What You Need To Know About Cult Intervention
Approaching a friend or loved one about their involvement in a potentially coercive or dangerous situation is not an easy task.
Many things can go wrong, and good intentions alone are not enough to help show a coerced individual that there are other paths.
Below you’ll find information on the 4 Stages of Cult Intervention and estimates of how long this process may take. We are working on additional pages that cover pricing information and go into further detail.
To Get Started, Request A Confidential Intake Form
We know that this may be a highly emotional time for you.
Seeking help can feel vulnerable and uncertain.
If you choose to reach out to PLC, know that your information, identity, and story are confidential and safe.
The Ethical Model of Cult Intervention
To help you decide if People Leave Cults is the right solution for your needs, we’ve put together a detailed overview of the process we use.
This process is built on the mentorship and instruction of Joseph Kelly and Patrick Ryan — Cult Interventionists with more than 40 years of hands-on experience and hundreds of successful interventions.
Our process has 4 distinct phases, starting with a completed intake form.
~1 Hour To Complete our Intake Form
Free 30 Minute Call With PLC Team
To get started with our process, you are required to submit a completed Intake Form here on our website.
Once we've reviewed your form, we'll reach out to schedule a free 30-minute call with our team.
During this call, we'll inquire further about the situation, get to know you, and allow you to ask us any questions about our process.
If appropriate, we may recommend your intake form be reviewed by a psychiatrist or psychologist before proceeding to our next step, which would be a case assessment. We can discuss this more during our initial evaluation.
Approximately 8-Hours With the PLC Team
If you choose to move forward with an Assessment, PLC will begin a deep dive into your situation and be in a better position to offer specific advice on how to move forward.
Your team consists of cult intervention specialists as well as a therapist who has experience working with families in your same shoes.
This part of the process includes intensive fact-finding efforts by experts in coercive control, a review of the individual's path into group involvement, and catered education on coercive control.
We will spend at least one full day with you for an in-person Assessment. An online Assessment would be spread 2-3 days over Zoom.
We will review our approach to interventions, the history of interventions in the field, and ethical considerations.
During this time, we'll share resources, ask questions, and answer any questions you may have.
After an Assessment, moving toward an intervention may or may not be recommended. Oftentimes, ongoing strategic coaching is needed to help families navigate their loved one's situation.
In instances where intervention is recommended, PLC’s team may recommend moving to Preparation.
2 days minimum (3-day average), typically in-person
A Preparation involves the PLC team working alongside possible participants interested in being a part of the Intervention (parents, siblings, friends, etc.).
During Preparation, your team of cult interventionists will help formulate a strategy and determine participants' roles. We will review strategies and content that will be discussed, and you will have further opportunities to ask about what interventions look like.
The team will also demonstrate the use of materials such as videos, books, and documents used in an Intervention. This process also involves daily assignments to complete.
Finally, we will discuss the topic of recovery and the challenges that former members and their family members face when they choose to leave a group.
We typically encourage a short break to rest and recoup after finalizing the Preparation and proceeding into an Intervention. The length of time between these two phases is case-dependent.
Approximately 3 days with built-in flexibility to be longer or shorter, typically in-person
Interventions are difficult to describe in a generalized way. In fact, it can be quite the experience!
The emphasis on a non-confrontational style allows for a freer exchange of information with all parties involved.
Your team will be respectable, approachable, and compassionate with your loved one under the influence whom we are communicating with.
Interventions include third-party processing and building an authentic relationship with the individual while providing education that is formatted in a way that they can hear it.
Each intervention is different and complex. It would be unethical for us to say that success is guaranteed.
This process has evolved and may continue to do so.
Cult intervention has shifted to a more thoughtful approach tailored to fit a family's unique situations. An intervention may be found to not always be necessary.
In the case of intervention work, it's not always just taking action, it's knowing when to act and serving as a source of support for a family throughout their experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a team necessary?
