MENTAL HEALTH OF EX-MEMBERS of ?cults?in the short and long

How is life after RSE? What negative effects are you dealing with? How has it affected loved ones? What has helped you towards healing and moving on? Share with others here.
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MENTAL HEALTH OF EX-MEMBERS of ?cults?in the short and long

Unread post by Whatchamacallit » Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:01 am

In talking about the need for a thread dedicated to the topic of short and long term cult recovery especially as it relates to the overall mental health of ex-members. As is true for most if not all of us on EMF, we have been self-educating, offering one another support (in most cases), and moving forward in our lives. Most of us have looked at the ?good? and ?bad? of our RSE experiences, or are doing so now. From communications we have had with others on here, it is the minority of us who have sought out professional therapists since leaving RSE. Of course, that is also a private matter and our view may be inaccurate, though we?re pretty sure it?s correct.

Additionally, there are multiple viewpoints about the state that people are in, upon leaving a cult. This will also be explored on this thread. We will also explore the weak links in the field of exit counseling, not to degrade that line of work at all, but to see the full picture for educational purposes. There are strengths and weaknesses in most any field of endeavor and improvement can only come from reviewing, assessing the need for change, and implementing change as needed.

It is important that we all understand the TRUTH and the FACTS. Especially when people are cited as taking positions on such matters as these, and not cited by name. The mistake in doing that is in having innocent people believed to be responsible for something they did not, in fact, say.

Here are some facts and unfolding areas of exploration on EMF:

1) There are only THEORIES among exit counselors and/or licensed therapists about whether or not an ex-cult member can/should move forward after exiting, without therapy.

2) The exit counselors, deprogrammers, therapists, do not agree on the cause of how people get into cults, nor how they fare after they leave; there are multiple viewpoints and theories (more on this later).

3) The majority of exit counselors and therapists who hold a viewpoint about the mental health of ex-members varies widely, with the majority believing that the overwhelming majority of people move forward in their lives without therapy, and do just fine (more on this later, too).

4) There are viewpoints about the degree of success from alternative forms of help that ex-members can get, and how successful they are. Message forums, small social groups of ex-members, educating themselves and supporting one another based on real experience, having been in the same groups. Other options include attending workshops on recovery or other physical support groups.

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Unread post by Whatchamacallit » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:08 am

This website page contains a very long article that I suggest everyone read. It addresses the different viewpoints held by those in the field of "cult experts", and the divergent theories that they accept as valid to explain the experience of cult victims.


"Conversion and "Brainwashing" in New Religious Movements
by Dick Anthony and Thomas Robbins
(preliminary draft; final version published in The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements, edited by James R. Lewis, Oxford University Press, New York 2004)

A substantial amount of research has transpired regarding patterns of conversion to ?alternative religions? or ?new religious movements? (NRMs).[1] A disproportionate amount of this research and related theorizing has concerned the assertion that recruitment to certain ?cults? has been essentially involuntary in the sense that powerful techniques of ?brainwashing?, ?mind control? or ?coercive persuasion? have rendered the processes of conversion and commitment psychologically coercive and non-consensual notwithstanding its formally voluntary status (Clark, 1976, 1980; Ofshe and Singer, 1986; Singer, 1991; Verdier, 1980). Although various forms of the mind-control thesis have received support from self-proclaimed ?cult experts?, most scholars who have actually done research on the topic view their results as ontradicting the thesis (Anthony, 2002; Anthony and Robbins, 1994; Barker, 1984; Bromley, 2002; Richardson, 1993).

This essay will focus primarily on the issue of involuntary conversion of the ?brainwashing thesis?. In addition to summarizing research on the topic, we will also present a theoretical critique that will identify its cultural significance."

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Unread post by Another Dimension60 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 1:45 pm

seems logical....(or is that a dirty word here? :-) and, ok Pete, intuitively accurate -- just as the different ways people deal with divorce or death or being fired from a long term job - depends on their personality, psychological patterns, emotional stability, spiritual stability, mental stability etc.... on how an individual responds/heals/moves on.... If everyone were the same, Baskin Robbins would only sell one flavor of ice cream, huh?!

