Workshop: Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships

Saturday, October 15th 2016 at 9:00 am
Saturday, October 15th 2016 at 4:45 pm
Center for Inquiry-Los Angeles, 4773 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027

Leaving and Recovering from Cultic Groups and Relationships: A Workshop for Families and Former Members 

October 15 and 16, 9:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.

This workshop is open to family members and former members of cultic groups. The workshop will include much discussion on topics such as the following: 

  • Overview of joining, leaving, and recovery 
  • Why people leave groups and why they stay
  • Recovery needs of former members 
  • Trance and triggers
  • Critical thinking
  • Trauma and recovery
  • Building relationships
This workshop has been made possible by donations to ICSA and the willingness of facilitators to volunteer their time. Without the dedication of these people, registration fees would be much higher than they are. If you are unemployed, on disability, or otherwise limited financially and need help with the registration fee, please contact us at or (239)-514-3081. 

REGISTER ASAP or you may not be able to attend. 


The fee for the workshop is $75 per person. One-day attendance is $50. CFI members may deduct $25 from the workshop or daily fee. Registrants receive a free ICSA Web membership or have their existing membership extended.

Register online or print and mail the form in the online flyer.


Rachel BernsteinRachel Bernstein, MS, LMFT, has been working with former cult members for 25 years. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Educator, who lives in Los Angeles, CA. Rachel ran the Maynard Bernstein Resource Center on cults, named after her father. She was the Clinician at the former Cult Clinic in Los Angeles, as well as the Cult Hotline and Clinic in Manhattan. She now treats former cult members and the families and friends of those in cults in her private practice. Rachel has published many articles, made media appearances, consulted on shows and movies about cults, and has been interviewed for podcasts and YouTube videos.,

Joseph F. KellyJoseph F. Kelly, a graduate of Temple University, has been a thought reform consultant since 1988. He spent 14 years in two different eastern meditation groups. He has lectured extensively on cult-related topics, and is a co-author of Ethical Standards for Thought Reform Consultants, published in ICSA’s Cultic Studies Journal. For many years, Mr. Kelly has also co-facilitated ICSA pre-conference workshops for ex-members. Recently, he helped to initiate ICSA’s monthly meeting in Philadelphia. Websites:;;;

Patrick Ryan
Patrick Ryan, a graduate of Maharishi International University, has been a cult intervention specialist since 1984. He is the co-founder of TM-EX, the organization of ex-members of Transcendental Meditation. He established ICSA's online resource (1995-2013) and has presented 50 programs about hypnosis, inner-experience, trance-induction techniques, communicating with cult members, conversion, cult intervention, exit counseling, intervention assessment, mediation, religious conflict resolution, and other subjects. He has led or co-led ICSA workshops for educators, families, former members, and mental health professionals. Websites:;;;

Doni WhitsettDoni Whitsett, PhD, LCSW, is a Clinical Professor of Social Work at the University of Southern California School of Social Work. Dr. Whitsett teaches various courses in practice, behavior, and mental health. She has been working with cult-involved clients and their families for 20 years and gives lectures to students and professionals in this area. She has presented at national and international conferences. Her publications include The Psychobiology of Trauma and Child Maltreatment (Cultic Studies Review, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2006), A Self Psychological Approach to the Cult Phenomenon (Journal of Social Work, 1992), Cults and Families (Families in Society, Vol. 84, No. 4, 2003), and Why Cults are Harmful: Neurobiological speculations on inter-personal trauma. ICSA Today, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2014.