Mental Health Committee
Message from the chair of the ICSA Mental Health Committee
I am very excited to have been asked to chair the mental health committee and am really looking forward to being in contact with ICSA mental health professionals to see how we can best contribute to and benefit from our association with ICSA. I would like to personally thank Rosanne Henry for her many years of outstanding service to ICSA as the first Chair of the mental health network, as well as her unique contribution to developing the Colorado recovery model along with Carol Giambalvo. We will be having a very informative pre-conference mental health workshop at the ICSA annual conference in Manchester, United Kingdom which is restricted to mental health and related professionals, e.g. pastoral counselors. I will be speaking about working with former first-generation members, so please try to attend if possible and make sure to say hello to me!
The late Edward Lottick's survey of 695 Pennsylvania Psychologists found that 13.1% had had personal experience with a cultic group. Approximately half had worked with cult-affected individuals or families. In recent ICSA conferences, approximately 30% of attendees are mental health professionals and over half of those are former members of groups. These findings explain why outreach to mental health professionals is an important ICSA goal. Mental health professionals are gatekeepers to those adversely affected by cult experiences, and they often have personal cult experience themselves.
One of ICSA's long-range goals is to ensure that every metropolitan area has at least one mental health professional knowledgeable about cultic dynamics. ICSA's mental health network is the first step toward the achievement of this goal.
Chaired by Linda Dubrow-Marshall, PhD (bio and photo on this page) , and guided by a mental health committee, this network includes ICSA members engaged in many useful endeavors.
Mental Health Network members contribute to:
The ICSA annual conference, which typically includes tracks for former group members and training/educational sessions for helping professionals.
Other ICSA conferences and special events, such as a one-day event that examined mental health issues in cult-related interventions.
ICSA workshops for former group members (first generation and second generation - the latter were born or raised in cultic groups).
Educational and training sessions at professional meetings, such as those held by the American Psychological Association, the American Counselors Association, and others.
Journals and newsletters sponsored by professional associations.
ICSA's periodicals, ICSA Today and International Journal of Cultic Studies.
Special writing projects, such as the preparation of Cult Recovery: A Clinician's Guide to Working With Former Cult Members and Families.
Research pertinent to mental health issues (this work often overlaps with the charge of the Research Network).
Most importantly, mental health network members often help cult victims and families in their private practice or clinic settings. These professionals are valuable resources for ICSA as it tries to former members and families seeking assistance.