Artist, Author, Lecturer
Mental Health Professional and Specialist in cult information, intervention, and education.
Cult Information Specialist provides consultation, education, research and non-coercive intervention that addresses controversial groups, cults, psychotherapies, or relationships that apply undue influence through manipulation and thought reform techniques.
Joe Szimhart’s deep interest in the problem of harmful group activity began in 1980 when he rejected the influence of a system of esoteric sects, some of which used thought reform techniques. He began helping persons with similar problems by the end of 1980. His professional career began in 1986 when he first helped with family interventions internationally.
Employment related to social services:
Long career as a self-employed, professional artist. Exhibitions and commissions since 1970. Instructor at New Mexico State Penitentiary and at St. John’s College in New Mexico.
Commission completed in 2002: 14 canvases of "Stations of the Cross" for St. Columbkill’s Church in Boyertown, PA.
Currently maintains a studio with Goggleworks Art Center in Reading, PA. Chairman of Goggleworks Exhibition Committee, 2015 to present.
Television and radio appearances:
Talent for new series (8 episodes) on Scientology for A&E TV to air March 7, 2017.
Since 1983 appeared on dozens of TV and radio programs worldwide. Consulted by the national media regularly. The 1994 NBC TV movie, "Moment of Truth: A Mother’s Deception," about a middle-aged woman controlled by a psychiatrist’s cult, was based on case and script consultations with Szimhart. Also consultations with CNN, Dateline, MTV, Court TV, and A&E TV for a 1997 special on "Prophecy". He appeared on a BET talk show "Our Voices" on May 4, 1997.
In print media: 2013 novel "Mushroom Satori: The cult diary" (Reading, PA: Aperture Press). Finishing second novel: "Angel at Indian Rock" (working title)
Several books that mention his "cult" work are: Bounded Choice by Janja Lalich (2004), Understanding the New Age by R. Chandler (1988), What Do We Mean When we Say God? by D. Sullivan (1991), Take Back Your Life by Tobias & Lalich (1994), Snapping (1995) by Conway & Siegelman. Ongoing reviews and articles for the Cultic Studies Journal and Skeptical Inquirer. Wrote introductions for and helped edit Cult Encounter by Rick Larsen & Helen Larsen (1997) and 400 Years of Imaginary Friends by Kenneth Paolini and Talita Paolini (2000), an expose about their 10 years experience with the Church Universal and Triumphant and the "I AM" Activity. In 1991 DETAILs magazine ran a 5000 word article about Szimhart’s interventions called "New Age Exorcist." He has appeared in Newsweek, the London Telegraph Review, The New Mexican, Forbes, the Washington Post, the West Australian and many more publications. 2008 by ABC news re FLDS: http://abcnews.go.com/US/Story?id=4659164&page=1
Lectures, papers: Since 1982, lectures before diverse organizations on the cult problem—Native American tribes, skeptics groups, police departments, churches, colleges and prep schools, youth departments, senior groups, business organizations and sociology classes, national Mensa gatherings. In 2002 at the annual American Family Foundation conference on cults he delivered a lecture and wrote a paper on the "Decline of Church Universal and Triumphant" published in the Cultic Studies Journal of ICSA www.icsahome.org. Presented papers twice at Association for Sociology of Religion annual conferences.
Legal: Appearances in court and consultation as an expert witness on behalf of cult victims.
Interventions: Through intervention he has personally helped several hundreds of persons and families impacted by cult activity internationally since 1980.
Personal: Married with three daughters and two granddaughters
He who loves correction loves knowledge,but he who hates reproof is stupid.--Proverbs 12:1