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Unread post by Whatchamacallit » Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:31 am


Within the community of people in the exit counseling field, there is disagreement about the level of "harm" a "cult" does to an ex-member. The FACT is that there are models (theories) that counselors may ascribe to, but that is all there are; theories. The overwhelming majority of them agree that approximately 85% of ex-members can and do, move on with their lives WITHOUT professional therapy. The minority of people who need therapy, typically had underlying issues prior to entering the cult, and those issues are still there afterward.

Tree referenced her covert "30 year cult experts", and for the reader's interest, those people are NOT Joe Sz or Carol G. Both have said that they realize that most people move on, in their own way and live their lives just fine, without needing therapy. Yet, they both offer their services for those who want or need them.

I think that it's important for those of us who have left cults, to understand that if you do get therapy, that you understand what preconceived beliefs that the therapist has about the psychological health of those who have left a cult, because it's going to affect how they view the client as an ex-cult member.

There are 4 models, which I've already shared some info about that counselors usually agree with.

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Unread post by Whatchamacallit » Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:35 am

Polarized views among scholars

Social scientists, sociologists, religious scholars, psychologists and psychiatrists have studied the modern field of cults and new religious movements since the early 1980s. Cult debates about certain purported cults and about cults in general often become polarized with widely divergent opinions, not only among current followers and disaffected former members, but sometimes even among scholars as well.

All academics agree that some groups have become problematic and sometimes very problematic; but they disagree over the extent to which new religious movements in general cause harm.

Scholars come from a variety of fields, many of them sociologists of religion, psychologists, or researchers in religious studies. Eileen Barker, David G. Bromley, Anson Shupe, J. Gordon Melton, Benjamin Beith-Hallahmi, Benjamin Zablocki, and Philip Zimbardo have a research-orientation. Some like John Gordon Clark, Margaret Singer, Stephen A. Kent and David C. Lane are opposed to cults, and promote "cult-awareness". Others such as J. P. Moreland or Edmond C. Gruss are considered "counter-cult". Jeffrey Hadden and Douglas E. Cowan focus on the human rights of members of religious groups. Other scholars studying and researching NRMs include Irving Hexham, James R. Lewis, and James T. Richardson.

Several scholars have questioned Hadden's attitude towards NRMs and cult critics as one-sided.[21]

Scholars in the field of new religious movements confront many controversial subjects:

* the validity of the testimonies of former members (see Former members)
* the validity of the testimonies of current members
* the validity of and differences between exit-counseling and coercive deprogramming
* the validity of evidence of harm caused by cults, for example: post-cult trauma
* ethical concerns regarding new religious movements, for example: free will, freedom of speech
* opposition to cults vs. freedom of religion and religious intolerance
* the objectivity of all scholars studying new religious movements (see cult apologists)
* the acceptance or rejection of the APA taskforce on Deceptive and Indirect Techniques of Persuasion and Control report (Amitrani & di Marzio, 2000, Massimo Introvigne), see also Scholarly positions on mind-control

Janet Jacobs expresses the range of views on the membership of the perceived ACM itself, ranging from those who comment on "the value of the Cult Awareness Network, the value of exit therapy for former members of new religious movements, and alternative modes of support for family members of individuals who have joined new religions" and extending to "a more critical perspective on [a perceived] wide range of ACM activities that threaten religious freedom and individual rights."[22] Compare conspiracy-theory.

[edit] Brainwashing and mind-control

For details, see Brainwashing controversy in new religious movements and cults

Both sympathizers and critics of new religious movements have found the topic(s) of brainwashing or mind-control extremely controversial. The controversy between sympathizers and critics of new religious movements starts with discrepancies regarding the definition and concept of "brainwashing" and of "mind-control," extends to the possibility or probability of their application by cultic groups and to the state of acceptance by various scholarly communities.

