Reflections on offering a therapeutic creative arts intervention with cult survivors: A collective biography

Vicky Karkou, Ailsa Parsons, Joanna Omylinska-Thurston, SHELLY HASLAM, Scott Thurston

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A new, evidence-based, multimodal, and creative psychological therapy, Arts for the Blues, was piloted with survivors of cultic abuse in a workshop within a conference setting. The five facilitators, who occupied diverse roles and perspectives within the workshop and research project, reflected on heir experiences of introducing this novel intervention to the cult-survivor population. In this underreported territory of using structured, arts-based, psychological therapy with those who have survived cultic abuse, the authors used a process of collective biography to compile a first person, combined narrative based on those reflections. This approach allows for a visceral insight into the dynamics and obstacles encountered, and the counter transference responses of the facilitators. This reflexive process shined a light into aspects of research and practice that were not all visible to the individual researchers previously, with implications for research ethics, psychological therapy, and creative arts within the cult-survivor field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-60
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Coercion, Abuse, and Manipulation
Issue number1
Early online date4 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jan 2021


  • Therapeutic Creative Arts


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