FAQ

  • Is Wellspring a Deprogramming facility?

        Technically, no. Many people think of us as a deprogramming facility in the sense that we undo the effects of abusive mind control / brainwashing. However, deprogramming in the original, historical sense (particularly in the 1970’s and ’80’s) involved getting a cult member to see that his or her group is deceptive and harmful, and persuading him or her to leave the group. In this method, family members would often resort to snatching and holding the cult member against his or her will (for a few days or up to two weeks) and making them listen to information about the cult from a deprogrammer, thus making him or her see that the group is deceptive, manipulative, and dangerous. If the member is age 18 or over, snatching and restraining such a person is illegal. It is also traumatizing to the one who is snatched.
        A more recent method is called “exit counseling.” The exit counselor, along with the family of a cult member, attempts to convince the cult member that it is in his or her best interest to evaluate some information, and reconsider the nature of the group or relationship and their involvement in it. No restraint is imposed by true exit counselors, so the individual may decide to stay and listen or to leave.
        Wellspring does neither deprogramming nor exit counseling. Those who come to Wellspring have already recognized, on their own or by information from another, that the group or relationship they were in is deceptive and harmful. Thus, coming to Wellspring is voluntary. Wellspring does not hold and has not held anyone against their will, unless such mandatory treatment is ordered by a court. When leaving a cult or abusive relationship, the affected individual often has further issues he or she realizes the need to address, such as depression, disillusionment, anxiety, fear, post-traumatic stress disorder, confusion, and often a whole set of questions that the experience has prompted. Wellspring’s role is to provide a restorative process of therapeutic counseling and information for these issues as they relate to the cult or abusive relationship. We help our clients understand what happened to them, and help them re-integrate into mainstream society.
    Read more here.

  • What is spiritual abuse? What is mental abuse? What is brainwashing?

    Our approach is not to work within rigid definitions, but within the framework of addressing what has caused trauma in a person’s life. Because different recruitment and membership styles of religious and other groups will be more harmful to some than others, it is more important to focus on helping the individual who has experienced the suffering than to make lists of "cults" and point fingers at organizations and churches. However, having said that, much of our work is centered around the ground-breaking work of Dr. Robert Jay Lifton who identified eight criteria for a thought reform system in his book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism (particularly chapter 22). When we find these criteria active within a relationship or a group, we can usually say without hesitation that the relationship or group is abusive.
  • Why specialize in cults and psychological abuse?

    We offer a safe haven specifically for cult and abuse survivors to explore their own feelings and their own choices. What makes psychological abuse unique is that victims are made to feel they do not have choices; we restore survivors' ability to choose without being judged. Another symptom of abuse, is that survivors often become victims again, hopping from one form of abuse to another. Deprogramming often does not end the abuse. It is one of our chief goals to free each of our clients, so that they do not fall into mind control or abusive situations again. We welcome anyone who has been suffering from mind control, cults, mental or psychological abuse or coercion of any type to contact us and find out whether our treatment can help them readjust to normal life and – most importantly – avoid repeating the cycle of abuse.
  • Do you only treat those who have been in cults?

    No. Our program is very beneficial for anyone who has been in any abusive situation. We have helped those who were exploited by therapists who crossed professional boundaries. We have treated people who were sexually abused by clergy. We have worked with people who were in multi-level marketing scams. Anytime someone has been deceived, manipulated, exploited, and coerced, we can offer hope and help.
  • I’m already in therapy…why is it not working?

    Many of our clients sought therapy, but found it ineffective for the unique issues that Wellspring addresses. In fact over 70% of our clients were in therapy for 3.5 years with little or no relief! After only one to three weeks in our intensive program, our clients show remarkable improvement in their symptoms due to the specialized treatment that we offer.
  • How long do clients stay at Wellspring?

    The recommended program length is two weeks, however sometimes clients elect to stay three, and more rarely four weeks. It is our goal to help you through the treatment program at a rate that is comfortable for you.
  • Is Wellspring appropriate for someone who has been in a cult or abusive relationship and is still feeling very fragile?

    We the staff at Wellspring understand what abuse victims are going through. Many of our staff members came out of similar experiences, but without the aid of a treatment program such as Wellspring's. Therefore we are aware and understand your feelings. Rest assured, cult and abuse victims are in good hands and in a safe place that was created by survivors, for survivors.
  • Is Wellspring like a psychiatric hospital?

    Absolutely not! The word “retreat” is in our name for an important reason! Our clients feel safe here and downright pampered! Meals are prepared homestyle, the lodge where our clients stay is a beautiful chalet with personal touches in every room, and the staff is warm and friendly. Our clients are free to come and go as they like, and many even do sight-seeing while they are here. If you are fearful of coming to a scary and restrictive place, you will see that it was all for nothing! And you won’t see one "white coat" on the property.
  • How do I determine if Wellspring is right for me or my loved one?

    Our counselors are well-trained professionals who have seen and treated many people who have been exploited in groups and relationships. During the pre-visit phone interview, the counselor will ask the potential client a series of questions that will help to determine if his or her symptoms can be alleviated by residential treatment at Wellspring, and if our program is the right fit for his or her needs.
  • Will you help me get my loved one out of a cult or abusive relationship?