[edit] Deprogramming and exit-counseling

For details, see Deprogramming, Exit counseling

Some members of the secular opposition to cults and to new religious movements have argued that if brainwashing has deprived a person of their free will, treatment to restore their free will should take place ? even if the "victim" initially opposes this.

Precedents for this exist in the treatment of certain mental illnesses: in such cases medical and legal authorities recognize the condition(s) as depriving sufferers of their ability to make appropriate decisions for themselves. But the practice of forcing treatment on a presumed victim of "brainwashing" (one definition of "deprogramming") has constantly proven controversial, and courts have frequently[citation needed] adjudged it illegal[citation needed]. Human-rights organizations (including the ACLU and Human Rights Watch) have also criticized deprogramming. While only a small fraction of the anti-cult movement has had involvement in deprogramming, several deprogrammers (including a deprogramming-pioneer, Ted Patrick) have served prison-terms for the practice, while courts have acquitted others.

The anti-cult movement in the USA has apparently[original research?] abandoned deprogramming in favor of the voluntary practice of exit counseling.[citation needed] However, this remains a subject of controversy between sympathizers and critics of new religious movements, who continue to debate deprogramming's basic assumptions and its relation to rights of freedom of religion.

[edit] Reaction of the anti-cult movement

Some sociologists and scholars of religion[who?] use the term anti-cult movement as an expression covering the whole secular opposition against cults and/or the phrase anti-cult activist to classify anyone opposing cults for secular reasons. The term, coined by David Bromley and Anton Shupe in the 1980s, has since proven useful mainly to people criticizing the opposition against cults. Often the expression "anti-cultist" occurs as well, which makes opposition to cults sound like a cult itself.

[edit] Responses of targeted groups and scholars

Supporters of Scientology have waged a campaign of their own to label former members and critics as "anti-religious" ? to the point where they publish literature and develop web-sites dedicated to attacking these disaffected persons. For example, see a web-page of 60 [ "Anti-Religious Extremists".

The Foundation against Intolerance of Religious Minorities, associated with the Adidam NRM, sees the use of terms "cult" and "cult leader" as detestable and as something to avoid at all costs. The Foundation regards such usage as the exercise of prejudice and discrimination against them in the same manner as the words "nigger" and "commie" served in the past to denigrate blacks and Communists.[23]

CESNUR?s president Massimo Introvigne, writes in his article "So many evil things: Anti-cult terrorism via the Internet",[24] that fringe and extreme anti-cult activists resort to tactics that may create a background favorable to extreme manifestations of discrimination and hate against individuals that belong to new religious movements. Critics of CESNUR, however, call Introvigne a cult-apologist who defends harmful religious groups and cults. Professor Eileen Barker points out in an interview that the controversy surrounding certain new religious movements can turn violent by a process called deviancy amplification spiral.[25]

In a paper presented at the 2000 meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Anson Shupe and Susan Darnell argued that although the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA, formerly known as AFF or American Family Foundation) has presented "slanted, stereotypical images and language that has inflamed persons to perform extreme actions," the extent to which one can classify the ICSA and other anti-cult organizations as "hate-groups" (as defined by law in some jurisdictions or by racial/ethnic criteria in sociology) remains open for debate. See also Verbal violence in hate groups.

An article on the categorization of new religious movements in US media published by The Association for the Sociology of Religion (formerly the American Catholic Sociological Society, criticizes the print media for failing to recognize social-scientific efforts in the area of new religious movements, and its tendency to use anti-cultist definitions rather than social-scientific insight, and asserts that The failure of the print media to recognize social-scientific efforts in the area of religious movement organizations (as our previous research [van Driel and Richardson, 1985] also shows) impels us to add yet another failing mark to the media report card Weiss (1985) has constructed to assess the media's reporting of the social sciences.[26]

For the full content, the link is here: ... g_scholars

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Unread post by Whatchamacallit » Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:47 am

This information isn't very long if one wants to read the entire page

An excerpt of assorted opinions:

Post-cult trauma or post-cult syndrome is term describing trauma and other problems alleged to be the consequences of one leaving a group perceived as destructive cult.

