Due to COVID-19 ICSA will not be able to hold this workshop until further notice. 

Workshop for Those Born or Raised in Cultic Groups or Relationships

 Please visit this page for updated information about future programs. 


Visit this page for updated information.


Guest House Retreat & Conference Center, 318 West Main Street, Chester, CT 06412 


Surviving and Moving On After a High-Demand Group Experience: A Workshop for Those Born or Raised in Cultic Groups or Relationships

Workshop Information

As increasing numbers of people born or raised in cultic groups or relationships have reached adulthood, the International Cultic Studies Association has developed a program that addresses their special needs. 

Meeting annually since 2006, this workshop addresses the needs of people born or raised in cultic environments through presentations by specialists and former members, including discussions in which attendees may participate according to their comfort levels. Special attention is paid to attendees’ needs for privacy, reflection, and working at their own pace.

People born or raised in cultic environments cannot look back to a “pre-cult” identity. Raised in fringe subcultures, they often have educational and other skill deficits that interfere with adjustment to mainstream culture. Having grown up under the influence of irrational belief systems, they struggle with issues of dependency, self-esteem, and social conflict, and often have to deal with the trauma of physical and/or sexual abuse. They have difficulty getting help because they tend to lack finances and be wary of other people, including helpers.

Workshop Subjects

Workshop subjects include


Mommy Did You Get to See the Dolphins? - by Eva Mackey, who was raised in a Hindu based group and writes about the impact that has on her now as she raises children of her own 

Marriage After the Cult - by Lorna Goldberg, a psychotherapist specializing in issues of cult recovery 

Moving On: Dealing With Family Members Who Have Caused Us Harm - by Lorna Goldberg and Ann Stamler 

Born or Raised in Cultic Groups - a video on ICSA’s YouTube channel with Lorna Goldberg and Leona Furnari. 

Born and Raised in a [Sect]: You are Not Alone - by Dr. Lois Kendall

ICSA's YouTube Channel

Registration Information

Registration Costs

The registration fee includes Friday night and Saturday night lodging and six meals. Fees: Single Occupancy $475; Double Occupancy $400 . If your application is accepted, we will send you instructions on registering. Limited financial aid is available and addressed on the application form. 

This workshop has been made possible by special donations and the willingness of facilitators to volunteer their time. Without the dedication of these people, registration fees would be much higher than they are. Donations cover a substantial portion of the total cost. 

How do I apply?

If you are interested in attending the workshop, please continue to visit this page for updated information. The workshop is open ONLY to those born or raised in cultic, high-demand groups. 

Can I register onsite?

PLEASE NOTE: We cannot accept onsite applications or registrations, and we cannot guarantee acceptance of applications received within 14 days of the workshop start date.

Cancellation Policy

ICSA does not make money on its workshops. Fees are slightly above what we have to pay the retreat center.

We guarantee minimums to the retreat center, and we must give a final count about two weeks before the event. After that point, we are responsible for no-shows or late cancellations. Depending upon the retreat center and the specific circumstances of the event, we may be able to give a partial refund. However, we cannot guarantee a refund less than two weeks before an event.

If you have received financial assistance and do not show up or do not cancel earlier than two weeks before the event, we will have to pay the retreat center the full amount, meaning that your "scholarship" is wasted and cannot be given to somebody else.


Thank you.

Lodging FAQ's

How can I travel from the train station or airport to Guest House?

The Old Saybrook train station, 20 minutes from Guest House, is served by Metro North Railroad.  Take the New Haven Line train that connects with the Shore Line East, from Grand Central terminal in New York to New Haven and on to Old Saybrook. Old Saybrook also is served by Amtrak from Boston and New York. (Travel from New York is much less expensive via Metro North.) The nearest airport is Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks (Hartford).  Regional airports are Kennedy and LaGuardia (New York).   In addition to Uber or Lyft, a regional car service for travel from Old Saybrook or Bradley is Accent Limousine 

What are guest rooms like, and what amenities are offered? 

Guest House was built as a country inn and offers beautiful and comfortable accommodations while maintaining the atmosphere of a retreat center. Most of its spacious bedrooms have one queen bed and one twin bed in them. Each guest bedroom has its own full bathroom. Every room has its own thermostat where you can control your own heating or air conditioning. 

In your bedroom you will find a comfortable bed, a set of towels, a clock, bar soap, and a disposable cup. Extra blankets and pillows are available in each closet. There are no televisions or telephones in guest bedrooms. Hair dryers and irons are available in the Guest Amenities Closet located to the right of the Elevator on the 1st Floor. 

Guest House is a smoke-free facility. It has a small store where you may purchase a limited number of toiletry items, bottled water, candy, snacks, writing journals, water bottles and coffee mugs. Payment may be made with check or cash. 

What should I bring? 

You should bring toiletries such as shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, and shaving items. If you plan to enjoy the outdoors, sunscreen, insect repellant, sturdy shoes, and a hat are advisable. 

What accommodations are available for disabled individuals? 

Guest House is wheelchair accessible, and the dining room and one of the meeting rooms are located on the first floor. There is elevator service to other residential floors. It also has several bathrooms with wheelchair-accessible toilets and safety handles in the bathtub.  Please let us know if you need accommodations. 

What are meals like and how are they served? 

Dinner entrees offered are meat or vegetarian. Meals are served buffet style. Guest House prides itself on the quality and creativity of its meal offerings. Tea and coffee are available all day in the dining room. 

I have special dietary needs. Can you accommodate them? 

The kitchen will make every effort to meet your needs and preferences. Please let us know at least 2 weeks in advance of any dietary needs or preferences.  A refrigerator and microwave are available in the Sun Room for guest use 24 hours a day if you need to bring special food items or medicines.

Does Guest House have wireless internet access? 

Yes, free high-speed wireless internet is available throughout the building. 

What are the grounds like? 

Guest House is situated on 17 wooded acres. Its tree-shaded, three-tiered deck overlooks a small pond.  Also on its property is a walking Labyrinth accessed from the back lawn area. Public lakes and beach are nearby. Keep in mind that this is tick country; use of insect repellant while engaging in outdoor activities is advised. 

What attractions are there in the local area? 

The nearby town of Chester is a charming New England town featuring several fine restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques. In addition to lakes, salt-water swimming and miles of hiking trails, Chester is near the town of Mystic with its world-famous aquarium and world-class boutique shopping. Gillette Castle, an early 20th-century mansion built in the style of a medieval castle, is a popular local attraction. The Front Desk staff will be able to provide more information or suggestions for travel in the surrounding area.