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Scientology is publicly, and often vehemently, opposed to psychiatry and psychology and offers itself as an alternative to psychiatry, which Scientologists believe to be a barbaric and corrupt profession. [1] . According to the Church of Scientology, this opposition is focused on psychiatry's practices:

What the Church opposes are brutal, inhumane psychiatric treatments. It does so for three principal reasons: 1) procedures such as electro-shock, drugs and lobotomy injure, maim and destroy people in the guise of help; 2) psychiatry is not a science and has no proven methods to justify the billions of dollars of government funds that are poured into it; and 3) psychiatric theories that man is a mere animal have been used to rationalize, for example, the wholesale slaughter of human beings in World Wars I and II. [2]

Hubbard and psychiatry Edit

L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology's founder, was critical of psychiatry's citation of physical causes for mental disorders, for instance chemical imbalances in the brain. He regarded psychiatrists as denying human spirituality and peddling fake cures. He was also convinced that psychiatrists were themselves deeply unethical individuals, committing "extortion, mayhem and murder. Our files are full of evidence on them." [3] The Church of Scientology claims there are implications that psychiatry was responsible for World War I [4], the rise of Hitler and Stalin [5], the decline in education standards in the United States [6], the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo [7], and the September 11th attacks [8].

This theme also appears in some of Hubbard's fictional works. In Hubbard's "dekology" Mission Earth, various characters debate the methods and validity of psychology. In his novel Battlefield Earth, the evil Catrists (a pun on psychiatrists), are described as a group of charlatans claiming to be mental health experts, who rule the alien Psychlo species.

A number of psychiatrists have strongly spoken out against the Church of Scientology. After Hubbard's book, Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health was published, the American Psychological Association advised its members against using Hubbard's techniques with their patients. Hubbard came to believe that psychiatrists were behind a worldwide conspiracy to attack Scientology and create a "world government" run by psychiatrists on behalf of Soviet Russia:

Our enemies are less than twelve men. They are members of the Bank of England and other higher financial circles. They own and control newspaper chains and they, oddly enough, run all the mental health groups in the world that had sprung up ...
Their apparent programme was to use mental health, which is to say psychiatric electric shock and pre-frontal lobotomy, to remove from their path any political dissenters ... These fellows have gotten nearly every government in the world to owe them considerable quantities of money through various chicaneries and they control, of course, income tax, government finance — (Harold) Wilson, for instance, the current Premier of England, is totally involved with these fellows and talks about nothing else actually. (Hubbard, Ron's Journal 67 [9])

Hubbard also decided that psychiatrists were an ancient evil that had been a problem for billions of years. He cast them in the role of assisting Xenu's genocide of 75 million years ago. In a 1982 bulletin entitled "Pain and Sex", Hubbard declares that "pain and sex were the INVENTED TOOLS of degradation", having been devised eons ago by psychiatrists "who have been on the [time] track a long time and are the sole cause of decline in this universe." (Hubbard, HCO Bulletin of 26 August 1982)

Scientology psychiatry kills

Scientologists regularly hold anti-psychiatry demonstrations, which they call "Psychbusts"

The Church of Scientology and psychiatry Edit

The Church of Scientology rejects the claim that what are commonly called "mental illnesses" have a biological basis, holding that such conditions are exclusively mental and spiritual problems which Scientology can correct. The Church of Scientology has policies which, under some conditions, forbid its ministers to counsel the mentally ill or those who have received psychiatric treatment, and has been known to refuse assistance for persons suffering from notable mental disorders. The organization has developed special procedures for handling mental problems in members, such as the Introspection Rundown, which compete with mainstream psychiatric treatment.

