News on the activities of ICSA members (in no particular order).
Available online: http://www.icsahome.com/infoserv_memberupdate/01.02.htm
Research Subjects Needed. Mary Anne Rardin, a Ph.D. candidate in the East-West Psychology Department at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, is looking for participants for her study on the role of spirituality (or the lack thereof) in the healing and integration journey of people who have been in cults or fundamentalist religions. She is asking survivors born/raised in a cultic group (second-generation cult survivors) who are interested in learning more about the study and are willing to consider taking part to contact her at mar email@example.com or 415-279-2835.
INFORM Seminar: Cults and Crime. Among the presenters at INFORM’s April 24th seminar at the London School of Economics are
Eileen Barker, Ph.D. (Professor Emeritus, LSE; Chair and Honorary Director, Inform). “Be it a Crime if I Believe?”
François Bellanger, Ph.D. (Lawyer, Professor of Law at the University of Geneva and President of the Swiss Information Center on Beliefs). "Cults and Crime from a Legal Perspective"
Michael Langone, Ph.D. (Executive Director, International Cultic Studies Association). “Cultic Crimes in North America, Part 1”
Mike Kropveld (Executive Director, Info-Secte, Canada). “Cultic Crimes in North America, Part 2”
Henri de Cordes (President, Information & Advice Center on Harmful Sectarian Organizations, Belgium). "The 74 Corpses of the Solar Temple Order: Sacrifice, Suicide or Crime?"
More information on the conference is available at http://www.inform.ac/
Peter Caws, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy at George Washington University and a speaker at ICSA’s upcoming annual conference, is the co-editor, with Stefani Jones, of a forthcoming book, Religious Upbringing and the Costs of Freedom: Personal and Philosophical Essays (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010). The book consists of eleven chapters by professional philosophers who were indoctrinated in childhood in various religions and have been able to find their way out of the intellectual and social confinement in which they grew up. Dr. Caws hopes to have copies available at the New York meeting in July, possibly at a conference discount (the hardcover edition will be priced at $65).
Steve K. D. Eichel, Ph.D., ABPP, is currently co-facilitating, with Roberta Eisenberg, M.S.W., the monthly Philadelphia ICSA meeting. Dr. Eichel also serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Board of Professional Psychology and is an appointed member of the Delaware State Board of Examiners of Psychologists. His work on exposing dubious hypnosis certifications (a favorite of many New Age-oriented group leaders’ credentials), involved getting his cat certified as a hypnotherapist. The work will be published as a chapter entitled "Lay Hypnotherapy and the Credentialing of Zoe the Cat" in the upcoming two-volume series, Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy, edited by Deirdre Barrett.
Friedrich Griess, former President of the European organization FECRIS, continues to be active in a variety of areas: editing the acts of the FECRIS St. Petersburg conference in English, French, and German, and consulting with and helping the actual board of FECRIS in various matters. These activities include, among other things, translation work; watching the activity of the Smith's Friends, and especially maintaining contact with previous members and concerned relatives, including those in the USA (see http://fivepts.blogspot.com/2006/08/...?commentPage=7); representing FECRIS at ECOSOC (http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/) and FRA (http://fra.europa.eu/) in case they have sessions in Vienna; acting as a board member of the Gesellschaft gegen Sekten- und Kultgefahren (http://sektinfo.org); lecturing in schools; informing Austrian authorities and opinion leaders; and communicating with the "Kluge-Network," which spans about 180 counselors, mainly in the German-speaking countries.
Patrizia Santovecchi, President of Italy’s l’Osservatorio Nazionale Abusi Psicologici (National Center on Psychological Abuse - ONAP), has informed us that her organization has begun to publish a journal, called Profiling – I Profili dell’Abuso (Profiling – Profiles of Abuse) (http://www.onap-profiling.org/). ONAP (http://www.onap-italia.org/) also will conduct a conference in Prato on la Violenza e la Vita (Violence and Life) on April 10th. ONAP organized an Italian track at ICSA’s 2009 annual conference at the University of Geneva last summer. Ms. Santovecchi spoke about cults and religions on Italian public television on March 23rd and gave an interview to Vanity Fair on March 31st on the dangers of cult recruitment on the Internet.
On November 26, 2009, Piotr T. Nowakowski, Ph.D., presented a paper entitled “The Problem of Exaggerating the Issue of Threats in the Debate About Cults” at the conference “Cults—Freedom or Enslavement: Interdisciplinary Issues.” The conference was organized by the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń (Poland).
