Apologetics Index

Exit Counseling

Exit counseling is a voluntary approach to helping those involved in cults make informed decisions about their group affiliation. It is used instead of the controversial process of involuntary deprogramming, which involves coercion.

Note, however, that some counselors claim exit counseling can be either voluntary or involuntary. To eliminate confusion, a number of exit counselors committed to doing only voluntary interventions have formed an organization of Thought Reform Consultants – the members of which have agreed to abide by a statement of ethical standards

Christian Deprogramming and Exit Counseling This article explains the difference between the two approaches. By Randall Watters
Non-Christian Exit Counseling: A Practitioner’s View by Joe Szimhart
Christian From Deprogramming to Exit Counseling to Thought Reform Consultation by Carol Giambalvo


Before you get involved with an exit counselor — either for yourself or for a loved-one — make sure your are dealing with a recommended professional or lay counselor. We suggest checking with the International Cultic Studies Association.

Some people who market themselves as ‘cult experts,’ ‘exit counselors,’ or ‘intervention specialists’ are avoided by most legitimate experts in the field.

See: How to select a cult expert


Religion News Blog research resource Counseling and Support. Includes ministries, counselors and organizations recommended by Apologetics Index. Also includes guidelines for selecting a counselor/cult expert.

See Also

Apologetics Index research resource Apologetics Index Statement regarding brainwashing, deprogramming and exit counseling
Apologetics Index research resource Deprogramming
Apologetics Index research resource Ex-cult counseling resources
Apologetics Index research resource Thought Reform Consulation

Article details

Category: Exit Counseling
Related topic(s): , , , ,

First published (or major update) on Thursday, December 29, 2005.
Last updated on May 10, 2016.

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