Jul 14, 2018

Welcome to Intervention 101!

If you are reading this, chances are you or a loved one are in a "cult" crisis or may be in need of help.

Since 1984, we have helped people with destructive cults, mind control, brainwashing, parental alienation, estrangement, abusive relationships, gurus, multi-level marketing, violent extremism and other forms of undue influence.

Our approach is based upon our philosophy designed to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement.

We provide a Free Initial Evaluation - thirty-minute telephone consultation after reviewing your "Background Information for Case Evaluation" form.

To get started:
  1. Completed Background Information for Case Evaluation,
  2. Call to schedule Free Initial Evaluation (215-467-4939).
Overview of "Our Process".

We look forward to hearing from you.


Joseph Kelly
Patrick Ryan

©1997-2018 Joseph Kelly, Patrick Ryan
Rev: 01/01, 07/03, 8/04, 9/05,  4/06, 9/06, 12/08, 09/11, 11/12, 6/17, 1/1/
“Background Information For Case Evaluation”

Building Bridges: Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships: A Workshop for Families ​ ​

Joseph Kelly, Patrick Ryan, Rachel Bernstein
International Cultic Studies Association Annual Conference 
Philadelphia, PA: July 5, 2018

The Spectrum of Coercive Control with Rod Dubrow-Marshall, PhD.

The Spectrum of Coercive Control with Rod Dubrow-Marshall, PhD.
Closing Plenary: Coercive Control Across the Sprectrum
July 7, 2018 - Philadelphia, PA


Feb 9, 2018

9 of 8,643 CultNEWS101 Articles: 2/10-11/2018

Book, New Religious Movements, Scientology, Jehovah's Witness, Pyramid Schemes, China

There are many different ways in which minority religions and counselling may interact. In some cases there can be antagonism between counselling services and minority religions, with each suspecting they are ideologically threatened by the other, but it can be argued that the most common relationship is one of ignorance – mental health professionals do not pay much attention to religion and often do not ask or consider their client’s religious affiliation. To date, the understanding of this relationship has focused on the ‘anti-cult movement’ and the perceived need for members of minority religions to undergo some form of ‘exit counselling’. In line with the series, this volume takes a non-judgemental approach and instead highlights the variety of issues, religious groups and counselling approaches that are relevant at the interface between minority religion and counselling.

The volume is divided into four parts: Part I offers perspectives on counselling from different professions; Part II offers chapters from the field leaders directly involved in counselling former members of minority religions; Part III offers unique personal accounts by members and former members of a number of different new religions; while Part IV offers chapters on some of the most pertinent current issues in the counselling/minority religions fields, written by new and established academics. In every section, the volume seeks to explore different permutations of the counsellor-client relationship when religious identities are taken into account. This includes not only ‘secular’ therapists counselling former members of religion, but the complexities of the former member turned counsellor, as well as counselling practised both within religious movements and by religious movements that offer counselling services to the ‘outside’ world.

"The exhibition condemns psychiatry as the "industry of death" which "denies the most basic of human rights". On graphic, even potentially disturbing posterboards, it attacks electro-shock therapy and suggests naturopathy as one alternative for the mentally ill."

"But visitors to the 'mental health exhibition', in a shop unit at the Highbury Mall in Birkenhead, Auckland, would need sharp eyes to realise that the displays hosted by an incorporated society called the Citizens Commission for Human Rights were backed by the Church of Scientology."

"...[T]wo former Scientologists–one a woman, the other her colleague– who’ve known Haggis for decades. They each worked for Hollywood guilds that Haggis belonged to..."

"Each of these former Scientologists told me similar stories: a very high placed Scientology executive had asked them recently for dirt on Haggis. “Anything to do with women,” the exec said."
"A recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation file on the Church of Scientology shows that more than twenty years before Central Intelligence Agency accused WikiLeaks of being a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” the FBI received an official inquiry asking if the COS was one."

This is the story of growing up as a Jehovah's Witness and how a young man got out, and life after. 

Pyramid schemes cause huge social harm in China

"THE authorities call them “business cults”. Tens of millions of people are ensnared in these pyramid schemes that use cult-like techniques to brainwash their targets and bilk them out of their money. In July 2017 victims of one such fraud held a rally in central Beijing, an extremely unusual occurrence. The police quickly dispersed it and the government, in panic, declared a three-month campaign against the scams. Hundreds of them were closed down and thousands of people arrested. But the cults are adopting new guises. The problem may still be growing."

Feb 6, 2018

Cult Prevalence

Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.
Executive Director, International Cultic Studies Association

In 1984 the Cult Awareness Network compiled a list of more than 2,000 groups about which they had received inquiries (Hulet, 1984). As of May 24, 2003 ICSA (formerly AFF) had 4426 groups listed in its electronic files, which are populated mainly as a result of inquiries or news reports. I would not hazard an estimate of what percentage of these groups would be at risk of harming members. The quality and quantity of data on individual groups is simply too low to justify generalizations.

Most cultic groups appear to be small, having no more than a few hundred members.  Some, however, have tens of thousands of members and formidable financial power.

Several surveys shed some light on the number of people who may have been involved in what they perceived to be cultic groups.

Zimbardo and Hartley (1985), who surveyed a random sample of 1,000 San Francisco Bay area high school students, found that 3% reported being members of cultic groups and that 54% had had at least one contact with a cult recruiter.

Bloomgarden and Langone (1984) reported that 3% and 1.5% of high school students in two suburbs of Boston said they were cult members.

Sociologists Bird and Reimer (1982), in surveys of the adult populations of San Francisco and Montreal, found that approximately 20% of adults had participated in new religious or para-religious movements (including groups such as Kung Fu), although more than 70% of the involvements were transient. Other data in this study suggest that approximately two to five percent of the subjects had participated in groups that are frequently thought to be cultic.

A weekly omnibus survey conducted by ICR Survey Research Group for ICSA/AFF in 1993 found that about 1% of respondents said that they had been involved in a cult or what others might consider a cult.

Lottick’s (1993) survey of more than 1000 physicians (who are accustomed to making differential diagnoses) found that 2.2% reported that they or a family member had been involved in a cultic group, with "cultïc” clearly defined as a noxious group. It seems reasonable, therefore, to estimate that at least two million Americans have been involved with cultic groups.

In the research study that led to the development of the Group Psychological Abuse Scale (Chambers, Langone, Dole, & Grice, 1994) subjects' average age of joining was 24.8 and their average time in their groups was 6.70 years (308 subjects from 101 groups; 60% left on their own without outside, formal assistance; 13% had been deprogrammed; 17% exit counseled; 9% ejected by their groups). Assuming a lifetime incidence of 2,500,000 people having belonged to cultic groups, a "lifetime" period of 30 years, and an average length of stay of six years, I roughly estimate that approximately 500,000 people belong to cultic groups at any one time and approximately 85,000 go in and out of cultic groups each year.

However, as West (1990, p. 137) says, "cults are able to operate successfully because at any given time most of their members are either not yet aware that they are being exploited, or cannot express such an awareness because of uncertainty, shame, or fear."  Therefore, in any survey, however random, the actual number of cultists is likely to be much greater than the number of persons who identify themselves as members of cultic groups or even of groups that other people might deem cultic.  Because the group members do not identify themselves as such, they are not likely to be identified as cult-affected by psychotherapists or other helpers unless the helpers inquire into the possibility that there might be a cult involvement.

Bird, F., & Reimer, B. (1982).  Participation rates in new religions and para-religious movements. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 21.