chairperson of Consumer Affairs Committee of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) and the chairperson of Consumer Affairs Committee of Daini Tokyo Bar Association (DTBA). He is a member of the National Network of Lawyers against Spiritual Sales, Legal Team Representing Victims of Aum Shinrikyo, and the Japan Society for Cult Prevention and Recovery (JSCPR). He is one of the leading public commentators on cults in Japan, making frequent appearances in the various media, including TV and radio programs on NHK (Japan’s national public station) and commercial stations, major newspapers, and magazines. He is also renowned as a specialist of the broader range of consumer affairs and also a specialist of issues concerning the Internet. As an expert, he is frequently invited to meetings and study sessions hosted by diet members of both majority and minority parties (Liberal Democratic Party and The Democratic Party of Japan). 

Dave Kleiner is a businessman and former school psychologist (K-12), with prior experience working in a New York State psychiatric facility while he received his degrees. His interest in this field stems from the fact that his wife worked for a cultic organization and he witnessed the harassment and trauma she endured after she was fired for refusing to join it. 

Kristian Klippenstein is a PhD student in the University of Alberta’s Interdisciplinary Program of Religious Studies, supervised by Dr. Stephen A. Kent. Aside from Jonestown, his research interests include Anabaptist communities, and his dissertation will analyze the impact of leaders’ deaths on high-demand religions. He can be reached at

Heidi I. Knapp
 is currently pursuing a substance abuse counseling certification for the state of Colorado. 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, MA,
 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 organization is 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 ABD in a PhD (Pastoral Psychology) at Graduate Theological Foundation (GTF) and is involved in several writing projects examining spiritual abuse and recovery.
Website:   Email: Phone: 720-227-8695.

Brigitte Knobel est licenciée en sociologie de l’Université de Lausanne. Elle est directrice du Centre intercantonal d’information sur les croyances de Genève (CIC), institution d’utilité publique créée en 2002 et spécialisée dans l’information sur les nouveaux mouvements religieux. Elle participe également en tant que sociologue à la recherche sur la diversité religieuse dans les prisons suisses financée par la Confédération suisse (PNR 58). Elle y étudie en particulier la situation des minorités religieuses et des religions alternatives. 

Brigitte Knobel was trained as a sociologist at the University of Lausanne. She is the director of the Centre intercantonal d’information sur les croyances (Information Center on Beliefs) in Geneva, a non-profit information centre specializing in new religious movements, created in 2002. She is also a member of a research team working on religious diversity in Swiss prisons sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF, nrp 58), in which she focuses on the situation of alternative religions and minorities.

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 and Cult Child, view the book trailer at:
Dusted Shelves; memoir of a cult child, and Becoming Gratitude.

Mary Kochan was raised a third-generation Jehovah's Witness, exiting that group in 1993 and entering the Catholic Church on Trinity Sunday, 1996. She is a senior editor for the Catholic Exchange Website and script writer for Rock Solid with Mark Shea, the Catholic Exchange podcast. She lives in Douglasville, Georgia and has four grown children and six grandchildren, two of whom she is home schooling. 

Molly Koshatka, a former Bible-based cult member and graduate of Wellspring, is currently enrolled in a postgraduate French program and is a high school French teacher.  During her undergraduate time, Molly led a support group on a college campus for former cult members.  Molly has managed to make remarkable progress in her recovery from a ten-year involvement in a cult.  Unfortunately, she still has several family members who reamain in the small, Bible-based cult in North Texas that she left five years ago.

David Koussens (PhD, sociologie) est professeur adjoint et coresponsable de l’École d’été sur les religions en modernité avancée au département d’études religieuses de l’Université de Sherbrooke. Il est membre régulier du Groupe de recherche Société, droit et religions de l’Université de Sherbrooke et membre collaborateur du Centre d’études ethniques des universités montréalaises. Il a été chercheur doctoral invité au Groupe Sociétés-Religions-Laïcités du Centre national de recherche scientifique (2008), Max Weber Fellow à l’Institut universitaire européen de Florence (2010-2011), Visiting Scholar à la London School of Economics and Political Science (2011) et chercheur postdoctoral au Centre de recherche en éthique de l’Université de Montréal (2011).

Karin Krijnen (1964) is manager front-office at Sektesignaal. She has worked for the Ministry of Justice and for the police. Karin is involved in coaching employees who talk with victims or their relatives. They refer, if necessary, to counseling or investigative agencies to explore prosecution. The intensive maintenance of contacts with partners in the chain is part of this. She has frequent contact with youth care agencies. She asks advise from behavioral scientists on cases where children within closed groups are involved. The aim is to help children who are victims of abuse in the movement which their parent(s) live in.

Dariusz Krok, PhD, MA in theology, PhD in psychology. He received undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate education in psychology at the Catholic University of Lublin, and in theology at the Opole University, Poland. He is currently working as Assistant Professor at the Opole University. His primary areas of research cover the domains of psychology of religion and social psychology. Within these areas, he has conducted research analyzing processes and implications of persuasion and attitude change. He is author and co-editor the following books: Perswazja w przekazie religijno-moralnym [Persuasion in religious and moral communication], J?zyk przekazu religijnego [Language of religious communication], Psychologiczny wymiar cierpienia [Psychological dimension of suffering]. A great deal of his current work explores the role of religious beliefs and relations between religiousness and personality. He has also worked with ex-members of cultic groups, providing counseling and psychological support. has conducted research analyzing processes and implications of persuasion and attitude change. He is author and co-editor the following books: Perswazja w przekazie religijno-moralnym [Persuasion in religious and moral communication], J?zyk przekazu religijnego [Language of religious communication], Psychologiczny wymiar cierpienia [Psychological dimension of suffering]. A great deal of his current work explores the role of religious beliefs and relations between religiousness and personality. He has also worked with ex-members of cultic groups, providing counseling and psychological support.

Michael Kropveld is Founder and Executive Director of Info-Cult / Info-Secte, based in Montreal, Canada. He also serves on the board of directors of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), and as Chair of the ICSA Conference Committee, he has been involved in organizing the ICSA annual international conferences on cultic phenomena since the mid-1990s. Since the founding of Info-Cult in 1980, Michael 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. He is an invited speaker worldwide, and has appeared on many radio and television programs locally, nationally and internationally. Among other publications, he co-authored The Cult Phenomenon: How Groups Function (2006) / Le phénomène des sectes: L'étude du fonctionnement des groupes (2003). Both versions are downloadable for free here. In 1992, he was awarded the 125 Commemorative Medal 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 Kropveld est fondateur et directeur général d'Info-Secte, situé à Montréal, au Canada. Il est aussi membre du conseil d'administration de l'ICSA (International Cultic Studies Association) et comme président du comité du Congrès de l’ICSA, il est engagé à organiser les Congrès internationaux annuels sur les phénomènes sectaires depuis le milieu des années 90. Depuis la fondation d’Info-Secte en 1980, il a aidé des milliers d'anciens membres et de membres de « sectes », de « nouveaux mouvements religieux », d'autres groupes, ainsi que leurs familles. Il a été appelé à servir de témoin expert pour des procès criminels ou civils et des professionnels de la santé mentale et des agences de sécurité publique le consultent régulièrement. Conférencier invité internationalement, il a participé à de nombreuses émissions à la radio et à la télévision tant aux niveaux local, national qu'international. Parmi d'autres publications, il a été auteur conjoint du livre Le phénomène des sectes : L'étude du fonctionnement des groupes (2003), et en version anglaise The Cult Phenomenon : How Groups Function (2006). Les deux versions sont téléchargeables gratuitement ici. En 1992, on lui a décerné la Médaille commémorative du 125e du gouvernement du Canada « en reconnaissance de sa contribution significative au bien-être de ses compatriotes, de sa communauté et au Canada ». En 2007, il a reçu le prix Herbert L. Rosedale de l'ICSA « pour reconnaître le leadership dans l'effort pour préserver et protéger la liberté individuelle ».

Dariusz Kuncewicz, Ph. D., is Assistant Professor in the Institute of Social Clinical Psychology, Warsaw (Poland) School of Social Psychology. During 1995-2003 he counseled individuals and families who had been adversely affected by sects and other manipulative groups. In 2000 he took part in preparing a governmental report about sects in Poland. Dr. Kuncewicz is the author of several publications, e.g., the book Controversial religious movements. Psychological aspects of membership (2005), and the article Personality and membership in new religious movements (2005). He is especially interested in conducting experimental research of clinical phenomena, conducting family and individual therapy in private practice, and (among others things) conducting a seminar for students entitled, Psychology of sects. 

Marita La Palm, M.A
., is a former third degree (3GF) lay consecrated woman of Regnum Christi, a Catholic movement affiliated with the Legionaries of Christ. She was recruited as young as eight years old, eventually attending Regnum Christi’s boarding school for girls discerning consecrated life for two years in high school. She experienced two years as a consecrated member in Monterrey, Mexico. Later, she completed her Master’s in Creative Writing at Eastern Michigan University where she was awarded “Distinguished Graduate Student in Creative Writing” for her thesis, a novella on a young girl’s physical and psychological escape from a cult. Currently, she teaches College Writing with a human rights theme at American University.

Stuart Lachs
encountered Zen Buddhism in New York City in 1967. After more than 30 years of intensive practice in America and Asia, and having taught for a number of years ‒ as well as witnessing countless instances of questionable teacher behavior ‒ he severed all ties to Chan/Zen Buddhist centers around 2000. Stuart's research interests are Chan/Zen Buddhism and the sociology of religion. He has been active in the Columbia University Buddhist Studies Workshop, the Princeton University Buddhist Studies Workshop, and the Oslo University Buddhist Studies Forum. He has a number of papers critical of Chan/Zen institutions and leaders available on the internet as well as a paper on the Hua-t'ou, a Chan form of meditation. He has presented at the annual conferences of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), the Association of Asian Studies (AAS), the International Association of Buddhist Studies (IABS) and the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). His articles include “The Zen Master and Dharma Transmission: A Seductive Mythology,” published in Minority Religions and Fraud: In Good Faith (Ashgate, London, 2014); “Denial of Ritual in Zen Writing” published in The Ambivalence of Denial (Harrosowitz, Wiesbaden, 2015) and "Modernizing American Zen Through Scandal: Is "The Way" Really the Way?" published in Buddhist Modernities: Re-Inventing Tradition in the Globalizing Modern World (Routledge, New York and London, 2017). Stuart enjoys corresponding with people who reply to his papers.

Janja Lalich, PhD
, is a researcher, author, and educator specializing in self-sealing systems (cults, terrorist groups, situations of undue influence, and ideological extremism), with a particular focus on recruitment, indoctrination, and methods of influence and control. She is Professor Emerita of Sociology at California State University, Chico and has been studying the social psychology of controversial groups and exploitative and abusive relationships for 30+ years. Dr. Lalich has written and lectured extensively, has advised the international intelligence community on terrorism and indoctrination, and has served as consultant and expert witness in civil and criminal cases. Her most recent book, coauthored with Karla McLaren, M.Ed., is Escaping Utopia: Growing Up in a Cult, Getting Out, and Starting Over (Routledge, 2017). Her critically acclaimed book, Bounded Choice: True Believers and Charismatic Cults (University of California Press, 2004), is based on her comparative study of the Heaven’s Gate cult, which committed collective suicide in 1997, and the Democratic Workers Party, a radical U.S.-based political cult active in the 1970s and ’80s, of which Lalich was a leading member (giving her first-hand experience with cultic behavior). That book elucidates Dr. Lalich’s bounded choice theory, a major theoretical development that offers a new and sophisticated approach for understanding the internal dynamics of self-sealing groups. Dr. Lalich’s 2006 book, Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships (Bay Tree Press), is a fully revised and expanded edition of her first book, Captive Hearts, Captive Minds (Hunter House, 1995). Take Back Your Life is the number-one cult recovery resource used by clinicians, helping professionals, former cult members, and their friends and families. Her work has been translated into German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Serbian, French, Japanese, Russian, and Polish. Dr. Lalich has appeared on news programs such as Meet the Press, Anderson Cooper’s AC360 on CNN, the CBS Evening News, NPR’s The Morning Edition and BBC’s Thinking Allowed. She has been featured in or an adviser to numerous documentaries and other programs on the cult phenomenon, which have been aired on National Geographic, The Learning Channel, The History Channel, British and Japanese public television, and others. She has been interviewed by and quoted in major print media across the nation and worldwide, from People magazine to the Harvard Business Review to Harper’s, from the New York Times to the San Diego Union-Tribune, and a variety of Internet-based outlets such as, Al Jazeera, Time/CNN Impact, and
Vera Lanangen is spokesperson for the Swedish organization Hjälpkällan and works as a lecturer on cultic issues from a social work perspective. She has a bachelors degree in social work (BASW) and is also a founder of the organization, Vi Tillsammans, which helps people who have been exposed to psychological abuse. She grew up in the Jehovah’s witnesses and ever since her defection has been active in these issues. Vera lectured at the International Social Work Conference (2012) in Stockholm on the issue Human rights in religious cults.

Kristine Langone, BSW, California State University, Fresno, is a Christian former cult member, which led to her interest in helping former cult members. In college she studied different clinical frameworks for helping former members. She has a Bachelor’s in Social Work from Fresno, California State University. Currently she resides in Colorado with her husband and two children.

Michael D. Langone, PhD,
 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. 
He is also co-editor of ICSA's Cult Recovery: A Clinician's Guide to Working With Former Members and Families, published in 2017. [Directors]

Hilde Langvann is 42 years old, and the CEO of the Norwegian support group for former members of isolated faith based communities; Hjelpekilden Norway. Hilde was previously married to a member of Jehovahs Witnesses and was for a brief time also recruited to the organisation. Seeing the psychological impact the upbringing in Jehovahs witnesses has had on her prevoiuos husband and other people she met, made her engage in the work for former members of closed religious groups, which led to the establishing of Hjelpekilden Norway in 2012. Hjelpekilden have an average of thirty inquiries each month, and has users from twenty different religious groups.

Hal W. Lanse, PhD, is the 1997 winner of the Frank Dilley Award, Walden University’s prize for outstanding doctoral research. Dr. Lanse spent nearly three decades as a middle grades educator and teacher trainer for the New York City Department of Education. Currently, he is Editor-in-Chief at Queer Street Books, Inc., an LGBT-themed online imprint. Dr. Lanse’s books include, Read Well, Think Well: Build Your Child's Reading, Comprehension and Critical Thinking Skills (Adams Media, Inc., 2008), and Erasing Reason: Inside Aesthetic Realism — A Cult That Tried to Turn Queer People Straight (Queer Street Books, Inc., November 2012). 

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.

Noomi Lappalainen grew up as a Jehovah's witness, was baptized into the organization at the age of 9 and left on her own request when she was 15. Today, 15 years later, she is working as a full time project manager for Hjälpkällan. Since 2006 she has been running a project with special focus on preventing mental illness among young people who have left cults, financed by the Swedish General Inheritance Fund and the National Board of Health and Welfare. 

Monique Lauret. Psychiatre, psychanalyste française, membre d’Espace analytique Paris et Membre de la Fondation Européenne de la psychanalyse. Installée à Toulouse, transmets et enseigne la psychanalyse, en France, en Europe et en Chine. Ses axes de pensée et de recherche sont les questions d’Ethique, de réflexion sur nos sociétés et de transmission de la psychanalyse.

Father James J. LeBar, RIP,
was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, ordained in 1962, and Chaplain of the Hudson River Psychiatric Center in Poughkeepsie, a post he held for almost 20 years. In addition, he was the Consultant on Cults for the Archdiocese of New York for more than 25 years, with a listing of OFFICE OF CULT AWARENESS in the Archdiocesan Directory. He counseled many former cult members and was a frequent speaker on this subject in all aspects of media. His book, Cults, Sects and the New Age (Our Sunday Visitor , Huntington, Ind. 1989), co-authored with Fr. James McGuire and William Kent Burtner sold more than 25,000 copies.

(From a Newspaper Obituary.)  Rev. James J. LeBar, 71, a longtime Hyde Park resident, died on Thursday, February 21, 2008 at St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie. A Catholic Priest with the Archdiocese of New York, Fr. LeBar was a graduate of St. Joseph's Seminary in Dunwoodie. Ordained on June 2, 1962, his first appointment was at St. John the Evangelist, White Plains, and he went on to serve appointments at St. Catherine Laboure, Lake Katrine, St. Gregory Barbarigo, Garnerville, St. Joseph's, Kingston , St. Stanislaus, Pleasant Valley, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Poughkeepsie, and St. Paul's, Congers.

He was also a priest in residence at Regina Coeli Church, Hyde Park, and a Chaplain at the Hudson River Psychiatric Center for over 25 years, until his retirement. A former Communications Officer for the Archdiocese, he was a long time member and chairman of several committees of the NYS Catholic Chaplains Association. He was also very involved in the Blue Army.

Fr. LeBar worked with Fr. Flanagan’s Boys Town and directed many retreats and Adult and Youth Seminars both locally and to the Netherlands Antilles, including Aruba and Curacao. A former Eagle Scout himself, he was affiliated for many years with The Boy Scouts of America.

He was an authority and prolific writer on the subject of the occult and demonology for the Archdiocese of New York. Appointed by Cardinal O’Connor as Chief Exorcist for the Archdiocese, he appeared on many television talk shows including Geraldo, EWTN, ABC’s 20/20, and the CBS Early Show.

Fr. Oliver Lee, Jr. Fr. Oliver (Br. Martin De Porres) is the 3rd Rector of TRINITY Episcopal Church in Dallas, Texas. He previously served as the Priest in Charge at St. George Episcopal Church, and as the Middle School Chaplain at Parish Episcopal School, both in Dallas. He has also served as the Assistant Rector at St. Barnabas+San Bernabe in Garland, Texas. In addition, he has served as the Associate Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Lawrence, Kansas; and as a Curate at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Dallas. Fr. Oliver made his promises as an Oblate, a Second Order Monastic in the Order of St. Benedict, on July 10, 1999. He was subsequently Ordained to the Deaconate and to the Sacred Order of Priests. He is licensed as a Priest in the Episcopal Church, a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Fr. Oliver pursued his undergraduate and graduate studies in Political Science, Law and Theology, at the United States Naval Academy, the University of Kansas, Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and Harvard University. His degrees include a Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate. Fr. Oliver served in the U. S. Marine Corps and also as a Commissioned Officer and Operator in the Army’s Special Forces, commonly known as the Green Berets. He served in the Foreign Service of United States Department of State and was stationed in The People’s Republic of China; Beirut, Lebanon; and various other assignments around the world. Fr. Oliver was conferred the degree of Jurist Doctor and is an Attorney licensed in the State of Texas, various State and Federal Courts, and the UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT. He is a former Federal Prosecutor (Senior Trial Attorney; GS-15) with the United States Department of Justice. Fr. Oliver also recently served as an Associate Municipal Court Judge for the City of Dallas, Texas, and currently serves as a Chaplain with the Dallas Police Department. 

Xavier Leger was a member of the Legion of Christ from 1999 to 2006. Before joining the Legion he 
studied at the Faculté Libre de Philosophie Comparé in Paris. He is presently finishing his MA at the Catholic University of Lyon in order to become a teacher of philosophy. The subject of his thesis is Regarding the epistemological status of the concepts of mind control, cult and cultic influence. He is also a member of Regain Network (Religious Groups Awareness International Network). In December 2008, together with a number of families and former Legionaries, he created a web page, Prévention l'égard de la Légion du Christ et du Regnum Christi. In 2009 – 2010, he collaborated actively with Catholic newspapers such as La Vie, La Croix, and Famille Chrétienne to cover the sad revelations about the founder of the Legionaries of Christ. In March 2013 a TV report will be released by French channel Canal +. And in September 2013 his biography, co-written with the French journalist Bernard Nicolas, will be published by Flammarion.

J. Paul Lennon, STL, MAAfter retiring from his "day-job" as a Child and Family Therapist in 2014, Paul has been contacted by individuals and parents involved with various Catholic and Christian groups. He still counsels and supports members and former members of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi as well as members of other heretofore bona fide but high-demand Catholic groups, associations, and orders. He continues to coordinate ReGAINInc, where he can be contacted. Presently living in La Antigua, Guatemala, he is available to residents and visitors involved with or concerned about questionable groups

Bob Lenz, RIP, passed away on July 2, 2010. He was very active in cult awareness activities in the 70s, during the time his son was caught in the Moonies, and he continued to be involved for many years after.

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. 

Lawrence Levy, Esq., a retired trial attorney in Southern California, was involved in cult litigation for over twenty years. He represented clients against Church Universal & Triumphant, Scientology, Hare Krishna, The Way International, and other groups.

From 1974 to 2004, Susan Libby was involved in abusive New Age and Christian movements. In
one of these groups she was actually held captive until the FBI intervened. Shortly after the dispersion of the group, she married another group member. Art was Susan’s voice during the time of captivity and an instrument of recovery in the following years. In 2001, Susan and her husband moved to Kansas City and created many paintings in various mediums. More than 15,000 cards/prints of her work have been sold
through various sources, including a ministry bookstore that has an international reach. Each piece includes her contact information, so people moved by her art and those emerging from high-demand groups can contact her. This opportunity has enabled her to be a bridge and source of help for those coming out of cults.

Bin Li, PhD, is an associate professor of University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. His research interests focus on sociology of science. He have translated 2 English academic writings into Chinese: On Science by B. K. Ridley (co-translator), and Designs on Nature: Science and Democracy in Europe and the United States by S. Jasanoff (co-translator). For further information, please contact with him via email: <> 

Dr. Jianhui Li is a professor in School of Philosophy and Sociology, Beijing Normal University and a director of China Association of Philosophy of Biology. He has expertised in philosophy and sociology of science. He is the author or co-author of more than ten books, such as What is Science, Science and Superstition, Pilosophy of Science, Philosophy of Life Science, Being the Friend of Truth: Philosophical Thinking on Contemporary Science, Digital Genesis. Recent years, he had begun to focus on science and pseudo-science, science and religion, philosophy of science and science education, and how science is used and criticized by new arising cults. Email:

Dr. Yaming Li is an associate professor in department of medical humanities, Capital Medical University, China. Her research interests include history of medicine, philosophy of science, and the relation of science and religion. She published several papers and books in these area.

Yao Liu, a graduate student in Shaanxi Normal University, major in applied psychology.

Robert Jay Lifton, M.D
. (right) is Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology and Director, Center on Violence and Human Survival, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Dr. Lifton has written many books and professional articles, including Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, The Nazi Doctors, and Destroying the Word to Save It. 

Cynthia Lilley (B.A., American University)
is a welcome 
addition to AFF’s advisory board, not least because of her passionate concern for families that have suffered as hers has done. A nationwide audience of the Today show received a stunning lesson on November 8, 1993 when Ms. Lilley was shown in company with family members and an NBC crew, laying siege to Unification Church headquarters, demanding access to her daughter. Eighteen-year-old Cathryn had completed a year at college and was beginning a summer job in New York City. Within days, she sent her mother a chilling letter, announcing that she would be traveling around the country with a wonderful group, working with alcoholics and addicts, and unreachable by phone. The address she gave, Ms. Lilley soon learned, was a Moonie post box. She spent the night crying, and decided next day that from that moment, her life’s work was to rescue her daughter. Her satisfying career in music education on hold, she was soon immersed in consultation with family, friends, police, lawyers, private eyes, social workers, and counselors who were ex-cultists. She spent days telephoning other Moonies’ parents, absorbing everything they could tell. AFF president Herb Rosedale gave her invaluable advice and encouragement, as did Dr. Jolly West (he was terrific), and AFF’s Washington lawyer, David Bardin (a great taskmaster), who kept her busy writing letters. Working harder than at any time in [her] life, she left herself little time to despair. 

It took two months to find Cathryn’s address and, faced with a camera crew and an adamant family on their doorstep, the Moonies relented to permit a brief, sad, and inconclusive reunion between mother and daughter. Sixteen-year-old brother Jonathan was not permitted inside, but he called his messages of love and support through the open stairwell. A final shot showed the distraught family walking away into the summer dusk. The November broadcast succeeded where calls and letters had failed: within three days, the U.C. allowed Cathryn to go home for a visit. She said later, I was so broken down at that point that I thought, I may be rejecting the truth, but I can’t go on. The family’s relief was indescribable. Ms. Lilley has seen at close range both the marvels and the inadequacies of cult education and rehabilitation. She is committed to improving both.

Cecilia Lindmarker has a bachelors degree in social work (BASW), and is also a founder of Vi Tillsammans, an organisation that helps people exposed to psychological abuse.

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.

Aini Linjakumpu is a University Lecturer in Politics in the Department of Social Studies at the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi and Adjunct Professor at the University of Tampere, Finland. For more than 15 years, her main research interest has been focused on political dimensions of religions, especially in the context of Islam and currently also in the context of the largest revival movement in the Scandinavia, i.e., the Conservative Laestadianism. Theoretically, her research interests are related to communities, violence, network politics, and politics of emotions. In addition, Linjakumpu has been a leader of two Northern related research projects combining historical and contemporary approaches as well as art and science approaches. Linjakumpu has produced three monographs on the political dimensions of Islam, one monograph related to the Conservative Laestadianism, edited five books, and published more than 30 articles and book chapters nationally and internationally. Her publications include topics on political Islam, Middle Eastern politics, the Conservative Laestadianism, Northern politics, as well as other topics in religion and politics.

Sunny Linkfield
is a survivor of Straight Incorporated. This abusive teen rehab center, convinced thousands of parents that normal behavior was a sign of druggie behavior. Sunny was an over achiever but became a moody teenager, experimenting with pot, alcohol and a few other drugs. After her parents read an article in Reader's Digest, they dropped her off in a warehouse called Straight Inc. Sunny is now a make-up artist/esthetician and a trainer in retail cosmetics. She was recently interviewed in the new documentary, Fix My Kid, and was also the lead make-up artist for the film. Ms. Linkfield is active with the International Cultic Studies Association. She has been interviewed for NBC Nightly News and has spoken at Columbia University about the troubled teen industry. In April, 2013, Sunny spoke with Congressman Miller's office to modify the bill: Stop Abuse in Residential Treatment Centers for Teens Act. She also organized a seminar in DC on The Abuses in the Troubled Teen Industry. Sunny is active in raising awareness abroad on these abusive teen programs and is fighting for the US to ratify the United Nations Convention for the Rights of a Child. Currently, the US and Somalia are the only two countries who have not ratified the treaty. 

Helena Löfgren is a licensed psychotherapist, former member of the Unification church (1990-1992), member of the support group FRI, co-founder of the former Swedish support group SESAM, and co-founder of an informal network in Sweden for people who meet members or former members of high demand groups in their work. Ms. Lofgren received treatment by Wellpring, when they came to Sweden in 1992. For about 20 years she has been involved in helping former members of different high demand groups in Sweden as a volunteer in the support group FRI and as a member of the board of the support group SESAM in Sweden. Since 2009 she has also treated patients who grew up in different high demand groups. She co-authored a book with personal stories, and a book about Influence for students Sect disease (edited by Håkan Järvå). For many years she has given lectures about influence and manipulation, also at the University of Stockholm. Over the years she has participated in numerous TV-programs and radio-programs to spread awareness about cultic groups and processes. In 2004 one person was killed and one was injured in the small congregation Knutby in Sweden. She visited the congregation, talked to leaders and former members and the police. Thereafter she witnessed the trial and commented on the event on TV and also at a conference organized by FECRIS in Hamburg. Website: (in English)
Email: Phone: +46708197777

Sarah Lonelodge is a PhD student and teaching assistant in the English Department at Oklahoma State University. Her research interests include religious rhetoric and propaganda, rhetorical theory, religion and politics, writing program administration, and composition pedagogy.

Ronald N. Loomis has been educating others about cults for some 25 years at over 100 colleges and
universities throughout the US and Canada. He is a Past President of the original Cult Awareness Network (CAN) and was a founding member of the Steering Committee of the International Cult Education Program (ICEP) and was Chair of the Interim Planning Committee (IPC), which created the Leo J. Ryan Education Foundation (LJREF) and the Cult Information and Resource Center (CIRC), (CULTINFO). In 1999, he served as a principle expert witness for the Legislative Task Force on Cults in Maryland. He has been cited in such publications as The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Congressional Quarterly, The Christian Science Monitor, The Toronto Sun and Newsweek Magazine. He has been interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC), The Today Show at the request of NBC News, The Discovery Channel, ABC Productions, and Current Affair. He is featured in the educational video, Cults, Saying No Under Pressure, and he authored a chapter in the book Cults on Campus. He has been an expert advisor to The Roberts Group Parents Network (TRGPN) since it was founded in 1997. 

Edward Antrim Lottick, MD, RIP.  
Dr. Edward Lottick was a cultic studies student for 22 years. He retired from 35 years of medical practice in 2000. After retirement he completed four years of advanced French at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and taught an advanced psychology elective at King’s on Contemporaary American Cults every third semester for the past decade. In 1992, he surveyed 5400 Pennsylvania physicians about their personal and professional experience with cults; in 2004, he surveyed 3000 Pennsylvania psychologists regarding similar experience; and in 2007, he surveyed 1000 Pennsylvania legislators, district attorneys, and judges regarding their experience with cults. For a discussion of these surveys,  He wrote The Forgotten Freedom, The Torch, 79(3), 26-30, 2006, and in 2008 he wrote Psychologist Survey Regarding Cults, Cultic Studies Review, 7(1), 1-19, 2008. In summer, 2009, he printed Remembering Noah and introduced the manuscript to his cultic studies Contemporary American Cults class in the Fall of 2009. In 2011 he completed his manuscript and had it printed as a book: REMEMBERING NOAH (Why did he do that?) A Parent’s Twenty-Two- Year Scientology Cult Odyssey. The following is an obituary provided by

Edward Antrim Lottick, M.D., passed away peacefully in his sleep in Madison, Conn., on Thursday, June 18, 2015.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Sally Teller Lottick; his son, Adam Teller Lottick, M.D., and his daughter, Karen A.L. Perry, and their spouses, Nina Kadan-Lottick, M.D., and Scott E. Perry; and seven grandchildren, Samantha, Kadan and Antrim Lottick and Thomas, Tyler, Michael and Ryan Perry. He was predeceased by his son, Noah Antrim Lottick, in 1990.

