Scientology beliefs and practices

From Academic Kids

This article examines the beliefs and practices of Scientology, concentrating on the version taught by the Church of Scientology. For other variants, see Free Zone.

The central tenets of Scientology are based on the belief that a person is an immortal spiritual being (referred to as a thetan) who has a mind and a body, but is neither of these, that he is basically good, and that he is seeking to survive.

Scientology holds that man's survival depends upon himself, and upon his fellows, and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe. L. Ron Hubbard defined the state of "survival" as a series of eight areas of survival urge, which he referred to as the eight dynamics:

  1. The individual
  2. The family and sex
  3. Groups
  4. Mankind
  5. The animal kingdom
  6. The physical universe
  7. The spiritual being and the spiritual world
  8. Infinite reality

Because Scientology teaches that furthering "existence" is the preferred spiritual path, a common phrase used within the organization is: "The greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics."

Critics of Scientology state that this goal is designed to ensure that all actions made by Scientologists benefit the Church of Scientology first and foremost, before any other accomplishments are taken into consideration. Scientology responds that any organization has the right to work for its own survival, and maintains that true survival for the individual depends on a proper balance of all of the dynamics of Life, which each person must decide for themselves.

L. Ron Hubbard's book Dianetics teaches that a person's upsets, limitations and harmful acts can be attributed in part to a portion of his mind of which he is normally unaware, called the reactive mind or "reactive bank". This is claimed to be a portion of the mind which stores exact impressions, meanings and measurable electrical charge (engrams) of past events which occurred while the person was unconscious or otherwise not completely aware. These engrams can be restimulated when the current situation even vaguely matches the contents of the engram, especially when a person is tired, causing irrational emotional responses or psychosomatic illnesses. The aware reasonable portion of a person's mind is referred to as the analytical mind, later claimed by Hubbard to be the spirit itself.

Later writings by Hubbard broadened this view so that engrams (incidents involving physical trauma) are a general description of any entheta (enturbulated spirit) with pain and unconsciousness in the reactive mind. Hubbard proposed that this pain and unconsciousness, when perpetrated by others, has specific manifestations including the Goals Problem Masses (GPMs) (a complex of problems accumulated in the pursuit of various goals across lifetimes that result in a mass of confused mental energies) and implants (significances and pictures that have been forcibly planted in one's mind along with electrical energy, as a means of mind control).


Legal waivers

Recent legal actions involving the Church of Scientology's relationship with its members (see Scientology controversy) have caused the church to publish extensive legal documents that cover the rights granted to its parishioners. It has become standard practice within the church for members to sign lengthy legal contracts and waivers before engaging in Scientology services—a practice that contrasts greatly with many mainstream religious organizations. See the Church of Scientology Wikipedia entry for more details.


The central practice of Scientology, and Dianetics before it, is an activity known as auditing (listening) which Scientologists claim seeks to elevate an adherent to a State of Clear, that being one of freedom from the influences of the reactive mind. The practice is one wherein a counselor called an auditor addresses a series of questions to a preclear, observes and records the preclear's responses, and acknowledges them.

In Dianetics, Hubbard laid out the process of Dianetic reverie as a way of "clearing" the mind of harmful engrams. The earliest forms of Dianetics processing, still practiced today, involved a process reminiscent of Freudian psychoanalysis, with the preclear reclining on a couch in a reflective state called Dianetic reverie while the auditor guided the focus of the reverie from a chair nearby and took notes, predicating his questions and responses on utterances by the preclear and a number of physiological indications. This process was meant to find engrams, and once found, to repeat them over and over in the preclear's mind, thus getting it out of his system. Original Dianetics auditing techniques dealt exclusively with the preclear's current life and focused mainly on physical injuries sustained by him.

Scientology takes the auditing process further, focusing more on mental trauma than on physical injuries and routinely dealing with the preclear's past lives, some "hundreds of millions of years" in the past. (In such Scientology publications as Have You Lived Before This Life, Hubbard himself wrote about past life experiences dating back billions and even trillions of years—even though the estimated age of the universe is believed to be about 13.5 billion years. This apparent contradiction is not a contradiction within the Scientology framework, as Scientology teaches that most Thetans have existed in previous universes before the current one.)

