Welcome to Vol. 9, No. 1 March/April 2008 edition of the reFOCUS Forum: An Internet Newsletter for Recovery
reFOCUS is a network of referral and support for former members of closed, high demand groups, relationships or cults.
reFOCUS is dedicated to the recovery of former members
please visit our web site at http://www.refocus.org
We are a tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation - all contributions to reFOCUS are 100% tax deductible. Because reFOCUS is dedicated to recovery, we are looking for suggestions and input from you: are there articles or topics you want to see covered? Are there questions you need answered? Email us at refocuscarol@.att.net
Conferences and Workshops (ICSA)
2008 Annual International Conference at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania , June 26-29, 2008.
Note: The Second Generation Workshop has been developed by ICSA to address the special needs of those born and/or raised in a cultic group. There is still room for participation in the workshop.
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Contract for Membership in a Cultic Group or Relationship
In the medical profession, ethical contracts ensure that patients have given fully informed consent. That is, if a doctor fails to inform a patient about the risks, side effects, and options for treatment, the uninformed patient is entitled to sue. Below is a mock contract for cult membership.12Ask yourself if you gave informed consent at the time of your recruitment, or if you would have joined had you known your participation would involve the following conditions.
I, _______________ hereby agree to join___________________. I understand that my life will change in the following ways. I know what I am
getting into and agree to all of the following conditions:
- My good feelings about who I am will stem from being liked by other group members and/or my leader, and from receiving approval from the group/leader.
- My total mental attention will focus on solving the groups/leaders problems and making sure that there are no conflicts.
- My mental attention will be focused on pleasing and protecting the group/leader.
- My self-esteem will be bolstered by solving group problems and relieving the leaders pain.
- My own hobbies and interests will gladly be put
aside. My time will be spent however the group/leader wants.
- My clothing and personal appearance will be dictated by the desires of the group/leader.
- I do not need to be sure of how I feel. I will only be focused on what the group/leader feels.
- I will ignore my own needs and wants. The needs and wants of the group/leader are all that is important.
- The dreams I have for the future will be linked to the group/leader.
- My fear of rejection will determine what I say or do.
- My fear of the groups/leaders anger will determine what I say or do.
- I will use giving as a way of feeling safe with the group/leader.
- My social circle will diminish or disappear as I involve myself with the group/leader.
- I will give up my family as I involve myself with the group/leader.
- The groups/leaders values will become my values.
- I will cherish the groups/leaders opinions and ways of doing things more than my own.
- The quality of my life will be in relation to the quality of group life, not the quality of life of the leader.
- Everything that is right and good is due to
the groups belief, the leader, or the teachings.
- Everything that is wrong is due to me.
- In addition, I waive the following rights to:
- Leave the group at any time without the need to give a reason or sit through a waiting period
- Maintain contact with the outside world
- Have an education, career, and future of my choice
- Receive reasonable health care and have a say in my health care
- Have a say in my own and my familys discipline,
and to expect moderation in disciplinary methods
- Have control over my body, including choices related to sex, marriage, and procreation
- Expect honesty in dealings with authority figures in the group
- Expect honest in any proselytizing I am expected to do
- Have any complaints heard and dealt with fairly with an impartial investigation
- Be supported and cared for in my old age in gratitude for my years of service
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Janja Lalichs New Research Project
Seeking People to Interview
I have embarked on a new research project, which I have entitled On Our Own: How Children of Cults Manage to Survive in the Outside World. This project has been approved by the Human Subjects in Research Committee at California State University, Chico, where I am on the faculty in the Sociology Department.
The purpose of the project is to explore the attitudes, experiences, coping mechanisms, and issues related to societal integration of young people leaving a cultic group to enter mainstream society. I will be doing in-depth interviews, focus groups, and handing out a brief questionnaire to gather basic data.
I am particularly interested in individuals who were born and/or raised in a group and who left the group during adolescence or young adulthood on their own that is, without their parents.
I am looking for individuals who would be willing to be interviewed either in person or on the telephone. I prefer in-person interviews, but depending on the location, I may not have the funds to travel. In such cases, I would do a phone interview. Each interview would take approximately 1 to 2 hours. There is also a brief questionnaire to fill out providing me with basic demographic data (age, education, etc.) Participation is voluntary. Interviews will be confidential, and the identity of interviewees will be protected in any writing or
presentations based on research material. My ultimate goal is to write a book on this topic.
If you are interested in being interviewed or discussing this project with me, please contact me at jlalich@... or call my office at 530-898-5542. This is a private phone line and no one else would hear any message left at that number. If sending an e-mail, please put Research Project in the subject line so that your e-mail message will stand out.
Thanks for your interest, and I hope to hear from you,
Janja Lalich, Ph.D.
Janja Lalich is author of the following books:
Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships (with Madeleine Tobias) (Bay Tree, 2006)
Bounded Choice: True Believers and Charismatic Cults (University of California Press, 2004)
Crazy Therapies: What Are They? Do They Work? (with Margaret Singer) (Jossey-Bass, 1996)
Cults in Our Midst (with Margaret Singer) (Jossey-Bass, 1995)
Captive Hearts, Captive Minds (with Madeleine Tobias) (Hunter House, 1994, now out of print)
And editor of Women Under the Influence: A Study of Womens Lives in Totalist Groups (a special issue of the Cultic Studies Journal, 1997)
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