On 4 March 2010, Dott. Raffaella Di Marzio was interviewed by a journalist of Italy’s Radio24 during a radio program called "Melog 2.0." The subject of the interview was "The power of cults." One can hear the interview at http://www.radio24.ilsole24ore.com/r...og040310-1.mp3 During the program, Dr. Di Marzio’s new book, Nuove religioni e sette - La psicologia di fronte alle nuove forme di culto (New Religions and Cults – Psychology Confronts New Forms of Cults), was also discussed (http://www.radio24.ilsole24ore.com/m...epti-identikit). More information on the book is available at http://www.magiedizioni.com/magiedizioni/NUOVE_RELIGIONI_E_SETTE.html
Rev. Robert Fellows, M.T.S., magician and speaker on self-responsibility and author of Easily Fooled (available in ICSA’s online bookstore), is now the pastor of Community Congregational Church (UCC) in Greenland, New Hampshire. He can be reached by writing to PO Box 280, Greenland, NH 03840.
Doug and Wendy Duncan, mental health professionals who are former members of a Bible-based cult, facilitate monthly support groups for ex-members of cults or spiritually abusive groups. They also provide a support group for family members who are struggling with the cultic involvement of a loved one. The support groups provide a safe place to discuss personal experiences and to learn more about cultic groups. The groups meet on the third Saturday of the month in Dallas, Texas. For more information, contact Doug or Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website, http://www.dallascult.com
Nori Muster has recently published a revised edition of her Cult Survivors Handbook: How to Live in the Material World Again (http://surrealist.org/writing/handbook.html), as well as a new book, Dreaming Peace: Your Thoughts Can Change the World (http://norimuster.com/writing/dreamingpeace.html).
Dr. Mel Whittington, a counselor and minister of Equipping Ministries, Will Rogers United Methodist Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma, is leading a workshop on anger for laity, Stephen Ministers, Clergy, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (http://www.willrogersumc.org/). The workshop will take place on April 16–17, 2010. Continuing Education credits are available for Stephen Ministers, Clergy, LPCs, and LMFTs. For more information, contact Dr. Whittington at http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/name/Mel_Whittington_PhDLPC_Tulsa_Oklahoma_33548
Miguel Perlado, psychotherapist and psychoanalyst in Barcelona, Spain, was interviewed by National Radio (Radio Nacional de España) about the phenomena of cults in Spain. He also participated in a National TV program (A Fondo, Antena 3 TV) dedicated to cultic influence. In addition, he participated as a cult specialist in a local radio program (Onda Rambla) from Barcelona, talking about the development of new cultic groups; and he was interviewed by La Vanguardia (national newspaper) in a longer interview around cult-related problems. He also participated as a specialist in another radio program (Punto Radio) about pseudotherapeutic groups and in an extended interview by local TV (TV3). In the academic arena, Dr. Perlado participated in a seminar, "Libertad religiosa en el ámbito local" (“Religious Liberty in the Local Area”), sponsored by Autonomous University of Barcelona. Finally, he recently completed a paper on creativity and cults for a forthcoming special issue of Cultic Studies Review.
Daniel Shaw, L.C.S.W., has written "Enter Ghosts: The Loss of Intersubjectivity in Clinical Work with Adult Children of Pathological Narcissists," to be published in the Spring 2010 issue of Psychoanalytic Dialogues. In this paper, Mr. Shaw extends his theory of pathological narcissism in cult leaders, previously explored in his paper "Traumatic Abuse in Cults" (Cultic Studies Review, 2003, (2)2:101–129). In "Enter Ghosts," Shaw develops the concept of the "pathological narcissist's relational system" as it can be observed in families; he focuses especially on the cumulative relational trauma suffered by children of pathological narcissists. Shaw maintains a private psychotherapy practice in New York City and in Nyack, New York. (email@example.com)
Christopher Dills, a junior at Southern Oregon University, sent a letter to the Northwest Baptist Foundation requesting that they not rent their building to a local group affiliated with the International Churches of Christ (ICOC). The ICOC is a high-control group, active in recruiting students. At one time or another, this organization has been banned or outlawed on more than three dozen campuses.