Use of the term is controversial and disputed. Some scholars in the field, including those critical of the anti-cult movement, acknowledge that abandoning a cult can be traumatic for some former members. Others assert that associated traumas are more likely caused by deprogramming, not by voluntary leavetaking; or dispute the assertion that leavetaking is traumatic.


* Paul Martin, the director of a recovery center for victims of cultic abuse wrote, in the book Recovery from Cults, that "The ex-cultist has been traumatized, deceived, conned, used and often emotionally, physically, sexually, and mentally abused while serving the group and/or the leader. Like other trauma victims (for example, of criminal acts, rape, and serious illness), former cultists often reexperience the painful memories of their group involvement."[1]

* The Report of the "Swedish Government's Commission on New Religious Movements" (1998) states that the great majority of members of new religious movements derive positive experiences from their subscription to ideas or doctrines which correspond to their personal needs, and that withdrawal from these movements is usually quite undramatic, as these persons leave feeling enriched by a predominantly positive experience. Although the report describes that there are a small number of withdrawals that require support (100 out of 50,000+ people), the report did not recommend that any special resources be established for their rehabilitation, as these cases are very rare.[2]

* Margaret Singer, one of the most notable proponents of the brainwashing theories, noted that ex-cult members that she treated had severe emotional problems as described in her article Coming Out of the Cults.21 22 75% of the ex-cult members were deprogrammed and some scholars like David G. Bromley suggest that the emotional problems of the ex-cultists that she treated were not due to their involvement in cults but that they had a post-traumatic stress disorder due to the deprogramming sessions that they underwent. On the other hand, in a controversial survey done on former cult members by anti-cult popular authors Conway and Siegelman (neither of whom had a degree in psychology), those deprogrammed (voluntarily and involuntarily) reported a third less, and in many cases only half as many post-cult effects like depression, disorientation or sleep problems than those who were not deprogrammed. Also those deprogrammed reported markedly shorter recovery times than the walk-aways. 23

* According to Hadden and Bromley, proponents of the brainwashing model, such as Singer and others, lack empirical evidence to support their theory of brainwashing. They also affirm that there is lack of empirical support for alleged consequences of having been a member of a cult or sect, and that their accounts of what happens to ex-members is contradicted by substantial empirical evidence, such as the fact that the overwhelming proportion of people who get involved in NRMs do leave, most short of two years, and the overwhelming proportion of people leave of their own volition. They refer to a survey conducted by Stuart A. Wright in 1987 about people who voluntarily left new religions, which showed that the majority of all defectors or ex-members (67%) look back on their experience as something that made them wiser, rather than feeling angry, duped or showing other ill effects.14

* Stuart A. Wright explores the distinction between the apostate narrative and the role of the apostate, asserting that the former follows a predictable pattern, in which the apostate utilizes a "captivity narrative" that emphasizes manipulation, entrapment and being victims of "sinister cult practices". These narratives provide a rationale for a "hostage-rescue" motif, in which cults are likened to POW camps and deprogramming as heroic hostage rescue efforts. He also makes a distinction between "leavetakers" and "apostates", asserting that despite the popular literature and lurid media accounts of stories of "rescued or recovering 'ex-cultists'", empirical studies of defectors from NRMs "generally indicate favorable, sympathetic or at the very least mixed responses toward their former group."[3]

* According to F. Derks and Jan van der Lans, a Dutch professor in the psychology of religion at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, there is no uniform post-cult trauma, but psychological and social problems upon resignation are not rare and their character and intensity are greatly dependent on the personal history, on the traits of the person, and on the reasons for and way of resignation. 6

* Gordon Melton, quoting studies by Lewis Carter and David G. Bromley, argues that the onus of pathology experienced by former members of new religions movements shifted from these groups to the coercive activities of the anti-cult movement. As a result of this study, the treatment (coerced or voluntary) of former members as people in need of psychological assistance largely ceased. These studies also claim that a lack of any widespread need for psychological help by former members of new religions has in itself become the strongest evidence refuting early sweeping condemnations of new religions as causes of psychological trauma.6,7,8 In a 1997 interview with Time Magazine Melton, asserts that anti-cult figures give too much credibility to the horror stories forwarded by "hostile" former cult members, which he says is "like trying to get a picture of marriage from someone who has gone through a bad divorce".

