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versión On-line ISSN 2304-8557
versión impresa ISSN 0023-270X

Koers (Online) vol.73 no.2 Pretoria  2008


The need to understand the emotions of anger, fear and guilt when counselling religious cult victims


Die noodsaaklikheid om emosies van woede, vrees en skuldgevoel tydens berading van slagoffers van godsdienstige kultes te verstaan



S.P. Pretorius

Registration Administration, Unisa, Pretoria. Email:




Victims of religious cults are systematically influenced by the beliefs, teachings and practices of the group to adopt the identity and personality befitting the religious cult. This cult identity and personality that is believed to be God-pleasing views the outside world as evil and a threat to the spiritual well-being of cult members. In order to maintain cult members in a state which is supposedly pure and free from contamination by the evil world, they are taught to cultivate an antagonistic and resistant attitude towards any doctrine or person contradicting the cult's views. Any attempt by an "outsider" to communicate with cult members is prohibited. Any attempt to counsel cult members must be preceded by the establishment of a trust relationship that will overcome the resistance and open up communication. The counselling process that follows should address the emotional conditions of anger, false guilt and fear in order to restore the person's self-worth and ability to adapt to the outside world. This article contends that addressing false guilt, anger and fear is an important and necessary phase in the process of helping cult members to recover and reintroducing them to the world.

Key concepts: anger; fear; guilt; religious cults


Slagoffers van godsdienstige kultes word stelselmatig deur die oortuigings, leerstellings en praktyke van die groep beïnvloed ten einde die identiteit wat deur die groep voorgeskryf word, aan te neem. Daar word geglo dat die nuwe identiteit en persoonlikheid wat die kulte voorskryf vir God aanvaarbaar is en dat kontak met die "bose" buitewêreld vermy moet word, omdat dit nadelig vir die geestelike welstand van die kultelede is. Ten einde rein en vry van besoedeling te bly, word kultelede subtiel beïnvloed om 'n vyandige houding teenoor enige leerstellings strydig met dié van die groep in te neem. Kommunikasie met "buitestanders" word sovermoontlik verbied. Ten einde berading aan kultelede moontlik te maak, is die vestiging van n vertrouensverhouding noodsaaklik omdat dit hierdie weerstand sal oorkom en kommunikasie moontlik sal maak. Die beradingsproses wat volg moet die emosies van 'n valse skuldgevoel, woede en vrees hanteer ten einde die kultelid se selfbeeld te herstel, asook die vermoë om weer in die gemeenskap aan te pas. Hierdie artikel voeraan dat die hantering van 'n valse skuldgevoel, woede en vrees n belangrike en noodsaaklike fase is in die proses om kultelede terug te wen en weer deel van die samelewing te maak.

Kernbegrippe: godsdienstige; kultes skuldgevoel; vrees; woede



Full text available only in PDF format.



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