Joe Szimhart, an artist and an internationally recognized expert on cults, will present a lecture on the subject on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, at 8 p.m. in the Penn State Perkins Student Center Auditorium, following the exhibition of selected artists in the Freyberger Gallery. This event is free and open to the public.
Szimhart’s interest in cult intervention began when he broke free from the influence of a New Age sect in the 1980s. His professional career as a cult information specialist began shortly thereafter when he first began helping with family interventions internationally.
As a cult information specialist, Szimhart regularly provides consultation, education, research, and non-coercive intervention that address cults, controversial groups, psychotherapies, or relationships that apply undue influence through manipulation and thought reform techniques. Through his efforts, he has assisted several hundred individuals and families impacted by cult activity internationally.
Employed as a mental health professional, Szimhart often lectures on cult-related issues and he makes court appearances and consults as an expert witness on behalf of cult victims. His book, Mushroom Satori: The Cult Diary, was released by Aperture Press in 2013. Szimhart earned a degree in Social Psychology Studies from Ursinus College. He was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Cultic Studies Association conference in Dallas in 2016.