Pat and Heidi Knapp – Becoming Free

Pat Knapp of Becoming Free

Patrick J. Knapp, MA, PhD, ChB. Pat’s initial interest in cult recovery stems from his own involvement in an aberrant bible-based group (1970-1984). His recovery came as a result of individual and marriage counseling, in addition to several years of work in and facilitating support groups for former cult members and their loved ones. His MA philosophy of religion thesis was titled: “The Place of Mind-Control in the Cult Recovery Process” (Knapp, 2000). For over 25 years he formally mentored Denver Seminary students for spiritual formation. He has completed nearly 100 semester hours in Marriage and Family Counseling (Professional Track) at Gordon-Conwell in Charlotte NC and earned a PhD in Pastoral Psychology at Graduate Theological Foundation (GTF).

Pat and his spouse, Heidi, co-direct Becoming Free, LLC ( This organization is committed to facilitating compassionate, safe relational havens and educational support for those who have been spiritually abused; assisting people to process harmful spiritual experiences for improved insight and emotional healing.He recently contributed chapter 13 in Cult Recovery: A Clinician’s Guide to working with former members and families (International Cultic Studies, 2017). This chapter is on developing support groups from a faith-based perspective for those affected by religiously abusive environments. He is currently a life coach working with those affected by religious abuse and drafting a book manuscript for publication which examines various models of cult recovery and defends a family systems and attachment perspective, informed by a Christian worldview. Pat and Heidi can be reached at or 720-227-8695.

Heidi Knapp of Becoming Free

Heidi I. Knapp is a Certified Life-Coach in stress management, recovery coaching and hope coaching through life crisis situations. Heidi is currently pursuing a Colorado Addictions Counseling license (CAC ll). Her topics of study have included; Spiritual Abuse, Codependency, Healthy Boundaries for personal relationships, Stress Management and Skills for coping through crisis. She co-directs Becoming Free alongside her husband Pat with whom she co-facilitates support and recovery groups for those who have experienced spiritual abuse. Heidi contributes to the educational process of writing curriculum for these support and recovery groups. She has had personal experience with three different aberrant Christian groups. Heidi has spent over 20 years of education on recovery issues. She is a member of the International Cultic Studies Association (, The American Association of Christian Counselors (, and The International Christian Coaching Association ( Additionally, she has previously coordinated and led support groups for parents of children with special needs.  Phone: (720) 227-8695 Website:

Understanding Religious Abuse and Recovery: Discovering Essential Principles for Hope and Healing
Understanding Religious Abuse and Recovery: Discovering Essential Principles for Hope and Healing

Currently there are at least four major, identifiable perspectives on how people best understand and recover from religious abuse.  These basic theoretical viewpoints are: (a) a thought-reform or mind-control perspective, (b) a deliberative or Conversionist conceptualization, (c) a psychosocial needs-based perspective and finally (d) a dynamic-systems approach.  Both secular and faith-based (Christian) adherents can be variously identified in each of these perspectives.  All these viewpoints have various strengths and limitations.  Each is helpful to the extent possible, given the limitations of its assumptions.  A larger contextual approach is helpful to better understand involvement in and recovery from religiously abusive environments.

This book integrates features from various conceptual frameworks and suggests essential principles necessary for recovery from such abuse in a fifth perspective SECURE. The tentative release date is late March or April of 2021. Purchasing sources are yet to be determined.  The book will be approximately 200 pages.  For more on this book see:



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