Group work with former cultists

Lorna Goldberg and William Goldberg

The authors co-lead a therapeutic group for former members of religious cults. In this article they describe the purposes and structure of this group, delineate three stages of the “Post Mind Control” syndrome, and suggest interventive techniques appropriate to each of these stages.

The techniques of sensory bombardment, sleep deprivation, and manipulation are used by many cults as a means of inducing a “forced conversion.” From their work with ex-cultists, the authors have found all these techniques operating in cults. However, it is not the purpose of this article to explain the methods used to induce suggestibility. Instead, this article focuses on a treatment method that the authors have used in helping former cultists. Writers who have acknowledged the cultic state to be one of induced pathology, or mind control, generally point to the impotence of mental health professionals when confronted by this state. Schwartz and Isser, referring to the state of mind control as an “involuntary conversion,” reported that neither conventional traditional techniques nor platitudes appear to be appropriate for helping cult recruits or their families weather the storms that involuntary conversions arouse. And dark of the Harvard Medical School commented that [mental health professionals] are relatively helpless to restore thinking processes [for cult victims] because, under the current interpretation of the laws, we cannot maintain physical control long enough to bring about the confrontation therapies which might be effective in reestablishing the original personality style in the way it was done with the Korean War prisoners. The authors (hereafter referred to as group leaders) have also found that their professional skills could only be of limited help during the acute phase of mind control and during the phase of reality-inducing therapy (or “deprogramming”). They can offer helpful intervention, however, during the “Post Mind Control” phase, when the victim is attempting to put his or her cult experiences into perspective. The small support group described in this article, which was formed in River Edge, New Jersey, a suburb ten miles from New York City, proved to be an excellent medium for helping deprogrammed individuals to accomplish this end.

This group serves as a mechanism for bridging the gap between cult life and the outside world. It is now entering its fifth year of regular meetings. The group provides the ex-cultists an opportunity to discuss their cult involvement in a nonjudgmental, supportive atmosphere. Cult life has rarely been shared by friends and family members. Ex-cultists, therefore, find themselves alone when attempting to come to grips with their experiences in the cult, including cult seduction, entrance into a state of altered consciousness, life in the “totalistic” atmosphere (that is, action, thought, and experience must relate to the “mission”), the decision to leave the cult, and the struggle to resume self-determination. Through the support group's process, the ex-cultists recognize that their circumstances are not unique and that a reference group can smooth the difficult transition from cult life to life in the outside world. The reference group encourages emotional growth and independence in contrast to the regression and repression reinforced in the cult. The entire group meets monthly, although smaller, less formal groups meet as the need arises. Meetings last for two and one-half to three hours and have consisted of as few as six individuals and as many as twenty-five. The typical pattern is for group members to attend two or three meetings immediately after their decision to leave the cult and to attend subsequent meetings occasionally. Although the cults use the group process to increase dependence in their members, one of the purposes of the support group is to encourage a sense of autonomy. Therefore, members are free to attend as many or few group meetings as they desire. A core of members who live in the New York metropolitan area attend almost every meeting. Approximately two hundred individuals, aged 17-36, representing fourteen different cults, have become involved in the group. The meetings begin with a restatement of the group contract, which specifies that the group is limited to former cult members and that its purpose is to enable members to talk about their experiences as ex-cultists. It is not the purpose of this group to take political, social, or educational stands regarding cults. Within the context of the meetings, such discussions are considered resistance to the sharing of feelings.

Another important aspect of the contract with the group is the assessment of each group member to insure that he or she has indeed decided to leave the cult. Enforcement of this policy is necessary for several reasons. One of the purposes of the group is for the ex-cultists to be given the opportunity to share their feelings. Before this rule was instituted, when the group leaders accepted word-of-mouth referrals, the meetings would occasionally be attended by an individual who had not yet recognized the manipulation to which he or she had been subjected, that is, who still interpreted the entry into a state of altered consciousness as “Divine Intervention” rather than as a predictable response to group pressure, environmental bombardment, and heightened suggestibility. This new member would interrupt the group's discussion of the aftereffects of these phenomena and argue that his or her cult did not use these forms of manipulation or that the cult used them only in the service of the Lord. After this assertion, the other group members would shift their focus to a discussion of the new member's cult in an attempt to clarify the process of manipulation. Although this discussion would be enlightening to the new member and although the provocative statements were often made in an attempt to solicit these arguments, this shifting of focus would prevent the other group members from grappling with their own problems and concerns. Furthermore, the presence of an individual who still exhibited the symptoms of mind control aroused the anxiety of the other group members. In particular, those individuals still in the First stage of the Post Mind Control syndrome would become excessively anxious because of their own fears of slipping back into .the state of altered consciousness. Initially, the presence of a non-deprogrammed individual in the group inhibited others who had left that cult from expressing their anxieties or fears. Cults and cultists often do not feel themselves bound by rules of confidentiality when measured against their “mission.” Because the process of inducing mind control includes a sophisticated exploitation of an individual's emotional needs, to permit someone who may return to the cult to have knowledge of one's vulnerabilities could be self-destructive. For all these reasons, the group leaders have found it best to assure the group that they have assessed all fellow group members.