Dr. Lottick was born in Wyoming, Pa., on Nov. 12, 1935, to Anna Antrim and Edward Lottick. After his father's death, his mother remarried and he was adopted by his stepfather, Richard Phebey. He received an Eagle Scout Award and an NROTC scholarship to Harvard University. He graduated from Wyoming High School, Syracuse University and the University of Nebraska Medical College.

For more than 35 years in the Wyoming Valley, Dr. Lottick practiced medicine from his office on Wyoming Avenue in Kingston and was an active staff member at the Wilkes-Barre General and Nesbitt hospitals. Prior to medical school, Dr. Lottick taught at Hudson Valley Community College outside Albany, N.Y. Dr. Lottick was an inventor who obtained four U.S. patents, including one for the first electrosurgical hemostat. He was on the board of trustees of the Pennsylvania Medical Society of the Luzerne County Medical Center, and the longtime editor of its monthly publication, the Bulletin.

After his son's death, Dr. Lottick served on the boards of the American Family Foundation and the Cult Awareness Network. For several years, he taught a course on cultic studies at King's College in Wilkes-Barre. Two of his research studies on cults were published in the Pennsylvania Medical Society Journal. In 1993, the International Cultic Studies Association awarded Dr. Lottick the "John G. Clark Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Cultic Studies." He subsequently wrote a book about his son entitled "Remembering Noah."

All those who knew him benefited from his ability to listen, his quick wit and his kindness.

A viewing will be held for family and friends from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday at Hugh B. Hughes & Son Inc. Funeral Home, 1044 Wyoming Ave., Forty Fort.

The funeral will be held at the Church of Christ Uniting, Market Street, Kingston, at 10 a.m. Tuesday, with interment following at Wyoming Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to "King's College - For Academic Development," Office of Institutional Advancement, Attention: Rose Gryskevicz, 133 N. River St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711.

For more information, or to send the family an online condolence, please visit the funeral home website at

Yunfeng Lu is an associate professor of sociology and executive director of the Center for the Study of Chinese Religion and Society at Peking University. His academic interest focuses on sociology of religion and social psychology. He is the author of The Transformation of Yiguan Dao in Taiwan: Adapting to a Changing Religious Economy (Lexington Books, 2008). His articles have appeared in The Sociological Quarterly, Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Chinese Sociological Review, Sciences in China and a couple of journals in Chinese. Dr. Lu is a graduate of the sociology department of Nanjing University (B. A., 1998, M. Phil. 2001) and City University of Hong Kong (Ph.D, 2005). He also serves as a non-resident research fellow of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion where he spent two years (2005-2006) as a post-doc researcher. Prof. Lu has organized a series of conferences to promote social scientific study of religion in China, including a Beijing summit on Chinese Spirituality and Society (2008) and a series of workshops on the sociology of religion (2009, 2010, 2011). He also acts as guest editors for a couple of journals both in English and Chinese. Dr. Lu’s current work is focused on four areas: (a) new religious movements in contemporary China, (b) the governance of religion in China, (c) the role of religion in the public sphere, (d) Urbanization and religion. He is currently engaged in research and writing on each of these topics. 

Barbara Lubas, PhD. Born in 1975 in Stalowa Wola, Poland. Doctor of economic studies, coach and academic teacher at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin. Graduated Akademie Schönbrunn, Munich, Germany in psychology of management, communication and negotiations, motivation, personnel management, sales techniques, entrepreneurship (psychological and sociological aspect). Graduate of European Integration Academy of Technology & Management, the best degree in managing European projects and modern technologies in business. Expert for economy of the state at the Republican Foundation. Member of Business Club Association in Oedhaim Schloss, Germany. Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal, Economic and Law Review. Main scientific interests: management, marketing, psychological and sociological aspects of business administration, quality management, competitiveness of business entities.

Phillip C. Lucas, PhD, is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Stetson University and the founding editor of Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions. The journal is the leading academic publication in the field of new religions. Lucas is the author of The Odyssey of a New Religion: The Holy Order of MANS from New Age to Orthodoxy (Indiana University Press, 1995); Prime Time Religion: An Encyclopedia of Religious Broadcasting (with J. Gordon Melton and Jon R. Stone, Oryx Press, 1997); and Cassadaga: The South's Oldest Spiritualist Community (with John Guthrie, Jr. and Gary Monroe, University Press of Florida, 2000). He has published numerous articles in academic journals and edited books on the topic of new religions.

Magdalena Luka, PhD, doctor of pedagogy, psychologist, Assistant Professor at The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (Poland); judicial mediator. Areas of research activity: social work, pedagogy of work, theory and practice of mediation.

Megan Lundstrom is the founder and director of national anti-trafficking non-profit, Free Our Girls.  After graduating from UNC in 2016 with a BS in Finance, Megan is currently enrolled in the MS program for Sociological Theory.  In addition to her role as executive director, Megan speaks extensively on her experiences as a survivor of domestic pimp-controlled sex trafficking, and uses both her lived experiences and expertise in the area to advise community sectors on improving existing systems, closing service gaps, and develop prevention and response protocols.  Megan is a survivor consultant for the Department of Homeland Security's Blue Campaign, co-facilitates an intervention program for commercial sex buyers in Colorado, and is the Larimer County CSEC HRIT Consultant.

Yuran Luo, Shaanxi Normal University of China (Master),was born in Chongqing, China. Her research interest covers cults and clinical psychology. She attended the 9th Annual Psychology of Religion Conference in China.

Libbe Madsen, L.C.S.W., was employed at Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services in New York City for nearly thirty years. Among her roles there were Administrative Supervisor of the Cult Hotline and Clinic and Director of Staff Development of the Center for Trauma Program Innovation. She was an Adjunct Associate Professor at the New York University School of Social Work, and maintained a private practice with an emphasis on issues of relational abuse. She has published several articles in professional journals and presented at many clinical conferences. She now lives in the woods of Mendocino County, California.

Jean-Claude Maes est psychologue, psychothérapeute familial systémique, et président fondateur de SOS-Sectes <;> , un « service d’aide aux victimes de comportements sectaires » subsidié par le Ministère de la Santé de Bruxelles (Service Santé de la Commission Communautaire Française). Ses publications Les couples sectaires, in Thérapie familiale n°18, Dépendance et co-dépendance à une secte, in Thérapie familiale n°20, Cahiers de la Santé n°16 : Santé mentale et phénomène sectaire, etc. 85 rue Marconi, B-1190 Bruxelles.

Sylvia Mahr, LCSW
, lives and works in the Bitterroot Valley in southwestern Montana. Her past affiliation has been with the Apostolate United Brethren commonly known as the Allred group. The Apostolate United Brethren currently operates under a 501c(3) status and has its headquarters is in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sylvia has been a licensed clinical social worker since 2002. Since then she has had a successful private practice while working for the community mental health center, where she works as a mental-health professional on a crisis team. She has had extensive experience in diagnostic assessments and testifying in court regarding commitments. She uses treatment modalities that are evidence-based and best practice. Her specialties are in the area of children, families, couples, and adolescents. She spoke at the 2013 Safety Net Conference at the Utah state capital regarding mental health issues and polygamy. She is interested in the abusive dynamics that can evolve in organizations, religions, political groups, families, and one-on-one relationships. Her expertise, experience, and interests are therapeutic issues for those living and or leaving polygamy, knowledge of differences and similarities between different polygamist groups, and how these groups interface with more mainstream cultures. 

Peter Malinoski, PhD, has been a clinical psychologist in private practice since 2001. In 1999, he received the John G. Clark Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Cultic Studies from the International Cultic Studies Association, and he has been involved in research with former cult members since 1993. He is trained in EMDR and other trauma treatment modalities. He focuses on how problematic unconscious God images are influenced by psychological and developmental factors, especially trauma. He is particularly interested in assisting clients in resolving their psychological impediments to receiving authentic love from others, and loving others and God. He works primarily with Catholics who seek psychological services grounded in a Catholic worldview. More is available at

Terra Manca’s research interests include both religious movements and alternative medicines that relate to various health issues. Currently (2009) she is working on her PhD at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Professor Stephen Kent.

Cathleen Mann, PhD, has consulted in about a hundred cases involving cults, undue influence, psychological influence, and related areas. She has been qualified by a court of law as an expert in 15 states, testifying in 40 cases. She has an independent practice in Lakewood, Colorado, where she also does counseling, evaluations, investigations, supervision, and consulting. 
She also takes counseling and legal consulting, expert witness cases from outside of Colorado and the USA. Dr. Mann has extensive experience with the qualification process required to be allowed to testify as an expert. Dr. Mann has a PhD in psychology and has held a counseling license in Colorado since 1994..

Lalita Mann was born into and is now a survivor of the Science of Identity Foundation, an offshoot of ISKCON and a Hinduism based cult. She left in 1997 and has since become an outspoken critic of cultic abuse, especially in secretive, high-demand groups, producing several articles and videos addressing the subject. In her spare time she is an avid musician, writer, dressmaker, and cook. She plans to one day write a book detailing her experiences in the hope that it will inspire others in similar situations to overcome the obstacles that come with being raised in a cult, to become free and independent.

Hal Mansfield, MA, was for many years Director of the Rocky Mountain Resource Center, with more than 30 years experience investigating/researching destructive groups. He has conducted numerous workshops/trainings for agencies interested in hate groups and destructive cults. The center has the largest library in the Rocky Mountain area on hate groups and destructive cults and networks with a large number of other agencies looking at hate groups and bias crime. Mr. Mansfield is retired from the United States Air Force, where he was a director of operations of counter narcotics, was a military advisor to the country of Slovenia, and spent time in over 30 countries. In 2010 ICSA awarded him the Margaret L. Singer Award for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence.

Arnold Markowitz, LCSW, worked for the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s' Services (JBFCS), one of the nation’s largest nonprofit Mental Health and Social Services organizations, for many years. He started and directed the Cult hotline and Clinic which helped thousands of cult victims and families, and he has provided direct treatment to approximately one thousand cult involved clients. In 2006 ICSA awarded him the Margaret L. Singer Award for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence. He has received various awards for work with cult victims and families. He has presented professional papers and authored articles on cult indoctrination, treatment of former cult members, and family therapy at national and international conferences. In addition, he was director of Adolescent Services that provided mental health and substance abuse treatment for teens and their families in NY State Licensed outpatient clinics. Private practice located in Manhattan and Tenafly NJ.  
Email:;   Phone: (O) 212- 369-4476, (C) 917-545-1453

Robert Marshall’s novel, A Separate Reality, was published by Carroll & Graf in 2006, and was nominated for a Lambda Prize for debut fiction. His investigative feature, “The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda” was published in Salon in 2007 and was chosen for that year’s “Best of Salon.” His writing on cults has also appeared in The Michigan Quarterly Review and Public Books. He is the recipient of grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Yaddo, Macdowell, Ragdale and the Virginia Center. His fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous literary journals. He is also a visual artist, and his work has been widely exhibited in the United States, Europe and Latin America. He is an instructor at the International Center for Photography, and has been working on a biography of Castaneda for the last eight years. He lives in New York City.

Joyce Martella, MA, PhD, was raised in a pseudo-Christian cultic group in Northern California. The estranged daughter of the group's prophet-leader, she left after 24 years in 1984 and has been cut off from her many siblings and relatives there. She has completed her PhD in Depth Psychology, and her dissertation on how to help SGA's heal from complex trauma. She is also a speaker and facilitator in trauma and cult recovery. In 2010 ICSA awarded her the Margaret L. Singer Award for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence. She is currently living in South Korea while her husband serves the needs of our solders. Email: Phone: +82 10-4405-9730

Michael Martella, PhD, LMFT, MAC is a state-licensed counselor. He was raised in a Bible-based cult for 24 years and left in 1984. He has lectured, written, and facilitated in cult survivor recovery. He also provided counseling and expert training in domestic violence treatment in San Diego, California. Mike is currently the Clinical Director of an Army Substance Use Disorders program at Camp Humphreys, South Korea. In 2010 ICSA awarded him the Margaret L. Singer Award for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence.  Email:    Phone: (619)994-2293

April Marten
is a multimedia artist whose current body of work encompasses performance art, sculpture, book arts and collage. Born into a high control religious group, in Miami, Florida, much of her young adult life was spent escaping religious indoctrination and oppression. She studied at Kennesaw State University's School of Art and Design, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a BFA concentration in Painting and Drawing. Through a full time social and studio art practice, Marten explores religious culture and identity, using art as a catalyst for dialogue and healing. She pushes the boundaries of media while developing her unique visual and conceptual vocabulary. Elements of sacred text and universal themes relating to patriarchy, religious extremism, and social control appear throughout her body of work. 

Barbara Martin, MA, received her degree from University of Kansas Medical Center with a degree in
Speech-Language Pathology. She and her husband, Dr. Paul Martin, were members of Great Commission International, once a cultic church operating on campuses across the nation that now, thankfully, has returned to balance. She and Paul left that group when she became an Assistant Professor of Speech Communication at Geneva College in Pennsylvania, where she received tenure. They then moved to Ohio to begin Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, where she did a variety of administrative tasks, served clients, and led workshops on topics including depression and anxiety, addiction, forgiveness and bitterness, and codependency issues. She has lectured at conferences and speaking engagements on cultic thinking, dissociation, hidden abuses (the famous “What’s Behind Door Number One?” talk, and, recently, the 25-year history of Wellspring, among other topics. Currently, she serves as a licensed speech-language pathologist. A summary of her talk appeared in ICSA Today, Vol 3, 2012 and then printed in Italian for C. Capresi's publication in December of 2013. Currently she serves as a Speech Pathologist to Vinton Local District near her home, and maintains Paul's articles, books, and files organized for future use for professionals in the field.

Paul R. Martin, PhD, RIP.
  Dr. Paul R. Martin passed away after a long illness on Friday, August 14, 2009. Dr. Martin was one of the leading figures in the cultic studies field. He contributed immeasurably to the recovery of more than 1,000 former cult members, provided counsel to families, trained professionals, and was a pioneer of clinical research in this field.  Dr. Martin was a former member and leader of Great Commission International (currently called Great Commission Association of Churches), was a psychologist and founding director of the Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center in Albany, Ohio, a residential rehabilitation center for former cult members that has treated more than 1000 clients. Dr. Martin was author of Cult-Proofing Your Kids. He wrote numerous articles on cults, including several contributions to Cultic Studies Journal, and was interviewed by many newspapers and radio and TV stations concerning cults. He served as an expert witness in cult cases around the world and was the lead expert witness for the Lee Boyd Malvo trial (the Virginia sniper case).  Obituary and Memorial Page in Honor of Dr. Martin

Stephen Martin, MDiv, is a co-founder of Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, established in 1986, and has served as a workshop leader there to help restore the lives of former members. An outgrowth of this work has been spiritual abuse education in the public arena, especially churches, in which Stephen has conducted more than 45 programs. He is author of the book The Heresy of Mind Control, which integrates the psychology of cults with Biblical insight as an educational and therapeutic tool, and he has co-authored two articles in ICSA publications. He is also a part-time pastor. Websites: Wellspring: Steve’s book:

José María Martín Carrasco es investigador y profesional de la intervención socioeducativa con jóvenes pertenecientes a grupos violentos. En su calidad de miembro fundador de la Fundación para el Estudio de los Comportamientos de Riesgo, ha participado en diversas publicaciones e investigaciones relacionadas con los comportamientos de riesgo juveniles. Desde el punto de vista profesional, su labor se ha centrado en la intervención educativa y psicosocial en centros de protección y de reforma de la Comunidad de Madrid.

Maria Jesus Martin Lopez has a PhD in Psychology, Researcher at the Social Psychology and Methodology Department of Autonomous University of Madrid. She is author of national and international publications about risk behaviour, juvenile violence, and organ donation. Some of her written work includes Juvenile extra-group violence (2005) and Risk behaviours: violence, sexual risk behaviour and illegal drug consumption among the youth (1998).

José Antonio Martín Pallín es miembro de la carrera fiscal en excedencia y en la actualidad desempeña la función de magistrado de la sala segunda (de lo penal) del Tribunal Supremo de España.

Javier Martín-Peña, PhD, is a researcher and also teaches in the Social Psychology Department at University of Barcelona (Spain). His PhD research was about the terrorist threats perpetrated by ETA network in the Basque Country and the psychosocial consequences for the victims.

Javier Martín-Peña es investigador y docente en el Dpto. de Psicología Social de la Universidad de Barcelona. Su tesis doctoral fue sobre las amenazas terroristas aplicadas por el entramado de ETA en Euskadi y las consecuencias psicosociales para las víctimas. Licenciado en Psicología en la Universidad de Barcelona. Actualmente, colabora en el Departamento de Psicología Social, en el proyecto de investigación: Análisis y evaluación de las estrategias de control, manipulación y violencia psicológica utilizadas para el sometimiento o la exclusión del otro (SEJ2004-01299-PSIC) dirigido por el Dr. Álvaro Rodríguez Carballeira. 

Rev. Rafael Martinez
is a bi-vocational licensed minister with the Church of God (Cleveland TN), having accepted the call to ministry in 1983. He is the director of Spiritwatch Ministries, a Christian countercult outreach that originated in Cleveland, TN. He is a 1991 graduate of Lee University (B.S. in Pastoral Studies with a double major in Christian education and Biblical studies) and is employed by the Whirlpool Corporation. While engaging in countercult work since 1983, Rafael has served as a Christian evangelist throughout the United States through home and student missions (1986 to 1991), in kindergarten Sunday School teacher and other children's work, prayer ministry and as church based countercult ministry director through the Westmore Church of God in Cleveland, Tennessee from 1992 to 2002. He then served as an elder and prayer minister at the South Cleveland Church of God (2002 to 2012) as well as at his present home church, the Crossroads Church of Lynwood, Illinois. Rafael's areas of expertise include balanced evangelical Pentecostal Christian ministry and providing Christian pastoral perspective in countercult work. This includes the discerning of aberrant churches and cultic movements, restorative pastoral care, and counsel of their victims that also addresses religious abuse and mind control issues, as well as educational and awareness activism and actual cult victim interventions. He and his wife Elizabeth reside in Hammond, Indiana.

Jose Manuel Martinez Garcia has a PhD in Psychology and is a Lecturer in the Social Psychology and Methodology Department at Autonomous University of Madrid. He his author of national and international publications about risk behaviours, juvenile violence, and organ donation. Co-author of Risk behaviours: violence, sexual risk behaviour and illegal drug consumption among youth (1998) and Organ donation and family decision-taking within the Spanish donation system (2001) among others. 

Arthur Mary, PhD, lives in France where he works as a clinical psychologist in private practice. He holds degrees in psychology, philosophy, cultural anthropology, and medical hypnosis and has a Master's degree in clinical and intercultural psychopathology. He wrote a PhD thesis about cults from a psychoanalytical (Lacanian) perspective and some academic articles about cult influence, the notion of mind manipulation, and its roots within a cultural context, the social phenomenon of salafi movements (quietists, djihadists...). He is a researcher associated with the LIRCES (Interdisciplinary Laboratory Narratives Cultures and Societies, University of Nizza-Sophia Antipolis) and for two years has been a temporary lecturer and research assistant at LCPI (Laboratory for Psychopathologic and intercultural Clinical Approaches, University of Toulouse-Le Mirail). He is a member of ADFI (Association for the Defense of Families and Individuals). His interest in cults dates back to when he was a trainee in the department of victimology of the Hospital of Reunion Island, his homeland. In 2006, Juliano Verbard's small cult became a societal phenomenon on the island, and former followers were sent to this hospital department. Thereafter, Arthur conducted various academic researches and his PhD paper with former cult members and actual followers of controversial groups, both small and large groups, religious as well as political groups. Website: coming soon Email: Phone: +33 (0)6

Katherine Masís holds a licentiate degree in philosophy from Universidad de Costa Rica and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Saint Michael’s College, Vermont and teaches philosophy at Universidad de Costa Rica. Her current interests are the philosophical foundations of psychoanalysis, gender issues in philosophy, epistemology and ethics in Buddhism, and applied ethics.

Cyndi Matthews, PhD, LPC-S, NCC is an experienced Counseling Clinician (15 yrs) working in Private Practice and as a Counseling Professor (6 yrs) currently at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She has earned a PhD in Counseling and Counselor Education, a Masters in Counseling, and a Master's in Business - Organizational Behavior. 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 LGBTQ+ populations. Based on her scholarship and clinical expertise she has researched and developed theory for counseling with former second and multiple generation adult cult recovery survivors. Website: Email: Phone: (469) 316-7290

RIP: Maureen May, CNM, WHNP, PhD, lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A medical ethnographer, she completed a dissertation, "Turning the Board Blue: America’s Epiduralized System of Birth." Although her main academic interest is childbirth and midwifery in developed nations, she began to also write on political cult group activity. She was is an ex-member and survivor of a political cult group of the 1970s, the Communist Workers Party.

Jean-François Mayer, PhD
, Chargé de cours, Université de Fribourg, Suisse. Rédacteur en chef, Religioscope. Il est docteur en histoire de l'Université de Lyon (1984). Il est l'auteur de plus de dix livres et de nombreux articles sur les courants religieux contemporains: le dernier paru est Internet et religion (Ed. Infolio, 2008). De 1987 à 1990, il a été le responsable d'une importante recherche sur les nouvelles voies spirituelles en Suisse dans le cadre d'un programme du Fonds national de la recherche scientifique. De 1991 à 1998, il a travaillé comme analyste sur les questions internationales et stratégiques pour le gouvernement fédéral suisse. De 1999 à 2007, il a été chargé de cours en science des religions à l'Université de Fribourg.

Jean-Francois Mayer, PhD, received his doctoral degree in history from the University of Lyon (France) in 1984. He is the author of several books and many articles published in several languages on contemporary religious movements. From 1987 to 1990, he conducted a major research study on the history and current situation of alternative religious groups in Switzerland. From 1991 to 1998, he was an analyst on international and strategic affairs for the Swiss Federal Government. From 1999 to 2007, he was a lecturer with the Department of Religious Studies of the University of Fribourg (Switzerland). He is currently the Director of <> Religioscope Institute (Fribourg).

Tony McAleer
is the Executive Director of Life After Hate and EXIT USA. Tony was recruiter and leader in the skinhead and white power movement in North America for over a decade before undergoing his own personal disengagement and de-radicalization process. Tony is active nationally and internationally in the study of best practices for understanding and assisting people who have been in extremist political groups. Life After Hate and EXIT USA was founded by former leaders in the radical far right who actively assist individuals wishing to leave extremist groups and criminal gangs and are active in education, research and outreach. Currently, Life After Hate (in partnership with government, academics and civil right organizations) is developing a tool to measure the disengagement and de-radicalization of former members of far right extremist groups. Life After Hate's core value is compassion.

Jodi B. Aronoff McKibben, PhD, obtained her doctorate in clinical psychology from Ohio University. Her clinical work has focused on the areas of trauma, anxiety, and depression. Her research experiences have primarily dealt with the areas of trauma, dissociation, neuropsychology, and cultic studies. She first became involved with research on cults in 1994 when she joined with two other colleagues to form a Cultic Studies Lab at Ohio University. This lab worked closely with Dr. Paul Martin at the Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center to investigate the psychological sequalae of cult involvement. Ms. McKibben has also compared simulators and college students to persons with cult experiences to see how these groups would differ in reported symptomatology. She is currently investigating the possibility of biases in the diagnosis of persons with cult experiences. Ms. McKibben also provides statistical consultation 

Julia McNeil, RIP. Julia McNeil died from cancer on the 5th of June. Julia, a former member of the Children of God/The Family, founded the website and support forum (inactive but archived since early 2009) and the Safe Passage Foundation. She was 36 years old. Friends and colleagues of Julia attended a memorial gathering in her honor at the ICSA annual conference in Montreal, July 5th.

Shelli Mecham, LCSW, has provided therapy for individuals, couples, and families from the various fundamentalist Mormon communities since 2011. She has worked successfully with people who are currently practicing polygamy as well as those who have disassociated themselves from that practice. Shelli brings a concern for those who have been harmed by physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and is working to strengthen and heal the individual spirit to live authentically and safely. She believes in a strengths-based, holistic approach to healing from mental health challenges, focusing on building self-compassion and strengthening healthy coping skills and self-sufficiency. Shelli received her MSW from the University of Utah and currently works part-time for a substance abuse treatment center in Salt Lake City as the trauma and domestic violence specialist and part-time in her private practice with fundamentalist Mormons. 

Sejal Mehta, MD, MBA, is a practicing psychiatrist in Plano, Texas. In addition to her private practice, she serves as the medical director of Child & Adolescent, Geriatrics and Excel Centers, Millwood Hospital, Arlington, Texas. She received her medical degree from B. J. Medical College, India and completed her residency and fellowship in Child & Adolescent psychiatry at the University of Kansas. Dr. Mehta is board certified in general and child & adolescent psychiatry. She is also board certified in Addiction Medicine. In addition, she attained a master degree in business administration from Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business Administration. She is a frequent presenter at medical conferences. Website:, Phone: (972) 267-1988.

Kathleen E. Meigs, a lifelong resident of California, attended Stanford University and the University of California at Los Angeles, graduating with a BA in history. She worked in libraries and newspapers and for over a decade in social science editing for academic presses. She has a long-standing interest in psychology and spirituality as well as writing. Her paper is presented from the perspective of a client who sought marriage counseling and healing from betrayal bonds from a licensed MFT and whose recovery work has included research in the field of religion and cults, professional exploitation, and trauma. Ms. Meigs is not affiliated with any program or institution, and she submits this paper as an informed experiential contribution to understanding one type of religious abuse.

Millard J. Melnyk
got involved in the Jesus Movement in Southern California in the early 1970s. After several years in an informal home fellowship he joined a movement then known as Smith's Friends, now Brunstad Christian Church. He moved to Seattle, Washington in 1980, where he married and raised six boys. Educated as an information technology professional, he worked in various IT capacities in the health care and aerospace industries, ran a small construction business, and then consulted for small businesses in the Puget Sound, Washington area. In 1994 he was excommunicated by Smith's Friends and lost his marriage in the ensuing fiasco, but retained custody of his six sons. He raised them as a single dad until 2009 when they went to live nearby with their mother. He then decided to stop cutting bait, and go fishing, inaugurating his long-anticipated writing career with a short sabbatical to the west coast of Mexico. He has self-published three books, Bullshit: Common Methods and Practices (2008), Power (2010), and Traction (2011). He is drafting his fourth book with the working title Poor Man's Mystic: The Power of Trust. He currently resides in Seattle, but plans to find some sunshine in the near future! 

Katharina Sengfelder Meredith 
has a BA in Psychology, training as a support group facilitator for domestic violence, and experience with outreach and community awareness. She grew up in a small new age cult from age 10-20, where she was cut off from the outside world, taken to three different countries, and helped build a time machine. Her mother is still involved in the cult today. For the last 12 years she has been reading up on cults, talking to other people who have been exposed to mind control, and has been exchanging ideas with people studying the phenomena. In early 2015 she created the website in an attempt combine academic knowledge with personal experiences. The website has a section specifically for people who were born and raised in cults, as well as information regarding recovery for everyone who has experienced thought reform, no matter in what setting.

Laura Merino Gómez. Psychologist and Psychotherapist. Degree from the University of Valencia. Master in Clinical and Health Psychology, Cognitive-Behavioural therapy. Assistant Psychologist in the Unit of tobacco addiction and alcoholism of the CAP of Mollet del Vallés (ICS), also in private practice. Currently, Ms. Merino Gomez works as a psychologist in AIS (Atención e Investigación de Socioadicciones), specializing in assistance and research regarding the sectarian phenomenon as well as social addictions. 

Terho Miettinen. Master of Science (economics). Member of the board of directors and vice president of the Finnish organization UUT Uskontojen Uhrien Tuki. UUT is the only organization that helps the victims of religious movements in Finland. I was born into a Pentecostal family. At that time the Pentecostal movement in Finland was against life, beauty and all kind of enjoyment. I left the Pentecostal way of thinking 15 years ago.

Sally M. Meyer grew up in Urbana, IL. Her father was a professor of civil engineering at the University of Illinois. Sally received both her BS in Sociology and MA in Education from that institution. She then taught elementary-aged children in the Rantoul, IL. Schools. Marriage to Dennis took her to Chicago, where she taught at Prince of Peace Lutheran School on the near northwest side of the city, and then to Flanagan, IL. Finding next to no job opportunities in education there, she entered the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, receiving her MDiv in
1994, then serving churches in St. Joseph, IL. and Atlantic, IA. with her husband and a number of churches in both Illinois and Iowa as Interim Pastor. In 2007, Sally gathered a number of gifted and compassionate members of the Atlantic, IA. community around her and launched the Lullabye Foundation. As founder and director of Lullabye, which has helped countless children “lost in the shadows of their own communities” to be able to participate in events and activities that would otherwise have been only a dream to them, she has found her passion. Always committed to the well-being of children, she lives to make life at least a bit better than it would be without a hands-up from an organization like Lullabye. A published writer of articles and Sunday school curricula, she has also written a book about her experience with a daughter who, 19+ years ago, phoned her one morning to say “she couldn’t see her anymore, bec
ause we were evil.” Her book, Ordinarily Sarah, chronicling what preceded and followed this event, was published in the Fall of 2016. 
Dennis A. Meyer, the only child of “older parents,” was raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. Dennis studied at Stanford University, where he received his AB in History in 1971. He then enrolled Receiving his MDiv. in 1975 at Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, CT. His 40+ year ministry was served in Rantoul, IL, Chicago, IL., Flanagan, IL., St. Joseph, IL., Atlantic, IA, and Danforth, IL. Dennis is now an active retiree living in Grayslake, IL., heavily involved in the congregation they joined there and open to help other churches as needed. Very active in each of the communities in which they served, Dennis has been involved in service organizations, community betterment groups, ministerial associations, and other groups committed to helping those in need. In Chicago, he was a Board Member for Prince of Peace Lutheran School, a Christian alternative in a changing community. Since 2007, he has been intimately involved in the work of the Lullabye Foundation. Since last Fall, he has also been helping Sally promote her book as they make presentations on "Confronting Evil in the 21st Century" in Illinois, Iowa, now to this ICSA event! Have story; will travel!

