When Spirituality Goes Awry: Students in Cults.

Adolescents are objects of recruitment for religious cults. Identifying new religious movements, cults, and dissenting religious groups, understanding their practices, and discovering reasons for their attractiveness to some students are helpful to the school counselor. Suggestions are offered as to how to identify which cults are destructive, and how professional school counselors can assist students involved with such groups. The attraction of cults to America’s youth has been a source of study for the past 30 years (Singer & Lalich, 1995). The literature describes the activities of various therapists who have worked with people unwittingly seduced into becoming cult members or people recently extricated from a cult (Singer & Lalich; Soloman, 1991; Stoner & Parke, 1977). This article is designed to clarify kinds of cults, the reason some students are attracted to them, and what school counselors can do to help students who have become a cult member or who intend to become a member of one.

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