Ex-cultists will often try to get in touch with others who have decided to leave. They will suggest that the individuals call the group leaders for an assessment interview. Most deprogrammings are conducted by several former cultists, and there is a good chance that at least one member of the deprogramming team has been a member of the support group or is aware of the group. Most referrals, therefore, are from other group members or deprogrammers. The group leaders have also, on occasion, received referrals from colleagues who have heard of their work in this area.


In the assessment interview, the main goal is to measure the degree of the individual's freedom from mind control. Some of the symptoms in individuals who are under mind control include a stiff, wooden response to emotionally charged situations; a general lack of ability to think in reality-oriented terms, that is, every thought, decision, and action has a cosmic significance; an overwhelming sense of guilt when entertaining thoughts considered “negative” by the cult; and a need to use the “thought terminating cliche” when confronted with any information that does not fit into a simplistic black-and-white view of reality.” Specifically, the group leaders ask interviewees how the cult appealed to them, why they stayed in the cult, and what prompted their decision to leave. They are concerned about individuals who show no evidence of inner struggle, who describe the deprogramming in a matter-of-fact manner (for example, “the deprogrammer told me I had been deceived. What he said made sense to me so I decided to leave.”), or who see the cult, during this assessment stage, as completely bad. The decision to abandon a group with which one has established an absolute identification is not made so easily. There is usually a sense of loss and confusion coupled with a restorative desire to learn more about the state of mind control and its initiation. Furthermore, an individual who “snaps,” or shifts, from total love to total hate might still be exhibiting a characteristic of mind control. To assess the ability of interviewees to deal with objective, concrete reality, the group leaders ask them about their plans for the future. A relatively symptom-free response would be similar to that of Fran L, who had left college to join a cult: I'm not sure exactly what I want to do now. I know that I want to help people in some way but I don't know how. I'll probably return to school full time. Maybe I'll take a couple of courses at the local college next semester. Then I'll make up my mind. Individuals who respond to the preceding question in global, grandiose terms and who imply that they have infinite abilities and have boundless faith in their skills continue to exhibit a symptom of mind control, as the following example shows: Joseph L, who was briefly involved with a cult modeled after Eastern religions, spoke of his intention to “explore other avenues of higher consciousness” and named several mass fad therapies that he intended to try out. He said, “I know there's an answer, and I will devote the rest of my life to finding it.” As a means of assessing the degree of the interviewee's guilt on leaving the cult, the group leaders ask the interviewee what his or her response would be to meeting a member of the cult on the street. An answer similar to, “I would be ashamed” or “I would rush up to him to tell him that I'm still a good person even though I've left,” indicates a continuation of cultic thought reform. The interviewee continues to permit the cult to define standards of proper and improper conduct. An answer similar to, “I'd feel sorry for him” or “I would want to rush up to him to talk him into leaving,” indicates that the interviewee has abandoned the cultic reference points. Finally, it is important to mention that not every individual involved with a cult displays symptoms that stem only from mind control. People who exhibit severe emotional pathology may yearn for the cult's rigid controls as a means of providing structure for their lives. These individuals, for the most part, do not remain in the cult because of the state of mind control but because they require a strict behavioral pattern that they can follow. Therefore, the adoption of the cult life as their framework was a restitutive attempt. These individuals are not accepted into the group; instead, individual psychotherapy is recommended as the treatment of choice. Their prognosis for remaining out of the cult is fair. However, the cults themselves often expel their deviant (and financially unproductive) members: Stewart B, a 21-year-old man with a cyclical manic depressive disorder, was expelled from his cult. One of this cult's practices is the receipt of messages from God that come in the form of visions. Stewart received a vision that told him that he was destined to marry the cult leader's daughter. He was expelled after breaking into her bedroom late one night. Although he has spoken with several deprogrammers, Stewart is troubled by recurrent obsessive thoughts about the cult. He cannot determine whether his vision was inspired by God or Satan. There is a small group of people who can leave the cult on their own, that is, without participating in a deprogramming process after they leave the cult. After having accepted the cult life for several years, they find that the cultic atmosphere no longer meets their needs. These individuals usually have attained leadership status and have, in effect, become the controllers. Therefore, they are able to use their minds and are able to see what they label as the hypocrisy of the cult. In the group leaders' experience, those people who struggle to regain their precult thought processes without undergoing deprogramming are more prone to feelings of extreme guilt and confusion after leaving their cult. Because they were leaders, they did not experience the humiliation of passivity and degradation as severely as other ex-cultists, and they tended not to loathe the experience as much as others. They, therefore, take longer to disavow the experience.' The irony, then, is that although these individuals are healthy enough to grow out of the cult's control, it takes them longer than those who have undergone deprogramming to integrate the cult experience with their life in the outside world.


