National Conference on Treating Victims of Coercive Groups and Destructive Cults

Cult Information and Family Support Queensland (CIFS Qld)

Presents Coercive Persuasion and Mind Control:

A National Conference on Treating Victims of Coercive

Groups and Destructive Cults

Seminar March 2010

Program Outline

Friday, March 12th

8:00 am Registration

8:30 – 10:30 am OPENING ADDRESS



10:30 – 11:00 am  Morning Tea


12:15 – 1:15 pm  Lunch (provided)

1:15 – 3:00 pm  Choice: Lecture or Workshop

3:00 – 3:30 pm  Afternoon Tea

3:30 – 5:00 pm  Choice: Lecture or Workshop

Saturday, March 13th

8:30 – 10:30 am Lecture

10:30 – 11:00 am Morning Tea

11:00 – 12:15 pm Choice: Lecture or Workshop

12:15 – 1:15 pm •Lunch (provided)

1:15 – 3:00 pm •Choice: Lecture or Workshop

3:00 – 3:30 pm •Afternoon Tea

3:30 – 5:00 pm •Questions and Answers / Panel

Topics Covered in Lectures or Workshops?

Psychological Manipulation,

Mind Control, and other dynamics of Cults and High Demand Groups?

Educating the public and parents?

Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment Modalities?

Working with PTSD and Trauma related Symptomatology?

Working with Cult-involved Families?

Anxiety and Decision Making, Boundaries, Spiritual

Concerns and Dependency Issues after the Cult?

How Grief becomes disenfranchised when losing a child

to a Cult

Dates & Location

Conference Updates & Further


Brisbane, Queensland, Australia March 12 – 13, 2010

Conference Hours

Terms & Conditions

CIFS Qld reserves the right to:

Confirmations and Cancellations

Parliament House, Queensland

Parliament House is located at the corner of George and Alice

Streets and is within easy walking distance of the Brisbane CBD.

You can also catch a bus or ferry to Parliament House. There

are also numerous public car-parking stations within the CBD.

CIFS Qld Conference: Hosted at Parliament House by Kate Jones, MP Ashgrove

Registration and sign-in begins at 8:00 am on March 12, 2010.

The conference begins at 8:30 am and concludes at 5:00 pm

each day. Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea will be provided each day.

Please refer to the CIFS website at:

The details regarding Professional Accreditation will be posted

at a later date on the CIFS Website.

(1) Change the program or course content of any session

(2) Substitute a speaker who becomes unavailable due to

unforeseen circumstances; or

(3) Cancel any session of the program where a speaker cannot

be replaced.

Travel arrangements to the conference venue and accommodation in Brisbane, is the responsibility of the participant.

Registrants will receive a confirmation of registration and receipt for conference fees when payment has been processed.

Cancellations received before February 26th, 2010 are refundable, less $50 administrative charge. Please note that if you register and do not attend, you are still liable for full payment.

For more information, to verify registration or to contact a CIFS

Qld representative, please phone

CIFS Qld Secretary: 0413 088 218

or email:

A National Conference on Coercive Persuasion and Mind Control:

Why Should I Register?

We are all familiar with some extreme cases of coercive persuasion and mind control such as the events that unfolded at Waco, Texas with the Branch Davidians, which

ended in a fiery raid on the compound of David Koresh and the individuals who followed him to their deaths. Jim Jones, the founder of the Peoples Temple shocked the world when he led over 900 people to either commit suicide or to murder other members in 1978 at Jonestown, Guyana. The Australian media has exposed extreme

cases of abusive groups in recent years and we have become aware of groups such as Kenja, Children of God, the Exclusive Brethren and Brisbane Christian Fellowship.

But what about less extreme, yet concerning and dangerous cases that mental health professionals come across on a daily basis that many times go undetected?