Kimberlyn Meyer, PCC-S, LICDC-CS. Ms. Meyer's mother joined the World Wide Church of God (an aberrant, controlling, apocalyptic Christian sect) when she was eight years old. Her father did not join and in fact remained openly antagonistic for many years. After attending college in Toronto Ontario, Kimberly met and married her husband, Bill (a graduate of the church’s Ambassador college). They remained “true believers” until the early 90s, when both began having concerns about high-level clergy and administrative behaviors. They left the church in the mid 90s and both attended and graduated from Seminary. Kimberly subsequently obtained a Master’s degree in clinical pastoral counseling. Community Mental Health Counseling has been her focus, and she maintains a small private practice, counseling those affected by controlling, abusive churches and groups. She is currently Director of Mental Health Counseling and Substance Abuse programming at Beech Brook in Cleveland Ohio, a Residential Treatment Facility for severely emotionally-disturbed youth.

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.

Ingo Michehl, MEd, is a counseling psychologist who completed his masters degree thesis on Cult Trauma and Recovery and his Heilpraktiker Psychotherapie counseling certification in his home country, Germany, after an intensive cult experience with, CARP, student branch of the Unification Church (‘Moonies’) from 1986 to 93. This traumatic loss of freedom of mind as well as mental, emotional, and physical abuse within the group led him to exploring conventional and unconventional therapies as part of his self-healing journey. Mr. Michehl is firmly committed to freedom of mind and promotes self determination and cognitive balance as the answer to cult mind control / manipulation. During his masters degree program at Cambridge College, Boston, he worked with cult expert Steven Hassan, the author of Combatting Cult Mind Control, on voluntary exit counseling to help free members of the group from its destructive influence. He has given talks and presentations on the subject of cults and mind control at schools and universities in both the USA and Germany and is available for lectures, consulting, counseling and a PhD project on the subject. Website:

Terho Miettinen. Master of Science (economics). Member of the board of directors and vice president of the Finnish organization UUT Uskontojen Uhrien Tuki. UUT is the only organization that helps the victims of religious movements in Finland. Mr. Miettinen was born into a Pentecostal family. At that time the Pentecostal movement in Finland was against life, beauty, and all kind of enjoyment. He left the Pentecostal way of thinking 15 years ago.

Patricia Millar, PhD, helps people who are moving on from relationships and social settings that were
characterized by control, coercion, abuse, fear and violence—including domestic violence survivors, formerly incarcerated women, and people rebuilding their lives after a “cult” experience. She is devoted to reducing the negative effects of trauma and is an advocate of trauma-informed care. Dr. Millar, a trauma survivor and developmental psychologist, is trained in post-traumatic stress, mind-body awareness, emotional self-regulation, attachment, and strengths-based change. As a certified professional coach, she helps people to plan and manage tough transitions, try new approaches, and achieve important outcomes. Dr. Millar works with clients to increase resilience, build capacity, and become more effective. She facilitates post-traumatic growth. Her clients come to appreciate their personal strengths and style as they navigate new social settings and form healthier relationships. 
Website: Email:    Phone: (301) 299-3234

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. [Workshop Facilitators]

Cathrine Moestue, Cand.Psychol., grew up in Oslo, Norway in an upper-middle-class family with four siblings. While attending Folkuniversity in Stockholm (1984–85), she encountered teachers who claimed to have a program to “save starving children” and lured her to participate. The group, which drew on communist teachings, isolated her from her family and made her feel guilty for her privileged upbringing. After years of working hard to “save the world,” she became disillusioned and, after several attempts, in 1992 she successfully escaped this destructive group by running away. She worked in the advertising industry and managed a radio company before earning her degree in psychology at the university of Oslo and becoming a psychologist and eventually seeking therapy to deal with her traumatic experience. She is a psychologist in private practice in Oslo and is currently working on her memoirs.

Nathan Mollohan
understands how certain religious beliefs and ideologies can be damaging to children and is passionate about protecting them from religious abuse. He gains this insight from personal experience, as he was raised in a fundamentalist, Christian household and attended various religious schools from kindergarten through high school. In 2017, Nathan joined the board of directors of the Child-Friendly Faith Project, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to end religious child maltreatment. He sees the opportunity to educate the public as a great way to drive for change and is excited to lend his knowledge and share his experiences to help improve the lives of children in harmful religious communities. Nathan lives in Cincinnati, where he is a manager at a large health system, teaches business statistics at a local university, and serves on the board of a large continuing care retirement community. He has had an extensive career in retail and restaurant management, including owning a pizza restaurant. He is married with one fun and energetic nine-year-old boy.

Lisa Monroney became involved in a cult in 1984 and then stayed in that cult for 3 1/2 years. It wasn't until 10 years later that she figured out that she had actually been in a cult. She has since received a master's degree in Clinical Sociology and teaches Sociology classes at the college level. Ms. Monroney is also the Director of the Rocky Mountain Resource Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. [Workshop Facilitators]

Mary Moore
is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker currently practicing in Maryland. She participated in Divine Light Mission, later renamed Elan Vital and The Prem Rawat Foundation, from 1973 to 2001, having been recruited in her first year of college. While in the group, she pursued a career in accounting and software, helping to found and grow a company which went from 3 to 500 employees from 1981 to 1998. She worked as a Senior System Consultant, Software Designer, and VP of Marketing. The organization’s top management originated within the group, but is no longer affiliated, having been sold by the owners a few years ago. She realized she had been in a cult in 2004 after talking with a former member, reading Margaret Singer’s Cults in our Midst, and visiting the ex-member website. She attended an ICSA former member workshop that summer, then returned to college, obtaining Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work. She has attended four ICSA conferences, as a former member and mental health practitioner. She has developed a practice that focuses on couples’ therapy, trauma work using EMDR, play and sand tray therapy. She has begun co-facilitating a cult recovery support group in the Washington DC area since 2014
. Website: Email: Phone: 410-980-3155

Andrea Moore-Emmett, MA, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California currently working in an alternative school with teens impacted by gangs. She also has a private practice where she helps individuals dealing with former cult affiliation. She authored the book, God's Brothel, The Extortion of Sex For Salvation in Contemporary Mormon and Christian Fundamentalist Polygamy and the Stories of 18 Women Who Escaped. She is the author of several articles covering polygamy for various national magazines and was the researcher for the A&E documentary, Inside Polygamy, which also aired on the BBC. As a journalist, she has been the recipient of five awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Utah Headliners Chapter, including the Don Baker investigative Journalism Award. She was also awarded a Women in Communications Leading Changes Award and the Leadership Council on Abuse and Interpersonal Violence and the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma 2008 Award for Distinguished Service and Excellence in Journalism. Moore-Emmett served as Utah NOW President and on a Salt Lake City Mayor's commission for Bridging the Religious Divide.

Anda Moranda. Graduating with honors from a Polytechnic University, Anda holds a Master´s Degree in engineering. Refusing the highest honor of joining the Communist Party as a student brought her praises from the religious friends despite the expected troubles. For several years Anda worked as an electronics engineer in her native country, under the constant watch and harassment of government officials and secret police. Her citizenship was taken away after she managed to leave her native country seeking medical help in the West. Anda arrived in the US where she was granted political asylum and later gained new citizenship. She left a successful career in the US, sold her house, her car and disposed of all her earthly possessions to follow in Jesus footprints to be able to fulfill the dream of her youth and entered a Christian ministry. Anda’s experiences with coercive control have led to an interest in using her personal story to educate others and raise public awareness.

John Morehead is the associate director of Watchman Fellowship's office in California. He also serves on the board of directors for Evangelical Ministries to New Religions, and is the co-founder and co-editor of the online journal Sacred Tribes: Journal of Christian Mission to New Religions.

Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross. Born Fadia Laham in Lebanon on December 23, 1951. Discalced Carmelite from 1971 till 1992, She holds both Lebanese and French nationalities. She is working actually to obtain a diploma on Islamic Sufism as part of a doctorate in comparative religions at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Sorbonne) Paris, continuing a cycle begun in 1994. She has been a visiting professor at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris and has also completed three years of study of Syrian and Hebrew at the Catholic Institute of Paris. In 1993 she intended to found the Antiochian Institute, the first inter-universitarian institute in Lebanon, of which she was general secretary. In 1995 she founded and became president of the House of Antioch for the knowledge and preservation of the Antiochan patrimony. In 1996 she founded the House of the Son of Man for Christian psycho-spiritual caring. In 1994 she begun the restoration of the 6th century monastery of Saint James the Mutilated in Qâra, Syria and in 2000, she founded in it the Antiochian Order of Unity, being the first abbess of this new monastical community. In 2007 she found and became the secretary of the Commission for the safeguarding of spiritual life and the observatory of popular devotions of the Assembly of Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon. She speaks Arabic, French, Spanish, English, Italian, and Portuguese, and she reads biblical Hebrew, Syriac, Latin, ancient Greek, and Russian. Among her published works are: Le Testament spirituel de Sainte Thérèse d’Avila (The Spiritual Testament of Saint Thérèse of Avila), Des ténèbres à la Lumière : icône de Saint Jean de la Croix (From Darkness to Light: Icons of St. John of the Cross) - Père Youakim Moubarak, ouvrage collectif (Father Youakim Moubarak: Collected Works), Icônes arabes, Art chrétien du Levant (Arab Icons, Christian Art of the Levant) – Icônes Arabes, Mystères d’Orient (Arab Icons, Mysteries of the Orient). For 40 years Mother Agnes Mariam has conducted personal research and worked in many areas such as monasticism, religion, spirituality, arts and culture. As an expert in mystical theology, she leads spiritual retreats in Qâra and abroad. She assists hundreds of persons experiencing spiritual or psychological difficulties. She has a renowned charisma of discernment of spirits. As a part of her strive for unity she is a member of the non formal committee of dialogue between Catholics and messianic Jews, she developed also a particular dialogue through mystics with Soufis and Shiite Muslims. In 2009 she received the chivalry’s insignias of the French National Merit Order.

Mère Agnès-Mariam de la Croix. Née Fadia Laham, au Liban, le 23 décembre 1951, Carmélite Déchaussée depuis 1971, toujours rattachée au Carmel de la Théotokos et de l’Unité à Harissa (Liban) d’après un protocole particulier. De nationalités libanaise et française. 1993 – Fondatrice et Secrétaire Générale de l’Institut Antiochien (premier Institut inter-universitaire euro-arabe). 1995 - Fondatrice et Présidente de la Maison d’Antioche pour la connaissance et la préservation du patrimoine d’Antioche. 1996 - Fondatrice de la Maison du Fils de l’Homme, pour l’accompagnement psycho-spirituel chrétien. 2000 - Fondatrice de l’Ordre Antiochien de l’Unité, higoumène de l’antique monastère de Saint Jacques l’Intercisà Qâra en Syrie. 2001 - Membre de la Commission officieuse du dialogue entre l’Eglise catholique et les juifs messianiques. 2007 - Fondatrice et Secrétaire de la Sous-Commission pour la sauvegarde de la vie spirituelle et l’observatoire des dévotions populaires de l’Assemblées des Patriarches et Evêques du Liban (VIGISPIDEP). Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite National français. Langues parlées ou comprises : Arabe, français, espagnol, anglais, italien, portuguais. Langues lues : Hébreu biblique, syriaque, latin, grec ancien, russe. Ouvrages : Le Testament spirituel de Sainte Thérèse d’Avila (Edition privée carmélitaine, à l’usage des noviciats) - Des ténèbres à la Lumière : icône de Saint Jean de la Croix (Editions Béatitudes, France) - Père Youakim Moubarak, ouvrage collectif (Editions Humanité, France) – Icônes arabes, Art chrétien du Levant (anglais, allemand et français (Editions Desiris, France)) – Icônes Arabes, Mystères d’Orient (Editions Adverbum, France).

Préparation d’un diplôme en islamologie en vue d’un doctorat en religions comparées à l’Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Sorbonne) Paris, en co-tutelle avec l’Université Saint Joseph, Beyrouth. Professeur invité en stage à l’Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Etudes de syriaque (3 années) et d’hébreu à l’Institut Catholique de Paris.

Autodidacte, Mère Agnès-Mariam effectue depuis 40 ans des recherches et œuvre dans beaucoup des domaines, par exemple: monachisme; théologie spirituelle et mystique; acompagnement anthropophile; retraites spirituelles et conférences sur la vie spirituelle; un service à domicile pour des centaines de personnes en difficulté spirituelle ou psychique et un service à distance par le téléphone avec des chrétiens et des musulmans des cinq continents; dialogue avec les juifs messianiques; dialogue islamo-chrétien; restauration des oeuvres d'art.

German Mueller is psychologist and executive director of the Federal Office of Sect Issues in Austria. Bundesstelle für Sektenfragen, Wollzeile 12/2/19, A-1010 Wien, Telefon: +43/ 1/ 513 04 60, Telefax: +43/ 1/ 513 04 60-30, Email:, Website:

Rev. Dr. Radu Petre Mureșan is a lecturer and member of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology, University of Bucharest (

Danièle Muller-Tulli. Présidente Association Suisse pour la Défense de la Famille et de l’Individu, ASDFI, Présidente, Fédération Européenne des Centres de Recherche et d’Information sur le Sectarisme, FECRIS, Déléguée FECRIS au Conseil de l’Europe. Diplômée de l’Ecole des Cadres, Paris, France. Depuis sa fondation en 2005, membre du Groupe d’aide aux sortants de sectes, l’Envol de la Colline aux oiseaux. 

Rev. Radu Petre Muresan. Petre Radu Muresan est maître de conférences à la Faculté de Théologie orthodoxe (Université de Bucarest), Département de missiologie et d'œcuménisme et prêtre orthodoxe. Il est diplômé de la Faculté de théologie orthodoxe de l'Université de Bucarest en 1997 et, en 1998, il est diplômé des Etudes Approfondie de la même Université. Il a reçu des bourses de recherche au Centre orthodoxe du Patriarcat œcuménique de Genève et à la Faculté de Théologie Catholique de Fribourg (Suisse). Il a obtenu un stage de recherche à l'Observatoire des Religions en Suisse. Il détient un doctorat en théologie orthodoxe avec une thèse sur le discours eschatologique des groupes chrétiennes adventistes et son impact dans la société roumaine. Actuellement, il prépare le deuxième doctorat au sein de l'Institut d'Études œcuméniques, Faculté de théologie catholique, Université de Fribourg (Suisse). Ses domaines d'intérêt sont les Nouveaux Mouvements Religieux, les mouvements centrifuges dans l'Eglise Orthodoxe Roumaine, les alternatives spirituelles en vogue en Roumanie (mouvements de type New Age, scientologie, néo-paganisme, techniques alternatives de guérison). Il est l'auteur de plusieurs articles et études publiés en Roumanie et à l'étranger. Il est marié et il a quatre enfants.

Anthony Murphy, (MPhil), University of Eindhoven, NL, is 55 years old and works as the Head of Department at the International Business and Management Studies (IBMS) Department at Eindhoven University in the Netherlands. In his former career, he had a commercial background working as an Investment Banker up until 1997 – after which he entered higher education. His academic specialization is in Political Economy. Originally from Liverpool, UK, he moved to the Netherlands in 2008 and has since been promoted to the position of HoD. He spent 9 years living in  a high-control group from 1981 to 1990. He thinks that using his theoretical tools, combined with hindsight and personal experiences, enables him to share his important findings with others. 

Dorca Musseb
 was born into a Jehovah's Witnesses family in Puerto Rico. At 16, having moved to the U.S., Dorca resisted her intensely abusive environment and finally walked away. Struggling to survive, she built a new life that included studying art at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and securing a series of jobs as a motion graphic designer in the entertainment industry. She has attended ICSA's annual SGA workshop since it started, and moderates a Facebook page for workshop participants.

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 Handbook: Seven Paths to an Authentic Life (2000), and Child of the Cult (2010). She was an ISKCON member from 1978-1988, then earned her Master of Science degree at Western Oregon University in 1991 doing art therapy with juvenile sex offenders. She is currently a freelance writer and adjunct professor, based in Arizona. Her website for cultic studies information is

Stephen Bruce Mutch PhD, LLB, (UNSW),
is Honorary Fellow in the Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. A retired solicitor and parliamentarian, Stephen served in the New South Wales Legislative Council (State Senate) and then the Australian House of Representatives from 1988-98. His 2004 doctoral thesis is entitled Cults, Religion and Public Policy: A Comparison of Official Responses to Scientology in Australia and the United Kingdom. Dr Mutch has taught Australian politics, public policy and foreign policy. His research interests include cults, sects, new religious movements and secularism, from a comparative policy perspective. He also conducts colloquiums for the Macquarie University Global leadership program on Religion, Secularism and the State. He is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Cultic Studies and the Polish quarterly, Society and Family.

Jill Mytton, M.Sc., C.Psychol.
, is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist. Currently, she is a visiting Lecturer in the School of Psychology, London Metropolitan University and at the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, London, where she is also a research supervisor for doctoral students. She is currently studying for a doctorate at the Metanoia Institute affiliated to Middlesex University. She is listed on the British Psychological Society media list for Cults and Thought Reform and has been involved in several TV and Radio broadcasts. Her primary research interest is the mental health of Second Generation Adults, i.e., those born or raised in cultic groups. She has presented at several conferences, including: INFORM London, April 2008, the annual Division of Counselling Psychology conferences in Dublin, 2008 and Leicester 2012, the ICSA Annual Conferences in Geneva 2009 and Montreal 2012. She was born and raised in the Exclusive Brethren, leaving at the age of 16, when her parents decided to leave. Apart from a small private practice, she also runs an email support group for former Exclusive Brethren and has become a point of contact for leavers of several groups.

K. Gordon Neufeld, MFA, (right) is the author of Heartbreak and Rage: Ten Years Under Sun Myung Moon, A
Cult Survivor's Memoir 
and Cult Fiction: One Writer's Creative Journey Through an Extreme ReligionHe was a member of the Unification Church from 1976 to 1986. Following his departure from the group, he graduated from the University of British Columbia Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing. His opinion piece about the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s mass marriages appeared in First Things magazine in January, 2003. He has read from his work three times at ICSA conference Phoenix Project exhibits. Living Water (a story read at ICSA’s 2010 annual conference) was published in The Windsor Review in the Spring 2011 issue. He is working on a novel and a collection of short stories. Mr. Neufeld now lives with his wife and step-daughter near Schenectady, New York. 

Tyler Newton, MS CS, serves on the Board of Directors of the Intellectual Freedom Foundation, a New York based not-for-profit corporation dedicated to activism against controversial groups.

Abraham Nievod, PhD, J.D., is an attorney and forensic psychologist in San Francisco.

Sanja Nilsson was born in Sweden and holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in religious studies at Dalarna University and a Degree of Master of Science (one year) in sociology at
Lund University. She is currently a Doctoral student at Dalarna University connected to the University of Gothenburg. Her doctoral thesis: Alternative Childhoods: Exploring the Lifeworlds of Children in Contemporary Minority Religions in Sweden, is part of a project (with Liselotte Frisk and Peter Åkerbäck) about children in new religions in Sweden, which is funded by the Swedish Research Council. She is a co-editor for Aura, a Nordic journal publishing academic articles about new religious movements.

Kimiaki Nishida, PhD, is Professor of Social Psychology in the Faculty of Psychology, Rissho University in Japan. He is also President of the Japan Society of Cult Prevention and Recovery. He is a leading Japanese cultic studies scholar and a standing director of the Japanese Group Dynamics Association. His studies on psychological manipulation by cults were awarded prizes by several academic societies in Japan. And he has served as an expert for some courts seeking an explanation of cult mind control.

Lucy Norman is a retired teacher of French, then English as a Foreign Language, and then Computing Applications, in the UK. She has also developed an interest in what people believe, and why, and how this affects them.

Kimberlee D. Norris, J.D., is an attorney from the firm of Love & Norris in Fort Worth, Texas whose practice is limited to sexual molestation litigation nationwide. She presently represents men, women, and children who were sexually molested while attending Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations throughout the United States. Additionally, her firm represents abuse survivors victimized in cults, children’s organizations, and children’s homes. Ms. Norris has lectured extensively concerning the impact and effect of sexual molestation on children. She also serves as a child safety consultant for churches and organizations whose activities involve children. She can be reached by email at: <>

Christophe Nowakowski, MD, is a psychiatrist in private practice working, certified in the Province of Quebec, in clinical medico-legal evaluations and testimony in front of the courts. One of Dr. Nowakowski’s specialty is psychiatric consultation and forensic psychiatry in the domain of litigation against cults. He does not provide on-going psychotherapy, but can refer people to appropriate resources. One category of clients that he works with extensively is people who have been psychologically affected by cults, particularly the second generation. This work is part of a more general interest in the stress spectrum disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder, the dissociative disorders, and the effect of traumatic experiences early in life. Dr. Nowakowski works in Montreal and collaborates with Info-Cult. His direct clinical work with this clientele, as well as the necessity of explaining what is happening or has happened to them in court, put him in a situation to explore and explain the various theoretical models used to understand the process of undue influence and the clinical consequences of this process. In this context he has pondered the central phenomenon of beliefs in the life of those who are influenced by cults, as well as on methods to help the client re-examine them from a different perspective in psychotherapy.

Christophe Nowakowski MD est un psychiatre en pratique privée qui fait surtout des évaluations médico-légales et témoigne devant la cour. Une catégorie de clients à laquelle il consacre beaucoup de temps sont les personnes qui ont été psychologiquement affectées par diverses sectes, et plus spécifiquement les gens de deuxième génération. Ce travail fait partie d’un intérêt plus général dans les troubles du spectre traumatique, incluant l’état de stress post-traumatique, les troubles dissociatifs et les effets des situations traumatiques pendant les années formatrices de la vie. Le Dr Nowakowski travaille à Montréal et collabore avec Info-Secte. Son travail clinique avec cette clientèle, ainsi que la nécessité d’expliquer leur vécu à la cour, l’ont amené à explorer et expliquer les divers modèles théoriques utilisés pour comprendre l’influence psychologique abusive et les conséquences cliniques de ce processus. Dans ce contexte il a exploré le phénomène des croyances dans la vie de ceux qui ont été influencés par diverses sectes, ainsi que les moyens pour amener ces clients à réexaminer leurs croyances dans le contexte de la psychothérapie.

Piotr T. Nowakowski
, born in 1974, Ph.D. Hab. in social sciences, Associate Professor at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin – Off-Campus Faculty of Law and Social Sciences in Stalowa Wola (Poland). Areas of academic activity: social prevention, social work, pedagogy of social rehabilitation, public security, pedagogy of mass media, philosophy of education; author of headings in the Universal Encyclopedia of Philosophy (published by: Polskie Towarzystwo Tomasza z Akwinu). Books written: Sekty: co kazdy powinien wiedziec (Cults: what one should know, 1999), Sekty: oblicza werbunku (Cults: faces of recruitment, 2001), Fast food dla mózgu, czyli telewizja i okolice (Fast food for mind, i.e., television and surroundings, 2002), Modele czlowieka propagowane w wybranych czasopismach mlodziezowych: analiza antropologiczno-etyczna (Models of man propagated in selected youth magazines: the anthropological and ethical analysis, 2004). Books edited: The phenomenon of cults from a scientific perspective (2007), Sekty jako problem wspólczesnosci (Cults as a problem of contemporary reality, 2008), Higher education in Nigeria: selected aspects (2010), Wokól pigulki gwaltu (Talking about date rape drugs, 2011). Dr. Nowakowski is ICSA Today’s News Correspondent for Eastern Europe.  [Education Network]

Anette Nyman works as a journalist, author and book editor in Sweden. She is a former member of the Bhagwan-cult (1997 – 2004). In addition to that she was a close employee to a medical doctor running a large newage therapy-center in Sweden. She has written a book about the newage-cult-phenomena, published at Norstedts (one of the largest book-companies in Sweden). At the moment she is working on a new book in the same field. She has also written a number of articles and held lectures around the cause of new age cults, Swedish society, religion and law, .

Mary O’Connell was a member of SGI, a Buddhist-based group, for close to 20 years. Her life was saved when she happened to find ICSA (then AFF) online. Subsequently, she met Lorna Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA, and past president of ICSA, who has helped her recover, imagine a new life, and create that new life. She is the Member Profiles Editor of ICSA Today.

Paul Offit 
is a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases and an expert on vaccines, immunology, and virology. He is the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine that has been credited with saving hundreds of lives every day. Offit is the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology, professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He has been a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Offit is a board member of Every Child by Two and a founding board member of the Autism Science Foundation (ASF). Pandora’s Lab is his ninth book.

Adesoji Oni, PhD
, a Fulbright scholar, is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Educational Foundations, Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Nigeria. He specializes in Sociology of Education. His areas of research focus include: social problems in education, social change in education, social deviances/social disorganizations in education with particular focus on students’ secret cult in Nigeria. He has published widely in these areas. He has many publications to his credit, including chapters in books and articles that have already appeared in national and international learned journals. His international academic papers appeared in reputable journals based in USA, India, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Ghana, Malaysia, UNESCO, Japan, Botswana, Philippines, Bulgaria, Turkey, The Netherlands, Senegal, South Korea, Poland, Tanzania, Canada, etc, He is the Associate Editor, Nigerian Journal of Sociology of Education; Managing Editor, Journal of Educational Review (published by Higher Education Research and Policy Network [HERPNET] Africa); Managing Editor, Journal of Sociology and Education in Africa (published by Higher Education Research and Policy Network [HERPNET] Africa); Editorial Board Member. East African Journal of Educational Research and Policy (EAJERP) (published by Higher Education Research and Policy Network [HERPNET] Africa); Editor, Lagos Education Review: Journal of the Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Nigeria; Associate Editor Spo leczenstwo i Rodzina (Society and Family), a journal of Faculty of Social Science, Stalowa, Wola, The John Paul II. Catholic University of Lublin, Poland; Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Social Sciences: A journal of International Association of Multidisciplinary Research (IAMURE), Philippines; Associate Editor, Liceo: Journal of Higher Education Philippines; Editorial Board Member, Journal of Early Childhood & Primary Education, Department of Early Childhood and Primary Education, Nnamid Azikwe University Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria, and KEDI Journal of Educational Policy, South Korea, Asia-Pacific Collaborative Education Journal, South Korea.

Dr. Belén Ordoñez, a psychologist, has a Master's degree in Behavioral Treatment in Health Psychology. She is also criminologist. She works in the Ministry of Justice in Spain, where she is the chief of the office for victims of crime. She developed a program for the psychological and legal assistance of victims in the Ministry of Justice. Also, she is professor of criminology at Universidad de Avila. She is the author of several articles, and she has participated in a variety of National Psychology and Criminology conferences. Her work focuses in the areas of violence against women and legal mediation.

Patrick O’Reilly, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist in California and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. He wrote his Master’s Thesis on Cults and joined a cult to acquire the data he needed for his doctoral dissertation. He was the late Dr. Margaret Singer’s postdoctoral intern and research assistant and is the co-author of the book Undue Influence: Cons, Scams and Mind Control, published by Bay Tree Publishers. Dr. O’Reilly has testified in trials involving cults and undue influence and has spoken on the subject numerous times to legal and psychological organizations. He has taught Continuing Education and Continuing Legal Education courses to psychotherapists and attorneys on matters related to cults, street and prison gangs, false confessions, and undue influence and has taught a forensic psychology doctoral course on Undue Influence. Additionally, he has been the guest speaker at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, California.

Robert Örell works as director at Exit Sweden headed by the NGO Fryshuset. He has over fourteen years of experience on work with disengagement from political extremism and criminal gangs. He has experiences from social work with supporting victims of crime, parental support, networkingm and management. Robert is involved in national and international networks focused on sharing knowledge and best practices in the field of radicalization, disengagement, and intervention. He has arranged several international conferences and workshops. He is adviser on the work of setting up Exit organizations in several countries, as well as participated in and worked with several EU projects. Since 2012 Robert has been a member of the steering committee of the European Commission’s RAN (Radicalization Awareness Network) where he co-chairs the working group RAN Exit. Since 2016 Robert has also been part of the expert pool at the RAN Center of Excellence. In 2016-2017 Robert is working together with the Swedish National Coordinators office to set up a national practitioners network for spreading and sharing best practices. During 2014 he supervised the work at the family support hotline project Sy.Realize concerning foreign fighters. Robert has studied social pedagogy, has completed basic psychotherapy training, and has taken a certificate in Terrorism Studies at the University of St. Andrews. In April 2016 Robert made a TEDx talk at the event in Vilnius on the topic: “A Way out From Violent Extremism” -

Tareq Oubrou, Grand Imam de Bordeaux. - Né le 31/10/1959, de nationalité franco-marocaine. Formation initiale scientifique (Biologie). Mufti du CRAISOF (Conseil Régional des Associations Islamique du Sud-Ouest de France). Recteur de la Grande Mosquée de Bordeaux. Président d’honneur et ex-président de l’association « les imams de France ». Administrateur de l’observatoire du pluralisme des religions et des cultures : PHAROS. Président d’IDEMM ( Institut de Découverte et d’Etude du Monde Musulman). Imam engagé dans le dialogue interconvictionnel, notamment islamo-chrétien. Président du Comité d’Ethique du Secours Islamique France (SIF). Aumônier de la prison de Gradignan (Gironde). Ecrivain, auteur de nombreux articles et plusieurs ouvrages : Loi d’Allah, loi des hommes, Liberté, égalités et femmes en islam, Tareq Oubrou (avec Leïla Babès), Albin Michel (coll. Spiritualités), Paris, 2002 ; L'Unicité de Dieu. Des Noms et Attributs divins (opuscule 1/10), éditions Bayane, Saint-Denis, 2006 ; Profession imâm, Oubrou Tareq (avec Cédric Baylocq et Michaël Privot), , Albin Michel (coll. Spiritualités), Paris, 2009 ; Un imam en colère, Oubrou Tareq (avec Samuel Liéven), , Bayard, Paris, 2012 ; Le prêtre et l’imam, Oubrou Tareq avec Christophe Roucou (directeur du Service national pour les relations avec l’islam (SRI), entretiens avec Antoine d’Abbundo, préface Jean-Louis Tauran cardinal français de la Curie romaine, président du conseil pontifical pour le dialogue inter-religieux et camerlingue de l’Eglise romaine. Bayard, Paris, 2013. La Vocation de la Terre Sainte. Un juif, un chrétien et un musulman s'interrogent, Oubrou Tareq (avec David Meyer et Michel Rémaud), Édition Lessius (coll. L'Autre et les autres, no 15), Namur, 2014 ; La féministe et l’imam, Oubrou Tareq avec Marie Françoise Colombani, à paraître vers mars 2017, édition Stock. Distinctions : Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (2013). Prix du Juge Falcone pour les droits de l’Homme (2014), discerné par le conseil de l’Europe et la ville de Strasbourg.