The recovery process is viewed as a “Post Mind Control” syndrome. The group leaders have found that members of the group pass through three stages after their deprogramming and that they manifest specific behavioral characteristics within each stage. As such, each stage requires a different treatment focus.

Stage 1: Initial Postdeprogramming

This stage commences with the completion of deprogramming and usually lasts from six to eight weeks. Although the ex-cult members begin to sever their emotional bonds to their cults during this stage, residues of the imposed personality remain stamped on them. When they entered the cult, they were forced to abandon old emotional ties (to their family), and their personality took on a new cast as the cult leader became the identified “parent.” Their physical demeanor often bespeaks their cult. For example, individuals who were in cults that focus on subservience to the spiritual leader keep their heads bowed and speak in a quiet, meek manner. Women who were in cults that emphasize sexuality as a lure for new members are seductive. And those who were in cults that emphasize contact with spirits through constant meditation appear to be “other worldly.” Almost all the ex-cultists appear to be much younger than their chronological age and display an asexual innocence. They act childlike although they may be well into their twenties. Indeed, during their time in the cult women often stop menstruating and men's beards grow more slowly. During the initial postdeprogramming stage the ex-cultists regain their secondary sexual characteristics. During this stage, group members focus on the effect that their life in the cult has had on their cognitive abilities. Those who remained in cults for many years and did not achieve a leadership position experienced what initially appears to be a diminished ability in the areas of perception, decision making, discrimination, judgment, memory, and speech. The ex-cult member's cognitive abilities have been repressed because the cults encourage and reinforce passivity, conformity to the cult, and following by rote. The following case demonstrates this point: Edward C, a graduate from an Ivy League university, was a member of a cult for two years. After leaving the cult, he was unable to read a newspaper for several months. His inability to focus his mind provoked anxiety, which made him withdraw by falling asleep whenever he tried to read. Speech during this first stage is monotonous, colorless, and halting. Emotionally charged words have taken on new meaning or have fallen away completely. Because the cult forces its members to follow passively the will of their leaders, ex-cult members often have difficulty making decisions for themselves, as the following example demonstrates: Sara P, a 26-year-old woman who had lived for six months in a communal cult, described her initial inability to make decisions. When she went to a restaurant with her family and her deprogrammer, she stared at the menu for several minutes and asked each person around the table what they thought she should order. When they did not give her direction, she began to cry. Cults adversely affect their members' ability to judge situations. Most of the cults teach that life is controlled by other-worldly forces, thus further encouraging passivity. The memory of cultists fades, particularly with respect to their “physical” families. Cultists often acquire new names and new birthdays to parallel their new identities and learn a cliche-ridden language. In group meetings the fears of ex-cult members, especially the fear of returning to a trancelike state, are discussed. This condition, called “floating,” appears to be a conditioned response. In the cults, the nerves of members were constantly on edge because of the need to insure that their perceptions did not conflict with the cult's doctrine. They were often in a state of altered consciousness that was similar to a trance. By hearing a key word, a phrase, or a song, the ex-cultists may suddenly reenter the state of altered consciousness. Clark reported that it is regularly observed that for some time after the deprogramming affected individuals are very vulnerable. For about a year and especially during the first few weeks to two months they feel themselves aware of or close to two different mental worlds. Their strong impulses to return to the cult are controlled by logical reasoning processes and the great fear of someone taking control of their minds from the outside once again. During this time a former convert can quickly be recaptured either by a fleeting impulse or by entering a trance state through a key word or piece of music or by chanting or by a team from the cult. Singer observed that floating can be helped by speaking simply, clearly, and directly to the individual. This method of communication stands in contrast to the cults' use of global and abstract language. By focusing on concrete here-and-now realities, the ex-cultist can be helped to stop the sense of depersonalization that takes place during the floating episode. Former cultists who have left cults that imbued everyday objects with symbolic overtones are particularly prone to floating. The degree of floating also appears to be connected with the ego strength of the individual. Those people who feel themselves powerless and controlled by outside forces are more likely to float than those who feel strong enough to resist pressure to return to the cult environment. Guilt plays a major role in the initial reentry stage. In the cult, members are generally