Mar 26, 2016

Cults and Sex Trafficking

Saturday, April 16, 2016 

University of Southern California 
Room MRF340 

This special ICSA one-day conference will examine similarities and differences in the psychological dynamics and treatment issues mental health professionals encounter in their work with victims of cults and sex trafficking. Experts from both areas will come together to discuss their work. There will also be a special discussion on policy implications, beginning with a stimulus presentation by distinguished law professor, Alan Scheflin. 

The conference registration fee is $30 for current ICSA members, $50 for nonmembers (complimentary ICSA Web membership included with the registration). Attendees are on their own for meals. 

ICSA is offering USC students, staff, and faculty free registration, if they complete the online sign-up, in lieu of the registration form. 

MRF340 is in the Montgomery Ross Fisher Building at USC.  See USC Maps. 


Saturday, April 16, 2016

8:00 – 8:45


8:45 – 9:00

Welcome / Housekeeping / Opening Remarks (Marilyn Flynn, PhD, Dean of the School of Social Work; Doni Whitsett, PhD; Halleh Seddighzadeh, PhD; Michael Langone, PhD)

9:00 – 10:30

Treating Former Cult Members (MaryJo Cysewski, MA, LMFT, LPC; Jonibeth Whitney, PhD; Doni Whitsett, PhD, LCSW)

10:30 -11:00

Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:30

Treating Sex Trafficking Victims (Analisa Enrile, PhD; Andrea Moore-Emmett, MA; Halleh Seddighzadeh, PhD;  

12:30 – 2:00

Lunch Break

2:00 – 3:30

Panel Discussion: What can the two fields learn from each other? (Michael Langone, PhD, Moderator; MaryJo Cysewski, MA, LMFT, LPC; Analisa Enrile, PhD; Andrea Moore-Emmett, MA; Halleh Seddighzadeh, PhD; Jonibeth Whitney, PhD; Doni Whitsett, PhD, LCSW)

3:30 – 4:00

Coffee Break

4:00 – 5:30

Policy Implications

Supporting Human Rights by Testifying Against Human Wrongs (Alan Scheflin, JD, LLM)

Discussion (Michael Kropveld, Moderator; Analise Enrile, PhD; Michael Langone, PhD; Alan Scheflin, JD, LLM; Halleh Seddighzadeh, PhD)

5:30 - 5:45

Closing Remarks (Doni Whitsett, PhD, LCSW; Halleh Seddighzadeh, PhD, LCSW)

5:45 – 7:30

Informal Socializing


Biographical Sketches of Presenters 

Mary Jo Cysewski, MA, LMFT, LPCC, is a marriage and family therapist and professional clinical counselor in private practice in Los Angeles, where she provides individual, family therapy and facilitates monthly support groups. Ms. Cysewski specializes in cult-related cases for former cult members and for families who have a loved one who is involved in a cult. Additionally, she provides counseling/coaching and practical tools for planning and pursuing career and education. Professional consultation and mediation are also available.

Analisa Enrile, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Southern California School of Social Work, is one of the few Filipina PhDs in social work, having chosen the field as a way to bring to light important social issues in the Filipino-American community, the fastest-growing Asian immigrant population. She frequently speaks out against sex trafficking, anti-militarization, and exploitative migrant labor. A voice for equity and global justice, the clinical associate professor has been recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipinas in the World (FWN Global 100) for her efforts to stop violence against women. She has worked with students, communities, and academic partners to create social change through innovation and collaboration. Dr. Enrile teaches in the school's Virtual Academic Center and City Center, and at the USC University Park Campus. She currently serves as the chair of the Community Organization, Planning and Administration (COPA) Concentration, the co-chair of the foundation-year Human Behavior sequence, and the lead instructor of several courses. She has numerous publications.

Marilyn L. Flynn, PhD, is Professor and Dean, School of Social Work, University of Southern California since 1997, only the second woman to hold this position in the school’s nearly 100-year history. She holds the 2U Endowed Chair in Educational Innovation and Social Work. Her career has spanned appointments in higher education; consulting on strategic planning for county governments and nonprofit organizations; practice in mental health and school social work; and membership on numerous boards at the local, national, and international levels. She helped found the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. Flynn has received several awards, including the International NASW Sarnat Award for Public Advancement of Social Work, the first USC Provost’s Prize for Educational Innovation, and the National Award for Community and Volunteer Service, given by President Obama. Flynn is also faculty member of the New York Academy of Medicine Leadership Training Program and organizer of the Islandwood Roundtables, which are designed to advance science in the social work profession. Her innovative ideas have brought national and global recognition to the school and the university.

Michael Kropveld is Founder and Executive Director of Info-Cult /Info-Secte, based in Montreal, Canada, and sits on the board of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). Since 1980 he has assisted thousands of former members and members of cults, new religious movements, and other groups, and their families. He has served as an expert witness on cult-related criminal and civil cases, and is consulted regularly by mental health professionals and law enforcement agencies. Since the mid-1990s he has collaborated on the organizing of the ICSA annual international conferences on cultic phenomena. He has been an invited speaker worldwide, and has appeared on many radio and television programs locally, nationally, and internationally. Among other publications, he co-authored, in 2006, The Cult Phenomenon: How Groups Function / Le phénomène des sectes: L'étude du fonctionnement des groupes. Both versions are downloadable for free at He was awarded the 125 Commemorative Medal in 1992 by the Government of Canada in recognition of significant contribution to compatriots, community and to Canada. In 2007 he received the Herbert L. Rosedale Award from ICSA in recognition of leadership in the effort to preserve and protect individual freedom. 