* Marc Galanter, in a study of 237 members of the Unification Church, found that they had had a significantly higher degree of neurotic distress before conversion when compared to a control group, suggesting that symptoms of psychopathology had not been caused by cult involvement; 30% of these had sought professional help for emotional problems before conversion. Galanter further states that the process of joining, being a member, and leaving a new religious group is best described not as a matter of personal pathology but of social adaptation. For example, experiences that in a secular setting might be considered pathological, within some religious settings may be considered normal. While psychological categories were created to discuss dysfunctional behavior by an individual, the behavior of group members must be seen in light of group norms, meaning that what may be considered disturbed behavior in a secular setting may be perfectly functional and normal within a group context. On the basis of his analysis, Galanter suggested that reduced significance should be given to the abnormal behavior reported among ex-members. He also suggested an alternative means of understanding otherwise inexplicable behavior in members and ex-members without considering them as suffering from psychopathology.13.

* According to a book by Barker (1989) about new religious movements for the general public, the biggest worry about possible harm concerns the relatively few dedicated followers of a new religious movement (NRM). Barker also mentions that some former members may not take new initiatives for quite a long time after disaffiliation from the NRM. This generally does not concern the many superficial, or short-lived, or peripheral supporters of a NRM. She also wrote that ex-members who feel betrayed may have a problem trusting people. Membership in a cult usually does not last forever: 90% or more of cult members ultimately leave their group 2,4

* Psychiatrists David Hofffman and Paul Hamburg of the Harvard Medical School wrote in their article Psychotherapy of Cult members about their own psychiatric treatment of former members that the re-entry of former members into ordinary life is a difficult experience and compare the situation of former members to those of former hostages, prisoners, exiles, soldiers, or those emerging from divorce or death of a spouse.19

* According to David V. Barret (who is connected with the government subsidized institute INFORM, founded by Eileen Barker and based in London), in many cases the problems do not happen while in a cult, but when leaving a cult, which can be difficult for some members and may include a lot of trauma. Reasons for this trauma may include conditioning by the religious movement, avoidance of uncertainties about life and its meaning, having had powerful religious experiences, love for the founder of the religion, emotional investment, fear of losing salvation, bonding with other members, anticipation of the realization that time, money and efforts donated to the group were a waste, and the new freedom with its corresponding responsibilities, especially for people who lived in a community. Those reasons may prevent a member from leaving even if the member realizes that some things in the NRM are wrong.

* Len Oakes, a psychologist who was himself a member of a spiritual community writes in his book Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities in which he proposes his thesis about cult leader's distinctiveness: psychopathology based on narcissistic personality, characterized by grandiosity, manipulativeness, a need for control of others and inner congruence, near-paranormal empathy, confidence, memory, autonomy, detachment, and islands of social and personal insight." He writes that [...]there is great trauma associated with leaving, even for the successful follower. He has invested his deepest hopes in the leader, and leaving is like another leaving of home. [...]There is a tremendous culture shock of reentry to the outside world, and many leavers enter therapy. Not even wealth and renewed contact with one?s family of origin can insulate against this. And most of all, that sense of purpose?the sense of being engaged in something vital and important?is gone. A new direction will appear, but it takes much longer than is comfortable.'"18

* According to the Dutch religious scholar Reender Kranenborg who specialized in new religious movements and Hinduism, in some religious groups members have all their social contacts within the group, which makes disaffection and disaffiliation very traumatic. 5

* A study by Cheryl R. Taslimi in 1991 about former members of the Shiloh Community, a fundamentalist Jesus community, indicated that the former members experienced no ill effects of past membership, had integrated well on return to the larger community, and did not differ from the general population on a symptom checklist to assess psychological pathologies.15

