Scientology’s War on Psychiatry

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A recent article on $cientology and psychiatry on Salon.com. And it’s worrisome.

I have no doubt that $cientology is a dangerous cult that only fights psychiatry because they view psychiatry as competition. But having to choose, as the article depicts things, between $cientology and NAMI? That’s like choosing whether to be executed by slow freezing or slow cooking.

Interestingly, the article also mentions the efforts of Narconon, a scientology front group, to promote its pseudoscientific ideas in drug education classes for children. The article does not say that drug education is bad. It says that scientology’s approach to it is bad. Yet when scientology criticizes psychiatry, the impression you get from the article is that all such criticism is the dangerous ravings of cultists.

Take the fact that schizophrenia is represented by scientologists as not just one thing. The article says that this flies in the face of textbooks everywhere. But actually, it doesn’t. Many abnormal psychology textbooks refer to schizophrenia as “the schizophrenias” and make a point of them being more than one thing. I would go further and say that they’re not even all related things, except in the mind of Bleuler, and that this explains why things keep getting moved out of that category with changing opinion in the field. But the article presents this kind of criticism as cultic blather.

It’s a difficult position to be in, because the antipsychiatry movement has never truly been antipsychiatry. It has at various times been overrun by the professional interests of psychoanalytic psychiatrists and scientologists. The rest of us — the ones directly harmed by psychiatry — are obscured by the fame of people like L. Ron Hubbard, R. D. Laing, or Peter Breggin. Those of us who speak out against $cientology as well as psychiatry are not even noticed. I’ve even been urged by a non-$cientologist psych survivor to shut up about $cientology because they’re “our allies” in this. They’re not my allies, nor the allies of a lot of people I know.

But… of course, having been in the system, people like me are just too stupid or crazy to know what we’re talking about. Or we’ve been duped by $cientology, just like disabled people who’ve criticized the ableist aspects of euthanasia have been considered to be duped by the religious right. It couldn’t possibly be — in a lot of people’s minds — that we actually have something legitimate to say. And articles like the Salon article make it that much harder for our voices to be heard over the clash between two equally monstrous institutions.

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods. Crochet or otherwise create constantly and compulsively. Write poetry and paint when I can. Physically and cognitively disabled. Anything you hear in the media or gossip is likely to be oversimplified at best and wildly inaccurate at worst, the only way to get to know me is to actually know me. I'm not really part of any online faction or another, even ones that claim me as a member. The thing in the world most important to me is having love and compassion for other people, although I don't always measure up to my own standards there by a longshot. And individual specific actions and situations and contexts matter a lot more to me than broadly-spoken abstract words and ideas about a topic. My father died a couple years ago and that has changed my life a lot in ways that are still evolving, but I wear a lot of his clothes and hats every day since he died and have shown no sign of stopping soon.

One response »

  1. After reading your post wherein you mention that some people tend to see things as black/white or some spectrum in between, rather than some other color, and then reading this– you’ve helped me clarify my thoughts more– or rather, see a different color on this topic. Thanks.

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