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Support Groups + People

Former Cult Members and Support Groups

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David Clark
Cult Expert, Exit Counselor, Former Members

location: Swarthmore, PA
telephone: (610) 544-5830

David Clark is a former member of a Bible-based/occult group in southern California, is a court-certified cult expert, and has been an exit counselor for more than twenty years.
Cult Hotline & Clinic 

The Cult Hotline & Clinic was founded in 1980 to serve families and friends of cult members, former cult members, and to educate community groups most at risk of interaction with cults. A nonprofit, non-sectarian counseling and education organization working with people of all religious, ethnic, and racial backgrounds.

The Cult Hotline & Clinic is a program of the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services, one of the nation's largest and most respected nonprofit mental health and social service agencies. JBFCS serves over 65,000 New Yorkers annually from all religious, ethnic, and economic backgrounds through a comprehensive range of 185 community-based programs, residential facilities, and day-treatment centers.

Based in New York City, the Cult Clinic primarily works with people and community groups in the Greater New York Meto Area; however through the Cult Hotline phone support, and with our extensive network of professionals, we are able to assist people in need across the United States.

The Cult Hotline & Clinic receives funding from the UJA-Federation of New York and was co-founded by the JCRC Task Force on Missionaries and Cults.

Consultation for families and friends 
Counseling for former cult members 
Counseling for families and friends of cult members 
Family Support Group led by a licensed clinician 
Community Education and Consultation 

web site:
location: 120 West 57th St., New York, NY 10019
telephone: (212) 632-4640

Co-directors, Escape, Counselors, Ex-members

Richard and Bonnie Woods
Escape, Abbey House, Clarendon Rd, Redhill
Surrey, England, RH1 1QZ
Telephone: (44) 1342-316129

Ex-members of Scientology, the Woods are seeking to explain the truth regarding involvement with the group and to make their 8-year experience known. Media services and pamphlets are also available. Escape provides counseling and support group assistance to help people with psychotherapeutic cults, particularly Scientology.
Ex-Cult Archive

web site:
location: P.O. Box 7565
Arlington, VA 22207
telephone: (202) 728-7580
Fax: (703) 841-2385

Transcendental Meditation Ex-Members Support Group (TM-EX) was founded by former Maharishi International University (MIU) faculty, students, TM teachers, sidhas, meditators, and caring relatives of members of the TM movement. TM-EX is a support network to help former and current members of the TM movement in making the transition to life outside the TM movement. TM-EX is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization.
Carol Giambalvo

Cult Expert, Exit Counselor, Author, Lecturer - Thought Reform Consultant - AFF Project Outreach Coordinator, Director of Recovery - President, reFOCUS

web site: <>
Workshops (email address:
P.O. Box 2180
Flagler Beach, FL 32136
Phone: 904-439-7541 
Fax: 904-439-7537

Carol Giambalvo’s interest in cults and thought reform began in 1978 when her step-daughter began exhibiting a drastic personality change following becoming a devotee in ISKCON. She began researching cults and thought reform and lectured in local high schools, churches and civic organizations. The more information she gathered on the indoctrination processes and thought reform used in cults, the more concerns arose about her involvement in est and The Hunger Project. In 1983, she and her husband, Noel, left their associations with est, The Hunger Project and Sterling Institute and began a personal search for information to aid their recovery process. Since 1984, Carol has done exit counseling C and writing in the field, as well as serving as director with several organization’s boards, organizing and conducting recovery workshops and working with hundreds of people who have walked away from destructive cults. Carol is married to Noel Giambalvo and currently resides in Florida. She is the parent of two adult children, the grandparent of two; and the step-parent of three, with seven grandchildren.

National Board of Directors, Cult Awareness Network (CAN) , 1988-91. 
FOCUS (a support group for former cult members which became a committee of CAN in 1993), National Coordinator from 1986-90; Secretary, Board of Directors, 1990-94 
reFOCUS, (a network of referral and support for former members of closed, high demand groups, relationships or cults) A co-founding board member, secretary, 11/94; president, 3/97 to present 
AFF Board of Directors, 1995 to present; member of the Advisory Board, Chairperson of Thought Reform Consulting Committee, Coordinator of Project Outreach; Director of Recovery Programs, Advisory Board of AFF News. 
CAN, New York/New Jersey affiliate (now known as the Cult Information Service),: Cult Information Service, P.O. Box 867, Teaneck, New Jersey 07666 (201) 833-1212 Executive Committee, 1985-91; Board of Directors, 1984-91. 
Churches, temples, service organizations, high schools and universities (including N.Y.U., Columbia, University of Miami, Florida International University, University of Central Florida, Hofstra) 
Appearances on national television: Morton Downey Jr. Show, Oprah, Canadian Broadcasting Network’s Fifth Estate documentary on The Hunger Project, CBS: For Our Times; Inside Edition, Today Show. 
Many radio interviews, especially during the time of the Waco tragedy 
Interviews and quotes in many newspapers, magazines and journal articles, including Psychiatric Times. 
Hall of Fame Award, National Cult Awareness Network, 1991 
1993 Herbert L. Rosedale Humanitarian Award, AFF

