Apr 30, 2022

CultNEWS101 Articles: 4/30-5/1/2022 (Event, Cult Recovery, Esther House, Australia, Troubled Teen Industry)

Event, Cult Recovery, Esther House, Australia, Troubled Teen Industry

Colleen Russell; Sunday, June 26, 2022; 3:00 PM-3:50 PM

"I've had individual therapy, but after attending my first workshop I realize that what I need now is learning from the group of former members." "By having compassion for others in the workshop, hearing their stories, I'm gaining compassion for myself." "I wasn't aware until listening to others in the workshop and reading the educational material you provide, how many relationships I've been involved in that have been coercive." "It's a relief in these workshops that we're not passively listening to an 'expert'."

The purpose of these workshops/support sessions is to help participants gain insight about what happened to them, learn how others have responded to similar situations, and find new ways of coping in healthier relationships and situations. This includes expressing themselves with others who understand, gaining mutual support and acknowledgement, learning how to navigate through symptoms effectively, and deepening awareness of coercive control and influence. It is not a therapy group. Participation is limited to 10 - 15 each two hour session, via Zoom, with "regulars" attending and getting to know each other.

I will explain how the workshop helps survivors with their recovery and growth, topics they have wanted to explore, examples of resources, and what I've learned from working with this population that is continually forming my approach.

In disconfirming inaccurate, self-limiting beliefs from thought reform and abusive families and relationships, one benefits from attitudes and environments that counter the oppressive demands of coercive groups and relationships. The workshop is one way to assist in this regard.

ABC News: Esther Foundation enters voluntary administration amidst claims of mistreatment and abuse
"A Perth-based Christian rehab facility is now under investigation, over allegations of mistreatment and abuse by former residents. The move has sparked questions about whether the federal and state governments did their homework before allocating millions of dollars in grants. Esther Foundation has also announced that it will be going into voluntary administration."

"Official statements, news releases and the recollections of a former premier show how multiple West Australian governments funded, supported and celebrated a Christian rehab facility that is now the focus of a parliamentary investigation into allegations of psychological and sexual abuse and inappropriate treatment."

"The Esther Foundation, a Christian-based residential rehabilitation centre in Perth, says it will cooperate with any criminal investigation after a growing number of women have spoken out about allegations of psychological abuse and inappropriate treatment at the facility.

Key points:
• Esther House has issued an apology to former residents for any "hurt" or "abuse" they might have experienced while living at the Perth rehabilitation centre
• Former residents have come forward with claims of psychological abuse and inappropriate treatment
• The centre has parted ways with the former managing director and founder

Former residents of the centre this week told the ABC that the program treated their mental health and addictions by attempting to "exorcise demons". One woman said she was not allowed to speak for two months.

The women say they did not receive any psychological or psychiatric care from a qualified medical specialist during their time at the residential centre for young women from crisis backgrounds, which claims to provide counselling for issues including addictions, sexual abuse and mental health."

Crikey: 'I witnessed truly appalling things': a letter from a former resident of Esther House

"I first became a participant of Esther House when I was just 14 years old, after a family breakdown. Immediately I was told I was unable to contact any of my family, my friends or anyone in my support network. I had to immediately surrender my wallet and mobile phone. If I needed anything I'd have to wait for a "worker" on a designated shopping trip, who would stand with my wallet in a zip-lock bag and pay for me. Even if I needed something as simple as tampons. 

Claire Crawford went to hell and back at Esther House. Why isn't it shut down?

"Over the next two and half years, I would be completely stripped of anything that would have given me an outer perspective and individuality from the program. I would be denied an education, despite the ages of 14 to 17 being some of the most important schooling years for a young person. Without that foundation it has really limited my career paths as a now almost 30-year-old adult. It's something that still brings me a lot of shame, that my highest level of education is Year 9. 

Immediately upon entering the program, the idea of a Christian God is thrust upon you, whether you're a willing and open participant or not. If any answer you give during any type of "group therapy" is not centred around God, it's not an appropriate answer. If you don't accept the idea of a Christian God then you are labelled as rebellious, spiteful, angry and dangerous."

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