    It is important to understand that Wellspring does not participate in or plan interventions of any kind. There are professionals who specialize in this process and we recommend you speak with many of them before determining whom you will hire and what strategy you will use. Wellspring does not condone involuntary interventions. Read more in the first question in this list: "Is Wellspring a Deprogamming facility?" 
  • When is the best time to bring my loved one to Wellspring following an intervention?

    The sooner the better, however there are admissions steps that must be taken first. Primarily we will need to speak to the person to determine if he or she is desirous of coming to Wellspring, and if our program is a good fit for them. You will need to speak to our office to learn more about the admissions process if you are planning an intervention.
  • Can I make my loved-one come to Wellspring?

    We are not an involuntary mental health treatment center. All of our clients have agreed to come for treatment, and can leave at any time of their own free will. The only exception to this is if you are a custodial parent or guardian of a minor in which case you may bring the child for treatment under special circumstances. Contact our office to learn more about the admissions process for minors.
  • What if a client decides they need to leave?

    Clients are free to leave Wellspring at any time and are never under any obligation to stay.
  • Can clients contact friends and family while at Wellspring?

    Of course! Clients are free to come and go as they please and to contact whomever they like.
  • What does “intensive program” mean?

    Most residential treatment centers offer only two to four hours of private therapy a week and three to six hours of group work. Our program provides 10 therapy hours per week and 15-20 hours of group workshops. In addition to the therapy sessions, other services such as pre/post psychological testing, recreational activities, guided personal research, and time for creative expression and relaxation are also included. The pace is not rigorous, but it does move along for those who want to take the utmost advantage of their time here.
  • What is the program schedule?

    Clients usually arrive at Wellspring between 7 and 9 p.m. on Sundays. They check into the Lodge and relax for the rest of the evening. Clients meet one of our counselors on Monday for an "Intake Interview" and then complete a series of psychological tests and questionnaires. The standard routine then begins on Tuesday. After breakfast, clients typically see their counselor for two 50-minute sessions, and after lunch, they take part in educational workshops.

    Afternoon tea and refreshments are served during the workshop break, and then after the day’s workshop is completed, clients have free time to take advantage of the Wellspring library of books and videotapes, go for walks in the woods, or just relax.

    Evening offerings include recreational activities, more educational opportunities, and creative pursuits such as art and music for those who desire. Friday nights are usually saved for going into town, grabbing a pizza, and watching a movie for those who want to go.

    Weekends are left open for rest and relaxation, but also include assignments from the counselors for personal growth. Clients can go into nearby Athens (home of Ohio University) or stay at Wellspring and work on projects of their choosing. Counseling and workshops begin again on Monday of the second week, and clients usually depart by noon on the coming Saturday.

    It is important to know that the schedule is flexible and can be modified for those who need extra rest or desire extra assignments.

    If a client is coming to Wellspring directly from an intervention, their admissions process and initial schedule is a little different. It is important to contact our office to discuss the arrangements for these admissions as far in advance of the intervention as possible.
  • Do people actually get better after coming to Wellspring?

    We have very good outcomes with our clients. In fact, less than 1% ever return to the abuser or cult after going through our program! (Many of our clients had been "hopping" from one abusive group or relationship to another before coming for treatment, and some were on the verge of rejoining the cult they had left.) Our clients report significant symptom reduction and our testing at admission, discharge, and at a six-month follow-up (done via the mail ) point to quantifiable improvements. You can read excerpts from letters that our clients have sent us through the years after coming to Wellspring by clicking here.
  • Where is Wellspring?

    Wellspring is in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains near the small Southeast Ohio village of Albany. We're about 15 miles from Athens, Ohio, the home of Ohio University. You can learn more about the area in which we're located by visiting the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce website.
  • How do I know Wellspring isn't a cult?

    You don't ...unless you do some homework. You can begin to explore the cult phenomenon on our links page, or begin on your own at your local library or bookstore. You will find that those in the know highlight common elements of cult dynamics. We believe you'll find us saying the same things here on our web site and in our other informational materials as the other experts.

    You might also note that we've been featured in national and international media outlets and that our counselors are licensed and members of multiple professional associations. We encourage you to check us out! We understand how important it is to earn your trust!
  • How does the price compare?

    You will find our fees at the low end of the scale when compared to centers that treat substance abuse, eating disorders, and general mental health concerns.
    And remember, we offer more hours of treatment than most!
  • What if I can’t afford it?

    Before you decide there is no way you can afford treatment, please see the first page of our web site, and contact our office manager who can discuss options with you. Many of our clients, who were seriously suffering from symptoms, tell us that coming to Wellspring turned out to be the best investment they could have ever made in themselves and they wished they had done it sooner. (See our Testimonials page.)
  • I want to come to Wellspring, but I just can't get it all together! What do I do?

    We understand that organizing all the details for an involved undertaking can be overwhelming especially if you are suffering from the symptoms of psychological and emotional trauma. We have produced materials to make things easier. Plus, we're here to help if you run into trouble, so don't hesitate to contact us.
  • What do I do first?

    Just call our office at 740-698-6277 or e-mail us. Someone will answer your questions and get you started on your road to recovery!