* The magazine India Today wrote that former followers of the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba who became disaffected after reports about sexual abuse by the guru reported that losing faith "is a devastating experience that transports them from promised moksha to a private hell. A disillusionment that has three stages: denial, grief and outrage."[4]

* Joel Kramer and Diana Alstadt wrote that disillusionment in a guru may lead to a generalized form of cynicism.[5]

* Lonnie D. Kliever, a professor of Religious Studies at the Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas writes in his article about The Reliability of Apostate Testimony About New Religious Movements that he was requested by the Church of Scientology to give his opinion about apostasy. He further writes in the article that

The clear majority of those who leave of their own free will speak positively of certain aspects of their past experience. While readily acknowledging the ways a given religious movement failed to meet their personal expectations and spiritual needs, many voluntary defectors have found ways of salvaging some redeeming values from their previous religious associations and activities. But there are some voluntary apostates from new religious movements who leave deeply embittered and harshly critical of their former religious associations and activities. Their dynamics of separation from a once-loved religious group is analogous to an embittered marital separation and divorce. [...] Long-term and heavily involved members of new religious movements who over time become disenchanted with their religion often throw all of the blame on their former religious associations and activities. [...] They magnify small flaws into huge evils. They turn personal disappointments into malicious betrayals. They even will tell incredible falsehoods to harm their former religion."20

* In an article published in 1986, Lucy DuPertuis, chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Guam who assisted James V. Downton with his book about the Divine Light Mission,[6] asserts that many of the people that left the Divine Light Mission "... drifted away not in disillusionment but in fulfillment." DuPertuis had been a member of the Divine Light Mission.16

* Jan Groeveld, founder of the Australia based Cult Awareness & Information Centre wrote that time can provide healing in the case of a post-cult trauma.

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Unread post by Whatchamacallit » Thu Apr 09, 2009 5:04 am

There are a number of THEORIES about WHY people join cults. Also, about how many people need professional help after leaving a cult. The majority of ?experts? that have made statements about this issue, agree that the minority of people need therapy after exiting a cult, and they are able to recover and move on with healthy lives afterwards. This article was published in the magazine, Psychiatric Times. As is supported by other data, the majority of counselors (exit counselors, licensed therapists) view the ex-cult member as

Who Joins Cults?

No particular psychopathology profile is associated with cult involvement, in part because cults, like many effective sales organizations, adjust their pitch to the personality and needs of their prospects. Although cult members appear to have a somewhat higher rate of psychological distress than nonmembers, the majority seems to lie within the normal range.

Why Do People Join?

The definitional ambiguity surrounding the term cult has fueled much controversy regarding why people join cults and other unorthodox groups. Three apparently conflicting models attempt to account for conversion to unorthodox groups. The deliberative model, favored by most sociologists and religious scholars, says that people join because of what they think about the group. The psychodynamic model, favored by many mental health professionals with little direct experience with cultists, says that people join because of what the group does for them-namely, fulfill unconscious psychological needs. The thought reform model, favored by many mental health professionals who have worked with large numbers of cultists, says that people join because of what the group does to them- that is, because of a systematic program of psychological manipulation that exploits, rather than fulfills, needs.

There is no way to predict in the individual case whether a particular person will be among the 90 percent who leave, how long "eventually" will take, or how distressed the person will be when he or she leaves the group.

Psychotherapist's Role

Former cult members, families of currently or formerly involved cult members, and occasionally current cult members may contact psychotherapists for assistance.

Helping former cult members. Former cult members who seek treatment tend to describe their cult experience as abusive or traumatic (Langone and Chambers). Frequently, however, their understanding of their experience is limited, if not faulty. As with many other victims of abuse, they continue to blame themselves inappropriately for distress resulting from the psychological assault of the cult. It is usually advisable, therefore, that therapists take an active stance with ex-cult members and not rely too much on reflection and paraphrase; otherwise, patients may project their failure onto the therapist's "blank screen" and leave treatment prematurely.

