Michael Langone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael D. Langone
Born1947 (age 75–76)
Known forRecovery from Cults
Scientific career
Fieldspsychology, cults, new religious movements
InstitutionsInternational Cultic Studies Association

Michael D. Langone (born 1947) is an American counseling psychologist who specializes in research about cultic groups and psychological manipulation.[1] He is executive director of the International Cultic Studies Association,[2] and founding editor of the journal Cultic Studies Journal, later the Cultic Studies Review.[3]

Langone is author and co-author of two books and several articles. He first joined the International Cultic Studies Association (then the American Family Foundation) in 1981.[1]


Langone received his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from University of California, Santa Barbara in 1979, where he was a Regents Fellow for three years, and he began his work in cults in 1978.[4]: x  Langone defines a cult as "a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing, and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control designed to advance the goals of the group’s leader, to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community".[5] Langone joined the American Family Foundation in 1981, the organization later changed its name to the International Cultic Studies Association.

In 1984 he became the editor of the American Family Foundation's house publication, Cultic Studies Journal.[6] The journal ceased publication in 2001 and was replaced with Cultic Studies Review as an online journal with triennial print editions.[7]


In his book Recovering from Cults, Langone writes that cults "need not be religious in nature but may be psycho-therapeutic, political, or commercial".[4] In his writings, Langone argues that new religions conflict with traditional American beliefs and have to be considered objectionable for that reason, stating that he makes no apologies "for evaluating cults in terms of fundamental American values, which I have imbibed, examined and accepted."[8]

The former American Family Foundation, headed by Langone, is described as offering the most public support for the mind-control theory through its Cultic Studies Journal.[9] The theory is seen by researchers as a propaganda device used by the anti-cult movement to rationalize the persecution of minority religious groups.[10]

Publications and presentations[edit]

  • Langone, Michael D., ed. (1994). Recovery from Cults : Help for victims of psychological and spiritual abuse. New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 978-0393701647.
  • Ross, Joan Carol; Langone, Michael D. (September 1989). Cults : what parents should know : a practical guide to help parents with children in destructive groups. New York: Carol Pub. Group. ISBN 978-0818405112.
  • Langone, Michael D. (July 1, 1996). "Clinical Update on Cults". psychiatrictimes.com. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  • Langone, Michael D. (April 1990). "Working with cult-affected families". Psychiatric Annals. 20 (4): 194–198. doi:10.3928/0048-5713-19900401-07.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Peter Clarke, ed. (2004). Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements. Routledge. p. 29. ISBN 978-1134499700. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  2. ^ "Board of Directors". International Cultic Studies Association. ICSA. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  3. ^ Jamie Cresswell; Bryan Wilson (2012). New Religious Movements: Challenge and Response. Routledge. ISBN 978-1134636969.
  4. ^ a b Langone, Michael D., ed. (1994). Recovery from cults : help for victims of psychological and spiritual abuse. New York: W.W. Norton. p. introduction. ISBN 978-0393701647.
  5. ^ Cults Questions and Answers Langone, Michael, 1988[dead link]
  6. ^ Langone, Michael (May 1984). "To the reader". Cultic Studies Journal. 1 (1): 3.
  7. ^ Langone, Michael (2002). "Introduction to Inaugural Issue". Cultic Studies Review. 1 (1): 5.
  8. ^ Robbins, Thomas; Zablocki, Benjamin D. (2001). Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field. University of Toronto Press. p. 303. ISBN 978-0802081889.
  9. ^ Anson D. Shupe; William A. Stacey; Susan E. Darnell (2000). Bad Pastors: Clergy Misconduct in Modern America. NYU Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-0814781470.
  10. ^ Anthony, Dick (1999). "Pseudoscience and Minority Religions: An Evaluation of the Brainwashing Theories of Jean-Marie Abgrall". Social Justice Research. 12 (4): 421–456. doi:10.1023/A:1022081411463. ISSN 0885-7466. S2CID 140454555.

External links[edit]