Registration Closes at 5:00 pm Eastern Time, July 10, 2020.

About this event:

Many of you have seen the recent ICSA announcement about the Two-Day Virtual Summer Conference!

This two-day event will include a variety of presentations, panels, and workshops for former members of cultic groups, families and friends, professionals, and researchers.

Please contact ICSA if you need financial assistance to attend this event.

After registering, you will receive a conference packet which will be sent to your email soon with the detailed schedule, conference related materials, and information regarding meeting codes.

Thank you so much to all the volunteers, speakers, and ICSA staff members that helped make this event possible!

Financial Aid Info.

Day 1 -- Saturday Conference Sessions, July 11, 2020 (11 am - 4 pm US Eastern Time)

Each webinar will have a live Q&A after the presentation where participants can submit questions via the chat function. There will be two tracks of talks running simultaneously, and you can choose which sessions to attend throughout the day!

11:00 AM -11:05 AM


(Steve Eichel)

11:05 AM - 11:50 AM

"The Neurobiology of Sexual Abuse: Flashbacks, Triggers and Healing"

(Doni Whitsett)

11:05 AM - 11:50 AM

"MIND FIXERS: The History of Mass Therapy With its Roots in Mind Dynamics Institute, Misuse of Zen Insights, and Hyping the Positive Thinking of New Thought Religion"

(Joseph Kelly, Joseph Szimhart, Patrick Ryan)

12:00 PM - 12:50 PM

"Coercive Control and Persuasion in Relationships and Groups– Intersections and Understandings" (Rod Dubrow-Marshall; Linda Dubrow-Marshall; Andrea Silverstone; Carrie McManus)

12:00 PM - 12:50 PM

"Unification Church (Moonie) SGAs: The Future is Unwritten"

(Lisa Kohn; Teddy Hose; Jen Kiaba)

1:00 PM - 1:50 PM

"Lived Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Former Cult Members – Counseling Implications"

(Cyndi Matthews)

1:00 PM - 1:50 PM

"How Female Former Cult Members Can Reclaim their Relationship with Knowledge and Self-Identity"

(Jacqueline Johnson)

2:00 PM - 2:50 PM

"What has awe got to do with it?" (Yuval Laor)

2:00 PM - 2:50 PM

"Raised in a Cult: Psychological and Social Adjustment of Second- and Third-Generation Former Cult Members"

(Sofia Klufas)

3:00 PM - 3:55 PM

"Nxivm: the Reinventive Path to Success?"

(Susan Raine, Stephen Kent)

3:00 PM - 3:55 PM

"What Do I Tell People? Empowered Ways that Cult Survivors and their Families Can Tell their Stories. Cults, Recovery and Podcasts."

(Rachel Bernstein)

3:55-4:00 PM


(Steve Eichel)

Session Abstracts

11:05 -11:50 / "The Neurobiology of Sexual Abuse: Flashbacks, Triggers and Healing" (Doni Whitsett)

The first part of this presentation presents a neurobiological understanding of flashbacks and triggers resulting from sexual abuse. The second part of the presentation offers suggestions for dealing with triggers, learning to manage them, and perhaps using them to facilitate healing.

11:05 -11:50 / "MIND FIXERS: The History of Mass Therapy With its Roots in Mind Dynamics Institute, Misuse of Zen Insights, and Hyping the Positive Thinking of New Thought Religion." (Joseph Kelly, Joseph Szimhart, Patrick Ryan)

The title for this presentation, “MIND FIXERS: The History of Mass Therapy With its Roots in Mind Dynamics Institute, Misuse of Zen Insights, and Hyping the Positive Thinking of New Thought Religion,” covers a vast arena for specialized workshops that range from one day to several weeks. Borrowing techniques from encounter group formats, military boot camp training, and the mindfulness movements these specialized groups operate as unregulated mass therapy businesses and are not licensed as mental health professions. The stated purpose of these “large group awareness trainings” is to increase self-realization and success in life. The outcomes, however, are problematic with some critics claiming that a form of “brainwashing” is taking place that emphasizes promotion of the workshops while any real-life gains are highly questionable. Some participants report psychological and social harm. The speakers will guide a discussion to address the criticisms.

