Several research surveys suggest that approximately 1% of the population of developed countries have been involved in a cultic group at some time during their lives.
Other research indicates that cultic group survivors and their families often turn to mental health and religious professionals.
Some groups target the young, especially college students. One study, which surveyed a random sample of 1,000 San Francisco Bay area high school students, found that 3% reported being members of cultic groups and that 54% had had at least one contact with a cult recruiter.
A number of governmental commissions and task forces have investigated cult related issues.
Therefore, ICSA believes that it is important to develop programs to teach the public, and especially youth, about cults and psychological manipulation.
[Sources: The Results of the International Cultic Studies Association’s 2008 Questionnaire - International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). Research Survey on Spiritual Abuse. Prevalence. Governments and Cults. Report of the Task Force-Summary. Legal and Government Documents]
Chaired by Piotr T. Nowakowski, PhD, ICSA's education committee seeks to bring together people interested in teaching others about psychological manipulation and spiritual abuse, especially as they manifest in high-demand, cultic groups.
Many ICSA members talk to schools, civic groups, churches, synagogues, and other organizations. ICSA's Member Update, a special newsletter for members, notes such talks when members send us information. A special New York Educational Outreach Committee is focusing its efforts on developing teaching modules that may be used in schools, faith communities, civic organizations, and others.
Some ICSA members have organized to develop more formal and coordinated mechanisms for educating the public and youth in particular. Noteworthy in this regard is a play for young people, Salvation Road, written by Dolores Gregory.
Clergy and others interested in church and synagogue outreach have formed ICSA's Spiritual Safe Haven Network (SSHN), which works with ICSA's educational network to disseminate ICSA's educational messages.
Since 2013, ICSA has organized a preconference educational workshop in association with the annual conference. This workshop enables members of the education network to share notes and plan together.
If you would like to become involved in ICSA's educational network, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.