In our experience, yes. A team-based cult intervention helps in a number of ways.
First, having multiple specialists with a variety of backgrounds helps our team build authentic connections with our clients. You may relate better to one team member than to others, and that's natural! We encourage authentic connection.
Second, having diverse perspectives on your case can help us provide the education and insight needed for your unique needs. All of us come from different backgrounds, have interests in different groups, and understand the cult recovery process in a different way. Bringing all of these ideas to the table provides you with the most flexibility when planning an intervention.
Finally, having a team helps prevent further instances of coercion or manipulation from occurring. While none of us will ever willfully coerce a client, potential client, or cult-involved person, not all "cult professionals" have held to the same code of ethical behavior.
By working as a team, we keep each other accountable for your sake - and everyone benefits.
If I move forward with an Assessment, does that lock me in to a Preparation and Intervention?
No, each stage is different.
During your Case Assessment, the PLC team will work with you to understand your needs and see if Preparation and Intervention can meet your needs. Not all Assessments need to proceed - and that's a good thing!
After an Assessment, if we don't recommend procceding towards an intervention at this time, we charge our hourly consulting rates for ongoing coaching.
What are your success rates?
This is a very difficult question to answer, because every family has different goals. For example, some families may want their loved one out of a group. Other families just want to find ways to communicate once again.
Consultants Pat Ryan and Joseph Kelly have been working with families for over 40 years in your shoes. We can speak broadly as to what has worked in the past, but we typically don't offer percentages of success.
This is also due to ethical reasons. As a concerned family member, you are coming to us in a very vulnerale state. Part of PLC's adherance to a Code of Ethics requires that we minimize (to the best of our ability) any manipulative marketing or persuasion tactics. For example, hypothetically, if we say we have had a 99% success rate, then you would feel as though you would have no other avenues than moving forward with our approach. We want you to know that we are not your only option!
In conclusion, If we were to provide success rates, there is a possibility that this information could be misused, misconstrued, or incorrect. Rather than risk this, we prefer to share helpful advice and share our expertise as much and as freely as possible.
While it would certainly make things easier for us to collect and share success rates, we are not capable of doing so at this time.
What can I expect in terms of cost for an Assessment, Preparation, or Intervention?
Every case is extremely different, and we assemble a team of individuals to best meet your situation's needs.
Our free intial evaluation is a great opportunity for us to better understand your situation so that we have a better idea of who to potentially involve.
Our core team of consultants is made up of Patrick Ryan, Joseph Kelly, and Ashlen Hilliard. Each team member is an independent consultant with their own fee schedules.
It is also a possibility that more or less team members are needed depending on whether we are doing an Assessment, Preparation, or Intervention. For example, we typically have a therpist spend a couple hours of the Assessment phase working with pariticipants. This does not mean that they would necessarily be requeired at an intervention down the road.
Each stage has different pricing, and we plan to share this information on our website in the future.
For now, we welcome inquiries regarding our pricing directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will you be able to provide ongoing care?
In most cases, yes.
Not everyone needs ongoing care - and one of our goals is to help you and your loved ones get to a point where you no longer need outside help.
That said, the last thing we want is for our clients to feel abandoned after an intervention effort. In the majority of cases, we stay in touch and continue to work as-needed for an hourly fee. This can be done virtually over Zoom too!
We also have a wide network of referrals for ongoing mental health support as well!
What if I can’t afford your services?
Cult Intervention can be expensive, helpful for extreme situations, and can also be many family's "last resort". We totally understand that not everyone can afford to utilize every aspect of our professional services.
During our free intial evaluation with you, we hope to leave you with some solid general advice and referrals if we are not the right fit for your situation. We cannot be in a position to offer really specific advice until after our Assessment phase.
A less expensive option would include attending ICSA Conferences where you can come and learn from our team who volunteers by leading family workshops. Here is more information:
We are also working on providing free resources!
