[Past Event] Psychological Manipulation, Cultic Groups, and Other Alternative Movements

Psychological Manipulation, Cultic Groups, and Other Alternative Movements

The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) organizes this conference for former group members, families of group-involved persons, helping professionals, researchers, and others. The sessions are organized into three “tracks” or theme areas: (1) assistance, (2) research, (3) other topics.

On Thursday, June 22nd there will be preconference workshops for families, mental health professionals, and ex-members, including a special evening session for those born or raised in groups (“second generation” ex-members).

The ICSA, the world’s largest secular cult information organization, is one of professional organizations recommended by Apologetics Index (See: Recommended counselors / cult experts).


June 22-24, 2006


Sheraton Denver West, Lakewood, Colorado

Web Site

ICSA International Conference 2006

Sessions and Workshops

Assistance (Selected Sessions)

  • Psychopathology of Cultic Group Leaders: Implications for Members and Ex-Members (John Burke, Ph.D.; Lorna Goldberg, M.S.W.; Lois Svoboda, M.D.
  • Personal Change in an Eastern Group (Gina Catena; Joseph Kelly; Patrick Ryan)
  • Coming Back to Religion and Spirituality After Spiritual Abuse (Elliot Benjamin, Ph.D.; Nancy Miquelon, M.A., L.P.C.; Nori Muster)
  • Spiritual and Psychological Abuse: An Evangelical Perspective (Patrick Knapp; Dr. Sharon Hilderbrant)
  • The Power of Telling Your Story (Steven Gelberg, M.A.; Lorna Goldberg, M.S.W.; Nori Muster)
  • Safe Passage Foundation: Who We Are (Julia McNeil; Lauren Stevens)
  • 26 Years of Helping Families and Ex-members: Lessons from the JBFCS Cult Hot-line and Clinic (Arnold Markowitz, C.S.W.)

Research (Selected Sessions)

  • Research Update from Spain (Carmen Almendros & José Carrobles, Ph.D.)
  • Conflict in the Lives of Gay and Lesbian Jehovah’s Witnesses (Janja Lalich, Ph.D.)
  • Child Abuse and Child Protective Work in Two Isolated Authoritarian Groups (Livia Bardin, M.S.W.)
  • Aum Shinrikyo and Weapons of Mass Destruction (Masaki Kito; Takashi Yamaguchi)
  • The Conflict Between Aum Critics and Human Rights Advocates (Sakurai Yoshihide, Ph.D.)
  • Rajneesh and Bioterrorism (Edward Lottick, M.D.)
  • Research from Wellspring (Rod Dubrow-Marshall, Ph.D.; Paul Martin, Ph.D.)
  • Rhetoric and Domestic Violence in the Unification Church (Mary Jo Downey)
  • The Challenges of Integrating into Society for Those who Were Born or Raised into a Sectarian Group (Lorraine Derocher)
  • Sects and Politics in the U.S. (Chip Berlet; Janja Lalich, Ph.D.; Alexandra Stein, M.L.S.)
  • Making Sense of Gender, Sex, and Family Experiences in a Cult (Marybeth Ayella, Ph.D.)

Other Topics (Selected Sessions)

  • Tough Love and Coercive Persuasion (Philip Elberg, Esq.; Maia Szalavitz; Alan Scheflin, J.D., LL.M.)
  • Child Abuse Issues in Cultic Groups (Kimberlee Norris, Esq.)
  • Child Abuse in the Jehovah’s Witnesses (William Bowen; Kimberlee Norris, Esq.)
  • If Mom and Dad are Getting Divorced (Carolle Tremblay, Esq.)
  • Polygamy (Andrea Moore Emmett, Coordinator; Kristin Brewer; Laura Chapman; Curtis Giles; Mike Kropveld; Sylvia Mahr; Nancy Miquelon; Vicki Prunty; Robbie Sweeten)
  • Experts in Cult Cases (Alan Scheflin, J.D., LL.M.; Philip Elberg, Esq.)
  • Attempted Censorship and Suppression of Information by Controversial Religious Movements (Paul Carden; Jorge Erdely, Ph.D.; Eric Pement)
  • Update on Hate Groups (Hal Mansfield)
  • Distinguishing between Ethical and Unethical Proselytizing (Elmer Thiessen, Ph.D.)
  • The Human Rights Dimension of Cultic Studies (Jorge Erdely, Ph.D.)
  • Cultism, Terrorism, and Homeland Security (Stephen Mutch, LL.B., Ph.D.)

Conference Arts Exhibit

Those who have been members of high-demand organizations are invited to submit proposals for an Arts Exhibit, tentatively called The Phoenix Project, to be presented at the June, 2006, International Cultic Studies Association conference in Denver.

It is suggested that submitted artwork show the world of ex-members, their healing or recovery, or their time of transition from their high-demand organization.

Creations may be in any art form, including but not limited to: literary (such as poetry, drama, or other writings), music of any kind, dance, and the visual arts (such as paintings, drawings, collage, sculpture, fiber arts, photography, film, video, multi-media).

If desired, this work may be presented anonymously.

We expect that this exhibit will illuminate the reality of life in a high-demand organization and its effects on individuals, as well as provide an empowering experience for participating artists, who will have the chance to tell their own stories in their own ways.

For more information, please e-mail Diana Pletts at: exmemberartwork@yahoo.com

We look forward to considering your artwork for this event, and hope that you will join with us in making this exhibit a success.

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