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Scientology/A Question About Scientology Auditing


Dear Laurie,

Thank you for being available to answer questions about Scientology.

I have a question which relates to both Scientology and psychotherapy. [Please note that here I am referring *only* to those who seek to help people deal with life problems *solely through conversation* -- *not* with psychiatrists and the use of psychiatric medicines, which I know Scientology teaches is very harmful and destructive. I don't know what Scientology teaches about such "talk therapy," but I figure there's a chance that it at the very least considers it nonproductive but not harmful.]

The "talk psychotherapists" I've spoken to have explained the theory behind their practice as, in short, the following: People's present self-destructive patterns of behavior or thinking are traceable to traumatic experiences in the past, usually in their childhood but sometimes later than that. These experiences result in their reacting inappropriately to events in their lives which remind them of these past experiences, even if the person does not consciously realize this, in ways which interfere with their present satisfaction in life in whatever way. Mentally reliving these traumatic experiences -- with the accompanying emotions, which they may have suppressed as too painful -- allows them to end the harmful influence which they have on the person's present life.

Frankly this strikes me as, in practice, very similar to Scientology auditing. To be sure, in Scientology the *theory* behind this process is different in many ways. Also, I know that Scientology teaches that people have had past lives, and that traumatic experiences in these past lives might lead to the same problems in the present. But I'm sure that at the very least you can see why I find many similarities between the two. Here I am *not* making a value judgment of any kind about either of these practices -- just pointing out what strikes me as the many similarities between the two. I'd be grateful for your thoughts on this subject.

Many thanks and all best wishes -- david

Talk therapy of certain kinds and Scientology auditing do, in fact, share certain commonalities.

The aim in each case is to, through communication and getting the person to reflect, increase a person's understanding of themselves and the reasons why unwanted thoughts, feelings, emotions exist, so that these can be addressed.

Both seek improvement through the actual mental/cognitive activity of the person themselves, rather than through the brute force approach of changing the person's biology so as to impact their mentality.

Both are founded at least in part on the idea that a person's past, uninspected, is having an influence on the person in the present.

That's probably the extent of the commonalities.

Scientology addresses the person as a spiritual being.  Therapy, depending on the type, usually either ignores or is hostile to this notion.  There are exceptions.

Therapy relies largely on the opinions of the therapist, and often involves the therapist not only sharing his opinion of what is going on with the patient and why, but upon the therapist guiding the patient to arrive at the same or a similar opinion - sometimes telling the patient/client outright, "this is what is wrong with you."  Scientology forbids this entirely.  It is not permitted to share one's thoughts regarding what is going on with the person you are auditing.  Only the person's own opinion regarding himself and his situation/condition is relevant.  Scientology holds that injecting one's own opinion into another's case (we call it "evaluating" for another) is one of the most damaging things you can do to a person, mentally and spiritually.

Scientology - Dianetics in particular, does not look for the person to alter their behaviors or attitudes as a goal of "treatment."  Rather it looks for the person to discover and inspect the actual incidents in their past which underlie unwanted (by themselves - NOT others) conditions, feelings, compulsions, attitudes, etc. in the present.  Having done so, and having allowed the person to express their realization that a certain incident is the basic or earliest one, the the one at the root of the problem, and having let the person lay out their own realizations about the links between that past and this present, the auditor thanks them and leaves it at that.  We usually discover that behaviors and attitudes change (positively) afterward, and indeed that may be what the preclear is seeking.  What the auditor is seeking is that the preclear discover things and come to realizations.  End of story.

Therapy often asks "WHY?" or, "WHAT is at the root of this?" or, "Why do you think you...?" or, "What do you think he/she was trying to tell you/was feeling/was doing there?"  Auditing, as odd as it may sound, NEVER does.  In fact, open-ended "Why" and "What" questions are not permitted. (The limited context "what" of "what did you do?" "what color did you see?"  "what happened there?" etc. is OK).  All auditing asks is, "tell me of a time when..." and "tell me of another time when..." or "tell me of an earlier time when..." or similar - or even, just, "tell me about..."  In other types of auditing, a person my simply be asked, in certain varying but pre-set and standard ways, to consider a certain concept, and to do so, until they have some sort of realization or breakthrough (of whatever kind is relevant to THEM, not the auditor).

Therapy is often grounded in a concept that there are namable, definable, categorizable or typifiable mental and emotional conditions, disorders, abnormalities, even illnesses from which a person may suffer, and that differing therapeutic approaches are more or less appropriate for differing conditions.  Scientology/Dianetics has no such labels.  We have three general approaches, and every preclear at one point or another does each of them.  The first is to seek out and allow the person to deal with, decisively, a particular incident at the root of an unwanted (by the person themselves) condition.  This is Dianetic auditing.  The second is to take up a general area everyone shares in life - say, communication; or problem-solving; or handling change; or the need to be right; and to get the person to examine certain concepts and events from their own life touching on these subjects until they completely free and untroubled on that area.  This is Scientology auditing. The third is to take up an immediate incident, upset, pain or turmoil that just happened or is happening at that point in time, and help the person communicate with and stay aware of what is happening or just happened, until whatever is bothering them about it resolves.  This is called an assist.

The list of differences is too long to cover here, but they are many and they are meaningful.  Yes, there are some similarities.  There are also similarities between alligators and dogs.  They share eyes, teeth, four limbs and a tail, and do well on a meat diet.  But they are not the same species of thing.  These are my immediate thoughts on the subject.


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Laurie Hamilton


I am able to answer questions regarding Scientology practices and procedures, religious philosophy, donations, religious rites, management, administrative and staff matters.


I am a second generation Scientologist whose parents began in Dianetics in 1950 and studied directly with L. Ron Hubbard. I have been personally active in the church for nearly 50 years, have eleven years former staff experience in both technical and administrative areas, and extensive technical and administative training and counseling. I am "clear" and "OT." I come from an extended family of many religions, but my spouse and children are Scientologists, as are my siblings and their spouses, several cousins, nieces, nephews, an aunt, and an uncle. Between us we have had every good and bad experience one might go through in the church at every level.

International Association of Scientologists

Over six thousand hours of Scientology technical and administrative training. Fully qualified/certified for fourteen different organizational job descriptions. Ordained minister. Independent study of numerous religions.

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