Founded in 1979, International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) is a global network of people concerned about psychological manipulation and abuse in cultic or high-demand groups, alternative movements, and other environments. ICSA is tax-exempt, supports civil liberties, and is not affiliated with any religious or commercial organization.

ICSA’s mission is to:

  • help former members of cultic groups and relationships that may have involved forms of undue influence
  • provide guidance and support to families of people involved or formerly involved in such high-control environments
  • educate the public
  • encourage, support, and conduct research
  • educate and support mental health professionals

ICSA is unique in how it coordinates the needs and interests of former group members, families, helping professionals and researchers. ICSA brings these groups together by providing programs in three areas: assistance, education, and research. Among these programs are:

ICSA’s main website,, which includes:

  • more than 1000 articles and book reviews that are organized in collections pertinent to specific categories of inquirers, including but not limited to
    • study guides for former group members, families, mental health professionals, legal professionals, and other categories of inquirers
    • topic collections on custody issues, the new age movement, terrorism, and more than two dozen other subjects
  • a support page directing undue influence victims and their families to resources aimed at their needs, including a growing network of mental health specialists who receive education and training from ICSA
  • a links page containing more than 100 annotated links to a large variety of resources
  • an annotated list of more than 50 books pertinent to cults, psychological manipulation, recovery issues, and undue influence
  • a YouTube channel with more than 50 videos, most from past ICSA conferences
  • a magazine, ICSA Today, that provides articles, personal accounts, and news summaries from around the world, as well as artistic and literary contributions
  • a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal, International Journal of Cultic Studies, that publishes important research, clinical, and legal reports.

icsa today

Members of ICSA gain access to additional Web resources, including:

  • on information pages on more than 225 different groups
  • a special database-driven website that includes more than 20,000 news articles going back to 1979
  • access to the content of all past ICSA periodicals from 1979 to the present
  • access to all past issues of ICSA Member Update, which reports on the cult-related activities of ICSA members

ICSA’s main event is its annual international conference, which takes place on alternating years in Europe or North America. The 2017 conference will be in Bordeaux, France; the 2018 conference will take place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

ICSA runs an annual workshop for second-generation adults (SGAs – people born or raised in cultic groups) and a bi-annual assistance-focused conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This latter event provides training for mental health professionals, as well as support and information for families and former group members.

ICSA runs a free monthly meeting in New York City and special events in different cities. In 2017 there will be special events in Fort Myers, Florida and Los Angeles.

ICSA also offers opportunities for interested individuals to get involved in assistance, educational, and research activities.

If you have questions or would like to learn more, please contact ICSA at [email protected].

Editor's Note: While we at OMF value all free expression of opinion, the views expressed by our contributing authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of OMF, its board members, or trustees.

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