Michael D. Langone, PhD, a counseling psychologist, received a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1979. Since 1981 he has been Executive Director of International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), a tax-exempt research and educational organization concerned about psychological manipulation and cultic groups. Dr. Langone has been consulted by several hundred former cult members and/or their families. He was the founder editor of Cultic Studies Journal (CSJ), the editor of CSJ’s successor, Cultic Studies Review, and editor of Recovery from Cults: Help for Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse (an alternate of the Behavioral Science Book Service). He is co-author ofCults: What Parents Should Know and Satanism and Occult-Related Violence: What You Should Know.Currently, Dr. Langone is ICSA Today’s Editor-in-Chief. He has been the chief designer and coordinator of ICSA’s international conferences, which in recent years have taken place in Barcelona, New York, Rome, Philadelphia, Geneva, Denver, Brussels, Atlanta, and Madrid. In 1995, he was honored as the Albert V. Danielsen visiting Scholar at Boston University. He has authored numerous articles in professional journals and books. Dr. Langone has spoken to dozens of lay and professional groups and numerous radio and television stations. 

Andrea Moore-Emmett, MA, is the author of God's Brothel, The Extortion of Sex For Salvation in Contemporary Mormon and Christian Fundamentalist Polygamy and he Stories of 18 Women Who Escaped. She is the author of several articles covering polygamy for various national magazines and was the researcher for the A & E documentary, Inside Polygamy, which also aired on the BBC. As a journalist, she has been the recipient of five awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Utah Headliners Chapter, including the Don Baker Investigative Journalism Award. She was also awarded a Women in Communications Leading Changes Award and the Leadership Council on Abuse and Interpersonal Violence and the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma 2008 Award for Distinguished Service and Excellence in Journalism. Moore-Emmett served as Utah NOW President and on a Salt Lake City Mayor's commission. She has an MA in psychology. 

Alan W. Scheflin, JD, LLM, is Emeritus Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law in California and a member of ICSA’s Board of Directors. Among his several dozen publications is Memory, Trauma Treatment, and the Law (co-authored with Daniel Brown and D. Corydon Hammond), for which he received the 1999 Guttmacher Award from the American Psychiatric Association, one of 18 awards he has received. Professor Scheflin is also the 1991 recipient of the Guttmacher Award for Trance on Trial (with Jerrold Shapiro). A member of the Editorial Advisory Board of ICSA’s International Journal of Cultic Studies, Professor Scheflin received the 2001 American Psychological Association, Division 30 (Hypnosis), Distinguished Contribution to Professional Hypnosis Award. This is the highest award that Division 30 can bestow. He was also awarded in 2001 The American Board of Psychological Hypnosis, Professional Recognition Award. This Award was created to honor his achievements in promoting the legal and ethical use of hypnosis. Professor Scheflin has delivered over 100 invited addresses at professional conferences. In 2004 ICSA awarded Professor Scheflin the Herbert L. Rosedale Award in recognition of leadership in the effort to preserve and protect individual freedom. 

Halleh Seddighzadeh, PhD, is a forensic traumatologist and international trauma specialist in the psychological treatment of torture, specifically in survivors of human trafficking, terrorism, radicalized youth, war refugees, genocide, gender based violence, and most recently survivors of cults and ecclesiastic abuse. She has worked in refugee camps with child and adult survivors of trafficking and torture in the Middle East doing disaster relief, resiliency and capacity building, psychological first aid, and investigative research. She is the Founder of ARMAN (Asylee, Refugee Migrant Assistance Network) a multidisciplinary, multicultural, forensic mental health organization supported by a network of international trauma experts, subject matter experts, medical and academic researchers, and practitioners who have extensive experience treating and working with individuals who have suffered the most extreme forms of torture and trauma around the world. She frequently provides consultation and training to law enforcement agencies, service providers, faith-based organization, prosecutors, investigators, medical practitioners and the business sector internationally and domestically on trauma-informed counter-trafficking best practice. 

Jonibeth (J.B.) Whitney, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who has been doing cult awareness work for 30 years including a training workshop for cult awareness volunteers, individual and group counseling for people with cult-involved family members, and presenting at local and national conferences. Her research includes examining the relationship between childhood abuse and the severity of subsequent cult experiences and co-authorship of The Individual Cult Experience Index: The Assessment of Cult Involvement and Its Relationship to Postcult Distress, published in the Cultic Studies Journal. Dr. Whitneycurrently works in private practice in W. Los Angeles.

Doni Whitsett, PhD, LCSW, is Clinical Professor of Social Work at the University of Southern California School of Social Work. Dr. Whitsett teaches various courses in practice, behavior, and mental health. She has been working with cult-involved clients and their families for 20 years and gives lectures to students and professionals in this area. She has presented at national and international conferences in Madrid, Poland, Canada, and in Australia, where she helped organize two conferences in Brisbane. Her talks have included The Psychobiology of Trauma and Child Maltreatment (2005, Madrid) and Why Cults Are Harmful: A Neurobiological View of Interpersonal Trauma (2012, Montreal). Her publications include The Psychobiology of Trauma and Child Maltreatment (Cultic Studies Review, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2006), A Self Psychological Approach to the Cult Phenomenon (Journal of Social Work, 1992), Cults and Families (Families in Society, Vol. 84, No. 4, 2003), which she coauthored with Dr. Stephen Kent, and Why cults are harmful: Neurobiological speculations on inter-personal trauma (ICSA Today, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2014). 

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