Preparing information about cults and mind control to a therapist...

by confliction 25 Replies latest jw friends

  • confliction

    Hi all,

    I'm currently visiting a psychologist/therapist to help me examine and work through my depression- I've had medical depression/anxiety all of my life. I'm no longer anxious or excessively paranoid for the most part- that was a part of my younger childhood, probably from fears and nightmares of destruction at armageddon, and other childhood exaggerations and amplified fears. But right now, she's treating me for a recent fall back into a depression.

    Anyways, for the most part, as you could guess, my depression stems from learning I have wasted my entire life (17 years) up to now in a cult, and pretty much my entire perceived world was nothing but an illusory concept. As of now, she doesn't know this, nor have I revealed it to her, besides a brief mention of the fact that I'm a Jehovah's Witness.

    I plan to inform her of WHY I'm depressed, because neither of us can solve my depression if I don't present the underlying issue.
    BUT, I don't know how much she knows regarding cult psychology, and all the things it does to a person, and I'm afraid she may not completely understand why I feel the way I feel- how I think, how I interpret things, beliefs, etc.

    Because psychologists/counselors are by oath entitled to keep secrecy and confidentiality (except of course on matters involving immediate danger to life/well being) I want to divulge this to her, but I want her to understand exactly what it is that I've been through for the past 17 years.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is, what are some of the best sources of information that educate on cult psychology, behaviors, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the like, that I can direct or present to a non-JW, so that she can possibly become more disposed to understand me?

    Literature, websites, and the like would be helpful, as well as official documentation on research (by other psychologists) on cults, or JW's. I'm not sure but youtube documentaries may work also, as long as they're fairly objective, and not necessarily demeaning to witnesses in general.

    Scientific / psychological analysis that give a brief (accurate) overview of the doctrine and system in general, and then the effects of this on humans, I guess. Thanks, if you get what I'm trying to say, since, after reading this, I don't think I really got my point across... lol.

  • happyexjw

    Hi Confliction,

    Great thread, try this link, it helped me try to understand the JW cult psychology:

    I hope you find some help in this.

    Take care

  • Mickey mouse
    Mickey mouse

    I gave my therapist a copy of Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steve Hassan. She has read it and since recommended it to other ex JWs.


    I personally don't feel like it is your responsibility to educate your therapist. She should already be knowledgeable of such things.

    I would start with a simple statement explaining that you feel that a lot of your issues stem from the cult. Then ask her how much experience she has had dealing with these matters. If the answer is "not much" then you should find a therapist that does has the proper training.

  • NiceDream
  • mind blown
    mind blown

    I agree with Awakening.

    Also, there are many types of therapists. Some are better skilled then others for certain issues. You may want to ask if the person you're seeing has this type (cult) of experience if you truly want an expert.

    However, bottom line. Any " skilled" therapist should be able to help you with your depression and most likely phobias, none the less.

    My best to you.

  • JWoods
    I personally don't feel like it is your responsibility to educate your therapist. She should already be knowledgeable of such things.

    I have to agree - although there is nothing wrong with doing some research on your own.

    You have told her what you came out of, right?

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    For those of you who say we shouldn't have to educate the therapist - well normally hat is true. But cult cind control isn't part of the regular curriculum just as abuse issues never used to be taught in all their years in school. If we don't educate them then they never learn and there will be fewer people who can help others.

    Take a look at Captive Hearts, Captive Minds/Take Back Your Life It is filled with great info and I would suggest it for your therapist along with Hassan's book.

    Many people have found that a therapist who is very familiar with abuse issues will find the methods abusers use to control their victims are identical to the methods any cult uses. Just remove "abuse" and insert "cult" and the similarities are astounding.

    Also check out I have addressed the issue from many different perspectives. Especially check out:

    Toxic Parents Toxic Religion 1

    Toxic Parents Toxic Religion 2

    The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse - Part 1

    The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse - Part 2

    The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse - Part 3

    The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse - Part 4


    An Interview With Lady Lee (by Valis)

    wow don't know what happened there but glad I could come back and fix it

  • undercover
    I personally don't feel like it is your responsibility to educate your therapist. She should already be knowledgeable of such things.

    I tend to agree with on general terms but...

    From personal experience;

    It's possible that the therapist/counselor doesn't know that much about high control groups. What many of us experienced as JWs is alien to people not subjected to similar situations or properly educated in how to deal with it.

    That's kinda why you can't just pick a name out of the yellow pages and expect them to know everything. You need to check their education and credentials and interview them to see if they understand where you're coming from.

  • confliction

    I understand the point you're trying to make, awake, but cultic behavior and mind control is a very particular and specific field of the psychological sciences, and as such is a realm of study all it's own.

    I frankly wouldn't expect any counselor to fully understand the inner workings of cult psychology just because they know how to mentally rehabilitate the average person, as much as I would expect an experienced nurse to know everything about heart surgery- it's just not their area of expertise.

    But the reason I would like to educate her and inform her on my situation is because hopefully (1) she will be more prepared to help others involved in cults and (2) because I don't really have access to an experienced cult rehabilitator / counselor. She has the ability to understand things from a psychological standpoint, and to analyze my thinking and help me fix it- she just doesn't know the extend to which I am damaged by all of this, mentally, and I want to give her a background so she can better help.

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