Most later forms of auditing employ a device called the Hubbard Electropsychometer (or E-Meter). This device measures changes in the electrical resistance of the preclear's skin by passing approximately 1/2 volt through a pair of tin-plated tubes much like empty soup cans, attached to the meter by wires and held by the preclear during auditing. These low-potential changes in electrical resistance, known as the galvanic skin response, are believed by Scientologists to be a reliable and precise indication of mental tension in the preclear. Modern meters are custom designed to include the ability to monitor changes in reaction over 1024 different levels of sensitivity, and include circuitry for feeding the various signals to special course training supervisors who can monitor the session of a student auditor, and via microphone can coach a student auditor to delivering a better auditing session without disturbing the person receiving auditing.

Critics of Scientology point to a lack of scientific basis for the E-meter and associated practices. They point out that at the time Hubbard began claiming the E-meter to be an accurate and precise instrument for detecting mental tension, no attempt had been made to scientifically validate this hypothesis by comparing the E-meter readings of individuals under tension to the readings of a control group. Clearly, if no attempt had been made to determine what the difference was between the two readings of the two groups, the E-Meter could hardly be declared an accurate and precise instrument for determining which group a particular subject belonged to—except declared as dogma, or as an article of faith. Critics also argue that the Church of Scientology has a financial reason to tout the E-meter even if it is actually worthless, given that E-Meters cost over $4000, even though they take only 80 minutes to assemble and contain no particularly expensive components.

The church has claimed on the one hand that Scientology is a religion and not science and therefore does not seek scientific support—and on the other, that the E-Meter's scientific validity may be inferred by the similarity between the polygraph, which uses electrical conductivity of the skin to indicate whether the subject is comfortable with questions and answers, and the E-Meter, which measures variations in galvanic response.

The aim of auditing, according to Hubbard, is to enable the preclear to recover awareness and volitional control of the material and charge previously stored in his reactive mind. Critics of Scientology have claimed that an audit is, among other things, a gathering of material for blackmail in the case that a Clear should leave the religion. The Church of Scientology publicly denies this theory. However, it acknowledges that it keeps extensive archives of auditing records for every auditing session managed by the Church. These personal records of all Scientologists are called PC folders ("Preclear folders"), and the Church of Scientology states that these records are kept absolutely confidential. Critics and former members contest this claim. Numerous accounts are given by former members of Scientology, who claim that information from their PC folders are routinely used for purposes of blackmail and personal ruin.

Past lives

Scientologists report "discovering" personal conviction of their past lives through auditing. Scientology claims that through auditing, ultimately anything that has "happened" to one was something the person somehow himself created or allowed and needs to take responsibility for to be free of its burden. This ultimately sums up to the willingness or lack of willingness of a person to confront and be responsible for the situation they find themselves in. Thus Scientologists tend to have a strong feeling to take some responsibility for the world around them especially since they realize they will have to come back to live in the world they leave.

Another aspect of past lives is that with "life times that number like grains of sand on the beach" almost any combination of circumstances may have occurred in the past, with any number or combination of people, and as such many things will repeat to one degree or another. You could have hundreds of lifetimes as a pirate, a housewife, a tribesman, or in a world on the brink of a major war.

What this means is that while a person may be pleased or thrilled or displeased or horrified with a particular past life, ultimately the significance of past lives is not as important as you would think at first. What is more important is releasing the force of impact of events and amnesia about past events that continue to compel one into a specific aberrated behavior or attitude, even when that original incident is long forgotten.

Criticisms have been made of Scientology based on different events from past lives described in various tapes and printed materials, on the basis that these events, as described, are outrageous or unbelievable. It is often assumed that such materials form a core of Scientology belief. In fact, they are usually taken as illustrative examples of the variety of experience a being may go through. As such, to the Scientologist, these events are things that 'may come up' during auditing, and so a professional Auditor should be familiar with them as a matter of course. The analogous example is the psychotherapist who should be familiar with the facts behind the Holocaust and similar events when treating people who have been affected by the events of a war. In this light, the variety of experiences that can be found when dealing with many past lives, on this (and possibly other worlds) can be daunting.

Persons critical of Scientology group this belief as a pseudoscience, stating that the theory seems to be conveniently tailored so that it is not falsifiable by any observations of the real world. They point out that whatever reaction a person has can be ascribed to some previously unknown incident in one of the many past lives.

Therefore, such criticisms strike Scientologists (such as professional auditors) as uninformed at best, and are often viewed as a willfully destructive act on the part of the person making the criticism. After all, in auditing, Scientologists see themselves helping a person recover, bit by bit, his or her own immortality.

