Committee Members: NY Educational Outreach

Ashley Allen, MSW, LSW, completed her Master’s in Social Work at Monmouth University where she was also selected to coordinate and present the School of Social Work’s Annual Clinical Lecture Series. Her lecture series focused on children born and/or raised in cultic groups with a special focus on issues of human rights. She has presented on cults, with a particular focus on second-generation adults (SGAs) at various mental-health agencies, universities, and at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) annual conference in New Jersey. Ms. Allen gained a breadth of experience volunteering at the Cult Clinic of JBFCS in NYC for three years and has gone on to work as a therapist with former cult members in community mental health. Ashley is currently serving on ICSA’s NY Educational Outreach Committee. Email: Phone: 941-465-8696

Elizabeth Blackwell was born into a Christian family who became heavily involved in a Bible-based doomsday cult. She was not permitted to obtain a formal education, nor was she allowed contact with anyone outside of the group. In 2009, she sought help in coming to terms with her cult experience and became aware of the many unique challenges and strengths inherent to former members, particularly those who were raised in high-demand groups. She has since been an active member of the International Cultic Studies Association, presently through service on the NYC Educational Outreach Initiative. She also serves on the board of reFOCUS, a cult survivor support network. In 2017 Ms. Blackwell. graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Psychology from Columbia University and is currently preparing her senior honors thesis on the influence of primary caregivers on adult threat learning for publication.

Russell H. Bradshaw, EdD [A.B. (Wesleyan University), EdM, EdD (Harvard University), Cand. Polit. (University of Oslo)] was Associate Professor at Lehman College, City University of New York (retired September 2015). He has taught psychological and historical foundations of education and directed the MA program in Teaching Social Studies: 7–12. Dr. Bradshaw’s master’s and doctoral dissertations described alternative-living and child-care arrangements in Sweden (Samhem and Kollektivhus). During his undergraduate studies he received a stipendium to live in Samoa and wrote his honors thesis on religion’s effect on cultural stability and change in Western Samoan villages. Dr. Bradshaw’s continuing interest in alternative living and child-care solutions led him to an intensive experience of a Hindu-based religious cult in New York City. Dr. Bradshaw has received fellowships and grants from Wesleyan, Harvard, and Uppsala (Sweden) universities and from the City University of New York. He and his wife Gunilla currently live in Norrtälje, Sweden several months a year, where they are continuing their work for ICSA’s New York Educational Outreach Committee.

Joe Griffo is an ex-member of The Church of Bible Understanding as well as several fringe churches. His current interests lie in helping people pursue their spiritual journeys while avoiding the pitfalls that heexperienced.Maureen Griffo, MA, MEd, an ex-member of The Church of Bible Understanding as well as several fringe churches, is Chair/Coordinator of reFOCUS and also was one of four collaborators who established the Leo J. Ryan Education Foundation. Ms. Griffo moderated an online chat/support group for former members for many years. Currently she is spearheading the ICSA New York City Educational Initiative. She has begun a support group on spiritual abuse ("Wounded Pilgrims"), which meets the first Friday of each month (starting in November 2017) at St. Andrews Roman Catholic Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. She has a Master's in Sociology with a focus on cultic practices as well as a Master's in Education with a focus on special education. She works with children with severe emotional and developmental disabilities in New York City.

Daniel Shaw, LCSW, Psychoanalyst, Private Practice, New York City and Nyack, NY; Faculty andClinical Supervisor, The National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP), New York, NY; former co-chair, Continuing Education Committee, The International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. Shaw exited Siddha Yoga in 1994, after working full-time there for more than 10 years. He is the author of “Traumatic Abuse in Cults: A Psychoanalytic Perspective”, published in the Cultic Studies Journal, numerous psychoanalytic papers, and the book, Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation (Routledge, 2013). Mr. Shaw leads the monthly New York area ICSA group with Chris Carlson. This group offers support, education and interaction for all those who have been harmed by or want to learn about high demand groups. Dan is also the guest editor of a special issue of International Journal of Cultic Studies (Vol. 5, 2014) dedicated to the subject of traumatic narcissism.

Ann Stamler, Associate Editor of ICSA Today, was born into the New York based Aesthetic REalism movement, which her parents, both artists, had joined before she was born. She left the movement in 1985 at the age of 41, after which she became senior executive of a nonprofit agency in New YOrk that worked with the labor movements in the U.S. and Israel, and later helped found a pluralistic Jewish high school in Connecticut. She has served on the boards of various civic and cultural organizations, and served in public office. In 2006, she received a notice of ICSA's first annual workshop for "second generation adults," people born or raised in cultic movements, which she now helps facilitate. She has presented at conferences for therapists learning to treat survivors of cultic abuse.