, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 437-447
Date: 28 Sep 2006

Psychiatry and Psychology in the Writings of L. Ron Hubbard

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Abstract

Objectives:

Celebrity followers of the Church of Scientology have recently used their public forum to attack the modern practice of mental health. The practice of Scientology is rooted in the religious writings of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. This paper will review the religious writings of L Ron Hubbard to understand Scientology’s position on mental health.

Method:

This paper reviews four of the major religious books written by L Ron Hubbard, in addition to a comprehensive overview of Scientology compiled by Scientology staff.

Results:

Hubbard’s theory of mind borrowed heavily from the earlier writings of Freud, until Hubbard’s psychological theory extended to include a spiritual existence that goes beyond the material world. The goal of Hubbard’s psychology and religion were to optimize the freedom of the individual, and he viewed psychiatry and psychology as inherently anti-spiritual and opposed to personal freedom and self-realization. Ultimately Hubbard presents a world view of potential nuclear world cataclysm, fueled by the geopolitical climate and mental health theories that dominated the mid 20th century.

Conclusions:

Hubbard’s writings mirrored the times in which he lived. His views that mental health practices are inherently anti-religious, freedom-inhibiting, and brain damaging do not reflect the modern-day practices of mental health.

Dr. McCall is presently Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He completed his medical degree and post-graduate psychiatric training at Duke University. He completed a Masters degree in Epidemiology from Wake Forest University. He is board certified in general psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, and sleep disorders medicine. His research interests include depression, electroconvulsive therapy, quality of life, and insomnia. His research has been continuously funded by the National Institute of Mental Health since 1995, and he is author of more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles. He is Editor of the Journal of ECT, Immediate-Past President of the Association for Convulsive Therapy, and a prior Director of the Board of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.