Scientology and God

Scientology acknowledges the existence of a Supreme Being (referred to as "the 8th Dynamic" or "the God Dynamic"). Scientologists believe that the perception and worship of God is a personal matter. The Church of Scientology claims to be non-denominational and respect every Scientologist's right to worship their respective God.

The Tech

Scientology bases its teachings on the writings of L. Ron Hubbard. The Church of Scientology claims to be one of the first religious organizations to have the vast majority of its founder's writings and thoughts available both in print, as approved by the author, and in over 6,000 taped lectures. Over a period of more than thirty years, Hubbard developed an enormous body of instructions, rules, and regulations for properly "applying" Scientology. A number of stories can be gleaned by reading in between the lines of these materials which reveal a common human inability in some students to grasp and apply materials, and Hubbard's effort to ensure total comprehension of his work and see that these writings and instructions were fully and correctly applied. As a result of this effort, Hubbard developed what became known as Standard Tech. These writings, which are looked upon as scripture in Scientology, are officially known as "Training and Auditing Technology," although among Scientologists, Hubbard's technical writings are referred to as Standard Tech or simply The Tech.

Scientology teaches that Hubbard's instructions lay out a precise, unalterable course for all Scientologists to follow, without exception. This course is claimed to mark out the only known way out of what Hubbard calls "the physical universe trap." The Tech is believed, by adherents to Scientology, to have a "100% success rate, when applied correctly" and it is often stated within Scientology that the Tech always works. If a Scientologist encounters problems, failures, or other obstacles when attempting to apply the Tech, then these problems are always the fault of the student or practitioner; the Tech is always correct. Because the Tech never fails, according to Scientology, it must always be delivered to Scientologists in its purest form, as close to Hubbard's original intent and delivery as possible. To ensure that the Tech is delivered in this fashion, Hubbard incorporated a number of safeguards into the Tech that prevent the Tech from being "altered" or changed from its original form.

As the developer of the Tech, Hubbard himself is referred to as Source, and his writings are considered the only true source of the Tech.

Scientology language and terms (Scientologese)

In the years of developing and promoting Scientology, Hubbard developed the Technical Dictionary (ISBN 0686308034, ISBN 0884040372), an immense lexicon of literally hundreds of words, terms, and definitions that are used by Scientologists on a regular basis. He redefined many terms of regular English to have entirely different meanings within Scientology. This is one reason why Scientology and Dianetics place a heavy emphasis on "understanding" words. Hubbard even wrote a book entitled How to Use a Dictionary, in which he defined the methods of correcting "misunderstoods" (a Scientology term referring to a "misunderstood word or symbol").

The exclusivity of these terms can make it difficult for readers unfamiliar with Scientology to understand many of Hubbard's statements, such as: "The ability of an individual to assume the beingness, doingness and havingness of each Dynamic is an index to his ability to live" (L. Ron Hubbard, The Conditions of Existence). A quick rendering of that sentence into common English words would be that a "spiritual being is as alive as they are able to be something, to do something, to have something, to operate across the complete spectrum of existence."

Critics of Scientology have accused Hubbard of "loading the language" and using Scientology terms to keep Scientologists from interacting with information sources outside of Scientology (see cult for additional information). Hubbard explained his use of language as follows:

A long term propaganda technique used by socialists (Communists and Nazis alike) is of interest to PR practitioners. I know of no place it is mentioned in PR literature. But the data had verbal circulation in intelligence circles and is in constant current use.
The trick is - Words are redefined to mean something else to the advantage of the propagandist.
Many examples of this exist. They are not natural changes in language. They are propaganda changes, carefully planned and campaigned in order to obtain a public opinion advantage for the group doing the propaganda.
Given enough repetition of the redefinition public opinion can be altered by altering the meaning of a word. The technique is good or bad depending on the ultimate objective of the propagandists. (...)
We find Professor Wundt 1879, being urged by Bismark at the period of German's greatest militarism, trying to get a philosophy that will get his soldiers to kill men. And we find Hegel, the great German Philospher, the idol of supersocialists, stressing that WAR is VITAL to the mental health of people.
Out of this we can redefine modern psychology as a German military system used to condition men for war, and subsidized in American and other universities at the time the government was having trouble with the draft. A reasonable discourse on why they had to push psychology would of course be a way of redefining an already redefined word, psychology (...)
Thus it is necessary to redefine medicine, psychiatry and psychology downward and define Dianetics and Scientology upwards. -- L. Ron Hubbard, Propaganda by Redefinition of Words (Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter, October 5, 1971)

