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Los Angeles 2018 Workshop

Recovering from Cults and Coercive Control: A Workshop for Former Members and Families
Online Registration
October 13, 2018
Los Angeles

Other Events

2019 Annual Conference July 4-6, 2019
Greater Manchester, UK

Controversies in Religious Contexts
October 26-27, 2018
Rzeszów,, Poland

Workshop for Those Born/Raised in Cults (April 27 - 29, 2018, Chester, Connecticut)

Saturday, October 13, 2018.  8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Atkins Research Global, Inc., 4929 Wilshire Blvd, suite 102, Los Angeles, CA 90010

$50/person.  $25/person for current ICSA members.  Become an ICSA Member / Renew Membership.

Refreshments will be served; Attendees are on their own for lunch.

Online Registration  - Or send a check to ICSA, PO Box 2265, Bonita Springs, FL 34133 - with a note indicating the check is for the LA workshop.


All talks are 15-20 min, leaving time for interaction.

8:00 – 8:30 Registration

8:30 – 9:15 Welcome and Introductions (Doni Whitsett)

9:15 – 9:45 Overview of Cult Dynamics (Jonibeth Whitney)

9:45 – 10:15 Neurobiology of PTSD (Doni Whitsett)

10:15 – 10:30 BREAK

10:30 – 11:00 Caught in the Vortex: One-on-one cults (Tammy Ichinotsubo-Ezzi)

11:00 – 11:30 Pathways to Healing: Rebuilding Your Life After Leaving a Cult (Daniel O'Brien)

11:30 – 12:00 When former members become parents (David Atkins)

12:00 – 1:30 LUNCH

1:30 – 2:00 Recovery issues (Rachel Bernstein)

2:00 – 4:30 Breakout groups (former members/families)

4:30 – 5:00 Wrap Up

Biographical Sketches of Speakers

David Atkins was raised from birth in an organization, escaping as a survivor in his early twenties. He is currently a business owner and political activist navigating the challenges of fatherhood.

Rachel Bernstein, MS, LMFT,
has been working with former cult members for 25 years. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Educator, who lives in Los Angeles, CA. She has been a member of ICSA for many years and has presented talks and moderated panels at ICSA conferences. Rachel previously ran the Maynard Bernstein Resource Center on cults, named after her father. She was the Clinician at the former Cult Clinic in Los Angeles, as well as the Cult Hotline and Clinic in Manhattan. She now treats former cult members and the families and friends of those in cults in her private practice. Rachel has facilitated numerous support groups for former cult members, for people who were in one-on-one cults, and for the families of those in cults. Rachel has published many articles, made media appearances, consulted on shows and movies about cults, and has been interviewed for podcasts and YouTube videos. In addition to her private practice, she consults on cases through Freedom of Mind., .818-907-0036

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

Daniel O’Brien, M.Ed,
has been an educator for more than two decades. He earned his masters at Concordia University; prior to that, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Music Education. He currently teaches psychology, physical and life sciences at the secondary level. A former member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, O’Brien joined the religion in his early twenties and remained in it for two and a half decades. As a writer and speaker, O’Brien focuses on how to heal emotionally and psychologically after leaving a cult, how to live a meaningful, authentic life and developing and implementing strategies to reach family members still in high-control, authoritarian groups.

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 Cultic Studies Journal. Dr. Whitney currently works in private practice in W. Los Angeles. Website: Email: Phone: (310) 446-8870

Doni Whitsett, PhD, LCSW
, is a Clinical Professor at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, where she teaches various courses in practice, behavior, mental health, and human sexuality. She has been working with cult-involved clients and their families for over 20 years and gives lectures to students and professionals on this topic. She has presented at national and international conferences in Madrid, Poland, Canada, and in Australia, where she helped organize two conferences in Brisbane. Her talks have included The Psychobiology of Trauma and Child Maltreatment (2005, Madrid) and Why Cults Are Harmful: A Neurobiological View of Interpersonal Trauma (2012, Montreal). Her publications include "The Psychobiology of Trauma and Child Maltreatment" (Cultic Studies Review, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2006), "A Self Psychological Approach to the Cult Phenomenon" (Journal of Social Work, 1992), "Cults and Families" (Families in Society, Vol. 84, No. 4, 2003), which she coauthored with Dr. Stephen Kent, and "Why cults are Harmful: Neurobiological Speculations on Interpersonal 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