12:00 - 12:50 / "Coercive Control and Persuasion in Relationships and Groups– Intersections and Understandings" (Rod Dubrow-Marshall; Linda Dubrow-Marshall)

This panel will examine contemporary understandings of coercive control in relationships and groups with practitioners from both sides of the Atlantic. The way in which the term ‘coercive control’ is now being used and applied in different jurisdictions will be discussed and how changes to the law are reflecting advances in our understanding of how coercive control works psychologically across contexts. It will also be explored how a heightened dialogue between practitioners and researchers across the fields of intimate partner violence and cults/sects and extremist groups is leading to enhanced appreciation of commonalities in the process of psychological indoctrination. Positive implications for prevention, exit and recovery and rehabilitation across these areas will also be discussed along with recommendations for policy makers.

12:00 - 12:50 PM / "Unification Church (Moonie) SGAs: The Future is Unwritten" (Lisa Kohn; Teddy Hose; Jen Kiaba)

A panel of Unification Church (Moonie) SGAs (Jen Kiaba, Teddy Hose, and Lisa Kohn) will discuss their different experiences of living in, leaving, and learning to thrive after being part of the Unification Church (the “Moonies”). The questions and discussions will focus on how the panelists experienced being part of the Unification Church, how they were able to leave the Church, how they still feel affected by their childhood in the Church, and how they have healed since leaving the Church.

1:00 - 1:50 PM / "Lived Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Former Cult Members – Counseling Implications" (Cyndi Matthews; Stevie Powers)

Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) individuals growing up in religious cults can face opposition to their sexual orientation. They may struggle with depression, anxiety, drug/alcohol abuse, self-mutilation, and suicidal ideation. Research by presenters will describe lived experiences of LGB individuals who grew up in religious cults. Best practices based on this research, APA & ACA Codes of Ethics, along with ASERVIC and ALGBTIC competencies will be presented.

1:00 - 1:50 PM / "How Female Former Cult Members Can Reclaim their Relationship with Knowledge and Self-Identity" (Jacqueline Johnson)

High-control and coercive groups work at stealing and silencing the thoughts and knowledge base, and subsequently, the voices, of its members. For females, this dynamic becomes more problematic when those female members are, or have been, part of a misogynous group that incorporates numerous ways of subjugating women. This presentation will outline the research of Belenky et al (1986), which examines the development of women’s self, voice, and mind. Belenky and her colleagues describe the cognitive and intellectual development in women in terms of five knowledge positions (ranging from silence to construction) through which women develop their identity. This presentation will examine ways that high-control, misogynous groups subjugate women, how this affects the epistemology of female cult members, her resulting relationship to knowledge, and the possible impairments to her ability to construct her own knowledge, develop her own identity, and find her own voice. Implications for therapists working with women are discussed in terms of helping former female cult members begin to develop their identity, find their voice, and construct their own knowledge.

2:00 - 2:50 PM / "Raised in a Cult: Psychological and Social Adjustment of Second- and Third-Generation Former Cult Members" (Sofia Klufas)

Former cult members often find themselves struggling to re-integrate into mainstream society and typically describe long periods of recovery post-exit. The current study aimed to qualitatively explore the experiences of individuals raised in cults (1) during, (2) in the process of leaving, and (3) post-cult involvement in order to understand how cultic influences might impact their ability to socially and psychologically adjust to life outside of the cult upon defection. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 8 participants from across North America and Europe who self-identify as second- and/or third-generation former cult members. Responses were qualitatively analyzed for totalistic patterns of influence which may dissuade members from leaving the group or simply deviating from its norms. Participants reported a wide range of emotional responses and psychological difficulties which they perceived to be the result of their cultic upbringing including but not limited to hyper-arousal, anxiety, doctrine-related fears, feelings of isolation, depression, anger/outbursts and suicidal tendencies. Identity reconstruction and social adjustment challenges such as relationship loss due to shunning, difficulty connecting with others, language differences were also reported by participants. Raised-in cult members are a distinct population from converted cult members as they have been exposed to cultic influence throughout the course of their developmental period. While the experiences of these two groups are comparable in many ways, previous research has demonstrated that raised-in cult members are at higher risk for social and psychological difficulties (Furnari, 2005).

2:00 - 2:50 PM / "What does awe have to do with it?" (Yuval Laor)

What is awe? What role does awe play in cult recruitment? And what brings about awe experiences? The talk will discuss these and other topics related to this strange emotion and the effects it can have on us.