taught that the outside world is an evil whirlpool seeking to suck them into the sins of worldly pleasure. The only place they are safe is within the confines of the cult. They are often told “horror stories” of the terrible things that befall people who leave the cult: In a group meeting, Bobbie U, who was a member of a cult for three years, told of hearing stories about Sam J when he left the cult. She turned to Sam (who was her deprogrammer and who was attending the meeting) and said, “I was told that you were a debaucher and that you were taking pills and alcohol. I was told that you were sleeping in flophouses and had completely abandoned God. During this stage, former cultists often feel overwhelmed by guilt without always understanding why they feel guilty. At times, their behavior is a manifestation of guilt. For example, Fran L, who was a member of a cult for a one-year period, would wake up in the middle of the night for several weeks after her deprogramming and feel the need to scrub the kitchen floor on her hands and knees. She could not explain why she felt it necessary to perform this act. Other individuals fear punishment for leaving the cult. For example, they fear that the airplane they will ride in will crash or that their parents will be hit by cars. Nightmares are not unusual during the first few months after leaving the cult. The ex-cult members are also filled with self-doubt during the first stage. What they thought was the “most correct” decision in their lives (that is. the decision to join the cult) proved to be a tragic mistake. They fear what will happen as they make other life decisions, sometimes projecting their fears onto others: Betty J, who was a member of a cult for one year, described her fears about her parents. “I'm glad they decided to deprogram me; but I'm afraid that now they wont let me make any decisions on my own, that they will watch over me like they did when I was in high school instead of treating me like an adult. Another overwhelming feeling during the initial stage is that of loneliness. In the cult, one is constantly surrounded by others, rarely left alone, and is thus over stimulated. Every minute is accounted for and every day is structured. Each move the individual makes has a significance that is given by God, and the day-to-day lives of all cultists are suffused with the knowledge that they are personally serving the Messiah (or the living God or the perfect person). Upon leaving the cult, time is neither totally structured nor monitored. The state of not being invaded and not requiring a merging with the cult can be lonely. Because the ex-cultist's need for dependence is no longer fulfilled, the focus of the support group is to encourage new relationships in which intimacy can occur but in which the integrity and sense of self of the individual can be preserved. Those ex-cultists who find being alone most troublesome have often discovered through psychotherapy that part of the cult's appeal stemmed from a desire to escape a sense of loneliness that developed in early childhood. A grief reaction follows the loss of a way of life and of a leader who promised total fulfillment. Former cultists often describe feelings of disappointment and sadness because their dreams of a perfect world have been broken. While in the cult, they felt as if they were omnipotent as a result of their merging with an omnipotent leader. The support group helps them to understand that their sadness is a natural reaction to the loss of this sense of omnipotence.· The group encourages its members to gain positive feelings from their own accomplishments rather than from their subjugation to a powerful other. Through the group, members are helped to see their periods of feeling empty, lost, doubtful, and sad as normal and acceptable rather than as evidence of their “fallen nature.” This acceptance of a wide range of feelings stands in contrast to the cults' demand that their members must constantly feel good as evidence of their having achieved a superior state of spirituality. During the search for a perspective that is different from that of the cult, the former cultists often appear to be submissive and compliant. They respectfully focus on the words of a speaker. This behavior parallels their submissiveness in the cult. An example of such behavior occurred in one of the first meetings, when almost all the group consisted of people who had just left cults. As the group leaders sat down to begin the meeting, several of the members pulled out pads and pencils as if they were about to hear a lecture. They hung on to every word. This behavior made the group leaders feel their tremendous power in relation to the former cultists. The group leaders shared their feelings with the ex-cultists, who, in turn, were able to relate their behavior to their experiences with cult leaders. They told the ex-cultists that they were unable to give them "answers" but would encourage them to find their own way, relying on their own resources. Finding one's own way means disagreeing with other views expressed in the group. The group leaders actively encourage group members to feel free to express differences of opinion. This freedom contrasts sharply with the conformity paramount in cult groups. As mentioned earlier, individuals who do not participate in the deprogramming process after leaving their cults generally have more difficulty placing their experience into perspective than those who undergo deprogramming. In the former, behavior characteristic of the first stage can last for several years.

Stage 2: Reemergence

This stage usually begins one to two months after the deprogramming process and lasts for approximately six months to two years. It is characterized by reemergence of the precult personality. Within six months, most ex-cult members no longer appear to be depleted individuals, that is, their speech, personality, and physical demeanor become more appropriate for their age. As the ex-cultists regain their self-esteem and a sense of their abilities, aggressiveness is externalized and released against those who failed to fulfill their promise of a perfect world. Those who, three months earlier, had described the cult leader as sincere but misguided now attack him or her as a monster. During the second stage, there is often a crusade against the cults, a flurry of activity that may include acting as a deprogrammer or making public-speaking appearances condemning cults. The group leaders react to this anger by reminding the group member that nothing is all good or all bad, in contrast to the duality portrayed by cults. They have found it helpful to focus on the positive elements of cult life during this stage. For example, they point out that group members learned that they could push their bodies to the limit and survive long working hours, that they could influence others in their fund-raising efforts, and that they could live through the wrenching experiences of cult life and yet emerge. Seeing the world in shades of grey helps cut into the polarization that cults reinforce. (Some ex-cult members describe a tendency to use defensive splitting prior to their involvement with the cult. This defense, in fact, often led to their easy acceptance of the cult's view of the world.) One of the major goals during the second stage, then, is to raise the ex-cultists feelings of self-esteem by helping them to see that life in the cult was not a total waste. During this period, ex-cult members also describe the testing out of previous "pleasures" that were seen as negative or selfish by the cult. Guilt about having left the cult dissipates as the hold of the cult diminishes: Alice F, an actress who had ended her involvement with a cult seven weeks earlier, joined a health spa to shed the twenty pounds that she had gained while involved with the cult. She felt tense while in the cult because she had been told that her concern about her figure was Satanic vanity. After leaving the cult, she began to wear make-up again and decided to let her hair grow. It had been cut short while she was in the cult. Another area of concern is related to feelings abut intimacy and authentic relationships with others. The cult encouraged the display of love for the leader but discouraged other emotional attachments. If one became sexually aroused by another person in the cult, feelings of shame would emerge. After leaving their cult, group members often found it difficult to enter into an intimate, fulfilling relationship without feeling ashamed and selfish. Former cultists, in describing their feelings, often learn that their anxiety about sex, which is implicit in intimate relationships, was a factor that led them to the “safety” of a religious cult. As the ex-cult members emerge from the submissive, passive states that were evident in the first stage, they sometimes describe conflicts with their parents arising from the overprotective behavior of their parents. As the former cultists test out their independence during the second stage, their parents, fearing their reentry into the cult, may react in an overprotective fashion. Typically, parents of ex-cultists are concerned about signs indicating that their children may be thinking about rejoining the cult. It is possible that growing up in an overly protective environment rendered the young adults vulnerable to a naive acceptance of the cult's promise of a perfect world. Furthermore, by joining the cult, dependent young adults were able to escape from their families' anxiety about their initial steps toward independence. Theories of individual vulnerability, however, must also consider the state of induced pathology and mind control that the cults manage to achieve. During the second stage, the ex-cult members shift their focus from integrating their experiences in their own minds to deciding how to deal with others. Group members often describe their extended families as treating them as if they were made of porcelain. At family functions, relatives will gingerly approach the ex-cultists and nervously talk about “safe” subjects, avoiding any mention of the past few years or months. The group leaders usually advise the ex-cultists to bring up the subject of their life in the cult as a means of clearing the air (for example, “I guess you're wondering about my years in the cult and my deprogramming. Why don't you ask me whatever is on your mind?”). There is usually a sigh of relief and a flood of questions from the relatives: This kind of dialogue is almost always necessary before the former cultists can resume their relationships with their families. Another problem that confronts ex-cultists during this period is that of dealing with “missing” years on job applications. Here, again, the group leaders recommend that the former cultists focus on the skills that they learned in the cult. While involved with cults, some of the group members ran restaurants, taught children, printed newspapers, baked cookies and bread, built houses, or cooked for large numbers of people. All these are marketable skills. If nothing else, most former cultists have learned that they can work at a given task for fourteen hours a day, seven days a week.

