Networks‎ > ‎Mental Health Network‎ > ‎

Counseling Resources

The term "counseling" is here used in its most general sense, so it does not necessarily refer to professional and/or licensed individuals or organizations. The term "helping resources" could also be used in this context, but we choose the former term because we believe it will be meaningful to a larger percentage of visitors.

The persons listed below have published in ICSA periodicals or presented at ICS
A conferences. They have indicated that they have experience working with victims of spiritual and/or psychological abuse and/or their families. After the counselor bios, we also provide links to support groups, hotlines, and selected organizations in various countries that might be able to refer people to additional resources. If you are seeking immediate help for yourself or a loved one who you feel is in danger of hurting self or others, please contact 911 (or equivalent emergency service in your country) and/or one of the hotlines listed after the counselor bios.

ICSA does not endorse or recommend individuals or organizations listed below.  The list, which does not claim to be exhaustive, is provided for informational purposes only. 

Geographic location and whether or not a person is willing to work by phone/Web are listed in bold red at the bottom of the biographical sketch.  Use your browser's search function to search for a specific state or country, or scroll down the list.

Appropriate caution should be exercised when selecting a counselor. When feasible, it is advisable to talk to or interview more than one counselor before deciding with whom to work. The effectiveness of a counseling relationship is a function of the relationship compatibility of counselor and client, as well as the level of the counselor's expertise, training, or experience. Each person must make his/her own decision about which counselor is most appropriate for him/her. 

Views expressed on sites to which ICSA has a link are those of the site's author(s) and are not necessarily shared, endorsed, or recommended by ICSA or any of its directors, staff, or advisers. ICSA encourages readers to examine different points of view and talk to different experts before making an important decision. Also see: "Dialogue and Cultic Studies: Why Dialogue Benefits the Cultic Studies Field."

The following links provide general information and advice related to finding a counselor/therapist:

American Psychological Association - How to choose a psychologist

Counseling Resources

The spreadsheet below lists resources sorted by geographical location.  Details on each person, listed alphabetically by last name, follow the spreadsheet.  Organization links follow the biographical sketches of individuals.

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. Website:     Phone: 1-334-328-3577
Alabama (Montgomery)

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

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), Supervised by Dr. Joyce Sloan, License #:1904. Website: Email:
Tennessee (Nashville)

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. Website:  Email:   Phone: 201-321-9874 
New Jersey

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.

Rachel Bernstein,
MSEd, 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 and 
is on the Advisory Board of the Open Minds Foundation. Website: Email: Phone:818-907-0036. 
California, Southern

Clinical Fellow). After completing his BA in Bible and Religion, Jeff went on to complete an MAR in counseling with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy. He completed his PhD in criminal justice in 2014. Jeff began his career working in community mental health and began specializing in the treatment of anorexia/bulimia and sex offenders over 20 years ago. He joined Paul Martin and the team at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center in 2005.. Jeff was formerly in an employer cult and has faced an evangelical Christian cult in his family. His dissertation 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 Ohio, is a Clinical Fellow of the AAMFT and serves on the AAMFT's ethics committee.
Email: Phone: (304) 521-7981
West Virginia

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.

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. Email:    Phone: (850) 431-3463
Florida Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

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

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: Phone: +39 3384440566
Italy (Udine)

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. Email:   Phone: (610) 544-5830

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. 
Email: Phone: (310) 963-4000
California, Southern

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

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.
Website: (Italian and English), YouTubeChannel: Email:      Phone: 3488299499
Italy (Rome)

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. Website: and and   Email:   Phone: (+31)655168867

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.
 Website:  Email:     Phone: +44 7973 310599
United Kingdom  Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

Rod Dubrow-Marshall, PhD, MBPsS
, is Professor of Psychology and Visiting Fellow, Criminal Justice Hub, University of Salford, United Kingdom. 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]

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. 
Website:  Email:   Phone: (214) 607-1065
Texas (Dallas) 

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
Texas (Dallas)

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.  
Email: Phone: (302) 368-9136

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.

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 (see below). 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. Website: Email: Phone: (914) 478-1924
New York

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 

Spain (Barcelona)

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;

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

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

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. Websie: Email: Phone: 386 439-7541

Lorna Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA, Board member and past president of ICSA, is a psychoanalyst in private
practice and Dean of Faculty at the Institute of Psychoanalytic Studies. In 1976, she and her husband, William Goldberg, began facilitating a support group for former cult members that continues to meet on a monthly basis in their home in Englewood, New Jersey. 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, which is due to be published in 2017.   Website:   Email:    Phone: (201) 894-8515
New Jersey (Englewood)      Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

