UPDATE: RESCHEDULED TO October 3, 2020 Registration re-opening soon!

Dallas, TX Event:


Sponsored by SMU Perkins School of Theology, Simmons School of Education & Human Development, and ICSA

Limited Seats Available! Click Here to Register for This Event!

Event Schedule:

8:30-9:00 - Check in/Continental Breakfast

9:00-10:15 - Welcome and Opening Speakers

10:30 -11:30 -Breakout Session #1

11.45-12:45 - Lunch (Provided with Admission)

1-2 - Breakout Session #2

2:15-3:15 - Breakout Session #3

3:30 - 4:30 - Panel Discussion

5:00 - Meetup at Pub

Breakout Sessions:

Breakout Session 1:

Ashlen Hilliard: Fundamentals and Recovery from Controlling Theology

Dr. Kathryn Keller: Boundaries and Triggers and Trust, Oh My!

Mark WIngfield: Creating a Welcoming Church for all

Breakout Session 2:

Julienna Viegas: Finding Spirituality and Healing After Coming out of a Spiritually Abusive Religion (Gender and Ethnicity)

Dr. Cyndi Matthews & Stevie Powers: Lived Experiences of LGBTQ+ Individuals Coming out of High Demand Religious Organizations - Healing from the Shame and Pain

Wendy and Doug Duncan: Creating Safe Haven Churches

Breakout Session 3

Dr. Colleen Logan: Repairing the Damage From Reparative Therapy

Natalie Anderson: Power and Control Dynamics in Spiritual Abuse: Noticing the Red Flags

Dr. Susanne Scholz and Dr. Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner: Recognizing how Individuals use the Old and New Testament to Spiritually Abuse Others

Trauma Counselors and Referrals on Site

When: Saturday, April 4, 2020,

8:30am – 4:30pm

Where: Harold Simmons Hall, Room 101A,

SMU, Dallas, TX


The conference will be held at the Harold Simmons building on the SMU Campus


Free parking is available!

Please reference the map on where to park, which is accessible off of Airline Rd and McFarlin Blvd.


Speaker's books will be available on site at a discount.

Natalie Anderson, MS, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor located in Dallas, Texas. She works at a private practice, Dallas Therapy Collective, where she serves adolescents and adults. She offers individual therapy and is beginning a psycho educational group for those who have experienced spiritual or religious harm. Natalie graduated with her Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of North Texas. She specializes in serving individuals who want to find healing or growth from traumatic experiences across the lifespan, including spiritual or religious harm or abuse. She has been trained in and regularly utilizes EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy. Natalie's previous clinical experiences include working at The Turning Point Rape Crisis Center, The Family Place, Dallas County Juvenile Department, and the counseling center at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Wendy Duncan, MA, LBSW, has a Master’s Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a licensed social worker in the state of Texas. She has spent most of her career in the mental health field.Wendy and her husband, Doug, are former members of a pseudo-Christian, Bible-based cult and several years after leaving, they became active in cult awareness activities. They are frequent presenters at ICSA conferences. Wendy co-facilitates a monthly support group for former members of cults in the Dallas metroplex. Wendy is also the author of I Can’t Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas Cult.

From: https://www.spiritualabuseresources.com/about

Doug Duncan, MS, LPC, was a member of an aberrant religious group for over twenty years. After defying the cult leader and marrying Wendy, they eventually left the cult and Doug began the task of rebuilding his life. He enrolled in a master’s program in counseling and earned a degree and license to practice therapy. After working on their cult recovery issues by reading all the available cult literature, attending conferences, and becoming involved with ICSA, Doug and Wendy started a ministry to increase the awareness and understanding of cults. They are frequent presenters at churches, civic groups, and conferences, as well as facilitators of a support group for former members of cults and high-demand groups. Additionally, Doug offers individual counseling to ex-members.

From: https://www.spiritualabuseresources.com/about

Ashlen Hilliard is the Assistant to the Executive Director for the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). Before ICSA, she worked in Salt Lake City, Utah as a case manager that helped individuals leaving polygamy out west. ICSA has provided her with a greater appreciation of the spectrum of coercive control and its international dimension, her current focuses are event organization and former member outreach. She was also born and raised in the fundamentalist churches of Christ, and attended the sect’s choice of higher education at Florida College, where she received her BA in Communication with a minor in Biblical Studies.

