Cults and Specialized Counseling
Daniel Shaw, LCSW, has been providing professional counseling for former members of cultic groups, and friends and family members of those involved in cults, since 1994. Dan has written an account of his own involvement in a religious group he came to view as authoritarian and abusive, in his essay "Traumatic Abuse in Cults: A Psychoanalytic Perspective" (click HERE to read the essay). In this essay, Dan outlines his understanding of the charismatic group leader's personality, explaining the dynamics of pathological narcissism as they are played out between a dominating, abusive leader and his or her followers.
Because of the limited number of mental health professionals specializing in the field of cultic studies, Dan provides counseling both in person, and if needed because of geographical distance, by telephone.
Dan has successfully coached parents and siblings in interventions designed to help their cult-involved family member exit abusive group situations. Dan has also helped many family members of cult-involved loved ones determine the best course of action to take in order to maximize their ability to stay in relationship with the cult member. An important guiding principle for Dan is never to advise the use of, or participate in, coercive interventions.
Dan has also used psychoanalytically informed psychotherapy to support former members of abusive groups in their post-cult recovery. Post-cult recovery is for many former cult members a difficult process, involving struggles at many levels to return from a restrictive, authoritarian culture to a life of freedom and autonomy.
While in many cases counseling from a qualified, licensed mental health practitioner can be helpful in post-cult recovery, Dan offers special familiarity and expertise with these issues, and can provide adjunctive consultation specific to cult issues to those already in psychotherapy. In addition, Dan also provides supervisory consultation to mental health professionals with cult-involved clients.
To speak with Dan about counseling regarding any of these issues, call (212) 581-6658; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org