3:00 - 3:50 PM / "Nxivm: the Reinventive Path to Success?"(Susan Raine, Stephen Kent)

In this session I discuss the multi-level cultic organization, NXIVM. I propose that NXIVM operated as, what Susie Scott (2011) calls, a reinventive institution—that is, an organization that people enter into voluntarily, because they promise to help people transform or reinvent themselves through personal and professional growth, self-actualization, self-improvement, and success. The group’s founder and leader, Keith Raniere offered members these outcomes via the Stripe Path—a hierarchal system of courses that were supposed to empower people as they worked towards personal growth and world peace. Scott stresses, however, that reinventive institutions incorporate structures of power and are far from benign. This dynamic is evident in NXIVM, which offered to empower its members but ultimately ended up disempowering many of them—especially its most committed female followers. I follow up this discussion by addressing how Raniere had groomed many of these most dedicated women for sexual abuse and exploitation. Grant Sinnamon’s (2017) research on adult grooming and Janja Lalich’s (1997) work on the psychosexual exploitation of women in cults provide extremely useful insights for understanding Raniere’s behaviour.

3:00 - 3:50 PM / "What Do I Tell People? Empowered Ways that Cult Survivors and their Families Can Tell their Stories. Cults, Recovery and Podcasts." (Rachel Bernstein)

Nearly all my clients and podcast guests have experienced fear when thinking about telling people about their cult-related experiences. Many live in isolation because of this, and at times it's for good reason. When they've tried to share their stories, they've been responded to with insulting judgment and condescension, with confusion and disbelief, or with inappropriately voyouristic interest and invasive follow-up questions. Learn how to take control of that conversation and present your story in an educational and empowered way so you don't have to live in fear of these moments and remain silent and alone.

Day 2 -- Sunday Workshops, July 12, 2020

Interactive workshops where participants have the option to turn their video and audio on to ask questions.

Workshops for former members, researchers, family members, and mental health professionals

Workshops Details

Research (11 am - 1 pm):

  • The Research Workshop will be facilitated by Rod Dubrow-Marshall, Chair of the ICSA Research Network and Co-Editor of the International Journal of Coercion, Abuse and Manipulation (IJCAM). He will speak initially with a short overview about research on cults and coercive control and he will be followed by introductory talks by Cyndi Matthews, Managing Editor of IJCAM, Marie-Andrée Pelland, Co-Editor of IJCAM and Omar Saldaña from the University of Barcelona, who will each speak about research and developments in their respective areas.

  • The Research Workshop will focus on key areas of research currently taking place on cults and extremist groups and related areas of coercive control including intimate partner violence, trafficking and gangs. Researchers will be able to discuss the challenges they may be facing or may have faced in proposing new research projects in these areas, including getting institutional approval (IRB or ethics committee), finding participants, clarifying aspects of research design and getting support from faculty/professors. Experienced researchers will be on hand to answer questions and all those present will be able to share their ideas on current and future research including possibilities for collaboration. Plans and opportunities for the ICSA Research Network will also be discussed.

Former Member (1 - 4 pm):

  • (William Goldberg, Gillie Jenkinson)

  • This workshop will include an Overview of Recovery, touching on such subjects as attachment, boundaries, and identity. There will also be an opportunity to offer reflections on sessions people have attended during the first day of the conference. The workshop is intended for both first and second/multi-generation former members.

Family (2 - 4 pm):

  • "Building Bridges; Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships: A Workshop for Families" (Rachel Bernstein, MSed, LMFT, Joseph Kelly, Patrick Ryan)

  • Topics discussed include assessing a family’s unique situation; understanding why people join and leave groups; considering the nature of psychological manipulation and abuse; being accurate, objective, and up-to-date; looking at ethical issues; learning how to assess your situation; developing problem-solving skills; formulating a helping strategy; learning how to communicate more effectively with your loved one; learning new ways of coping.

Mental Health Workshop (11 am - 2 pm):

Working with First-Generation (Linda-Dubrow Marshall)

  • This workshop will focus on how mental health professionals can best address working with first-generation former members. Richard Turner will discuss his perspective about mental health issues and how to best help first-generation former members to recover, including pathways and barriers to recovery, based on both personal and professional experience. Dr. Linda Dubrow-Marshall will then discuss general principles for how mental health professionals can best facilitate the recovery of first-generation former members based on an appreciation of individual differences amongst common sequelae of the experience of being in an abusive group and the need for flexibility in helping people to recover.

