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ICSA Conversations


ICSA Conversations is a new, free, series of discussions to be hosted in accessible locations throughout the country. We plan to include online conversations in 2018. Launched in New York City in the Fall of 2017, each conversation will consist of a brief talk followed by open discussion. ICSA Conversations are free and open to the public. However, registration is recommended because some venues have limited space. |  Register Online

Unlike closed, cultic groups, ICSA is firmly committed to freedom of thought, expression, and religion. To counter the closed thinking of cults and other “true believers,” ICSA events provide an open arena for people from diverse backgrounds with diverse points of view. Opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of ICSA’s or its partner organizations’ directors, staff, advisors, or supporters.

Upcoming ICSA Conversations

New York
May 18, 2018.  7:00 - 9:00 pm
Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew (United Methodist), 263 W. 86th St., New York City (Subway stop: #1 train at 86th St. and Broadway) (map) - Social Hall (downstairs; handicap access via elevator).

The Compliance Professional’s Toolbox: Indoctrination, Emotional Control and Psychological Manipulation

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.

Abstract. This Conversation will explore how victims of cults, domestic abuse and human trafficking are controlled and deployed by what Robert Cialdini calls "compliance professionals." Insights provided by Robert Lifton (beyond his often cited Eight Characteristics of Thought Reform) and Cialdini will be used to understand:
  • How are the victims' values and beliefs about themselves, their family and the world transformed?
  • What makes it so hard for families to retrieve the affection of a loved one once the indoctrination takes hold?
  • What can spark a return to their former self and connection to family and friends?
Register Online