cult recovery 101

ICSA Annual Conference: Pursuing Counseling after Having Been in a Psychotherapy Cult

ICSA Annual Conference: Pursuing Counseling after Having Been in a Psychotherapy Cult

ICSA Annual Conference: Pursuing Counseling after Having Been in a Psychotherapy Cult

Rachel Bernstein, MSed, LMFT, Friday, June 24th, 12:00 PM-12:50 PM

So many people are justifiably panicked about pursuing counseling for themselves after having been at the mercy of the leader of a psychotherapy cult or a counselor in an abusive residential treatment center. I work with many people who were terrified about getting help again and waited for years to come for therapy or participate in my support group because their last counseling experience had been so traumatizing, abusive and manipulative.

People who were controlled and manipulated by therapists and coaches who crossed boundaries, took advantage of their power and that relationship, made them dependent on them and took them away from their families and friends, need to know that their new counselor can be trusted. People who have also endured being attacked in psychotherapy group settings and also have resultant guilt from having been pushed to attack other participants in the group are often too afraid to participate in groups that could actually offer them healthy support and community.

This presentation will provide counselors with ideas about how to address the specific needs of these clients who were abused within previous therapeutic settings and will also provide guidelines for people previously abused by a counselor who are now seeking treatment for themselves to help them assess if their new counselor will provide them with a healthy and safe therapeutic environment.

Rachel Bernstein

Rachel Bernstein Former Member Support Group, Facilitator

Rachel Bernstein, MSed, LMFT, has been working with former cult members for nearly 30 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. Rachel is the host of her weekly Podcast, “IndoctriNation,” about breaking free from systems of control., 818-907-0036