About Us

Who We Are

Founded in 1979*, the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) is a global network of people concerned about psychological manipulation and abuse in cultic and other high-control environments. ICSA is tax-exempt, supports civil liberties, and is not affiliated with any religious or commercial organizations. ICSA is unique in how it brings together former group members, families, helping professionals and researchers.

Our Mission and Vision Statements


The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) provides information, education, advocacy, and support to those adversely affected by or interested in cultic and other high-control groups and relationships.  Grounded in a foundation of ethical principles, research-based knowledge, and a commitment to education, we serve as an open, professional, nuanced, and egalitarian resource for professionals, survivors, families, researchers, and the public.  We embrace diversity, dialogue, respect, freedom, and inclusivity in all our endeavors. 


ICSA is a unique global resource dedicated to developing and advancing professional standards, research, and support in the cultic studies and coercive control fields.

What We Do

ICSA fulfills its mission by applying research and professional perspectives to:

ICSA’s main event is its annual international conference, which takes place on alternating years in Europe or North America. ICSA's annual conference is the conference to attend if you are interested in cultic studies. In recent years about 125 persons have volunteered to speak at the annual conference.

With the help of volunteers, ICSA conducts a variety of regional conferences and webinars (see Events).

Your financial support enables ICSA to:

Your contributions also enable ICSA to help those in financial need by offering:

* ICSA was founded as American Family Foundation.  The name was changed in 2004 for a variety or reasons - see "name change" document.