Working with Born-or -Raised (Lorna Goldberg, Jacqueline Johnson)

  • This workshop will provide mental health professionals with a basic knowledge of some typical SGA/MGA reactions to leaving a cult and address how the therapist might intervene. Character issues developed in the cult will be described, such as the incorporation of the cult’s pressure to look “good” and perform to perfection. Along with this, the development of a harsh conscience will be examined. Additionally, it will be considered that, as a result of achildhood filled with trauma from abuse and/or neglect, a large number of clients display the effects of complex post-traumatic stress disorder. The therapist’s role is to help clients move towards self-awareness by gaining an understanding of how their cult childhood impacts on present thoughts and behavior. Symptoms of complex post-traumatic stress (e.g. emotional dysregulation and dissociation) will be addressed and clients will be helped by examining precipitating events along looking at alternative possibilities and grounding techniques. As a result of this examination, the therapist helps clients access inner beliefs and emotions. Therefore, clients begin to move from expression of emotion somatically or through action (sometimes self-destructive) to expression of emotion through language. Clients’ assumptions that stem from cult life also will be explored as part of the therapy process; and, thus, clients gain an understanding of whether or not these assumptions have more to do with the past than the present. At times, these assumptions are directed at the therapist and the therapist will be open in her examination of whether or not clients’ reactions were elicited by her behavior. The goal is to allow clients to gain more control over present life and gain access to a larger repertoire of reactions. Post-cult family relationships also will be addressed. Case examples will be provided throughout the workshop.

Time will be allotted for questions and the discussion of case material.

1 P.M. – 2 P.M.

Clinical Case Discussion

There will be an opportunity during the last hour for participants to ask questions of the presenters about people from their own caseloads and to have a general discussion about best practice in clinical work with former members.

Speaker Bio's

Steve K. D. Eichel, PhD, ABPP, ICSA President, is Past-President of the American Academy of Counseling Psychology and the Greater Philadelphia Society of Clinical Hypnosis. He is a licensed and Board-certified counseling psychologist whose involvement in cultic studies began with a participant-observation study of Unification Church training in their Eastern seminary (in Barrytown, NY) in the spring of 1975. His doctoral dissertation to date remains the only intensive, quantified observation of a deprogramming. He was honored with AFF's 1990 John G. Clark Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Cultic Studies for this study, which was published as a special issue of the Cultic Studies Journal and has been translated into several foreign languages. In 1983, along with Dr. Linda Dubrow-Marshall and clinical social worker Roberta Eisenberg, Dr. Eichel founded the Re-Entry Therapy, Information & Referral Network (RETIRN), one of the field's oldest continuing private providers of psychological services to families and individuals harmed by cultic practices. RETIRN currently has offices in Newark, DE, Lansdowne, PA and Preston, England (U.K.). In addition to his psychology practice and his involvement with ICSA, Dr. Eichel is active in a range of professional associations. He has co-authored several articles and book reviews on cult-related topics for the CSJ/CSR. In 2016 he received ICSA's Herbert L. Rosedale Award at the Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas.

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 inter-personal 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. California, Southern (Los Angeles)

Joseph F. Kelly, a graduate of Temple University, has been a thought reform consultant since 1988. He spent 14 years in two different eastern meditation groups. He has lectured extensively on cult-related topics, and is a co-author of Ethical Standards for Thought Reform Consultants, published in ICSA’s Cultic Studies Journal. For many years, Mr. Kelly has also co-facilitated ICSA pre-conference workshops for ex-members. Recently, he helped to initiate ICSA’s monthly meeting in Philadelphia. Websites:;; Phone: (267) 679-5493. Pennsylvania

Joseph Szimhart began research into cultic influence in 1980, after ending his two-year devotion to a New Age sect. He began to work professionally as an intervention specialist and exit counselor in 1986 on an international scale. From 1985 through 1992, he was chairman of an interdenominational, cult information organization in New Mexico. Since 1998 he has worked in the crisis department of a psychiatric emergency hospital in Pennsylvania. He continues to assist families with interventions and former members in recovery, including consultations via phone and Internet. He maintains a cult informational website, lectures, consults for the media, and has published articles, book reviews, and papers related to the cult problem. His first novel, Mushroom Satori: The Cult Diary, was released in 2013 through Aperture Press. He has an art studio at Goggleworks Center for the Arts in Reading, PA. In 2016 he received an ICSA Lifetime Achievement Award at the Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. Website: Email: Phone: (484) 529-1936. Pennsylvania

