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AFF News Briefs

Vol. 3, No. 4/5

1997, AFF Annual Conference Report

On Friday, May 30, Saturday, May 31, and Sunday, June 1, AFF held five highly successful Annual Conference events at the Holiday Inn-Philadelphia Stadium in Philadelphia.

Friday's conference, "Psychological Manipulation: The Abuse of Women," was chaired by Lorna Goldberg, M.S.W., A.C.S.W. and coordinated by ICEP Director Marcia R. Rudin, M.A. Approximately 120 people attended, including many mental health professionals and victims assistance professionals from the Philadelphia and New Jersey areas. This fascinating conference explored the relationship between cultic mind manipulation and domestic violence and the sexual abuse of women, drawing on the expertise of speakers from these three perspectives.

After Lorna Goldberg and AFF President Herbert L. Rosedale, Esq. presented brief welcoming remarks, Mr. Rosedale read a letter of welcome from New York State Senator Seymour P. Lachman, Ph.D. Margaret Singer, Ph.D. then delivered the conference's keynote address, "Psychological Manipulation: How it Works and Why Women are Vulnerable."

Building on this theme, the morning's first panel, moderated by Marcia Rudin, discussed "Mind Manipulation, Cults, and Domestic Violence: Professional and Personal Perspectives." Participating in this panel were Linda Dubrow, Ph.D., who spoke on "Coercive Persuasion and Domestic Violence: Looking at the Abusive Family Environment as Cult"; Janja Lalich, who addressed the issue of "Psychosexual Exploitation of Women in Cults"; and Evelyn Ortner, who spoke about "Domestic Violence: A Loss of Selfhood." Carole Rayburn, Ph.D., M.Div. presented a brief formal response to this panel.

Cynthia Lilley facilitated the next session, entitled "The Effects of Abusive Experiences on Families." Nancy Berkowitz, Howard Berkowitz, Joan Higgins, Alexandra Stein, and Ellen Mali related their moving personal stories from the two perspectives of cult involvements and domestic violence.

The luncheon period was highlighted by an address, "Women and the Law: Where do Abuse Victims Stand?" by Robin A. Boyle, Esq., hosted by Herbert L. Rosedale, Esq. A training team provided by the Educational and Scientific Trust of the Pennsylvania Medical Society led off the afternoon's discussion, "Preventing Family Violence: Becoming Part of the Solution." The team, consisting of Joel Chinetz, M.D., M.P.H. and Nancy E. Durborow, was coordinated by Cliff Deardorff, who also moderated the discussion. AFF Advisor Edward Lottick, M.D. joined the team's presentation.

In the afternoon's final session, "Counseling of Cult and Abuse Victims: Practical Suggestions," Sandra L. Bloom, M.D.

On Friday evening, AFF offered a stimulating session attended by about 100 people, "Crazy" Therapies: What Are They? Do They Work? Margaret Thaler Singer, Ph.D. and Janja Lalich, co-authors of a book on that topic, presented the special program.

On Saturday, May 31, AFF scholars participated in a fruitful conference Cults: Theory and Treatment Issues, which included an afternoon ex-member session facilitated by Carol Giambalvo. That day AFF also held its second workshop for families and loved ones of present and former cult members, "How to Help a Loved One Affected by a Cult."

The Saturday conference consisted of two symposia coordinated by AFF Executive Director Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. The morning symposium, "Treatment and Cults: What Works with Whom," was led off by a presentation by Margaret Thaler Singer, Ph.D, followed by presentations from Ron Burks, M.Div, M.A., Arnold Markowitz, M.S.W., Lorna Goldberg, M.S.W., A.C.S.W., and Steve Dubrow-Eichel, Ph.D. Thomas Keiser, Ph.D., moderated the session.

The theme of the afternoon symposium was "Theory and Cults: In Search of the Perfect Explanation." Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. spoke about psychological theories and Benjamin Zablocki, Ph.D. about sociological theories. William Chambers, Ph.D. and Arthur Dole, Ph.D. served as Discussants, Mike Kropveld as moderator.

Livia Bardin, M.S.W. coordinated and facilitated the concurrently running workshop, "How to Help a Loved One Affected by a Cult." Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. spoke about "Mindbending: An Overview." An ex-member panel including Maureen Griffo, Charles McAlpin, Alexandra Stein, and moderator William Goldberg, M.S.W., A.C.S.W. discussed "Cult and Family: The Tug of War."

Other workshop sessions were "Assessment and Planning," presented by Livia Bardin, M.S.W., "Communications," led by William Goldberg, M.S.W., A.C.S.W., "Recovery Issues," led by Livia Bardin, M.S.W., "Spouses in Cults," facilitated by Lorna Goldberg, M.S.W., A.C.S.W., "Exit Counseling," presented by Patrick Ryan and Joseph Kelly, "Families with Multi-Year Involvements," led by Lorna Goldberg, M.S.W., A.C.S.W., "Problem Solving," led by William Goldberg, M.S.W., A.C.S.W. and Livia Bardin, M.S.W., and "Family Case Presentations" by Carol Diament, Bobby Coyle, Steven Eisenberg, and Daniel and Gloria Eisenberg, followed by formal responses from William Goldberg, M.S.W., A.C.S.W. and Joseph Szimhart.

On Sunday, June 1st, AFF Advisors and staff members exchanged information at the annual AFF Advisory Board meeting, chaired by AFF president Herbert Rose-dale, Esq. and coordinated by AFF Director of Education Ronald Loomis, M.A.

Throughout the weekend conference attendees were given the opportunity to peruse and purchase AFF books, videotapes, and other information. The conferences were covered by many members of the national and local Philadelphia media, and the Philadelphia Inquirer published two articles about the conference. Overall the conference was a great success.


From the Editor

In this issue of AFF News we focus on the fruit of the work of our professional staff and more than 150 volunteer professionals that have designed outstanding programs, resources, books, and have conducted research addressing all aspects of the cult phenomena. I am pleased to report that AFF's conferences and research-based workshops for families and ex-members have been very well received.

1997 has been an encouraging year of cult prevention, and ex-member recovery!

Patrick Ryan




+ AFF News, 01.02: Giambalvo, Carol: "Post-Cult Problems: An Exit Counselor's Perspective"
+ AFF News, 02.01: Martin, Paul, Ph.D.: "Pitfalls To Recovery"
+ AFF News, 02.02: Ford, Wendy: "The Role of the Family"
+ AFF News, 02.05: Lifton, Robert J., M.D.: "Cult Formation"
+ AFF News, 02.06: Rosedale, Herb: "Annual Report From the President"
+ AFF News, 03.01: Lalich, Janja Ph.D.: "Crazy" Therapies: What are They? Do They Work? - The Therapeutic Relationship
+ AFF News, 03.03: Lalich, Janja Ph.D.: "We Own Her Now"
+ AFF News, 03.05: Rosedale, Herb: "Conference Report"
+ AFF News, 03.06: Rosedale, Herb: "Annual Report: Letter From the President"
+ AFF News, 04.02: Stein, Alexandra: "Recovering From a Political Cult"
+ AFF News, 04.03: Henry, Roseanne: "Why We Need To Become Spiritual Consumers"
Andron, Sandy, Ed.D.: "Problem Solving An Approach for the Cult-Impacted Family"
Lalich, Janja, Ph.D.: "Individual Differences Affecting Recovery"
√ Products - periodicals: AFF News

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