Stars in their eyes - 2007-06-20
Scientologists use a mixture of rote-learning and what some see as hypnotism techniques. Hubbard denied that Dianetics was hypnotism on the grounds that it psychologically 'wakes people up'. He did, however, concede that auditors had to be careful because some inexperienced practitioners might mistakenly be in a trance.
My auditor is an educated, middle-aged woman with a family. I warm to her. In a small, quiet room at the top of the building there is hardly enough space for a small table, two chairs and a medical couch.
I slump into the comfy chair. She checks I haven't drunk alcohol or taken recreational drugs in the past few days -- a question more relevant to some celebrities than others, I imagine. I am disturbed to learn that the list of banned substances also includes painkillers, although smoking is OK.
Here we go. My eyes need to be closed. She begins the textbook therapy mantra: 'In the future when I utter the word "cancelled", everything I've said to you while you're in the therapy session will be cancelled. It will have no force on you. Understand?'
I'm asked to provide a list of pleasant memories from my life, then painful ones. She wants to know lots about me. Any 'losses'? 'A boyfriend,' I say. 'Do you want to spell his name?' 'Er ... it's quite private,' I reply. 'It is confidential, this,' she replies, explaining that auditors work under a code of conduct.