Common Scientology terms include:

  • Theta (Θ)--life force; spirit
  • entheta--enturbulated theta
  • Thetan (Θn)--a spiritual being; similar to the immortal soul in Christianity or Jiva in Hinduism
  • Static--a Thetan in its natural state, prior to having immersed itself in a universe by assuming a point of view; cf. the Hindu concept of Atman in contrast to the dynamics. Compare also to the physics terms of a static (point of rest) and Dynamic (element in action or motion or change)
  • S.P. (Suppressive Person)-- A person whose means of advance is through the squashing or suppressing of others. The definition is asserted to include anyone who actively opposes Scientology.
  • P.T.S. (Potential Trouble Source)--a person who is under the influence of an S.P. and so may become a source of trouble to those around them.
  • reality--The common reality around us, also the group agreement of what is true. As seen in the sentence "My sense of reality is that birds fly and fish swim"
  • (reactive) bank-- the sum of experiences (such as engrams, etc) whose main common component is pain and unconsciousness that influence a Thetan's thinking and behavior
  • Clear--(after the clear key on adding machines) a person whose reactive bank does not insert erroneous data into one's analytical thinking. Usually refers a person who is clear with regard to survival for Self.
  • Clear-- To clarify one's understanding with regard to a particular concept or term or symbol, leading to conceptual understanding of the same. This permits the person to rephrase the term or concept in words other than the original, without loss of the clarity when communicating with someone not educated in the subject. Note that the complexity of the subject may impose other learning curves or barriers to communication.

See also: Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Verbal Tech

One of the more controversial aspects of Scientology is the tendency of its members to avoid answering direct questions about their faith with anything but a quote from L. Ron Hubbard. Observers have noted an ongoing policy in Scientology that forbids actual discussion of the processes of Scientology and how they work. Some observers requesting verbal explanations have become very annoyed with being asked to read original materials.

In Scientology teachings, the Tech can only be delivered to Scientologists in its original written form. The act of discussing Scientology processes in a spoken manner is called "verbal tech," and this is believed to be a blemish upon the working of the Tech. Because the actual discussion of the Tech is not coming from Source (Hubbard himself), it is being diluted and it is no longer 100% pure. As a result, engaging in "verbal tech" is forbidden within Scientology. This disallowing of "verbal tech" prevents Scientologists from discussing or explaining the actual workings of what Scientology is and how "it works," in any form other than the actual study of Source (namely Hubbard's original writings).

Scientology contends that this policy of forbidding "verbal tech" is in order to keep the Tech pure and unadulterated, and to prevent students from passing on their misunderstandings of Hubbard's instructions to others. Again, a number of stories can be gleaned by reading in between the lines of these materials which reveal a common human inability in some students to grasp and apply materials, and Hubbard's effort to ensure total comprehension of his work and ensure that these writings and instructions were fully and correctly applied. The problem student remains a problem for modern systems of education.

"Truth itself must be approached on a gradient"

A key component of Scientology training is the idea that a Scientologist must receive the "truth" (i.e. newer and higher levels of Scientology teaching) only when he or she has completed one level and is ready for the next step. Scientology's beliefs on learning include the concept of a "gradient": breaking down a complicated idea into smaller pieces so that someone who could not grasp the whole idea at once can learn it piece by piece. This is not unique to Scientology; what is unique is the assertion that any piece out of order can actually be mentally (and thus, by Scientology's beliefs, physically) harmful to the would-be learner. The degree of physical harm can range from the "nonoptimum physical reactions" of "feel[ing] squashed [...] feel[ing] bent, sort of spinny, sort of dead" (Basic Study Manual) that come from proceeding past a "misunderstood", to the pneumonia by which (in Hubbard's words) "The [R6] implant is calculated to kill [...] anyone who attempts to solve it."

Under this doctrine, Scientologists must therefore suppress information that is "too advanced" for the information-seeker (for the latter's own good). This explains some notable contradictions in what Scientology professes as its beliefs and practices, such as stating to the public that Scientology is compatible with all other religions when OT III (see "Secret Writings" below) teaches that God and the Devil are merely implants. The Scientologist would say that approaching information on a gradient keeps people from being confused, but the critic would say that it keeps people from being able to evaluate what Scientology is telling them in any context except the one Scientology has planned for them.

The idea of approaching the truth gradually is reflected in a quotation from L. Ron Hubbard that is frequently repeated by Scientologists when asked for an explanation of their beliefs: "What is true, is true for you." This statement can be seen as meaning that to a person (specifically a Scientologist), something is true only when that person experiences it for himself.