One of our long-term goals is to develop a library of cult recovery and intervention resources that are 100% free to everyone. You can already browse our Resources section to see what's available!
Alongside that, PLC offers psychoeducation, a 1-on-1 service for an hourly rate, with cult survivors. Financial aid is always an option.
We always encourage people to reach out and see if there's a way that we can help them, even if full-scale intervention isn't affordable.
Is this my only option in proceeding?
Certainly not! There are other options that may be worth looking into. If you don't know what to do next, we may be able to help!
In many cases, individual and family therapy can help you better understand your situation and repair critical elements of your relationships. We often recommend therapeutic care with a cult and trauma informed therapist for our clients and their loved ones.
Depending on the situation, you may also be best served with targetted psychoeducation. This can be self-directed or through an institution of higher education.
There are also other cult specialists who offer services similar to PLC and Cult Mediation's intervention services. You are within your rights to research and assess alternative approaches when deciding how to proceed.
What makes your team unique compared to others doing Intervention work?
We are NOT "cult deprogrammers" - and that's a BIG DEAL!
One of the biggest differentiators is PLC's adherence to a Code of Ethics. This is clearly outlined on our About page if you wish to learn more.
Other than this, PLC does utilize a unique approach when building a team for Intervention work. In all cases, we will include a cult-informed and trauma-informed therapist in our proceedings. This is to ensure that you have adequate mental health support at all times during this process.
Additionally, all of the Cult Intervention Specialists that PLC works with have extensive professional and educational backgrounds in the field of Cult Recovery.
Our aim is to help grow this field and provide an avenue for future professionals to learn, grow, and help cult-affected individuals.
Do you adhere to any ethical boards or committee oversights?
Unfortunately, no ethical boards or committees exist at present. We do adhere to ethical guidelines, which you can read on our about page.
One of PLC's long-term goals is to assist in the pioneering of licensing and oversight organizations for cult intervention.
The dubious and troublesome history of Cult Deprogramming more than displays a need for such oversight, and it's the responsibility of ethical professionals and responsible citizens to help create this.
What are the specialties each team member brings to the table?
That depends on what your situation needs - but there are some consistencies.
Cult Intervention specialists are experienced and educated professionals who intimately understand cult involvement, coercive control, and undue influence. Their role is to educate clients, guide intervention efforts, and empower critical thought in cult-affected individuals.
Cult-informed therapists are professionals who understand the short- and long-term effects of cult involvement. The therapists that PLC partners with can help with processing the deep and often troubling emotions that come up during the difficulties of cult intervention.
As required, PLC may also work with psychiatrists, attorneys, clergy, government officials, or any other parties that are consensually brought into the process. In many ways, the phrase "it takes a village" applies to successful cult intervention.
We are working on a page where you can read more about our consultants and their specific specialties!
Can we speak to families who have been involved in your process?
Unfortunately, no. Once again, this falls into the Code of Ethics that PLC strives to adhere to.
We do not solicit, record, or publicly share the testimonies or reviews of our clients, their families, or their loved ones on our website.
That said, we are listed in Google's "Map Pack" and have a Google My Business listing, which does allow for reviews. If a person chooses to leave a review they are free to do so - but we will never ask for or require such action.
Are you licensed individuals?
There is currently no licensing organization for Cult Specialists, Cult Interventionists, or any helping professional in the Cult Recovery field.
People Leave Cults utilizes a collaborative team to help families who are interested in the possibility of intervention with their loved one who may be involved in an abusive group. Each case is assessed by a multi-disciplinary team of cult specialists, including a licensed mental health professional.
We work in a consultant capacity collaboratively with mental health professionals and others.
"Cult Recovery Specialist" is one of many terms that describe what we do. Other terms are "thought reform consultant", back in the day it was more common to see the term "exit counselor" used.
As stated above, one of our long-term goals is to help create such licensing and blaze a trail for future cult recovery professionals who are interested in Intervention work.