By Raffaella Di Marzio


Wednesday 7th may 2008

This article is the beginning of a constantly changing mosaic. I would like to make available to anybody who might be interested the “Fragments” of experience which I have put together over the last 15 years, which I have devoted to providing support and help to those who turned to me for information and advice. With the passing of time, I hope to turn these “scattered notes” in a systematic and scientific contribution on the argument.

I choose the blog as mean of dissemination because it resembles very much a diary and so it fits better to communicate contents “in becoming”.

My effort (always offered voluntary) began inside an association and continued on a personal basis. In the first years I could benefit from other people’s experience, as it always happens to the beginners of any activity, but since the beginning I always thought that the work of assistance couldn’t be separated by the study and updating in the fields of knowledge strictly related to the events occurring in religious and/or spiritual groups.

It’s been such conviction (together with the cultural background accumulated through my studies) that saved me and, thereafter, prevented me from repeating always the same mistakes.

During the free time remaining after work and family, I used to answer the calls from people searching for help:

1) in the 90% of the cases, not for themselves but for relatives, friends, acquaintances got into a cult;

2) of the remaining 10%:

2a) a minimum part of the calls came from people still belonging to a group and, in this case, these were people in crisis for some reason who doubted their affiliation;

2b) an even smaller number of people called for help after choosing to leave the group.

What was my attitude and the help I offered to those bringing such requests?

First of all, as I was still a beginner, I used to follow the advices of those more experienced than me. The reason was that there is no training centre, there is no apprenticeship of any preliminary phase of knowledge for those dealing with such cases. Whoever begins, armed of good will and desire to bring help, simply begins.

Once made such due (and worrying) preliminary remark, I’d like to precise that the assistance and counselling activity used to take place initially by phone and then through direct meetings.

It’s difficult to explain briefly realities and situations so different one form the other. Notwithstanding I think it’s possible to identify some common features, some constants present in the very great majority of the cases.

The following “Fragments” will be dedicated to tell such “constants”, but I will find the time also to value the exceptions, those “different” cases which stimulated me never to give everything for granted and to always keep careful and flexible in the observation of phenomena.


The contents of this article are unprofessional translations of those included in the italian website www.dimarzio.it.
Please refer any mistake or imprecision to rdm@dimarzio.it

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