Critics claim that the safeguards built into the Tech are designed to secure Hubbard's absolute authority over Scientology, as they effectively prevent Scientologists from actually questioning the policies of Scientology. Hubbard's position as Source ensures that his writings are enforced as the final authority in Scientology, and they can never be questioned; even the act of merely talking about his writings without proper supervision is discouraged, lest the person questioning Hubbard's authorities be labeled P.T.S. (or worse, an S.P.), and required to undergo Scientology ethics.

The system of ethics within Scientology is described by Hubbard as a way of ensuring "the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics." However, critics and former members of Scientology describe the ethics system as a method of social control designed to enforce strict behavior and obedience among Scientologists. The ethics system defines a number of "conditions" defined from lower to higher; the system for moving to these higher conditions involves following the formulas for the appropriate conditions. Ethics also involves the use of security checks, called "sec checks" within the organization, in which the Scientologist will work with an auditor to answer a long series of confessional questions. During these "sec checks" the E-meter is used to determine when a truthful answer is given, in a manner similar to the use of a lie detector.


Scientology also claims that unauthorized distribution of the technology will create a risk of improper application. This, the church contends, is the reason it wants Hubbard's writings to be distributed only by persons legally authorized to do so. In order to keep the technology pure, the Church has pursued both its critics and individual breakaway groups that have practiced Scientology outside the official Church without authorization. The act of applying the technology in a form different from what was originally written by Hubbard is called "squirreling" within Scientology, and is considered a "high crime."

The Bridge

The ultimate goal of Scientology teaching is to reach the highest level of "awareness," or the state of Clear. Hubbard originally claimed that a person who obtained the "state of Clear" would find himself able to use "100%" of his mind, and engage in superhuman feats of mental skill. Scientology still promotes the State of Clear as a goal to be reached, though in a spiritual sense rather than a physical or mental one. Scientology courses are intended to provide a path to the state of Clear. Scientology promotes this as the Bridge to Total Freedom, and it encourages all Scientologists to "move up the Bridge" towards this level of awareness. Moving to higher levels on the Bridge takes precedence over all other duties in Scientology, and all tasks performed by Scientologists are seen as a step towards "moving up the Bridge."

Critics of Scientology note that the cost of "moving up the Bridge" becomes increasingly greater as one proceeds further into Scientology initiation. This cost, which amounts to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time the upper levels are reached, is the source of enormous tension between Scientology, its critics, and Scientologists who eventually leave the organization before obtaining the state of Clear, or after it. (See Church of Scientology for additional details of its costs.)

Upon reaching the state of Clear, a Scientologist's goals are then set to the next level. After becoming Clear, Scientology encourages its adherents to move towards the level of Operating Thetan (OT). It is at this point that the controversy over the "secret" teachings of Scientology becomes prominent to anyone attempting to study its beliefs, whether inside or outside the organization.

Secret writings

The church acknowledges that at the higher levels of initiation (OT levels), teachings are imparted which may be considered "mystical", and potentially harmful to unprepared readers. These teachings are kept secret from members who have not reached these levels. The Scientology secrets are about methods, techniques, skills, and the context which underlies them in order to accomplish a specific spiritual goal.

Certain materials have been made confidential. Some are said to have been made confidential because it was found that they were subject to abuse when they were made freely available, even when students should have known better. Other materials are said require a certain amount of expertise, skill, and understanding before they can be used correctly, and properly applied. Therefore certain prerequisites are in place before these particular materials are made available to the parishoner or student auditor. Some information has been claimed to be confidential, when in fact it is not, and so much information that was not previously available has been published in recent years.

One of the premises of the church of Scientology is that the OT levels are meant to be an empirical subject, something one "discovers for oneself," through processing (auditing).

If a person reads "distorted" versions of the higher level teachings, the church claims, one is likely to question one's own experience when "in session" — adding time to the process in order to sort matter out fully, thereby sabotaging the process. According to the church, it opposes the distribution of the "confidential" levels in order to protect them (and the Scientologists attaining them) from contamination by outside sources.

Due to this strict sequence of initiation and accompanying secrecy, Scientology could be considered a modern mystery religion. Some practitioners familiar with both Scientology and mystery religions dispute this, noting that the revelations of mystery religions typically are of universal truths that cannot be discussed with mere mortal language (in that ordinary speech is inadequate to the task), while the Scientology secrets are about methods, techniques, skills, and the context which underlies them in order to accomplish a specific spiritual goal.

