Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Center for Healing Spiritual and Cultic Abuse (The CHSCA) Fundraising

Although John M. Knapp, LMSW did not properly create his new organization, The Center for Healing Spiritual and Cultic Abuse (The CHSCA), as I wrote in the previous post and he practices questionable therapies such as Internet therapy and DID (dissociative identity disorder) therapy, he raises funds for his new organization, supposedly to provide his therapy for people who are unable to pay: People who donate money to The CHSCA for John Knapp's therapy should be aware that his therapy may actually harm people instead of helping them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

John M. Knapp and The CHSCA

Recently, John M. Knapp, LMSW started a new website and claims that he founded a new non-profit corporation, The Center for Healing Spiritual and Cultic Abuse (The CHSCA) and is the executive director of it. He highly promotes this new organization, including their services and even international support. However, I think that potential clients should be aware of some facts regarding this organization and John M. Knapp.

Since he lives and practices in New York State, his non-profit corporation is supposed to be on file with NYS Department of State. However, anyone can search NYS Department of State The Corporation and Business Entity Database and see that it is not there. The current information messages by this database [on March 25, 2011] are the following:
NYS Department of State
Division of Corporations
Informational Message
The information contained in this database is current through March 24, 2011.
No business entities were found for The Center for Healing Spiritual and Cultic Abuse.
No business entities were found for The Center for Healing Spiritual & Cultic Abuse.
No business entities were found for The CHSCA.
No business entities were found for CHSCA.

John Knapp started his website in the beginning of March and claimed to have created The Center for Healing Spiritual and Cultic Abuse as a non-profit corporation, but it is still not on file with NYS Department of State. The only conclusion I can make is that his non-profit corporation is non-existing or illegal.

As far as I know, one of the main reasons for John Knapp to supposedly create his non-profit corporation is to attract more clients. However, I would warn people about hiring him as a therapist. Here is a report of one of his former clients: I know of this situation and am aware that he caused a serious damage to this person.

Another problem with his counseling is that he practices online counseling, using Skype and similar programs. Many therapists have doubts regarding this way of counseling because Skype has security flaws and because there is a great difference between seeing somebody in person and on video. According to my understanding, the position of the NYS State Boards for the Professions, that is, the organization that certified him as Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) is that they do not tend to consider online therapy as true therapy.

In Ethical Standards for Thought Reform Consultants, section II, point A, sub-point 5:
A subscribing consultant will not employ methods or techniques such as neuro-linguistics programming, hypnosis or Ericksonian hypnosis or other techniques similar to those employed by cult groups without fully informed consent of the client.

I know that not all the thought reform consultants, exit counselors or whatever they call themselves, subscribed by these ethical standards. Although these methods are not illegal per se, they are used by cults. This is why most professionals who work with ex-cult members (including those who did not subscribed by these ethical standards) consider that it is unethical to use them.

Since John Knapp is LMSW, he is required to have a supervisor who is LCSW. His supervisor and her husband are certified NLP trainers. John Knapp and his supervisor even have offices in the same building. Well, there is nothing illegal with having a supervisor who is a certified NLP trainer, but it definitely indicates that John Knapp seriously studied NLP. People usually study NLP to use it, not just to have information about it. I have never been his client, but I used to be a co-moderator and a co-administrator of his forum and I can testify that he used NLP techniques toward me.

Although I wrote three posts about John Knapp in my blog, I did not use his name. Now I think this is the time to say that he is the person mentioned in the following posts as "anti-cult leader" and "anti-cult Professor Moriarty":

PS. John Knapp keeps posting in his new Twitter account that certain people joined his Center for Healing Spiritual and Cultic Abuse. I doubt that this information is correct. In any case, I will not join his new organization under any condition. In the past, he tried to involve me there, using manipulations. I have never given my agreement to join it. Although he still lists me in his forum as one of moderators and administrators, I am not a moderator and administrator of his forum since August 1, 2010. I had no contacts with him since this time. I do not endorse him and will not work together with him any longer. This is my firm position and I will not change it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hijabs: Are They Signs of Spiritual Abuse?

In the post entitled Thought Reform and Cultures, I already mentioned that Western people totally misunderstand the reason why Muslim women wear hijabs (Muslim head coverings).

In a certain anti-cult website, I just noticed an article on spiritual abuse. One problem with this article is that the author considers spiritual abuse to be the same as thought reform. I wrote about the definition of the spiritual abuse given by the authors of this term in another post. I consider its definition to be the most correct and I am against too stretched concept of this term. For example, non-religious cults use thought reform techniques, but I do not think it should be called spiritual abuse because such cults have nothing to do with religion.

Another problem with the article I mentioned is a picture of a woman wearing a hijab, posted there. So, it seems that the author considers a hijab as a sign of spiritual abuse. However, the thing is that the idea that women's head coverings is a sign of any kind of abuse actually has something to do with the Bible and has nothing to do with the Qur'an.

In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 11:2-15 (New American Standard Version), it is said:
2 Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.
3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.
4 Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head.
5 But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.
6 For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.
7 For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.
8 For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man;
9 for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake.
10 Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.
12 For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.
13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?
14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him,
15 but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering.

In this passage, Paul teaches that man is a head of a woman and that woman's head covering is a symbol of man's authority. There are various interpretations of this passage, but I am not going to get into them now. My point is that the idea that if a woman covers her head, it shows her submissive position, is taken from this passage of the Bible.

The Qur'an gives an absolutely different reason for a woman to cover her head. In the Qur'an 24:30-31 (Yusufali's translation), it is written:
30 Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.
31 And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss.

In the Qur'an 33:59 (Yusufali's translation), it is said:
O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

So, the reason for women to cover their whole body, including their heads, according to the Qur'an is completely different. It is to prevent men's lust to them, that is, to prevent rapes and such things. This reason has nothing to do with oppression or spiritual abuse. On the contrary, it takes care of a woman's dignity.

Some Muslim women wear hijabs that cover their hair and faces. Some wear hijabs that cover only their hair and leave their faces open. This difference comes from the different opinions of the four traditional Sunni madhabs (schools of Muslim law): Hanafis, Shafiis, Malikis, and Hanbalis. Some madhabs teach that women should cover their faces, some teach that they should not. The reason for covering Muslim women's faces is the same as for covering their heads and other parts of the body, which is to protect women from strange men's sexual abuses. So, it has nothing to do with any oppression or spiritual abuse.

Although there are some abusive Muslim groups that insist on women wearing hijabs, hijabs themselves are not a sign of spiritual abuse. The idea that they are, comes from Christianity, not from Islam. This is one of the examples that illustrates that it is important for anti-cult professionals to consider the cultural differences and not to project their own culture to the people of another culture.