cult recovery 101

Therapist and Cult Specialist

Therapist and Cult Specialists



Rachel Bernstein, LMFT, MSEd – Marriage and Family Therapist

Rachel Bernstein is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, as well as an educator. She has been working with former cult members and their loved ones since 1991. She has a private practice in a suburb of Los Angeles and also runs a weekly Former Cult Member Support group in her office.

Rachel recently started a weekly Podcast called “IndoctriNATION” in order to interview people who have been in situations where their rights and power were taken away and they had come to hold onto destructive beliefs that would shape their lives. Before starting her private practice in 2001, Rachel had been the Clinician at the former Cult Clinic in Los Angeles, had worked at the Maynard Bernstein Resource Center on Cults, and was the Clinician at the Cult Hotline and Clinic in New York where she met with people privately and also ran a monthly support group for the families and friends of those in cults.

Rachel spoke numerous times at the former Cult Awareness Network conferences and then became involved with the International Cultic Studies Association, speaking to attendees and participating in panels and workshops.

Additionally, she is on the board of the Open Minds Foundation and works with Freedom of Mind.

Rachel has also done many YouTube videos and has been interviewed on other people’s YouTube channels regarding cults, undue influence, and narcissistic abuse. She has been interviewed on numerous television and radio shows, including CNN, Larry King, National Geographic Channel, and 20/20.

Colleen Russell, LMFT, CGP

Colleen Russell, LMFT, CGP, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) since 1992, and Certified Group Psychotherapist (CGP) since 2008. She maintains a general private practice in Marin County, SF Bay Area, working with individuals, couples, families, groups and workshops, in her office or online. Her areas of expertise are trauma, loss, cult and high demand group and relationship education and recovery, including those born and raised; and motherless daughters, women who have lost their mothers through death, illness, narcissism, separation, or estrangement in childhood, adolescence or adulthood. Colleen is a former member of two high demand groups. After her mother’s death at 15, she lived with the founder of a Christian/Mystical group for two years and at 19, she was recruited into an Eastern/New Age group where she was a high-ranking member, leaving seven years later.

Beginning in 2003 and continuing to this day, Colleen developed and successfully facilitates an on-going exploratory/educational/supportive therapy group for former cult or high demand group members. She also facilitates small educational/interactive workshops for former members, face to face since 2009 and online since 2018. Colleen has attended and presented at professional organizations including at ICSA conferences: “Disconfirming Inaccurate, Self-Limiting Beliefs Internalized Through Thought Reform with Corrective Emotional Experience”(2008) and “Behave, Believe, Become – Or Not! Freedom From Coercive Control in High Demand Groups and Relationships” (2019). Her article, “Touched: Disconfirming Pathogenic Beliefs of Thought Reform Through the Process of Acting” appears in the Cultic Studies Review Special Edition, The Last Draw — Cults and Creativity, 2010. She was primary therapist at Wellspring Residential Retreat for cult survivors, founded by Paul Martin, PhD during his illness; team program developer for DV survivors and children and primary therapist with the Center for Domestic Peace in California; and on staff at various SF Bay area agencies serving adults, children, families, and those diagnosed with severe mental illness.

She is a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, The American Group Psychotherapy Association, The San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group, and The Northern California Group Psychotherapy Society.

Her website:; email:


Leona Furnari, MSW, LCSW

Leona Furnari, MSW, LCSW, is a psychotherapist in Boulder, CO, specializing in recovery from trauma, including recovery from abusive groups, spiritual abuse and harmful relationships. Ms. Furnari is a former member of an Eastern/New Age group, and it was that experience that led to her commitment to help others recover from abusive groups or cultic experiences. She has been a regular facilitator/presenter at ICSA’s former-member workshops and cult-education conferences since 1998. She has worked in child protection, community mental health, and as a school social worker. She is an EMDR International Association certified therapist and consultant. In 2010 ICSA awarded her the Margaret L. Singer Award for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence.

Rosanne Henry, L.P.C. – Psychotherapy and Cult Recovery

Rosanne Henry, MA, LPC, is a psychotherapist practicing in Littleton, Colorado. For the past twenty years she has been active in the counter cult movement working closely with the former Cult Awareness Network and ICSA. She presently sits on the board of ICSA and heads the Mental Health Committee. She has facilitated ICSA’s Recovery workshops for twenty-five years. Rosanne’s private practice specializes in the treatment of cult survivors and their families. She is a former member of Kashi Ranch. In 2010 ICSA awarded her the Margaret L. Singer Award for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence. She is also co-editor of ICSA’s Cult Recovery: A Clinician’s Guide to Working With Former Members and Their Families, which is due to be published in 2017.


Vanessa N. Weber, MSW, LCSW

Vanessa N. Weber, MSW, LCSW has worked with victims of cults and their families, since 1980. She was one of the original founders of reFocus and the original Cult Awareness Network, NY/NJ chapter. She has a BA in Religion from Barnard College, studied at Union Theological Seminary, and received her MSW at Yeshiva University. She is the author of Hooked on Psychics, soon to be published by Motivational Press.
860 717 4400


Steve K. D. Eichel, PhD, ABPP, CST

Steve K. D. Eichel, PhD, ABPP, ICSA President, is Past-President of the American Academy of Counseling Psychology and the Greater Philadelphia Society of Clinical Hypnosis. He is a licensed and Board-certified counseling psychologist whose involvement in cultic studies began with a participant-observation study of Unification Church training in their Eastern seminary (in Barrytown, NY) in the spring of 1975. His doctoral dissertation to date remains the only intensive, quantified observation of a deprogramming. He was honored with AFF’s 1990 John G. Clark Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Cultic Studies for this study, which was published as a special issue of the Cultic Studies Journal and has been translated into several foreign languages. In 1983, along with Dr. Linda Dubrow-Marshall and clinical social worker Roberta Eisenberg, Dr. Eichel founded the Re-Entry Therapy, Information & Referral Network (RETIRN), one of the field’s oldest continuing private providers of psychological services to families and individuals harmed by cultic practices. RETIRN currently has offices in Newark, DE, Lansdowne, PA and Pontypridd, Wales and Buxton, England (U.K.). In addition to his psychology practice and his involvement with ICSA, Dr. Eichel is active in a range of professional associations. He has co-authored several articles and book reviews on cult-related topics for the CSJ/CSR. In 2016 he received ICSA’s Herbert L. Rosedale Award at the Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. Steve K. D. Eichel, Ph.D., ABPP, CST
Licensed & Board Certified Psychologist
AASECT Certified Sex Therapist
409 Nottingham Road
Newark, DE 19711
302.368.9136 (Office)
302.598.1330 (Cell)
866-538-9048 (fax)


Carol Giambalvo’s Cult Information and Recovery

Carol Giambalvo’s interest in cults and thought reform began in 1978 when her step-daughter began exhibiting a drastic personality change following becoming a devotee in ISKCON. She began researching cults and thought reform and lectured in local high schools, churches and civic organizations. The more information she gathered on the indoctrination processes and thought reform used in cults, the more concerns arose about her involvement in est and The Hunger Project. In 1983, she and her husband, Noel, left their associations with est, The Hunger Project and Sterling Institute and began a personal search for information to aid their recovery process. Since 1984, Carol has done exit counseling and writing in the field, as well as serving as director with several organization’s boards, organizing and conducting recovery workshops and working with hundreds of people who have walked away from destructive cults.;

Ron Burks, PhD

Ron Burks, PhD, holds an MDiv and an MA in counseling from Asbury Theological Seminary and a PhD in Counselor Education from Ohio University. He worked for many years at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center in Albany, Ohio. He and his wife Vicki wrote Damaged Disciples: Casualties of Authoritarian Churches and the Shepherding Movement, published by Zondervan. His other publications include a chapter on a connection between cults and addiction in the medical reference, Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook, published by Williams and Wilkins. He and Vicki now live near Tallahassee, Florida where both are licensed mental health counselors and operate an intensive outpatient substance abuse program at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Ron is a former president of the Wellspring board and is a clinical advisor to both Wellspring and Meadowhaven, a treatment center near Boston.


Peter T. Malinoski, Ph.D., HSPP

Peter Malinoski, PhD, has been a clinical psychologist in private practice since 2001. In 1999, he received the John G. Clark Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Cultic Studies from the International Cultic Studies Association, and he has been involved in research with former cult members since 1993. He is trained in EMDR and other trauma treatment modalities. He focuses on how problematic unconscious God images are influenced by psychological and developmental factors, especially trauma. He is particularly interested in assisting clients in resolving their psychological impediments to receiving authentic love from others, and loving others and God. He works primarily with Catholics who seek psychological services grounded in a Catholic worldview.


Mary Moore LCSW-C LLC

Mary Moore is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker currently practicing in Maryland. She participated in Divine Light Mission, later renamed Elan Vital and The Prem Rawat Foundation, from 1973 to 2001, having been recruited in her first year of college. While in the group, she pursued a career in accounting and software, helping to found and grow a company which went from 3 to 500 employees from 1981 to 1998. She worked as a Senior System Consultant, Software Designer, and VP of Marketing. The organization’s top management originated within the group, but is no longer affiliated, having been sold by the owners a few years ago. She realized she had been in a cult in 2004 after talking with a former member, reading Margaret Singer’s Cults in our Midst, and visiting the ex-member website. She attended an ICSA former member workshop that summer, then returned to college, obtaining Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work. She has attended four ICSA conferences, as a former member and mental health practitioner. She has developed a practice that focuses on couples’ therapy, trauma work using EMDR, play and sand tray therapy. She has begun co-facilitating a cult recovery support group in the Washington DC area since 2014. Website:


