What Should I Think About?
The Psychological Impact of Shunning with Dr Heather Ransom

The Psychological Impact of Shunning with Dr Heather Ransom

May 22, 2022

The 'What should I think about..?' podcast goes 'sight & sound' this week on this special edition of the show, with an episode being shown on YouTube for the first time as well as a pure podcast.

Stephen speaks to Dr Heather Ransom, who researches the experience of living in, and leaving a high control group often called a cult. Dr Ransom is a former 'born-in' Jehovah's Witness who left as an adult and now works in academia. She has written two published papers about the effect of disfellowshipping and shunning on the psychology of leavers. Heather first talks about her own life and the process of leaving and then about her work.

Dr Ransom's papers:

Grieving the Living: The Social Death of Former Jehovah’s Witnesses


Life after Social Death: Leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Identity Transition and Recovery


Become a patron for early access and exclusive content for just £1 ($1:50). https://www.patreon.com/whatshouldithinkabout


Having Fun and Healing With Games: Guest Starring Germ

Having Fun and Healing With Games: Guest Starring Germ

May 15, 2022

High control religious groups often discourage games, warning about the 'dangers' of being influenced by Satan or the world. But what about the benefits of playing games and their role in finding community, experiencing a sense of competence and potential benefits around memory and thinking? Germ joins Celine and Stephen this week to talk all things gaming and games. There's also a bit of reminiscing about some of the team's favourite games, with a dash of psychology thrown in and the link between video games and a sense of well-being. 

Become a patron for just £1 per month ($1:50)



Johannes, N., Vuorre, M., & Przybylski, A. K. (2021). Video game play is positively correlated with well-being. Royal Society Open Science8(2), 202049.





Living and dying (rebroadcast from the archive)

Living and dying (rebroadcast from the archive)

May 11, 2022

I (Stephen) had an online conversation recently with a friend who had recently experienced a family loss. We chatted and she suggested that the way we think about death changes after we leave a belief system such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, who preach the possibility of living forever. It got me thinking about an episode Celine and I recorded about a year ago when we had very few listeners about the subject of life and death. I listened to it again and realised how much I had enjoyed the conversation and how much Celine's words had taught me. So we've released it again. It's anything but morbid and I really hope you enjoy it too. 

Ex Jehovah’s Witness Poet and Podcaster Leon Helsby

Ex Jehovah’s Witness Poet and Podcaster Leon Helsby

May 8, 2022

Ex Jehovah's Witness Poet and Podcaster Leon Helsby tells his story of leaving the organization, why he finds poetry so important to him and describes the challenges of being creative within a high control setting. Stay till the end as Leon performs his poem 'An Amnesty'.

Leon has a podcast called 'A Hug From The Moon'. Link below.


Why not become a patron for exclusive and early content. It's only $1:50 https://www.patreon.com/whatshouldithinkabout


Learning Styles and Other Myths

Learning Styles and Other Myths

May 1, 2022

Celine and Stephen get into some pop psychology to see what we know, what we think we know but don't, what we don't know and.... you get the picture.

The importance of learning styles, the power pose, the madness of crowds, attention blindness and diffusion of responsibility and more all feature on today's show.

Become a patron and support the show for just $1:50 per month. https://www.patreon.com/whatshouldithinkabout/posts


Grossman, R., & Salas, E. (2011). The transfer of training: what really matters. International journal of training and development15(2), 103-120.

Reicher, S. (2001). The psychology of crowd dynamics (Vol. 1, pp. 182-208).

Riener, C., & Willingham, D. (2010). The myth of learning styles. Change: The magazine of higher learning42(5), 32-35.


Falling in love with an ex cult member

Falling in love with an ex cult member

April 24, 2022

Today we interview Marcia and Riley (AKA Jexit) about falling in love with someone who was a member of a cult and still in the process of deconstructing, or as ex JWs call it POMI (Physically Out Mentally In).

Riley is an ex Jehovah's Witness You-tuber who talks about his experiences leaving the Group. We've discussed the difficulties of relationships, love and sex for ex members of cults in previous episodes, but today we wanted to look at it from the other perspective. What's it like to meet and date someone who was in a cult? What are the potential difficulties and peculiarities? Stephen spoke to the newly weds on holiday in Paris.

Become a patron for just $1:50 on our single tier to receive exclusive and early access. https://www.patreon.com/whatshouldithinkabout/posts



Fight Club: Cult Reading and Movie Review

Fight Club: Cult Reading and Movie Review

April 17, 2022

This week Celine and Stephen review, and do a cult reading of the 1999 movie, Fight Club, directed by David Fincher and starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter and Meat Loaf. If you haven't seen the film, it's violent but it covers big subjects including masculinity, capitalism and mental illness and importantly for us cult dynamics and coercive control. 

Become a patron for just $1:50 for early access and exclusive content https://www.patreon.com/whatshouldithinkabout/posts


External Links

Fight Club IMDB Page


Cinema Therapy





Making Sense of an Abnormal Normal: Life in the Children of God

Making Sense of an Abnormal Normal: Life in the Children of God

April 10, 2022

Author, Mary Mahoney talks about her 31 years in the Children of God. She tells Celine and Stephen about her life as a young woman, believing she was called by God to missionary service, her travels around the world and her efforts to obey increasingly dark and exploitative demands by the Group. She explains the implications of leader David Berg's bizarre doctrine on the 'law of love', the use of sex to recruit known as 'flirty fishing' and the demands of 'sharing' within the commune. She also discusses the experience of having children and raising them within the group. Mary is a wonderful guest and her story is sometimes difficult to hear but her resilience is truly inspirational. 

Mary's Book, Abnormal Normal, My Life in the Children of God


Mary's Blog on Medium


Become a patron for just £1 ($1:50)


Episode Index




Virtual Worlds

Virtual Worlds

April 6, 2022

As if this world isn't confusing enough, today Celine and Stephen explore virtual worlds and our seemingly unavoidable destiny with them. From Zoom to Second Life, from Virtual Reality to Web 3.0, NFTs, Crypto and even whether we are already living in a simulated reality! On top of all of that Stephen explains what actors named Chris have to do with Non Fungible Tokens! Oh and Virtual Cults..

Become a patron for just £1 ($1:50) https://www.patreon.com/whatshouldithinkabout/posts


Hypnotherapist and EX Jehovah’s Witness, Becky Armstrong-Corbett

Hypnotherapist and EX Jehovah’s Witness, Becky Armstrong-Corbett

April 3, 2022

Becky Armstrong-Corbett is a qualified psychotherapist and solution focused clinical hypnotherapist. Raised as a Jehovah's Witness she was sexually abused by a member of the congregation as a child and has since  worked to raise awareness of neglectful practices within this and other organizations. She contributed to the work of the Inquiry Into Child Sex Abuse in the UK and has appeared on a number of news programmes and media to talk about this important subject. Becky talks to us about this and how she has made a life for herself outside the group becoming a professional psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. Becky also explains what hypnotherapy is and how it works.

Become a Patron - Just a single tier at £1 ($1:50)



Becky's Website



Becky's YouTube Channel



Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App