Scientology regards psychiatry not only as incapable of providing true improvements in mental health, misguided in its focus on the biological aspects of the mind, and overly zealous in prescribing drugs for treatment of perceived illnesses, but as the root of many political and social evils. Psychiatrists and supporters of psychiatry are derogatorily termed "psychs" in Scientology internal literature. Psychs are generally regarded as suppressive persons and have the same non-person status as critics of the Church. [10]

It must be noted however that Scientology's position is quite different to that of other critics of modern psychiatry, such as Thomas Szasz, in spite of the fact that it is said he co-founded the Citizens Commission on Human Rights with Scientology (see below). A number of critics and critical groups have issued statements that they are distinct from Scientology in response to being labelled as Scientology front groups. The Antipsychiatry Coalition states:

"No Scientologists, please: Volunteers will be asked for assurance they are not affiliated with the "Church" of Scientology or its Citizen's Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), which have publicized the harm done by psychiatry but which we want no affiliation with."[11]

The International Association of Scientologists has funded several campaigns against psychiatry. Scientology states that psychiatry must not be trying to eliminate crime, insanity, or war, because the billions of dollars spent on psychiatric research would otherwise have produced positive results; therefore, psychiatry's goal must be something different. [12] This reasoning relies on assumptions that may not be shared by non-Scientologists. Sufferers from mania, for instance, may regard the discovery of drugs that control their symptoms as a positive result of psychiatry; a Scientologist, considering all psychiatric drugs to be harmful, would instead assert that the mania sufferer has become a drug abuser, and that any improvement in his life is illusory.

Scientologists often mention frontal lobotomy and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in their literature on psychiatry, claiming that these practices are barbaric and injurious, if not deadly, to patients. Both therapies were popular in the 1940s and 1950s, when Hubbard would have formed his views on psychiatry. However, lobotomy fell out of vogue in the 1950s with the introduction of Thorazine, and is infrequently practiced by the mainstream psychiatric community; ECT is still used in treatment of severe depressive disorders, but infrequently and in quite a different manner than the 1950's ECT.

Legal waivers Edit

Following legal actions involving the Church of Scientology's relationship with its members (see Scientology controversy) it has become standard practice within the church for members to sign lengthy legal contracts and waivers before engaging in Scientology services. In 2003, a series of media reports examined the legal contracts required by Scientology, which state that, among other things, Scientology followers deny any and all psychiatric care that their doctors may prescribe to them:

"I do not believe in or subscribe to psychiatric labels for individuals. It is my strongly held religious belief that all mental problems are spiritual in nature and that there is no such thing as a mentally incompetent person — only those suffering from spiritual upset of one kind or another dramatized by an individual. I reject all psychiatric labels and intend for this Contract to clearly memorialize my desire to be helped exclusively through religious, spiritual means and not through any form of psychiatric treatment, specifically including involuntary commitment based on so-called lack of competence. Under no circumstances, at any time, do I wish to be denied my right to care from members of my religion to the exclusion of psychiatric care or psychiatric directed care, regardless of what any psychiatrist, medical person, designated member of the state or family member may assert supposedly on my behalf." (Scientology release form for the Introspection Rundown)

Citizens Commission on Human Rights Edit

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), an institution set up by Scientology, also claims that the real nature of psychiatry is that of human rights abuse.


In 1966, Hubbard declared all-out war on psychiatry, telling Scientologists that "We want at least one bad mark on every psychiatrist in England, a murder, an assault, or a rape or more than one." He committed the Church of Scientology to the goal of eradicating psychiatry in 1969, announcing that "Our war has been forced to become 'To take over absolutely the field of mental healing on this planet in all forms.'" [13] Not coincidentally, the Church of Scientology founded the Citizens Commission on Human Rights that same year as its primary vehicle for attacking psychiatry. CCHR still quotes Hubbard's statement that all psychiatrists are criminals: "There is not one institutional psychiatrist alive who, by ordinary criminal law, could not be arraigned and convicted of extortion, mayhem and murder. Our files are full of evidence on them." [14]

CCHR has conducted campaigns against Prozac, against electroconvulsive therapy, against Ritalin (and the existence of ADHD) and against various health legislations.

Scientologists Edit

Also without signing any waivers, Scientologists believe firmly in Hubbard's claims about psychiatrists. Scientologist Lisa McPherson left a psychiatric hospital because of her beliefs in Scientology, and later died in the care of Scientologists.

