Rebuttal to an Article by Open Minds

By Cathleen Mann, PhD

I wanted to present a rebuttal to the “information” peddled in this article :

The article sensationalizes the cult experience in general and exiting a group specifically.

There is no evidence or research to support any conclusion that people benefit from “being talked out” of cults or that interventions work as advertised.  In fact, it is equally possible that interventions re-traumatize cult members.  And if counseling is used during an intervention, it needs to be clear that prior written informed consent has been provided to all parties in advance (and they have the opportunity to decline the intervention or counseling without being labelled as under “mind control.’)  Surprising or ambushing current cult members is not an ethical counseling approach.

There is also no research or evidence that current cult members all need “counseling” to recover.  Outcome studies in counseling do not support a causal relationship between counseling and recovery in the majority of cases.  Every cult experience is different.  Some people just walk away and recover just fine.

Proponents of “cult specific counseling” often appear to be creating a money making niche.  Such attitudes can create dependency upon a specific counseling approach which may not be necessary or useful.

Where is the individualized approach to working with former cult members?  Not here in this article. Let’s resist the message that all current or former cult members must be treated exactly the same. This is how cults work; not credible, ethical approaches disguised as “help.”

Cathleen Mann, PhD

Cathleen Mann passed away November 2020.