Individuals who have been victims of coercive persuasion and thought reform in destructive groups such as cults, and those who have been in coercive one-on-one

relationships such as cultic friendships and cultic dating relationships frequently get misdiagnosed with anything from bipolar disorder to psychotic disorder as their

traumatic symptoms may mimic these disorders. Many of these individuals search desperately for a mental health professional who understands the kind of manipulation

and deception that they have endured. Often such clients are labelled “co-dependent”. Mental health professionals become frustrated when they see these clients “disappear” from therapy or become disheartened when the methods they have previously used in working with abused clients do not work. Family members often search for a mental health professional who can help them make sense out of the fact that their loved one has suddenly severed their relationship. These family members frequently proclaim that their loved one has been transformed into a “different person” as they refer to the

sudden, catastrophic personality changes that they observe them going through due to the thought reform tactics of the perpetrator.

Treating Victims of Coercive Groups and Destructive Cults

The effects of mind control and coercive persuasion are some of the most  misunderstood and deeply hidden problems that victims of these groups and relationships have endured. The outcome translates into tremendous psychological, emotional, social and financial loss for themselves and for loved ones. In this timely, two-day conference, attendees will learn the skills they need to assess victims of thought reform, how to address the issues with loved ones, and provide participants with resources to learn how to treat those who have been victims of a coercive group, cult or cultic relationship. Participants will acquire a broad background of knowledge of coercive groups and relationships, and sound counsel, accompanied by practical workshops.

Who Should Attend



GP’s and Health Professionals?

Professional Counselors?

Social Workers?


Clergy / Pastors?

Ex-Members & Family?

School Chaplains / Counselors?


Meet The Presenters


is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Southern California School of Social Work, where she has been on faculty since 1994, having previously taught at UCLA for 6 years. She has been in the field of Social Work since 1967, receiving her

doctorate in 1987. Dr. Whitsett teaches both first-year foundation courses in practice

and behavior and second year courses in the Mental Health concentration. In addition, she has a private practice where she has worked with cult involved families and former members for over 15 years.

Dr. Whitsett is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Cultic Studies Journal, published by the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), where she has been a member since 1990. She has presented on various aspects of trauma and cults both nationally and internationally and trains mental health professionals in Los Angeles on how to treat this population. Her publications include three articles on cults: The Psychobiology of trauma and child maltreatment (2006); Cults and Families (with Dr. Stephen Kent, 2003); and A self psychological approach to the cult phenomenon (1992).


L.P.C., is a psychotherapist practicing in Littleton, Colorado. For the past twenty

years she has been active in the counter cult movement working closely with the

former Cult Awareness Network and ICSA. She presently sits on the board of

the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) and heads the Mental Health

Committee. She has developed and facilitated ICSA’s Recovery workshops for

first and second-generation cult survivors for fifteen years. Her trainings for mental health professionals have been presented at ICSA conferences for almost ten years.

Rosanne also sits on the board of the Rocky Mountain Resource Center, a local cult monitoring organization. Her private practice specializes in the treatment of cult

survivors and their families. Rosanne is a former member of Kashi Ranch; her story is published in TAKE BACK YOUR LIFE.



One Response

  1. Good to see a conference that addresses head -on with some clear and in-depth thinking the tactics and dynamics of groups who use mental exploitation and coercion (CULTS). Its reassuring that there are plenty of academics and professionals who take very seriously the negative consequences for many who become ensnared by the spell-binding cult leaders. Unfortunately there are victims and their families that have sometimes found their reports of their suffering rejected by a certain kind of academic who downplays the destructive cults phenomenon. This kind of theorist seems more concerned with proving their own speculative social theories at the expense of serious scholarly research into the long-recognised phenomena of thought reform and mental coercion as developed and practiced by coercive regimes around the world. The popular press has in Ireland has recently managed to provide more realistic and meaningful commentary and insights into the Tony Quinn cult, the mindset and activities of the Mucky Messiah and his drone-like assistants, than some of the speculative commentators managed in four decades. Let’s hope for yet more insights and accurate assessments of this cult and the other destructive sects in Ireland and abroad.


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