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Adult Students
Professional's Course: Welcome


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.

Although many therapists would say that they have not had experience working with survivors of cults, the chances are they have. With thousands of cults and high-control groups operating throughout the world, these experiences are far more prevalent than one may think.

In addition to identified cultic groups, the dynamics of coercion, injury to the sense of self, and loss of control can exist not just in “traditional” cults, but also in cultic and/or narcissistic family systems, one-on-one cults, abusive relationships, highly controlling organizations and workplaces, and adolescent programs known as the “Troubled Teen Industry” (or TTI).

Those social systems share commonality in that they are self-sealing systems that create a sense of (and, in some instances, the reality of) inescapability for those within them. These experiences often leave long-lasting bio-psycho-social impact on survivors that may be compounded by mental-health professionals not recognizing the ways in which those experiences have shaped their client or not understanding the various challenges of this type of complex survivorship.

It is common to hear from survivors that finding a therapist that “gets it” can be a challenge and that many have felt stigmatized, judged, not believed, and/or frustrated in trying to seek professional help in their recovery.

From therapists, we hear that they want to be supportive, but have limited access to training that will help them to specialize in this area.

The Take Back Your Life Recovery Mental Health Professionals course is designed to bridge this gap and to help professionals be better-equipped to offer effective trauma-informed care to their clients in this specialized area.

This course will give helping professionals a foundational knowledge of the impact of coercive influence and control and the psycho-social dynamics of cultic systems, an overview of the recovery process, and how this differs from traditional trauma treatment. 

Professional's Course: About



To educate helping professionals about the importance of screening, debriefing, and psychoeducation for individuals who have been in a cultic, high-control, or coercive relationship or group.


To differentiate the impact of these systems from traditional post-traumatic response and why a complex trauma paradigm and approach is necessary for healthy recovery.


To highlight a therapeutic approach model that contains cult education, trauma education, and emotional regulation skills and this model’s value in treatment planning and implementation for effective recovery.

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Professional's Course: Resources


The course begins with a brief overview of the history of cult recovery.  Researcher, author, educator, and foremost expert on cults and coercion, Dr. Janja Lalich will walk us through previous efforts at cult debriefing and exit counseling.  She will share characteristics of the most effective treatment model for survivors that uses a multifaceted approach to healing and recovery.  

Participants in this course will be asked to look at their unconscious biases and assumptions about cult members and coercive relationships that may inadvertently significantly harm and stymy the therapeutic relationship. It is hoped that once these biases are uncovered, they can be replaced by some true commonalities that all of these survivors share. These traits could include but are not limited to relational betrayal, lack of trust in oneself, fear of not fitting in with the “real world,” flashbacks, loneliness, generalized anxiety, etc., as these are often the characteristics associated with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD).

As CPTSD and moral injury are still fairly new in the world of trauma treatment, these issues will be defined and explored throughout the course. Care will be taken to discuss how these types of trauma impact the way in which trauma treatment progresses in the therapeutic relationship. While learning about CPTSD and moral injury, one will begin to understand the whys and hows of staying in a cult or coercive relationship through concepts like bounded choice, self-sealing systems, personal closure, and deployable agents. 

An additional focus of this course will be on the type of therapeutic relationship that is appropriate and effective for the survivor’s healing. As a survivor of a controlling system, the client is likely to have strong feelings about a person with intimate advice. Some will be disgusted and very frightened if they feel they are being told what is right or wrong or about certain skills that they should try. Meanwhile other survivors may cling to what they know and want the therapist to spoon-feed them the “right answers” in life. Discussions and models will be presented on how to navigate this relationship that is both power-aware as well as empowering for the client.  

Professional's Course: About



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.

The cost for this course is $187.

9:00am - 12:45pm PST

10:00am - 1:45pm MST

11:00am - 2:45pm CST

12:00pm - 3:45pm EST

Professional's Course: List
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