Ashlen relocated to Portland, Oregon in March of this year, where she is engaged in connecting with fellow survivors at the SAFE Meetups (Spiritual Abuse Forum for Education), and focuses on building a network of survivors and helping professionals in the Pacific Northwest. This is her second year helping to implement a local Portland conference that will provide resources for those who have experienced spiritual abuse and high-control groups.

Kathryn Keller, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist and Licensed Professional Counselor – Supervisor in Dallas, TX. She co-owns a group counseling practice, Dallas Therapy Collective, where she sees clients for individual therapy. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University with her doctorate in counseling psychology. She conducted her doctoral dissertation on the topic of spiritual abuse, resulting in the first known measure of spiritual abuse. Kathryn’s practice is focused on clients who have experienced traumatic stress, including spiritual and religious trauma. She works particularly well with people who have experienced high levels of control in fundamentalist and evangelical Christian traditions. In addition to therapy, she enjoys training, consulting, supervising, and running many of the behind the scenes business aspects of her group practice.

Dr. Colleen Logan’s career spans decades of activism, advocacy, and diversity training. She is known in particular for her expertise in providing diversity training related to the unique needs of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) communities.

Dr. Logan has been a Licensed Professional Counselor since 1994. She has maintained a private practice for over twenty years. She holds a License as a Supervisor in Texas. She has been recognized and commended by the American Counseling Association (ACA) and The Association of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling, a division of ACA for her contributions to the field of counseling and affirmative therapy with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and their significant others. She is co-founder of the Texas Association of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues in Counseling, a division of Texas Counseling Association. She is a Fellow and former past president of the American Counseling Association (ACA). She remains active in the organization and currently serves as a trustee on the American Counseling Association Foundation (ACAF). She is also active in the Texas Counseling Association (TCA) and serves on the Board of Directors.

Dr. Logan has authored or co-authored a number of articles and chapters as well as a book regarding how to work effectively with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender clients and their significant other. In 2016, Dr. Logan authored a document entitled Inclusion and Wellbeing of LGBTQ Youth, an award-winning document created for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America staff and volunteers. Moreover, in 2017, Dr. Logan co-authored a seminal guide to counseling the LGBTQ+ community across the lifespan.


Dr. Cyndi Matthews is an Assistant Clinical Professor from Southern Methodist University and graduated with a PhD and Masters in Counseling and Counselor Education from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Dr. Matthews previously worked at the University of Louisiana Monroe and the University of North Texas at Dallas before coming to SMU. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S) and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) with over 17 years’ experience working with individuals, couples, and families. She is also a Cult Consultant who works with former cult members and their families from around the world.

Dr. Matthews’ research interests include religious/spiritual abuse along with its long-term effects and counseling best practices; counseling with LGBTQ+ individuals; and counseling individuals born and raised in religious cults. Her dissertation examined the long term effects of those born and raised in religious cults. She has published in the International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, The Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, and the International Journal of Cultic Studies.

She is a member of ACA, ASERVIC, ALGBTIC, CSJ, TCA, TxCSJ, TALGBTIC, TAMFC, and ICSA and currently serves on the ICSA, ASERVIC, and ALGBTIC boards.

Dr. Matthews' private practice specializes in Depression/Anxiety/Stress, LGBTQ+ Issues/Gender Identity, Addiction, Religious Abuse & Cult Recovery, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Sexual, Emotional, & and Physical Abuse, Anger Management, Domestic Violence, Sex Therapy, Premarital Counseling, Communication Skills, Crisis Management, and Relationship Effectiveness.

Dr. Matthews is trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), EMDR, Couples' Gottman (Levels I and II) and Couples’ Imago therapy, Sandtray Therapy, Online Counseling, and Psychodrama.


Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner has trained in rape crisis centers, a child abuse council, an addictive disease unit, domestic violence programs, and a community mental health clinic. Her classes at Perkins often include a training component in Dallas programs and centers that address the above issues. She is currently a member of the Pastoral Care Advisory Board at Children’s Health, Children’s Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner is Professor of Pastoral Care at Perkins School of Theology [Southern Methodist University], an ordained Presbyterian minister (PCUSA), a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, an Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) Psychotherapist, a Member of the International Academy of Practical Theology, a Henry Luce III Fellow, and a former President of the Society for Pastoral Theology. She was a Resident Member at the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton (2012), President of the SMU Faculty Senate (2016-2017) and a member of the SMU Board of Trustees (2016-2017). She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the University of Basel, Switzerland. Jeanne has taught at Columbia Theological Seminary, The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, and as Visiting Faculty at The University of Luzern, Switzerland (2012).

She co-edited a volume which transformed the field of pastoral theology - Women in Travail and Transition: A New Pastoral Care (Fortress Press). Jeanne is the editor of three additional pioneering volumes in pastoral care of women along with six additional books, the two most recent of which are Portable Roots: Transplanting the Bicultural Child (2014) and Overture to Practical Theology: The Music of Religious Inquiry (2016). Currently, she is editing a volume to celebrate the Centennial of women’s suffrage. Her book The Spirit of Adoption: At Home in God’s Family received an award from the Academy of Parish Clergy, and she was honored in 2010 with The American Association of Pastoral Counselor’s Distinguished Achievement in Research and Writing Award.

Stevie Powers is a graduate counseling student at the University of North Texas Dallas. He currently works as an intern at the student clinic for UNTD. Stevie plans to attend a PhD program after graduating with an interest in teaching at the graduate level and supervising counseling interns. He hopes to work with LGBTQ+ populations and help them navigate the many trials and tribulations that exist for them.

Stevie’s research interests are LGBTQ+ populations, spiritual abuse/high intensity faith groups and how that abuse affects those who have been a part of these groups, with a particular interest in LGBTQ+ individuals from these groups. Stevie has presented at a number of conferences, including conferences for both the International Cultic Studies Association and the Texas Counselors Association.

Susanne Scholz, Ph.D., is Professor of Old Testament at SMU Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas, USA. Her research focuses on feminist hermeneutics and cultural biblical studies, interfaith and interreligious dialogue, as well as general issues related to gender and sexuality studies in religion. Among her fourteen books and over sixty essays and journal articles are Sacred Witness: Rape in the Hebrew Bible (Fortress Press, 2010), The Bible as Political Artifact: On the Feminist Study of the Hebrew Bible (Fortress Press, 2017), Introducing the Women’s Hebrew Bible: Feminism, Gender Justice, and the Study of the Old Testament (T&T Clark Bloomsbury, 2017). She is the editor of the book series Feminist Studies and Sacred Texts (Lexington Books) and the co-editor of the book series Dispatches from the New Diaspora (Lexington/Fortress Academic). Her website is available at susanne-scholz.com.

Julienna Viegas was born and raised in Belgium. She grew up as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints. She left the mainstream Mormon Church in 2015 after going through a faith crisis which led her to question the foundation of her childhood beliefs. Since then she has published several articles in the Salt Lake Tribune questioning practices in the Mormon Church, she was interviewed on Mormon Stories by John Dehlin, she participated in multiple podcasts and hosts her own Faith Transition Podcast. Julienna studied International Politics at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She currently works as a business developer in a FinTech company and also volunteers to lead a faith transition support group in North Dallas. Julienna is the mother of three children. She is currently finishing a book about faith transition. She enjoys traveling and staying physically active.

Website: https://thefaithtransitionpodcast.com/if6oq2yk6qk6l453u5oxl38ojb66y4

Op-ed: https://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=3826343&itype=CMSID

Mark Wingfield is associate pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas and author of the new book Why Churches Need to Talk About Sexuality. He is a regular columnist for the Dallas Morning News and Baptist News Global and presented a 2016 TEDx Talk, “The Baptist Pastor And His Transgender Friends.” He is a former print journalist who combines his passion for social justice with his role as a pastor to serve as an advocate for those estranged from organized religion.

Website: https://www.wilshirebc.org/about-wilshire/ministerial-staff/

Ted Talks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugl5hDuaVwQ