Sep 18, 2017

Cultic Groups and Relationships: A One-Day Workshop for Former Members and Families

International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA)
When: Saturday, October 21, 2017. 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Where: Atkins Research Global, Inc. 4929 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 102, Los Angeles, CA 90010

This workshop, which will take place at the Atkins Research Center, is open to family members, former members of cultic situations (groups and one-on-ones), and others interested in this topic. The workshop will include presentations and group discussions on topics such as the following:


  • Neurobiology of trauma,
  • Dealing with loss,
  • Common issues in recovery,
  • Unique challenges of SGAs,
  • One-on-one relationships,
  • Challenges of reintegration for ex-members and families,
  • Is therapy important?
  • Importance of support groups.
This event 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 or (239)-514-3081.
Fees: $50 per person. Refreshments will be served. Attendees are on their own for lunch.

Online Registration - REGISTER ASAP – space is limited.



Rachel Bernstein, MS, LMFT
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. She has been a member of ICSA for many years and has presented talks and moderated panels at ICSA conferences. Rachel previously 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 facilitated numerous support groups for former cult members, for people who were in one-on-one cults, and for the families of those in cults. Rachel has published many articles, made media appearances, consulted on shows and movies about cults, and has been interviewed for podcasts and YouTube videos. In addition to her private practice, she consults on cases through Freedom of Mind.; (818) 907-0036

Dhyana Levey
Dhyana Levey
grew up on a commune connected to the United Lodge of Theosophists, an offshoot a group formed in 1875 by controversial Russian aristocrat and spirit medium Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. She has a degree in journalism and worked as a newspaper reporter for about 15 years, covering environmental issues and law in California, as well as labor at an English-language newspaper in Cambodia. She now writes regularly for a couple of Bay Area magazines and is working on a book about adults who were raised as children in cults.

Doni Whitsett, PhD, LCSW,
Doni Whitsett, PhD, LCSW
, is a Clinical Professor at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work where she teaches various courses in practice, behavior, mental health, and human sexuality. She has been working with cult-involved clients and their families for over 20 years and gives lectures to students and professionals on this topic. 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. Dr. Whitsett also has a specialty in Sexuality and was awarded a Fulbright Specialist Scholarship in 2016 to study, teach, and do research on this topic in China.;  (323) 907-2400

P.O. Box 2265
Bonita Springs, FL 34133

Phone: (239) 514-3081
Fax: (305) 393-8193

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