For Healthcare Professionals

Resources for healthcare professionals

Undue influence can contribute to a number of different scenarios, which healthcare professionals often encounter, including victims of domestic abuse, vulnerable adults at risk of manipulation, individuals with specific medical beliefs dictated by a destructive group, and much more. It is key for healthcare professionals to understand and be able to assess and identify cases of undue influence, in order to ensure patient safety.

Here are some resources that healthcare professionals may find useful, and if you require any specific advice or guidance, please contact us. For additional information and resources, please use our recommended reading list. 

 

HELPLINE: Swiss counter-cult

Cults / Sects

infoSekta is a consumer protection organisation which is independent of religious and political ties. They offer counselling for individuals, education and awareness campaigns, impartial information and support for individuals in Switzerland. Although they don't currently operate outside Switzerland, they do offer brilliant online resources and information, and are an excellent example of counter-cult initiatives. 

www.infosekta.ch

 

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HELPLINE: UK Child Support - Childline

Domestic Violence Abuse / Child Abuse Bullying

Childline offer support to young people up to the age of 19, with any issues they may have. With a focus on support, talking and counselling, young people can ring Childline with any issue, big or small. 

www.childline.org.uk

 

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HELPLINE: Cult Support - Freedom of Mind

Cults / Sects

Freedom of Mind is the brainchild of Open Minds Review Board Member Steven Hassan, offering resources, information and specialist support for those seeking to leave a cult or sect, or hoping to support someone else to escape. They offer a range of individual support options.

freedomofmind.com

 

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HELPLINE: US National Domestic Violence Hotline

Domestic Violence

Delivering a 24/7 support line, the National Domestic Violence Hotline offers immediate help and lifesaving solutions to enable victims of Domestic Violence to escape and be safe. Anyone calling the helpline will reach a fully qualified advocates, who can offer compassionate support, crisis intervention information and referral services, in more than 170 languages.

1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 

www.thehotline.org

 

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SPECIALIST: Rachel Bernstein, California

Cults / Sects

Rachel Bernstein works in California, US and specialises in therapy for couples, families and individuals. She has spent many years working alongside Steven Hassan on  the Freedom of Mind project and has extensive experience of supporting those who are exiting cults or sects and those who have left already but require ongoing support. 

www.rachelbernsteintherapy.com

 

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SPECIALIST: Steven Hassan, Massachusetts

Cults / Sects

Steven Hassan is pioneer of the Freedom of Mind Resource Centre which specifically seeks to support individuals trying to escape cults or sects, or those who have already successfully exited and who want to live a life free from undue influence. Steven has been involved in educating the public since 1976.

freedomofmind.com

 

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SPECIALIST: Christian Szurko, Oxfordshire, UK

Cults / Sects Totalist / Totalitarianism

Christian Szurko is Coordinator of the DialogCentre UK and has been involved in supporting individuals to extricate themselves from extremist groups, and cults, since 1973. He has worked in both the US, where he used to live, and the UK where he lives currently. 

Contact Christian via email...

 

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SPECIALIST: Bennett Blum, US

Cults / Sects Extremism - religious or political Domestic Violence Radicalisation Automatic Authority Terrorism Scams / Fraud Totalist / Totalitarianism Sex Slavery Human Trafficking Abuse / Child Abuse Parental / Familial Alienation Bullying

Bennett Blum is an expert psychiatrist, specialising in forensic and geriatric psychiatry and using both to identify and evaluate undue influence in action. An expert on manipulation tactics, Bennett is a regular consultant on legal cases, including the precedent-setting United Nations trial of General Pavle Strugar. He helps to identify incidents of undue influence in every arena from elder abuse to war crimes, fraud to families. 

www.bennettblummd.com

 

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RESOURCES: Zur Institute

Cults / Sects Extremism - religious or political Domestic Violence Radicalisation Automatic Authority Terrorism Scams / Fraud Totalist / Totalitarianism Sex Slavery Human Trafficking Abuse / Child Abuse Parental / Familial Alienation Bullying

The Zur Institute provide resources and continuing education to psychotherapists and other healthcare professionals, at the same time offering relevant information to the general public. 

www.zurinstitute.com

 

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RESOURCES: Quackwatch

Scams / Fraud

Quackwatch is an online resource connecting an international network of people who are concerned with health-related manipulations, including fraud, myths, fads, fallacies and misconduct. As well as the central website, initiative director Dr Barrett maintains a number of additional websites dedicated to fraud in specific medical fields. 

quackwatch.com

 

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RESOURCES: Polygamy and Trafficking

Human Trafficking

The Polygamy and Trafficking website is a digital information centre, encouraging awareness and education on the issue of religious coercion and demonstrating the personal risks they can create. It was established by Christine Marie Katas, who is a survivor or polygamy and human trafficking, as a result of her familial 'religious' beliefs. Christine is particularly passionate about highlighting the link between religion and human trafficking, as religious leaders 'legally' exploit individuals, using undue influence to manipulate and oppress, and create hierarchies of unquestioning obedience. 

polygamyandtrafficking.com

 

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RESOURCES: Helping Therapists understand cults

Cults / Sects

Retired psychotherapist, author and former cult member Bonnie Zieman has created a two-page, digital document, supporting therapists to understand the dynamics of undue influence and the effects it has on an individual. It can be accessed by therapists and their patients and is a free online resource.

Download the document here...

 

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RESOURCES: Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses

Cults / Sects

The AAWA is an international education organisation promoting understanding of the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower policies, which violate the fundamental human rights of individuals. AAWA is clear that "most Jehovah’s Witnesses are very lovely people. In fact, many of their beliefs support good work ethics and family values."; however, they also have serious concerns about specific Watchtower policies that "result in suicides; attempted suicides; severe depression; domestic violence; child sexual abuse; and unnecessary deaths due to the Watchtower’s policy on blood transfusions."

aawa.co

 

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RESOURCES: ICSA - International Cultic Studies Association

Cults / Sects

ISCA is a global network of individuals who are concerned about the psychological manipulation and abuse of individuals, who are involved in high-demand groups, cults, alternative movements and all similar environments.

www.icsahome.com

 

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Man is made by belief. As he believes, so he is - Bhagvad Gita