Unlike the stressful and sensationalized “deprogramming“, this non-coercive approach is an effective and legal alternative for families to help cult members. This approach utilizes family and friends and teaches them how to strategically influence the individual involved in the group.
- What is the goal?
The goal of the SIA is to help the loved one recover his full faculties; to restore the creative, interdependent adult who fully understands what has happened to him; who has digested and integrated the experience and is better and stronger from the experience.
- Who is in control?
You are! In all ethical counseling, the locus of control remains within the client. Strategic Interaction models a non-authoritarian, flexible, and open process. When you engage a therapist, he is there to help as the expert on family systems. He is not there to assume control and make all the decisions. Likewise, a cult expert may provide information and advice, but will not give orders. Family and friends are empowered to understand the issues clearly. In this way, Strategic Interaction can be considered self-help. Each person contributes as best he can, creating a synergy that ensures the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.
- Does this approach integrate our loved one’s personality?
In my first book that I wrote in 1988, Combatting Cult Mind Control, I described only a “dual identity” model: the cult identity and the pre-cult identity. The Strategic Interaction Approach liberates and then integrates the parts of the pre-cult identity that were co-opted by the cult identity. In addition, we draw out the individual’s “authentic,” or higher, self and enlist its help to make new associations with the cult self. For example, we recognize that idealism is an integral part of our loved one’s authentic identity. By pointing out discrepancies between cult doctrine and hypocritical cult policies, the idealistic component of the cult identity can be encouraged to begin the questioning process. Eventually, the cult member becomes disillusioned with the group and feels motivated to walk out or ask for help.
The Strategic Interaction Approach provides in-depth counseling that promotes healing. By honoring the authentic self, the pre-cult self, and the core of the cult self, we help your loved one to integrate valuable parts of his identity into a healthy post-cult self.
– Source: Strategic Interaction Approach FAQ
Note that this approach has been renamed to Strategic Interactive Approach.