Steve Hassan, M.Ed LMHC

Cult Expert, Cult Counselor, Media Consultant, Author, Former Member

web site: <>
location: 716 Beacon St. #590443
Newton MA. 02459
telephone: (617) 396-4638  fax: (617) 628-8153

Steve Hassan is author of Combatting Cult Mind Control, the number one best-selling guide to recovery from destructive cults. He recently wrote Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves, which is considered to be the "state of the art" guide to understanding how to undo mind control programming. Hassan holds a master's degree in counseling psychology from Cambridge College and has been involved in educating the public about destructive cults in America for over twenty-five years. A former cult member and licensed mental health counselor, thousands of people have sought out Hassan for advice, counseling, and support. He runs the Freedom of Mind Resource Center, a counseling and publishing organization.

Free Video of Steve Hassan:

Constructing Social Reality: Many factors contribute to our interpretation of reality. This program demonstrates how understanding the psychological processes that govern our behavior may help us to become more empathetic and independent members of society. With Steven Hassan, M.Ed., of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center and Dr. Robert Cialdini of Arizona State University.

His latest book, is in a new updated, 2nd edition. Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults and Beliefs  is available on and other online booksellers as paperback and e-book

Janja Lalich

Researcher, Author, Cult Expert, Former Member of a Political Cult

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
California State University, Chico
Chico, CA 95929-0445
Tel: 530-898-5542
Fax: 530-898-4571

Janja Lalich has a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems and a Master's Degree in Human Development. She is currently teaching full-time at California State University, Chico, but also serves as a resource to families, members, and former members; professionals such as laywers, educators, psychologists and social workers; and to the media. She most recently appeared on "Meet the Press," and has lectured at universities and other forums across the country. A former member of a political cult, she has focused her research on cultic political movements as well as other types of extremist groups, and has an overall interest in charismatic commitment and control. She is also co-author with Margaret Singer of Cults in Our Midst and Crazy Therapies (both published by Jossey-Bass), and with Madeleine Tobias of Captive Hearts, Captive Minds: Freedom and Recovery from Cults and Abusive Relationships (Hunter House Publishers). She was Guest Editor of a special issue of the Cultic Studies Journal, entitled "Women Under the Influence: A Study of Women's Lives in Totalist Groups."
<>  <>  <


18 Crooked Lane
Lakeville, MA 02134
Tel: 508.946.5264

MeadowHaven is located off of I-495 south of Boston heading toward Cape Cod.

MeadowHaven exists to provide a refuge for former members of high control, destructive groups to rest, heal, and grow. By understanding their experience in an abusive environment and acquiring the skills necessary for life outside the group, MeadowHaven helps former members recover their ability to be thriving contributors to society. Healing is fostered in the context of healthy community, relationships with other former members with similar experiences, and a supportive staff who understand the processes of thought reform and mind control. We invite you to learn more about MeadowHaven by browsing through our website. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions.

The Staff
Bob and Judy Pardon, Executive & Associate Directors
Caron Maher, Administrative Assistant, Resident House Parent

MeadowHaven's Board of Directors
Rev. Eduardo Andrade, Pastor, Good Shepherd Reformed Episcopal Church, Brockton, MA
Jeff and Sue Whiteacre, Ipswich, MA
Ray and Stephanie Connolly, Former members of an abusive group, Grafton, MA
Peter Marinelli, Lawyer, Cambridge and Wrentham, MA

MeadowHaven's Board of Reference
Rev. Eric Schweitzer, Ph.D., Director, Charis Counseling Center, Middleboro, MA
Craig Branch, Director, Apologetics Resource Center, Birmingham, AL
James Bjornstadt, Ph.D., Professor, Cedarville College, Cedarville, OH
Dan Trathen, Ph.D., Therapist, Denver, CO

reFOCUS Network

P.O. Box 2180
Flagler Beach, FL 32136

Phone   904-439-7541
Fax 904-439-7537

reFocus, or the recovering Former Cultists Support Network, is an excellent Internet resource of cult-help and recovery information and suppport, providing "recovery resources for folks hurt by their involvement with abusive and controlling organizations and relationships." reFOCUS gives a list of local support locations, including sites in: San Franciso and Sacramento, CA; Denver, CO; St. Petersburg, FL; Boston, MA; Minneapolis, MN; Bozeman, MT; Englewood, Midland Park, and South Orange, NJ; New York, NY; Hebron, OH; and Philadelphia, PA. reFOCUS also provides former member contacts, support organizations, and more.

