The term "counseling" is here used in its most general sense, so it does not necessarily refer to professional and/or licensed individuals or organizations. The term "helping resources" could also be used in this context, but we choose the former term because we believe it will be meaningful to a larger percentage of visitors.
The persons listed below have published in ICSA periodicals or contributed to ICSA conferences. They have indicated that they have experience working with victims of spiritual and/or psychological abuse and/or their families. The following is contained on the counseling resource page:
A general introduction on seeking a counselor
An embed spreadsheet that lists individuals according to their geographical location.
A link to ICSA's support group resource page.
Biographical sketches with contact information.
After the counselor bios, we provide links to selected organizations in various countries that might be able to refer people to additional resources.
If you are seeking immediate help for yourself or a loved one who you feel is in danger of hurting self or others, please contact 911 (or equivalent emergency service in your country).
ICSA does not endorse or recommend individuals or organizations listed below. The list, which does not claim to be exhaustive, is provided for informational purposes only.
Geographic location and whether or not a person is willing to work by phone/Web are listed in bold at the bottom of the biographical sketch. (Because of Covid, some people not explicitly indicating a willingness to communicate by phone/web may now be willing to do so.) Use the embedded spreadsheet or your browser's search function to search for a specific state or country, or scroll down the list.
Appropriate caution should be exercised when selecting a counselor. When feasible, it is advisable to talk to or interview more than one counselor before deciding with whom to work. The effectiveness of a counseling relationship is a function of the relationship compatibility of counselor and client, as well as the level of the counselor's expertise, training, or experience. Each person must make his/her own decision about which counselor is most appropriate for him/her.
Views expressed on sites to which ICSA has a link are those of the site's author(s) and are not necessarily shared, endorsed, or recommended by ICSA or any of its directors, staff, or advisers. ICSA encourages readers to examine different points of view and talk to different experts before making an important decision. Also see: "Dialogue and Cultic Studies: Why Dialogue Benefits the Cultic Studies Field."
The following links provide general information and advice related to finding a counselor/therapist:
Adam Arnold, MA, LMFT, LADC, is a licensed psychotherapist practicing in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He works clinically with adolescents and children (ages 5-18), and also with survivors of spiritual abuse (5 and older). Adam considers himself a survivor, and former perpetrator, of spiritual abuse. You can read his musings on cults, coercive control, and spiritual abuse on his blog, LeakyBuckets.space. In his personal time, Adam likes to practice yoga, watch scary movies, and listen to nerdy podcasts. Contact info: 612-481-2234; www.enlivenpsychotherapy.com
Alexis Baker, MS, LPC-Associate, CTP, is the founder of Breakaway Therapy, offering virtual therapy services to cult and religious abuse survivors in Texas. Alexis is a compassionate and dedicated therapist specializing in aiding survivors on their healing journey. She works with adults and couples in Texas to process complex trauma and reclaim their lives. Although she works with anyone seeking this type of healing, Alexis has a special interest in working with survivors who identify as LGBTQ+ and want to understand how all of their identities intersect. Alexis earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from University of California, Santa Barbara, her Masters of Science in Counseling from California State University, Long Beach and is a Certified Trauma Professional. Alexis is supervised by Sarah Arnold, LPC-S. You can learn more about Alexis and Breakaway Therapy at www.breakaway-therapy.com
Amy J.L. Baker, PhD, Director of Research, Vincent J. Fontana Center for Child Protection, is a researcher and author focusing on emotional manipulation of children by their parents, especially in the context of post divorce custody disputes. She has written several books (published by WW Norton, Columbia University Press, Rowman & Littlfield, New Harbinger Publications, and Routlegde) and over 100 scholarly journal articles. She has been quoted in the New York Times, the AP, U.S. News and World Report and has appeared on the Joy Behar show, CNN. and Good Morning America. She has conducted numerous trainings on the topic of children and loyalty conflicts to mental health and legal professionals and has served as an expert witness throughout the United States. Website: WWW.amyjlbaker.com Email: Amyjlbaker@aol.com Phone: 201-321-9874 . New Jersey
Larry D. Beall, PhD in Clinical Psychology, l987, Brigham Young University. Director of Trauma Awareness & Treatment Center for sixteen years. Established the Satellite Trauma Center for the 4th Street Clinic Homeless Coalition. Clientele includes children, adolescents and adults with stress-related disorders, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and Dissociative Disorders. Expert witness for trauma survivors, including assault, cult, and refugee trauma. Has authored materials used in professional presentations, including Life Skills for Trauma Survivors Workbook, Using Sand Tray for Treating Traumatized Children, Manual for Treating Traumatized Refugees, The Impact of Modern Day Polygamy on Women and Children, Helping the Traumzatized Child in Iraq, and a series of articles published in Iraqi newspapers to help Iraqi people and military personal deal with the stress and traumas of war. traumaawareness.net. Utah