Patrick Ryan is a graduate of Maharishi International University. He has been a cult intervention specialist (exit counseling, mediation, religious conflict resolution, thought reform consulting) since 1984. Mr. Ryan is the co-founder of TM-EX, the organization of ex-members of Transcendental Meditation. He established ICSA's online resource (1995-2013), and has presented 50 programs about hypnosis, inner-experience, trance-induction techniques, communicating with cult members, conversion, cult intervention, exit counseling, intervention assessment, mediation, religious conflict resolution, thought reform consultation, eastern groups, transcendental meditation and workshops for educators, families, former members and mental health professionals at ICSA workshops/conferences. Mr. Ryan received the AFF Achievement Award (1997) from AFF, the Leo J. Ryan "Distinguished Service Award" (1999) from the Leo J. Ryan Foundation, and a Lifetime Achievement Award (2011) from ICSA. Websites:;; Email: Phone: (215) 467-4939. Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

Rod Dubrow-Marshall, PhD, MBPsS, is Professor of Psychology and Visiting Fellow, Criminal Justice Hub, University of Salford, United Kingdom. Rod is a Social Psychologist who has been researching the psychology and aetiology of undue influence and cults or extremist groups for over twenty years, and he has developed the Totalistic Identity Theory as an evidence-based theory to explain and tackle ideological extremism and ideologically driven violence. He is also an active researcher in a variety of other areas including organizational behaviour and healthiness, the social psychology of identity and prejudice, and public policy and education. A graduate member of the British Psychological Society, Rod is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Cultic Studies Association and is also Chair of the ICSA Research Committee and Network and he is co-Editor of the International Journal of Cultic Studies (since its inception in 2010). In 2006, he was awarded The Herbert L. Rosedale Award, jointly with Dr. Paul Martin, for their psychological research on undue influence. Rod co-founded the Re-Entry Therapy Information and Referral Network (RETIRN) UK in 2004 with Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall, where he serves as a consultant in helping individuals and families who have been adversely affected by destructive or damaging cults and other extremist and high demand/manipulative groups or relationships. He operates out of offices in Pontypridd, Wales and Buxton, Derbyshire, UK (please also see Rod has also served on more than a dozen Governing Boards of Schools, Colleges and Universities over the last two decades and he is currently a governor and director of the Akaal Primary School in Derby and is also a longstanding member of the Board of the homelessness charity the Wallich (headquartered in Cardiff, Wales). In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Buxton International Festival and is Chair of the Board of the Preston Guild Link charity (in Lancashire, UK) which is fundraising for the next Preston Guild cultural festival in 2032! Rod is also an experienced senior leader and manager in higher education having served for 15 years in the roles of Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Derby, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and as Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of South Wales and Dean of Applied Social Sciences and Humanities at Buckinghamshire New University. United Kingdom

Linda Dubrow-Marshall, PhD, Reg. MBACP (Accred.), is Chair of the Mental Health Network for ICSA, is Research Co-editor of ICSA Today, and a member of the Research Network for ICSA.She is a co-founder of RETIRN (please also see, a private practice that provides services to individuals and families who have been affected by cultic influence and abusive relationships. Linda has developed a new MSc Psychology of Coercive Control program at the University of Salford and is leading the program with Dr. Rod Dubrow-Marshall. She is also the Programme Leader of the MSc Applied Psychology (Therapies) Program at the University of Salford. She is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, United Kingdom, as both a clinical and a counselling psychologist, and she is a registered counsellor/psychotherapist with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. She is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, USA, and a registered psychologist with the National Register of Health Service Psychologists, USA. She attends as co-representative of RETIRN/UK as correspondent to the General Assembly of FECRIS (European Federation of Centres of Research and Education on Sects). Dr. Dubrow-Marshall is a Consultant in Clinical Hypnosis (advanced certification) with the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and is certified by the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Institute. She is certified as a Master Addiction Counselor with the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals. Website: Email: Phone: +44 7973 310599/ United Kingdom Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