Religious Movement Resource Center

web site: rmrc1.htm
location: 629 S Howes Street
Fort Collins, CO 80521
telephone: (970) 490-2032
contact: Hal Mansfield, MA, Director

The Religious Movement Resource Center has a great deal of general cult information and data on specific cults, including white supremacy and hate groups. The center provides workshops, counseling, support networks, expert advice, and media services. Pamphlets are provided upon request; a newsletter is available for $20/year; and the center has an extensive library where books, videos, and audio tapes may be accessed. Director Hal Mansfield began investigating the cult phenomenon in 1978, founded the center in 1981, and has participated in international studies and major media presentations.

Colleen Russell, LMFT

Colleen Russell, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, has over 20 years of clinical experience and training in general psychotherapy and areas of emphasis at agencies in San Francisco and Marin, and in private practice.

She has worked with a broad range of clients, and specializes in cult awareness and recovery, authoritarian relationships, post-traumatic stress, and "motherless women".

She also has experience in working with schizophrenia and bi-polar conditions, families of divorce, relationship issues, addictions, meaning of life issues, and transitions. She is also a former member of Eckankar.

She received a M.A. in Clinical Psychology and a B.A. in Psychology with honors from San Francisco State University. She's available for phone consultations or in-office sessions and in addition to individual sessions she facilitates an Ex-Cult Support group held bi-monthly.

On-going Ex-Cult Support Group:
meeting every 2nd and 4th Saturday, from 4:30 PM - 6:00PM in Mill Valley.
Topics covered relate to current and past events, relevant to one's cult experience and include the following:
"Personal Rights", "Cult Characteristics", "Methods of Manipulation," "What Makes One Vulnerable to Cults," "The Cookie-Cutter Messiah," "Extending Ourselves Into Society", "Regaining Trust in Self".
:: An individual session is requested prior to participating in the group.

Colleen Russell
38 Miller Avenue #139
Mill Valley, California, 94941
Phone: (415) 383-7721

Joe Szimhart

Cult Expert, Exit Counselor, Media Consultant

web site: <>
telephone: (610) 385-9454

Joe Szimhart is a cult information specialist and thought reform consultant whose work includes education, research, and non-coercive intervention regarding controversial, high-demand groups, psychotherapies, and relationships that use thought reform techniques. He has personally helped many hundreds of people impacted by a wide spectrum of cult activity. Since 1983 he has appeared on dozens of TV and radio programs worldwide and has been consulted by the media regularly, including 20/20, A Current Affair, and others.

V.V.P.G. vzw

location: Gemeentepark 1
2930 Brasschaat, Belgium
telephone: 03/ 653 14 60
fax: 03/ 653 34 41

V.V.P.G., located in Belgium, is dedicated to providing cult-related information and assistance to the public. They provide free counseling and expert advice and lend library materials for free (audios and videos for FF100; photocopies are provided at FF2 each). Services are available in French, Dutch, German, and English. V.V.P.G. was founded in 1976 as a self-help group, and in 1984 became a nonprofit organization employing a sociologist and a psychologist part-time. Since 1991, the group has been financially supported by the Belgian government and is currently a member of FECRIS (European Federation of Centers for Research and Information on Cultism).
Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center
web site:
location: PO Box 67
Albany, OH 45710
telephone: (614) 698-6277
Contact: Dr. Paul Martin, psychologist and executive director
Ron Burks, associate clinical director
Larry Pile, cult researcher

Wellspring is a residential treatment facility for persons traumataized through abusive relationships and cultic organizations, the only such facility in the world. Wellspring has been a place of recovery for hundreds of survivors and ex-members of abusive groups and relationships.
Hanna and Jerry Whitfield
Exit Counselors, Former Members

location: 119 SE 43rd Lane
Cape Corral, FL 33904
telephone: (941) 945-4118
fax: (941) 945-2799

Hana and Jerry Whitfield are exit counselors and thought reform consultants specializing in Scientology and Dianetics. They have done extensive research and education on the subjects of thought reform, mind control, manipulation, trance, hypnosis, and civil and human rights abuses. They adhere to the "Ethical Standards for Thought Reform Consultants" as published in Cultic Studies Journal (American Family Foundation, vol. 13, no. 1, 1996) and as found on this web page: Jerry was a member of Scientology for 10 years; Hana was a member for 20 years. Accounts of Hana’s Scientology experience are covered in the following books: Captive Hearts, Captive Minds by Madeline Tobias and Janja Lalich; L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman? By Bent Corydon; and Barefaced Messiah by Russell Miller.
Resource Center for Freedom of Mind

web site:
location: PO Box 45223, Somerville, MA 02145-0002
telephone: (617) 628-9918

The Resource Center for Freedom of Mind is dedicated to respect for human rights, spirituality, and consumer awareness. They endeavor to be a safe place one can turn to for news, information, counseling and other vital resources. They believe that only you have the right to control your mind..

This page is in honor of Dr. Margaret Singer a leading authority on cults and mind control and in memorial of Noah Lottick who died in the Scientology cult. 


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