Do Scientologists Hate Psychiatry Because It's Used In "Deprogramming" Members?

So Tom Cruise’s little spat with Brooke Shield, apparently sparked by his criticism of her use of Paxil, got me wondering why, specifically, Scientologists are so critical of the use of prescription medicines and psychiatric treatment.

See, e.g.:

My speculation is that in the past a lot of people who entered Scientology met with familial resistance that took the form, among other things, of family members trying to force them into psychiatric treatment to rid them of their “delusional” belief in Scientology. (I have an opinion on the validity of Scientology, YMMV, but I’m trying to keep this a GQ).

So: do Scientologists hate “conventional” psychiatric treatments/the mental health “Establishment” more because:

  1. They are commercial/doctrinal “rivals” in the marketplace for mental “clearing” services; or

  2. Psychiatry has been used to treat belief in Scientology as a form of mental disorder, and has been employed in the service of “deprogramming” many individual Scientologists (I admit I’m surmising this, as I don’t have any statistics, but I suspect it’s reasonable to assume that many aggrieved family members have turned to the mental health professions for help in getting relatives to drop Scientology)?

I believe Hubbard had always been against psychiatry, probably not for any rational or devious reason, but because he was nuts.

I think the answer has a few facets to it.

Initially, Hubbard wasn’t so anti-psych. Dianetics has plenty in it that shows the influence of popular Freudian analysis. (Plus a whole lotta other hooey.) The tone of the relationship between Hubbard and psychiatry was set by Hubbard subtitling his book The Modern Science of Mental Health Naturally, many mental health professionals felt moved to voice their opinions about how “scientific” Hubbard’s approach to mental health was – so the relationship quickly became adversarial.

Beyond that, the “shrinks are evil” thing has been very useful for recruiting. Scientology is largely about (on a practical level) basic life skills, with emphasis on getting, holding, and advancing in a job. And serious titheing, of course.

There are huge numbers of people who can be exploited by presenting yourself as “on their side” against people they may harbour resentment against. Even just the paranoids are pretty lucrative. “You’re not crazy – they’re the ones that are crazy. You really have been programmed to do things against your will. We can erase the programming for you and show you the Way To Happiness.” Scientology, as a system, actually works pretty well for motivating people to do the regular day-to-day stuff – even if it is pretty much as an automaton who just exists to pay for course materials.

Similarly, there’s a lot of recruitment through Scientology-run “drug rehab” programs. Vulnerable people.

It’s a turf war.

Dianetics/Scientology and medical-model psychiatry each attempt to explicate “unhealthy” behavior, to outline and identify some kind of pathology that would explain undesirable feelings and behavior patterns and then to provide a (fee-for-service) treatment that would purportedly fix it.

There’s more or less equal evidence for either theory & its accompanying treatment (loosely translated, they’re both full of shit).

Scientology can’t move in on the turf without dislodging psychiatric practice first.


Mmm. Psychopharmacology (Scientology’s main bugbear) stands up to peer-review just a wee bit better than Hubbard’s engram model.

Let’s test it out.

Scientology first:

Now, psychopharmacology:

So if both approaches are equally valid, either these medications don’t offer relief for clinically depressed or schizophrenic people, or everyone who’s read this post now has cancer.

Sorry about that.

The use of the Wheatstone bridge is just a way of allowing the ignorant to seem as if they have some technical knowledge.

I would guess that when Hubbard invented his religion, this was about the level of electrical knowledge that was just on the edge of the ability of most peopel to understand in a very loose way, that in its time it was a term that technical, Scientific type people used.

If someone were to invent some kind of religion today it would use something like DNA tracing, or something that most non-tech types have heard about but don’t actually know any real detail about.

Nowadays, ask any electrical engineer and the Wheatstone bridge would be seen as rather old, almost archaic, although able to illustrate certain principles, for the general public I’ll bet that awareness has changed to even more mysterious ways.

What I’m looking forward to is the new XML treatment. Taken with several cups of JAVA for recurrences of HTML.

Bravo, Larry Mudd.

*&^%$ buttons… and now the rest of my post:

Also, going back to the OP, I was under the impression that mainstream mental-health professionals and behavioral scientists had considered so-called “cult deprogramming” as practiced during the 1980s to be discredited?