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Continuing Education

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

Date: 9:30am - 4:00pm SST October 10 Location: Online


This experiential online 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.

This workshop will offer a focus on the role and function of multidisciplinary teams (MDT), which are often utilized to support those currently or previously involved in a destructive cult dynamic or relationship of psychological coercion. A MDT may include those working in legal, healthcare, and law enforcement professions. This workshop is designed for mental health practitioners, nurses, doctors, lawyers, peace officers, FBI agents, and those in other relevant professions who are interested in expanding their knowledge around identifying destructive cults, as well as working on MDTs.

Workshop attendees will have an opportunity to 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. Attendees will learn about mind control, manipulation, coercive subjugation, negative identity alteration, and other tactics that are rarely studied within programs for mental health professions.

The Impact of Destructive Cults

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 core of one’s identity and worldview beliefs.

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. 

During this workshop, participants will:

  • Increase awareness of the existence and prevalence of Destructive Cults
  • Gain knowledge and understanding of the structure and functionality of destructive groups
  • Consider and explore the role of the clinician and clinical treatments for individuals, relationships and families impacted by systems of manipulation and extreme beliefs
  • Learn about the roles and function of multidisciplinary teams

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

Workshop Details & Registration

Date: Saturday, October 10, 2020, 9:30 a.m.- 4 p.m.
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 

Register now

  • 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.

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