International Cultic Studies Association

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The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), formerly the American Family Foundation provided parents of "cult" members with referrals to exit counselors. <ref>Initially, nearly everybody who contacted AFF for help did so because he/she had a child involved in a cultic group. AFF's unique role was to bring these parents into contact with helping professionals . . . [1]</ref> Current executive director is psychologist Michael Langone. It publishes the journal Cultic Studies Review.


[edit] Anti-cult activism

ICSA portrays cults as "unethical" and "manipulative" organizations which trick<ref> Michael Langone wrote, "Contemporary cults, which operate in an open society and do not have the power of the state at their disposal, cannot forcibly restrain prospects and run them through a debilitating regimen. Instead, they must fool them." [2]</ref> unsuspecting "normal" people into a life of pointless, harmful devotion to the self-centered goals of the groups leaders. ICSA estimates that roughly half<ref> Michael Langone wrote, "Although many cult members eventually walk out on their own, many, if not most, who leave cults on their own are psychologically harmed, often in ways they do not understand." [3] </ref> of cult recruits are harmed psychologically by their association with the group.

[edit] Origins

ICSA began in 1979 as the American Family Foundation (AFF) was founded by Kay Barney, whose daughter had become involved with the Unification Church. In contrast to many other contemporary groups concerned with cults, Barney wanted to address the field professionally and scientifically and so founded AFF as a non-profit tax-exempt organisation for research and education. It was directed by a Board of directors of which Barney was part.

The AFF received funding from the Bodman and Achelis Foundations and the Scaife Family Foundation of Richard Mellon Scaife.

1980/81 AFF joined forces with John Gordon Clark, a Harvard psychiatrist who had undertaken research in the field of NMRs, and his team, to which Michael Langone belonged.

Some of the more notable board members of the AFF have included Dr. Louis Jolyon West and Margaret Singer.

[edit] Activities

ICSA maintains on the internet an electronic library with information on groups and issues regarding psychological manipulation and abuse. There is also an online archive offering abstracts of all articles of the Cultic Studies Review.

ICSA publishes the online scholarly journal Cultic Studies Review (

There is also an information service for families, clergy, students, and professionals.

ICSA conducts annual conferences for professionals and workshops for families, former members and mental health professionals.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  • Langone, Michael: History of the American Family Foundation, Cultic Studies Review 1/1, 2002 [4]


[edit] External links

fr:American Family Fondation

International Cultic Studies Association

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