In the Church of Scientology vs. Fishman and Geertz case, former Scientologist Steven Fishman introduced as evidence what appeared to be Hubbard's OT I through OT VIII documents, of which a small portion known as the Xenu story has received much media attention. Xenu, according to the documents, was an evil galactic overlord who oppressed free spirits with science fiction-like tactics in the Earth's distant past (at which time planet Earth was known as Teegeeack.) The Fishman Affidavit became public domain as a court document, and contains confidential course materials sold at a high cost. The church subsequently dropped the case against Fishman and petitioned the court to seal the documents, without formally acknowledging their authenticity.

The Church has used copyright law to sue others who have published portions of these and other documents. Nevertheless, these documents are today widely available on the Net—publicized by critics, scholars of religion, and interested observers.

The Purification Rundown

In addition to his development of the spiritual practices and courses used in Scientology, Hubbard also developed a physical regimen for "purification" that is strongly promoted by the Church of Scientology. Known as the Purification Rundown [1] ( (or simply "the Purif" in Scientologese), this program of physical treatment has resulted in still more controversy for Scientology because of its ties to the religious aspects of Scientology. Hubbard promoted the Purification Rundown as a treatment and cure for a great number of physical ailments ranging from drug addiction to radiation contamination (though many of these claims have been questioned by doctors, scientists, and members of the medical profession). Today, Scientology promotes the Purification Rundown to the public as a "detoxification" program, while it also works with non-religious, Scientology-affiliated groups such as Narconon to offer this program as a treatment for addiction and high levels of stress. Tom Cruise recently supported a fund-raising initiative which collected charitable donations in order to pay for public servants who had been exposed to toxic chemicals during the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York to undergo the purification rundown.

The program consists of a course of high doses of vitamins (Niacin in particular), long periods in a sauna, exercise, and consumption of a blend of vegetable oils. The theory is that toxins, drugs and radiation are stored in body fat, which is released through perspiration. Critics point to the chemical composition of perspiration being primarily water, not fat or oil, to question the theory. It is also disputed that radiation can be stored in fat in the way claimed by Hubbard. The effects of such high doses of vitamins on the body are unknown, but former members have claimed to have suffered liver damage from the treatment.

Scientologists are strongly encouraged to take part in the Purification Rundown, and this controversial physical purification program is seen as a step towards purifying the spirit as well as the body (as Hubbard outlined in his book Clear Body, Clear Mind).

Similarity to Gnosticism

There are similarities between Scientology and Gnosticism. The three-part mind partitioning (body, soul, spirit) is identical to that of some Gnostic teachings. The low regard for matter (by Hubbard called MEST, Matter-Energy-Space-Time, with reference to the modern physics concepts of matter) in contrast to spirit is also mirrored in Gnosticism. Some Gnostics believed that every human had a unique spiritual core, called pneuma (Greek for "spirit" or "ghost"). This is very similar to the thetan concept of Scientology. The esotericism of Scientology is also similar to such beliefs in Gnosticism.

Scientology and psychiatry

Scientology rejects the claim that mental diseases can have biological basis and holds that such diseases are caused exclusively by disturbed thought processes which can be corrected by Scientology counseling. On the other hand, the Church of Scientology has policies which forbid the counseling of mentally ill people or those who have received psychiatric treatment. The organization has been known to refuse assistance for persons suffering from notable mental disorders; for some, it has developed special procedures for "handling" these problems, such as the Introspection Rundown.

Scientology regards psychiatry not only as largely ineffective at providing true improvements in mental health, disastrously misguided in its emphasis on the mind as a purely biological machine, and contributing to a heavy emphasis on drugs for treating an ever-increasing roster of mental health issues, but as the root of many political and social evils. Psychiatrists, non-Scientological psychologists and counselors, 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. [2] (

A Scientology sister organization, the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) has been formed to promote this viewpoint. The CCHR's Web site ( lists various publications put out by the organization that attack the field of psychiatry, including Psychiatric Rape—Betraying Women, Psychiatry: Education's Ruin, Psychiatry: Victimizing the Elderly, and Psychiatry's Betrayal—Creating Racism. The CCHR does not publicize its connection to the Church of Scientology, leading both psychiatrists and critics of the Church to label it a front group. Many psychiatrists disagree with CCHR statements. [3] (

External links

Church sites

Critical sites


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