Cindy Owre is a doctoral student at the University of Alberta. The study of incidents of child sexual abuse in alternative religions is her primary research focus. Her other areas of research interest and specialization include: historical examination of the rights of the child legislation, the production of the child as property and citizen, the sectarian history of alternative religious groups and the use of arts-based research methods for examining individual experiences of abuse.

Adriana Pacheco. PhD criminologie, École de criminologie, Université de Montréal. Intérêt particulier de recherche : la violence en contexte religieux, notamment envers les enfants.

Adriana Pacheco. Originaria de México, imigrada en Canada en 1993. PhD en criminología, Université de Montréal (2010). Principal centro de interés de investigación: los crímenes cometidos por motivaciones religiosas, especialmente los actos de violencia contra niños. 

Adriana Pacheco: Originally from Mexico, immigrated to Canada in 1993. PhD in criminology, University of Montreal (2010). Principal field of research interest: crimes committed with religious motivations, particularly violence toward children.

Susan J. Palmer, PhD, is a researcher and writer in the field of new religious studies. Her best known books are Moon Sisters, Krishna Mothers, Rajneesh Lovers (Syracuse, 1994); The New Heretics of France (Oxford University Press, 2011); Aliens Adored: Rael’s UFO Religion (Rutgers, 2004). Millennium, Messiahs and Mayhem (co-authored with Thomas Robbins, Routledge, 1998); and Children in New Religions, co-authored with Charlotte Hardman, Rutgers, 1999). Palmer received her PhD in Religious Studies from Concordia University in 1992. She lives in Montreal where she teaches at Dawson College and Concordia University in Religious Studies.

Judy Pardon, MEd, has been a teacher and a counselor. Since 1992, she has been Associate Director of the New England Institute of Religious Research (NEIRR) 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, MDiv, ThM, is the Executive Director of the New England Institute of Religious Research (NEIRR) and MeadowHaven. During the past 10 years he has specialized in Bible-based communal groups and aberrational Christian groups. He also consults with law enforcement regarding destructive groups, and gives expert witness testimony. Both he and his wife, Judy, speak nationally and internationally on cults. Much of his work involves counseling, leading support groups, working with those born 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. MeadowHaven can accommodate individuals or families who require long-term (up to a year) care to recover from trauma and cultic abuse. In 2014, Rev. Pardon received, with his wife, Judy, ICSA’s Herbert L. Rosedale Award.

Paula Rose Parish-Foley
is an ordained Minister working with the Presbyterian Church in Wales, Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church in the UK. She is the lead Minister of 3 churches and preaches on the Methodist circuit in South Wales UK. Her experience as a religious cult member, together with working with ex-cultic members, has led her to a Master of Arts in Counselling at the University of Derby, UK. The subject of her thesis was, Spiritual Abuse in the Judeo-Christian Tradition. Paula Rose has worked with those harmed by high-control and cultic groups in her native Australia, the USA, and around the UK. Paula Rose specializes in conducting retreats which help to bring understanding of the high-control experience, enabling health and healing. Her own family was devastated by the effects of a cultic group the effects of which continue to this day. Paula Rose works in whatever capacity afforded to her for the spiritual freedom and health of others.

Sue Parker Hall
is a Certified Transactional Analyst (Psychotherapy), UKCP registered practitioner and MBACP (Senior Accredited). Author of Anger, Rage and Relationship: An Empathic Approach to Anger Management, (2008, Routledge) which adopts a psychotherapeutic approach to these issues and links anger and rage difficulties to underlying trauma. Sue is also a social activist and actively campaigns to raise awareness about, and bring an end to, the Integrated Domestic Abuse Programme (Duluth in the US) which is ideologically vs. evidence base driven. 

Rebecca Parks
 is a technical writer in Silicon Valley and an award-winning singer-songwriter. She has a bachelor's degree in biology and psychology from Reed College and experience volunteering on a domestic violence hotline. She was in a tae kwon do cult for ten years, earning a black belt, teaching classes, and working for the cult's software business. In 2008 in Philadelphia and in 2009 in Denver, she performed songs related to her cult experience as part of the Phoenix Project. In Philadelphia she found that helping families of cult members understand their loved ones was especially rewarding, so now she is participating in Santa Fe as a panelist.

Stephen Parsons
is a retired Anglican priest living near Carlisle, England. His interest in cultic and high demand religious groups goes back to the 80s when he researched material for a book on Christian healing. He realised that among practitioners of spiritual healing there were some whose healing practice was abusive and exploited the vulnerability of the sick. This led eventually to a study of abusive Christianity, Ungodly Fear, which collected and interpreted stories of individuals who had joined certain fundamentalist Christian groups in the UK but suffered in the encounter. Since the book appeared in 2000, and especially since retirement in 2010, he has been reading widely in the areas of social psychology and psychoanalytical theory to understand this phenomenon of abuse within certain churches. He runs a blog, which attempts to set out the fruits of this study and reflection. He has the hope that it will be of use to those coming to terms with an encounter with a religious institution or church that exploits and abuses.

Jordi Pascual i Saüc es doctor en Sociología por la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, profesor de la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya y director metodológico de Desenvolupament Comunitari.

Renata Patti
. Nata il 7/09/1957 a Milano; professione segretaria di direzione UE. Ho aderito al Movimento dei Focolari a 10 anni guidata dal sacerdote della parrocchia. Impegnata a realizzare l’ideale di Chiara Lubich e affascinata dalla sua tempra di leader con altre amiche ero profondamente convinta di essere stata scelta da Dio per seguire una NUOVA via, UNICA risposta per il bene della Chiesa e dell’Umanità del XX secolo. Così mi sono consacrata ad essa prima come Gen poi come Focolarina. A 18 anni, con immenso dolore dei miei (sono figlia unica), sono entrata nel Focolare. Dal 1977 al 1979 a Loppiano ho lavorato e studiato alla Scuola di Formazione. Lavoro e studio erano diretti ad intra solo da focolarini/e o sacerdoti/focolarini obbedienti ai desideri della Fondatrice e del Centro dell’Opera. Ad inizio degli anni 1980 sono stata inviata nel Focolare in Belgio. Nella vita del Focolare, sono stata testimone di abusi psicologici e morali: per la spiritualità dell’Unità viene chiesto di perdere tutta la propria personalità e per amore di Gesù Abbandonato si richiede un’obbedienza cieca. Nel 2007 circa 30 persone della Zona Belgio/Lussemburgo hanno lasciato il Movimento per ragioni gravi. Io ho scritto a C.Lubich per informarla senza riscontrare cambiamenti. Scandalizzata, ho lasciato il Focolare, un mese dopo la sua morte, il 13/04/2008. Alla ricerca di Verità, ho seguito dei corsi all’Istituto Studi Teologici dei Gesuiti di Bruxelles, dove intelligenza e cuore vanno di pari passo e gli studenti si formano uno spirito critico: percorso arduo per me dopo la formazione univoca ricevuta in Focolare. Sono d’accordo con Il Cardinale di O.Le Gendre: ...Alcuni di questi movimenti esigono molto dai loro membri: obbedienza, disponibilità, esclusività, contributo finanziario importante, grande rispetto nei riguardi dei fondatori e dei responsabili. Di fronte a questo genere di pretese, si possono avere due impressioni. La prima è di meraviglia per la generosità che anima questi cristiani... La seconda induce a domandarsi se quelle pretese ... non giovino esclusivamente ai dirigenti dei movimenti...(che siano) presentate con troppa insistenza (e)...imposte attraverso pressioni mentali anomale ed eccessive. . Attualmente ho inviato a Papa Francesco il testo dei miei due dialoghi con il Card. C.M. Martini sull’argomento, insieme ad un lavoro sul Regolamento delle Focolarine riletto da Père J.M.Hennaux SJ teologo-moralista e Père B.Malvaux SJ, teologo-canonista. Ho speranza che uno studio di tipo AUDIT-ESTERNO possa essere realizzato per il Movimento dei Focolari e forse per altri Movimenti da una Chiesa che, riprendendo FORZA, possa fare chiarezza. 

Rose Paull, RIP
, who died in 2001, was a remarkable educator. As an octogenarian grandparent with energy, intelligence, and a mission, this long-time supporter of International Cultic Studies Association (formerly known as American Family Foundation) was always committed to helping former group members in their recovery. 

In 1990, she also established and implemented a unique and successful continuing education project among students and faculty at Miami Dade (County) Community College (MDCC) and Florida International University (FIU).  Twice each week, she drove her car to the campus space which the school administration at MDCC had assigned her. She carried her materials to her two tables, set up next to the school library, hung neat signs identifying her subjects - “Mind Control,” “Exit Counseling,” “Recruitment,” and the like - arranged articles and pamphlets so that their mastheads and headlines were clearly displayed, and stood ready to answer queries, from early morning to mid-afternoon. If a passing student seemed especially interested, she would engage in conversation. She didn't push.

The result was a great interest among numerous students and the distribution of a great deal of popular and professional literature about cults and cultism. Mrs. Paull also maintained a nearby “reading” table so that students could consult standard analyses of the cult phenomenon as well as first hand accounts of cult involvement. Mrs. Paull also set up at Florida International on Monday of one week and on Thursday of the next week, to ensure that students who attended classes on Monday-Wednesday-Friday, as well as those who attend only on a Tuesday-Thursday schedule, got to see her.

Faculty members at both DCCC and FIU made use of Mrs. Paull's educational service. Instructors in psychology, sociology, law, and English asked for material for their courses, and assigned student papers on the subject of cults. Fittingly, Mrs. Paull wrote an article on student education for Young People and Cults, an ICSA newsletter at the time. She also contributed significantly, through her literature tables, to the effort to diminish the influence of local branches of the Boston Church of Christ movement, which at the time recruited voraciously on numerous Florida campuses.

Like many ICSA supporters, Mrs. Paull was moved to educate herself about cults, and to associate herself with our work, because one of her children became involved in a cult. The group was not happy with Mrs. Paull's educational work, which prominently highlighted them. Once, they set up a table opposite hers, clearly hoping to counter her message. But students showed very little interest, and the competition packed up and went home within the week.

Marie-Andrée Pelland, PhD, Assistant Professor, Sociology Department, Université de Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. She received her doctorate from the School of Criminology of the Université de Montréal. Her dissertation is entitled, Allegations of Illegal Conduct: Effect on Social Reality of a Community of Canadian Polygamous Mormons. 
Marie-Andrée Pelland, PhD
, est professeure adjointe au département de sociologie de l’Université de Moncton au Nouveau-Brunswick, Canada. Elle a obtenu son diplôme de 3e cycle de l’École de criminologie de l’Université de Montréal. Ses travaux traitent de la question de l’effet des conflits avec la société sur le fonctionnement des groupes religieux minoritaires.  Sa thèse s’intitule :   « Allégations d’entorse aux lois : Effets sur la réalité sociale d'un groupe de mormons polygames canadiens ».

Alessandro Olivieri Pennesi.
With degrees in philosophy from l’Università La Sapienza di Roma and in theology from the la Pontificia Università Gregoriana, Rev. Pennesi is a teacher of philosophy, psychology and the science of education in high schools and various pontifical universities. A registered psychologist in Lazio, he is a national advisor of GRIS (Gruppo di Ricerca e Informazione Socio-religiosa), a member of ONAP (Osservatorio Nazionale Abusi Psicologici), member of ICSA and a member of the Association of Christian Therapists (ACT ). He is the author of various studies on the New Age and has participated in conferences and seminars on the new religiosity. Among his publications are: The Cross of Christ in the New Age, in E. Fizzoti (editor), The sweet seduction of Acquarius (Las, Rome, 1996) and The Christ of the New Age: Critical Investigations (Lev, Vatican City, 1999).

Alessandro Olivieri Pennesi
. Laureato in filosofia presso l’Università La Sapienza di Roma e in teologia presso la Pontificia Università Gregoriana, è docente di filosofia, psicologia e scienze dell’educazione nei licei e presso varie università pontificie. Iscritto all’Ordine degli Psicologi del Lazio, è consigliere nazionale del GRIS (Gruppo di Ricerca e Informazione Socio-religiosa), socio dell’ONAP (Osservatorio Nazionale Abusi Psicologici), socio ICSA e dell’Association of Christian Therapists (ACT ). Autore di vari studi sulla New Age, tiene conferenze e seminari sulla nuova religiosità. Tra le sue pubblicazioni: La croce di Cristo e il New Age, in E. Fizzotti (a cura di), La dolce seduzione dell’Acquario, Las, Roma 1996: Il Cristo del New Age. Indagine critica, Lev, Città del Vaticano 1999.

Chris & Abby Penton live in Fort Worth, TX and are the proud parents of five children, four of whom are in college. Chris is an executive and Abby is a phlebotomist at Texas Health Huguley Hospital. Their 22-year-old daughter became involved with Kip McKean’s City of Angels (ICC) cult during her last semester in college.

Jessica Lissette Perdomo
graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, with honors in her Criminology (BA) major as well as in her minor of Human Services. She also graduated with distinction as an inductee of the Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society and PSI CHI International Honor Society in Psychology. She is a member of the International Cultic Studies Association. Her interests in deviant behavior and mental illness diagnoses has led her to pursue a master’s degree in Forensic Mental Health Counseling – expected graduation June 2016. Currently, she interns at Elmcor, a non-profit organization focused on rehabilitation services and positive alternatives for at-risk youth and adults. After graduation, she plans to work with the prison population for rehabilitation purposes as well as with former members of high-control groups. Jessica plans to pursue her PsyD in Clinical Psychology in the near future.

Miguel Perlado, PhD, Psychologist. Psychotherapist (associated member of the Spanish Federation of
Psychotherapy Associations, FEAP). Psychoanalyst (Barcelona Institute of Psychoanalysis, IPB/SEP). Member of the Board of Directors of iPsi Psychoanalytic Training Center. Member of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). Director of the Iberoamerican Association for Research on Psychological Abuse (AIIAP). Coordinator of Task Force on Psychological Manipulation Processes on Cults and Other Social Organizations at the Official School of Psychologists of Catalonia (COPC). He worked for eleven years with Attention and Research on Social Addictions in Barcelona. Now, he's the current director of AIIAP (Iberoamerican Association on Psychological Abuse, Barcelona, Spain). He has specialized since 1999 in cult-related problems, helping more than eight hundred families, current members, and ex members of cults and other victims of abusive relationships. He has published a number of professional articles on the subject and has organized numerous seminars for mental health professionals in Spain. He coordinated the specialized book on cults Estudios Clínicos sobre Sectas. He's the webmaster of EducaSectas and also HemeroSectas, two specialized Spanish websites on cults. He develops his clinical practice with ex cult members and their families on Barcelona (Spain). In 2005 ICSA awarded Mr. Perlado the Herbert L. Rosedale Award in recognition of leadership in the effort to preserve and protect individual freedom.

Miguel Perlado. Psicologo clinico. Psicoterapeuta (membro associato della Federazione di Associazioni di Psicoterapeuti , FEAP). Psicoanalista (Istituto di Psicoanalisi di Barcellona, IPB). Membro del Consiglio di Amministrazione di iPsi Formazione Psicoanalitica. Membro dell’Associazione sugli studi settari ICSA. Coordinatore del Gruppo di lavoro Processi di Manipolazione psicologica nelle sette coercitive ed altre organizzazioni sociali (Collegio Ufficiale di Psicologi della Catalogna, COPC). Ha lavorato per undici anni in AIS ( Atención e Investigación en Socioadicciones) a Barcellona. Attualmente è il presidente di AIIAP (Associazione Iberoamericana per la ricerca sull’abuso psicologico, Barcellona, Spagna). Negli ultimi 14 anni si è specializzato nell’aiuto alle famiglie, ai membri ed ex-membri di sette e altre relazioni abusanti, ed ha seguito finora più di 800 casi collegati a sette. Ha pubblicato numerosi lavori in riviste specializzate e collabora regolarmente nella formazione di professionisti della salute mentale in tema di settarismo. Coordinatore del libro Studi clinici sulle sette. Collaboratore di diversi mezzi di informazione sul tema del settarismo. Segue il sito web EducaSectas e HemeroSectas. Sviluppa la sua attività clinica con pazienti che sono stati danneggiati da sette e le loro famiglie a Barcellona (Spagna).

Bruce D. Perry, M.D., PhD, is the Senior Fellow of the Child Trauma Academy, a Houston-based nonprofit organization that promotes innovations in service, research, and education in child maltreatment and childhood trauma. He has served as a consultant to the FBI and is the former Chief of Psychiatry at Texas Children's Hospital, as well as former Vice-Chairman for Research in the Department of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine. He lives in Houston, Texas, and Alberta, Canada. 

Catherine Perry, Ph.D.
in French from Princeton University, Chevalier in the French national order Ordre des palmes académiques, former President of the Conseil International d’Études Francophones, and former Editor in Chief of the refereed journal Nouvelles Études Francophones, Catherine Perry taught French and Francophone Literatures, Cultures, and Cinema from 1993 to 2016 at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, USA. Her interests include intellectual history, gender studies, representations of North Africa in European literature and painting, francophone literatures from the Maghreb, and French and Francophone cinema. She has published articles on various French and Francophone writers as well as introductions to translated works of French women poets. Her book Persephone Unbound: Dionysian Aesthetics in the Works of Anna de Noailles studies Noailles' poetry and prose in relation to philosophical and aesthetic currents in early 20th-century Europe. Having lived in Morocco for over ten years, Catherine Perry is also interested in Moroccan witness literature. She is presently studying representations of Islam in contemporary Francophone literature and film. In her courses, Catherine Perry was keen on teaching books and films that promote intercultural dialogue and understanding. She recently offered courses on Islam in contemporary Francophone literature, Marcel Proust, French literature of the fin de siècle, and the Belle Époque, French travelers to North Africa, women writers from the 20th century to the present, contemporary French literature and film, European fiction at the turn of the twentieth century, and rebels, vagrants, and outsiders in French literature and film. A recipient of Notre Dame’s Kaneb Award for Teaching Excellence, the Distinguished Notre Dame Woman Award, and the Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, she was also a fellow of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

Elizabeth Perry, MEd, was a member of the Emissaries of Divine Light and an off-shoot from 1985 – 2001 in Canada. Since leaving the group she has focused on recovering by reclaiming her autonomy, exploring the causes of her susceptibility, and resetting her life path. She works with individuals and groups in a variety of contexts, increasing self-empowerment. 

Frances Peters (1959) She is a certified coach/counsellor at FreeChoice, in the Netherlands. She is a member of the ICSA. She is a former, second generation Jehovah’s Witness. Together with her husband and two children, she left the group in 2004. In 2007 she was officially disfellowshipped. In September 2011 she published an article for the Magazine ‘Tijdschrift voor Coaching’, about the influence of cultbehavior on identity development (‘Gezocht: Nieuwe Identiteit). Mieke Barendregt and she host a support group of former members of cults, abuse groups and/or relationships (OwnFreeChoice Praatcafé) since 2012. She is also part of a team of professionals ( to provide more information about cultbehavior.

Marcy Pettitt is a practicing attorney. She lives in Los Angeles with her partner of twenty years and their three daughters. Writing about growing up in a Fundamental Christian cult, Marcy hopes to inspire those who feel trapped in an unhealthy or unsafe place to fight, feel empowered, and build a better life. 

Mara Piccin has a master degree in public relations from the University of Udine. She helds a managerial position in public administration for the Province of Pordenone. She got into politics in 2004. In 2006 she was voted Counsellor for the Municipality of Pordenone. In 2008 she was elected to the Regional Council. During her time in office she has been one of the proponents of the bill and then the Regional Law 11/2012 together with Roberto Asquini. She was reelected to the Regional Council in 2013. Her mail is:

Daniel Picotin has been a practicing attorney at the Bordeaux Appeal Court since 1981. At the same time, he was been active in Politics in different authorities: General Counsel of Gironde, Regional Counsel of Aquitaine, Mayor until 2008 and Deputy. For this last part, he was an active participant at the committee of inquiry of the National Assembly : “ les sectes en France” in 1995. He founded the association INFOS SECTES AQUITAINE (Regional branch of the centre against mental manipulations) in 2001 and was its President until 2015. Daniel PICOTIN has been militantly against the sects and the mental manipulation for many years. As such, he officially imported in FRANCE the practice of the “exit counseling” on the occasion of a famous case : “les reclus de Monflanquin” (see book of DE VEDRINES “Nous n’étions pas armés” published by PLON limited 2013; “We weren’t armed” published by SHYSCRABER publications limited 2015.) with his team, he realize each year some exit counseling in France and in Europe. In order to achieve this, he presides the “SOCIETE FRANCAISE DE RECHERCHES ET D’ANALYSE EN EMPRISE MENTALE “ (S.F.R.A.E.M.) since 2011 et has participated to the creation of “CENTRE D’ACTIONS ET DE PREVENTIONS CONTRE LA RADICALISATION DES INDIVIDUS (C.A.P.R.I.) which he is the Vice-President since 2015. Since 2009, he has created a class of law of sectarian aberrations both in civil law and criminal law, this class is provided in lawyer schools. He will also teach soon in Universities within the creation of an university degree about the “psychopathologie et droit des problématiques sectaires”. He became an independent French specialist in the area of the influence and mental manipulation, he has published under the auspices of C.C.M.M. in 2012 un “manifeste pour une legislation efficace de protection des victimes d’emprise mentale” in 2014, the ’”exit counseling: le conseil en sortie d’emprise mentale”. He pleads regularly before the criminal courts against “Gurus” and “prejudicial manipulators”
Daniel PICOTIN est avocat à la Cour d’appel de BORDEAUX depuis 1981 ; en même temps, il a été un homme politique dans différentes instances : Conseil Général de la Gironde, Conseil Régional d’Aquitaine, Maire, Député jusqu’en 2008. A ce dernier titre, il a participé à la Commission d’enquête de l’Assemblée Nationale « les sectes en France » en 1995. Il a fondé l’association INFOS SECTES AQUITAINE (branche régionale du Centre Contre les Manipulations Mentales) en 2001 et en a été Président jusqu’en 2015. Daniel PICOTIN milite depuis de nombreuses années contre les sectes et la manipulation mentale. A ce titre, il a importé en FRANCE officiellement la pratique de l’ « exit counseling » à l’occasion de l’affaire dite des « reclus de Monflanquin » (cf livre des DE VEDRINES « Nous n’étions pas armés » aux éditions PLON en 2013 ; « We weren’t armed » published by SKYSCRABER publications limited 2015.) ; avec son équipe, il réalise depuis chaque année des exit counseling en France et en Europe. Pour se faire, il préside la « SOCIETE FRANÇAISE DE RECHERCHES ET D’ANALYSE EN EMPRISE MENTALE » ( S.F.R.A.E.M.) depuis 2011 et a participé à la création du CENTRE D’ACTION ET DE PREVENTION CONTRE LA RADICALISATION DES INDIVIDUS ( C.A.P.R.I.) dont il est Vice-Président depuis 2015. Depuis 2009, il a créé un cours de droit des dérives sectaires civil et pénal dispensé en Ecole d’Avocats. Il va prochainement enseigner en Université dans le cadre de la création d’un diplôme universitaire sur la « psychopathologie et droit des problématiques sectaires ». Devenu un spécialiste français de la matière de l’emprise et de la manipulation mentale, il a publié sous l’égide du C.C.M.M. en 2012 un « manifeste pour une législation efficace de protection des victimes d’emprise mentale » et en 2014, l’ « exit counseling : le conseil en sortie d’emprise mentale ». Il plaide régulièrement notamment devant les juridictions pénales à l’encontre des « gourous » et « manipulateurs préjudiciables ».

Larry Pile
was a staff member and Director of Cult Education and Research for Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, initially of Albany, Ohio, and later of Athens, Ohio, from May 1988 to 2005. He is currently semi-retired, and conducts workshops for Wellspring as needed on a voluntary basis. His duties have included preparing and conducting workshops on a wide variety of spiritual and practical issues and topics designed to help people who have suffered abuse as members of high-control, destructive organizations and relationships, including spiritually abusive churches. The type of abuse suffered was always emotional and spiritual, often physical, sexual, and financial. The goal of the workshops is to help victims/survivors come to an understanding of what happened to them, how it happened to them, and how to move on with their lives. Larry has written for Wellspring’s newsletter and journal (now no longer published), as well as other periodicals. He has written an on-line book about Great Commission Association of Churches (Marching to Zion – accessible through and a commentary on the biblical book of Galatians (Free at Last! The Message of Galatians for Survivors of Cults and Spiritual Abuse), geared toward survivors of abusive churches and other totalistic organizations and relationships. (The latter is soon to be published.)

Diana Pletts, MA
, (right) is the founder and director of the Phoenix Project, an art and literary exhibit of works by ex-cult members that has been running since 2006. A former member of a group called the Path, Diana completed her cult-interrupted college education following exit counseling at Wellspring. Diana has worked as a writer and an adjunct college professor, and loves taking visual art classes at the local university. She was Arts Editor for ICSA Today for seven years. In 2015 ICSA presented Diana with the Margaret T. Singer Award.

Simonetta Po, Educator. After a brief, early experience as a member of the Church of Scientology in 1997, Ms. Po began to research and scientifically study the doctrines and the praxis of the movement. In the same year she opened an Internet database about Dianetics/Scientology aiming to supply independent information about the movement. The Internet gave her the opportunity to contact dozens of people variously involved with Scientology - former and current members, concerned relatives and friends, scholars, representatives of the anticult world - and to better understand the problems involved in internalizing the doctrines, affiliating, and parting. Currently, Ms. Po is majoring in ethnology and anthropology of the contemporary world at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy).

Helen Pomery lives in Queensland, Australia. Helen was married for 30 years, and she has three children and eight grandchildren. After years of discipline by the elders of Brisbane Christian Fellowship, she was excommunicated for being disobedient to headship and subsequently lost her marriage, two children, and four grandchildren to the cult. Morag Zwartz has written an expose of this particular religious cult in her book, Apostles of Fear and Helen’s story features as the case study. Helen has been actively involved in political lobbying in Australia and her story has been widely reported in the media. She is the Correspondent for Australia for ICSA Today.

Clara Porrúa García es licenciada en Psicología y profesora del Departamento de Psicología Social de la Universidad de Barcelona. Imparte clases de la asignatura de Psicología de los Grupos en el Grado de Psicología, y clases de Psicología Social en las licenciaturas de Pedagogía y Psicopedagogía. Su línea de investigación se centra en temas relacionados con la persuasión, la influencia y la violencia. Desde el año 2004 forma parte de un grupo de investigación que estudia la violencia psicológica, entendida como aquellas estrategias de control, manipulación y abuso aplicadas para conseguir la dominación sobre una persona, ya sean para conseguir su exclusión, o bien para su sometimiento. Actualmente también colabora con un grupo de investigación que tiene como objetivo principal estudiar el proceso de recuperación de mujeres en situación de violencia de pareja.

Elizabeth Poulsen is a former Jehovah’s witness who raised her children in the organization.

Alisha Powell, PhD, LCSW,
graduated from the University of Denver with her graduate degree in social work (MSW) and completed her undergraduate degree (BSW) at Oakwood University. Alisha also completed post-graduate studies in Marriage and Family Therapy and completed her doctorate in social psychology at Walden University. She has experience working in a variety of settings that have included long-term care, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and residential treatment centers working with clients from all walks of life. As a teenager, Alisha lived with her family on a compound, and she has personal experience as a former member of a cult. Alisha currently works as a therapist and as an adjunct instructor in social work. Her areas of special practice include couples therapy, assessment, mental health and working with minority populations. Alisha is also passionate about being a lifelong learner and has completed Level I and II of Gottman Couples Therapy Training and is pursuing a certification as a discernment counselor. In her spare time, Alisha enjoys traveling and trying new restaurants.

Karen Pressley is an Instructor of English composition at Southern Polytechnic State University in Atlanta, and is the managing director of KAP Communications
Inc., specializing in writing, editing, and desktop publishing. Karen holds a MA in Professional Writing and a BS in Communication (Media and Public Relations). As a former 16?year Scientologist, she directed its Celebrity Centre International Network and later worked at the church’s International Management headquarters. Since departing Scientology in 1998, she is consulted regularly on Scientology issues by media, former cult members, and their families. She is a guest speaker for radio and television shows, conferences, seminars, and academic classes. Her first two books about Scientology, Chasing After the Wind (Broadman & Holman, 2001) and Escaping Scientology: An Insider’s True Story (New Hope, 2006) were suppressed from publication. She authored several entries for Baker Dictionary of Cults (forthcoming, 2011) and numerous articles on Scientology. In 2009, Karen developed the Hegemonic Communication Model (HCM) that shows how a cult member’s personal expression, critical thinking skills, and creativity are affected by charismatic leaders. HCM is illustrated in Creativity and Cults from Sociological and Communication Perspectives: The Processes Involved in the Birth of a Secret Creative Self, co-authored with sociologist Miriam Boeri for The Last Draw: Cults and Creativity, a special issue of the Cultic Studies Review (Vol. 9, No. 1, 2010), presented at the 2010 ICSA Conference. Her forthcoming book, Experiencing Creativity: Breaking Free from Spiritual Abuse and the Emergence of the Creative Self, provides a theoretical framework for understanding how cult rhetoric suppresses members’ critical thinking, personal expression, and creativity. Her latest projects include development of a writing workshop for ex-cult members that focuses on writing to heal through the power of the narrative, to speed recovery and improve critical thinking skills in post-cult life.

