Lom (Löma) Nal's Blog

Information Blog on Cults and Post-Cult Recovery

John M. Knapp, LMSW and The Center for Healing Spiritual and Cultic Abuse (The CHSCA)

Posted by Borz Lom (Löma) Nal on March 27, 2011

This post is reposting of my blog post entitled John M. Knapp and The CHSCA which I published on another blog. I repost it because I consider the information and warning contained there to be very important for ex-cult members.

Recently, John M. Knapp, LMSW started a new website and claims that he founded a new non-profit corporation, The Center for Healing Spiritual and Cultic Abuse (The CHSCA) and is the executive director of it. He highly promotes this new organization, including their services and even international support. However, I think that potential clients should be aware of some facts regarding this organization and John M. Knapp.

Since he lives and practices in New York State, his non-profit corporation is supposed to be on file with NYS Department of State. However, anyone can search NYS Department of State The Corporation and Business Entity Database and see that it is not there. The current information messages by this database are the following:

NYS Department of State
Division of Corporations
Informational Message
The information contained in this database is current through March 25, 2011.
No business entities were found for The Center for Healing Spiritual and Cultic Abuse.
No business entities were found for The Center for Healing Spiritual & Cultic Abuse.
No business entities were found for The CHSCA.
No business entities were found for CHSCA.

John Knapp started his website in the beginning of March and claimed to have created The Center for Healing Spiritual and Cultic Abuse as a non-profit corporation, but it is still not on file with NYS Department of State. The only conclusion I can make is that his non-profit corporation is non-existing or illegal.

As far as I know, one of the main reasons for John Knapp to supposedly create his non-profit corporation is to attract more clients. However, I would warn people about hiring him as a therapist. Here is a report of one of his former clients: http://tossandripple.blogspot.com/2011/01/john-m-knapp-lmsw.html. I know of this situation and am aware that he caused a serious damage to this person.

Another problem with his counseling is that he practices online counseling, using Skype and similar programs. Many therapists have doubts regarding this way of counseling because Skype has security flaws and because there is a great difference between seeing somebody in person and on video. According to my understanding, the position of the NYS State Boards for the Professions, that is, the organization that certified him as Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) is that they do not tend to consider online therapy as true therapy.

In Ethical Standards for Thought Reform Consultants, section II, point A, sub-point 5:

A subscribing consultant will not employ methods or techniques such as neuro-linguistics programming, hypnosis or Ericksonian hypnosis or other techniques similar to those employed by cult groups without fully informed consent of the client.

I know that not all the thought reform consultants, exit counselors or whatever they call themselves, subscribed by these ethical standards. Although these methods are not illegal per se, they are used by cults. This is why most professionals who work with ex-cult members (including those who did not subscribed by these ethical standards) consider that it is unethical to use them.

Since John Knapp is LMSW, he is required to have a supervisor who is LCSW. His supervisor and her husband are certified NLP trainers. John Knapp and his supervisor even have offices in the same building. Well, there is nothing illegal with having a supervisor who is a certified NLP trainer, but it definitely indicates that John Knapp seriously studied NLP. People usually study NLP to use it, not just to have information about it. I have never been his client, but I used to be a co-moderator and a co-administrator of his forum and I can testify that he used NLP techniques toward me.

John Knapp keeps posting in his new Twitter account that certain people joined his Center for Healing Spiritual and Cultic Abuse. I doubt that this information is correct. In any case, I will not join his new organization under any condition. In the past, he tried to involve me there, using manipulations. I have never given my agreement to join it. Although he still lists me in his forum as one of moderators and administrators, I am not a moderator and administrator of his forum since August 1, 2010. I had no contacts with him since this time. I do not endorse him and will not work together with him any longer. This is my firm position and I will not change it.


2 Responses to “John M. Knapp, LMSW and The Center for Healing Spiritual and Cultic Abuse (The CHSCA)”

  1. oneperson said

    Hi Lom,

    My comments below this comment are copied and pasted from your other blog. I post them here for visibility. There is so much I could personally share on this matter, but now is not the time. I don’t know now much I will share in the upcoming future.

    For readers, I am the author of the toss & ripple blog entry that Lom links to above.

    Because of John’s actions, because of the way he cut off communication, and because I learned that my experiences wasn’t unique, I filed a formal complaint (at the end of September, 2010) regarding John M. Knapp with the New York State Office of Professions. The investigation regarding that complaint is still in process.

    ~carol (oneperson)

    (Below are my response comments copied (with some clarifications and additional information) from Lom’s other blog.)
    Hey Lom,

    I read your blog entry shortly after you let me know you had posted it.

    I wasn’t sure how to respond, until within the last hour in which time I saw, for the first time, the Facebook page representing The Center for Healing Spiritual and Cultic Abuse. I no longer have a FB account; I came upon the FB page via John Knapp’s link on a Tweet. The FB page is called “The Center 4 Healing.”