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 a soon to be published book, sponsored by ICSA, which will focus on clinical work with former cult members. 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. 
He is also co-editor of ICSA's Cult Recovery: A Clinician's Guide to Working With Former Members and Their Families, which is due to be published in 2017. 
New Jersey (Englewood)      Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

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
Spain (Barcelona)

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
Illinois (Sycamore)

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
California (San Diego)   Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

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 Margaret T. Singer 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.
Website: Email: Phone: (617) 396-4638

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

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, which is due to be published in 2017.    Website:    Phone: (303) 797-0629
Colorado Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

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

Oregon (Ashland)

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
United Kingdom

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. . Websites:;;  Email:    Phone: (267) 679-5493

Heidi I. Knapp 
is a certified life-coach in stress management, recovery coaching, and hope coaching
through life crisis situations along with
 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. Website:  Email: Phone: (720) 227-8695

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 ( with his wife, Heidi. 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  recently completed multiple counseling internships at two 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

Michael D. Langone, PhD, a counseling psychologist, received a doctorate in Counseling Psychology
from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1979. Since 1981 he has been Executive Director of International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), a tax-exempt research and educational organization concerned about psychological manipulation and cultic groups. Dr. Langone has been consulted by several hundred former cult members and/or their families. He was the founder editor of Cultic Studies Journal (CSJ), the editor of CSJ’s successor, Cultic Studies Review, and editor of Recovery from Cults: Help for Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse (an alternate of the Behavioral Science Book Service). He is co-author of Cults: What Parents Should Know and Satanism and Occult-Related Violence: What You Should Know. Currently, Dr. Langone is ICSA Today’s Editor-in-Chief. He has been the chief designer and coordinator of ICSA’s international conferences, which in recent years have taken place in Barcelona, New York, Rome, Philadelphia, Geneva, Denver, Brussels, Atlanta, and Madrid. In 1995, he was honored as the Albert V. Danielsen visiting Scholar at Boston University. He has authored numerous articles in professional journals and books, including Psychiatric Annals, Business and Society Review, Sette e Religioni (an Italian periodical), Grupos Totalitarios y Sectarismo: Ponencias del II Congreso Internacional (the proceedings of an international congress on cults in Barcelona, Spain), Innovations in Clinical Practice: A Sourcebook, Handbook of Psychiatric Consultation with Children and Youth, Psychiatric News, and all of ICSA’s periodicals. Dr. Langone has spoken widely to dozens of lay and professional groups, including the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion American Association for the Advancement of Science, Pacific Division, American Group Psychotherapy Association, American Psychological Association, the Carrier Foundation, various university audiences, and numerous radio and television stations, including the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour and ABC 20/20. 
He is also co-editor of ICSA's Cult Recovery: A Clinician's Guide to Working With Former Members and Their Families, which is due to be published in 2017.  Email:  Phone: 239-514-3081

J. Paul Lennon, STL, MA
, After 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 ReGAIN, Inc, 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.

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


Peter T. Malinoski, Ph.D., HSPP has been a clinical psychologist in private practice in Indianapolis, IN since 2001. He specializes in psychological assessment and has experience working with former cult members and their families. Website:   Phone: 317.536.5482   Email:

Cathleen Mann, PhD, LPC, 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. Email:     Phone: (303) 934-2828

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
New Jersey/New York

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
South Korea

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
South Korea

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

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
Louisiana; Texas

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.

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:,      Email:    Phone: +498938157755

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
Maryland           Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

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. 

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. Email:   Phone: 909-303-0960
California, Southern (Rancho Cucamonga)

German Muller 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:

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. 
Email:     Phone: +48 604 177 396

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.

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.

Miguel Perlado, PhD, Psychologist. Psychotherapist (associated member of the Spanish Federation of
Psychotherapy Associations, FEAP). Psychoanalyst (Spanish Psychoanalytic Society, SEP-IPA). Member of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). Clinical supervisor of the Iberoamerican Association for Research on Psychological Abuse (AIIAP). Coordinator of Task Force on Cultic Deviations ( at the Official School of Psychologists of Catalonia (COPC). 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 in 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. CONTACT INFO: c/ Roger de lure 26, entlo 2ºB (08010, Barcelona/SPAIN), Tf 00 8+34) 609-16-14-65. MAIL:

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 including an online educational interactive workshop for former members including those raised in such groups. Her training, professional, and personal life experience has formed and influenced her specialties: trauma and loss; abusive groups and relationships; and motherless daughters, i.e., women who have lost their mothers through death, separation, illness, or estrangement in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. At 15 and after her mother’s death, she chose to live with the founder and family of a Christian/Mystical high demand group for a year. 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 DV survivors and children, and primary therapist with the Center for Domestic Peace in San Rafael, CA. She recognizes the many parallels between domestic abuse and cult abuse. 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 Women Older & Wiser (55+); 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, therapy sessions, and workshops, long and short term therapy. She began 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. Website:   Email:     Phone: (415) 785-3513.
California, Northern           Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

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:;;   Email:    Phone: (215) 467-4939
Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

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
New York City            Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

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 
Minnesota (Minneapolis)

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. Email: Phone: (402) 721-8496

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).