Esther Ruth Friedman, MA, LMHC

Esther Ruth Friedman, MA, LMHC, is an expressive arts therapist and licensed mental health counselor with a Master’s Degree from Lesley University. She is also a former member who is establishing a Boston area practice designed specifically for ex-cult members: The Gentle Souls Revolution, Healing Arts. She recovered her voice, and life, through writing, songwriting and music. In turn, she has helped others using the insights and tools gleaned, including family members of current members, active members who have reached out for help exiting, and former members who needed support while transitioning back into their lives. In 2014, she volunteered to interview defendants who were being, or had been, threatened by cultic litigation for an ICSA study on free speech, and reported on their experiences. She presented her findings in 2015, at ICSA’s conference in Santa Fe, which included an interview with Attorney Peter Skolnik. She published an article about that interview in ICSA Today. She believes recovery from cultic groups requires the exercise of free speech, through which former members take the narrative back, reclaim their voices and thus, their identities. (781) 951-4433;

Judy Pardon, MEd

Judy Pardon, MEd, has been a teacher and a counselor. Since 1992, she has been Associate Director of the New England Institute of Religious Research (NEIRR) and MeadowHaven, where she has worked with former cult members, including some who have experienced profound trauma. She has also spoken widely on the subject and conducted training programs for human-service personnel. In 2014 Ms. Pardon received, with her husband Robert, ICSA’s Herbert L. Rosedale Award.

Robert Pardon, MDiv, ThM,

Robert Pardon, MDiv, ThM, is the Executive Director of the New England Institute of Religious Research (NEIRR) and MeadowHaven. During the past 10 years he has specialized in Bible-based communal groups and aberrational Christian groups. He also consults with law enforcement regarding destructive groups, and gives expert witness testimony. Both he and his wife, Judy, speak nationally and internationally on cults. Much of his work involves counseling, leading support groups, working with those born or raised in groups, and helping former members rebuild their lives. To facilitate the recovery process, MeadowHaven, a long-term rehabilitation facility, was opened in 2002. MeadowHaven can accommodate individuals or families who require long-term (up to a year) care to recover from trauma and cultic abuse. In 2014, Rev. Pardon received, with his wife, Judy, ICSA’s Herbert L. Rosedale Award.


Heather Svoboda, MA LP

Heather Svoboda, MA LP, is a psychologist licensed and practicing in Minnesota, trained in counseling psychology and marriage and family therapy. Additional specialties include dialectical behavioral therapy skills groups; early childhood mental health and treatment; child centered, nondirective play therapy; and (most recently) EMDR. She practices client-centered and trauma-informed therapy in a community clinic with people (ages 2.5 and up) from many different cultures, life experiences, and needs. Heather is herself a former member of a small personality cult in the 1980s. Since exiting, she has been active with the local, national and international cult awareness and recovery networks. She attended and assisted in organizing conferences and served as president of the local CAN affiliate, Free Minds. She spoke publicly about her own experiences and undue influences to classrooms, media, conferences, legislators and callers seeking help. Email:, (612) 702-4716


Lois Svoboda, M.D., L.M.F.T.

Lois Svoboda, M.D., L.M.F.T., is a former family medicine physician who has been trained in Marriage & Family Therapy and worked as a medical family therapist for 23 years in Wichita Kansas. She became interested because of a family member’s involvement and a subsequent successful intervention. Since retiring to Fremont, Nebraska in 2004, she opened a counseling practice and is working with people who have exited cults. She has planned and been responsible for a full day workshop for former cult members in Omaha, Nebraska., as well as a one day symposium for medical, law enforcement, clergy, mental health professionals, and the public on Cults and Gangs in Omaha in 2007. She also worked at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center in Ohio during Dr. Paul Martin’s final illness.

New Jersey

Lorna Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA

Lorna Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA, Board member and past president of ICSA, is a clinical social worker and psychoanalyst in private practice and Director, Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies. In 1976, she and her husband, William Goldberg, began facilitating a support group for former cult members that continues to meet on a monthly basis in their home in Englewood, New Jersey. In1989, Lorna and Bill received the Hall of Fame Award from the authentic Cult Awareness Network and, in 1999; they received the Leo J. Ryan Award from the Leo J. Ryan Foundation. In 2009, she received the Margaret T. Singer Award from ICSA. Lorna joined ICSA’s Board of Directors in November 2003. Along with Rosanne Henry, she co-chaired ICSA’s Mental Health Committee until her term as President of ICSA from 2008 to 2012. Lorna has published numerous articles about her therapeutic work with former cult members in professional journals, most recently: Goldberg, L. (2012). Influence of a Charismatic Antisocial Cult Leader: Psychotherapy With an Ex-Cultist Prosecuted for Criminal Behavior. International Journal of Cultic Studies, Vol. 2, 15-24. Goldberg, L. (2011). Diana, Leaving the Cult: Play Therapy in Childhood and Talk Therapy in Adolescence. International Journal of Cultic Studies, (Vol.2), 33-43. She also wrote a chapter on guidelines for therapists in the book, Recovery from Cults, edited by Michael Langone. Lorna has co-written with Bill Goldberg, a chapter on psychotherapy with targeted parents in the book, Working with Alienated Children and Families (2012), edited by Amy J.L. Baker & S. Richard Sauber.  She is also co-editor of ICSA’s Cult Recovery: A Clinician’s Guide to Working With Former Members and Their Families (2017). Most recently, Lorna has written a chapter entitled, “ Therapy with Former Members of Destructive Groups,” for a book, New Religious Movements and Counseling (2018), edited by Sarah Harvey, Silke Steidinger and James A Beckford. Contact Information: Lorna Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA, 171 Meadowbrook Road, Englewood, NJ 07631, (201) 894-8515, www.

William Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA

William Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA, is a clinical social worker and psychoanalyst with over forty years’ experience working with former cult members. He and his wife, Lorna, co-lead a support group for former cult members, which has been meeting for over forty years. It is the oldest group of its kind in the world. In 2007, Bill retired from the Rockland County, NY Department of Mental Health, where he directed several programs and clinics. He is presently an adjunct professor in the social work and social science departments of Dominican College and he is on the faculty of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies. Bill has published numerous articles in books and professional journals, and he is one of the editors of a soon to be published book, sponsored by ICSA, which will focus on clinical work with former cult members. Bill is a frequent speaker at ICSA conferences, and he and Lorna have been the recipients of the Authentic CAN Hall of Fame Award and the Leo J. Ryan Award. In 2010, Bill was the recipient of ICSA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also co-editor of ICSA’s Cult Recovery: A Clinician’s Guide to Working With Former Members and Their Families, which is due to be published in 2017.

New York

Erin Falconer

Dr. Falconer provides psychotherapy and consultation for individuals and their families who are dealing with the effects of coercive control, cultic abuse, and complex trauma. She also runs support groups and workshops for survivors of coercive control. Dr. Falconer completed her MSW at Columbia University in New York, and her PhD in Psychology, which focused on the neuroscience of trauma, at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. She also completed post-graduate study in the psychology of coercive control at the University of Salford (UK). She is trained in trauma therapies including EMDR, and provides trauma-focused and cult-informed therapy online and at Refuge Psychotherapy, LCSW in New York. Email:, Phone: (718) 550-7685, . 


Shelly Rosen, LCSW

Shelly Rosen, LCSW, is a psychotherapist with 35 years of clinical experience. In the 1980s and early 1990s she worked at the JBFCS Cult Clinic, and she continues to see former members and their families at her private practice in Manhattan. Shelly practices psychotherapy with adults, and she offers individual and group consultation to practicing clinicians. She is trained in relational/interpersonal psychoanalytic psychotherapy, sensorimotor psychotherapy, family therapy, and internal family systems. She is a Somatic Experiencing practitioner and a Certified EMDR Consultant. Shelly teaches trauma-informed psychotherapy at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, the Training Institute for Mental Health, and the National Institute for the Psychotherapies. With the support of a Department of Labor grant, Shelly works with an interdisciplinary team designing and implementing curricula that mitigates psychological trauma reactions for EMT’s, paramedics, and their patients. This protocol will be introduced to EMS programs nationwide.

Daniel Shaw, LCSW

Daniel Shaw, LCSW, is the author of Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation, and Traumatic Narcissism and Recovery: Leaving the Prison of Shame and Fear, published by Routledge. He is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City and Nyack, NY. He is also Faculty and Clinical Supervisor at The National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP), in New York City. Shaw spent thirteen years as a staff member in Siddha Yoga (SYDA Foundation). There he wore many hats, including: manager of the residential Manhattan facility, educator, spokesperson, public relations coordinator, community organizer, and writer/director of public programs. Shaw exited Siddha Yoga in 1994, published an Open Letter about Siddha Yoga on the internet in 1995, and helped create the Leaving Siddha Yoga website, one of the first internet websites for ex cult members ( Shaw is the author of Traumatic Abuse in Cults: A Psychoanalytic Perspective, published in the Cultic Studies Journal, numerous psychoanalytic papers, and the editor of a special issue on the traumatizing narcissist in ICSA’s International Journal of Cultic Studies. Mr. Shaw is available on Zoom. Contact:

Dana Wehle, LCSW, MFA

Dana Wehle, LCSW, MFA., has twenty years experience as a certified psychoanalyst and licensed clinical social worker in private practice in New York City. A published author and classically trained painter, she specializes in work with trauma and creativity, with cult-related trauma of particular interest. She has presented on this theme nationally and internationally, including presentation to the Minister of Social Services and a government delegation in Israel in 2012. Ms. Wehle’s article, “Plunge into the Abyss: Psychodynamic Group on Creativity and Trauma,” is the lead article in the Winter 2016 issue of the journal Group. She presented this paper at the October 2016 Pratt Institute conference: “Art of Mentalizing: Communicating the Unknown,” with Peter Fonagy as the keynote speaker. She currently runs a psychodynamic group on creativity and trauma for those also in psychodynamic individual psychotherapy, where cult trauma is mainstreamed with other forms of trauma. She was clinician and administrative supervisor at the Cult Clinic of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services for over a decade, and received her psychoanalytic training at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies in NYC. Her practice in part includes intensive clinical work with former members, second generation adults (SGAs), and families of adult children in cults. Ms. Wehle was invited to guest edit ICSA’s special issue of Cultic Studies Review in 2010. The journal and her contribution was entitled, “The Last Draw: Cults and Creativity.” Email: Phone: (212) 479-7963


