Cults and Families

Doni Whitsett & Stephen A. Kent


This article provides an overview of cult-related issues that may reveal themselves in therapeutic situations. These issues include: families in cults; parental (especially mothers’) roles in cults; the impact that cult leaders have on families; the destruction of family intimacy; child abuse; issues encountered by noncustodial parents; the impact on cognitive, psychological, and moral development; and health issues. The authors borrow from numerous theoretical perspectives to illustrate their points, including self psychology, developmental theory, and the sociology of religion. They conclude with a discussion of the therapeutic challenges that therapists face when working with cult-involved clients and make preliminary recommendations for treatment…

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