Support Group Guidelines


Purpose of Support Groups

reFOCUS is an international network of individuals who have been associated with intense, closed groups, and/or are victims of mind control. reFOCUS shall offer support, opportunities to discuss common experiences, and assistance in the process of readjustment and personal integration following an individual's involvement in such groups. reFOCUS is not affiliated with any religion, political view or ideology. Because reFOCUS participants have been victimized through the use of a powerful ideology, proselytizing or influencing participants to join any religion or group or to subscribe to any particular ideology is prohibited. Individuals' vulnerability should be respected and protected. reFOCUS does not have official "reFOCUS" support groups, however we encourage the formation of such independent support groups and offer the following guidelines.

Purpose of the Guidelines

Some structure is necessary, but we understand that former members are sensitive to structures. However, for security reasons, we need to have some structure to safeguard against abusive situations and to ensure maximum benefit for each individual.

Participants in Support Groups

A participant in a support group shall be any person who is a former member of an intense, closed group and/or a victim of mind control and who is not currently a member of such an intense, closed group. A person's participation may be revoked for cause by a two-thirds vote of the local support group.

Screening of New Participants of Support Groups

The screening process is an initial meeting with the new participants and the FACILITATOR and/or the COORDINATOR. The purpose of the screening is:

  1. to explain the purpose and guidelines of the support group

  2. to ensure that the individual is ready and prepared to benefit from a support group situation

  3. to ensure that the individual is not pretending to be an ex-member of a group (to guard against the presence of active cultists)

Guidelines for Meetings:

The Facilitator/Coordinator:

  1. Shall be responsible for participants being notified of the time and place of meetings.

  2. Shall state the confidentiality agreement: i.e., What you hear here, stays here. Also, mention that it would be best for each individual not to divulge sensitive issues if they do not want it to leave the room since we cannot GUARANTEE confidentiality. Please keep in mind that legally there is no privileged confidentiality in support groups.

  3. Shall state that the support group is for ex-members only. If participants wish to invite a spouse or family member, they should discuss this with the group and receive unanimous approval prior to inviting that person(s).

  4. Shall go around the room and have each person introduce themselves. People who come in    late should introduce themselves when they enter the room.

  5. Shall remind participants that this is not a therapy group, but a support group and therefore there should be no advice-giving or problem-solving. Participants are encouraged to share their own experiences.

  6. The facilitator should be chosen by the majority of persons present at the previous meeting for the following meeting. The facilitator should not be someone new to the group.

OR

The facilitator can be a mental health professional or a person holding a Masters Degree in Social Work. The facilitator in this case need not be a former cult member, but should have a working knowledge of mind control techniques, cults, and the residual effects on individuals who have been exposed to same.

The Facilitator's responsibilities are: