Scientologists vs. psychiatrists. - 2005-06-24
In an interview shown on NBC's Today on June 24, celebrity Scientologist Tom Cruise railed against modern treatments for mental health problems. "I've never agreed with psychiatry, ever," he said. Do all Scientologists have a problem with psychiatry?
Yes. Scientology has its roots in a maverick form of psychological counseling that rejects the principles of modern psychiatry. In 1950, L. Ron Hubbard published Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. (He founded the Church of Scientology a few years later.) The book outlined a philosophy of mental and physical illness and a method for treatment. Hubbard rejected the notion that psychiatry could provide lasting cures for psychological problems and condemned psychiatric treatments he deemed inhumane, like electroconvulsive therapy.
The extent of the feud might stem from the immediate backlash that Hubbard received from mainstream mental health organizations. Dianetics was published in May 1950; by September, the American Psychological Association had advised therapists to avoid it. Not long after, the board of medical examiners in Hubbard's home state of New Jersey pursued legal action against him for practicing phony medicine.