Stephan Pretorius, PhD, D.Th., is involved in exit counselling and is a member of CIEC, the Cult Information and Evangelical Centre, situated in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is also the founder of the new organization RIGHT - Rights of Individuals Grant Honour To, which aims at exposing the infringement on basic human rights in religious cults. 

Laura Prickett is a spiritual director, dream group facilitator, workshop leader, and former member of the International Church of Christ (ICC), a high-demand group that she joined at age 18. Laura holds a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Chaplaincy Institute, Berkeley, California, where she is enrolled in the Interfaith Studies program, leading to ordination as an interfaith minister. She holds a Certificate in Dream Group Facilitation from the Marin Institute for Projective Dreamwork, and a Master of Community Planning from the University of Rhode Island. She has led workshops and presentations at Unitarian Universalist congregations, the Chaplaincy Institute, and conferences of professional organizations, including the American Planning Association and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Laura was a member, leader, and missionary in the ICC from 1981 to 1989. After exiting the ICC, she established a career in community planning and worked at personal healing from a predominantly psychological perspective. However, her nighttime dreams continued guiding her toward spiritual and religious issues. She cultivated an independent spiritual path, and more recently felt called to study dreamwork, interfaith spiritual direction, and interfaith ministry. She is a member of Spiritual Directors International and the International Association for the Study of Dreams. 

Kamala Priya (1967), Master of Education, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has been a member of ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness - Hare Krishna movement) since 1988, and has been working with people inside and outside the movement. She has several years of experience in teaching at secondary schools in Sweden. In 2011 she attended a course on child protection given by ISKCON's International Child Protection Office in Stockholm.

Erin Prophet is a scholar of religion currently pursuing her doctorate at Rice University, where she focuses on the American metaphysical tradition, religious experience and new religions. She is the author of “Charisma and Authority in New Religious Movements,” (Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements, Second Edition, forthcoming) as well as “New Religion” (Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks, Religion: Primer, forthcoming), and Prophet’s Daughter: My Life with Elizabeth Clare Prophet inside Church Universal and Triumphant (2009). She is a co-author of Comparing Religions, by Jeffrey Kripal (2014). She has a master’s degree in public health from Boston University.

Prof. Robert T. Ptaszek is the Head of the Department of the Interreligious Dialogue and Alternative Religious Movements at the Faculty of Philosophy of John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (KUL). Dedicated to study of doctrinal content of all alternative to Christianity religious movements this Department is the first and only one of its kind in all Poland's higher education. From 2011 to 2014 prof. Ptaszek's Department convened yearly conferences on topics related to this field of research. Their scholarly outcome filled first volumes of the new book series 'Alternative Religiosity' (Polish: 'Religijność Alternatywna') by KUL University Press, created in 2012 and edited ever since by prof. Ptaszek. He authored over 140 publications, including many lexicographical articles pertaining to his fields of expertise. They are philosophy of religion, religious movements, interreligious dialog, and philosophy of culture.  His main work is the book New Age of Religion? The 'New Age' Movement and its Doctrine under Philosophical Scrutiny (Polish: Nowa era religii? Ruch New Age i jego doktryna – aspekt filozoficzny), 2nd edn., Lublin 2015. Prof. Ptaszek has a membership in Polish Philosophical Society, Polish Society for the Study of Western Esotericism, and in several other Polish and international scholarly associations.

Danish Qasim is the founder of a website dedicated to helping Muslims that have suffered spiritual abuse. Danish graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 2010 with a B.A. in Religious Studies. Upon graduating he dedicated himself to full time traditional Islamic studies. He is now completing his Master’s in education and community leadership at the Western Institute for Social Research in Berkeley, CA.

Muzammil Quraishi, PhD. Senior Lecturer in Criminology & Criminal Justice, Social Sciences Directorate, University of Salford, UK. Muzammil undertook his PhD at the Centre for Comparative Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Wales, Bangor. His research focused upon the qualitative experiences of Muslim populations as both perpetrators and victims of crime in Britain and Pakistan. Prior to joining the University of Salford, Muzammil was Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations (CRER) at the University of Warwick working on the ‘Muslims in Prison Project’ which was the first major study to evaluate the qualitative experiences of Muslim prisoners in the UK and France. Muzammil has developed specialist knowledge about Muslim populations and crime including working with ex-offenders, advising prison research on countering racism and advising policy makers on challenging Islamophobia in criminal justice contexts. He is co-investigator on a new major study with Dr Matthew Wilkinson at SOAS, University of London examining’ Muslim Converts in Prison’ to commence in September 2017. A full research profile and publications can be accessed at this link:

Hanna Qwist’s parents were members of a small religious group called Maranata, who homeschool their children.

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.

Jean-Yves Radigois, PhD, has been the director of Social Action in a municipality of Brittany, France. He is a researcher associated with the Department of Human, Social, and Educational Sciences in the laboratoire des Carrières Formation et Ressources Humaines, UCO, Angers, France; educator and supervisor in the analysis of professional practices. He is also an expert for French local authorities on medicalsocial-educational services.

Silvana Radoani ha una laurea in scienze religiose ed attualmente sta acquisendo la Laurea Specialistica in Antropologia Culturale e Etnologia presso l'Università di Bologna. Titolare di cattedra di Sociologia della religione presso la Facoltà Teologica dell'Emilia Romagna. Da circa 24 anni è studiosa di gruppi coercitivi, con particolare approfondimento della magia, del satanismo e di personaggi di frangia cattolica. Autrice di numerose pubblicazioni e conferenze sul tema delle sette, tecniche di condizionamento e dei nuovi movimenti religiosi ( <>, ha inoltre approfondito la tecnica dell’ipnosi, conseguendo un Master quadriennale di Ipnosi Clinica a Bologna. È socia della SMIPI (Società Medica Italiana per l'Ipnosi e la Psicoterapia) e della SIPR (Società Italiana di Psicologia della Religione). Responsabile e consulente dell'ASAAP, un Centro di Consulenza on-line Anti Abuso, collabora con le forze dell'Ordine per quanto riguarda le truffe dei gruppi coercitivi e con alcuni sacerdoti esorcisti.

Silvana Radoani has a master's degree in religious science and is currently pursuing another master's degree in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Bologna. She is the Chair of Sociology of Religion in the Faculty of Theology of Emilia Romagna. Radoani has studied cults, particularly those connected with magic, Satanism, and extreme catholic groups, for the last 24 years. Author of many publications and speaker in conferences on Cults, coercitive groups, and New Religious Movements ( <>, she has also taken a four-year Master in Clinical Hypnosis at Bologna. She is a member of SMIPI (Italian Medical Society for Hypnosis and Psychotherapy) and of SIPR (Italian Society of Psychology of Religion). She is the person in charge and Counselor of ASAAP, an on-line centre for abuse, and cooperates with police regarding frauds connected with coercive groups and with some exorcist priests. For information and communication.

Susan Raine is a second-year Ph.D student in the sociology department at the University of Alberta. Her research interests include NRMs, ideological groups, religious-national conflict, martyrdom, and social theories of the body and of emotions. 

Joyce Ralph is a former member of a high-demand, high-control religious cult in southern California. Joyce grew up in Minnesota with no spiritual or religious guidance. At age 19 she joined the United States Marine Corps. She was stationed in southern California and had just served her 4 year commitment when a good friend recruited her into her first destructive group. She was drawn to the togetherness that was evident in the group. Not knowing anything about the Bible, she accepted the narcissistic behavior as normal. After 2 years she walked away and into the arms of another couple and another religious cult. This one even worse than the first one. After 5 years of spiritual, emotional and some physical abuse she found an opportunity to walk away. Because of the trauma however she was unable to speak having to force out anything she wanted to say. A neighbor directed her to Wellspring and they directed her to MeadowHaven. After years of therapy Joyce is now able to share her testimony and has gained her voice back. Joyce is now enjoying the creative arts to aid in her healing. Painting and photography are her favorites. She also recently joined a writing club to help her express herself through writing to tell her story. She will be returning to college in the fall after a 3-year break from her studies in Psychology. After living for many years in the south Joyce has made her home in Massachusetts. She continues to receive support from MeadowHaven. She has also added a new addition to her home, a retired-from-racing Greyhound named Chase!
Sophia Ralph is a PhD Criminology student at the University of the West of England (UWE), with special interests in sexual violence, death, spiritual identity, and the psychology of martyrdom and self-sacrifice. I work as an associate lecturer in UWE’s Criminology department, where I teach Criminal Psychology; Research Methods; and Social Psychology of Violence and Crime. I was recently published in the Journal of Sexual Aggression, and presented papers on social perceptions of necrophilia at the British Society of Criminology (BSC) Conference 2014 and the International Association for the Treatment of Sexual Offenders (IATSO) 2014 Conference. I was born and raised a true-believing Mormon. At around nineteen years old I suffered disillusionment, and stopped attending a year later. My own spiritual journey and struggle, both growing up in the Church and subsequently transitioning from it, ignited a desire to help those experiencing similar faith crises. Consequently, I am currently co-authoring a research study with Dr. Mark Horsley at UWE exploring transitional identities in post- and ex-Mormon communities. Furthermore, I am a co-founder and co-director of Truth Will Prevail Ltd., a non-profit organisation aiming to support Mormons and their families, in and outside of the Church, through faith crisis.

Ck Rardin
was born in California. His parents raised him in a cultic Catholic group and when he reached adolescence, they signed over their parental rights to the group. Ck was then sent to the cult’s headquarters in Itaquera, SP, Brazil. He stayed in the group till age 26 when he gathered the courage and strength to leave the organization on his own. After leaving he became a Certified EMT, then was certified and joined the ASCP (American Society of Clinical Pathologists, with which he maintains his certification). He now runs his own IT consulting firm in upstate New York and spends much of his time involved in recovery from his experience, working to expose these groups (for example assisting in research for MTV's production of "The Cult Question") as well as helping others in their recovery. [Workshop Facilitators]

Mary Anne Rardin completed her PhD at the California Institute of Integral Studies in December of 2013. She will present the findings of her dissertation. Dr. Rardin is a cult survivor and had planned to write on another topic for her dissertation. However, her professors, who became committee members, encouraged her to write on the topic of cult recovery because they felt she was healed enough from her experience and had a solid understanding of the cult phenomenon. She is an SGA and her committee agreed/suggested that her research participants should also be SGAs.  Her parents took her out of school in 7th grade at the request of the cult in which she grew up, so she never attended high school. She is extremely proud that when she found a way to escape from her family and the cult she took and passed the California High School Proficiency Exam with a high score and later obtained an AA, BA, MA and PhD. She has worked on some cult recovery workshops and plans to work more in the field of cult recovery, teaching, speaking, and coaching as she determines how to navigate growing this into a full-time career iwhile continuing her day job in technology.

Ali Akbar Rastgou author of the books, Die Bombe tickt (Dec 2001), which focused on the abuse of Children by the MEK cult, and the Mojahedin-e Khalg(cult) in the Mirror of History (2003), was born in 1953. He lives in Cologne Germany. He studied German literature for two years at Tehran University. He moved to Germany in 1976 where he studied and obtained his masters in civil engineering from Essen University, Germany. Mr. Rastgou was recruited by the MEK Cult in 1980 and sent to Iraq, where he managed to defect in 1987. In 2003, Rastgou, with other former members of the cult, seeks to educate the German public about destructive cults and serve as a focal point for helping former cult members. Mr. Rastgo has been active in promoting the social, political, and cultural integration of Iranian people living in Germany and helping Germans better understand the Iranian people and Iranian culture. One focus of his work is to support and assist of defectors of destructive cults and help those members of cults who want to free themselves from their group.

Tia Rebholz
(aka Tia Marlier) is a seasoned voice-over actor and narrator for TV and radio commercials, corporate training, e-Learning and phone systems. She teaches voice-over acting and coaches business professionals in presentation skills training and effective use of the voice in Denver, Colorado and has also performed as a stage actor, radio news announcer, and professional vocalist. Tia spent 10 years in churches affiliated with a Christian, high-demand, cult-like movement, and after leaving, discovered ICSA through an ICSA-affiliated therapist. Last year she attended a regional ICSA Cult Recovery Workshop, which provided tremendous insight and support for her recovery.

Dingcheng Ren, PhD, has paid attention to cults in China from historical, methodological, and life culture perspectives since the late 1990’s. He is a professor and the executive dean of the School of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He has been a professor at Peking University, a visiting professor at the Oversea Programe of Stanford University in Beijing, a research fellow of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science in Tokyo, and a guest professor of Foguang University in Taiwan. Also, he has worked as the Deputy Director of the Expert Panel of National Scheme for Scientific Literacy for All Chinese Citizen for China Association for Science and Technology. Prof. Ren’s current academic interests are focused on: (1) phenomena of victimizing members of groups by misusing traditional Chinese culture in contemporary China, (2) phenomena of manipulating members of groups misusing modern science, and (3) how to aid the members of groups to distinguish pseudoscience from science in order to avoid harm.

Miroslaw Rewera, PhDdoctor of sociology, Assistant Professor at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin – Off-Campus Faculty of Law and Social Sciences in Stalowa Wola (Poland). Areas of research activity: changes of values and roles of authorities in contemporary society, especially in the awareness of youth; usage of new drugs (smarts) by Polish youth, and influence of the media on human perception of social life. In the area of cultic studies, he focuses particularly on cult leaders.

Elisabeth Akteus Rex grew up as a Jehovah´s Witness and remained in the organization until I was 18. During my childhood, my fanatical father ruled the family and he let us understand early that his words were law. Outwardly he was a nice and spiritual father who took care of his family. Behind closed doors, he was violent and scary. When I turned 18, I felt I was slowly suffocating, and the only way to save myself was to break free. But it also meant that I was forced to say goodbye to friends and family. I became as dead to them after that. Many years after, I still had nightmares about how I would die in Armageddon and it took me a long time to start to rebuild my life again. Today I am a successful writer who has written books about abuse of power.

Rick Robertson is the owner of Antic Productions in Plano, Texas. He has had a storied career as a disc jockey, on-air radio personality, television host, and stand-up comedian. In recent years he has run his own advertising and voice talent agency. He and his wife, Kim, live in Dallas, TX.

E. Burke Rochford, Jr. is Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Sociology-Anthropology Department at Middleburg College. He has studied the Hare Krishna movement for nearly 25 years. His book, Hare Krishna in America, was published by Rutgers University Press in 1985. He has also published numerous articles on the movement. His book on family, the second generation and the development of ISKCON is in progress. In addition to his academic studies Professor Rochford also serves as a member of ISKCON’s North American Board of Education. 

Lucie Rodrigues, Clinical psychologist, PhD candidate at « Laboratoire de Clinique Psychopathologique et interculturelle » (University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès). Ms. Rodrigues has a Master's degree in clinical and intercultural psychopathology. She wrote her Master's report about Scientology from the following question: what about the subject in a modern sect: the example of Scientology. This work studies the contemporary social link from a psychoanalytical (Lacanian) perspective, studying the functioning and the modalities of the sectarian speech and finally questions the psychic function of the recourse to the sect. Her current work of PhD candidate concerns the study of the new radical and segregationist movements of the contemporary world from a psychoanalytical (Lacanian) perspective.

Álvaro Rodríguez-Carballeira, PhD,
is Full Professor of Social and Legal Psychology at the University of Barcelona (Spain). From 1999 to 2008 he had been Head of the Social Psychology Department at this university. He has been Director of the “Invictus Research” group ( since 2003 and is the coordinator of the PhD Program in Social and Organizational Psychology at University of Barcelona. He is a member of the board of the "Spanish Scientific Society of Social Psychology." His research interests include the psychology of influence, harassment and violence, especially in group settings (cults), workplace, intimate partner, and terrorism. He has been involved in many projects and published many articles in these areas. During the 1980s, before and after a 1985 internship at ICSA, he worked with families and victims affected by cult membership. Dr. Rodriguez-Carballeira was awarded ICSA’s 2011 Margaret Singer Award "for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence".

Álvaro Rodríguez-Carballeira, PhD, es Catedrático de Psicología Social y Jurídica en el Departamento de Psicología Social de la Universidad de Barcelona, Departamento del que fue director desde 1999 hasta 2008. Actualmente es coordinador del programa de doctorado en Psicología Social y de las Organizaciones en dicha universidad. Forma parte de la Junta Directiva de la Sociedad Científica Española de Psicología Social (SCEPS). Desde el año 2003 es director del grupo “Invictus Investigación” (, que estudia principalmente la Psicología de la Influencia, el Acoso y la Violencia, en especial en los ámbitos de grupos (sectas), de pareja, laboral y terrorista, campos en los que ha llevado a cabo numerosos proyectos y publicaciones. El Dr. Rodríguez-Carballeira fue galardonado por ICSA con el Premio Margaret Singer 2011 “por los avances en el estudio de la persuasión coercitiva y la influencia indebida”.

Mark Roggeman
retired in the summer of 2010 from the Denver Police Department after 39 years and has been researching cult groups for over thirty years. 
In 2016 he received a bachelors degree in criminal justice from Colorado Christian University. This has been accomplished by studying them and also by infiltrating several cult groups. He has learned much by assisting families who have in some way been affected by a cult, usually when a relative has become involved. Also providing them with information if available on the particular group they are dealing with and educating them on how cult groups operate and with information on exit counseling. He was involved extensively with investigations of the Concerned Christians group, which was based in Denver and believed the world was to end in 2000 in Israel. He assisted law enforcement both here and in Israel with the deportation of some of the members from Israel. He gives training to law enforcement on how to deal with destructive cults. He was a presenter at the National Gang Crime Research Center annual conference held in Chicago on three occasions, addressing the issue of cults and gangs. He is a regular speaker for Regis University and Metro State University in Denver, CO. He also served as a member of the board of directors of the original Cult Awareness Network during the early eighties and was a founding member of the Denver Affiliate. He was a contributing author to the book, Cults and Consequences, edited by Rachael Andres, James R. Lane, and published by the Jewish Federation, 1988. 

Dieter Rohmann
, Diplom-Psychologe (Univ.) born 1960, lives and works in Munich/Germany. In the early 80ies he was involved in setting up and managing a project for Western dropouts in Goa/India. Focus of this work was both: the rescue and counselling of drug-addicts, mentally disturbed people, and disillusioned sense seekers from various spiritual communities and cults, as well as their repatriation in closed cooperation with western embassies and consulates in India. In 1984 he returned back to Germany where he started to work as a mind control consultant. His own involvement and membership with the "Children of God (COG)" for 7 months in 1979 was a deep going experience for him and showed him finally the way to work in this complicated field of religious cults until today. From 1984 to 1987 he accompanied the then only cult-recovery center in Europe (Johanneshof e.V.) near Bonn. Between 1988 and 1990 he catched up on his high school degree in evening classes in order to study Psychology in the University of Eichstätt. In January 1999 he obtained his university degree in Psychology and completed his studies with the empirical research on: "Possible Predisposition for Cult Involvement."   He works exclusively with people who left a cult in the past or currently try to struggle free, with people who were born into one of these cults and now try to walk their own ways, with people who experienced spiritual/religious abuse, and with partners and family members of people involved in cults. In all these years he developped several psychotherapeutic concepts for this very specific work with cult-members, gave numerous talks on this topic, and led seminars and workshops in Europe with and for cult-members and former cult-members. He is deeply thankful to all of the former cult-members he was able to accompany in all these years. They made him understand this difficult field better and taught him to stick to this topic.

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.

Sari Rompotti, Development Manager; One civil servant from School Heath care (elevhäl-san/spetskompetensgruppen); Parvaneh Sharafi/district coordinator.

Herbert L. Rosedale, Esq., RIP.
  Late president of American Family Foundation (now known as International Cultic Studies Association).   
Herbert L. Rosedale Memorial Reflections and Obituaries
Collection of Articles by Herbert L. Rosedale

Herb Rosedale, who has been such an important and beloved person to so many of us, died Tuesday morning, November 4th, 2003. He had been diagnosed with cancer in the spring and did well until late summer.  A few days before our Connecticut conference (October 17-18, 2003) he had had tests, the results of which came in during the conference. Those of us who attended the conference noticed that he was jaundiced. Nevertheless, with his typical courage and energy, Herb continued to do what he always does at conferences, talking to as many people as possible and welcoming new comers. After the conference it became clear that the cancer had spread to vital organs and his deterioration was rapid.

We will miss him terribly.

We have created a special memorial page for reflections, remembrances, words of gratitude, and eulogies from his family and friends.  We also have a 
Collection of Articles by Herbert L. Rosedale.

Here is a brief biographical sketch:

Herbert L. Rosedale, a graduate of Columbia College (1953) and Columbia Law School (LL.B., Phi Beta Kappa, Columbia Law Review, 1956) and Of Counsel with Jenkens & Gilchrist Parker Chapin, LLP, was one of the nation's leading authorities on cults. He first became involved in cult issues in the late 1970s, when he assisted citizens concerned about the Unification Church's ("the Moonies") attempt to buy a large property in Chappaqua. This was the first of countless pro bono services that have benefited thousands of people during the past 25 years. He represented or advised clergy, ex-members, families, professionals, and others involved in cult-related suits. He spent thousands of hours over the years advising families, former group members, and helping professionals, sometimes even going into his office on weekends to meet with people.

He helped former cult members obtain marriage annulments and return of their property. He was counsel for the New York City Jewish Community Relations Council Task Force on Cults and Missionaries and the New York Interfaith Coalition of Concern About Cults.  From 1988 until his death in 2003, he served as president of the American Family Foundation (AFF - renamed International Cultic Studies Association in 2004), the leading professional research and educational organization in this field. He wrote papers or chapters for Recovery from Cults (Norton), Cultic Studies Journal, Cultic Studies Review, and the Cult Observer. He was co-editor of The Boston Movement: Critical Perspectives on the International Churches of Christ (American Family Foundation).

He was interviewed widely by the national and international press and spoke to hundreds of lay and professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the New School in New York City, Columbia University School of Journalism, and the Association of Private Enterprise Education. He has testified to congressional committees.  In 1992 he was Executive in Residence at the School of Business, Indiana University.  In 1995 he delivered a commencement address to the graduating class of the State University of New York's Institute of Technology at Utica/Rome, "Promises and Illusions" (printed in Cultic Studies Journal, vol. 11, no. 2).  In 2002 he was a guest lecturer on cult issues at universities and institutions in China.

A man of intellect and kindness, he emphasized the need to dialogue with those who hold different opinions, including members of cultic groups, to study the phenomenon professionally, to educate people so that they become more informed consumers in the marketplace of ideas, and to offer support and assistance to the individuals and families victimized by psychologically and spiritually abusive groups.

Shelly Rosen, LCSW
is a psychotherapist with 35 years of clinical experience. In the 1980s and early 1990s she worked at the JBFCS Cult Clinic, and she continues to see former members and their families at her private practice in Manhattan. Shelly practices psychotherapy with adults, and she offers individual and group consultation to practicing clinicians. She is trained in relational/interpersonal psychoanalytic psychotherapy, sensorimotor psychotherapy, family therapy, and internal family systems. She is a Somatic Experiencing practitioner and a Certified EMDR Consultant. Shelly teaches trauma-informed psychotherapy at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, the Training Institute for Mental Health, and the National Institute for the Psychotherapies. With the support of a Department of Labor grant, Shelly works with an interdisciplinary team designing and implementing curricula that mitigates psychological trauma reactions for EMT’s, paramedics, and their patients. This protocol will be introduced to EMS programs nationwide.

Dr. Colin Ross is an internationally renowned clinician, researcher, author and lecturer in the field of dissociation and trauma-related disorders. Dr. Ross obtained his M.D. from the University of Alberta in 1981 and completed his training in psychiatry at the University of Manitoba in 1985. He is the founder and President of the Colin A. Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma, and he consults to hospital-based Trauma Programs in Texas, Michigan and California. He is a Past President of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. Dr. Ross' book, The Trauma Model: A Solution to the Problem of Comorbidity in Psychiatry, was first published in 2000, with a second edition appearing in 2007. Other books of his include Trauma Model Therapy: A Treatment Approach for Trauma, Dissociation and Complex Comorbidity (2009), The C.I.A. Doctors: Human Rights Violations by American Psychiatrists (2006), Satanic Ritual Abuse: Principles of Treatment (1995) and Moon Shadows: Stories of Trauma & Recovery (2007). Dr. Ross has authored 28 books and over 180 professional papers, and has reviewed for numerous professional journals and grant agencies. He has appeared in a number of television documentaries and has published essays, aphorisms, poetry, short stories and screenplays. 

Lowell Routley (PhD, Counseling Psychology, Walden University) is founder and executive director of Heartland Trauma Initiative, an organization dedicated to transforming lives impacted by trauma. As a professional, he has counseled hundreds of survivors of extreme abuse, torture, and mind control during the past twenty-five years. These survivors represent a range of contexts from dysfunctional families and deviant religious or social movements to contracted human engineering. Based on his interactions with trauma survivors, Dr. Routley pioneered the Core Integrity Model© (CIM), a new approach to treating those who have been psychologically injured. For more than a decade, he has been passing this knowledge on by teaching other therapists the concepts and tools of this innovative approach. The Core Integrity Model suggests a bold paradigm shift in mental health care on behalf of cult and mind-control survivors with the focus of mental health intervention being that of the injury model. By necessity, the law of parsimony requires treatment to proceed from the most basic explanation for presenting symptoms. To first rule out psychological injury before assigning an illness diagnosis will address the needs of many without assigning a stigmatizing label that the person is sick. Survivors of cults who have been wounded in mind, body, and spirit need said change to facilitate return to normative society without further alienation and shame.

Rabbi A. James Rudin,
Senior Interreligious Adviser, American Jewish Committee (AJC), retired in 2000 as AJC's National Interreligious Affairs Director. A 1960 graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he has been a leading figure in interreligious affairs since 1968, when he joined the AJC staff. In 1997 he was awarded the Person of Reconciliation Award from the Polish Council of Christians and Jews in Warsaw and the Joseph Award given by the Villa Nazareth, a Pontifical Institution. In 1999 the International Council of Christians and Jews awarded him its Interfaith Medallion. He has led interreligious delegations and conferences in many nations and was active in the civil rights movement. In 2002 he was appointed Distinguished Visiting Professor of Religion and Judaica at Saint Leo University. He writes a weekly commentary for the Religion News Service/Newhouse Newspaper Syndicate and has published articles in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, New Catholic Encyclopedia, Reform Judaism, The Kansas Historical Quarterly, Commonweal, Encyclopedia Judaica, The Journal of Ecumenical Studies, The Christian Century, and Christianity Today. He is the author of Israel for Christians: Understanding Modern Israel and co-editor of Evangelicals and Jews in Conversation, Evangelicals and Jews in an Age of Pluralism, Twenty Years of Jewish-Catholic Relations, and A Time to Speak: The Evangelical-Jewish Encounter. He is co-author of Why Me? Why Anyone and Prison or Paradise? The New Religious Cults (with his wife Marcia Rudin).

Marcia R. Rudin received a joint MA Degree in Religion from Columbia University and Union Theological
Seminary, specializing in Philosophy of Religion. She studied for a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the New School for Social Research. She taught at William Paterson College in New Jersey.

Ms. Rudin is co-author with Rabbis A. James Rudin and Hirshel Jaffe of Why Me? Why Anyone?, published by St. Martin’s Press in 1986 and reissued by Jason Aronson, Inc. in 1994, and with Rabbi Rudin of Prison or Paradise? The New Religious Cults, published by Fortress Press in 1980. She edited and contributed to the anthology Cults on Campus: Continuing Challenge, published by ICSA’s International Cult Education Program in 1991 and revised in 1996.

She has published articles and book reviews about destructive cults, women rabbis, black Jews, genetic engineering, Nazi war criminals, Holocaust refugees, and Jewish feminism in The New York Times; The New York Daily News; The Congressional Quarterly Researcher; Encyclopedia Judaica; Present Tense; Fifty Plus; Worldview; The New Leader; Catholic Digest; Our Town; Religious Education; P.S.: The Intelligent Guide to Jewish Affairs; The New York University Review of Law and Social Change; PTA Today; National Association of Secondary School Principals’ Bulletin; Campus Law Enforcement Journal; Dialogue; The Antigonish Review; Keeping Posted; The Cult Observer; The Advisor; Cultic Studies Journal; and Boston University Alumni Magazine.

Ms. Rudin has written widely about cults and psychological manipulation, appeared at conferences and panel discussions, and lectured on these topics throughout the U.S. and in Canada and Poland. Ms. Rudin has been cited as a cult expert in such publications as The New York Times, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Enquirer, The Los Angeles Times, Modern Maturity, The Chicago Sun Times, The Portland Oregonian, The Austin-American Statesman, and Woman’s Day. She has also been interviewed on many TV and radio programs.

In her work with ICSA between 1987 and 1997, she directed the International Cult Education Program, wrote and was Associate Producer of the videotape Cults: Saying No Under Pressure, featuring Charleton Heston. She was also the writer and producer of the videotape After the Cult: Recovering Together; and edited and produced the videotape Blessed Child: An Interview with Donna Collins. She authored the International Cult Education Program lesson plan for middle and high school students Too Good to be True: Resisting Cults and Psychological Manipulation and edited the International Cult Education Program newsletter Young People and Cults.

