ICSA Today, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2011
Profile: Cristina Caparesi
If you ask her what one of her happiest moments working in the field of cultic studies is, Dr. Cristina Caparesi will tell you that it was when she really got to know ICSA. She first encountered the organization while she was doing master’s work; however, her awareness grew several years later. That closer encounter came at a crucial moment, when she was discouraged by a situation unfolding in her native Italy.
The situation involved a colleague who was conducting a smear campaign of another colleague, all for the sake of raising her own profile. This situation eventually led to a rift in the various groups engaged in working for the sake of cult victims. So Cristina's rediscovery of ICSA was particularly serendipitous.
She especially appreciates the collaborative efforts of the international members and holds this type of collaboration in high regard. At her center in Udine a team approach is used. “I think a staff of professional experts in different fields may collaborate to help the ex-cultist, analyzing his situation and giving him an orientation on how he might little by little come out of all his problems.”
Among the many who inspire Caparesi is Maria Montessori, the educational innovator who, unusual for her time, treated the child as a whole person. In fact, Dr. Caparesi feels that innovative thinking is extremely valuable, eschewing the conventional thinking that, as Christianne Northrup says, “has a deadening effect.” Caparesi says,
A good habit should alternate with some moments of reflection where you consider things from different points of view, looking at them with a different pair of eyeglasses. It helps to get out of the habit and find innovative solutions.
Motivated by a desire to relieve suffering, Dr. Caparesi has coordinated since 2007 two public centers that give aid to workers who are victims of “mobbing.” She has been a consultant to a volunteer association in Northern Italy, S.O.S. Abusi Psicologici, since 2004, and a member of SIPR. She is a doctor in pedagogy and family mediation. She develops professional and educational services. Her academic concentration was in pedagogy, criminology, criminalogical administration, and the sociology of alternative medicines.
Dr. Caparesi and her husband, Giorgio, have seven children. She returns to her beloved hometown, Rome, as frequently as possible. For relaxation and health, she runs; she also loves to tinker with her home and decorate, paint, and the like. Her musical taste is rather eclectic, running from Joan Baez to Alicia Keys, and from Bob Dylan to Jay-Z.
Cristina advises people in general to be careful that ideology serves to make life better, not worse. “It should serve your humanity. You shouldn't have to sacrifice your humanity.” For Cristina, humanity is the treasure.
And in an organization such as ICSA, filled with treasure, Cristina Caparesi is a jewel.
Dr. Cristina Caparesi is Italian co-correspondent for Italy.