Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The War on Psychiatry

Psychiatry is a profession, like any other, that is not without its flaws. It can be fairly argued that many doctors have proven themselves to be overly-eager to prescribe medications as a band-aid alternative to long-term therapy. It cannot, however, be denied that the profession in general has been an enormous help to thousands of people suffering from emotional and mental disorders that cannot be treated by any other type of medicine.

Because of this, it makes perfect sense that the Church of Scientology would object to its practice. They don't want people with psychological disorders such as depression to find the help they need because it is precisely these types of people that are their prey. You'll note a number of the questions in their "personality test" ask the respondant if they often feel helpless, lonely, or experience a general sense of not having sufficient control over their life. Most of us are searching for answers in our complicated lives; Scientology proports to have them - for a price.

I think it's a terrible mistake to assume that the only people that are netted by dangerous cults or marketing schemes are the gullible and less-than-intelligent. Cults recruit from legions of emotionally weak or recently traumatized individuals. We all have moments in our lives where we ourselves suffer these weaknesses. Widows, parents with sick children and otherwise desperate people are targeted and promised cures or solutions. Anybody can fall victim without the proper support from their friends and families during these times of crisis. Believe that you can never be duped yourself is one of the surest ways that you will be.

But back to psychiatry, and more specifically, Tom Cruise's recent claims that he "understands" the profession and its history (where Matt Lauer does not; apparently Cruise took the time to research everything Lauer has ever studied or learned in his life before meeting for the interview). Cruise may "understand" psychiatry, but only as it has been taught to him by Scientology, which has never made its opposition to its practice a secret and therefore can hardly be relied upon as a objective source of information. Chances are, every word he's read has emphasized the negative, under-reported the positive and, knowing Scientology, flat out lied or made things up as it suited them. Cruise no more understands the history of psychiatry than a person who has read a handful of Greenpeace flyers can claim they understand the function of the ecosystem of an Amazonian rain forest. His knowledge is false and his public refusal to consider the possibility that a lot of people are actually helped by psychiatry dangerous, considering his widespread fame.

At least he cares about us. Every last one of us.


Blogger HappyClam said...

I believe the Scientology antipathy towards psychiatrists comes from the Xenu story, where psychiatrists were allies of Xenu in the liquidation of the excess population of the Galactic Confederation. I always thought that detail came from some bad experience L. Ron had with the profession of psychiatry long ago.

6:45 AM  

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