About Bill


Bill, in addition to his work with families of cult members, works for the Rockland County (New York) Department of Mental Health, where he directs three out-patient programs. Bill received his Bachelors Degree from Rutgers in 1968 and his Masters in Social Work from NYU in 1970.

Bill has written articles on therapeutic programs for chronically mentally ill young adults and the tricks employed by so-called “psychics”, and has contributed chapters to several books on cults. He has appeared on The ABC Nightly News, The Sally Jesse Raphael Show, The John Mc Laughlin Show, MSNBC and The Geraldo Rivera Show. He has been invited to testify before several state legislatures on regulations affecting residents of Adult Homes as well as on cult-related matters. He's testified before The New York State Assembly Committee on Child Care, The New York State Social Service Committee, The New Jersey State Assembly Judiciary Committee, and the Connecticut State Judiciary Committee. Along with Lorna, Bill is the recipient of the Hall of Fame Award from the Authentic Cult Awareness Network and the Leo J. Ryan Award from the Leo J. Ryan Foundation.

Bill meets with families of cult members for a two hour session and together they plan a strategy for dealing with the situation. For the first hour, the family does most of the talking. Factors that are discussed include developmental history and milestones, how the individual has reacted to losses and embarrassment in the past, which family members and friends they've been closest to, how they've handled mistakes in the past, how they've dealt with authority figures in the past, etc. Bill then explains what he sees as the primary factors attracting the individual to the cult, suggests different forms of intervention and discusses the chances of success for each form of intervention. He then suggests ways of phrasing questions and discussions that could be employed to help the cult member rethink the situation. Bill's goals in meeting with families are to help them to better understand the dynamics of cult membership for their family member and to devise a practical strategy for how the family can intervene.



Lorna Goldberg, MSW

For almost thirty years Bill and I have had the privilege of facilitating a support group for former cultists. Through this group and through our work as therapists we've had the opportunity to learn about a wide range of post-cult difficulties. We've also heard about the effective coping strategies that are used to deal with post-cult problems. Today I plan to discuss some of what I've learned.

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Cold Reading: The Tricks of the Psychics
by William Goldberg, MSW, BCD

When the editor of the zine you're now clutching asked me to write an article on the manner in which so-called psychics perform their tricks, he knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I'd say yes. He wasn't really being clairvoyant. He knew that so many of my clients had been burned badly by these charlatans that I'd welcome any opportunity to warn others about them. I'm a clinical social worker, and I specialize in working with former cult members. I've worked with people who've told me stories of witnessing psychic surgery (i.e. surgery performed without anesthesia, scalpels, wounds or scars), of seeing their cult leaders materialize physical objects out of thin air, or of individuals who seemed to possess the ability to read their thoughts.

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