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Recovering from Cults, Coercion, 
and Abusive Relationships

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Take Back Your Life Recovery is a collaborative effort between Dr. Janja Lalich, educator, author, and international authority on cults and coercion, and two experienced mental-health professionals: Beth Matenaer, Licensed Professional Counselor and Sally Martin, Licensed Clinical Social Worker. We develop and facilitate psychoeducational interactive sessions and practical healing tools for survivors of cults or other types of closed or extremist groups, coercive and high-demand environments, and destructive and controlling relationships. Our aim is to provide the information and resources our clients need to effectively heal from a variety of harmful and/or traumatic personal experiences. Additionally, we create course material and training sessions to educate and train helping professionals to better assist such clients.

As the three of us are also survivors of cultic systems, we personally understand the importance of safe and effective interventions for healing as you take back your life and navigate your own recovery. We believe the most enduring path forward offers psychoeducation, self-regulation tools, and personal insight and empowerment. 

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Our primary mission is to offer much-needed psychoeducational courses and resources to the survivor community so that individuals get the knowledge and skills that will help them lead a trauma-free life. If you are interested in sponsoring a survivor you are welcome to donate below.

Janja, Beth & Sally

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Sessions are on Zoom and all participants are screened beforehand for safety and confidentiality purposes. Each session is $50 and is 2 hours long. The number of sessions will vary with different topics; typically, they are between 3 and 5 sessions. Courses may be taken in any order; however, we recommend that everyone start with Foundations of Recovery.

We use a psychoeducational model, which includes short presentations on concepts and/or issues relevant to the course theme, plus time for Q&A. Each session also includes teaching specific skills that support the subject matter and assist in overcoming anxiety, fear, panic, anger, and so on. 

Full payment is due at registration. The cost of each course is $50 x the number of sessions. For example, a course with 5 sessions costs $250.

Some scholarships are available by submitting a brief memo indicating which course you are requesting, along with an explanation of your need. We prefer if you can provide at least partial payment so that you will feel invested in the course.

Handouts and the course outline are sent beforehand, and there may also be optional homework. Typically, a course will have about 20-25 participants, all survivors of a cult or high-control group, religious abuse, a narcissistic relationship or family, human trafficking, or the Troubled Teen Industry (abusive residential youth treatment programs).

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Topics covered include individual differences affecting recovery; major areas of post-cult adjustment; understanding coercion and control (Dr. Lalich’s bounded choice model); the neurobiology of trauma response; PTSD vs CPTSD (Complex PTSD); and post-cult challenges. This course is 5 two-hour sessions and costs $250.


Topics covered include relational recovery process and identification of self-need; self-assessment and relational boundaries; identifying unhealthy relationships and attachment styles; overview of cultic systems, narcissism, and coercive relationships; issues of forgiveness, trust, and fear; navigating challenging relationships, including family, those still in the cult, and new relationships; and how to establish boundaries. This course is 5 two-hour sessions and costs $250.

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Topics covered include anger, guilt and shame over things you did or witnessed; what it meant to become a deployable agent for the cult; negative/false beliefs about self; combatting triggers and dissociation; forgiving others; and trauma responses that hurt or help, as well as a discussion of how moral injury compares and contrasts with other types of trauma. This course is 4 two-hour sessions and costs $200.


Topics include how to recognize a narcissist (cult leaders, family member, life partner, in the workplace); destruction of sense of self; trauma responses and their effects; how to get out of a narcissistic relationship; issues in recovery. This course is 3 two-hour sessions and costs $150.

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The TTI recovery course is designed for survivors of congregate care and treatment facilities within the Troubled Teen Industry (TTI). It pulls from the sociological expertise of cult expert Dr. Janja Lalich, as well as trauma therapists and fellow survivors, Sally Martin, LCSW and Beth Matenaer, LPC. (See the “Who Are We” section on this website for more background on each of us.) The course includes 5 two-hour sessions and costs $250. Each session will include one or two brief presentations, as well as time for Questions and Answers. Each session will also include skills from co-founder Sally’s Toolbox to assist in managing emotional reactions. Participants will be sent short readings and optional homework before each session.


Thank you for your interest in this course, which is specifically for those who were born and/or raised in a cult. We will explore fundamental questions about human nature, human development, group dynamics, abuse and control, trauma and trauma responses, and triumphs of the human spirit in the face of mistreatment, loss, and suffering.

Children born and/or raised in a cult have very different experiences and aftereffects than individuals who joined as adults. The course includes 5 two-hour sessions and costs $250. Each session will include one or two brief presentations, as well as time for Questions and Answers. Each session will also include skills from co-founder Sally’s Toolbox to assist in managing emotional reactions. Participants will be sent short readings and optional homework before each session.

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Topics include understanding your struggles though the lens of Internal Family Systems, basic Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills, and other skills that support brain health. This course is held on scheduled Saturdays for 5 hours and costs $150.


Moderated Zoom sessions (1.5 hrs/bi-monthly) for participants who’ve been in our courses. Free-flowing and real-time discussions where participants can hear from one another about challenges and successes with their recovery. The cost is $20 per meeting.

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We offer individual consultations in cult recovery, trauma resources and education, as well as emotional regulation skill-building. We also provide individual consultation to families and/or friends who are concerned about someone they believe to be in a cult or narcissistic relationship. You can request to schedule an individual consultation by filling out a contact request form. Someone will reach out to you typically within 48 business hours to discuss what you may need. If you know that you prefer a consultation with a specific one of us (Janja, Sally, or Beth), please indicate that in your message.

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Topics include what therapists/social workers need to know to effectively work with survivors of cults, high-control groups, cultic and narcissistic relationships, and the Troubled Teen Industry; plus the distinction between PTSD vs CPTSD. Emphasis on increasing general awareness of the issues and de-stigmatization of survivors; creating a resource network of qualified professionals; and developing beneficial services easily accessible to survivors.

The Take Back Your Life Recovery Model: Helping Clients Heal from Cults, High-Control Groups, and Abusive Relationships has been approved by NBCC for NBCC credit. Take Back Your Life Recovery, LLC is solely responsible for all aspects of the program. NBCC Approval No. SP-3745.

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