This is an attempt to categorize individuals who in one way or another can come into contact with psychiatry and where their “cult” involvement can be part of what needs to be mapped, understood and treated. It’s a draft, a thought experiment. For the vast majority of people who come into contact with psychiatry, this is not relevant, there are a few.
However, the image should be read as: “Individuals who have left or are still under the influence of …”, etc…
In the upper left field we have the well-known sects, such as the Church of Scientology, Hare Krishna, the Moon Movement/Unification Church. The most famous “Swedish” example is Jehovah’s Witnesses. In that box, some political organizations also belong, such as ISIS. It is likely that you can find counterparts in Sweden. They are united by precisely a “utopian” view of how society and the world should be set up. Some of them resort to violence, let the “ends sanctify the means”, because it is so important that the goals are achieved and the pure ideals are honored.
In the top right is criminal organizations, like the Hells Angels or Bandidos. They are closed, characterized by strong cohesion, but rarely have any utopian visions. Their focus is more on making the most of their presence in society. There are examples of commercial cults as well. Sometimes you hear about them in the media. Companies (often in the sales industry) that are run in a charismatic way, with employee meetings similar to revival meetings, but where the vision is to do as well as possible in the market (i.e. make money). The fact that I put honor cultures in this box may seem strange. Aren’t they often religious? No, I think it’s less important. Most often, these rest on cultural patterns and customs, which existed before nowaday religion came into the picture.
The bottom left corner requires a little more explanation. Here you will normally find no “cults” or even membership. They are disorganized (or at most weakly organized) movements or communities of interest. This category pretones in (superficial, bad) self-help literature, common superstition and various TV shows on (in Sweden) TV4/Kanal 7, about medium, obsessed houses, and the like. Most often it is completely harmless, or even an asset (we need to play and dream too!), but for some individuals this way of looking at life becomes a problem. It is utopian, idealized, but an interest one cultivates more or less on your own.
The box at the bottom right houses people with very firm oversteds about various forms of conspiracy theories. Examples of this are “chem trails” (that is, there is a spraying of the atmosphere for more or less malicious reasons), that the world is ruled by a secret, hugely powerful Elite, sometimes referred to as the New World Order or “Illuminati”. Instead, here you can see the opposite of utopia: “dystopia.” With beliefs that can be so enchanting and hard to shake of. It is distrust of those in power or criticism of civilization that has crossed the line into the fantastic.
Of course, each box in the chart also has its completely unproblematic side. For the treatment of these individuals, the religious (or whatever it is) is not relevant. Their problems have little or little to do with this. If you go through the boxes in the same order: Belonging to a religious congregation can of course be something strengthening and nice. There is a lot of research, especially from the US, that shows this. Of course, working for a company, or being part of one “host” organization, with strong same-scale and a common vision, is not automatically a bad thing. Nor to take an interest in astrology, reincarnation, séances, to be convinced that telepathy works, etc.
What will room in the last box? In the religious field, I am tempted to write the Church of Sweden and Friskis & Svettis-yoga. Although it has a spiritual origin, it is neither utopian nor characterized by much peer pressure in its present form.