Addressing Destructive Cults?

Addressing Destructive Cults? Info gathered from the book “Cults Inside Out: How People Get In and Can Get Out”  ‘Critics of the term cult generally object to its standardized application, claiming that it denigrates “new religious movements.” But since many cults are not religious, this objection seems misplaced. Any meaningful investigation into the nature of cults must forego specific beliefs and instead focus on the practices that make a group or relationship harmful. Whatever the cult, there is almost always sustained deception. This fact raises the issue that there is an absence of informed consent. Cults employ secretiveness, because most people would otherwise not knowingly affiliate with them. Neither intelligence nor family background precludes being tricked and caught by a cult. People who have been caught weren’t necessarily “seeking” or looking for “something.” We don’t know whether everyone in a cult has been traumatized. We do know that many have had very difficult and painful experiences. We don’t have the data to support the contention that every former cult member needs professional counseling. But we do know that education about cults has been helpful and is an important facet of recovery, which often alleviates the confusion and suffering of former cult members. Professional counseling is, by its very nature, a persuasive process. Education focused on critical thinking, the power of persuasion, deception, and indoctrination practices with the support of research is, in my opinion, a better choice to assist former or current cult members. The concern is that reliance on counseling rather than on education has the potential to create dependence on an authority figure and doesn’t necessarily nurture...