A Dangerous War on Psychiatry

Article excerpt

Tom Cruise denounced psychiatry as a 'pseudo science' this week when questioned by the American NBC-TV host Matt Lauer about his stance against anti-depressant drugs. The actor had criticised Brooke Shields for taking drugs for post-natal depression, which in turn has drawn a rebuke from the American Psychiatric Association. In response to Cruise's comments, it stated that: 'It was irresponsible for Mr Cruise to use his movie publicity tour to promote his own ideological views.'

The Association, which represents more than 36,000 physicians specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, challenged Cruise's assertion that psychiatry lacks scientific merit. 'Rigorous, published, peer-reviewed research clearly demonstrates that treatment [of mental illness] works,' they asserted.

Cruise's comments come as no surprise to many psychiatrists, not because much of his recent behaviour has been found so strange by the press, but more because it is widely reported he is a follower of the Church of Scientology, which is virulently against psychiatry. The 'war' against psychiatry was integral to the mission of the founder of Scientology, Ron Hubbard, since his first book, Dianetics, in 1950, and continues to this day. Hubbard indicated as far back as the 1960s that one of the key enemies of Scientology was the profession of psychiatry. This small but internationally connected group, Hubbard claimed, was behind the 'lies and slander' that both the press and government agencies received about Scientology.

But Hubbard went further and argued that psychiatry was not just a threat to Scientology but was a vehicle to undermine and destroy the West through purveying techniques like electric shocks and brain operations. Hubbard believed that psychiatrists had sought to obtain power by becoming the contemporary 'confessors' and counsellors of not just the ordinary person but also the politically powerful.

Psychiatrists took on the classic characteristics of evil in a cartoon printed in the first International Edition of Scientology's publication, Freedom, where a front-page drawing depicted eight psychiatrists as horned, goateed, tailed, and cloven-hoofed devils injecting 'patients' with drugs, and performing electric shock and lobotomies. Since psychiatry is Scientology's alleged cosmic enemy, his followers want to see the profession destroyed, and its functions in society replaced by Scientology. …