It can be very distressing to see somebody you care about entangled in a cult group. Below, you will find some brief notes on how to communicate with and support a cult member. This is only general and basic advice and may not work in every case but could be a good starting point.
The first thing to do is research the group and develop an understanding of the following elements. These can be used to plant ‘seeds of doubt.’
The philosophy of the cult
The mind control methods of the cult
The corrupt practices associated with the cult
‘By entering into discussion on subjects related to these topics, the hope is to raise an issue that the cult member is not programmed to deal with. This issue is one that would bring a doubt or question to the mind of the cult member.' The person communicating with the cult member can then encourage them to discuss the subject in depth.
The goal of the person communicating with the cult member is ‘not to win the argument, or prove that you are right, but in-stead to help the cult member re-evaluate the group and [their] association with it. A common statement in the field of counselling victims is…
“If I can get them to first ask the question, then I am probably on the road to success.”
(‘Cults: A practical guide’ by Ian Howarth, p25-29)
‘A curious yet concerned posture is the most effective stance anyone can take in relating to the cult member. It is relatively easy to elicit rapport and trust when you are genuinely curious, because all you are doing is asking questions in a non-judgemental way. Because you care about the person, you want to know everything that is important to them.’
(‘Combating Cult Mind Control’ by Steve Hassan, p241)
Talking to and dealing with cult members:
Guidance for friends and family
Communicating with a cult member
(‘Cults: A practical guide’ by Ian Howarth, p25)