She presently writes novels, plays, and screenplays, and was a resident in screenwriting at the MacDowell Colony of the Arts in 2003. Six of her plays have received eleven productions in Manhattan, New Jersey, Santa Cruz and San Diego, California, and Canton, Michigan; several have received staged readings. Her ten-minute play Paul Newman Hops the Amtrak Auto-Train was a winner in 2006 of the ETC playwriting contests of Naples (FL) Players at Sugden Community Theatre and was read over radio station WGCU-FM in Fort Myers.

Colleen Russell, LMFT, CGP, California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), and Certified Group Psychotherapist (CGP), has over 25 years of experience in a general private practice and at agencies in Marin County, SF Bay Area, working with individuals, couples, families, and groups. She also offers periodic workshops. Her training, professional, and personal life experience has formed and influenced her specialties: trauma and loss; cult or high-demand group education and recovery; clergy abuse; domestic violence survivors; and motherless daughters, i.e., women who have lost their mothers through death, separation, illness, or estrangement in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. After her mother's death at 15, she chose to live with the founder and family of a Christian/Mystical high demand group, spending two years there. At 19 she was recruited into an Eastern high demand group and spent seven years as a high-ranking member. Ms. Russell was a primary therapist at Wellspring Retreat, founded by Paul Martin, PhD, for cult survivors. She is currently a domestic violence advocate, team developer for a program for DV survivors and children, and primary therapist with the Center for Domestic Peace in San Rafael, CA. Ms. Russell facilitates the following on-going, supportive/exploratory, educational groups: Group for Former Members of High Demand Groups or Cults (since 2003); Group for Motherless Daughters (since 1997); Group for DV Survivors; Group for Women; Group for Women Older & Wiser; Grief Group for Women & Men. Her article, “Touched: Disconfirming Pathogenic Beliefs of Thought Reform Through the Process of Acting” appears in the Cultic Studies Review Special Edition, The Last Draw -- Cults and Creativity, 2010. She presents on cults and recovery at various conferences. She has worked as primary therapist in Bay Area Agencies serving adults, children, couples, and families, including those diagnosed with severe mental illness. As a Certified Group Psychotherapist she has met nationally accepted criteria of education, training, and experience in group psychotherapy. Ms. Russell provides in-office, internet, and phone consultations as well as long and short term therapy. She is beginning an online supportive educational group for former members of high demand groups including those raised in them. She offers sessions by secure and Zoom, and facilitates educational/interactive online workshops 1) for former members of high demand groups including those born and raised, and 2) for family members and partners (current and past) of someone involved in a high demand group or cult. She is a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, The San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group, and The Northern California Group Psychotherapy Society.;   Email:   Phone: (415) 785-3513.

Patricia Ryan, Vice President, Behavioral Health and Governance, California Healthcare Association, Sacramento, California; daughter of Representative Leo J. Ryan, who was murdered at <> Jonestown, Guyana in 1978.

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. Websites:;

Yoshihide Sakurai, PhD, is Professor of Sociology, Graduate School of Letters, Hokkaido University, Hokkaido, Japan. He is also an executive board member of the Japan Cult Recovery Council. He has been conducting research on the cult controversy in Japan, especially the Unification Church of Japan.

Omar Saldaña, PhD., is a researcher specialized in the study and measurement of psychological abuse applied within groups. He is an associated professor at the Department of Social Psychology and Quantitative Psychology at the University of Barcelona, Spain. He is a member of the Invictus Research Group, which is focused on the study of psychological abuse in different settings. He is also a member of the Spanish Scientific Society of Social Psychology (SCEPS) and of the Task Force on Psychological Manipulation Processes on Cults and Other Social Organizations at the Official School of Psychologists of Catalonia (COPC). 

Angelina Sammons, MEd, is the wife of cult recovery counselor Gregory Sammons. Angelina has participated in assisting Gregory in Managing and coordinating Client care at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center in Albany, Ohio. Angelina has fulfilled many duties at Wellspring which includes providing client support as a host of recreational activities, coordination of client outings, and scoring assessments. In addition to Angelina’s work at Wellspring, she works full time as an educator and an advocate for children with multiple disabilities. Angelina is employed with the Athens City School System and is an adjunct instructor for Ohio University.

Gregory Sammons, MEd, PC, resides in Albany, Ohio with his wife Angelina. Greg began working at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center in March of 2001. He has filled nearly every role at the small residential agency over the past ten years. After his beginnings as the Clinical Residence Manager, Greg was inspired to go back to graduate school to complete his Master in Counseling Education. Greg’s degree covers the area of Clinical and Rehab Counseling. His areas of competence include Abusive Group/Relationship Counseling, Mental Health Counseling, Personal and Social Counseling, Addictions Counseling, and Diagnosis and Treatment. Greg has presented various topics at highly regarded conferences including those sponsored by the American Counseling Association, Ohio Counseling Association, and Ohio Rehabilitation Association. Greg currently provides all clinical counseling and assessment at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center in Albany, Ohio. In addition to providing clinical services at Wellspring Gregory serves as the Director of Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center.

Sasha Samuels. A former member of a psychologically abusive group for over 18 years, Samuels exited nine years ago. The group's leader being an immediate family member made her recovery particularly challenging; exiting a group is in and of itself challenging, but even more so to simultaneously abandon one's family. Nonetheless, it was necessary for her recovery and survival. Samuels' recovery included extensive research into family dynamics that would predispose her to enter an abusive group, and to predispose her family member to become a cult leader. Narcissism in the family played a key role in the victim\abuser cycle, and the understanding of its dynamics afforded her insight and restored her self confidence, as well as providing deep healing. Additionally, studies in Native American philosophy brought about deep healing for Samuels. As an artist who had lived in Rome before entering the group, her return to rural Italy and to her painting also afforded her deep emotional healing. She still lives there part time and is a member of ICSA and AVAAZ..

Sasha Samuels. La Sig.ra Samuels è stata un ex membro di un gruppo psicologicamente abusante per oltre diciotto anni, e ne è uscita nove anni fa. Il capo del gruppo era un membro della sua famiglia, e questo ha reso il suo recupero particolarmente impegnativo; uscire da un gruppo abusante è già difficile di per sé, ma ancora di più lo è lasciare contemporaneamente la propria famiglia. Tuttavia cio era necessario per la sua ripresa emotiva e la sua sopravvivenza. Il recupero della signora Samuels è passato anche per una ricerca approfondita sulle dinamiche familiari che l' avrebbero predisposta ad entrare in un simile gruppo, ed anche ad accettare e incoraggiare che un membro della propria famiglia ne diventasse il leader. Il narcisismo in famiglia ha giocato un ruolo chiave nel ciclo di abusante/vittima, e la comprensione delle sue dinamiche hanno permesso al suo intuito di ripristinare la sua autostima, oltre a fornirle una profonda guarigione. Ad agevolare il ristabilimento della signora Samuels ha avuto una grande importanza anche lo studio della filosofia Nativa Americana. Da artista che viveva a Roma prima di entrare nel gruppo, il suo ritorno nell’Italia rurale a dipingere le ha permesso anche la sua profonda guarigione emozionale. Ancora ora vive in Italia per parte del suo tempo.

Marlowe Sand (nom de plume) was a student of the charismatic guru, Andrew Cohen. In search of spiritual truth, she left her husband, career, and country. With her two small children, she followed Cohen to California and then to Massachusetts. She spent fifteen years in his Community. Since leaving, she has remarried and retrained as a child psychotherapist. Marlowe Sand is the author of Paradise and Promises – Chronicles of my life with a self-declared, modern-day Buddha (2015), published by O Books (an imprint of John Hunt Publishing).

Juanjo Santamaria Lorenzo, Ph.D., Degree in Psychology and Master in Clinical Psychology (University of Barcelona), specialist in behavioral addictions, new technologies and mental health, and eating disorders. Nowadays he is a post-doctoral researcher at AIS (Atención e Investigación de Socioadicciones), Barcelona, Spain. He has previously worked as a Clinical psychologist and researcher at the Bellvitge University Hospital-IDIBELL, Barcelona, Spain for more than 8 years, and has been involved in both national and international research projects. He has also worked as assistant professor at the University of Barcelona. He has published more than 30 research articles in scientific journals. 

Luis Santamaría del Río is Licentiate in Theology (SThL) and Masters in Social Communication (Pontifical University of Salamanca, Spain). He is also a member of the Red Iberoamericana de Estudio de las Sectas (RIES) [Ibero-American Network for the Study of Sects] and of the Spanish Society for Religious’ Sciences (SECR) [Sociedad Española de Ciencias de las Religiones]. He has studied the cultic phenomenon for several years and has published a number of scholarly articles on this topic. He has recently published a book entitled ¿Qué ves en la noche? Religión y sectas en el mundo actual [What do you see in the night? Religion and sects in today’s world]. He is ICSA Today’s News Co-Correspondent for Spain and Latin America. 

Luis Santamaría del Río es Licenciado en Teología y Experto en Comunicación Social por la Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca. Es miembro de la Red Iberoamericana de Estudio de las Sectas (RIES) y de la Sociedad Española de Ciencias de las Religiones (SECR). Lleva varios años estudiando el fenómeno sectario y ha publicado sobre este tema varios artículos académicos. Recientemente ha publicado el libro ¿Qué ves en la noche? Religión y sectas en el mundo actual.

Patrizia Santovecchi. Criminologa, Professional Exit Counselor. Socio Fondatore e Presidente dell’Osservatorio Nazionale Abusi Psicologici (O.N.A.P. Direttore Responsabile del Giornale scientifico Profiling. I Profili dell’Abuso: ( Membro del Direttivo Tecnico Operativo del Centro Universitario di Formazione sulla Sicurezza (CUFS), Dipartimento di Studi Giuridici, Università degli Studi della Repubblica di San Marino. Membro del Consiglio Direttivo Società Sammarinese di Criminologia (So.S.C. ). Mediatore Civile Professionale, abilitato dal Ministero della Giustizia. Formatore Microsoft sui temi della criminalità nell’Internet Safety-SicuramenteWeb. Professionista Accreditato Ce.S.I.G (Centro Studi e Interventi sulla Genitorialità), struttura operativa della Rete Nuove Dipendenze Patologiche. Professionista associato a Relazione di (Network Mo.P.I.), Rete di Professionisti che operano nel settore della psicologia e delle scienze affini. Socio della Società Italiana di Criminologia (SIC). Socio della Società Italiana di Vittimologia (SIV). Socio di AssoCounseling (Associazione Professionale di Categoria). Socio dell’International Police Association (IPA). Relatrice in numerosissime conferenze e pubbliche discussioni su tematiche socio/religiose organizzate da vari Enti in tutta Italia. Consultata/intervistata da numerosi quotidiani e settimanali/mensili. Chiamata a partecipare come esperta a numerose trasmissioni radio/televisive. Da anni impegnata nella ricerca socio-religiosa, docente e scrittrice.

Dr. Patrizia Santovecchi is a Criminologist and a Forensic professional Counselor, founder and president of ONAP (Osservatorio Nazionale Abusi Psicologici), Scientific Director of the Journal Profiling- The Profiles of Abuse,  Member of SIC (Italian Society of Criminology), Member of SIV (Italian Society of Vittimology), Member of AssoCounselling (Professional Category), Member of ICSA, Member of IPA (International Police Association), Member of ANC (National Association Carabinieri), Speaker in a number of public conferences and discussions on socio-religious themes organized by agencies in Italy. She has provided counseling and taken part in interviews for radio/TV broadcasts. She has been engaged in socio-religious research for years, as teacher and writer. 

Laurie Schaffler
was an ISKCON member from 1974 to 1983. After leaving the movement with her three children, she completed her BA in writing at Columbia University and eventually her MFA in writing at The New School. Laurie is currently working on her memoir and is writing a blog about her experiences. In addition to being a writer, Laurie is also a textile artist. As a profession, Laurie has worked as a higher education administrator for the past thirty years, mostly in student affairs and student financial aid. She currently works with a consulting company helping colleges and universities implement efficient business processes and software systems.

Alan W. Scheflin, JD, LLM,
is Emeritus Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law in California and a member of ICSA’s Board of Directors. Among his several dozen publications is Memory, Trauma Treatment, and the Law (co-authored with Daniel Brown and D. Corydon Hammond), for which he received the 1999 Guttmacher Award from the American Psychiatric Association, one of 18 awards he has received. Professor Scheflin is also the 1991 recipient of the Guttmacher Award for Trance on Trial (with Jerrold Shapiro). A member of the Editorial Advisory Board of ICSA’s International Journal of Cultic Studies, Professor Scheflin received the 2001 American Psychological Association, Division 30 (Hypnosis), Distinguished Contribution to Professional Hypnosis Award. This is the highest award that Division 30 can bestow. He was also awarded in 2001 The American Board of Psychological Hypnosis, Professional Recognition Award. This Award was created to honor his achievements in promoting the legal and ethical use of hypnosis. Professor Scheflin has delivered over 100 invited addresses at professional conferences. In 2004 ICSA awarded Professor Scheflin the Herbert L. Rosedale Award in recognition of leadership in the effort to preserve and protect individual freedom. [Directors] 

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.

Aurore Schwab est candidate au doctorat en Histoire des religions à la Faculté des Lettres de l’Université de Genève. Elle étudie les rapports onusiens autour des pratiques du crime d’honneur, dans une perspective d’Histoire des religions. Ses recherches sont financées par le Fonds national suisse (FNS). Ses directrices de thèses sont la Prof. Francesca Prescendi (Unité d’Histoire des religions, Université de Genève) et la Prof. Isabelle Schulte-Tenckhoff (Département d’Anthropologie et de sociologie du développement, Institut de Hautes Etudes Internationales et du développement, Genève). A l’Université de Genève, elle a obtenu un Bachelor of Arts en Histoire des religions, Langue et littérature françaises modernes et en Etudes genre ainsi qu’un Master of Arts en Histoire des religions.

Aurore Schwab is a PhD candidate in the Dept. of History of Religions, Faculty of Arts, at the University of Geneva. The subject of her thesis is Cultural and Religious Values in Diplomacy. The Study of United Nations Reports about Honour Killing Practices. Her studies are financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). Her thesis supervisors are Prof. Francesca Prescendi (Dept. of History of Religions, University of Geneva) and Prof. Isabelle Schulte-Tenckhoff (Dept. of Anthropology and Sociology of Development, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva). Aurore Schwab has a Bachelor of Arts in History of Religions, French Language and Literature, and Gender Studies, and a Master of Arts in History of Religions, University of Geneva. 

Breckan C. L. Scott is an attorney licensed to practice in Washington, Alaska, and Oregon. She graduated from Willamette University College of Law, cum laude, with a certificate in dispute resolution. Breckan has an established record of trial practice, including cult-related litigation. She has successfully represented clients in settling cult-related disputes pre-litigation, as well as providing representation in cult cases through the litigation and the appellate process. Breckan was the sole, lead attorney representing a defendant accused of violating a contractual secrecy clause by JZ Knight/Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment at the trial court, and is currently the lead attorney pursuing that case through the appeals process. In addition to accepting cases directly, she is also available to provide consultations and assistance to attorneys, litigants, and others regarding cults and the legal system. Breckan maintains an office in Washington State and can be reached via

Halleh Seddighzadeh, PhD, is a forensic traumatologist and international trauma specialist in the psychological treatment of torture, specifically in survivors of human trafficking, terrorism, radicalized youth, war refugees, genocide, gender based violence, and most recently survivors of cults and ecclesiastic abuse. She has worked in refugee camps with child and adult survivors of trafficking and torture in the Middle East doing disaster relief, resiliency and capacity building, psychological first aid, and investigative research. She is the Founder of ARMAN (Asylee, Refugee Migrant Assistance Network) a multidisciplinary, multicultural, forensic mental health organization supported by a network of international trauma experts, subject matter experts, medical and academic researchers, and practitioners who have extensive experience treating and working with individuals who have suffered the most extreme forms of torture and trauma around the world. She frequently provides consultation and training to law enforcement agencies, service providers, faith-based organization, prosecutors, investigators, medical practitioners and the business sector internationally and domestically on trauma-informed counter-trafficking best practice.

Danya Shakfeh is an attorney and litigator. During her late teens and 20s, Danya was heavily involved in various Islamic organizations as both a student and volunteer until she started to witness spiritual abuse. She has since been working with those affected by spiritual abuse for almost two years.Through her practice as an attorney, Danya is skillful in collecting evidence and testimony, sifting through evidence to determine the veracity of claims, and conflict resolution. Danya has her law practice in Illinois where she she resides with her husband and three children.

J. Shelby Sharpe graduated from The University of Texas School of Law in June, 1965 with a Doctor of Jurisprudence. He is a partner at Sharpe & Rector in Fort Worth, TX and is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the American Bar Association, the Fifth Circuit Bar Association, and the Tarrant County Bar Association. Shelby has taught courses at Texas Christian University and chaired the pre-law advisory committee from its inception and developed the pre-law program for the university. He has also taught at Dallas Baptist University. His practice areas are: Media Law; Insurance Defense; Constitutional Litigation; Complex Litigation. Representative clients include: Denton Publishing Co.; Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, Inc.; Harvest House Publishers; Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Southern Bible Institute; Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth; Tyndale Theological Seminary and Biblical Institute.

Daniel Shaw, LCSW, 
is the author of Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation, published by Routledge.  His affiliations include: Psychoanalyst, Private Practice, New York City and Nyack, NY; Faculty and Clinical Supervisor, The National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP), New York, NY; Clinical Supervisor and Faculty, Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, NY; Adjunct Clinical Supervisory, Smith College of Social Work, MA; former co-chair, Continuing Education Committee, The International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. Shaw spent thirteen years as a staff member in Siddha Yoga (SYDA Foundation. There he wore many hats, including: manager of the residential Manhattan facility, educator, spokesperson, public relations coordinator, community organizer, and writer/director of public programs. Shaw exited Siddha Yoga in 1994, published an Open Letter about Siddha Yoga on the internet in 1995, and helped create the Leaving Siddha Yoga website, one of the first internet websites for ex cult members. Shaw is the author of Traumatic Abuse in Cults: A Psychoanalytic Perspective, published in the Cultic Studies Journal, numerous psychoanalytic papers, and the editor of a special issue on the traumatizing narcissist in ICSA's International Journal of Cultic Studies.. Mr. Shaw is available through Skype and leads the monthly New York area ICSA group with Chris Carlson. This group offers support, education and interaction for all those who have been harmed by, or want to learn about high demand groups. Website: Email: Phone: (845) 548-2561 [NY Local Meeting, NY Committee]

Chris Shelton works to educate the public about extremist/high control groups such as the Church of Scientology, through videos, podcasts and print publications. Known as the “Critical Thinker at Large” to nearly 15,000 YouTube subscribers, Chris has been producing video content from Denver, CO since 2014. Following his exit in 2012 from Scientology’s management group, the Sea Organization, Chris cultivated the specialized communication and organizational skills he developed through various roles in Scientology’s management group, the Continental Liaison Office of the Western United States. Chris was a second-generation Scientologist, brought into the group at age three by his parents in California, and began working for Scientology after completing high school. After nearly 25 years of membership, Chris left Scientology. Motivated to expose his experiences in Scientology and to educate the general public on the beliefs, policies, practices, and dangers of the group, Chris published Scientology: A to Xenu (Graphicwerks, 2014), has produced dozens of solo broadcasts, has interviewed more than 100 guests for video and his “Sensibly Speaking” podcast, edits the interviews and promotes them through social media channels. Chris appeared on Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath (A&E, 2017) in Season One, Special Episode One. Three strong influences in his post-Scientology recovery include Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World, James Randi,, and Michael Shermer, who contributed to the reshaping of his worldview and his desire to promote critical thinking and reason as a counter to undue influence and thought reform techniques. Just one of Chris’s near future goals includes university studies in undue influence and anti-extremism.

Vasso Siameti, a former Jehovah's Witnesses, grew up in a family where God and religion always came first. She was baptised as a member at the age of twelve. Inside the sect she got a first-hand experience of what it means to solve problems "within the organization" without involving authorities. In 2008 she decided, by her own free will, to leave the Jehovah's Witness. Her children were getting older and she didn't want to expose them to the same upbringing as herself. Today she is trying to find ways to help youth leave in time.

Aryeh Siegel
 has an MSW from Case-Western Reserve University and an MPH in health planning from UC Berkeley. He also completed PhD coursework in behavioral science research at UCLA. He started Transcendental Meditation in 1970 and became a TM teacher in 1974, founding and directing TM’s Institute for Social Rehabilitation from 1974-1977. He co-authored a study of TM at Folsom Prison that is still referenced by TM some forty years later. He practiced TM’s advanced techniques four hours a day for four years, with no results. After waking up and leaving TM, he directed a community mental health center for four years and co-directed the planning and allocations department of a large social welfare organization for nine years. He has been a commercial real estate broker for the past thirty-five years. In 2015, he noticed a reemergence of TM in the media and learned that the David Lynch Foundation wanted to teach TM to a million public school kids while claiming TM wasn’t a religion. Knowing this was false; he took a year from his business to write a book exposing the religious underpinnings of the TM technique and the cultic aspects of the TM organization. His new book, Transcendental Deception, Behind the TM Curtain – bogus science, hidden agendas, and David Lynch’s campaign to push a million public school kids into Transcendental Meditation while falsely claiming it is not a religion, sets the record straight. 

Fr. Philip Simo, OSB, is a member of St. Anselm's Abbey in Washington, DC, and teaches at the Abbey School. He is a member of the Board of Directors of MID. St. Anselm's Abbey, Washington, DC.

Donna Simon, M.S., joined a Bible-based pseudo Christian cult at age twenty-six and was a member for seven years. After leaving the cult, she returned to school and earned two masters degrees in education. Donna has held various positions in the public school system including classroom teacher, special needs reading teacher, and educational diagnostician. She enjoys attending a mainstream Christian church, and pursues several interests, such as butterfly gardening, exercising, reading, movies, and handwriting analysis. Recently, she became certified as a Forensic Handwriting Analyst. It has taken years to work through some of the issues which rose out of leaving a high-demand group. Attending a support group for ex-cult members has helped her process her experience and become a healthier person.

Jonathan Simmons
is a PhD candidate at the University of Alberta. His dissertation concerns non-religion
and secularity, focusing on the skeptical movement and its representative organizations from a social movement perspective. His research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 

Margaret Thaler Singer, PhD, RIP.

Obituary: From Family Process, March 1, 2004; By Lyman C. Wynne.  The death of Dr. Margaret Singer on November 23, 2003, has evoked an outpouring of grief, admiration, and tribute in the public press. She has been recognized as "the foremost authority on brainwashing in the entire world." Her loss has distressed not only the many victims of "coercive persuasion," but also those family members, professionals, and paraprofessionals who have struggled to understand and cope with what she called the "cults in our midst."

However, before focusing on cults for much of the last quarter century, Margaret had already established herself as a leader in two other arenas of study and treatment. First, during the 1950s she had become a leading researcher in the field of psychosomatic medicine and was elected President of the American Psychosomatic Society as recently as 1972-1973.

Meanwhile, because she and I both had been keenly interested in communication, a phenomenon on the path between health and disorder, we were introduced to one another in 1958. For more than 15 years we commuted between Berkeley and Bethesda/Rochester, a week in each setting most months. We spent many, many hours listening closely to tapes of psychiatrically ill persons, especially those identified as schizophrenic patients. More closely still, we examined communication of members of their families in the contexts of family therapy and standardized research tasks. During these years Margaret became best known as a family researcher and therapist. For eight years she was a constructive member of the Board of Directors of Family Process.

On a very personal note, I can say that the long-term, close collaboration, bouncing ideas back and forth with Margaret, was an experience of genuine mutuality. Though we worked with speech samples collected in a variety of ways, Margaret's special skill and experience with Rorschach protocols was most productive. Unconventionally, we were most interested in the conceptualization of family members, individually and conjointly, viewed as a transactional process between tester and family member, or family members with one another. Thus, we were able to use the concept of the family as a system within which some aspects melded together relationally, and other, excluded features were outside the family's psychological boundary.

In retrospect, this "family research" was hard work and good fun. In her research, Margaret engendered a vibrant, creative spark that opened the eyes of many a colleague and student. As a clinician she was able to observe and clarify incredibly nasty problems brought to her by a great diversity of clients and consultees. She, and her astutely penetrating insights, will be sorely missed.

Amy Siskind, PhD, received her PhD in sociology from the New School for Social Research in 1995. She has written extensively about The Sullivan Institute/Fourth Wall community—a group she belonged to for twenty-two years. In June of 2003 her book, The Sullivan Institute/Fourth Wall Community: From Radical Individualism to Authoritarianism was published by Praeger Publishers. She has also written about the effects of totalistic groups on children and the conditions within these groups that can result in child abuse and neglect. Currently she teaches in the Children’s Studies program at Brooklyn College and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

Kristen Skedgell DeVoe, MDiv, LCSW, is a clinical social worker. After leaving The Way, she earned a master's in divinity from Yale Divinity School and an MS in social work from Columbia. She is the author of Losing the Way: A Memoir of Spiritual Longing, Manipulation, Abuse, and Escape (Bay Tree Publishing, 2008). [Arts Committee]

Andrew Skolnick, M.S., a science and medical journalist, has a distinguished career in which he has covered religiously motivated medical neglect of children. He was recently awarded an inaugural Rosalynn Carter Fellowship in Mental Health Journalism. He has won other journalism awards, including World Hunger Year’s 1996 Harry Chapin Media Award. An eclectic collection of my science and medical articles, photographs, web site links, and other useful information for science and medical journalists and junkies - especially those interested in tobacco health issues, prison health care, drug prohibition, mental illness, alternative medicine, quackery, traditional Chinese medicine, Transcendental Meditation, cults, and pseudoscience. Included are links to my Medical News & Perspectives articles and photographs at the Journal of the American Medical Association's web site.

Jacqueline Slowey is a specialist teacher for students with autism and developmental disabilities in Eastern Ontario, Canada. She co authored the paper Illegitimate Pain: Institutional Dimensions with J. Scott Kenney. Jacqueline is a former student of Grenville Christian College, a controversial (now closed) boarding school with connections to The Community Of Jesus. Her experiences at this school led to her interests in mental and spiritual abuse.

Leanne Smith
 earned a BA from the University of Washington Tacoma where she majored in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in politics and values, and minored in human rights. She has been a legislative coordinator for Amnesty International since 2005. Her interest in cultic studies comes from her experience growing up in the Jehovah’s Witness religion.

Oliver J Smith
is a psychology student at University of Cambridge who plans on carrying on into post-graduate research in the field of cultic studies. He is especially interested in the potential for cultic investigations to reveal more about essential human natures, and is also intrigued by the application of cultic research to the "recent" phenomenon of radicalisation.

Stephanie Spanos, MD
, is a child psychiatrist who has worked for over 20 years with troubled children in hospitals, clinics, foster care, and residential treatment as well as in the New York City Public School System. She is particularly concerned with how family dynamics and relationships drive the motivations and actions of children and how this pertains to child trafficking in particular.

Jael Tamar Sprinkle is a young woman who was born and raised in the Alamo group. She was separated from her husband by Tony Alamo when she was seventeen, in order to become Alamo’s sixth wife. After two years as part of his harem, she was kicked out of the marriage, and left, at the same time. Eventually finding and reconciling with her husband, she has been out of the Alamo group since 1996, and is the mother of six children. Jael was awarded a prize in poetry for a poem about her marriage. Now completing an undergraduate degree in Geology, she is also working on a book about her cult experience. Jael participated with this scrap-booked poem in the first Phoenix Project in Denver in 2006.

Anthony Stahelski, PhD is a Professor of Psychology at Central Washington University. He has a PhD in social and organizational psychology from UCLA. His research interests encompass various aspects of group and organizational behavior, focusing particularly on violent cults and organizations. He is currently co-authoring a book with Dr. Michael Patch entitled Dark Conversions: A Model of Cult-Induced Violence, to be published by the National Social Science Association Press in September, 2006.]

Anna-Lena Stahl. Licensed psychologist. Works as a therapist helping victims of honour-related violence.

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.  [Workshop Facilitators, NY Committee, Arts Committee]

Vincent Starnino, Ph.D. LCSW, School of Social Work, University of Indiana, IN Education/Social Work Bldg. ES4138B, 902 West New York St., Indianapolis, IN 46202. (317) 278-2410. Vincent Starnino is a professor at the School of Social Work, University of Indiana at Indianapolis where he teaches coursework on psychopathology, qualitative research methods, and addictions in mental health. His major scholarly areas are moral and spiritual injury in veterans and consumers of mental health treatment and the strengths model in mental health. He is currently validating a treatment model for veterans experiencing moral and spiritual injury.

Matthew Staton, MDiv Counseling, is an SGA raised under the teachings of Bill Gothard’s Institute for Basic Life Principles (IBLP) and its home education program, the Advanced Training Institute (ATI). College was forbidden, so, at the age of 21, he broke away from the group in order to enroll in college. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and continues to enjoy a successful career in software engineering. His passion for good theology and for serving in the church eventually drew him to seminary, and he became a bi-vocational pastor. While in seminary, his passion for helping victims of abuse heal from trauma drew him to the graduate counseling program, which had an emphasis on developing competence in working with trauma as well as working interculturally. n 2011, the burgeoning technology of social media allowed a new level of connections to be made among those who had left ATI and IBLP. Several private online groups were formed for survivors of Gothard’s teachings, encompassing thousands of ex-students. Some two dozen former ATI students, including Matthew, formed Recovering Grace in 2011 after realizing that they were the tip of the iceberg; they strongly desired to help individuals and families who were beginning the exit process. Recovering Grace began as a blog and quickly grew into a supporting community devoted to helping people whose lives have been damaged by Gothard's teachings and practices. Members of Recovering Grace carefully researched and reported stories of abuse experienced under the umbrella of ATI and other Gothard programs. Blog posts on Recovering Grace have been used as sources by the Chicago Sun Times, Christian Post, and Christianity Today. Spiritual abuse as a subject is almost non-existent in most seminaries and graduate counseling programs; thus, few pastors and counselors have specific training in how it should be dealt with. In the private online groups hosted by Recovering Grace, it is common for people to ask for help in finding counselors and pastors who “get it” — who understand and are equipped to help with the unique challenges faced by those who are abandoning the culture in which they were raised. Matthew believes that one way counselors can be better equipped is by understanding how to apply the competence they already have in cross-cultural communication to working with people who have left a spiritually abusive system.