Andrea Silverstone is the Executive Director of Sagesse Domestic Violence Prevention Society, an organization committed to breaking the cycle of violence for individuals, organizations and communities. She is a highly respected community partner and a collaborative leader. Andrea is a Registered Social Worker and Mediator with a background in Judaic/Talmudic Law, having attended Lindenbaum College in Jerusalem and York University in Toronto. Beginning her career in Calgary at the Awo Taan Native Women’s Shelter, Andrea later transitioned into her role as the Executive Director of Sagesse. Andrea’s achievements include the 2013 Association of Jewish Family and Child Agencies Goodman Award in recognition of her development and implementation of innovative programming that addresses bullying, violence and domestic abuse in the Jewish community, the 2015 Alberta Inspiration Award for leadership in Family Violence Prevention and the 2015 RESOLVE Excellence in Community Service and Research Award in recognition of her distinguished contribution to creating homes and communities safe from interpersonal violence and abuse. Andrea’s commitment and engagement in non-profit organizations and committees reflects her strong belief in the value of a collaborative, grassroots community approach to ending domestic violence and abuse. She believes that this is ultimately the most effective way to provide healing and hope to all those affected by this issue. In partnering with various service providers, committees, agencies, organizations and individual community members, Andrea works to raise public awareness and create a movement focused on supporting healthy relationships and preventing domestic violence and abuse.

Carrie McManus is the Director of Programs at Sagesse Domestic Violence Prevention Society and a respected member of the domestic violence sector in Alberta. Carrie holds a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University in Halifax and a Diploma of Social Work from Mount Royal University in Calgary. Carrie has worked for over 15 years in strategic and program development, small business management, facilitation and education. Beginning her social work career with Mount Royal University’s Stepping Up program, a peer led domestic violence program in Calgary, Carrie then transition into her role as Director of Programs with Sagesse, an agency focused on empowering individuals, organizations and communities to break the cycle of domestic violence. Carrie has a passion for innovation and exploration and has focused her career on expanding Sagesse programming to meet the diverse needs of those impacted by domestic violence. Supported by Carrie’s leadership, Sagesse programs have grown to support over 50 communities across Alberta addressing the unique needs of rural and remote survivors of domestic violence. Carrie has supported the development of programming to address the capacity of friends and family to positively recognize and respond to individuals experiencing domestic violence in their communities. Carrie has also supported the development of an agency wide evaluation framework and is committed to measuring the individual, organizational and community impact of all Sagesse programs and activities.

Lisa Kohn is a Unification Church Second Gen and the author of to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence, a memoir that chronicles her childhood – growing up in the East Village of New York City in the 1970s and in the Unification Church (the Moonies), as well as The Power of Thoughtful Leadership. She is a writer, teacher, and public speaker who owns a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm ( and who works to bring to others the tools, mind-shifts, and practices she’s found that have helped her heal, as well as the hope and forgiveness she’s been blessed to let into her life. You can read more at her website,, where you can also download the first chapter of her book, watch and read Lisa’s interviews in media such as Megyn Kelly Today, Daily Mail, Marie Claire, and hear her podcast interviews for IndoctrNation, Generation Cult, and Lionrock.

Teddy Hose is an artist and writer living in San Francisco, born into the Unification Church or “Moonies”. Teddy grew up on church properties mostly in Tarrytown, New York near the Moon family, with his parents being early members earning respected positions. When he was 13, the church sent his family to Seattle, where they eventually grew disenchanted and walked away from it. Teddy has since become somewhat of a public figure on cults, using his personal story and research to inform his writing and interviews. Some of these works include a piece for The Huffington Post, a comic for The Nib, and interviews for VICE and UPROXX. Teddy also appears in podcast episodes for IndoctrNation, Generation Cult, and the Talk Beliefs YouTube channel. Most notable are his docuseries appearances in A&E’s Cults and Extreme Belief, and Vox’s Explained on Netflix. Links to these and more on his website:

Jen Kiaba is an artist and educator who was born into the Unification Church and made her way out in her early twenties. She is now an award winning photographer who believes that we experience healing and liberation when we access our inner voice and share our stories, paving the way for others to find their own paths to freedom. She writes and speaks publicly to provide encouragement and tools to fellow artistic souls who are seeking to locate and liberate their inner voice

Cyndi Matthews, PhD, LPC-S, NCC is an experienced Counseling Clinician (15 yrs) working in Private Practice and as an Assistant Professor in the Counseling program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She has earned a PhD in Counseling and Counselor Education, a Masters in Counseling, and a Master's in Business - Organizational Behavior. Her passion for social justice and advocacy is exemplified in her counseling practice and current research, both of which focus on effective counseling interventions for marginalized populations, such as cult survivors, domestic violence survivors, and LGBTQ+ populations. Based on her scholarship and clinical expertise she has researched and developed theory for counseling with former second and multiple generation adult cult recovery survivors. Website: Email: Phone: (469) 316-7290. Louisiana; Texas