    As I then perused the FB page, I thought I was going to throw up, literally.

    This morning (prior to seeing theCHSCA FB page) I was reviewing Dr. Lalich’s book Take Back Your Life. Before reading finding/viewing that FB page, I was thinking as I was reviewing the book, “How did I end up here again?”

    It’s an odd feeling reading Lalich’s book that helped me in regard to my own recovery from cultic abuse and the same book that Knapp used with me in helping me through the myriad aspects of confusion, loss, grief, self-blame, self-distrust, doubting my reality, and other stuff that comes with toxic relationships…the very book that helped me…well…now has a triggering effect.

    I guess it’s kind of like the guidebook (such as the Bible in Christianity) that at one time helped people and then ends up toxic for them due to associations with trauma experienced surrounding that guide book. They have to find other resources or another version and learn to traverse, calm, and regulate responses so that the trigger becomes less of an issue. In this case, the difference is that I never took Dr. Lalich’s book as “the absolute truth” or as “god-breathed.” And my abusive experience wasn’t with Lalich; it was with Knapp.

    Following is something I wrote in the complaint I filed with the state of New York. I am adding italics simply for delineation from the rest of my response comment.
    [Intentionally or unintentionally] John Knapp used four of my deepest vulnerabilities against me. Those are self-blame, self-distrust, fear of abandonment, and intimidation when relating with certain authority figures. Not to mention other issues I have worked to overcome, which include low self-worth, shame, and thinking I am unintelligent.

    And also:
    I have experienced the following in varying degrees since the trauma. The following list is reprinted from How Therapists Abuse Their Clients:

    * Complete devastation and despair (feeling like Munch’s The Scream)
    * Self blame and feelings of failure, guilt and confusion
    * Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem […]
    * Withdrawal and inability to talk about the abuse; and feeling also that no one understands
    * Doubting your own perceptions and reality
    * Emotional detachment or “shutting down” (leading among other things to loss of empathy and lack of emotional response within oneself)
    * Intrusive negative rumination/intrusive negative thoughts/flashbacks

    In addition to the list above, I have experienced a sense of loss; wanting to forget and pretend my past never happened; grief; feeling I was crazy and making things up or had done things that I didn’t do; feelings that I am unintelligent, childish, and stupid; wanting to disappear or become obscure; depression; anxiety; bad dreams; and some episodes of anger. I have also had to take more Xanax than I’ve needed all year previously and have had physical somaticizing symptoms which include lung and back pain. I started back on Paxil in September.
    (end quote)

    In hindsight, I wish I would have heeded concerns that folks expressed to me about Knapp not long after I first hired him, and that I had listened more carefully to certain doubts and my own intuitive thoughts as I observed some of Knapp’s words and behavior. But I trusted him and thus rationalized those nudges.

    I too am still listed as a moderator and administrator on John’s recently reactivated Knapp Family Counseling discussion board. I have no idea why John reactivated it. Regardless, it disturbs me that John did not honor my clear resignation that I sent him via email at the beginning of August, 2010. As a still-registered administrator and moderator, I have received over 600 email notifications since the reactivation. If not for the complaint investigation in process, I would find a way to stop receiving the notifications.

    As far as the non-profit and corporation status of CHSCA, I guess time will tell. I would find it difficult to think that John would make such claims and state that the org is applying for tax-deductible status, if the org is not incorporated (if that is the right word). But…I also found it difficult to admit that the person who I trusted as my therapist to help aid in recovery from toxic relationships would end up emotionally and verbally abusing.

    Well, that’s a long ramble.

    You are welcome to share this reply comment elsewhere as you feel appropriate.

    To life,
    PS: As my manner is, I’ve had quite a few after thoughts since posting my previous comment.

    One of those is that I struggle with feeling embarrassed that I would be affected so deeply by what has happened. I wish I could just brush it off. In comparison to other trauma, it’s small. Yet, I have to remind myself that my responses over the last seven-plus months are understandable. I have to acknowledge and honor those responses, while at the same time regulate them utilizing various tools from my emotional tool box.

    This past week two people who know the situation shared with me that the intense anxiety I’m experiencing is a normal response to cognitive dissonance. I don’t recall ever hearing it put that way before.

    Of course, I’ve been reminded that my anxiety is a normal response to an abnormal circumstance.

    And I am thankful for all the good in life. There is much to be grateful for. I wrote the other night that gratitude is a great equalizer.

    Thanks Lom for sharing your thoughts and experiences.


  2. carol said

    Rereading my response here, I feel I should clarify my following statement, “…I learned that my experience wasn’t unique…” The other incidents which I know about and which are similar to my own, were in Knapp’s relationships with other colleague-type relationships, not clients.


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