Linda Hughes, MSEd, LPCC

Linda Hughes has a Master’s Degree from The University of Dayton and is a licensed professional clinical counselor in the state of Ohio—in the Columbus area. She spent a decade as a member and women’s leader in a religious cult in the Chicago suburbs during her adult formative years. After leaving the group Linda relocated to Ohio. While working and raising two children she earned a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Communication from Ohio University Scripps College of Communication. To further her understanding of her life experiences and develop a career using these invaluable life learnings Linda began her journey towards becoming a Mental Health Clinical Counselor. This is when adulthood was finally reached after many difficult experiences including exploitation by a trusted college professor—more opportunity for empowering growth and change. Linda is an avid reader of all things psychology related—including individual and group exploitation. She has taken several opportunities to present her research hoping to inform her peers and colleagues about destructive group practices. For her Masters thesis/project Linda educated several mental health agencies in her area about cults and provided them with a DVD of her presentation “Cults: Gaining Perspective.” Linda chose her career as an LPCC to offer her a wide range of practice in mental health including recovery from group exploitation. Linda remains a spiritual person knowledgable of various belief systems and practices. She believes it is crucial that she meet her clients exactly where they are while using her skills to empower them towards individuality. Linda has been a member of ICSA for years and continues to educate herself on underlying causes of and treatment for mental health difficulties including those involving undue influence. Linda can be reached at


Ashlen Hilliard

Ashlen Hilliard (she/her) is Director of Events for the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) and a volunteer co-organizer of SAFE, the Spiritual Abuse Forum for Education (SAFE) in Portland, Oregon. She also serves as a thought reform consultant helping families with loved ones in cultic or high-control groups or relationships.

Ashlen recently completed her MSc in the Psychology of Coercive Control and conducted research on the relationship between reproductive coercion, psychologically abusive environments, and the extent of group identity in a sample of those who have left cultic groups.

Prior to ICSA, Ashlen helped individuals leaving diverse polygamist communities gain independence while working as a case manager in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Ashlen is featured in Season 3 of the BET+ Original Series: American Gangster: Trap Queens. She has presented at multiple ICSA conferences and webinars on a variety of topics, interviewed on several podcasts, as well as published an article for ICSA Today 10.2 / 2019 on, “The Genesis, Text, and Implications of Utah House Bill 214: Office for Victims of Crime Amendments”.

Ashlen can be contacted at or via Linkedin:



Roberta Cobrin Eisenberg, MSW, BCD

Roberta Cobrin Eisenberg, MSW, BCD is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice and a cofounder (1983) and clinical associate of R.E.T.I.R.N. With a broad range of professional experience, she has served at community mental health centers, medical centers, and the Jewish Family & Children Service. She is a Board Certified Diplomate (BCD) of the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work. Ms. Eisenberg has completed training in both child psychoanalytic psychotherapy and Gestalt therapy. She is a Fellow and founding member (1972) of the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work. She provides individual and family counseling for depression, anxiety, loss, interpersonal relationships, mental and emotional dysfunction, and chronic physical illness. She works with all adults 18 years and older and specializes in older adults. With R.E.T.I.R.N., she addresses issues of psychological harm, cultic relationships, and counseling against coercion. She accepts insurance. Contact her by email at or by phone at (610) 622-3109. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area.

Joseph F. Kelly

Joseph F. Kelly, a graduate of Temple University (focus in religion), has been a cult intervention specialist (thought reform consultant/exit counselor,mediator) since 1989.  He spent 14 years in two different eastern meditation groups (TM, International Society of Divine Love). He is a co-author of “Ethical Standards for Thought Reform Consultants,” published in ICSA’s Cultic Studies Journal, contributed a chapter to Captive Hearts, Captive Minds. He was (2010-2014) the News Desk Editor of ICSA Today.
Mr. Kelly has also facilitated ICSA workshops for ex-members and families (1996-2018) and has lectured extensively on cult-related topics.

Patrick L. Ryan

Patrick Ryan is a graduate of Maharishi International University. He has been a cult intervention specialist (exit counseling, mediation, religious conflict resolution, thought reform consulting) since 1984. Mr. Ryan is the co-founder TM-EX, the organization of ex-members of Transcendental Meditation. He established ICSA’s online resource (1995-2013), and has presented 50 programs about hypnosis, inner-experience, trance-induction techniques, communicating with cult members, conversion, cult intervention, exit counseling, intervention assessment, mediation, religious conflict resolution, thought reform consultation, eastern groups, transcendental meditation and workshops for educators, families, former members and mental health professionals at ICSA workshops/conferences. Myan received the AFF Achievement Award (1997) from AFF, the Leo J. Ryan “Distinguished Service Award” (1999) from the Leo J. Ryan Foundation, and a Lifetime Achievement Award (2011) from ICSA.


