What is a Cult? © Martyn Carruthers
Cults of all types are confronted by volatile economies, changing demography, public opinion, media ridicule and New Age competition. The issues facing cults require more than marketing or financial management. The issues concern relevance.
Why do you stay in That Organization?
Abrupt personality changes may indicate drug use – or involvement with fundamental or manipulative organizations that use psychological techniques (coercive influence, brainwashing or mind control) to recruit and keep members. Extreme groups may use harassment and blackmail or threats of ritual abuse. (Sometimes whole populations are subjected to coercive and manipulative propaganda.)
Do you, or someone you care for, want to leave a religious, military, political or commercial group, in which the group members attempt to resist their leaving by creating psychological bonds?
Our coaching is useful if you, or your friends or family are involved in manipulative or fundamental organizations, if you obsess about such groups and their activities, or if you want freedom from obsessions. We offer online coaching to help you solve whatever stops you solving your problems.
Manipulation, Cults & Sects
Words like cult and sect are difficult to define. Many commercial and military organizations, governments and professional associations can be described as manipulative; and people admiring one religion may describe all others as cults or sects. (Cults promote a new religion or a new interpretation of an established religion, while sects are groups that have broken away from an established religion, often to protest what they see as corruption or impure doctrine Encyclopedia Encarta 2003.)
Organizations that use emotional brainwashing may attract people who suffer from inner chaos (such as personality identifications or bipolar disorder). Once involved, many people may feel unable to return to the reality that they once wanted to avoid.
Brainwashing & Compliance
Brainwashing and conditioning install limiting and toxic beliefs. Examples are: “Only we know the truth“, “Anyone who attacks us is insane or criminal“, “Thinking is evil” and “Criticism is proof of sickness“. Many extremist groups attempt to place their leaders (living or dead) as substitutes for parents in the minds of the membership.
Leaders may be called father and mother, and other members may be called brothers and sisters. Connections to family and former friends may be discouraged. Once assimilated, members may feel strong guilt if they even consider leaving their sacred family. Such people are typically unaware that they have been so strongly influenced, and often support their manipulators.
Coercive psychological influence overcomes critical thinking and free will. Victims of cult-like compliance techniques cease making independent decisions or exercise informed consent. Coercive influence takes several forms…
- Undermine self-confidence and/or decision-making
- Intimidation with group-sanctioned psychological threats
- Control social environment and/or enforce social isolation
- Control with humiliation, loss of privilege and/or isolation etc
- Destabilize consciousness, awareness and/or emotional defenses
- Control communication and/or prohibit critical information and opinions
- Increase compliance with repeated activities, sleep deprivation and diet restrictions
Coercive influence is commonly used by manipulative sects, military organizations and totalitarian governments. Government sanctioned extremist groups often evade prosecution for false imprisonment, involuntary servitude, intentional emotional distress and other forms of torture.
As many free world military and police organizations rival totalitarian dictatorships in their use of brainwashing, we provide Exit Coaching for people wanting to leave such organizations.
Our systemic coaching offers safe alternatives. We help distressed people change their beliefs, explore their goals, stabilize their emotions and communicate effectively.
Coercive mental conditioning was once fought with deconditioning and deprogramming; words that we associate with illegal techniques developed to counter brainwashing … with more brainwashing! These often-brutal methods included abductions, sleep deprivation, sensory overload, condemnations, isolation and sometimes physical confinement … primitive tools of mind hacking!
Although some ex-cult-members have testified that these methods released them from their invisible prisons; others successfully sued the deprogrammers. Coercive deprogramming involves considerable legal and psychological risk; and we do not provide it, support it nor recommend it.
Coercive conditioning is more likely to be emotional than intellectual, and often involves rituals and repetition while dismissing intellectual analysis. Our Exit Coaching can coach people to change emotionally charged relationships, while helping them evaluate factual information about the group they wish to leave.
Exit Coaching is for people who choose freedom from relationship bonds. It is gentle, direct and time-limited. It emphasizes respectfully sharing information, and should not be rushed. The keys to regaining freedom of thought and action are: rebuilding trust, dissolving guilt, improving important relationships and finding worthwhile and realistic life goals.
Exit Coaching is available during office visits, or coaching sessions by telephone or online. The total time depends mostly on a person’s motivation to be part of the culture in which he or she lives. Often a person changes their lifestyle to suit their own goals.
From Pulpit to Cockpit
As many cult-like groups make sanctions about sexual activity, our Exit Coaching solutions support healthy relationships. If the group supported promiscuous sex, then sexually transmitted diseases and/or unwanted pregnancies and/or abortions may complicate our work. If the organization prohibited intimate behavior, then the changework includes re-orientation to healthy values and behavior.
Our Exit Coaching includes three 2-hour sessions per week for 5 to 10 weeks, or 3 to 5 days of intensive coaching sessions at your location. Long-term follow-up is available.
Exit coaching is for motivated, responsible people who wish to change relationships and end obsessions with specific cult-like groups, with that group’s beliefs and with the group’s activities. The most rapid and effective results follow:
- Motivated clients who are rested, alert, responsible and thinking clearly
- The involvement of as many family members and former-friends as possible
- People want and are ready to make informed decisions about their relationships
- Family members and friends who can contribute respectful, honest communication
Our online coaching supports further changework for resolving trauma and ritual abuse, substance addictions, identity crisis, etc. Helping professionals, trainers and coaches who wish to add systemic coaching to their work can attend or arrange our experiential workshops.