Yevgeniy VOLKOV

– Professor at the Nizhniy Novgorod State University n.a. N. I. Lobachevskiy, Russia
– Speaker at the public organization “Family and Person Protection Society” (FPPS), Ukraine

The healthy thinking as means of preventive maintenance and a therapy of the pathological thinking in destructive cults

Healthy thinking is the utmost condition for the mental and physical health of a person. This circumstance is highlighted by the problem of destructive cults (sects and psycho-cults).

The report outlines the preconditions for them to appear and spread through the modern society; and the unpreparedness of the modern culture to the mass development of critical and scientific thinking is seen as one of the main reasons [for the problem].

The common thinking is described as a favorable ground for pathological thinking.

On the basis of the experience in working with the cults victims an attempt is being made to define the criteria for healthy and pathological thinking.

Destructive cults not so much create the problem of pathological and healthy thinking confrontation, as exploit [abuse] the absence or the weakness of the healthy thinking skills among the most of people. Several characteristics of pathological thinking are concerned, the main ones being the imperfections of human perception (i.e. illusions, mistakes, asymmetries) and common thinking particularly determined by social psychology.

The reporter believes that the ultimate task for taking preventive measures and rehabilitation in order to overcome a cult’s negative impact is the task to form and strengthen healthy thinking that requires considerable changes throughout the systems of education and upbringing of children and youth and an active policy to educate grown-ups.

The reporter suggests certain pedagogical and educational measures that should allow to decrease the destructive impact of cults and psycho-cults dramatically. There are, also, the author’s programs concerning the peculiarities of the rational-cognitive counseling for the destructive cults victims, based on the 10 years of practical and scientific experience.