Clinicians should make a cult-sensitive assessment. They should not rush to a diagnosis, for much of the emotional turmoil of former cult members is a direct result of psychological assault, not long-standing personality patterns or conflicts. Clinicians should evaluate the positive as well as the negative influences of the cult environment and patients' psychosocial histories in order to identify those factors that may have rendered them susceptible to cultic manipulations and those precult psychological problems that may reemerge after the cult experience.

Psychotherapy with former cult members includes five overlapping goals:

* Help patients understand the psychological manipulation and abuse to which they were subjected;
* Help them manage the day-to-day crises (e.g., how to deal with skeptical Aunt Carol's visit) that often seem out of proportion to patients' level of intellectual functioning and psychological history (and that often cause therapists to overestimate the degree of psychopathology in ex-member patients);
* Help patients reconnect to and repair their pasts (personal relationships, goals, interests), grieve over lost time, friendships, and sense of purpose (however illusory it may have been), and compare and contrast their cult and mainstream lives;
* To the extent possible, mobilize patients' social support network and other resources (e.g., educational or vocational resources);
* Help patients integrate their cult experience into the rest of their life experience and deal with residual psychological problems. ... 68/1158306

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Unread post by joe sz » Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:20 am

That's interesting stuff, Watcha, about the ACM and mixed views about what happens to people who defect and why they join cults. It's enough to make you crazy as viewpoints are all over the social map from Dick Anthony/J Gordon Melton to Margaret Singer/Michael Langone.

"At the end of the day" as "they" say Buddha may have been right to tell his disciples "Work out your own salvation." One thing I like to stress to anyone that has experienced a group like RSE and left is that you have a golden opportunity to learn some deep lessons. Do not blow it by holding on to one theory too soon or for too long.

Exiting a cult is a "jihad" ;-)

"[greater] Jihad requires Muslims to "struggle in the way of God" or "to struggle to improve one's self and/or society"

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Unread post by Whatchamacallit » Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:43 pm


It has been very interesting researching this information. It goes to show that as it is within a number of fields, there is disagreement about viewpoints. I think it goes to show that holding onto any one theory as The Theory isn't going to do anyone much good except support a rigidity that won't apply to all people, anyway.

I have wondered how many people are really subject to "brainwashing". I'm not convinced about that as a blanket statement (theory) that applies to all people. Now, I realize at an even deeper level just how true it is that we are not all subject to being brainwashed. Despite my nauseatingly long duration in RSE, and how in some ways, I did follow the blueprint, there were many times I refused participation and that I did question, to the shock of those who heard my overt questions. I've stated before that it was due to my already developed "intuition" (whatever one wants to call it), that I was vulnerable to "wanting to know more". I didn't and I still don't, consider that I was brainwashed. I know for a fact that I'm not mentally ill. I've been a willing guinea pig for student doctors to use me, analyze me, test me...and I'm quite normal.

Of course, those who do not "know me" LOL would not know that.

I SO agree that those of us who have left RSE can all learn some golden lessons. A long time ago on EMF, I suggested that going through the exit process...looking at ONESELF, is far more difficult than any tank or field JZ can cast us into!! But in order to learn the lessons, we have to be willing to look in the mirror at what's looking back, not blaming anyone else. So does that mean we get to reach the pinnacle of Maslow's hierarchy by age 100 ? hehe

I was chatting very recently with a licensed psychologist (not as a patient, but a family member). While it is yet another opinion, as we were chatting about this information with regard to the four major theories of cult trauma, and how most who leave do just fine in their own way, and only a certain number of them accept that cult members are all brainwashed as a theory to explain the experience, not all do. The response that I got was that a good therapist will not adopt the THEORY for the theory's sake, but will adopt the theory or theories, as it applies to each individual patient's presenting symptoms, etc.

I have more of this type of info. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on one's expectations, I've been working on gathering information about this topic, and darn it, if there are only 24 hours in the day !

Had a fun Easter Egg hunt with the kids and family/friends this morning/afternoon. More family is on their way over and I'm off to sneak in some laundry while I can.

HAPPY EASTER to those who celebrate it.

Back to the family, the eggs, dinner, and all Good Things.

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