Tom Cruise, has been extremely vocal in attacking the use of psychiatric medication (MSNBC June 25, 2005). His position has attracted considerable criticism from psychiatrists, physicians, and individuals with mental illnesses (APA, June 27, 2005, NMHA June 27, 2005, Hausman 2005), and been defended and promoted by other Scientologists. [15]

The German Scientologists Thomas Roeder and Volker Kubillus wrote a book on psychiatry and Hitler which has been published by Scientology's Freedom Publications.

Bruce Wiseman from CCHR published the book Psychiatry - The Ultimate Betrayal, also published by Scientology's Freedom Publications.

Space Opera Edit

Main article: Space opera in Scientology doctrine

The Church uses an elaborate pantheon of "Space Opera" mythology in its higher-level Operating Thetan belief systems. Events are told of which allegedly happened billions and even trillions (contradicting mainstream science's current estimated age of the universe) of years ago, in which psychiatry was a tool of oppression used by evil alien civilizations. In a lecture called Aberration and the Fifth Dynamic, Hubbard stated:

"...take a sheet of glass and put it in front of the preclear -- clear, very clear glass -- which is supercooled, preferably about a -100 centigrade. You got that? Supercooled, you know? And then put the preclear right in front of this supercooled sheet of glass and suddenly shove his face into the glass. Now, that's pretty good. I mean, that was developed about five billion years ago by a whole-track psychiatrist ..... The mechanism of brainwashing which I gave you, with supercold mechanisms and so forth, is very well known, was used very extensively in the Maw Confederation of the Sixty-third Galaxy. They had a total psychiatric control of all of their officers and executives, and when they got tired of them they used this specific method of brainwashing." (Hubbard, Aberration and The Sixth Dynamic transcript, catalog #5611C13 15ACC-22) [16]

Counterpositions Edit

Critics of Scientology have pointed out that Hubbard asked in 1947 for psychiatric care, and that the coroner found after his death that Hubbard had been injected with the psychiatric tranquilizer Vistaril.

Mental health care professionals are not concerned that the public will take CCHR materials seriously, because of the organization's connection with the church; however, they argue that these materials can have a harmful impact when quoted without attribution. (Barlas, 1996)

Except for court trials and media publications and public rallys, published materials have received little notice outside of Scientology and CCHR; of reviews available, few are positive. Psychology professor Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi's short review of "Psychiatrists: The Men Behind Hitler" states:

"Scientology has attracted much attention through its propaganda effort against what it calls psychiatry. This has involved great expense and organizational effort, carried out through a variety of fronts. If the book Psychiatrists: The Men Behind Hitler (Roder, Kubillus, & Burwell, 1995) is a representative example, and I believe it is, it proves decisively that the campaign is rooted in total paranoia and pathetic ignorance. Reading this book, and I will urge you not to waste too much time doing it, makes clear that the authors simply have no idea what psychiatry is." (Beit-Hallahmi, 2003)

John Kuzma, University of Minnesota, has this to say about "Psychiatry, the Ultimate Betrayal":

"This book from the Church of Scientology offers their prospective on Psychiatry and Psychology (hint: they aren't huge fans). The book itself is the literary equivalent of a MST3K episode (my favorite 'revelation' - Psychiatrists and Psychologists are responsible for the rise in drug use in America since WW2). But it made me wish I could find a more even-handed and knowledgeable critique on the mental health professions."

The APA's Lynn Schultz-Writsel adds:

"We have not responded in any way, shape or form. There has not been a hue and cry from members to respond. And anyway, the publication speaks for itself." (Barlas, 1996)

References Edit

See alsoEdit

  • CCHR (Citizen's Commission on Human Rights) The Scientology organization dedicated to public exposure of psychiatric abuse.
  • C. H. Rolph, Believe What You Like: What happened between the Scientologists and the National Association for Mental Health (Andre Deutsch, 1973, ISBN 0233963758)

External links Edit

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