Stage 3: Integration

This stage usually begins six months to two years after leaving the cult. At this point, the former cultists have integrated their cult experience into their lives and no longer require the group's help. They no longer primarily identify themselves as ex-cultists and have become involved in relationships that do not revolve around anticult activities, as the following example demonstrates: Fred B, who had been a member of a bizarre “scientific” cult for three years and who had been deprogrammed ten months earlier, announced to the group that he was seriously dating a young woman who had not been involved in a cult. “Before I met M, I never thought I could be serious about a girl who hadn't been in a cult. I felt that she wouldn't be able to understand me. M and I Find other things to talk about, though.” During the third stage, the former cultists are able to become involved in future-oriented goals rather than in attempts to understand their cult involvement. Most of them have either reentered school or are working in more traditional jobs than deprogramming. Individual psychotherapy may be indicated as a tool to help them focus on the factors in their personalities that made them vulnerable to the cult's manipulations. The former cultists who had completely cut themselves off from society or who had been involved in one of the more bizarre cults have the greatest difficulty reentering life outside the cults. Those who continued to use their ego strengths, often by rising to a position of authority within the cult, are the most successful in integrating the cultic experiences with their lives in the outside world. Thus, paradoxical as it may seem, individuals who have been involved in cults for relatively long periods of time and who have been deprogrammed sometimes have the fewest problems regaining their ability to function outside the cult.


The support group proved to be an excellent medium for helping former cultists readjust to society. The group provides its members with an opportunity to discuss their cultic involvement with others who have similar experiences and, by reinforcing healthy self-assertion and interpersonal relationships, supports them in their effort to overcome the aftereffects of cultic involvement. The group also provides a network of people who can offer advice and experience to those individuals who are having difficulty. This article has delineated three stages of the Post Mind Control syndrome through which former cultists pass. The first stage is usually marked by blandness, self-doubt, confusion, and depression. During this stage, the group can be helpful by supporting the individual's decision to leave and by helping the individual recognize the lingering aspects of cultic thinking. The second stage is marked by the reemergence of the precult •personality. The former cultist often feels a need to undo the cultic experience and embarks on a crusade against the cult. The group helps during this period by accepting differing points of view. It also calls attention to the entirety of the cult experience. That is, despite the many negative aspects of cult life, most individuals made some gains and learned some skills. The final stage is that of integration. Former cultists have now moved on with their lives and are able to see the cult experience as a temporary diversion from their life's work. The group's usefulness to the former cultist has, at this point, waned, and individual psychotherapy is the treatment of choice for those who still experience the aftereffects of cultic involvement.


  1. For a discussion of these techniques, see Christopher Edwards, Crazy for God (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall,1979);
    Carroll Stoner and JoAnne Parke, All God's Children (Radnor, Pa.: Chilton Book Co., 1977);
    and Ronald Enroth, Youth, Brainwashing and the Extremist Cults (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1977).
  2. Lita Linger Schwartz and Natalie Isser, “Psychohistorical Perspective of Involuntary Conversion,” Adolescence, 14 (Summer 1979), pp. 351-359.
  3. John Clark, “Destructive Cults: Defined and Held Accountable” (Mimeographed by the author, 1976), p. 10.
  4. For a discussion of the “thought terminating cliché,” see Robert Jay Lifton, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism (New York: W. W. Norton & Co.,1963), p. 429.
  5. Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman, Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change (New York: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1978).
  6. The authors are grateful to Emily Schachter, associate director of Children's Services, Rockland County Community Mental Health Center, Pomona, New York, for this insight.
  7. Clark, op. cit., p. II. 8. Margaret Singer, “Coming out of the Cults,” Psychology Today, 12 (January 1979), p. 79.