Nancy Mereska tells us that Stop Polygamy in Canada “has been accepted as an Intervener (persons of interest) in the upcoming precedent-setting reference case testing the Constitutionality of s. 293 Criminal Code of Canada—the law that bans the practice of polygamy. Six pro bono attorneys have stepped forward to present our issues to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Thirteen other groups have also applied to be Interveners, including the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS); FLDS Canadian leader, James Ole; and Winston Blackmore, whose organization is the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Inc. We are very busy reviewing resource literature, inviting witnesses, and preparing for a telephone conference with our attorneys. The Stop Polygamy in Canada Steering Committee consists of Coordinator Nancy Mereska; Jancis Andrews of Sechelt, BC; and sisters Rena and Kathleen Mackert, who are ex-FLDS women with very valuable input to this case. The only person who has not been accepted as an Intervener is Winston Blackmore, whose attorney will put forth Blackmore’s petitions to the Court during the second Case Management Conference on March 26th. The trial is expected to begin November 15th and last till January 31st, with a Christmas break Dec. 20th to Jan. 3rd.”
“Illegitimate Pain,” the paper that J. Scott Kenney, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada), will present with Jacqueline Slowey at ICSA’s upcoming annual conference has been accepted for publication in the American sociology journal, Deviant Behavior. The paper, which should appear later this year, discusses the marginalization of pain in the psychological manipulation tactics of a Canadian boarding school controlled by a cult-like group.
ICSA Member and UKCP accredited psychotherapist Gillie Jenkinson co-authored a chapter entitled “Pathological Spirituality” with Dr. Nicola Crowley for a medical text book entitled Spirituality and Psychiatry, published by Gaskell (Royal College of Psychiatrists publishing house, UK, 2009). The chapter looks at pathological spirituality from a cultic-studies perspective. The RCPsych Publications flyer for the book states: “Spirituality is a crucial but sometimes overlooked aspect of mental well-being and psychiatric care. This book explores the nature of spirituality, its relationship to religion, and the reasons for its importance in clinical practice. In this evidence-based text, the authors discuss the prevention and management of illness, as well as the maintenance of recovery. Different chapters focus on the key sub-specialties of psychiatry, including psychotherapy, child and adolescent psychiatry, intellectual disability psychiatry, substance-misuse psychiatry, and old-age psychiatry. It contains references to up-to-date research and provides a comprehensive review of the relevant academic literature. The book is, at least in part, a response to the questions posed by researchers, service users, and clinicians concerning the importance of spirituality in mental healthcare. Contributors include psychiatrists, psychotherapists, mental healthcare chaplains, and a social worker. They discuss aspects of experience often omitted from psychiatry and present both clinician and service user perspectives. The book will be of wide interest to psychiatrists, psychiatry trainees, and all mental health professionals.” June 2009; paperback; 228 pages; ISBN: 978-1-904671-71-8; price £25.00.
Janja Lalich, Ph.D., and Colleen Russell, L.M.F.T., are pleased to have co-facilitated a Workshop for Former Members in Mill Valley, CA (in the San Francisco Bay Area) Saturday, March 13th, from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. They plan to offer more workshops in the future. Also in the San Francisco Bay Area, an ongoing Group for Former Members meets every other Saturday from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM in Mill Valley. The group, now in its 8th year, is facilitated by Colleen Russell, L.M.F.T., a Certified Group Psychotherapist and licensed psychotherapist, who is also a former member. If you are interested in the group or future workshops, please contact Colleen at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone her at 415.383.7721. Contact information for Janja is email@example.com or visit her website at www.cultresearch.org
“The Last Draw - Cults and Creativity,” a special issue, will be the last issue of Cultic Studies Review (which will be succeeded by International Journal of Cultic Studies, the first issue of which will be published in the summer of 2010). This special issue will be edited by Dana Wehle, L.C.S.W, M.F.A, of the Cult Clinic and Hotline of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services and certified psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City. Libbe Madsen, L.C.S.W., is associate editor of the special issue. Other contributors to the special issue include Miriam Williams Boeri, Ph.D.; Steven Gelberg, M.A.; Melinda Haas, L.C.S.W.; Gillie Jenkinson, MA, UKCP; Miguel Perlado, Ph.D.; Karen Pressley; Colleen Russell, L.M.F.T.; and Joseph Szimhart. The special issue should go to press in May 2010.
Cult Information and Family Support in Australia conducted a conference on March 12, 2010: Coercive Persuasion and Mind Control: Treating Victims of Coercive Groups and Destructive Cults. Speakers included ICSA members, Dr. Doni Whitsett, Rosanne Henry, M.A., L.P.C., and Nancy Miquelon, M.A., L.P.C. A guest speaker was Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, who recently gave a speech to the Australian Parliament calling for an inquiry into the practices and allegations of abuse by certain religious groups. More information: http://www.cifs.org.au/Conference.php.
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Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.
Editor, Cultic Studies Review
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