Richard Turner FdSc MBACP MSET
Hi, I'm Richard and my passion as a counsellor and ex-cult member is to help people recover from the trauma associated with experiences of intense control, manipulation and psychological abuse. This might be caused by spiritual abuse and cults, an abusive relationship, modern slavery or even from an abusive manager in a workplace.
I often link coercive controlling behaviour and abuse in these different contexts because, in many ways, a coercive/controlling relationship is like a two-person cult. The perpetrator attempts to gain control of their partner/family member/employee like a cult leader gains control of their followers, isolating them from support, manipulating, shaming them and exploiting them. Many of the same models and theories of mind control can be adapted and considered when counselling and supporting a person recovering from each context. Furthermore, each area often overlaps and there are close parallels between each context and modern slavery too.
Upon escaping from a controlling, abusive environment, people often feel confused and like a huge void has been left in their life. This is because so much of their life and identity revolved around the perpetrator/cult leader or group. Low self-esteem and struggles with identity are very common after escaping and caused by the mind control techniques used by the abuser; gaslighting and manipulation etc.
When leaving a controlling cult or relationship, it can be very difficult to build up trust and find somebody who understands the psychological processes that have occurred during the controlling experiences. This can also lead to further feelings of isolation.
My goal is to gently and sensitively help people understand their experience, psychologically escape from coercive control and reclaim their life.
Training, qualifications & experience
- MSc. Psychology of Coercive Control (studying the psychological process and impact of controlling behaviour, abuse and recovery. Currently studying. Finishing Sept 2019)
- Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Specialising in teaching counselling and mental health awareness)
- Level 5 Foundation Degree in Counselling
- Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills
- Level 2 Certificate in Equality and Diversity
- Level 2 Certificate in End of Life Care
- Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Behaviour that Challenges
During my counselling training, I completed 100 placement hours at MacMillan Cancer Support. Following my training, I studied a PGCE and lectured in counselling and mental health awareness at Riverside College, Widnes for two years.
I'm currently running 'to think again,' my specialist training and support service for people recovering from coercive controlling relationships or cults. I also deliver training courses about cults, raising awareness about this abuse.
Prior to training as a counsellor, I worked as a caseworker for a government-funded charity supporting victims of human trafficking and over the course of four years supported 56 clients. As part of this role, I supported clients getting access to medical care, psychological support and ensured their practical needs were met.
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Anger management
- Asperger's syndrome
- Attachment disorder
- Career counselling
- Carer support
- Domestic violence
- Emotional abuse
- Hearing voices
- Learning difficulties
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Passive aggressive behaviour
- Personality disorders
- Physical abuse
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Relationship problems
- Sexual abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
- Work-related stress
- Young carers
Other areas of counselling I deal with
As well as general post-cult counselling, I also have an understanding of Christianity and spiritual abuse in 'churches' or bible based cult groups.
I also offer support with dissociative disorders associated with an identity disturbance as listed in the 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders' (see below)
'Identity disturbance due to prolonged and intense coercive persuasion: Individuals who have been subjected to intense coercive persuasion (E.g. brainwashing, thought reform, indoctrination whilst captive, torture, long-term political imprisonment, recruited by sects/cults or by terror organisations) may present with prolonged changes in, or conscious questioning of, identity.’ (DSM V 2013)
I also offer an exit support service for families attempting to 'rescue' a relative from a cult group. This service is perhaps less common in the Uk than other countries, but some examples of exit support might include situations such as:
1. A family are attempting to rescue a member and have been able to arrange an intervention by inviting the person to their home. In this case, I can meet the family prior to the intervention and teach them about mind control and the structure and psychology of cults, helping them to engage with their family member. Then I can facilitate the intervention, or speak to the cult member on a one to one basis to discuss their experiences and beliefs.
2. If the first case isn't an option and the family cannot arrange an intervention with the member, I can train and support the family to understand what is happening to their loved one and how to communicate with them.
3. Another way exit support might help is if the cult member has left the group and the family want training in understanding how best to support their member during their recovery, or if a family have exited a group altogether and are attempting to understand their experience.
This kind of support is flexible and will be adapted to the situation. In some cases, it may only need one 4 hour meeting. In other cases, three full days of support may be needed, and even further down the line, meetings to 'check in.' It is important to mention here though, that this process is gentle and encourages autonomy for the cult member. It may take a person a long time to leave, but this exit support can help the cult member begin to ask questions.
Please note, if I have supported a family with exit counselling, I may not be able to offer weekly counselling sessions. This is because of a shift in roles may have a negative impact on counselling sessions. In this case, I will support your family in finding an appropriate counsellor with an awareness of the impact coercive control.
Photos & videos
Free initial assessment phone call for counselling and exit support.
50-minute counselling sessions: £40
Cult Exit Support per half day; 4 hours (Including research and telephone appointments prior to the meeting): £200 (plus travel costs if outside 20mile radius.)
I also offer training courses for organisations and religious groups about cults and mind control. Please contact me for more information.
I also have an understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder
I have passed the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy proficiency test and I am a member of the BACP.
I am fully insured and in regular supervision with a qualified, experienced supervisor.
Feel free to follow my facebook page: www.facebook.com/tothinkagain
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
The premises are not wheelchair accessible. However, reasonable adjustments will be made. Feel free to drop me a call or email to discuss.
Every day, including evenings, except Sunday.
Types of client