Definitions

dope off

Scientology and hypnosis

The Church of Scientology officially denies that it uses hypnosis as part of its beliefs and practices. It has nonetheless been subject throughout its history to accusations that it covertly uses hypnosis to gain control over its members.

Hubbard's experience with hypnosis

Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was known to his associates in the late 1940s as a talented hypnotist. During this period, he worked in Hollywood posing as a swami. The Church says that Hubbard's experience with hypnosis led him to create Dianetics as an alternative means to solve man's problems.

Research claims of hypnosis in Scientology

Some researchers believe that Scientology uses a form of what is called authoritative hypnosis. In much of his Scientology and Dianetics writings, Hubbard often redefined common words and invented new words. According to The Anderson Report, Hubbard has done this with hypnotic phenomena also. It is also believed that Hubbard has attributed spiritual significance to the results of the hypnosis. Among the terms that Hubbard has has used for documented stages of unconsciousness experiences in hypnosis are:

  • anaten
  • boil-off
  • dope-off
  • mental image pictures (hypnotic hallucinations)
  • exteriorization (Dissociation)

Official COS Statements on Hypnosis

The Church of Scientology's official position on hypnosis is that it is a dangerous and undesirable practice, along with psychiatry. Whereas hypnotism's goal is to place a person in "a state of lessened awareness (i.e. trance)", Scientology's stated goal is to put people into the opposite state - one of higher awareness.

Controversy

Margery Wakefield, in her book Understanding Scientology, noted the hypnotic nature of the extremely repetitive questioning done during drills in Scientology auditing. These drills are sometimes done for several hours at a time, "until the preclear can do it without delay, without protest, without apathy, but with cheerfulness."

In his book The Creation of Human Ability, Hubbard denied the hypnotic nature of the processes and drills. He stated: "(They) induce no trances. People who think so simply don't know much about hypnotism."

A 2005 article in the Miami Herald quoted Scientology critic David Touretzky as saying "It's very clear that what they're doing is putting people into a light trance". This article also included comments from a man named Peter Alexander who said that after spending years undergoing the "hypnotic repetition" of Scientology, they began training him to communicate with "dead space aliens called Body Thetans."

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