Ashley Allen, MSW, LMSW

Ashley Allen, MSW, LMSW, completed her Master’s in Social Work at Monmouth University where she was also selected to coordinate and present the School of Social Work’s Annual Clinical Lecture Series. Her lecture series focused on children born and/or raised in cultic groups with a special focus on issues of human rights. She has presented on cults, with a particular focus on second-generation adults (SGAs) at various mental-health agencies, universities, and at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) annual conference in New Jersey. Ms. Allen gained a breadth of experience volunteering at the Cult Clinic of JBFCS in NYC for three years and has gone on to work as a therapist with former cult members in community mental health. Directors for reFOCUS, and as an adjunct instructor at Middle Tennessee State University. Phone: 931-450-4392.

Dylesia Barner, LCSW

Dylesia Barner, LCSW,  is a licensed clinical social worker and a second-generation adult survivor. She received a Master of Social Work from Norfolk State University in 2013 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from Old Dominion University in 2011. From ages 15-18, Dylesia was a member of a cult of Christianity in Virginia. Having the perspectives of a survivor and a mental health provider, she is passionate about raising awareness about spiritual abuse and how to counsel those who are experiencing or have experienced it. Dylesia owns Existence, Consciousness, Bliss Counseling, Psychotherapy & Wellness Center in Nashville, TN and is a Doctorate of Social Work student at Millersville University.  Existence, Consciousness, Bliss Counseling, Psychotherapy & Wellness Center, 1033 Demonbreun St., Suite 300, Nashville, TN 37203.  615-212-8955


Doug Duncan, MS, LPC

Doug Duncan, MS, LPC, was a member of an aberrant religious group for over twenty years. After defying the cult leader and marrying Wendy, they eventually left the cult and Doug began the task of rebuilding his life. He enrolled in a master’s program in counseling and earned a degree and license to practice therapy. After working on their cult recovery issues by reading all the available cult literature, attending conferences, and becoming involved with ICSA, Doug and Wendy started a ministry to increase the awareness and understanding of cults. They are frequent presenters at churches, civic groups, and conferences, as well as facilitators of a support group for former members of cults and high-demand groups. Additionally, Doug offers individual counseling to ex-members.; (214) 607-1065

Wendy Duncan, MA, LBSW

Wendy Duncan, MA, LBSW, has a Master’s Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a licensed social worker in the state of Texas. She has spent most of her career in the mental health field.Wendy and her husband, Doug, are former members of a pseudo-Christian, Bible-based cult and several years after leaving, they became active in cult awareness activities. They are frequent presenters at ICSA conferences. Wendy co-facilitates a monthly support group for former members of cults in the Dallas metroplex. Wendy is also the author of I Can’t Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas Cult.; (214) 607-1065

Cyndi Matthews, PhD, LPC-S, NCC

Cyndi Matthews, PhD, LPC-S, NCC is an experienced counseling clinician working in private practice and a counseling professor at the University of North Texas-Dallas. Her passion for social justice and advocacy is exemplified in her counseling practice and current research, both of which focus on effective counseling interventions for marginalized populations, such as cult survivors, domestic violence survivors, and LGBT populations. Based on her scholarship and clinical expertise she has researched and developed theory for counseling with former second generation adult (SGA) cult recovery survivors. Email: Phone: (469) 316-7290



Cristina Caparesi

Cristina Caparesi has a master’s degree in Science of Education and in Psychology with post masters in Family Mediation and Psychodiagnostic/Psychological Evaluation. She works as project planner and Director of the Helping Centers for Job Harassment in the Workplace of the Udine Province and of CISL- Pordenone Province. She has an expertise in conflicts related to cultic affiliations and works as consultant of the Support Network Against Manipulation and Abuse in Groups for SOS Abusi Psicologici. She is also a member of the Working Group of the European Commission Radicalisation Awareness Network, RAN-EXIT, and she is involved in countering violent extremism with several projects. Editor of the online journal of SOS Abusi Psicologici, Manipulation and Abuse; she is an expert for the Criminal Court of Udine in the branch of education, with a specialization in criminology and problems related to cultic affiliations; Italian Co-correspondent for ICSA Today. She is a co-author, with Mario Di Fiorino and Steven Kent, of Costretti ad amare. Saggi sui Bambini di Dio, the Family (only Italian) [Compelled to love- Essays on the Children of God-The Family], and many other articles. Website: Email: Phone: +39 3384440566


Cathrine Moestue, Cand.Psychol.

Cathrine Moestue, Cand.Psychol., grew up in Oslo, Norway in an upper-middle-class family with four siblings. While attending Folkuniversity in Stockholm (1984–85), she encountered teachers who claimed to have a program to “save starving children” and lured her to participate. The group, which drew on communist teachings, isolated her from her family and made her feel guilty for her privileged upbringing. After years of working hard to “save the world,” she became disillusioned and, after several attempts, in 1992 she successfully escaped this destructive group by running away. She worked in the advertising industry and managed a radio company before earning her degree in psychology at the university of Oslo and becoming a psychologist and eventually seeking therapy to deal with her traumatic experience. She is a psychologist in private practice in Oslo and is currently working on her memoirs.


