Monday, March 03, 2008

Research Project on Second-Generation Adults - raised in cults

Below is an open letter from Janja Lalich to all who were raised in cults.

As you know (if you were raised in a closed group), therapists are clueless about our lack of cultural competency upon leaving the TM Movement.

Janja is respected in the psychology/sociology academic field of undue influence, cultic influence and coercive persuasion.

She is gentle and compassionate in the interview process. She requested that I pass the word along to others raised in the TM Organizations. She is aware that many raised in the TM group now follow other gurus; some are heavily involved in substance abuse.

However, many of you quietly conduct your young-adult lives and are capable of interviewing on this subject. She will respect your anonymity, so you do not risk losing your family nor social relationships. I encourage you to allow others to benefit from your life stories. Janja's contact information is in the following letter.

From Janja:

Janja Lalich's New Research Project
Seeking People to Interview

I have embarked on a new research project, which I have entitled "On Our Own: How Children of Cults Manage to Survive in the Outside World." This project has been approved by the Human Subjects in Research Committee at California State University, Chico, where I am on the faculty in the Sociology Department.

The purpose of the project is to explore the attitudes, experiences, coping mechanisms, and issues related to societal integration of young people leaving a cultic group to enter mainstream society. I will be doing in-depth interviews, focus groups, and handing out a brief questionnaire to gather basic data.

I am particularly interested in individuals who were born and/or raised in a group and who left the group during adolescence or young adulthood on their own that is, without their parents.

I am looking for individuals who would be willing to be interviewed either in person or on the telephone. I prefer in-person interviews, but depending on the location, I may not have the funds to travel. In such cases, I would do a phone interview. Each interview would take approximately 1 to 2 hours. There is also a brief questionnaire to fill out providing me with basic demographic data (age, education, etc.) Participation is voluntary. Interviews will be confidential, and the identity of interviewees will be protected in any writing or presentations based on research material. My ultimate goal is to write a book on this topic.

If you are interested in being interviewed or discussing this project with me, please contact me at or call my office at 530-898-5542. This is a private phone line and no one else would hear any message left at that number. If sending an e-mail, please put "Research Project" in the subject line so that your e-mail message will stand out.

Thanks for your interest, and I hope to hear from you,
Janja Lalich, Ph.D.

See my Web site at or

Janja Lalich is author of the following books:

Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships (with Madeleine Tobias) (Bay Tree, 2006)

Bounded Choice: True Believers and Charismatic Cults (University of California Press, 2004)

Crazy Therapies: What Are They? Do They Work? (with Margaret Singer) (Jossey-Bass, 1996)

Cults in Our Midst (with Margaret Singer) (Jossey-Bass, 1995)

Captive Hearts, Captive Minds (with Madeleine Tobias) (Hunter House, 1994, now out of print)

And editor of Women Under the Influence: A Study of Women's Lives in Totalist Groups (a special issue of the Cultic Studies Journal, 1997)

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