Jacqueline Johnson, DSW, LCSW-R, is a licensed clinical social worker with a certification in forensic social work. She obtained her master’s degree in social work from Columbia University and her doctoral degree in social work from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Johnson is a SGA survivor, having spent 43 years in the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Dr. Johnson has spent most of her career working in New York State juvenile justice, focusing on trauma-informed care. She is a presenter for the National Organization of Forensic Social Workers. In her private practice, Dr. Johnson focuses on assisting indoctrinated individuals find freedom from cultic and other high-demand groups and process the trauma they experienced while being involved in systems of control or coercive groups and relationships. She manages the Facebook social media page, Outside the Ark, which shares educational information about cult dynamics and coercive control. Her areas of research interest include the epistemology of women and how cultic, coercive, and misogynistic experiences influence the cognitive development of women. Dr. Johnson can be reached at You can learn more about Dr. Johnson at her website,

Sofia Anna Klufas is a Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour B.A. Honours graduate with a Mental Health Specialization from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. She was born and raised a Jehovah’s Witness, and in her fourth year of study, she conducted an independent thesis project supervised by Dr Mat Savelli of McMaster’s Department of Health, Society and Aging. Raised in a Cult: Psychological and Social Adjustment of Second- and Third-Generation Former Cult Members was a qualitative case study which evaluates the experiences of 8 second- and third-generation former cult members across the chronological continuum of their lives (during, in the process of leaving, and after group-involvement). She is currently employed by Native Child Family Services of Toronto, an indigenous child welfare agency and has experience across their multiple sites including the Native Women’s Transitional Houses, the Native Youth Resource Centre and the Mdewgaan Healing Lodge. The Mdewgaan Lodge where she is currently stationed is a holistic and culturally-informed residential treatment program for indigenous women struggling with addiction, intergenerational trauma and mood disorders. She also has experience working with children and young adults with ASD and volunteers for a crisis helpline in the Greater Toronto Area in her spare time.

Yuval Laor received his PhD in culture studies from Tel Aviv University, where he was supervised by leading evolutionary biologist Eva Jablonka. His dissertation explored the evolution of religious psychology, with an emphasis on evolutionary accounts of the human capacity for fervor and sudden conversion, and his subsequent, highly original work has focused on the nature of fervor. Yuval has published articles in the Journals of Religion Brain and Behavior and History and Theory. He is currently working on a book entitled The Religious Ape: What cults and fervor can teach us about the evolution of religion.

Susan Raine (PhD, University of Alberta) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada. She teaches courses on sociology of religion; deviance, conformity, and social control; and the paranormal and conspiracy theories.She has published articles on a variety of alternative religious movements including the Children of God, Heaven’s Gate, and Scientology. In 2017 her co-edited book (with Stephen A. Kent), Scientology in Popular Culture: Issues and Struggles for Legitimacy was published. Her more recent research has addressed the grooming of children for sexual abuse in religious settings, whilst her forthcoming work examines the multi-level marketing cult, NXIVM.

STEPHEN A. KENT (PhD—McMaster University) is a Sociology Professor and an Adjunct Professor in the Interdisciplinary Program of Religious Studies at the University of Alberta. He teaches courses, and publishes on, alternative and sectarian religions. His articles have appeared in such diverse journals as the Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion, Utah Law Review, Sociological Analysis, Mental Health, Religion, & Culture, Philosophy East and West, Aggression and Violent Behavior, and The International Journal of Cultic Studies. His 2001 book, From Slogans to Mantras, was selected by Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, as an “Outstanding Academic Title for 2002

Rachel Bernstein, MSEd, LMFT, has been working with former cult members for 29 years. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Educator, who lives in Los Angeles, CA. Rachel is the host of her weekly podcast, "IndoctriNation". 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 is on the Advisory Board of the Open Minds Foundation and the International Cultic Studies Association. She is a Clinical Fellow with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Website: Email: Phone:818-907-0036. California, Southern

Marie-Andrée Pelland, PhD, full professor and director of the sociology and criminology Department, Université de Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. She is also Vice-president of Info-Cult She received her doctorate from the School of Criminology of the Université de Montréal. Her dissertation is entitled, Allegations of Illegal Conduct: Effect on Social Reality of a Community of Canadian Polygamous Mormons.

