Thursday, April 30, 2009

Can Cult Recovery Be Put into a Scheme?

Some people are trying to put cult recovery into a certain scheme. One of them is Lawrence Wollersheim, a former Scientologist, a co-founder and former executive director of anti-cult Factnet website, and executive director of New Age "Integrative Spirituality" website (a number of people consider that this New Age group is a mind-controlling cult).

Wollersheim wrote two versions of cult recovery schemes that he promotes in Factnet. The first version contains five steps, the second version contains seven steps.

Well, I disagree with the idea that cult recovery can be put into a definite scheme. Everyone is different, and everyone's experience of cult recovery is different because it depends on many factors such as pre-cult and cult experience, individual traits, and so on. In principle, Wollersheim can define some principles of his cult recovery, but it will be only his own experience.

Regarding his 5 steps, I am aware of his lawsuits against Scientology (step 3). However, I do not think that every ex-member has to sue his or her former cult. Moreover, this step may lead to unsuccessful lawsuits that can cause the cult's legal actions in turn and depression that will not help in the cult recovery at all.

Then, regarding getting specialized therapy (step 2), I do not think that all the former members need it as I wrote many times in my blog.

Regarding joining anti-cult activism (step 5), as I wrote in another post, there are some dangers when people join it soon after leaving their cults. Also, I do not think that all the ex-members of cults have to join this activity at all. I am not sure that this activity really helps in the cult recovery.

Then, regarding spiritual quest (step 4), again, I am not sure that it is absolutely necessary for psychological recovery. Well, on the one hand, it can be helpful. On the other hand, I do not think that people who do not have desire for the spiritual quest will never get psychologically recovered.

So, among Wollersheim's 5 steps, I definitely agree only with learning about cults and mind control (step 1).

His 7 steps are completely different. First of all, it is important to mention that he claims that he was "personally mentored" by Dr. Margaret Singer for 20 years as the ground for his expertise. However, this is simply not true. He was not "personally mentored" by Singer. Also, he claims that his 7 steps come from Singer while it is definitely not so. These 7 steps have nothing to do with Margaret Singer. In fact, many of the ideas for these steps (for example, step 6) come from the New Age cult where Wollersheim probably has a high position. So, these steps look like an instruction how to leave one cult in order to join another cult.

Wollersheim claims that he won 9.2 million dollars as a result of his lawsuits against Scientology. However, he always asks for donations for Factnet. Almost 2 years ago, I was quite concerned that a certain cult was using Factnet discussion board and that the only information people were able to read about that cult in Factnet was that cult promotion. I informed Wollersheim about this situation. He did not express any concern at this situation in his reply. His reply was: "Please consider making a significant donation to Factnet to help us cover our operational costs via pay pal. It is a good sign to us when someone is also supporting us financially especially in situations where considerable extra work is being requested." (This is a direct quote from his e-mail). Well, I guess it is a clear indication that he is for money much more than for anti-cult work.

No comments: