Mental Health Network
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.
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.
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.
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.