Jose Fernández

Jose Fernández has a Degree in Psychology from the University of Barcelona and is credited as a Psychologist and Psychotherapist by the EFPA (European Federation of Psychologists Associations). He has worked as such in private practice in Barcelona for the last 14 years at Pehuén Institute of Psychology with a constructivist and systemic approach, subjects on which he has postgraduate studies, as well as in hypnosis. He pursued these postgraduate studies, which were directed by PhD, Guillem Feixas, at the University of Barcelona. He is involved with hypnosis both as a therapeutic tool and as a field of research, having published on the matter in La Revista de Psicoterapia international journal, as well as in the International Journal of Cultic Studies. He is interested in psychological manipulation and abuse at schools (Bullying), workplace (mobbing), and home (psychological maltreatment). He is also interested in the implementation of codes of ethical practices in all kind of organizations and associations in Spain. He was a founding member of the Catalonian College of Psychologists Task Force on Hypnosis and is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Experimental and Applied Hypnosis (AAHEA). He was a psychologist and exit counselor at AIS (Barcelona) for two years. Website: Email: Phone: 34938034914

Miguel Perlado, PhD, Psychologist

Miguel Perlado, PhD, Psychologist. Psychotherapist, training and supervisor member (associated member of the Spanish Federation of Psychotherapy Associations, FEAP-EAP). Psychoanalyst (Spanish Society of Psychoanalysis, SEP-IPA). Member of the Board of Directors of Fundació Congrés Català en Salut Mental (FCCSM). Supervisor Member of the Forensic Psychological Institute of Barcelona (IPF). Founder and current supervisor of the Iberoamerican Association for Research on Psychological Abuse (AIIAP). Coordinator of Task Force on Cultic Deviations at the Official School of Psychologists of Catalonia (COPC). Coordinator of the Task Force on Radicalization, Fundació Congrés Català de Salut Mental. Member of the Scientific Committee of the European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Cults (FECRIS).

He has specialized since 1999 in cult-related problems, helping more than eight hundred families, current members, and former members of cults and other victims of abusive relationships. He was himself in an occultist cult group during his adolescence. His professional expertise includes undue influence in cases of destructive one-on-one relationships, high control families, small cults, religious cults, therapy and self-improvement groups, professional abuse, institutional abuse and hate and violent extremism. He has algo functions as a forensic specialist, having participated in more than 30 trials related with cults, in both civil and criminal fields. In 2005 ICSA awarded Mr. Perlado with the Herbert L. Rosedale Award in recognition of leadership in the effort to preserve and protect individual freedom. He has been a member of ICSA for many years and has presented talks and moderated panels at ICSA conferences.

He has published a number of professional articles on the subject and has organized numerous seminars for mental health professionals in Spain. He’s an associated teacher of the Master’s Degree on Transcultural Spirituality and Master’s Degree on Contemporary Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in Barcelona (Fundación Vidal Barraquer, Ramon Llull University). He coordinated the specialized book on cults “Estudios Clínicos sobre Sectas” (2004) and more recently “¡Captados! Todo lo que necesitas saber sobre las sectas” (Ariel, 2020).

He has participated in hundreds of journalistic interviews at national and international level, having also advised journalists and documentaries on the topic of cults. He’s the creator and webmaster of EducaSectas ( and HemeroSectas (, two specialized Spanish websites on cults and cult-related problems. He develops his clinical practice with former members and their families from Barcelona (Spain), attending families from Spain, Latinoamérica and other European cities.

If you want to know more about his educational and professional background, you can check his LinkedIn Profile ( or his personal website ( You can contact via e-mail ( or via phone number (00+34 609 161 465).


Håkan Järvå

Håkan JärvåFormer Scientologist and now a licensed psychologist in Sweden. Editor and co-author of the book Sektsjuka (Cult Illness) and a former lecturer for the psychology department at the University of Gothenburg on the subject of manipulation, influence, and cult illness. He offers psychotherapy to former members of cults and is also employed as a consultant by the help organization for former cult members in Sweden, Hjälpkällan, to train their nationwide network of volunteer workers. He is currently involved in a project aimed at high schools in Sweden together with a professional magician with the purpose of educating and vaccinating teenagers against manipulation.

Helena Löfgren

Helena Löfgren is a licensed psychotherapist, former member of the Unification church (1990-1992), member of the support group FRI, co-founder of the former Swedish support group SESAM, and co-founder of an informal network in Sweden for people who meet members or former members of high demand groups in their work. Ms. Lofgren received treatment by Wellpring, when they came to Sweden in 1992. For about 20 years she has been involved in helping former members of different high demand groups in Sweden as a volunteer in the support group FRI and as a member of the board of the support group SESAM in Sweden. Since 2009 she has also treated patients who grew up in different high demand groups. She co-authored a book with personal stories, and a book about Influence for students Sect disease (edited by Håkan Järvå). For many years she has given lectures about influence and manipulation, also at the University of Stockholm. Over the years she has participated in numerous TV-programs and radio-programs to spread awareness about cultic groups and processes. In 2004 one person was killed and one was injured in the small congregation Knutby in Sweden. She visited the congregation, talked to leaders and former members and the police. Thereafter she witnessed the trial and commented on the event on TV and also at a conference organized by FECRIS in Hamburg. Website: (in English)
Email:,  Phone: +46708197777

