Oct 7, 2016

Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships: A Workshop for Families and Former Members

Saturday, 9:00 a.m. October 15, 2016 to Sunday 4:45 p.m. October 16, 2016
Center for Inquiry, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90027

This workshop, which will take place at the Los Angeles Center for Inquiry, is open to family members and former members of cultic groups. The workshop will include much discussion on topics such as the following:
MORNING (10 -12)
Introductions, Overview of workshop, ground rules.
Cult model (Patrick Ryan/Joseph Kelly);
One-on-ones (Rachel Bernstein);
The SGA experience (Doni Whitsett).
Group discussion:
What groups are people concerned with, were in?
What attracted them?
Why did they stay?
Why did they leave?
LUNCH BREAK (12 -1:30)
AFTERNOON (1:30 - 5)
Dealing with cult situations for families, ex-members, therapists.
Taking stress seriously: when stress kills; Good and bad stress (Doni Whitsett).
Menna (Ramtha);
Chris Shelton (Scientology);
Timothy McCarty (World Mission Society Church of God).
Group discussions:
What was helpful? Not helpful? (Rachel Bernstein);
What have we learned? (Rachel Bernstein).
MORNING (10 -12)
Introductions; Overview of workshop; ground rules: review of what we covered on Saturday.
Critical thinking in Recovery (Chris Shelton);
Nature of internal experience (Patrick Ryan/Joseph Kelly);
Ambiguous loss (Doni Whitsett);
Recovery issues (Rachel Bernstein).
Group Discussion
LUNCH BREAK (12 -1:30)
AFTERNOON (1:30 - 4:30)
Break out group for families:
Assessing your situation.
Break out group for ex-members:
What you joined, what you got (Joseph Kelly); Recovery issues.
Group discussions:
Moving forward/Next steps;
Creating a safe space;
Resources from ICSA and community (Patrick Ryan);
Review and Closing (Rachel Bernstein facilitates).
This workshop has been made possible by donations to ICSA and the willingness of facilitators to volunteer their time. Without the dedication of these people, registration fees would be much higher than they are. If you are unemployed, on disability, or otherwise limited financially and need help with the registration fee, please contact us at mail@icsamail.com or (239)-514-3081.
The fee for the workshop is $75 per person. One-day attendance is $50. Because of the cooperation of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), CFI members may deduct $25 from the workshop or daily fee. To register, go online:
Registrants receive a free ICSA Web membership or have their existing membership extended.
Rachel Bernstein, MS, LMFT, has been working with former cult members for 25 years. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Educator, who lives in Los Angeles, CA. Rachel ran the Maynard Bernstein Resource Center on cults, named after her father. She was the Clinician at the former Cult Clinic in Los Angeles, as well as the Cult Hotline and Clinic in Manhattan. She now treats former cult members and the families and friends of those in cults in her private practice. Rachel has published many articles, made media appearances, consulted on shows and movies about cults, and has been interviewed for podcasts and YouTube videos. RachelBernsteinTherapy.com, rbpsychology@gmail.com.
Joseph F. Kelly, a graduate of Temple University, has been a thought reform consultant since 1988. He spent 14 years in two different eastern meditation groups. He has lectured extensively on cult-related topics, and is a co-author of Ethical Standards for Thought Reform Consultants, published in ICSA’s Cultic Studies Journal. For many years, Mr. Kelly has also co-facilitated ICSA pre-conference workshops for ex-members. Recently, he helped to initiate ICSA’s monthly meeting in Philadelphia. joekelly411@gmail.com. Websites: intervention101.com; cultmediation.com; cultrecovery101.com cultnews101.com
Patrick Ryan, a graduate of Maharishi International University, has been a cult intervention specialist since 1984. He is the co-founder of TM-EX, the organization of ex-members of Transcendental Meditation. He established ICSA's online resource (1995-2013) and has presented 50 programs about hypnosis, inner-experience, trance-induction techniques, communicating with cult members, conversion, cult intervention, exit counseling, intervention assessment, mediation, religious conflict resolution, and other subjects. He has led or co-led ICSA workshops for educators, families, former members, and mental health professionals. pryan19147@gmail.com. Websites: intervention101.com; cultmediation.com; cultrecovery101.com cultnews101.com
Doni Whitsett, PhD, LCSW, is a 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. 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), and Why cults are harmful: Neurobiological speculations on inter-personal trauma. ICSA Today, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2014.

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