1st Edition

New Religious Movements and Counselling Academic, Professional and Personal Perspectives

Edited By Sarah Harvey, Silke Steidinger, James A. Beckford Copyright 2018
    262 Pages
    by Routledge

    262 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    There are many different ways in which minority religions and counselling may interact. In some cases there can be antagonism between counselling services and minority religions, with each suspecting they are ideologically threatened by the other, but it can be argued that the most common relationship is one of ignorance – mental health professionals do not pay much attention to religion and often do not ask or consider their client’s religious affiliation. To date, the understanding of this relationship has focused on the ‘anti-cult movement’ and the perceived need for members of minority religions to undergo some form of ‘exit counselling’. In line with the series, this volume takes a non-judgemental approach and instead highlights the variety of issues, religious groups and counselling approaches that are relevant at the interface between minority religion and counselling.

    The volume is divided into four parts: Part I offers perspectives on counselling from different professions; Part II offers chapters from the field leaders directly involved in counselling former members of minority religions; Part III offers unique personal accounts by members and former members of a number of different new religions; while Part IV offers chapters on some of the most pertinent current issues in the counselling/minority religions fields, written by new and established academics. In every section, the volume seeks to explore different permutations of the counsellor-client relationship when religious identities are taken into account. This includes not only ‘secular’ therapists counselling former members of religion, but the complexities of the former member turned counsellor, as well as counselling practised both within religious movements and by religious movements that offer counselling services to the ‘outside’ world.

    1 Minority Religions and Counselling: An Overview, James A. Beckford and Sarah Harvey;  Part I: Perspectives on Counselling;  2 From the Curious to the Criminal: Diocesan Advisers' Requests for Counsel and Help, Pedr Beckley;  3 Enlightened or insane? Insights and dilemmas of wearing a psychotherapist’s hat and a sociological hat in the field of new religious movements, Silke Steidinger;  4 New Religious Movements and Systemic/Family Psychotherapy, Alastair Pearson;  Part II: Practitioners’ Approaches;  5 Therapy with Former Members of Destructive Cults, Lorna Goldberg;  6 The Psychological Development and Consequences of Involvement with New Religious Movements: Counselling Issues for Members, Former Members and Families, Linda Dubrow-Marshall and Roderick Dubrow-Marshall;  7 Show the Fly the Way Out of the Fly Bottle: Using Art and Philosophy to Counsel Those Impacted by Controversial New Social Movements;  Joseph Szimhart;  Part III: Member and Former Member Experiences;  8 Pagan Experiences of Counselling and Therapy, Vivianne Crowley;  9 Scientology Auditing: pastoral counselling or a religious path to total spiritual freedom, Eric Roux; 10 How Counselling can Help Faith and Families, Simon Cooper;  11 Counselling practices within The Family International (Children of God), Abi Freeman;  12 Scammers or Saviours?, Nicola Laaninen;  13 Mindfulness and the YouTube Channel of the Mind, Maitreyabandhu;  Part IV: Some Current Issues in the Counselling Field;  14 Emotional Exchange: Anxiety to Hope in Two New Religious Movements, Charlotte Shaw;  15 Attachment: Buddha and Bowlby, Joe Copestake;  16 Twelve Step Mutual Aid: Spirituality, Vulnerability and Recovery, Wendy Dossett


    Sarah Harvey, Researcher at Inform since 2001, has an undergraduate degree from the University of Manchester in Comparative Religion and Social Anthropology and a Masters degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science in Social Research Methods (Sociology). She is studying for her PhD at the School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, UK, on the subject of ‘natural’ childbirth. She is co-editor, with Dr Suzanne Newcombe (2013) Prophecy in the New Millennium: When Prophecies Persist Aldershot: Ashgate, has guest-edited a special issue of The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies (volume 11, no. 1, 2009), and has written numerous other encyclopaedia entries and short articles.

    Silke Steidinger has been an Assistant Research Officer at Inform since 2006. The primary focus of her work is researching religious groups for the Inform database and cataloguing the Inform library. In 2004, she received an MSc in Religion in Contemporary Society (Sociology) from the London School of Economics, the focus of her dissertation being on death in New Religious Movements. In 1999, she received a BA (Hons) in Religious Studies from King’s College London. She has been practising as a UKCP registered attachment-based psychoanalytic psychotherapist (qualified at The Bowlby Centre in 2014) and has worked at Tower Hamlets National Health Service Personality Disorders Service since 2014. Currently she is doing an MA in Information Experience Design at The Royal College of Art, UK.

    James A. Beckford, a Fellow of the British Academy, is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Warwick, UK, Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors of Inform and a former President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. His main research interests are chaplaincies and relations between religion and the state. His publications include Cult Controvers