Alexandra Stein, PhD
, (right) is a social psychologist who lectures and writes on cults and totalitarianism. Her latest book is Terror, Love and Brainwashing: Attachment in cults and totalitarian systems, published in 2017 by Routledge. As a young woman she was a member of a political cult, an experience she described in her first book, Inside Out. Formerly, she was a lecturer in social psychology at Birkbeck, University of London, UK and has also taught at the University of Minnesota, US and the University of Westminster, UK. She is a trustee of the Family Survival Trust, a UK organization that provides support and information about cults. 

Tara Stewart earned her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of British Columbia where she specialized in Neuroanatomy. The University of the Virgin Islands recruited her for a Post Doctorate Fellowship and Adjunct Faculty position researching small circuit neurophysiology. Recognizing that translational medicine was the ultimate evolution of basic science research, Dr. Stewart relocated to Chicago and trained in surgical intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring to bridge the worlds of basic science and clinical medicine. Today, she is a neuroscientist at the Brain Institute at Miami Children’s Hospital where she is studying the human cortex. Dr. Stewart is the president of the Association for Reform of Institutional Abuse (ARIA). ARIA works to educate the community and larger public about specific instances of institutional abuse that targets the unsuspecting.

Renae Storms will be on the Spiritual Manipulation in Pseudo-Christian Cults panel. Renae became a Mormon at age eighteen and was a Temple recommend holder for the majority of the thirty-one years she was a Mormon. After leaving Mormonism over five years ago, Renae is passionate about helping others who are entangled in a cultic belief system and thought reform environment. Renae facilitates an ex-Mormon meet-up group in Texas and is on staff at Watchman Fellowship, Inc, an independent, nondenominational Christian research and apologetics ministry focusing on new religious movements, cults, the occult and the New Age. 

Christer Sturmark is Chairman of the Humanist Association Sweden, Publisher. Promotes secular schools for all children and is a well known debater on the topic of faith schools in

Aymeri Suarez-Pazos. Entrato nell'Opus Dei come numerario all'età di 19 anni, uscitone 14 anni dopo, ha lavorato come ingegnere, dopo la laurea conseguita alla Scuola Superiore d'Elettricità di Parigi (Ecole Supélec). Si è laureato in Lettere all'Università della Sorbona. Poi, ha potuto imporre ai direttori dell'Opus Dei la sua scelta professionale da loro per tanto tempo rifiutata e si è finalmente lanciato nella carriera di attore. Attualmente sposato, padre di due figli, lavora come attore, scrittore e regista teatrale. Affiliazioni: Vice-Presidente dell'AVREF (Francia).

Amnon Jacob Suissa is a professor at the school of social work at Université du Québec à Montréal. He teaches courses on addictions as a social problem and the methodology of social intervention. With a constructivist approach to social problems, he is interested in the social determinants of addictions and their impact on intervention processes. He has a background in family therapy and sociology and is the author of several books and scientific articles concerning the medicalization of behaviors understood as pathologies or even diseases. These include Le monde des AA: The world of AA with PUQ, Quebec University Press (2009), Pourquoi l’alcoolisme n’est pas une maladie Why Alcoholism is not a disease (2007) and Le jeu compulsif: vérités et mensonges Pathological Gambling: trues and lies (2005) with Éditions Fidès. As a researcher, Dr Suissa is often invited in Canada and abroad for scientific interventions, trainings, and collaborations.

Amnon Jacob Suissa est professeur à l’École de travail social de l’Université du Québec à Montréal où il enseigne des cours touchant au phénomène des dépendances comme problème social ainsi que la méthodologie de l'intervention auprès des familles. Dans une perspective constructiviste des problèmes sociaux, il s’intéresse aux déterminants sociaux des dépendances et leur impact sur les processus d'intervention. Formé en thérapie familiale et docteur en sociologie, il est l'auteur de plusieurs articles et ouvrages scientifiques. Parmi ceux-ci, Le Monde des AA: alcooliques, gamblers, aux Presses Universitaires du Québec, PUQ (2009).Pourquoi l'alcoolisme n’est pas une maladie (2007); Le jeu compulsif: vérités et mensonges (2005) aux Éditions Fidès. Il collabore comme chercheur à plusieurs projets de recherche et anime des séminaires dans le cadre de programmes de formation au Canada et à l’international.

Kim Striar is an intern at Freedom of Mind Resource Center. She recently graduated from Simmons College with a degree in Sociology. I have a strong interest of working in this field and helping victims who have suffered from undue influence. Ms. Striar hopes to pursue graduate school for a degree in Psychology next spring and eventually become a coach to continue helping people.

David Sullivan, RIP.
David Sullivan died on October 11, 2013, a few weeks before he was scheduled to give the plenary closing talk at ICSA’s Santa Fe conference in November. Nathaniel Rich, who had written a piece about David’s fascinating cult work, “The Man Who Saves You From Yourself,” for Harper’s also wrote a tribute after David’s death, “Remembering David Sullivan” (October 15, 2013). Mr. Rich said, “David was a born storyteller. The transcriptions of my interviews with him run to nearly two hundred pages. (Readers interested in hearing David tell some of his stories in his own words can listen to a talk he gave at the Commonwealth Club in 2010)... Despite his cynicism about cults, David had a deeply spiritual quality to him. He empathized with people who were victimized by cults because he himself sought, in Saul Bellow’s phrase, ‘knowledge of the higher worlds.’ When he attended prayer circles, religious meetings, and communes of every conceivable variety, he did so in a spirit of curiosity, and even yearning. This was why charlatanism infuriated him. He took it personally. Long after he succeeded in rescuing a client from a cult, he would continue to pursue the organization and its leader, often for years, on his own dime. David Sullivan did not only save lives. He raised everyone around him to a higher state of grace.”

Heather Svoboda, MA LP,
is a psychologist licensed and practicing in Minnesota, trained in counseling psychology and marriage and family therapy. Additional specialties include dialectical behavioral therapy skills groups; early childhood mental health and treatment; child centered, nondirective play therapy; and (most recently) EMDR. She practices client-centered and trauma-informed therapy in a community clinic with people (ages 2.5 and up) from many different cultures, life experiences, and needs. Heather is herself a former member of a small personality cult in the 1980s. Since exiting, she has been active with the local, national and international cult awareness and recovery networks. She attended and assisted in organizing conferences and served as president of the local CAN affiliate, Free Minds. She spoke publicly about her own experiences and undue influences to classrooms, media, conferences, legislators and callers seeking help. Email: Phone: (612) 702-4716

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. She became interested because of a family member's involvement and a subsequent successful intervention. 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. Dr. Svoboda is ICSA Today’s Family Editor.

Rita Swan, PhD is president of Children’s Healthcare is a Legal Duty (CHILD, Inc.), which works to prevent religion-related abuse and neglect of children, especially medical neglect. She has published articles in the New England Journal of Medicine, Advances in Pediatrics, Pediatrics, and several other journals. She has lectured at 14 national conferences and 12 regional ones, testified 12 times before state and federal legislatures, and conducted training sessions for child abuse investigators. Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty (CHILD, Inc.) is a non-profit national membership organization established in 1983 to protect children from abusive religious and cultural practices, especially religion-based medical neglect. CHILD opposes religious exemptions from duties of care for children. CHILD is a member of the National Child Abuse Coalition. 

Kayla Swanson, MA, earned her Master of Arts in Religious Studies degree from the University of Alberta in 2015 in Religious Studies. Her master’s thesis focused on the Gentle Wind Project as a quasi-religion, new-age, alternative health movement. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies with a minor in Political Science from the University of Alberta in 2012.

Eric K. Sweitzer, MTS, PhD
, is a licensed psychologist and has been Director of the Charis Counseling Centers since 1989. He holds degrees in Biblical Studies from Wheaton College (IL), Theology Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Pastoral Psychology and Counseling from Boston University. Dr. Sweitzer has worked with children, adolescents, couples, and individual adults for almost 30 years. His primary passion is enabling his clients to develop a deeper experience of God’s grace in their lives, regardless of their particular concerns. Dr. Sweitzer’s 2006 book, The Perfect Alibi: Freedom from the Drive for Personal Perfection, has been used adjunctively to psychotherapy by many of his clients, and by various study groups in area churches. 
Main office, Charis Counseling Center: 6 Plympton Street, Middleboro, MA 02346. (508-947-1901).

Maia Szalavitz is an award-winning journalist who covers health, science and public policy. She is the author of Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids (Riverhead Books, 2006) and co-author, with Dr. Joseph Volpicelli, M.D., PhD of the University of Pennsylvania, of Recovery Options: The Complete Guide: How You and Your Loved Ones Can Understand and Treat Alcohol and Other Drug Problems (John S. Wiley, 2000). She is a Senior Fellow at, a media watchdog which investigates coverage of science and statistics. She has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Elle, New York Magazine, New Scientist, Newsweek, Salon, Redbook, O: the Oprah Magazine and other major publications. She has appeared on Oprah, CNN, MSNBC’s News with Brian Williams, and NPR. Maia Szalavitz has also worked in television—first as Associate Producer and then Segment Producer for PBS' Charlie Rose, then on several documentaries including a Barbara Walters' AIDS special for ABC and as Series Researcher and Associate Producer for the PBS documentary series, Moyers on Addiction: Close to Home.

Joseph Szimhart
began research into cultic influence in 1980, after ending his two-year devotion to a New
Age sect. He began to work professionally as an intervention specialist and exit counselor in 1986 on an international scale. From 1985 through 1992, he was chairman of an interdenominational, cult information organization in New Mexico. Since 1998 he has worked in the crisis department of a psychiatric emergency hospital in Pennsylvania. He continues to assist families with interventions and former members in recovery, including consultations via phone and Internet. He maintains a cult informational website, lectures, consults for the media, and has published articles, book reviews, and papers related to the cult problem. His first novel, Mushroom Satori: The Cult Diary, was released in 2013 through Aperture Press.
He has an art studio at Goggleworks Center for the Arts in Reading, PA. In 2016 he received an ICSA Lifetime Achievement Award at the Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. Website: Email: Phone: (484) 529-1936  [Arts Committee]

Maciej Szostak, PhD Hab., criminologist, forensic scientist, and philosopher, Associate Professor at The University of Wroc?aw (Poland); author of over 100 academic works, among them there are also papers on cults and new religious movements, and the book titled Sekty destrukcyjne: studium metodologiczno-kryminalistyczne (Destructive Cults: Methodological and Criminological Study), published in 2001.

M. Anas Talbi est titulaire d’un doctorat en Droit privé et Sciences criminelles de l’Université de Pau (France) en 2002 sur le thème « Jeunes délinquants d’origine maghrébine en France : entre crise identitaire et crise de la réponse sociale. De la délinquance juvénile à la tentation islamo-terroriste ». Il enseigne actuellement la criminologie à la Faculté de Droit, Université Cadi ayad, Marrakech, (Maroc). Il donne aussi des séminaires sur la victimologie, la pénologie et le droit pénal international dans plusieurs universités en France, au Sénégal et au Maroc.

Jayanti Tamm, M.F.A., was born into a family of devout followers, where absolute obedience to the cult leader Sri Chinmoy was required. She spent 25 years in Chinmoy’s inner circle, where he played the role of both father and God. After Tamm left the group in 1995, she spent years attempting to hide and forget her past experiences. . Finally, in an attempt to make sense of her past, Tamm wrote, Cartwheels in a Sari: A Memoir of Growing Up Cult, which was published to national acclaim by Random House in 2009. The book will be released in paperback in December 2010. Ms. Tamm is an English Professor at Ocean County College in New Jersey.

Wenpei Tang is an associate professor in the Institute of Medical Humanities at Peking University. She received a PhD in philosophy from Philosophy Department, Peking University in 2008. The title of her doctoral dissertation is Hessen Thesis and its Influence on the Western Social Studies of Science. Her research interests focus on the history of the history of science, the historical development of medical Philosophy, and cultic studies recently. She has published several papers in Chinese academic journals, such as Metaphysical Attributions to Modern Science by Scholastic ism in Middle Ages, An Analysis Report about the literature on Scientific Literacy in the China National Knowledge Infrastructure, A Text Study of Hessen Thesis.

Ji-il Tark, PhD, is an associate professor at Busan Presbyterian University, Korea and the editor of Modern Religion Monthly of Information Network on Christian Heresies, a leading Korean cultic studies center researching Christian cults and helping their victims. He published the book Family-Centered Belief and Practice in the Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Unification Church (NY: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2003). The co-presenter, Ji-Won Tark, MA, is his younger brother and the director of INCH. Their father, a highly recognized researcher on new religious movements and cults in Korea, was killed by a cult member. 

Elmer Thiessen moved to Waterloo, Ontario, in 2007, after having retired from teaching philosophy at Medicine Hat College, in Alberta, Canada, for over 35 years. He continues to teach on a part-time basis at Wilfrid Laurier University and Emmanuel Bible College, with an occasional teaching stint overseas. He has published numerous articles and book reviews, both in professional journals and religious magazines. His research specialty has been the philosophy of education – here he has published two books, Teaching for Commitment, and In Defence of Religious Schools and Colleges (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1993; 2001). His most recent work is entitled, The Ethics of Evangelism: A Philosophical Defence of Ethical Proselytizing and Persuasion, published in 2011 by Paternoster Press and IVP Academic. A forthcoming book on the same topic but written specifically for Christians, and tentatively entitled, The Scandal of Evangelism: A New Testament Study of the Ethics of Evangelism, will be published by Wipf and Stock, either in the fall of 2017 or early in 2018.

Rachel ThomasFormer music video model and sex trafficking survivor Rachel Thomas is a dynamic educator who speaks from the heart and aims at the head. With a Masters in Education from UCLA and over 10 years' experience in teaching and mentoring, Rachel co-founded Sowers Education Group to sow seeds of sex trafficking awareness and survivor empowerment.  Rachel was a junior at Emory University when she unknowingly met her pimp: a professional and well-spoken 'modeling agent'.  He had business cards and a portfolio of contracts with beautiful models of all ethnicities.  He groomed her with high-quality, all-expense paid photo shoots and legitimate modeling work in various music videos and magazines.  Then, after he had collected a W4 form from Rachel (including her parents' address and SSN), the relationship became dangerous.  He began forcing her to have sex with buyers, threatening to kill her and her family if she didn't obey.  He became physically and psychologically abusive, ushering Rachel into the dark world of sex slavery.  Thankfully, the police and FBI were eventually able to help Rachel, and the pimp's dozens of other victims, to escape this devastating reality.  As Rachel continues to heal and understand her experience, she is "turning a mess into a message" that will spread prevention and empower victims.  Today, Sowers Education Group travels the nation bringing special attention to two important topics within sex trafficking: Media Influence and the CEO Pimp. Sowers has also collaborated with a team of fellow survivors to develop a powerful sex trafficking intervention curriculum named Ending The Game. To learn more, please visit

Beverly Shellrude Thompson.
There are several themes running through Beverly’s life: trauma, healing, empowering others and empowering herself. Her parents were fundamentalist missionaries in West Africa. She attended a missionary residential school, Mamou Academy, where she experienced extensive emotional, sexual, physical, and spiritual trauma. As an adult she earned a Master’s of Divinity and for five years was a missionary with the C&MA, the denomination her parents were with. During that time, her memories of abuse and trauma began surfacing. Beverly left the denomination and church. She began a journey towards wholeness that included different healing mechanisms, including psychotherapy, group therapy for sexual assault survivors, trauma therapies and meditation. An advocate and activist for cultural change in boarding schools run by mission agencies, Beverly co-founded MK Safety Net, an advocacy and support group. She helped to launch an independent investigation into Mamou Academy. With others, she facilitated the start of an online support group, which eventually became a network of Facebook groups for former missionary kids from many denominations and schools. Her story is included in the documentary All God’s Children.

Robert Watts Thornburg, RIP,
 Emeritus Dean of the Chapel at Boston University, made cults the subject of the free inquiry that higher education encourages and cults discourage. The Dean's work in BU's long-running conflict with the Boston Church of Christ (BCC) exemplified his approach. BCC proselytizing moved a number of students to drop out of school, renounce friends and family, and go to work for the church, often in order to recruit yet more students. Dean Thornburg spoke widely and frequently on campus, warning about the problem, made written information available to students (mining outside resources like American Family Foundation - later renamed International Cultic Studies Association), developed and helped implement training programs for residence hall and counseling staff, and led lengthy discussions in the university's Religious Life Council with BCC leaders, asking them to moderate their methods. When they did not, he joined a committee of deans and the Religious Life Council in banning BCC representatives from the campus. This was an unusual move by the Dean, who had long advocated an open marketplace of ideas on campus.  The BCC's deceptive methods, however, warranted an exception to this policy, in his view.
This experience coincided with Dean Thornburg's service with AFF's Ethical Code Study Group, and in its wake he incorporated a revised version of the report into the published standards of behavior for all proselytizers being developed at BU. During his tenure, the BU Religious Life Council became an effective collegial group continuously on guard for destructive behavior.
The Dean's work at BU soon became well known, and he consulted over the years with chaplains and administrators at places like Harvard, Tufts, Northeastern University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Obituary from the Summer 2014 issue of Boston University's alumni magazine, Bostonia.

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 board of reFOCUS and the Advisory Board of the Loudoun Medical Reserve Corp.

Erika A. Toren, MS,Ed, completed her Master’s Degree in Educational Administration at the University of Miami in 1994. She has worked for over 25 years in all levels of education and is Director of International Guidance and Outreach at North London Collegiate School Jeju, South Korea. She became interested in cultic studies early on when she volunteered for a committee at UM to fight against cult recruitment on campus. Erika currently serves as an Editor for Spain and Latin America for ICSA.

Madeline (Maddy) Tormoen
, LPC, PsyD, recently achieved her doctorate degree in Psychology with a specialization in Organizational Leadership. Maddy chose to focus her dissertation on the topic of iatrogenic (harmful) counseling processes. Maddy graduated in October of 2017 after completing her dissertation titled, Distrust, Betrayal, and Resilience:  Counseling Clients Who Were Harmed Through Previous Psychotherapy. Maddy received her M.S. in Counseling Psychology in 1987 from the University of Oregon. After working for several years as a counselor, Maddy pursued her athletics full-time as a professional athlete in the sport of duathlon which provided her an opportunity to travel the world. Maddy retired from her career as a professional athlete in 1995 and has since worked as a counselor with incarcerated youth and adults. Maddy is now interested in sharing her dissertation findings with professionals to raise awareness of the risks associated with psychotherapy and the interventions experienced psychotherapists recommend to assist clients who were harmed through previous psychotherapy.

Dennis Tourish, PhD, is Professor of Leadership and Organisation Studies, Fellow of the Leadership Trust Foundation, Royal Holloway, University of London in Surrey. He has published widely on group influence and cultism, and is the co-author (with Tim Wohlforth) of On the Edge: Political Cults Right and Left. He also researches and teaches interpersonal and organizational communication, has lectured on cults in a number of UK and Australian Universities, and has acted as an expert witness on the subject for the British Medical Association. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of International Journal of Cultic Studies.

Carolle Tremblay
is an attorney in Montreal. She has a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) with a minor in economics from Laval University, Quebec City, Quebec (1983) and bachelor’s degrees in law (B.C.L. and LL.B.) from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec (1984–1988). She is a private-practice lawyer specializing in family law with the Law Firm Joli-Coeur Lacasse. She has been involved in cult-related legal cases since 1994. Carolle is frequently interviewed by the media on cult-related matters and is President of Info-Cult/Info-Secte in Montreal, Quebec since 2003. In 2012 The International Cultic Studies Association awarded Ms. Tremblay the Herbert L. Rosedale Award in recognition of leadership in the effort to preserve and protect individual freedom.
Carolle Tremblay est avocate à Montréal. Elle détient un baccalauréat en service social et une mineure en économie de l’Université Laval de la ville de Québec (1983) et un baccalauréat en droit (B.C.L./L.L.B.) de l’Université McGill à Montréal, Québec (1984-1988). Elle œuvre en pratique privée se spécialisant en droit de la famille au sein du cabinet Joli-Cœur Lacasse. Depuis 1994 elle agit dans des litiges impliquant une problématique sectaire. Carolle donne souvent des entrevues sur des questions reliées aux sectes et est présidente d’Info-Secte à Montréal, Québec depuis 2003. L’ICSA (International Cultic Studies Association) lui a décerné le prix Herbert L. Rosedale en reconnaissance de leadership dans le domaine de la protection des droits et libertés de la personne.

Matthew Trodden is a Master’s student at the University of Alberta, studying with Dr. Stephen Kent. My thesis project is centred on how cult groups use music and how that use impacts individual members and the group itself. Upon completion of my MA I intend to continue my research in a doctoral program. As a PhD student I will examine how different models of music therapy are adaptable to therapeutic treatments for former group members. 

Carol Turnbull, RIP,
was the archetype of a volunteer. In ICSA's early years (when it was known as American Family Foundation - AFF), Carol spent almost a decade and a half of high quality, professional service disseminating reliable information to thousands of inquirers. She first became aware of the cult problem, and moved to help combat it, when she attended a talk on cults at her church in 1977 by a local physician, Dr. John Gordon Clark, who was then beginning his research on unethical social influence. She began collecting articles from a wide variety of periodicals for Dr. Clark's files, the nucleus of AFF's database. Mrs. Turnbull was the archivist for more than a decade, all the while developing information kits to provide basic data to those seeking assistance with cult involvements - in the days when copy machines were vital and e-mail was unknown. She also performed this function for the Boston affiliate of the Cult Awareness Network. Her full-time archival and information service became heavy enough that she hired an assistant, on her own account, and supervised AFF student interns from Brown and Yale universities working in the AFF resource center. When her original copier, nicknamed the "underground press," was retired with 350,000 copies on the counter by the mid-'80s, it had completed such projects as sending 360 information kits to members of Congress during the era of the Dole hearings on cults, printing the early issues of a newsletter for ex-members of the Unification Church edited by counselor Steve Hassan, and producing news releases about cults for college newspapers across the country. Grateful parents and others wrote to thank Mrs. Turnbull, using such phrases as "you saved my sanity" and "I do not know what I would have done without you." Her help here can be seen as a continuation of her earlier work with young people as, for example, a craft counselor at an interracial camp and a clarinet teacher. Her abiding avocation was music; she was a member of the Cleveland Women's Symphony, the Schenectady Symphony, and the Harvard Summer Band.  Mrs. Turnbull also traveled widely with her husband, an eminent Harvard physicist, to conferences where she answered scientists' questions about cults and provided them material about the phenomenon, especially about how some cultic groups court academics in order to gain legitimacy. In 1990, Mrs. Turnbull founded, with a grant to the Cult Awareness Network, the John Gordon Clark Fund for assistance to former cult members. She passed away in 1999.

Wm. Blake Tyrrell is Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University. He is the author of A Legal and Historical Commentary to Cicero’s Oratio Pro C. Rabirio Perduellionis Reo (1978); Medical Terminology for Medical Students (1979); Amazons: A Study in Athenian Mythmaking (1984); The Smell of Sweat: Greek Athletics, Olympics, and Culture (2004); Suda’ Life of Sophocles (2006); Word Power: Building a Medical Vocabulary (2009); co-author with Frieda S. Brown of Athenian Myths and Institutions: Words in Action (1991), and with Larry J. Bennett of Recapturing Sophocles’ Antigone (1998); and articles on Roman history, Greek and American mythmaking, and Greek tragedy. A book-length study of the Platonic Socrates, Sacrifice of Socrates: Plato, Athens, Girard, is forthcoming with Michigan State University Press.

Juan Jose Vaca, MS.Ed., M.Th., M.Ph., Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Sociology, Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY. He was a member of the Legion of Christ from May 1947 to April 1976, in Mexico, Spain, Italy, Ireland, and USA. His last position in the Legion was president and religious superior of the Legion of Christ, Inc. in USA, Orange, CT. He was a diocesan priest in Rockville Centre Diocese, Long Island, NY. He has been a College counselor and lecturer for CUNY (City University of New York) in different campuses. He left the priesthood in April 1989, married in 1993, and has a nine-year-old daughter. 

Joni Valkila  grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness. He was excommunicated at the age of 22 and has been shunned by his entire family since then. Joni holds a PhD from the University of Helsinki in Social Sciences. Since 2012 he has worked the director of UUT (Uskontojen uhrien tuki – Support Organization for Victims of Religion in Finland). He is one of the Nordic correspondents of ICSA Today.

Lady Daphne Vane, Educational Consultant on Cult Issues, is the International Representative of England’s FAIR (Family, Action Information and Resource) and Vice President, FECRIS, a European cult educational organization. She lives in Kent, England. Lady Vane was awarded ICSA’s 2011 Herbert L. Rosedale Award in recognition of leadership in the effort to preserve and protect individual freedom. 

Arjan van Dijk (1971) counsellor, trainer and musician, from the Netherlands. I grew up in a traditional reformed family as the son of a pastor. Because the family and the work of my father were very intertwined, our lives were all about service and religion. When I experienced difficulties as a teenager trying to find my own identity, I came under the influence of a pentecostal movement. I skipped plans for studying music and left home at 17 to go to Bibleschool. For almost five years I studied theology in a very strict and demanding monastery. At the age of 23 I left the cult and started building up a life in mainstream society. I studied education and worked as a youthworker, and later as a counsellor and trainer for managers and teams in public,healthcare and educational organisations. The past years I have been trying to understand my cult-history more deeply and came to insights and new horizons. I picked up up my plans to study music, as I’ve always wanted to do as a teenager, and I graduated for composing classical and jazzmusic last summer.

Amanda van Eck Duymaer van Twist, PhD
, is the Deputy Director of Inform, a non-profit information centre specializing in minority, new, and alternative religious movements, based at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Her PhD, completed at the LSE in the Department of Sociology, examined the second generation of sectarian movements and the impact their segregated childhoods have had, and has been published under the title Perfect Children: Growing Up on the Religious Fringe (2015, Oxford University Press). As part of her work at Inform she has encountered many individuals and frequently writes in-depth reports on particular new and/or alternative religions, or issues pertaining to such groups.

Monique van Heynsbergen majored in Social Work at the Social Academy of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and worked as a social worker in healthcare and rehabilitation for many years. From the age of ten, for 24 years, she had been a member of the Focolare Movement, which she left in 1988. In 2007, Monique started to research cult related topics and wrote a book about her cultic experiences and the healing process that followed: Bevrijd – Over Identiteitsverlies en de Lange Weg naar Heelwording (= Liberated – About Losing Identity and the Long Road to Healing) (Netherlands 2009). An Italian translation (not an official publication) is available. In the meantime she is working on a new book. Monique was interviewed about her story in the Dutch newspaper Trouw (2009), the Magazine Vriendin (2010) and the Belgian Magazine Focus (2009). She attended the ICSA Conference in Genève (2009) and during the Conference in Rome (2010) she gave her testimony about “The inherent strength of runaways”. In 2012-2013, Monique contributed to investigating psychological abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. Nowadays, she spends a lot of her time assisting and supporting former members of cults in reclaiming their own life and directing their focus on the future.

Samuel Varg
 - professional magician and lecturer - or as he prefers to call it Magic Edutainer. Has done 
over 50 talks with Håkan Järvå about manipulation and social behavior. With a huge interest for religion and psychology he combines teaching with his skills in sleight of hand, so called mind reading, a bright look at life and a wicked sense of humor to encourage the audience to look at things with new eyes and to know that nothing is impossible.

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. 

Rienie Venter is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology of Education at the University of South Africa. In her doctoral study Rienie focused on therapeutic guidelines for former cult members and their families. She has done research on the influence of cults on families and has recently focused on cultural ideologies and customs as a means of unethical control. As a registered educational psychologist, Rienie specializes in behavioural problems of adolescents, family, and marital problems, mind control, and unethical control in relationships. She is a member of two counter cult organizations in South Africa, RIGHT (Respect the Rights of Individuals), and CIEC, (Cult Information and Evangelical Centre). Both are organizations that act against harmful spiritual and psychological practices. Rienie has published 15 articles and has read three international and various national conference papers on mind control and high demand groups. 

Andy Vogler, MSW, graduated from the University of Southern California School of Social Work and works as a mental health therapist with Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare in Portland, Oregon. Andy became involved with ICSA as a graduate student of Doni Whitsett, PhD, when he was introduced to the relationship between trauma and high-demand groups. His experience as a therapist at a rape crisis center has informed his understanding of survival from such groups. Originally from Chicago, Andy worked in education before entering the mental health field. His clinical interests include mental illness, addictions, and dual-diagnosis treatment. He is particularly interested in the importance of physical health in addressing psychological suffering. Andy enjoys triathlon, having recently finished an Ironman, and he currently lives in Oregon with his wife, Sarah.

Evgeny Volkov, Associate Professor at the N.I.Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod – National Research University (UNN), Russia, is a social psychologist, ICSA and FECRIS member. Mr. Volkov specializes in counseling, trainings, and expert testimony in the field of social influence and critical thinking. He teaches courses on psychology, conflict resolution, critical thinking, and social engineering, including a course Psychological Defense Against Psychological and Spiritual Abuse. Mr. Volkov has over 170 publications, including The Criminal Challenge to Practical Psychology: A Phenomenon of Destructive Cults and Mind Control, Methods of Recruitment and Mind Control in Destructive Cults, The Basic Models of Mind Control (Thought Reform), and Consultation with Victims of an Intensive Mental Manipulation: Basic Principles, Specificity of Practice. His translations of books on social influence and cults (by R. Cialdini, R. Lifton, E. Aronson, A. Pratkanis, S. Hassan, C. Giambalvo, W. Ford) are widely known in Russia. Mr. Volkov also teaches psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, and educators at seminars and gives trainings in many cities of Russia and NIS. He consults with municipal, governmental and non-governmental organizations, lawyers, and journalists, and has participated in many TV-shows and TV documentaries about cults and psychological abuse. He also consults individuals and families adversely affected by psychological and spiritual abuse in various groups and organizations. His paper for FECRIS conference in Marseille in 2004 The healthy thinking as means of preventive maintenance and a therapy of the pathological thinking in destructive cults was published in the international book, The Phenomenon of Cults from a Scientific Perspective (Crakow, 2007). 

