Coping with Triggers

Coping with Triggers and Floating . . . a recovery issue By Carol Giambalvo “Floating” is a word often used in association with “trancing out,” “spacing out,” “being triggered,” or “dissociation.” Ex-cult members describe it in several ways, including (but not limited to) feeling disconnected, feeling as though you’re watching yourself live your life, having spells where you ...

Essay: Coping With Trance States

Patrick Ryan Cult Observer, Volume 10, No. 3, 1993, “Guest Column: Coping With Trance States”; and first appeared in the Summer 1992 issue of TM EX NEWS. Trance states, derealization, dissociation, spaceyness. What are they? What strategies can we use to cope with them? By trance states we mean dissociation, depersonalization, and derealization. In the ...

Deception, Dependency, and Dread

Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. Farber, Harlow, & West (1957) coined the term “DDD syndrome” to describe the essence of Korean war thought reform with prisoners of war: debility, dependency, and dread. Lifton (1961), who also studied thought reform employed in Chinese universities, demonstrated that the process did not require physical debilitation. Contemporary cultic groups, which ...

Singer’s Six Conditions

Excerpted from Cults in Our Midst, Margaret Thaler Singer, p. 64-69. 1. Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how she or he is being changed a step at a time. Potential new members are led, step by step, through a behavioral-change program without being aware of the final agenda or full ...

Criteria for Thought Reform

Excerpted from Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism by Robert Jay Lifton, Chapter 22: Ideological Totalism 1. Milieu Control. This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large. 2. Mystical Manipulation. There is manipulation of ...

Born or Raised in Closed, High-Demand Groups: Developmental Considerations

ICSA e-Newsletter, Vol. 4, No. 3, 2005 Born or Raised in Closed, High-Demand Groups: Developmental Considerations Leona Furnari, L.C.S.W. An increasing number of individuals are entering mainstream society who were born and/or raised in cults or closed, high-demand groups. In my work as a mental health professional specializing in trauma and recovery from spiritual abuse, ...