AFF News Briefs
Vol. 3, No. 4/5
1997, AFF Annual Conference
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
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
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.,
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