School navigation

Continuing Education

Former Members of Destructive Cults: Multifaceted Clinical Treatments and Team Resources

Date: October 10

Active cults and “high demand” groups are prolific throughout current cultures, and have a long historical global presence. There are many organized systems that victimize people and negatively alter one’s identity in an abusive and destructive manner. Extreme belief groups can lead to the death of members—both children and adults.

Whether talking about destructive cults, extreme beliefs, or New Age-type groups, the structures for coercive manipulation and abuse are what defines a system as a destructive cult or group. “Member” experiences can be conceived as a betrayal trauma that alters the very core of one’s identity and worldview beliefs.

Sexual abuse, starvation and violence are often utilized to secure subjugation. Symptomology might include depression, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, mental confusion, low self-esteem, and restricted functionality.

Even more profound dissociative experiences may impact post-cult member. Many children are born into and raised in these groups without a choice (2nd generation), where their identity is formulated by exterior demands and states of fear. Rarely are tactics of mind control, manipulation, coercive subjugation and negative identity alteration studied within programs for mental health professions.

This experiential workshop will offer an extensive understanding of cults and how they function, as well as a more complex conceptualization of impacts, symptomology and treatment/support. Time will be focused on an in-depth exploration of structures and definitions of how a coercive system operates and can be identified as abusive and manipulative.  

Workshop attendees will share their professional experiences and clinical work with clients and families who have exited cults. Models of clinical work and models of supervision will be presented and explored with engagement in experiential applications. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Bring awareness to the existence and prevalence of Destructive Cults
  • Gain knowledge and understanding of the structure and functionality of destructive groups
  • To consider and explore the role of the clinician and clinical treatments for individuals, relationships and families impacted by systems of manipulation and extreme beliefs.

This workshop may meet the OBLPCT Cultural Competence Continuing Education requirement. Click here for more information

Workshop Details & Registration

Date: Saturday, October 10, 2020
Instructor: Margaret Eichler, PhD, LPC, NCC, ACS

Noncredit: $125 before 9/16, $150 after. Includes 6 CEUs. Lewis & Clark Alumni and Adjunct Faculty save 20%. Free for Lewis & Clark Clinical Supervisors. Student rate: $50 

Online Registration Coming Soon

  • We are committed to making our events accessible to all needs and abilities. When registering, let us know your access needs. Please contact us at 503-768-6040 or with questions.

    Please note: Discounted ‘Student Rate’ registrations are for current students only and do not include continuing education credit (CEU/PDUs)


About the Instructor

Margaret Eichler, PhD, LPC, NCC, ACS, has been teaching in Lewis and Clark’s Counseling Psychology Department as adjunct faculty for over 20 years. Her current teaching focus is trauma informed treatment including complex trauma, dissociative disorders and recovery from abusive cults. She maintains a private practice in Portland, which includes individuals, couples and families as well as clinical supervision and professional consultations. Integrated in her work are creative and expressive arts as a modality for creating a “safe space” and pathways to healing.

  • New events are added to our calendar regularly. For the latest on events related to your specific interests, sign up to receive periodic updates by email and/or mail.