After twenty years of private practice as a licensed psychotherapist, Bonnie Zieman is recently retired (although she occasionally conducts therapy sessions via Skype for current or former JWs). As both a therapist and a former, born-in Jehovah’s Witness, Bonnie has the skills, knowledge, education and experience which she uses to help survivors of coercive-control groups recover from mind-control, manipulation, deception and abuse. Bonnie is the author of the following books:

Bonnie Zieman is also on the Board of Review of the Open Minds Foundation which is dedicated to exposing and combating all forms of undue influence, coercion, mind-control and manipulation.

Education & Experience:  Bonnie has a Masters of Education degree (M.Ed.), a Graduate Diploma in Education & Training of Adults, and has completed extensive training in both Gestalt and Psychosynthesis therapies. She has also completed both levels of training in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) therapy, and in Psychotraumatology and Crisis Intervention for Post-Traumatic Stress. Bonnie is a multi-disciplinary  psychotherapist using a variety of approaches, such as Existential, Humanist, Cognitive/Behavioral, Psychodynamic, EMDR, EFT and Mindfulness in her work with clients. Bonnie brings this knowledge, training and experience to her writing on healing from the after-effects of being in and then leaving high-control groups.

13 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Bonnie – I found your website very informative! I work for production company called Leftfield Entertainment and we are working on a compelling new docu-series looking to shine a light on the dangers of cults and organizations that encourage cult-like behavior. We’re looking for therapists, psychologists and counselors who have experience treating young adult survivors of these groups. I’d love to tell you more about the project and see if you might be interested yourself or know of people that might be interested. Feel free to contact me at molly(dot)tom(at)leftfieldpictures(dot)com. Thanks in advance! Best, Molly

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bonnie…I happened to stumble across your books on Amazon and ordered them. Anxious to get them tomorrow and start “healing”. Born and raised as a JW and disfellowshipped 6 years ago has made me a wreak. Divorced of a 18 yr marriage with 3 children. 2 daughters are baptized and have had nothing to do with me the past 6 yrs. I get my son every other week(per divorce), Judge gave ex custody of all 3 as the religion provided a more stable enviornment for the kids. It devasted me. All family and friends i’ve ever known..gone. Remarried a wonderful man last year. Things are great but the emotional effect leaving the religion has me a mess. Glad i found your books and am looking forward to the healing & moving forward process. Thanks again!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Tamara. You have really been put through a terrible ordeal by an organization that has no qualms about tearing families apart. While no book can eliminate the pain of being ostracized by your children, I feel confident that you will acquire tools that will help you manage the emotional challenges and pain you face. Wish you all the best!


  3. I can not express enough gratitude for sharing your story. The largest residual effect of leaving the JW cult is isolation and a lack of belonging. When I left, the internet was in it’s developing stages, and I spent years re-building without a community to commiserate and heal with. When I discovered your books, I re-visited my trauma, hearing your story. You confirmed so many suspicions regarding illness, repression, emotional abuse, etc. that I always knew, but couldn’t put into certain terms. We need each other, and voices like yours, to heal. Thank you so much Bonnie.


    • Margo – You are SO welcome. Warms my heart to hear that my books have affirmed what you already knew about the devastating effects of all the deception, betrayal and coercion we experienced in a cult. And, yes, it is wonderful to have access to an ever-growing, worldwide community of cult survivors. Thank you for this encouraging comment!


  4. Bonnie,
    My wife and I just took placement of 3 foster siblings that we intend to adopt. All 3 were in separate foster homes. The 8 year old girl was in the home of a JW for approximately 1 year. She was instructed to ask us not to take away 3 JW books that were included with her possessions. We knew that it wasn’t the time to remove them. Are there are signs we should watch for? Would an 8 year old girl really see a difference between JW and church?


    • Hi Richard,
      My guess is that, for now, she may have an emotional attachment to the books – but probably not to the contents (dogma) of the books. New people, including children, who attend the JW meetings are greeted with what is called “love-bombing” and she may have felt more acceptance and ‘love’ in that organization that she had ever experienced in her little life. I would not make a big issue about the books as you indicate you are already aware. I would just make sure she feels loved and accepted and forms a bond with you and your family which will ultimately take precedence over previous, briefly formed attachments and loyalties. As well, I would be careful about JWs trying to insinuate their way into her new life with you and your family. All the best to you and your growing family!


  5. I’ve had many years of experience in a religious group colloquially known as the 2 X2s, the Friends or the Truth. I wondered if you’re familiar with the group? If so, how would you suggest helping a former member of this group?

    Please advise – many thanks,


    • Hi Cory,
      No, I’m not familiar with the group. Since I know nothing about the person or the group or the circumstances, there is not much I can say here. I would recommend they read my book, “The Challenge to Heal After Leaving A High-Control Group”. There is a lot of good information in it.


    • Tiffany – I’m sorry I am not acquainted with any psychologists in your area. You can still have a great result working with any experienced psychologist – especially if you share my new book, “Cracking the Cult Code for Therapists: What Every Cult Victim Wants Their Therapist to Know” with the psychologist.


  6. Bonnie is this book Cracking the Cult Code for Therapist helpful for counselors working with clients who are still actively practicing as a Jehovah Witness?


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