Jun 22, 2021

ICSA Conference 2021 Montreal Virtual - Workshops

ICSA Conference 2021 Montreal Virtual - Workshops

Conference Workshops (July 1-4)
Conference (July 1-3)

The upcoming online annual conference of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), organized jointly with its Montreal partners Info-Cult and the Association québécoise Plaidoyer-Victimes, will feature, among numerous sessions, two workshops that will be simultaneously interpreted from English into French. They are the Mental Health and Research Workshops. You can find out more about the conference and how to register at: https://icsaconferenceannual.lpages.co/icsa-annual-conference/ and below about the about the 2 workshops:

Mental Health Workshop

Part 1: Working with First-Generation (Linda-Dubrow Marshall, Richard Turner, Ashley McLean)
This workshop will focus on how mental health professionals can best address working with first-generation former members. Ashley McLean will discuss the difficulties associated with the treatment of former members of pseudo therapeutic cults based on her research and personal experiences as a former member. Richard Turner will discuss his perspective about mental health issues and how to best help first-generation former members to recover, including pathways and barriers to recovery, based on both personal and professional experience. Dr. Linda Dubrow-Marshall will then discuss general principles for how mental health professionals can best facilitate the recovery of first-generation former members based on an appreciation of individual differences amongst common sequelae of the experience of being in an abusive group and the need for flexibility in helping people to recover.

Part 2: Working with Born-or-Raised (Lorna Goldberg, Jacqueline Johnson)
This workshop will provide mental health professionals with a basic knowledge of some typical SGA/MGA reactions to leaving a cult and address how the therapist might intervene. Character issues developed in the cult will be described, such as the incorporation of the cult’s pressure to look “good” and perform to perfection. Along with this, the development of a harsh conscience will be examined. Additionally, it will be considered that, as a result of a childhood filled with trauma from abuse and/or neglect, a large number of clients display the effects of complex post-traumatic stress disorder. The therapist’s role is to help clients move towards self-awareness by gaining an understanding of how their cult childhood impacts on present thoughts and behavior. Symptoms of complex post-traumatic stress (e.g. emotional dysregulation and dissociation) will be addressed and clients will be helped by examining precipitating events along looking at alternative possibilities and grounding techniques. As a result of this examination, the therapist helps clients access inner beliefs and emotions. Therefore, clients begin to move from expression of emotion somatically or through action (sometimes self-destructive) to expression of emotion through language. Clients’ assumptions that stem from cult life also will be explored as part of the therapy process; and, thus, clients gain an understanding of whether or not these assumptions have more to do with the past than the present. At times, these assumptions are directed at the therapist and the therapist will be open in her examination of whether or not clients’ reactions were elicited by her behavior. The goal is to allow clients to gain more control over present life and gain access to a larger repertoire of reactions. Post-cult family relationships also will be addressed. Case examples will be provided throughout the workshop. Time will be allotted for questions and the discussion of case material.

Research Workshop

Research Workshop (Rod Dubrow- Marshall; Carmen Almendros; Marie-Andrée Pelland; Cyndi Matthews)
The Research Workshop will focus on key areas of research currently taking place on cults and extremist groups and related areas of coercion (intimate partner violence, trafficking and gangs). Researchers will be able to discuss the challenges they may be facing or may have faced in proposing new research projects in these areas, including getting institutional approval (IRB or ethics committee), finding participants, clarifying aspects of research design and getting support from faculty. Experienced researchers will be on hand to answer questions and all those present will be able to share their ideas on current and future research including possibilities for collaboration. In previous years researchers have found this pre-conference workshop a helpful way to progress their thinking and plans and as a way to develop networks to advance their research. The workshop will also discuss specific proposals concerning the establishment of an online researchers' forum and the development of the journal and other conduits for research outputs (including conferences in different regions/countries).


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