ERIC Number: ED343067
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991-Aug
Psychotherapeutic Techniques for Victims of Destructive Cults: A Suggested Guide for Therapists.
Solomon, Anita O.
There are no meaningful statistics on the number of people who leave destructive cults and no salient picture emerges regarding the frequency of maladaptive conditions following cult involvement. Nonetheless, of the total number of individuals coming out of cults, a seemingly significant subgroup evidences severely neurotic or psychotic-like symptomatology. Many of these subgroup members turn to psychotherapists and counselors for recovery. This paper describes therapeutic techniques that were effective in working with nine victims of destructive, cult-like groups, none of whom evidenced significant psychopathology before their cult/group involvement, and all of whom exhibited degrees of psychotic-like symptomatology after group involvement. Five of the victims described had been involved in groups that were pseudo-religious in orientation, three had been in mass therapy encounter groups, and one had been in a harem/slavery-like group. The therapy described included cognitive therapy, behavior modification, learning theory, and psychoanalytic techniques. Patient characteristics are described, patient vulnerability before entrance into the destructive group is explored, and symptomatology is discussed. Specific techniques are presented that helped patients to renew their critical thinking skills, understand their experiences, recognize cult-induced symbolic language, interpret somatic complaints, recognize floating states, resolve schizophrenogenic messages and guilt feelings, understand their regression, reduce night terrors, become aware of and vent angry feelings toward cult leaders, and change inappropriate behaviors. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - General; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A