Media Waisson 36 is currently working at Michael & Michael öppenvård with family related non institutional care in Skane. Media is one of the founders of the organisation FHF-Frieht, Hopp & Framtid. Media also has practical experience in working with honor-related violence with girls, both individually and in groups. She lectures on honor-related ideology and its consequences for social workers and school staff in different municipalities in Skane, and studies psychotherapy with a focus on CBT.

Nellie Walsh is a creative writer, fascinated by anything creative or visual; studied Fashion Marketing at Newcastle University; 3 years in direct sales; used to be unable to say ‘no’ to a challenge, but is now working 9 to 5.

Dr. Weiguo Wang is a professor of Political Civilization Study Center at Beijing Union University. He is interested in philosophy and cults in contemporary China. Professor Wang has published more than 20 articles.

Yichen Wang, Shaanxi Normal University of China (Master), was born in Shandong, China. Her research interest is cults and clinical psychology. She attended the 12th Religious Social Science Annual Conference in China.

Sara B. Waters, MS, MA, is a psychotherapist and licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) and credentialed substance misuse counselor (CASAC) in New York City, with 18 years of experience in the mental health field. She was raised as a “missionary kid” in France in a high demand, fundamentalist, evangelical group and missionary boarding school. She left the group as a teenager and is intimately familiar with the trauma of religious psychological abuse, parental rejection, and loss of community. Sara specializes in treating posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and recovery from high-demand and abusive relationships. In addition to maintaining a private practice in Manhattan, Sara conducts empirical research in psychology and is completing a PhD in Clinical Psychology at The New School for Social Research. For individual or relationship counseling, email or call/text (347) 554-0191.

John Weaver (Ph.D., State University of New York) is a book author and an adjunct lecturer at SUNY Binghamton. He received his PhD from that institution in 2010. His first book, Evangelicals in the Arts and Fiction, was published in 2013. I t argued for a principled evangelical anti-art stance in line with the pietist tradition/anti-elitist writings of John Carey. John is currently finishing his work, The Alternative Evangelical Mental Health System: The Religious Right's Assault on the Mentally Ill and Women. The book was motivated by his personal experience with biblical counseling and theophostic-derived counseling practices, as well as his lobbying efforts on behalf of the Mercy Survivors group, a group of young women who protested their mistreatment at the hands of Nancy Alcorn's Mercy Ministries.

Vanessa N. Weber, MSW, LCSW
has worked with victims of cults and their families, since 1980. She was one of the original founders of reFocus and the original Cult Awareness Network, NY/NJ chapter. She has a BA in Religion from Barnard College, studied at Union Theological Seminary, and received her MSW at Yeshiva University. She is the author of Hooked on Psychics, soon to be published by Motivational Press.

Gerard Webster Ph.D., Psy.D.
 is a training and supervising psychoanalyst and a registered Counselling and Forensic Psychologist in private practice in Sydney, Australia. He has provided assessment and treatment for victims and perpetrators of child abuse for over thirty years. He also provides psychotherapy to ex-members of cults and is a member of ICSA and of Cult Information and Family Support (NSW, Australia). Gerard has lectured in child abuse prevention strategies for over a decade, and he has published articles, training packages, and practice guidelines for organizations that are responsible for the care and protection of children. Gerard is an Honorary Fellow of Australian Catholic University and is past president of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abuse. Gerard was awarded the degree of Doctor of Psychoanalysis and Doctor of Philosophy (Psychoanalysis) by the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, LA (USA). He is an ex-member of Sahaja Yoga which gave him the opportunity to research the mental health of children aged 6-16 years at the International Sahaja Yoga School in India as well as in Australia. Website: Email: Phone: +61 (2) 8065 8237.

Dana Wehle, LCSW, MFA., has twenty years experience as a certified psychoanalyst and licensed clinical social worker in private practice in New York City. A published author and classically trained painter, she specializes in work with trauma and creativity, with cult-related trauma of particular interest. She has presented on this theme nationally and internationally, including presentation to the Minister of Social Services and a government delegation in Israel in 2012. Ms. Wehle’s article, "Plunge into the Abyss: Psychodynamic Group on Creativity and Trauma," is the lead article in the Winter 2016 issue of the journal Group. She presented this paper at the October 2016 Pratt Institute conference: "Art of Mentalizing: Communicating the Unknown," with Peter Fonagy as the keynote speaker. She currently runs a psychodynamic group on creativity and trauma for those also in psychodynamic individual psychotherapy, where cult trauma is mainstreamed with other forms of trauma. She was clinician and administrative supervisor at the Cult Clinic of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services for over a decade, and received her psychoanalytic training at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies in NYC. Her practice in part includes intensive clinical work with former members, second generation adults (SGAs), and families of adult children in cults. Ms. Wehle was invited to guest edit ICSA's special issue of Cultic Studies Review in 2010. The journal and her contribution was entitled, "The Last Draw: Cults and Creativity." Website: Email: Phone: (212) 479-7963

Devin Miranda Weise is a 2014 graduate of the University of Georgia, with a BS in Psychology and minor in Public Health.  Devin graduated Magna Cum Laude and is a member of Psi Chi International Honors Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.  Devin was on the Dean's List every semester during her study at the University of Georgia.  She has applied to several graduate schools, although she does not yet know which one she will be attending.  Devin hopes to work towards a PhD. She is interested in studying forensic psychology and educational theater.

Carol Welch was involved in an authoritarian Bible-based group, The Way International, for 28 years, from 1977 through 2005, from the age of 18 until she was 46. In 1981, during her fourth year of involvement with The Way, she became physically ill with an overresponsive immune system. In 1998, she began to journal, eventually writing her way out of The Way and into wellness. Since she exited the group, Carol has educated herself on group dynamics and cultic influences, and she continues to do so. A narrative of her story is published on her main Web site at Carol resides in North Carolina with her husband of almost three decades and in close proximity to their two adult children. She is the owner of a pet-sitting service and enjoys writing, art, nature, and animals. One of her dreams from her teenage years is to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail—a dream she realized as possible only after having regained her physical wellness and exiting The Way. Select pieces of Carol’s poetry have been published in four different poetry anthologies. She makes public many of her memoir pieces and poetry on the World Wide Web. Her poems and a memoir piece were part of the Phoenix Project of Ex-Member Art and Literary Work as part of the annual ICSA conference in 2012 in Montreal.

Dianne L. Wentworth is a native of Massachusetts and still lives there. Her dad was in the military, so her childhood was spent moving and changing schools a lot. She was a member of a high-control group for 35 years and left at the age of 62. These poems are reflections on her journey since then. She has a job that she loves and will soon be starting up a small greeting-card business. Life is good—sometimes confusing, but good.

Louis Jolyon West, MD, RIP.
 The late Louis J. ("Jolly") West, M.D. was Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, of which he was the director for many years. He was also an advisor to ICSA/AFF for many years, serving on the editorial board of Cultic Studies Journal.

LOS ANGELES, Jan 7. 1999 (Reuters).  Psychiatrist Louis Jolyon West, an expert on cults, torture and brainwashing who examined Jack Ruby and Patricia Hearst during their trials, has died at age 74, associates said on Thursday.  A spokesman for the University of California at Los Angeles, where West was in charge of the Neuropsychiatric Institute for 20 years before his retirement in 1989, said he died on Saturday of cancer at his home in Los Angeles. 

West frequently worked as a court-appointed psychiatrist. After examining Ruby, the killer of President John F. Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, West concluded Ruby was suffering from ``major mental illness precipitated by the stress of (his) trial.''   The psychiatrist was also one of four experts who examined newspaper heiress Patty Hearst, who was kidnapped by the so-called Symbionese Liberation Army and who later joined its ranks as a bank robber.  The panel found her sane and fit to stand trial, but West wrote that she was "psychologically damaged as a result of torture by the SLA.''   The experts also urged that Hearst receive treatment for her mental illness before her 1976 trial, but the court ignored the recommendation.   "The government finished the destruction of her life started by an anti-government group,'' West said after Hearst was convicted. Her prison sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. 

A civil rights activist, West was the first white psychiatrist to go to South Africa to testify on behalf of black prisoners during the apartheid era.  During the Korean War he studied brainwashing and torture. He said at the time that American prisoners of war had falsely confessed to engaging in germ warfare because their captors had instilled a sense of guilt in them through solitary confinement, prolonged sleeplessness and physical abuse, which he called the classic tools of brainwashing. 

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, West said the behaviour of cult members and kidnapping victims was driven by the ``three 'Ds' - debility, dread and dependence.''   "A prisoner is debilitated by inactivity, by sleep loss, or worse, by physical harm. He is filled with dread by constant threats of pain or death or harm to his family. He is rendered completely dependent upon his captors for information, food, shelter, life,'' West said.  

West, who was born the son of poor Russian Jewish immigrants in Madison, Wisconsin, is survived by his wife Kathryn, son John and daughters Anne and Mary. 

West frequently worked as a court-appointed psychiatrist. After examining Ruby, the killer of President John F. Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, West concluded Ruby was suffering from ``major mental illness precipitated by the stress of (his) trial.''   The psychiatrist was also one of four experts who examined newspaper heiress Patty Hearst, who was kidnapped by the so-called Symbionese Liberation Army and who later joined its ranks as a bank robber.  The panel found her sane and fit to stand trial, but West wrote that she was "psychologically damaged as a result of torture by the SLA.''   The experts also urged that Hearst receive treatment for her mental illness before her 1976 trial, but the court ignored the recommendation.   "The government finished the destruction of her life started by an anti-government group,'' West said after Hearst was convicted. Her prison sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

A civil rights activist, West was the first white psychiatrist to go to South Africa to testify on behalf of black prisoners during the apartheid era.  During the Korean War he studied brainwashing and torture. He said at the time that American prisoners of war had falsely confessed to engaging in germ warfare because their captors had instilled a sense of guilt in them through solitary confinement, prolonged sleeplessness and physical abuse, which he called the classic tools of brainwashing.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, West said the behaviour of cult members and kidnapping victims was driven by the ``three 'Ds' - debility, dread and dependence.''   "A prisoner is debilitated by inactivity, by sleep loss, or worse, by physical harm. He is filled with dread by constant threats of pain or death or harm to his family. He is rendered completely dependent upon his captors for information, food, shelter, life,'' West said.  

West, who was born the son of poor Russian Jewish immigrants in Madison, Wisconsin, is survived by his wife Kathryn, son John and daughters Anne and Mary. 

Barbro Westerholm, Member of the Swedish Parliament for the Liberal Party, is a doctor and researcher. She was formerly Associate Professor at the Karolinska Institute and General Director at the National Board of Health and Welfare. As General Director, she pushed through the decision that homosexuality would no longer count as a mental illness by the National Board. She gave impetus to the most comprehensive state investigation on cults made so far in Sweden: In Good Faith (1998).  During her years in the Swedish Parliament she has continued to be one of the few Swedish politicians to raise human rights issues related to sects.

Mark N. Wexler, PhD, is University Professor Management at Business Ethics/Simon Fraser University and President and Senior Partner at The Perimeter Group in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Address all comments to

Hana Whitfield: BS Nursing, with Post Graduate studies in Pediatrics, Orthopedics, Infectious Fevers and OB-Gyn. Was involved with Scientology for twenty years. Studied under L Ron Hubbard in the early 1960’s and worked personally with him from 1967 through 1975. Left Scientology in 1984. Hana is an Exit Counseling-Intervention Specialist (conducting exit counseling, family mediation, religious conflict resolution, and family workshops) since 1989 working with families (United States, Canada, England, Europe, South Africa and Australia) with loved ones in Scientology. She has appeared on TV and in Radio shows internationally. She and Jerry, her husband, work together.

Jerry Whitfield: BBA from Eastern New Mexico University. Involved with Narconon, a Scientology front group for 3 ½ years and active in Scientology for another five years. He left Scientology in early 1984. Jerry is an Exit Counseling-Intervention Specialist (conducting exit counseling, family mediation, religious conflict resolution, and family workshops) since 1989 working with families (United States, Canada, England, Europe, South Africa and Australia) with loved ones in Scientology. He has appeared on TV and in Radio shows internationally. He and Hana, his wife, work together.

Jonibeth (J.B.) Whitney, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who has been doing cult awareness work for 30 years including training cult awareness volunteers, individual and group counseling for people with cult-involved family members, and presenting at local and national conferences. Her research includes examining the relationship between childhood abuse and the severity of subsequent cult experiences and co-authorship of The Individual Cult Experience Index: The Assessment of Cult Involvement and Its Relationship to Postcult Distress, published in the Cultic Studies Journal. Dr. Whitney currently works in private practice in W. Los Angeles. Website: Email: Phone: (310) 446-8870

Doni Whitsett, PhD, LCSW,
is a Clinical Professor at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work where she teaches various courses in practice, behavior, mental health, and human sexuality. She has been working with cult-involved clients and their families for over 20 years and gives lectures to students and professionals on this topic. 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. 
Dr. Whitsett also has a specialty in Sexuality and was awarded a Fulbright Specialist Scholarship in 2016 to study, teach, and do research on this topic in China. Email: Phone: (323) 907-2400

Bogdan Wieckiewicz, PhD, The John Paul II University of Lublin.

Andrea Willey BA, LLB, completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Alberta, where she received an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She continued her studies at the University of Alberta to obtain her law degree in 2011. Currently she practices law at the firm of Duncan Craig LLP in Edmonton, Alberta, primarily in the areas of family law and mortgage enforcement.

Robin Willey is finishing his PhD under the supervision of Professor Stephen Kent in the Department of Sociology, University of Alberta. His Master’s thesis, Discovering the Evangelical Sexual Marketplace, used ethnographic analysis to examine the development, conversion, and exchange of erotic capital amongst young adults in an Evangelical church. It focused on the value of sexual abstinence in this Evangelical context. In addition to his interests in Evangelicalism, sexuality, and politics, Willey has published an article, which uses a popular cultural figure from the Star Trek series to examine certain methodological difficulties that new academics may encounter who are conducting research in religious groups. Mr. Willey’s PhD specialization paper refines Bordieuian theory’s ability to draw theoretical and historical connections between religion and madness through the concept of liminality. Willey’s current research interests focus on conservative Christian involvement in Canadian politics. He investigates the intersection between neoconservative political strategy and Christian nationalism in Canada—an intersection otherwise known as theoconservatism. In particular, he is interested in the implications of theoconservatism on government policy related to gender and sexuality. His initial work in this area has focused specifically on the relationship between gender ideology, conservative think tanks, and the current Canadian government. 

Glori Williams is a 2nd generation Move of God cult survivor. She was born into this cult and lived in various Move groups in Ohio, Alaska, and Florida until she left The Move in 2011. She lives in Fairbanks, AK with her family, where she works in the social services field, engages in cult and domestic violence awareness activities and advocates for those who experience disabilities.

Visual artist and graphic designer Riaan Wilmans is a second-generation former member who was born into what he refers to as “a high-control religious group, or cult” in South Africa in 1983.

RaeAnne Wiseman graduated from the University of Washington, where she studied religious history. Her forthcoming graduate work will investigate belief formation as applied to religious conversion and end-of-life anxiety. Her research question examines the ways in which people assign meaning to their lives and how the formulation of existential purpose correlates with levels of happiness and life satisfaction. Professionally Ms. Wiseman works as a counselor and cognitive skills trainer while actively volunteering in hospice care. In 2011 she founded Existentialists Anonymous, a support group to examine mortality and meaning in the absence of an objective religious truth.

Christoph Witzig is an author, journalist, and counselor for, a small, independent center for religious self-determination in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. Most of its clients have had their experience of unhealthy dependency within mainstream churches. Christoph Witzig grew up in a big Christian familiy with some characteristics of a cultic group; he has close ties to a Benedictine community in the U.S.

Allen Tate Wood
. Former vice president of the Dallas branch of the Cult Awareness Network. I am listed by Fact.Net as a cult expert. Early contributor to the American Family Foundation. I have given testimony on the Moon organization before the Frazer Committee, The United States Supreme Court and her Majesty’s High Court in London. I have been engaged in cult awareness education since 1975. Between 1986 and 2013 I worked as a drug and alcohol counselor in Texas, California, and New Hampshire. I did this addiction counseling and teaching in county jails, state prisons, probation and parole offices, and in private treatment centers. A lot of my teaching and writing has focused on the structural similarities between thought reform and addiction. I continue to remark on the functional similarity between doctrine for the ideologue and psychological defense structure for the addict. Both serve to protect an interior from new information. I have lectured on the psychology of the Cult Phenomenon in the UK, the US and Mexico. I am also the co-author of MoonStruck: A Memoir of My Life in a Cult ( an autobiographical tour de force) and two papers on the cult phenomenon: “Three Elements of Cult Counseling” and “My Four and One Half Years with The Lord of the Flies”. E-mail Web site 

Abe Worenklein, M.Sc., PhD, is a clinical and forensic psychologist in private practice in Montreal and a professor at Dawson College and a lecturer at Concordia University. In addition to his practice in clinical and forensic evaluation and psychotherapy, he is certified as a family mediator. Dr. Worenklein has been declared an expert witness in Superior Court and in Youth Court several hundred times primarily in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia, but also in the United States and the Caribbean and has presented on this topic at numerous professional conferences in Canada, the United States and Europe. He has been quoted in significant judgments dealing with parental alienation and high conflict divorces. He is a member of the Canadian Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology and has been certified by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. Dr Worenklein is on the committee to have Parental Alienation accepted into the DSM-V and ICD-11 and has spoken on many occasions on the radio regarding parental alienation and its effects on alienated children. He is also on the International Editorial Board of the American Journal of Family Therapy. Dr Worenklein has recently authored/co-authored two chapters on parental alienation soon to be published in two different professional books. 

Joanna Wright. Raised in the jungles of Paraguay, Joanna Wright grew up in James Saint John's pseudo-Christian cult compound of 76 people known as Beulah Land. Her father, an Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) minister, was eventually imprisoned there after a civil uprising created by "the Group" (as they chose to be called). She escaped the abusiveness of the IFB system and a violent marriage in early adulthood with an infant and no preparation for living in the outside world. Therapy and growth enabled her to raise three children into independent, educated, and kind-to-the-core adulthood. She also completed two college degrees, studying both criminology (A.S.) and psychology (B.S.). In 1998, Ms. Wright founded Hope4Kidz, Inc. with a focus on foster children placed in Residential Treatment Centers and worked with the Texas State Comptroller to expose and address problems with institutional warehousing of children in foster care. Ms. Wright provided valuable input to The Forgotten Children’s Report in 2004 that resulted in numerous policy changes. After retiring from Hope4Kidz, Ms. Wright now works as both book editor and author while encouraging others in their writing.

Min Wu, was born in Anhui, China. She received B.S. degree in Anhui Normal University of China in 2015. She is an enrolled postgraduate in University of Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing. Her major is the social history of science & technology,and cults study is her current research interest. For further information, please contact with her via email:
Frank Tian Xie, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Marketing, in the Department of Marketing, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. ( <> He received his Bachelor’s degree in science from Peking University and MBA in finance and PhD in business administration from Georgia State University. Prior to his career in academia, he had eight years of experience in the industry, serving in technical, supervisory, managerial, and consulting positions in scientific, retailing, financial, and marketing services companies. His research appears in The Meteoretics, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Journal of Interactive Advertising, Journal of Marketing Channels, and World Economic Review. He is also the Director of Marketing, of the Greater Philadelphia Asian Culture Center (GPACC), a non-profit organization serving to bridge between Chinese and Western communities. His weekly column on marketing and selling appears on Epochtimes, a worldwide Chinese language newspaper. 

Guanghui Xu is a PhD candidate in History of Science, University of Chinese Academy of Science (UCAS). She received her MS degree in history of science from UCAS. Her research interests include the history of traditional science and cultic phenomena. 

Peng Xue, Center for the Study of Cultic Groups & Religious Culture, Beijing Union University, P.R. China, deputy director, senior engineer, research direction: cultic network communication, participated two research projects on provincial level with topic of destructive cults.

Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Esq., is a founding partner of Tokyo Kyodo Law Office, a 30-lawyer practice, in Tokyo, Japan. He is the General Secretary of the National Network of Lawyers against the illegal activities of Moonies, a network with over 300 lawyers. He is a well-known published author regarding cult and mind control in Japan.

Takashi Yamaguchi, Esq, practices law in Tokyo at the Link Law Office, founded by Masaki Kito. He represents and advises the victims of various cultic groups, as well as individuals and entities confronted by those groups. He is a member of the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales, a board member and executive director of the Japan Society for Cult Prevention and Recovery (JSCPR), and one of the founders of the All Japan Network of Universities for Counter Cult Measures. He is Japanese English bilingual and is admitted to practice law in JAPAN and the State of California.

Ms. Yukari Yamamoto was born in Kobe, Japan. Ms. Yamamoto is a professional conference interpreter/translator (English/Japanese). She recently co-translated Steven Hassan’s Releasing the Bonds into Japanese (Kyobunkwan, 2007). She is a board member of the Japan Society for Cult Prevention and Recovery and an ex-member of Home of Heart, a controversial therapy group in Japan. 

Qing Ye, PhD, was born in Anhui, China. She received PhD degree in philosophy from Peking University in 2008, and B.S. and M.S. degrees from Anhui Normal University and University of Science and Technology of China, in 1995 and 2003,respectively. She is now an associate professor in China Center for Modernization Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. Her current research interests include social history of science, policy of science and technology and cultic studies. Cults study in the process of the modernization of countries is a particular concern for her. For further information, please contact with her via email: <>

William Yenner was first introduced to meditation in Rishikesh, India in the 1970s and was later a committed practitioner of Buddhist Vipassana meditation. His involvement with Andrew Cohen and Cohen’s EnlightenNext community spanned 13 years. His story is typical of that of many longtime students of Cohen’s. At the outset, it was characterized by idealism and inspiration. In the middle, devotion and hard work prevailed as he helped build the organization. And in the end, he was left disillusioned and disappointed after a series of debilitating, abusive experiences. Following his departure, and in order to secure the return of a large monetary donation that he had been pressured to give to Cohen, a gag order prevented his writing or speaking publicly about his experiences in Cohen’s community. That gag order expired in the summer of 2008; following that, he began the work of writing and editing American Guru (2009). This paper is based on that volume.

Karen Young is an accomplished photographer and jeweler who is currently studying to earn her Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She looks forward to helping ex-cult members once she is awarded her degree. She was part of a gypsy cult for 15 years and has been out since November 2006. She would like to warn you not to go into any psychic/palm reading shops or you may end up brainwashed and penniless. 

Paul G. Young was a member of the Children of God sect for 20 years. During much of this time he was posted in various communities in Spain, including the Barcelona community, until just weeks before they were arrested and held in custody by local authorities. The ensuing legal battle went all the way to the Supreme Court of Spain. After leaving the Children of God (a.k.a. Family of Love) Paul returned to Toronto Canada in 1992, graduating from the University of Toronto in 2002. Paul has spoken about the destructive nature of cults and mind control on many occasions both on radio and television. Paul has counseled parents and families of cult members, and participated in exit counseling with current cult members. Paul currently teaches English and Spanish with the Toronto District School Board. 

Benjamin D. Zablocki, PhD, Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Department of Sociology at Rutgers University has been studying cults, communes, and charisma for over 40 years. He is the author of The Joyful Community (1971) and Alienation and Charisma (1980) as well as numerous articles on these topics. He is co-editor (with Thomas Robbins) of a book, Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field, published in 2001 by University of Toronto Press. This book attempts to find a middle ground between the theories of the cult apologists and the theories of the anti-cultists. He is currently writing a book developing a biopsychosocial theory of charismatic resocialization—sometimes called thought reform or brainwashing. 

RIP.  Josie Zelov
, along with her husband Randy (deceased, 2008), as concerned parents became involved with the Personal Freedom Association (PFA), Philadelphia in the early 1970s. PFA was a local organization associated with the national group, the Citizens Freedom Foundation, which changed its name in 1984 to Cult Awareness Network (CAN). Josie was elected to CAN's national board of directors in 1987 and served until the early 1990s. During this time she served as secretary, treasurer, and chair of the development and publications committees, which developed the CAN logo and CAN's original information brochure. Also during these years she formed the Cult Abuse Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.  In addition, Josie was involved in information, consulting, and referral for families and friends of cult members as well as several interventions and rehab.  She presented educational programs to churches, schools, colleges, and the Junior League, as well as family workshops for CAN national conferences. She received the CAN Achievement Award for her service.  Though inactive since the 1990s, Josie has remained connected to and supportive of ICSA. 

From obituary published in Main Line Media News on Nov. 19, 2017: Josephine Frank Zelov, wife of deceased Randolph D. Zelov, Sr. of Rosemont, PA and sister of Armin C. Frank Jr., also deceased, died peacefully at the age of 89 on Wednesday, November 8, 2017. Josie was born on March 24, 1928 in Savannah, GA. She is the daughter of Elsie Espy Frank and Armin C. Frank, Sr. of Milwaukee, WI. She graduated from Rosemary Hall in Greenwich, CT. and Connecticut College. In 1950, she married Randolph (Randy) who at the time was a Lieutenant and graduate of the U.S. Navel Academy. They were married for 57 years until his death. In 1966 after Randy’s 26 years of military service, the family settled in Bryn Mawr, PA. Josie raised her family, served as a volunteer in many community organizations: the Junior League, churches, schools, Navy Relief, the Red Cross and many more. She served on the vestry of the Church of the Redeemer and was chairman of the Denbeigh Day Camp, which served inner city and suburban children. She was a member of the Delaware Valley Association of Exceptionalities which served children diagnosed with learning difficulties. Josie also worked for 20 years, with the Cult Awareness Network; serving families and loved ones caught up in high demand groups. She was a board member for six years. Josie was known for her friendliness, enthusiasm, commitment, sincerity, courage, strength, humor, love of life and her dedication to her family. She truly loved interacting and communicating with multiple generations. She was an avid tennis and bridge player, enjoyed different types of stitchery, designed and taught needlepoint and was a lover of art and music. She was a member of Merion Cricket Club, the Acorn Club, the Gulph Mills Club and the St. Andrews Club of Delray Beach, Florida. She spent her summers at Pocono Lake Preserve. Josie was also a member of the National Society of Colonial Dames of Pennsylvania. She is survived by her three children, Randolph Jr., Charenton Zelov Drake and Peter, nine grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

Zengyi Zhang, PhD, is a professor and the Chair of Department of Journalism and Communication at University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), Beijing. He was a professor and the vice-dean of School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, before he joined UCAS. He earned his PhD in philosophy at Peking University. He was a visiting scholar at the Center for the Studies of Science, Religion and Society (now the Blaise Pascal Institute), Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, from 1998 to 1999, and was also a visiting scholar at Program in Science, Technology and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2008 to 2009. His long research interest is the relationship between science and religion in history and contemporary society, on which he published a book entitled A Century long Controversies between Creation and Evolution in USA: the Demarcation of Science in Social Context (2006), and recently work on public understanding of science and religion through mass media and the Internet, especially focus on content analysis of media coverage of science and religion(including new religion). 

Jiquan Zhou, Shaanxi Normal University of China (Master) ,was born in Shandong,China. His research interest is cults and clinical psychology. He attended the 9th Annual Psychology of Religion Conference in China.

Juan Zhou, Shaanxi Normal University of China (Master), was born in Hunan, China. Her research interest covers cults and clinical psychology. She attended the 12th Religious Social Sience Annual Conference in China.

Tracey Zhu, M.D. is a board-certified physician of internal medicine practicing in New Haven, CT. She has done five years of research on Molecular Biology at Yale Medical School, before starting her residency at Hospital of Saint Raphael in 1997. She has published molecular cloning articles on scientific journals including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Her other publications on Falun Gong include Falun Gong – A Way of Cultivation Practice, Qi – The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness, Winter 2000.

Jennifer Zimmerman lives in Ames, Iowa with her husband and their two small children. Jennifer owns and operates a small jewelry business and also works in a restaurant part-time. Her husband, Isaac, is currently working on his doctorate in pharmacy. One of Jennifer’s sisters became involved in a cult about twelve years ago when she was approached by a charismatic man during her last year of high school and moved to New York to be a part of his cult. Four years ago, Jennifer’s sister and her five children moved to Iowa where Jennifer continues the ongoing battle against the cult leader’s lure.

Régine Zimmermann is a free-lance conference interpreter living in Geneva (Switzerland). She deals now with interpreting formation in the ethno-psychological context of Immigration. She has been personally affected by the adverse effects of aberrant behavior and spirituality within a new religious movement. Since that experience, she developed post-graduate expertise in the field of science of education and the Religious Fact and deals with the sectarian deviations specific to religious groups, through a transdisciplinary approach.

Helen Zuman
is the author of Mating in Captivity (She Writes Press 2018), a memoir of five years at Zendik Farm. She entered Zendik in 1999, shortly after graduating from Harvard with a BA in Visual & Environmental Studies and a hunger for meaning, belonging, and skills not taught in school. After leaving the Farm in 2004, and realizing it fit the cult pattern, she wrote an FAQ that helped many affected by Zendik understand what had happened to them and their loved ones. Since then, she’s come to see cults as byproducts of social starvation, a condition we can treat by re-villaging. She and her husband currently re-village primarily at Earthaven, a (non-cult!) community near Asheville, North Carolina, and in the tiny city of Beacon, NY. Connect with Helen at