Cracking the Cult Code for Therapists: What Every Cult Victim Wants Their Therapist to Know

Cracking the Cult Code for Therapists: What Every Cult Victim Wants Their Therapist to Know

by Bonnie Zieman


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People who have been subjected to manipulation, isolation and thought control in cults and who work up the courage to leave, do so with many psychological and emotional wounds. Many of them seek out therapy to help recover from the damaging after-effects.

Unfortunately, cult victims often report that therapists just do not seem to 'get' all that they endured in the cult, and all the challenges they face now out of the cult. In fact, many cult victims abandon therapy, feeling that their therapist just did not understand the the degree to which they had been controlled, repressed, exploited and abused. Many recount that they felt their experience seemed to be discounted as something they just needed to put behind them.

Due to the advent of the Internet and the easy access to information it provides, more and more cult members are discovering just how much they have been deceived, coerced and abused. As they make their exit from high-control groups, extremist religions and cults, a whole new psychotherapy client population is looking for help to recover their emotional well-being, intellectual independence and ability to function in the world outside of the cult. Since most psychologists and psychotherapists do not receive much, if any, instruction about cult dynamics and the destructive effects of such intrusive dynamics on cult members, therapists may be ill-equipped to truly understand and help this unique and growing client population.

With this book, Bonnie Zieman, a former cult member, a recently retired psychotherapist, and the author of four other books on recovery from high-control abuse, provides a useful reference tool for therapists who need to inform themselves about cult abuse and its aftermath.

This one-of-a-kind book offers a summary outline of typical cult controls and the probable resulting effects on those subjected to them. Therapists can use this book as a primer to bring themselves up to speed on the topic - until such time as they decide if they want to take more formal training in order to help former cult members reclaim their authentic self and rebuild a self-directed life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781546894681
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 06/16/2017
Pages: 142
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

After being born into and raised in a cult that masquerades as a religion, Bonnie Zieman left the cult and obtained the education she'd been denied while in it. Training in two schools of psychotherapy (Gestalt and Psychosynthesis) and obtaining a master's degree in education, Bonnie then became a licensed psychotherapist. She worked in private practice for over twenty years. Once learning about the constant stream of people now exiting high-control groups and cults, and understanding the toll the cult abuses take on lives (isolation, rampant depression, PTSD, and suicide) she wanted to apply her education and experience to help. Writing cult-recovery-related books seemed like the obvious course. Bonnie has written: "Exiting the JW Cult: A Healing Handbook"; "Shunned: A Survival Guide"; "The Challenge to Heal After Leaving A High-Control Group" and its accompanying volume "The Challenge to Heal Workbook & Journal"; as well as "Fading Out of the JW Cult: A Memoir" about her thirty years in the cult, the struggle to leave it, and the challenges faced trying to create a new life once out. You can learn more about Bonnie Zieman and her work at her website,

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