Meeting of the "Artikel Vier" organization
Getting out difficult without therapy
An alliance of former cult members
October 4, 2000
Koelner Stadt Anzeiger
Gerrit Krieger What is a cult? The nationwide organization "Artikel Vier"/["Article Four"], an alliance of former cult members who met in the Hasensprung Mill in Leichlingen, has their own definition. As it was said in a meeting of several members from the association and its board, all these groups have one thing in common: an absolute claim, the assertion that they have a type of monopoly on truth, accompanied by an elite awareness.
And above all else, cutting themselves off from the outside, not only in belief, but also socially. The difference among them, relate former members, consist of the psychological methods by which members are snagged. That doesn't mean they have to be sensational or even aggressive methods, as a former Scientologist revealed from his experience. "But there is an extremely sensitive combination of stabilizing and destabilizing values," said the former Scientologist.
Joining an organization can come about in different ways and result from different objectives, according to the experiences of association members. It was said that some groups even infiltrate companies and associations.
Others, however, recruit openly on the street for their interests. Ex-member Martin Bonacker said that, in his opinion, the Scientologists are particularly flexible in their areas of operation; he said one of their favorites was institutions which employed building maintenance professionals.
But corporations involved with issues of finance or personnel were also targets of the organization, reported Bonacker, who does public information work about Scientology. Once a person gets completely into the organization, say association members, then it is difficult getting out. Many reasons were found for that. One of the main reasons, it was reported, was that, as a rule, after at most five years, all contacts to one's former outside world were cut off. Along with that, the separation from one's previous community was said to also signify one's departure from the philosophy, from one's convictions, which were regarded up to that point in time as necessary for life. Not the least of which, said the speaker, it also meant separation from friends or from one's family. Yet many organizations still had not been notified by "Artikel Vier" of the battle.
"Anybody happy being a Jehovah's Witness should remain so," said association chairperson Evelyn Huegli-Schmidt. But anybody who wanted to get out would find counseling and help in the association's regional branches at any time. However "In most cases,"
said Huegli-Schmidt, "it can't be done without psychotherapy."
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> Meeting of the "Artikel Vier" organization
> Getting out difficult without therapy
> "Anybody happy being a Jehovah's Witness should
> remain so," said association chairperson Evelyn
> Huegli-Schmidt. But anybody who wanted to get out
> would find counseling and help in the association's
> regional branches at any time. However "In most cases,"
> said Huegli-Schmidt, "it can't be done without psychotherapy."
This couldn't be more false, when it comes to Scientologists or any other cult, for that matter. I don't know anyone who left Scientology who did so with the help of "psychotherapy". A Scientologist would not go to a psychotherapist in the first place, even if they were seeking to leave. A few people who left Scientology did so because they were exit counselled (which is not the same as psychotherapy) but most Scientologists walked out on their own without any counselling at all and if they did seek psychotherapy for most it was not until years after leaving Scientology. All the surveys of ex-cultists I know of have shown that most people who leave cults walk out without counselling of any kind so to say that "In most cases, it can't be done without psychotherapy" is completely false and this person should have a look at the actual data. Even studies done on ex-cult members at AFF and former CAN conferences, where people who were counseled out of cults would be over-represented, showed that the majority of these ex- members even from these samples, walked out on their own and stayed out.
In the very early days of counter-cult organizations, about 75% of ex- members in contact with them were deprogrammed but that was because in those days walk-aways from cults didn't know about these organizations and so wouldn't have been in the sample, but any study done in the 90s or later showed the vast majority to be walk-aways who did it without "psychotherapy". It was probably the data from these very early surveys that misled people to think that people could not leave cults without psychotherapy but later it became very apparent that these samples were not at all representative of the group of people who leave cults, at large. This is not to say that ex-cult members could not benefit from psychotherapy, but generally they do not get this while in the cult and this is not what gets people out.