Omar Saldaña, PhD., is a researcher specialized in the study and measurement of psychological abuse applied within groups. He is an associated professor at the Department of Social Psychology and Quantitative Psychology at the University of Barcelona, Spain. He is a member of the Invictus Research Group, which is focused on the study of psychological abuse in different settings. He is also a member of the Spanish Scientific Society of Social Psychology (SCEPS) and of the Task Force on Psychological Manipulation Processes on Cults and Other Social Organizations at the Official School of Psychologists of Catalonia (COPC).

William Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA, is a clinical social worker and psychoanalyst with over forty years’ experience working with former cult members. He and his wife, Lorna, co-lead a support group for former cult members, which has been meeting for over forty years. It is the oldest group of its kind in the world. In 2007, Bill retired from the Rockland County, NY Department of Mental Health, where he directed several programs and clinics. He is presently an adjunct professor in the social work and social science departments of Dominican College and he is on the faculty of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies. Bill has published numerous articles in books and professional journals, and he is one of the editors of a soon to be published book, sponsored by ICSA, which will focus on clinical work with former cult members. Bill is a frequent speaker at ICSA conferences, and he and Lorna have been the recipients of the Authentic CAN Hall of Fame Award and the Leo J. Ryan Award. In 2010, Bill was the recipient of ICSA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also co-editor of ICSA's Cult Recovery: A Clinician's Guide to Working With Former Members and Their Families, which is due to be published in 2017. (201) 894-8515 Website: New Jersey (Englewood) Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

Gillie Jenkinson, PhD, is an accredited counsellor and psychotherapist in UK and is experienced in delivering counselling face-to-face as well as on the telephone and Skype. She served two internships at Wellspring Retreat Center, Ohio, and has many years’ experience working with trauma, including survivors of spiritual and cult abuse, and sexual abuse. She has developed an approach to counselling former members - "Time Away for Post-Cult Counselling." Gillie was a member of an abusive Bible-based cult in the 1970’s. She is a regular presenter at conferences and a published author, including a co-authoring a chapter entitled "Pathological Spirituality" for a medical text book entitled Spirituality and Psychiatry, published by RCPsych Publications in UK - 2009. She is the Mental Health Editor for ICSA Today. Gillie’s doctoral research dissertation is entitled: ‘Freeing the authentic-self: Phases of Recovery and Growth from an Abusive Cult Experience’. Website: Email: Phone: +44 1433 639032. United Kingdom

Lorna Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA, Board member and past president of ICSA, is a psychoanalyst in private practice and Dean of Faculty at the Institute of Psychoanalytic Studies. In 1976, she and her husband, William Goldberg, began facilitating a support group for former cult members that continues to meet on a monthly basis in their home in Englewood, New Jersey. In1989, Lorna and Bill received the Hall of Fame Award from the authentic Cult Awareness Network and, in 1999; they received the Leo J. Ryan Award from the Leo J. Ryan Foundation. In 2009, she received the Margaret T. Singer Award from ICSA. Lorna joined ICSA’s Board of Directors in November 2003. Along with Rosanne Henry, she co-chaired ICSA’s Mental Health Committee until her term as President of ICSA from 2008 to 2012. Lorna has published numerous articles about her therapeutic work with former cult members in professional journals, most recently: Goldberg, L. (2012). Influence of a Charismatic Antisocial Cult Leader: Psychotherapy with an Ex-Cultist Prosecuted for Criminal Behavior. International Journal of Cultic Studies, Vol. 2, 15-24. Goldberg, L. (2011). Diana, Leaving the Cult: Play Therapy in Childhood and Talk Therapy in Adolescence. International Journal of Cultic Studies, (Vol.2), 33-43. She also wrote a chapter on guidelines for therapists in the book, Recovery from Cults, edited by Michael Langone. Lorna has co-written with Bill Goldberg, a chapter on psychotherapy with targeted parents in the book, Working with Alienated Children and Families (2012), edited by Amy J.L. Baker & S. Richard Sauber. She is also co-editor of ICSA's Cult Recovery: A Clinician's Guide to Working With Former Members and Their Families, which is due to be published in 2017. Website: Email: Phone: (201) 894-8515. New Jersey (Englewood) Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible

Richard Turner studied an MSc in the Psychology of Coercive Control at the University of Salford and is currently teaching counselling at York College, UK. He is an ex-cult member and escaped from a charismatic Pentecostal cult group in 2016 and has since been supporting the media with investigations into the group. In addition to this, he runs a counselling and training service to raise awareness of cults and help people recover from abuse ( He also has three years of experience as a caseworker, working for a government funded charity as part of the National Referral Mechanism with victims of human trafficking.