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ICSA resources about psychological manipulation, cultic groups, sects, and new religious movements.

 

Resource Guide

Suggestions for Mental Health

Psychological Manipulation, cult groups, sects, and new religious movements

Suggestions for Mental Health Professionals

Mental health professionals are prone to make two serious errors in cult-related cases. First, they may assume that a cult involvement is merely a sign of normal adolescent rebellion and identity searching, and that "this too will pass." Although this point of view is sometimes true, it is false often enough to make the assumption unwise. Don't dismiss families who may seek your help. Their concerns may indeed be warranted. And don't overlook the possible deleterious role of a cult involvement in patients who seek your help for depression or other psychological disorders.

The second common error mental health professionals make is to assume that a cult involvement reflects unconscious individual psychopathology and/or a dysfunctional family system. There is no doubt that many who join cults have pre-existing psychological problems and/or come from highly dysfunctional families. But many have normal psychological and family backgrounds. Those who were troubled and those who were not troubled may both be affected - though perhaps in different ways - by a highly manipulative and exploitative group environment. In one of our research studies, former cult members preferred the terms "psychological trauma" and "psychological abuse" to describe their experiences, rather than "cult," "mind control," or other terms. So don't focus on the person's or family's past to such a high degree that you overlook the possible psychologically traumatic effects of a destructive group experience. See the essay, Clinical Update on Cults.

Regarding resources, we suggest that you consider ordering our Mental Health Library, a collection costing less purchased together than separately. This library includes the following:

Order

Discounted Price: $173 (Outside USA: $228). ID: LIBMH

A less expensive alternative to the professional library is the following collection of items:

This resource guide contains information on groups that have generated press coverage and on certain general topics and categories of groups. For suggestions on finding information on groups.

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