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

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.

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. .
Australia (Sydney)

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
New York City

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
California, Southern

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

California, Southern (Los Angeles)

Support Groups


Crisis Hotlines

We can help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Text: “ANSWER” to 839863
Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour crisis line often serves as the first point of contact for individuals who are seeking help, support, and information.

National Youth Crisis Hotline
(800) 442-HOPE (4673)

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 TTY
Operating around the clock, seven days a week, confidential and free of cost, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides lifesaving tools and immediate support to enable victims to find safety and live lives free of abuse. Callers to The Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) can expect highly trained, experienced advocates to offer compassionate support, crisis intervention information and referral services in over 170 languages.

Websites with Additional Hotlines

Offers a comprehensive listing of crisis/suicide help lines by state. is non-profit organization. Our mission is to prevent suicides, support suicide survivors, and educate the public about suicide. We also run an online suicide survivors' forum, which provides a safe place for suicide survivors to receive help.

Offers a listing of hotlines for adolescents by topic of concern.


Atención e Investigación en Socioadicciones (AIS), is a mental health organization in Spain that provides information, advice and therapeutic activity on cults and behavioral adicctions. AIS at present, is recognized as a public health service at Catalonia.  One of our main therapeutic priorities has been oriented towards providing assistance in cases related to cult groups, although we also treat cases related to unethical situations of intense interpersonal influences in "groups of two" (situations of one-way personal manipulation without the existence of a group).
Facebook          Twitter          Youtube
Atención e Investigación en Socioadicciones (AIS), es una organización de salud mental en España que proporciona información, consejo y actividad terapéutica a personas afectadas por grupos de manipulación o sectas y por adicciones comportamentales. Actualmente, AIS está reconocida y presta servicio público en Cataluña, España.  Nuestras principales prioridades terapéuticas son: proporcionar asistencia en casos relacionados con grupos de manipulación o sectas, tratar casos de situaciones no éticas de influencia interpersonal en “grupos de dos” (situaciones de manipulación unipersonal sin las existencia de un grupo) y tratar a personas afectadas por otras adicciones conductuales.

La Asociación Iberoamericana para la Investigación del Abuso Psicológico (AIIAP) es una asociación profesional especializada en relaciones sectarias, sectas destructivas y otras dinámicas de abuso psicológico. [research]

Le Centre d'information et d'avis sur les organisations sectaires nuisibles est un Centre INDEPENDANT institué auprès du Service Public Fédéral Justice. Les membres du Centre ont été désignés par la Chambre des Représentants, dont la moitié sur présentation du Conseil des Ministres. Ce sont des personnalités éminentes issues de différents domaines réputées pour leur connaissance, leur expérience et leur intérêt du phénomène. CIAOSN, RUE HAUTE 139, 3 ième étage, 1000 BRUXELLES,

Child Trauma Academy
CTA is a not-for-profit organization based in Houston, Texas working to improve the lives of high-risk children through direct service, research and education. We recognize the crucial importance of childhood experience in shaping the health of the individual, and ultimately, society. By creating biologically-informed child and family respectful practice, programs and policy, CTA seeks to help maltreated and traumatized children. [research]

CIAOSN (Centre d'Information et d'Avis sur les Organizations Sectaires Nuisibles)
Le CIAOSN est chargé de l'étude du phénomène des organisations sectaires nuisibles en Belgique ainsi que leurs liens internationaux.

CAIC is concerned about people who are ensnared in totalitarian groups. CAIC warns the public about cults, their deceitful recruiting techniques, the imprisoning of member's minds though fear and phobia indoctrination and the isolation of members from those outside the group either physically or psychologically. CAIC works together with others who are as concerned as we are. Founder, the lateJan Groenveld, had been involved in liberating people from cults since 1980. This web site is from her work.

CIFS is an Australian support and information network. CIFS was initially formed by parents and family members of loved ones caught up in abusive groups. The network has grown to include families, friends, former members and concerned individuals working together towards a common goal, to provide support and develop awareness for those affected by high demand groups or cultic relationships.
CIC is a charity providing advice and information for victims of cults, their families and friends, researchers and the media. CIC was founded in 1987 and became a registered charity (No. 1012914) in 1992. It was the first charitable organisation, established in the United Kingdom, focusing critical concern on the harmful methods of the cults.
Cult Information Service, Inc. is a tax-exempt, non-profit, educational, self-help organization. It is made up entirely of volunteers and dedicated to: (1) educating the public about the danger and harmful effects of mind control used by destructive cults; (2) providing support and referral to victims and those affected by destructive cults; and (3) providing information for professionals and people interested in researching destructive cults and cultic behavior. It is important to note that the Cult Information Service limits its concerns about destructive groups to unethical or illegal practices. It does not pass judgment on doctrine or beliefs.

