Cyndi's Peresentation


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Cyndi's Peresentation

  1. 1. BORN AND RAISED IN A RELIGIOUS CULT: HEALING AFTER LEAVING Cyndi Matthews PhD Candidate, LPC, NCCFor Higher Education 621, Summer II, 2012
  2. 2. MY DISSERTATION● Qualitative Study – Grounded Theory● Looking at Second Generation Adults● Experience in the religious cult, leaving, and today (Interviews)● Implications for Counselors working with them
  3. 3. WHAT IS A CULT?● All encompassing movement – all time and energy● Self-appointed leader (God) proclaims they are supernatural being/powers● Organized around member’s devotion to leader/organization – (obedience, decisions)● Leader tells members to lose relationships with outside world (family and friends)● Outside world is seen as inferior, insiders are part of an elite group● Causes members harm (physical, social, emotional)● Spend time together on daily basis ■ Singer, 2003
  4. 4. VIDEO● v=PdIGNsbgVY4● As you watch ask yourself, “What issues/challenges do you think people have after leaving a cult? – especially those born and raised in a cult?”
  5. 5. THEMES1. Patriarchy and Gender 7. Abuse Roles 8. Outside Influences2. Decision Making 9. Sense of Identity*3. Obedience to 10. Emotional Authority Consequences*4. Group and 11. Fear and Courage* Relationship Support 12. Long Process of5. Relationship with Change* Parents6. Religiosity and Spirituality * over-arching theme
  6. 6. 2. DECISION MAKING● In the cult authority figures make all decisions – members not allowed to question● Some left because they were tired of obeying and blindly following leader’s decisions● Some enjoyed making new decisions – others felt lost and confused● Difficulties with black and white thinking, magical thinking, having one right answer
  7. 7. DECISION MAKING● “I didnt have anything. I lost my gyroscope is what I think - because if I wasnt in the truth (pause) – it’s either the truth or it’s a lie. So what all else do I believe that are lies? Can I smoke? And at the same time I still wasnt sure if I was going to stay or if I was going to leave my husband. I started to question everything. I had to.” (Participant #2)
  8. 8. WHAT CAN COUNSELORS DO?● Teach clients about cult mind control and how they were influenced – not their fault● Teach goal setting - practice with small decisions● Help clients learn from mistakes● Teach decision making skills and help clients explore “the grey” area
  10. 10. 7. ABUSE● All participants experienced abuse: psychological/emotional, physical, sexual in name of cult group (spiritual abuse)● Participated in abuse of “disobedient” or “defiant” members● Some left because could not tolerate abuse they suffered or inflicted upon others● Some left because angry, depressed, or physically ill because of abuse● Abuse during leaving: threats, shunning● Today still deal with depression, anger, guilt, physical symptoms, feel vulnerable
  11. 11. ABUSE● “I was scared all the time . . . I never had nightmares before that. I had problems sleeping and my thoughts were racing too much” (Participant #6-1-5).
  12. 12. WHAT CAN COUNSELORS DO?● Assess for past abuse and trauma (PTSD)● Remember denial and repression of memories common when abused● Help clients explore and unravel threats and curses, abuses● Parent education, Empowerment education, assertiveness● Explore guilt about past abuses toward others
  13. 13. ANY QUESTIONS?