Dylesia Barner, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker and a second-generation adult survivor. She received a Master of Social Work from Norfolk State University in 2013 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from Old Dominion University in 2011. From ages 15-18, Dylesia was a member of a cult of Christianity in Virginia. Having the perspectives of a survivor and a mental health provider, she is passionate about raising awareness about spiritual abuse and how to counsel those who are experiencing or have experienced it. Dylesia owns Existence, Consciousness, Bliss Counseling, Psychotherapy & Wellness Center in Nashville, TN and is a Doctorate of Social Work student at Millersville University. Existence, Consciousness, Bliss Counseling, Psychotherapy & Wellness Center, 1033 Demonbreun St., Suite 300, Nashville, TN 37203. firstname.lastname@example.org. www.ecb-nashville.org. 615-212-8955
Rachel Bernstein, MSEd, LMFT, has been working with former cult members for 29 years. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Educator, who lives in Los Angeles, CA. Rachel is the host of her weekly podcast, "IndoctriNation". She has been a member of ICSA for many years and has presented talks and moderated panels at ICSA conferences. Rachel previously ran the Maynard Bernstein Resource Center on Cults, named after her father. She was the Clinician at the former Cult Clinic in Los Angeles, as well as the Cult Hotline and Clinic in Manhattan. She now treats former cult members and the families and friends of those in cults in her private practice. Rachel has facilitated numerous support groups for former cult members, for people who were in one-on-one cults, and for the families of those in cults. Rachel is also currently facilitating a former cult member support group every other week on Zoom. Rachel has published many articles, made media appearances, consulted on shows and movies about cults, and has been interviewed for podcasts and YouTube videos. In addition to her private practice, she is on the Advisory Board of the Open Minds Foundation and the International Cultic Studies Association. She is a Clinical Fellow with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Website: www.RachelBernsteinTherapy.com. Email: email@example.com. Phone:818-907-0036. California, Southern
Jeff Bryson, PhD [LPC/ALPS (WV), IMFT (OH), CCSOTS, AAMFT Clinical Fellow].completed his BA in Bible and Religion at Ohio Valley College in 1986, and went on to complete an MAR in counseling with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from Harding School of Theology in 1992. Later in life, he began work on his doctorate at Capella University, graduating two months after his 50th birthday in 2014 with a PhD in Public Safety, specializing in Criminal Justice. He began his career working in community mental health, and began specializing in the treatment of anorexia/bulimia and sex offenders over 20 years ago. In 2005 he joined Paul Martin and the team at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center. Jeff was formerly in an employer cult and has faced a fundamental Christian cult in his family. His dissertation at Capella University was a qualitative exploration, Parental Use of the Sex Offender Registry: A Routine Activities Approach. Jeff holds the LPC and ALPS in WV, the IMFT in OH, is a Clinically Certified Sex Offender Treatment Specialist (CCSOTS), is a clinical member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA), and a clinical fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). He served three years on the AAMFT ethics committee (2015-2017), and was the chair of the committee his last year. Jeff is currently serving as an assistant professor at Glenville State College in West Virginia, where he teaches an honors course on cults. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (304) 521-7981. West Virginia
Arthur Buchman is an American-born psychologist and leadership coach in private practice living since 1990 near Copenhagen, Denmark, where he also works via Skype. Born in 1942, he holds a BA in Economics and an MA in Psychology. Arthur specializes in helping people recover from depression, phobias, trauma, relationship conflicts, and cult involvement. He has experience in two different cults, a yoga group and a pseudo-Christian occult music group. Arthur has developed The Life Cycle of Cult Involvement that he has presented at ICSA and other international conferences. He has been ICSA Today's News Correspondent for Scandinavia. Arthur is currently writing a book and presenting a workshop titled, "The Instant Optimist - a practical method for building and maintaining a dependable positive attitude." Arthur Buchman is one of the few mental health professionals in Europe who has expertise as an ex-cult member and is available to travel to help people and their families to recover from a cultic experience. Website: www.arthurbuchman.com Email: email@example.com Phone: +45 2825 4444. Denmark
Ron Burks, PhD, holds an MDiv and an MA in counseling from Asbury Theological Seminary and a PhD in Counselor Education from Ohio University. He worked for many years at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center in Albany, Ohio. He and his wife Vicki wrote Damaged Disciples: Casualties of Authoritarian Churches and the Shepherding Movement, published by Zondervan. His other publications include a chapter on a connection between cults and addiction in the medical reference, Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook, published by Williams and Wilkins. He and Vicki now live near Tallahassee, Florida where both are licensed mental health counselors and operate an intensive outpatient substance abuse program at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Ron is a former president of the Wellspring board and is a clinical advisor to both Wellspring and Meadowhaven, a treatment center near Boston. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 850-273-6678. Florida
Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible
Kent Burtner, M. Div., M.A., served as a Roman Catholic priest of the Dominican Order for 20 years, resigning from the priesthood in 1994. He subsequently served as program manager for an interfaith social-services agency, director of the agency’s Cult Resource Center, public-information officer for a local county public-health department, and parish business manager. A published author, Kent has also lectured extensively in the United States, Canada and Spain. In 1983, he received the Leo J. Ryan Award from the Cult Awareness Network for his work educating the public about cults and thought-reform programs. Kent makes his home in Portland, Oregon and as a pastoral counselor has consulted with more than a thousand individuals or families about the cult affiliations of their loved ones and about adjusting to life after leaving a cult or other high-control group. email@example.com; (503) 475-3429.. Oregon
Cristina Caparesi has a master’s degree in Science of Education and in Psychology with post masters in Family Mediation and psychodiagnostic/Psychological Evaluation. She works as project planner and Director of the Helping Centers for Job Harassment in the Workplace of the Udine Province and of CISL- Pordenone Province. She has an expertise in conflicts related to cultic affiliations and works as consultant of the Support Network Against Manipulation and Abuse in Groups for SOS Abusi Psicologici. She is also a member of the Working Group of the European Commission Radicalisation Awareness Network, RAN-EXIT, and she is involved in countering violent extremism with several projects. Editor of the online journal of SOS Abusi Psicologici, Manipulation and Abuse http://www.abusievessazioni.it/; she is an expert for the Criminal Court of Udine in the branch of education, with a specialization in criminology and problems related to cultic affiliations; Italian Co-correspondent for ICSA Today. She is a co-author, with Mario Di Fiorino and Steven Kent, of Costretti ad amare. Saggi sui Bambini di Dio, the Family (only Italian) [Compelled to love- Essays on the Children of God-The Family], and many other articles. Website: http://www.sosabusipsicologici.it/?lang=enEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +39 3384440566. Italy (Udine)
David Clark is a thought reform consultant from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mr. Clark has been active in this field for more than 30 years. Mr. Clark has been on the Board of the Leo J. Ryan Education Foundation and reFOCUS. He is FECRIS's New York main representative to the United Nations [2011- ] and science committee member . He was a contributing author for the Practical Guidelines for Exit Counseling chapter in the W.W. Norton book, Recovery from Cults. In 1985 he received the Hall of Fame Award from the original Cult Awareness Network He was a founding member of the original Focus and reFOCUS, a national support network for former cult members. David Clark was the 2004 American plenary speaker at Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the Ukraine for the F.P.P.S. International Scientific-Practical Conference with the presentation title of Thought Reform Consultation, Youth Cult Education Preparation and Sect Family Intervention Work. He was also the April 21, 2006 United States of America plenary speaker for the International Scientific Conference of Cardinal August Hlond Upper Silesian School of Pedagogy in Mysolwice, Poland. Mr. Clark also contributed to a May 16, 2006 History Channel special on Opus Dei and was featured in John Allen's important book, Opus Dei: An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church. He spoke on exit counseling/thought reform consultation at an international conference, Myth and Reality of Psychological Abuse and Practical Ways to Resist It, at the Russian State University of Humanities in Moscow (March 13-14, 2008). He spoke at a conference on cults and gangs, sponsored by Creighton University's Department of Psychiatry and the Douglas County (NB) Sheriff's Department (April 18, 2008). David has been the North American Vice President of the DIALOG Centre International since 2011. In 2016 he received an ICSA Lifetime Achievement Award at the Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. Email: email@example.com Phone: (610) 544-5830. Pennsylvania
Dr. Catherine de Boer, PhD, RSW is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Work at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. She has a Bachelor of Social Work from King’s College at the University of Western Ontario, a Master of Arts (in Religion) from the University of Toronto and a Master of Theological Studies, a Master of Social Work and a PhD in Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University. Her primary research interests are in the areas of identity development and transformation and narrative studies. She is particularly interested in the impact of social group memberships (such as one’s religious group) on one’s sense of self and likewise the associated identity implications of disengagement. Dr. de Boer’s dual academic credentials in social work and religion make her uniquely suited to exploring the impact of membership in and disengagement from religious totalistic groups. In addition to her academic work, Catherine has a small private practice called The Landing (www.thelandingservices.ca) offering training, consultation and counselling (either face-to-face or online).
