International Journal of Coercion, Abuse, and Manipulation (IJCAM)     

Vol. 1, pp. 47-60 (2020). Published January 30, 2020.   

DOI: 10.54208/ooo1/1003

Reflections on Offering a Therapeutic Creative Arts Intervention With Cult Survivors: A Collective Biography

Ailsa Parsons, Maria Kefalogianni, Linda Dubrow-Marshall, Richard Turner, Hailee Ingleton, Joanna, Omylinska-Thurston, Scott Thurston, and Vicky Karkou


A new, evidence-based, multimodal, and creative psychological therapy, Arts for the Blues, was piloted with survivors of cultic abuse in a workshop within a conference setting. The five facilitators, who occupied diverse roles and perspectives within the workshop and research project, reflected on their experiences of introducing this novel intervention to the cult-survivor population. In this underreported territory of using structured, arts-based, psychological therapy with those who have survived cultic abuse, the authors used a process of collective biography to compile a firstperson, combined narrative based on those reflections. This approach allows for a visceral insight into the dynamics and obstacles encountered, and the countertransference responses of the facilitators. This reflexive process shined a light into aspects of research and practice that were not all visible to the individual researchers previously, with implications for research ethics, psychological therapy, and creative arts within the cult-survivor field.