Writing & Media


The Cult Pseudo Identity and the Phases of Recovery and Growth


Talk delivered for ICSA Mental Health Series - 3 April 2022



In this talk I discussed the rationale for being informed by the Phases of Recovery and Growth when working with former members of coercive, cultic and spiritual abuse focussing on former cult members. I explore how a relational psychoeducational approach can assist the individual to unlayer and dismantle their cult pseudo-identity. The Therapist can then work with the former member's authentic autonomous identity and not the pseudo-identity. The client can then recover and grow, free from the influence and control of the cultic experience.


Check it out if you are interested



I hope you find it interesting and helpful.



What Should I Think About..?

Podcast with Stephen and Celine...


I was happy to have a chat with Stephen and Celine (father and daughter) about Post-Cult Counselling and the four Phases of Recovery and Growth (referred to as stages in this podcast chat).


The podcast intro says:

Gillie Jenkinson PhD is a leading accredited psychotherapist, specialising in cult recovery and recovery from spiritual abuse. She shares with us the Phase framework she uses to help people recovering from cult experiences. We discuss the framework, the work done at each Phase and the roles of the individual and the counsellor. We also ask about the special challenges of the born-in member and their sense of identity and self, as well as hear about Gillie's own experience inside a religious cult. We really enjoyed talking to one of the most relevant and knowledgeable voices in this area.


Check it out if you are interested



I hope you find it interesting and helpful.



The Intersection of Apostasy and Mental Health

Recording of the Apostate Conference 2021

Humanist UK and Faith to Faithless


In this recorded talk Dr Gillie Jenkinson discusses the intersection of apostasy or leaving a religion and some of the mental health impacts on those who leave.


My part of the talk starts at 2 hours 18mins and can be accessed here.


I hope you find it interesting and helpful.



Podcast Interview with Gillie by GenerationCult


In this interview, Gillie offers some ideas for recovery which are applicable to those born and or raised in a cult.


Check out the fantastic podcast library including my own interview on the GenerationCult website.






Understanding Trauma Theory



Wrap Up Q&A

Two talks by Gillie recorded live for International Cultic Studies Association - Cult Recovery NOT Cancelled


Understanding Trauma Theory &

Wrap Up Q&A


Gillie explains some areas of psychoeducational theory that may be helpful for former members in their recovery and answers some of the attendees questions.


This series was recorded to offer support to former cult members and survivors of spiritual abuse in the COVID-19 pandemic.


Click on the images to access the interviews.


Please consider donating to or becoming a member of International Cultic Studies Association in order to access many other resources - www.icsahome.com.





Interview with Gillie by International Cultic Studies Association on Hope Valley Post-Cult Counselling and what helps former members recover

In this interview, Gillie offers some ideas for recovery which are applicable to all former cult members.

Click on the image to access the interview.

Consider becoming a member of International Cultic Studies Association in order to access many other resources - www.icsahome.com.


Leaving Psychologically—Breaking the Confluential Trance

Gillie Jenkinson, PhD

International Journal of Cultic Studies, 2019, Vol 10



In this paper, I offer an additional explanation for the state of trance many cult members experience—the confluential trance. These concepts arose from doctoral research into what helped 29 former cult members recover from an abusive cult experience (Jenkinson, 2016). I address a new concept, and whilst it applied to some participants and potentially applies to coercive cults more broadly, further research is required to establish the veracity of this concept and whether it is generalizable across former-member populations. I discuss how the confluential trance may make it psychologically difficult to leave an abusive cult, and I explore how some of my doctoral-research participants experienced this altered state and broke free through formal and informal interventions.


Whilst the term trance is applied ubiquitously and across a spectrum of states, and more often in relation to hypnotic trance, I adopt the term to imply an “altered state of consciousness” in which an individual becomes suggestible, lacks critical thinking, and is therefore more “vulnerable to social influence” (Galanter,1989, p. 65).


Within a Gestalt-psychotherapy theoretical framework, the confluential trance is shown to be a result of a merged state—confluence—which results in the cult member becoming open to introjecting the cult ideology without “chewing it over.” I hypothesize that the resulting confluential trance is further explanation of why the cult leader/ship and thought reform have such a deep impact on many.


Keywords: confluential trance, former member, abusive cult, thought reform, exit counseling, Gestalt


This article is all my own work and has not been submitted or published elsewhere. Much of it arises out of my PhD thesis, which is published on the University of Nottingham theses website.


Consider becoming a member of International Cultic Studies Association in order to access the full article - www.icsahome.com.





Media - BBC 2 Victoria Derbyshire


Dr Gillie Jenkinson was interviewed for a news article on a group called The Jesus Army on BBC 2 Victoria Derbyshire Programme on 19th July 2017.  See the link below. The article is around 20mins in.


This same news report was also on Radio 4 PM programme 5-6pm on 19th July 2017 and can also be found on iPlayer.


This came about after Gillie was contacted by the Survivors Association in regard to her Post-Cult Counselling. Gillie has delivered face to face counselling and a Recovery Workshop to some of the survivors.


Check out the interview.


Link to Jesus Fellowship Survivors Association


British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy - BACP - have a brief article on their website about this report


Link to BACP


Cult Recovery A Clinicians Guide

ICSA Book chapter


Dr Gillie Jenkinson's chapter outlining her Time Away for Post Cult Counselling model was published in 2017 in the book 'Cult Recovery' and available for purchase on the ICSA website.


This landmark, 500-page book, with chapters from leading clinicians and researchers, describes the current state of the art in helping people adversely affected by a cultic dynamics, whether in a cult, mainstream religious denomination, psychotherapy, family, or other interpersonal relationship.


Click on the image to access the book.

Latest Article: Therapy Today Magazine


Read Dr Gillie Jenkinson's article in the March 2019 issue of Therapy Today magazine which explains the need for a relational, psychoeducational approach to working with cult survivors.


Click on the image to access the article.


Interview: New Psychotherapist Magazine


Read Dr Gillie Jenkinson's interview in issue 69, autumn 2018 of UKCP's New Psych otherapist magazine. Hear more of her personal experience and how traditional therapy isn't enough, or can even be counterproductive, in a cult leavers recovery. Gillie discusses the methodology she has built and researched over the last 2 decades and is using in her work with cult leavers today.


Read in full on page 53, here.



Other Writing


Gillie Jenkinson has authored chapters and is a regular contributor to publications in the cultic studies field. She is the Mental Health Editor for the ICSA Today Magazine.  She is also in the process of writing her first book based on her doctoral research.


You can access some of her publications here:

  • Out in the World: Post-Cult Recovery  (2019) - BACP Therapy Today Magazine - see article above
  • Working with Cult Survivors (2013) - BACP Therapy Today Magazine - article here
  • An Investigation into Cult Pseudo-Personality: What Is It and How Does It Form? - Cultic Studies Review - article here
  • Path or Pathology? - BACP Spirituality Thresholds Magazine - here
  • Dr. Paul Martin-A Good Leader and a Wonderful Counselor - Gillie Jenkinson (4-7) ICSA Today Vol 1 2016
  • Pathological Spirituality - Chapter 13 in 'Spirituality and Psychiatry' - Dr Gillie Jenkinson and Dr. Nicola Crowley, Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Rebuilding the Jigsaw - BACP Spirituality Thresholds Magazine - here
  • Writing Routes - A Resource Handbook of Therapeutic Writing - Gillie Bolton, Victoria Field and Kate Thompson, Jessica Kinglsey Publishers
  • Cult-Pseudo Personality vs Cult Pseudo-Creativity - Cultic Studies Review - here
  • Cults - Thresholds Magazine, BACP/APSCC

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