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Until recently, the area of cultic study which has received the least amount of attention has been that of the post-cult period. Focus has been placed upon defining modern day destructive cults, delineating the ways they approach people, and describing the manipulation and techniques used by cults to achieve an altered state of consciousness. Most autobiographical accounts of cult life have emphasized the pre-cult period, the recruitment phase, cult life, intervention, and reassessment of commitment to the cult. Usually, only a short epilogue addresses the recovery process. Recognizing the need for more emphasis on the recovery phase, the American Family Foundation in 1989 launched Project Recovery which brought together groups of experts to study specific aspects of the cult phenomenon. Their findings will appear in a book entitled Recovery from Cults, edited by Dr. Michael Langone and scheduled to be published in September 1993.

Researchers have also begun to conduct ongoing studies of the recovery process of former cultists. Most notably, Dr. Paul Martin, in collaboration with Dr. Langone and others, has been studying post-cult distress and treatment modalities which have been adopted to help ameliorate this distress.

Another example of the response to the need for literature on the recovery process is the book which you now hold. Wendy Ford has written an honest, revealing, highly comprehensive and practical guide for former cultists and their families. We have had the pleasure of knowing Wendy for the last twelve years, since she exited from her cult. At American Family Foundation and Cult Awareness Network conferences, she has informally and generously been available to help others, serving as a guide to recently exited members and their families. Over the years, we have found her observations to be valuable and her warm engaging personality to be delightful. Fortunately for the reader, Wendy's intelligent and thoughtful approach to helping others is captured on the pages of this book.

Instead of simply listing issues which confront former cultists and their families, Wendy offers the reader practical suggestions for dealing with each of these issues. In this second edition, she extends this resourceful book into a workbook by asking thought-provoking questions entitled ``Exercises" at the end of each section. This approach can be particularly helpful to former cultists who have been induced to be passive recipients of information through destructive cult techniques. Wendy encourages the reader to actively participate in the recovery process. She also is candid about her personal struggles in leaving her cult. We are confident that the reader will see herself or himself in Wendy's struggles.

Each of the issues discussed in this book has been faced by former cultists whom we have seen in therapy. In fact, seventeen years ago we decided to begin a support group for former cultists for the purpose of helping them realize that they are not alone in their post-cult struggles. By dealing with these struggles in a book format, former cultists, particularly those who are isolated from other exited cult members, will see how universal the post-cult aftereffects are. Naturally, the reader will not be able to identify with every issue. However, we have no doubt that each reader will find issues which will relate to him or her.

Former cultists report feeling isolated and confused by their cult experiences. Few family members and friends understand all that they have been through. Many former cultists report attempting to suppress their post-cult difficulties for many years until it becomes clear that the experience of having been in an abusive group continues to limit their present life in numerous ways. Wendy is able to convey to the reader an understanding of the harmful impact of cult life based upon her own experience and the experiences of the families she has worked with over the years. Wendy has been a resource of knowledge. Through this sensible, instructive book, a wider circle of people will now have the opportunity to benefit from her wise and practical step-by-step approach. This book is the first of its kind, and it will be difficult to surpass.

Lorna Goldberg, M.S.W., A.C.S.W.
William Goldberg, M.S.W., A.C.S.W.
Englewood, New Jersey

[TOC] [Title] [Author] [Endorse] [Acknow] [Preface] [Intro] [Ch 1] [Ch 2] [Ch 3] [Ch 4] [Epilogue] [Ap A] [Ap B] [Ap C] [Ap D] [Ap E] [Readings] [Bib]