United Kindgom

Linda Dubrow-Marshall, PhD

Linda Dubrow-Marshall, PhD, Reg. MBACP (Accred.), is Research Coeditor of ICSA Today and is a cofounder of RETIRN (please also see, a private practice that provides services to individuals and families who have been affected by cultic influence and abusive relationships. Linda has developed a new MSc Psychology of Coercive Control program at the University of Salford and is leading the program with Rod Dubrow-Marshall. She is also the Programme Leader of the MSc Applied Psychology (Therapies) Program at the University of Salford. She is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, United Kingdom, as both a clinical and a counselling psychologist, and she is a registered counsellor/psychotherapist with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. She is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, USA, and a registered psychologist with the National Register of Health Service Psychologists, USA. She attends as corepresentative of RETIRN/UK as correspondent to the General Assembly of FECRIS (European Federation of Centres of Research and Education on Sects). Dr. Dubrow-Marshall is a Consultant in Clinical Hypnosis (advanced certification) with the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and is certified by the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Institute. She has a Certificate of Proficiency in the Treatment of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders issued by the American Psychological Association. She is a member of the Mental Health and Research committees for ICSA. 

Rod Dubrow-Marshall, PhD, MBPsS

Rod Dubrow-Marshall, PhD, MBPsS, is a Professor of Psychology and is Visiting Fellow at the Criminal Justice Hub, in the School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences at the University of Salford, UK. Rod is a Social Psychologist who has been researching the psychology and aetiology of undue influence and cults or extremist groups for over twenty years, and he has developed the Totalistic Identity Theory as an evidence-based theory to explain and tackle ideological extremism and ideologically driven violence. He is also an active researcher in a variety of other areas including organizational behaviour and healthiness, the social psychology of identity and prejudice, and public policy and education. A graduate member of the British Psychological Society, Rod is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Cultic Studies Association and is also Chair of the ICSA Research Committee and Network and he is co-Editor of the International Journal of Cultic Studies (since its inception in 2010). In 2006, he was awarded The Herbert L. Rosedale Award, jointly with Dr. Paul Martin, for their psychological research on undue influence. Rod co-founded the Re-Entry Therapy Information and Referral Network (RETIRN) UK in 2004 with Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall, where he serves as a consultant in helping individuals and families who have been adversely affected by destructive or damaging cults and other extremist and high demand/manipulative groups or relationships. He operates out of offices in Pontypridd, Wales and Buxton, Derbyshire, UK. Rod has also served on more than a dozen Governing Boards of Schools, Colleges and Universities over the last two decades and he is currently a governor and director of the Akaal Primary School in Derby and is also a longstanding member of the Board of the homelessness charity the Wallich (headquartered in Cardiff, Wales). In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Buxton International Festival and is Chair of the Board of the Preston Guild Link charity (in Lancashire, UK) which is fundraising for the next Preston Guild cultural festival in 2032! Rod is also an experienced senior leader and manager in higher education having served for 15 years in the roles of Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Derby, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and as Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of South Wales and Dean of Applied Social Sciences and Humanities at Buckinghamshire New University.

Gillie Jenkinson, PhD

Gillie Jenkinson, PhD, is an accredited counsellor and psychotherapist in UK and is experienced in delivering counselling face-to-face as well as on the telephone and Skype.  She has many years’ experience working with trauma, including survivors of spiritual and cult abuse, and sexual abuse. She has developed an approach to counselling former members –  Post-Cult Counselling – which is either delivered in weekly sessions, intensively over a few days (Time Away for Post Cult Counselling) and in Psychoeducational Recovery Workshops for up to 9 individuals. This model is explained in the ICSA Book on Cult Recovery in a chapter entitled ‘Relational Psychoeducational Intensive: Time Away for Post-Cult Counselling’. She is a former-member and has served two internships at Wellspring Retreat Center, Ohio. She is a regular presenter at conferences and a published author, including a co-authoring a chapter entitled “Pathological Spirituality” for a medical text book entitled Spirituality and Psychiatry, published by RCPsych Publications in UK – 2009. She is the Mental Health Editor for ICSA Today. Gillie’s doctoral research investigated what helps former members recover and her dissertation is entitled: ‘Freeing the authentic-self: Phases of Recovery and Growth from an Abusive Cult Experience’. Gillie delivers training for counsellors wishing to work effectively with former cult members. If you are interested in any of these services, please Email: Website: Phone: +44 1433 639032

Richard Turner, FdSc, MSc, MBACP, MSET

Reclaiming lives from coercive control and psychological abuse in destructive cults and relationships.

‘To think again’ is my private practice counselling, consultation and training service. I am a fully qualified counsellor and teacher and have a specialist masters degree in the psychology of coercive and controlling behaviour and recovery. I am fully insured and in regular supervision with a qualified, experienced supervisor.

If you have any questions or need to discuss your situation, please give me a call. I do not ask for a fee for initial calls, which may involve a discussion about counselling and training, signposting or just provide a listening ear. Please note, I may not always be able to answer the phone but aim to return your call within 48 hours. To discuss exit support, counselling or training you can call me on Phone: 44 07511784650 Website: