Meaning Of Cults

Decent Essays
A cult has many different meanings. Our textbook defines a cult as a “group that is typically characterized by three things; the first being rituals and beliefs, showing devotion to a god or person, the second being a charismatic leader, and the third is isolation” (Myers, 2015). In general, when people think about cults the response is usually “why are people persuaded to leave everything behind and join a cult?” There are usually two views on cults. The first is that a cult is not different from other socially acceptable groups, however the second view is that cults use techniques different from other groups that can be considered harmful (Pfeifer, 1992). My interest in this topic stems from the time I learned about Charles Manson; in previous…show more content…
These studies had well developed research questions and methods of gathering information to make conclusions. However, if I was the researcher in Pfeifer’s study I would have expanded on where I got my participants to include more than just opinions of undergraduate students. In the case of Matthews and Salazar I would have tried to find more participants who identify as male. Both these studies have issues with generalization. The third study (Whitsett, 1992) had much information, however it was not compelling to read. The study did, however, provide a lot of information that the other two studies did not in terms of how cults bring members in and how the members formed their bonds.
The article “The Psychological Framing of Cults: Schematic Representations and Cult Evaluations” was written by Jeffrey Pfeifer. It was published in Journal of Applied Social Psychology in 1992. The author of this study stated the need for research was simply to understand the vast difference in opinions in regards to how cults are viewed by society (Pfeifer,
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The goal of this study was to make counsellors more “competent in understanding the challenges, needs, and successes of former cult members” (Matthews & Salazar, 2013). There is also mention of ways to improve this area of research such as a further exploration of the experience of second generation males, gay, and lesbian former member of a cult. The article was well written and gave me a different perspective on the behavior of those who were born and raised in these groups. The transitions were clear and the author made a compelling argument from the very first line. It was a lot of information to process, but the author made sure the information flowed well from the discussions to the conclusions.
The final article that I have chosen to review is “A Self Psychological Approach to the Cult Phenomenon by Doni Whitsett. This article was published in 1992 in the Clinical Social Work Journal. The author states that the need for this article is that professionals in mental health have not been giving this population the attention it deserves and this article will take on biopsychosocial context to view the problem (Whitsett,
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