Help Others

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Get involved with ICSA!

The most basic way in which to help others is to financially support ICSA so that ICSA volunteers can continue their work helping, educating, and researching.

You may also volunteer your time and expertise. Without volunteers, ICSA would be a shadow of what it is today.

Over the years many hundreds of persons (former group members, families, mental health professionals, researchers, clergy, educators, lawyers, and others) have contributed by speaking at our conferences and other events and/or by writing for our journals, magazines, and newsletters. There are far too many persons to list - see People Profiles. Visit our conference archive folder to see abstracts and biographical sketches of presenters. And peruse our list of articles published in ICSA periodicals to get a sense of the number of people who have contributed through writing. The peer reviewed articles in this list have depended upon volunteer editorial review boards who evaluate article submissions,. Others have made artistic contributions.

If any of the involvement actions below interest you, contact ICSA.

Scroll down for details on specific ways in which your involvement with ICSA can help others..

Opportunities to Meet and Work with Others

ICSA Members have a number of methods by which they can network with others who share their interest in cultic groups:

  • Attend conferences, workshops, and special events.

  • By sending news to ICSA for the Member News, you can tell the membership about your activities in this area.

  • Request that we connect you to members whose work or situations particularly interest you, e.g., the author of an article, a researcher whose work you have read about in Member News. Although we do not give out e-mail addresses that are not public, we will forward a request to a person so that he/she can decide whether or not to respond. If you send such a message, make sure you give ICSA permission to forward your message to the appropriate person(s).

Research Opportunities

ICSA’s Research Committee runs a preconference workshop for researchers prior to ICSA’s annual conference. Members of the broader research network also communicate informally about research studies and plans. Students, in particular, can get advice and guidance.

ICSA also can sometimes help researchers obtain subjects for their studies.

Researchers may present their findings at ICSA conferences and submit articles to its academic journal, International Journal of Coercion, Abuse, and Manipulation (IJCAM) or its magazine, ICSA Today.

ICSA encourages book projects among its volunteers.

Opportunities to Present

  • Attend and/or present at ICSA webinars, special events, workshops, and conferences.

  • Submit articles or artistic works to ICSA events (e.g., the Phoenix Project at annual conferences) and ICSA periodicals, ICSA Today and International Journal on Coercion, Abuse, and Manipulation.

  • Obtain training from mental health professionals through ICSA's Mental Health Network.

  • Get help with research projects by becoming active in ICSA's Research Network.

  • Contribute to educational outreach projects by becoming active in ICSA's Educational Network.

  • Encourage churches, synagogues, and other religious organizations to become part of ICSA's Spiritual Safe Haven Network.

  • Support ICSA’s Facebook page.

  • ICSA's Annual Conference begins with a Call for Papers, which is usually sent out approximately 12 months before the conference.

  • If you are interested in presenting a paper, artistic work, or organizing a panel discussion in the cultic studies area, respond to the Calls that solicit such contributions. Conferences typically have 80-120 speakers, and the draft agenda is usually set at least 6 months before the conference. So do not miss the submission deadline.

  • One of the charges of ICSA committees and networks is to encourage ICSA members to present programs to professional associations and religious, educational, and civic organizations. If you have ideas for such programs, you should contact ICSA or the appropriate committee chair.

  • To develop local networks we plan to organize regional events at which ICSA members may present. If you have ideas for local events, please contact ICSA.

Opportunities to Publish

ICSA has two periodical to which members (and nonmembers) may make submissions:

ICSA Today (IT) - a magazine that has much flexibility with regard to types of submissions. In addition to articles on a variety of subjects and styles (popular, professional, column), ICSA Today publishes poetry and art. Author guidelines. Sample issue.

International Journal on Coercion, Abuse, and Manipulation (IJCAM) is an academic journal open to submissions that adhere to academic standards. Submissions are peer reviewed.

Opportunities to Train

Currently, ICSA's training opportunities are found at our conferences and workshops.

When one gets to know specific ICSA members, one may also arrange individualized training (e.g., mental health supervision) outside of ICSA.

ICSA's Research and Mental Health Networks also try to provide educational advice to current or prospective graduate students. Our graduate study page lists programs and professors interested in cultic studies.

In the future, ICSA hopes to develop online training modules.

Opportunity to Contribute Art, Literary, Music

ICSA invites former members of high-demand groups to share their personal stories and reflections - whether in narrative, poetic, or visual forms - at conferences, on the Web, and in our magazine, ICSA Today.

ICSA has found that artistic expressions related to the feelings of former cultic group members can sometimes capture or reveal subtleties that elude analytic writing.

Artistic creations, with their added emotional dimension, shed light on the reality of life in a high-demand organization and its effects on individuals. Creating art work also provides an empowering experience to the artists, giving them the chance to tell their own stories in their own ways.

Currently, ICSA offers three outlets for artistic contributions:

Noteworthy Volunteers

Diana Pletts has organized Phoenix Projects (art and literary exhibits) at ICSA conferences since 2006.

Rev. Neil Damgaard and other presenters from ICSA's recovering from spiritual abuse conference (Hartford, 2018) is the editor of ICSA's book, Wounded Faith: Understanding and Healing From Spiritual Abuse, available on Amazon.

Chris Carlson (above) and Dan Shaw (below) co-facilitated a monthly meeting in Manhattan from 2011 to 2020.

Ann Stamler has been a volunteer associate editor of ICSA Today since 2010.

Workshop Facilitators. The number of volunteer co-facilitators at ICSA workshops are too numerous to list here. Of special note, however, are Leona Furnari, Carol Giambalvo, Rosanne Henry, and Nancy Miquelon, who facilitated annual workshops in Colorado for 25 years.