ESAMA is dedicated to providing information, education and awareness about cultic, high demand groups and to supporting ex-members and their families through recovery. Our vision is to be a leading resource in Alberta for anyone who wants information or has been affected by mind control through cultic/high demand groups and to develop strong relationships with professionals across Canada and on an international scale.

Exit is a project within the non-profit organization Fryshuset. Our aim is to help and provide support to those who wish to leave a nationalistic/racist/nazi oriented groups and movements. We provide hands-on support for persons wanting to leave a neo nazi or racist environment by cooperating with various housing corporations, the police, social services, legal system and also with the client’s own family and friends.

FECRIS (European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Cults and Sects)
Created in 1994, FECRIS serves as an umbrella organisation for associations which defend victims of cultic excesses in more than 30 countries to date, among them 5 are non-European.
Info-Cult is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1980 based in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) that offers help and information about cults, new religious movements and related groups and subjects.
Info-Secte est un organisme sans but lucratif de bienfaisance fondé en 1980 situé à Montréal (Québec, Canada) qui offre de l'aide et de l'information sur les sectes, les nouveaux mouvements religieux et les groupes ou sujets connexes. [legal; research]

Inform (Information Network on Religious Movements) is an independent charity, based at the London School of Economics and supported by the British government and mainstream churches. Its objective is to provide information that is as reliable and up-to-date as possible about minority religions, including new religious movements (‘NRMs’), spiritual, esoteric and/or other ‘sectarian’ or ‘cultic’ movements. [research]

MeadowHaven exists to provide a refuge for former members of high control, destructive groups to rest, heal, and grow. By understanding their experience in an abusive environment and acquiring the skills necessary for life outside the group, MeadowHaven helps former members recover their ability to be thriving contributors to society. Healing is fostered in the context of healthy community, relationships with other former members with similar experiences, and a supportive staff who understand the processes of thought reform, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), identity confusion, chronic emotional disturbance, etc

La Miviludes observe et analyse le phénomène sectaire, coordonne l’action préventive et répressive des pouvoirs publics à l’encontre des dérives sectaires, et informe le public sur les risques et les dangers auxquels il est exposé.

Esta página ha sido creada con el propósito de ofrecer una herramienta de ayuda alterna a víctimas intimidadas, perseguidas y/o amenazadas por grupos sectarios. Pretendemos ayudar a satisfacer las necesidades emocionales y a fortalecer emocionalmente con nuestro apoyo a víctimas de sectas o cultos destructivos.

reFOCUS: Recovery Former Cultists' Support 
reFOCUS is a secular, non-profit tax-exempt organization which provides a network of support and referrals for individuals recovering from the effects of a destructive cult, or other closed, high-demand group or relationship. reFOCUS list of support groups.

L’UNADFI, Union nationale des Associations de défense des Familles et de l’Individu victimes de sectes, a pour but de prévenir les agissements des groupes, mouvements et organisations à caractère sectaire, accompagner et défendre les familles et les individus victimes de ces groupes, etudier les doctrines et pratiques des mouvements à caractère sectaire, Informer et documenter le grand public. A cette fin, elle réunit, anime et coordonne les différentes ADFI (Associations de défense des Familles et de l’Individu) et les associations ayant le même objet.
Watchman Fellowship is an independent Christian research and apologetics ministry focusing on new religious movements, cults, the occult and the New Age. David Henke founded Watchman Fellowship in Columbus, Georgia in 1979. Today, Watchman Fellowship has grown to several offices in the United States. Watchman Fellowship serves the Christian and secular community as a resource for education, counseling, and non-coercive intervention and evangelism training. We accomplish these tasks through our church presentations, personal counseling, this website, and other activities. We have served almost every denomination including Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, Assemblies of God, Church of God, Lutheran, Nazarene, non-denominational, etc., as well as schools, law enforcement agencies, and civic groups.
For over 25 years, Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center has provided outpatient counseling services for victims of spiritual abuse, psychological abuse, and toxic relationships in Southern Ohio. Since 1986, survivors have come from all over the globe to find respite and care through our specialized, research-based program. We offer hope and help through a program of counseling and education. We also offer phone consultations for therapeutic professionals and families, seminars, weekend educational workshops, conference presentations, and reference materials. Our treatment plan is a multifaceted approach. Clients receive daily counseling and educational workshops from gentle, licensed professionals who understand the manipulative dynamics behind exploitative groups and relationships.