ICSA Annual Conference: Cultic Gaslighting
William Goldberg; Saturday, June 25, 2022; 12:00 PM-12:50 PM
Gaslighting refers to attempts by cult leaders to manipulate their followers by creating an environment in which the cult members doubt their own thoughts, observations, interpretations, and memories. By proclaiming their victims' perceptions to be warped and their interpretations to be ignorant or wicked, the cult leaders systematically undermine the cult members' faith that they can trust themselves. The result of this emotional abuse is that the victims become apprehensive, child-like, and malleable.
In this presentation, the speaker will define the term gaslighting and will present examples of both obvious and non-obvious ways that gaslighting occurs in cults. The goal is for the manipulation to be recognized and discredited. The speaker will also explain the personality disorder that leads some individuals to become cult leaders and to take advantage of others. This personality disorder allows the cult leader to harm their victims without feeling guilt or remorse. Finally, the speaker will discuss strategies that can be utilized by victims of gaslighting to counter the effects of this manipulation.
William Goldberg, LCSW, PsyA, is a clinical social worker and psychoanalyst with over forty years’ experience working with former cult members. He and his wife, Lorna, co-lead a support group for former cult members, which has been meeting for over forty years. It is the oldest group of its kind in the world. In 2007, Bill retired from the Rockland County, NY Department of Mental Health, where he directed several programs and clinics. He is presently an adjunct professor in the social work and social science departments of Dominican College and he is on the faculty of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies. Bill has published numerous articles in books and professional journals. Bill is a frequent speaker at ICSA conferences, and he and Lorna have been the recipients of the Authentic CAN Hall of Fame Award and the Leo J. Ryan Award. In 2010, Bill was the recipient of ICSA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also co-editor of ICSA's Cult Recovery: A Clinician's Guide to Working With Former Members and Their Families, published in 2017. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (201) 894-8515 Englewood, New Jersey.
11th April 2022
Huge news in NZ today that a Royal Commission of Inquiry will examine the Methodist, Presbyterian, Salvation Army, Gloriavale, Exclusive Brethren and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The commission wants to hear from any survivors of abuse. If you're a Kiwi ex-peeb, please consider getting in touch with the commission to share your story. This is our chance to have our voices heard as part of a formal government inquiry - the more of us the better.
Full press release below:
Call for survivor evidence as Royal Commission faith investigation expanded: Methodist, Presbyterian, Salvation Army, Gloriavale, Exclusive Brethren and Jehovah’s Witnesses added to scope
The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry is formally extending the scope of its Anglican investigation to include the Methodist, Presbyterian and Salvation Army faiths.
Now known as the Protestant and Other Faiths Investigation, it will also be seeking evidence from survivors of abuse in three closed community faiths: Gloriavale, Exclusive Brethren (more recently known as Plymouth Brethren Christian Church), and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Since the Royal Commission started, we have been gathering evidence of abuse in the care of these faiths as part of our inquiry.
The scope is being formally extended to recognise increased numbers of survivors from these faiths and their institutions – including schools and care homes – who have disclosed abuse to the Royal Commission.
We continue to ask survivors to come forward. Further evidence gathered will add to our existing evidence base and understanding of abuse in these faiths, and findings about them will be included in the Royal Commission’s Interim Faith report.
The Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian and Salvation Army faiths engaged in care provision throughout the Royal Commission’s 1950-1999 period of inquiry.
The inclusion of the three closed community groups, while not overly large congregations, will mean that the Royal Commission could learn from more survivors of abuse while in care of these groups, and examine abuse in faith contexts that are usually closed to the wider community.
The Royal Commission is exploring how people in care were abused by the institutions meant to protect them. This includes physical, sexual, psychological and racist abuse.
Māori, Pacific people, Deaf and disabled and LGBTQIA+ were disproportionately affected by care systems that failed them.
Survivors of these faiths can be reassured the Royal Commission can hear from them in different ways: through face-to-face dialogue, their written accounts of abuse, through hui and fono as well as research of already disclosed abuse.
Public hearings are only a small part of the Royal Commission’s inquiry and dedicated individual public hearings will not be held for these faiths. Instead, the Royal Commission wants to continue hearing evidence privately from any survivors or witnesses of abuse in these faiths who come forward. We will call on representatives of these faiths to provide evidence as we continue our work through 2022.
Survivors of abuse in other faiths, while not specifically referenced in the scope document, are also encouraged to come forward to the Royal Commission.
Survivors who want to share experiences about abuse by any of these faiths are encouraged to call us confidentially on 0800 222 727 or register on our website and we will phone you.
The Protestant and Other Faiths Investigation will be reported on in the Royal Commission’s Faith Interim Report, to be presented to the Governor General before June 2023.