Robert R DeYoung, EdD, is the Founder and Director of the Family Center for Behavioral Health in Milford, Pennsylvania. Dr. DeYoung has been in the Mental Health field for over 30 years and was a licensed Forensic Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist, treating a wide range of problems with children, adults, couples, and families. He currently maintains a successful full-time therapy practice as a counselor, consultant, and addictions specialist. He is a "non-traditional" therapist who has given hundreds of presentations to parents, specialty groups, and students. He has been a consultant to the New York Union of Police, various local and state police departments and various Employee Assistance Programs. Dr. DeYoung is trained in a wide array of psychological testing procedures and is proficient in CBT, Marriage and Family Therapy, Biofeedback, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Forensic Hypnosis. He is a Certified General Topics Instructor with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. He maintains mental health licenses in both New York and Pennsylvania. Website: www.DrBobDeYoung.com Counseling Services in Pike County Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (570) 296-3825. Pennsylvania
Raffaella Di Marzio received her doctorate in Psychology at the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome, in June 2016, with a dissertation entitled Affiliation and Disaffiliation from New Religious Movements. Presentation and deep analysis of the integrated model of Rambo et al. In 2002 she set up a Centre of Information on cults, New Religious Movements and Anti-Cult Movements: the Online Center www.dimarzio.info. She is a member of the managing board of SIPR (Italian Society of Psychology of Religion), and part of the Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) network of experts, which covers more than 20 countries. HRWF is a non-profit organization based in Brussels (Belgium) that promotes human rights through fact-finding missions, research, and advocacy. She has published more than 100 articles about cults, mind control, New Religious Movements, and anti-cult groups, is a contributor to CESNUR’s Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy (2013) and to Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, 6 vol., ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara [California] 2010), J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann Editors. Raffaella Di Marzio has BA degrees in Psychology (University La Sapienza of Rome, 1981), Educational Science (Pontifical Salesian University, 1981) and History of Religions (University La Sapienza of Rome, 2003) and Religious Science (Institute for Religious Studies Ecclesia Mater, linked to the faculty of theology of Pontifical Lateran University, 1986). She has been a Catholic religion teacher in a senior high school in Rome since 1981. Dr. Di Marzio is ICSA Today’s News Co-Correspondent for Italy. She is in demand as a cult expert for TV and radio shows and lectures widely. Website: www.dimarzio.info (Italian and English), YouTubeChannel: http://www.youtube.com/user/raffaelladimarzio#g/a. Email: email@example.com Phone: 3488299499. Italy (Rome)
Sjoukje Drenth-Bruintjes is exit counselor, counselor/coach, teacher, speaker, and sports consultant in the Netherlands. In 1982 she completed her study at the Academy for Physical Education in Groningen. After many years of teaching-experience she started to study health psychology in 1999 in Groningen. She decided to choose counseling as being the most suitable study. In 2005 she became a registered counselor. Since 2005 Sjoukje Drenth has her own private healthcare-praxis, called: Counseling en Consultancy Praktijk Sjoukje Drenth Bruintjes or Creative Counseling. It is situated in the province of Groningen in the Netherlands. Sjoukje Drenth Bruintjes handles the following disciplines: exit counseling, multidisciplinary counseling like stress counseling, relation counseling, and other, sports consultancy and personal/mental coaching. She became a well-known specialist in the Netherlands, especially on exit counseling, after interviews on Dutch National TV about her successful work as an exit counselor and the publication of two of her poetry books: Een knuffel voor jou (English: A hug for you) and Waves, in which Sjoukje describes the emotional impact of coercive persuasion on a friendship in a poetic way. Sjoukje Drenth participated in research on cultic groups in the Netherlands with her knowledge and experience as an exit counselor. Her knowledge is used by different writers and different media concerning themes like coercive persuasion, brainwashing, cults, and lover-boys. Besides Sjoukje’s work as a therapist, teacher, and writer, she also gives workshops and readings for students at universities, healthcare-takers, victims of coercive persuasion, and parents/family/friends of these kind of victims. Sjoukje Drenth Bruintjes is a member of several professional organizations for therapists and mental health and physical education professionals in the Netherlands. Website: www.counselingpraktijk.nl and www.sektehulp.nl and www.slachtofferloverboys.nl Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (+31)655168867. Netherlands
Linda Dubrow-Marshall, PhD, Reg. MBACP (Accred.), is Chair of the Mental Health Network for ICSA, is Research Co-editor of ICSA Today, and a member of the Research Network for ICSA. She is a co-founder of RETIRN (please also see www.retirn.com), a private practice that provides services to individuals and families who have been affected by cultic influence and abusive relationships. Linda has developed a new MSc Psychology of Coercive Control program at the University of Salford and is leading the program with Dr. Rod Dubrow-Marshall. She is also the Programme Leader of the MSc Applied Psychology (Therapies) Program at the University of Salford. She is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, United Kingdom, as both a clinical and a counselling psychologist, and she is a registered counsellor/psychotherapist with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. She is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, USA, and a registered psychologist with the National Register of Health Service Psychologists, USA. She attends as co-representative of RETIRN/UK as correspondent to the General Assembly of FECRIS (European Federation of Centres of Research and Education on Sects). Dr. Dubrow-Marshall is a Consultant in Clinical Hypnosis (advanced certification) with the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and is certified by the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Institute. She is certified as a Master Addiction Counselor with the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals. Website: http://www.retirn.com/Dr._Linda.htm Email: LJDMarshall@aol.com Phone: +44 7973 310599/ United Kingdom
Phone/Electronic Consultation Possible
Rod Dubrow-Marshall, PhD, MBPsS, is Professor of Psychology and Visiting Fellow, Criminal Justice Hub, University of Salford, United Kingdom. Rod is a Social Psychologist who has been researching the psychology and aetiology of undue influence and cults or extremist groups for over twenty years, and he has developed the Totalistic Identity Theory as an evidence-based theory to explain and tackle ideological extremism and ideologically driven violence. He is also an active researcher in a variety of other areas including organizational behaviour and healthiness, the social psychology of identity and prejudice, and public policy and education. A graduate member of the British Psychological Society, Rod is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Cultic Studies Association and is also Chair of the ICSA Research Committee and Network and he is co-Editor of the International Journal of Cultic Studies (since its inception in 2010). In 2006, he was awarded The Herbert L. Rosedale Award, jointly with Dr. Paul Martin, for their psychological research on undue influence. Rod co-founded the Re-Entry Therapy Information and Referral Network (RETIRN) UK in 2004 with Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall, where he serves as a consultant in helping individuals and families who have been adversely affected by destructive or damaging cults and other extremist and high demand/manipulative groups or relationships. He operates out of offices in Pontypridd, Wales and Buxton, Derbyshire, UK (please also see www.retirn.com). Rod has also served on more than a dozen Governing Boards of Schools, Colleges and Universities over the last two decades and he is currently a governor and director of the Akaal Primary School in Derby and is also a longstanding member of the Board of the homelessness charity the Wallich (headquartered in Cardiff, Wales). In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Buxton International Festival and is Chair of the Board of the Preston Guild Link charity (in Lancashire, UK) which is fundraising for the next Preston Guild cultural festival in 2032! Rod is also an experienced senior leader and manager in higher education having served for 15 years in the roles of Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Derby, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and as Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of South Wales and Dean of Applied Social Sciences and Humanities at Buckinghamshire New University. United Kingdom