April 13-15, 2007: Surviving and Moving On After a High Demand Group Experience


Surviving and Moving On After a High Demand Group Experience:
A Workshop for Second-Generation Former Members

The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) has run workshops for former members of high-demand, “cultic” groups for many years.

In recent years increasing numbers of people born or raised in such groups (i.e., “second generation adults” – SGAs) have attended these workshops. These ex-members have special needs, which can be most effectively addressed through a workshop that focuses on them. SGAs do not have a “pre-cult identity” to which they can return. SGAs raised in fringe subcultures have to learn the implicit rules and expectations of mainstream culture.

SGAs frequently have educational and other skill deficits that interfere with adjustment to mainstream culture. Having grown up in high-control groups that are often based on irrational belief systems, SGAs tend to struggle with issues of dependency, self-esteem, and social conflict. Because many SGAs were physically or sexually abused, they often have to deal with anger, resentment, and other emotions related to trauma. SGAs have difficulty getting help because they tend to lack finances and be wary of other people, including helpers.

This workshop will address the needs of SGAs through a series of brief didactic presentations (supplemented by written handouts) followed by discussions, to which attendees may contribute according to their comfort levels. Specifically, the workshop will address:

  • critical thinking
  • socialization, culture shock, and acculturation
  • psychological development, child abuse and neglect, parenting styles, boundaries, and trust
  • long-term psychological, educational, and emotional effects of growing up in a culture of abuse and neglect
  • relationships with families and others


Friday 3:00 p.m. April 13, 2007 to Sunday 2:00 p.m. April 15, 2007


Trinity Conference Center, 79 Lower River Road, West Cornwall, CT 06796 (860-672-1000)

The conference center is located on a bend in the Housatonic River, just a half-mile from the covered bridge in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, on 500 forested acres. The Center is two hours from New York, an hour-and-a-half from Albany, three hours from Boston, and an hour from Hartford and Bradley International Airport (BDL). Contact us if you plan to fly (Hartford’s Bradley Airport would be the closest airport) and will need ground transportation to the conference center.

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This workshop has been made possible by special donations and the willingness of facilitators to volunteer large amounts of their time. Without the dedication of these people, registration fees would be much higher than what is listed below.

The donations cover a substantial portion of the total cost. Therefore, the fees listed below reflect a significant discount. Because many SGAs struggle economically, additional financial assistance is available for those in need. If you would like to apply for financial assistance, please contact us.

Fees include sleeping accommodations (Friday and Saturday) and meals (Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and Sunday breakfast and lunch). Double occupancy (please tell us your roommate’s name or request that we assign a roommate): $140 per person. Single occupancy: $240 per person.


Register online.

Contact ICSA if you would like to apply for financial assistance: mail@icsamail.com


The Facilitators

  • Leona Furnari, MSW is a licensed clinical social worker in Boulder Colorado. She is a psychotherapist specializing in recovery from trauma, including recovery from abusive groups and relationships. Ms. Furnari is a former member of an Eastern/New Age group, and it was that experience that led to her commitment to help others recover from abusive groups. She has been a regular facilitator/presenter at ICSA’s Recovery Workshops in Estes Park, CO for the last four years. She also works as a school social worker at the middle school level, and facilitates support groups for adolescents dealing with grief, family change and peer relationships.
  • Carol Giambalvo is an ex-cult member who has been a Thought Reform Consultant since 1984 and a cofounder of reFOCUS, a national support network for former cult members. She is on ICSA’s Board of Directors, Director of ICSA’s Recovery Programs, and is responsible for its Project Outreach. Author of Exit Counseling: A Family Intervention, co-editor of The Boston Movement: Critical Perspectives on the International Churches of Christ, and co-author of “Ethical Standards for Thought Reform Consultants,” Ms. Giambalvo has written and lectured extensively on cult-related topics. (affcarol@worldnet.att.net)
  • Lorna Goldberg, M.S.W., L. C. S. W., a psychoanalyst in private practice with children, adolescents, and adults. She has co-led a support group for ex-cult members with her husband, William, for over 25 years. She is on the Board of Directors of ICSA/ICSA and is Dean of Faculty, Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies, Teaneck, New Jersey. She has written extensively for social work and ICSA publications. (Lorna@blgoldberg.com)
  • William Goldberg, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., a therapist in private practice, has co-led a support group for ex-cult members with his wife, Lorna, for over 25 years. He is Director of the Community Support Center and The Young Adult Center of the Rockland County (NY) Department of Mental Health. Mr. Goldberg is an Adjunct Professor in the Social Work Department of Dominican College. (Bill@blgoldberg.com)
  • Rosanne Henry, M.A., L.P.C., a member of ICSA’s Board of Directors, is a psychotherapist practicing in Littleton, Colorado. For the last fifteen years she has been helping those harmed by cults through the original CAN and ICSA. Her private practice specializes in the treatment of cult survivors and their families. She is a former member of Kashi Ranch. (rosanne@cultrecover.com)
  • Joyce Martella is the daughter of a leader of a pseudo-Christian cultic group, ISOT, in Northern California. Born and raised in this group, she left after 25 years. She has been cut off from her siblings and mother for over 15 years. She is currently working in a Batterer’s Intervention Program and pursuing a doctorate in Depth Psychology.
  • Michael Martella, a licensed family therapist, was raised in a Bible-based cult for 20 years, leaving in 1980. He is a licensed counselor and an expert in domestic violence treatment in San Diego, California. Over the last three years, he has conducted seven “Cult Survivor Workshops” for ex-cult members, and he is currently writing his doctoral dissertation on “Cult Wounds and Cult Healing.”


The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) is an interdisciplinary network of academicians, professionals, former group members, and families who study and educate the public about social-psychological influence and control, authoritarianism, and zealotry in cultic groups, alternative movements, and other environments. Founded in 1979 as AFF (American Family Foundation), ICSA took on its current name in late 2004 to better reflect the organization’s focus and increasingly international and scholarly dimensions. ICSA is guided by a distinguished Board of Directors and Executive Advisory Board
– Source: About ICSA and Overview of Issues

ICSA is among the organizations, ministries and individual cult experts/counselors recommended by Apologetics Index.

See also our Guidelines for Selecting a Cult Expert/Counselor

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This post was last updated: Feb. 18, 2007    
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