I know that the title of this tread is not very hopeful. In order to try and make myself more effective I just completed an intro course into Christian Counseling. As most of you know I am a Christian and even though I do not throw around a bunch of scripture verses here in our forum I still try to respond from a Christian perspective. (Not the easiest thing to do!) So in this course there came a point where we could ask questions of the counselor teaching the course. it was called' "Stump the Counselor." Well, with my background over the last 5+ years I asked about counseling current members of religious control groups. I was really hoping for some excellent advice as to how to move forward helping current members out of these control groups.
I got some excellent advice as far as "Christian Counseling" goes. The instructor told me and the class that he would tell them that he cannot counsel them. The main reason is that when it comes to Christian Counseling the first requirement is that you are counseling "Christians". He said that he would not be able to advise them because they do not share the same Jesus and the answers that he would be coming forth with would be Jesus answers.
This makes sense but it puts me into a different catagory of counseling. I am NOT advising not to go to your church and ask for help. They should be able to help you (providing you are a Christian) cope with the current situation but they will NOT be able to help get your loved one out through counseling.
I remember when my family was in the middle of all this. I asked repeatedly for my church to help. I had hoped that they had the magic words that would instantly get my loved one to snap out of it. All they really could tell me was to keep praying, keep showing them love, and eventually there would be something that would bring them out. I continued to love and share things that I found out about the group. I kept asking non-confrontational questions that would only lead to the idea that there is something wrong with the group and their beliefs. Finally the group itself mad a big enough blunder that my loved one saw it for the pack of lies it really is. This combination in what successfully brought my loved one out.
Please don't look down on Christian counseling and if your loved one (member) is willing to go and see one prepare both sides for the encounter and prepare yourself for the possibiliy of the Christian Counselor to say, "I cannot help you."