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Cult and Ex-cult Counseling Resources

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Definitions: Religious Cults, Sects, Alternative Religious Movements, Anti-cult groups.

Cult and Ex-cult Counseling Resources


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Often I'm asked: "What was the most difficult aspect of having been in three cults?" Admittedly, the one was where I was held prisoner was horrendous. But, I have to say that the worst part was the emotional turmoil upon coming out. Dealing with all the psychological aftermath proved to be the most soul-wrenching, excruciating, experience of my life. Contributing greatly to this assessment is the fact that during that intense and turbulent time, I had no idea why I was suffering, although I could describe my symptoms.
Christian Choosing a New Church After A Painful Experience by Larry Pile, of Wellspring Retreat
Secular Coming Out Of The Cults by Margaret Taler Singer. The original article appeared in Psychology Today, January 1979.
Many ex-cult members fear they will never recover their full functioning. Learning from the group that most of those affected eventually come to feel fully competent and independent is most encouraging for them. Their experiences might well be taken into account by people considering allying themselves with such groups in the future.
"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 experience uncontrollable emotions (usually sadness or anger) that is not appropriate to what is happening at the moment. It is also described as having exaggerated physical sensations, having anxiety or mild panic attacks, or having a fantasy or dream like vision, almost like a dream that invades your waking state. Most ex-members report that these experiences make them feel as though there is something drastically wrong with them; they feel as though they may be going crazy. The purpose of this article is to take the fear out of these experiences and bring about some understanding that they are not abnormal.
Various ''experts'' can (and do) argue if ''mind control'' or ''brainwashing'' really exists or if we are just talking about various forms of ''influence'' that is found in everything from advertising to conversations. But they can't argue with the fact that there are battered/abused women who stay in abusive situations and there are women who flee and when found by the husband are talked BACK into the very relationship they tried to escape and then it repeats.
Christian Understanding and Encouraging Ex-Cultists by Janis Hutchinson
Christian What Are We Going To Do? Information for friends and family members of people caught up in cults or other abusive movements. Provided by Dialog Center (Denmark), which also offers counseling services.
This question is relevant to many parents, relatives, and friends, when someone they love and feel attached to suddenly joins a new religious movement and starts changing his/her personality. Perhaps the difference has not yet really set in, but still one has the feeling that something strange and threatening has entered one's life. What can be done?

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• CultFaq.org : Cult and Ex-cult Counseling Resources
• First posted: Dec. 9, 1996
• Last Updated: Sep. 24, 2003
• Editor: Anton Hein
• Copyright: Apologetics Index
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