Workshop: Recovery Newsletter Jan. / Feb. 2004

Welcome to the Vol. 5, No. 1, January/February 2004 edition of the reFOCUS Forum: An Internet Newsletter for Recovery

reFOCUS is: …a network of referral and support for former members of closed, high demand groups, relationships or cults.

reFOCUS is dedicated to the recovery of former members…please visit our web site at

We are a tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation – all contributions to reFOCUS are 100% tax deductible. Because reFOCUS is dedicated to recovery, we are looking for suggestions and input from you: are there articles or topics you want to see covered? Are there questions you need answered? Email us at or
Conferences and Workshops:
AFF (American Family Foundation), with the co-sponsorship of ESAMA (Edmonton Society Against Mind Abuse), will conduct an international conference, “Understanding Cults and Other Charismatic Groups,” to be held Friday 9:00 a.m. through Saturday 9:00 p.m., June 11-12, 2004 at the University of Alberta Conference Center at Lister Center (87 Avenue and 116 Street in Edmonton). The theme of the conference is The Violation of Innocence – How Cults Abuse Children. There will be pre-conference workshops on Thursday June 10th for former group members, mental health professionals, and family members of cultists.

AFF executive director Dr. Michael Langone, who also edits the organization’s Cultic Studies Review, says that AFF conferences typically include an interesting mix of ex-members, family members, helping professionals, and researchers. The conference will have three simultaneous tracks addressing the different needs and interests of these four groups. There will be more than 50 presenters.

Among the titles of sessions are:

  • Polygamy’s Impact on Children;
  • Born or Raised in Cults;
  • Transformational Leadership and the Promotion of Core Values in the Workplace: A Recipe for Corporate Cultism;
  • The Neurobiology of Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Application to Child Maltreatment;
  • A Panel of Former Members Discuss Child Abuse and Authoritarianism in Cults;
  • Women and Violence: The Conviction of a Canadian Charismatic Leader;
  • Children in the Unification Church;
  • The Role of New Religions in Legitimating National Socialism in Germany, 1920-1945;
  • The John De Ruiter Story from a New Perspective;
  • Cults and Religious Privileges Under Charity Law in England and Australia;
  • Altered States of Consciousness, Hypnosis, and Mind Control;
  • After the Cult: Who am I? and
  • Brainwashing, Undue Influence, and the Law.

A complete list of session titles and speakers, as well as online registration forms, can be found at AFF’s online bookstore (  click on “Conferences” and follow the hyperlinks). Interested persons may also directly contact AFF (P.O. Box 2265, Bonita Springs, Florida – 239-541-3081; to register or obtain a conference brochure.

Recovery Workshop for Former Group Members
Friday 3:00 p.m. July 23, 2004 to Sunday 3:00 p.m. July 25, 2004

St. Malo Retreat and Conference Center, Estes Park, Colorado (1 hr. NW of Denver) These workshops are for former group members only, not family or friends (AFF has other workshops for these persons.)

Topics discussed typically include:

  • the nature of psychological manipulation and abuse
  • coping with depression and guilt
  • effects of hypnosis and trance techniques
  • coping with feelings of anger
  • coping with anxiety
  • decision-making
  • dependency issues
  • reestablishing trust in yourself and others
  • the grieving process
  • reintegration/identity issues

About the Facility
Nestled at the foot of Mt. Meeker in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Saint Malo Center is truly a memorable location for this workshop. It is just minutes from Estes Park, one of Colorado’s most popular mountain communities and gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a 60-90 minute drive from Denver.

Interested persons may also directly contact AFF (P.O. Box 2265, Bonita Springs, Florida – 239-541-3081; to register or obtain a workshop flyer.

Important new information regarding this recovery workshop:
reFOCUS is happy to be able to make available the Herb Rosedale Memorial Scholarship fund for one or two former members who would not otherwise be able to attend the workshop. The scholarship will cover tuition, room and board. The recipient would need to be responsible for their transportation costs. Those interested in applying for this scholarship should send an email to

Research Project

Attention Former Members:
Thank you for taking the time to read this message. My name is Courtney and I am a doctoral student in the field of clinical psychology. I am writing my dissertation on the topic of cults. As a result, I am seeking former cult members to interview for this study in regards to their experience of belonging to and leaving a cult. Your identity would remain anonymous throughout participation in this study and as the results of it are discussed. If interested in participating, you will need to answer some questions in regards to your experience in a cult so that I can determine if you are suitable to engage in the study. Interviews will be conducted over the phone. If you think you may be interested in participating in this study, please email me at If you don’t mind my calling you over the phone to ask you the screening questions, please send me your preferred phone number. Otherwise, screening questions can be asked over email. Thank you for your time.

Comments, questions, and suggestions: email us!
reFOCUS, P.O. Box 2180, Flagler Beach, FL 32136 904-439-7541
Web site:

The reFOCUS Board of Directors consists of:
Carol Giambalvo, President/Secretary
Rick Seelhoff, Vice President
Mary Krawiec, Treasurer
David Clark
Maureen Griffo
Nancy Miquelon
Vanessa Weber
Advisor: Madeleine Tobias

Email: or

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