Tag Archives: client-centered therapy

Congruence

Excerpt from upcoming book Clear and Beyond:

The fundamental two-way communication process that all scientology methodology derives its workability from existed before L. Ron Hubbard ever wrote a word on the subject of the mind.  All of its components were developed, far beyond the degree of sophistication that scientology ever treated them, while Hubbard was still engaged in black magik rituals in Pasadena.  They were perhaps best explained and demonstrated in Rogerian client-centered therapy.  It would behoove scientologists to study of it.  The best place to start would be On Becoming a Person by Carl R. Rogers (Houghton Mifflin, 1961).

What made Hubbard popular initially with publication of Dianetics was his simplifying and codifying critical principles of client-centered therapy thus potentially opening the process of self-actualization to far more people.   Hubbard himself has acknowledged that Dianetics’ fad-like initial appeal rested largely on the promise of taking therapy out of the hands of professionals and putting it into the living rooms of lay people.  Much of that particular appeal was lost as dianetics and its progeny scientology became more mass-production oriented, expensive, exclusive, and cult-like.  Not surprisingly, those negative developments can be traced to dianetics’ and scientology’s attempts to short-cut vital client-centered therapy principles in the first place.

The more failure in producing a confident, independent-minded, self-determined client, the more Hubbard introduced personality control mechanisms.  That is probably the most cardinal of sins imaginable in actual client-centered philosophy.  With pressure to deliver on dianetics’ original promises of immediate and permanent results, the training of practitioners became an assembly-line like activity.  On the one hand that helped to thoroughly crash train some workable skills, while on the other hand it omitted a more contemplative, intellectual appreciation for the agencies at work that actually create a desired effect and the responsibilities that go with such practice.

For example, for all the effectiveness of the training regimens instituted to teach the skills of counselor communication in scientology, perhaps the most important client-centered counseling ability was not only omitted but the opposite was trained in.  That is congruence.  Congruence is the term Rogers uses to describe the counselor’s natural ability to fully and comfortably be himself without imposing himself upon the client.  Congruence is being oneself as a person and not attempting to conceal it by creation of a façade, even a null one as trained in by scientology.  By establishing congruence the client has the security of the sense of knowing exactly where the counselor stands at any given moment.  Without congruence he does not.  That is critical in establishing the conditions necessary for self-actualization.

In contrast, scientology drills congruence out of a counselor to the point he can become a blank personality or a synthetic one.  Scientologists are even shown films depicting how they should ‘act’ (the ‘beingness’ they are expected to assume) as an auditor.   That is in keeping with its teaching that the way to achieve something is as simple as be, do, have.  That is, figure out the personality traits of someone who has what you want, then act them out as you do as he or she does, and before you know it you will have the fruits you sought.  Sincerity and genuineness (read congruence) are not included in the equation.   Certainly there have been mavericks within scientology who have had the courage or sense to be themselves as counselors.  And their results reflected that.  But, every single one of them was eventually caught up with and either expelled from the ranks or converted into a play-acting automaton by scientology’s policing arms.  This presages later chapters where we analyze in more depth the manifold ways in which scientology creates conforming, compliant minds.

Clear and Beyond

The lower level scientology program up to the state of Clear is a directed form of client-centered psychotherapy.  One doctor fully trained in both client-centered therapy and scientology has astutely written that ‘directed client-centered therapy’ is an apparent oxymoron.  That may in fact be a critical entry point for the bipolar quality that seems embedded throughout scientology.  Nonetheless, the description of the end product of the scientology lower levels is nearly identical to that described as the self-actualization end product of client-centered therapy.

When a person reaches the Clear state – resembling common notions of self-actualization – he is indoctrinated into the secrets of the universe.  Fully grasping those secrets requires the adoption of a form of multiple personality disorder.  Incidentally, and not the impetus for this observation, modern mental health recognizes that certain psychotherapeutic practices can serve as a causation factor for mpd. Scientology secrets inform the individual that in fact he is not an individual at all.  Instead he is a ‘composite being’, consisting of a potential infinity of separate, distinct individuals.   Each individual member of the composite has quadrillions of years of its own experiential history that it brings to the dizzy equation.   Extraordinary, and expensive to the seeker, measures are employed to ensure the scientologist believes this universe view with utter certitude. For several tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars the advanced scientologist is invited to address and release each of his or her parasite personalities.  The process entails hundreds or thousands of individual sessions.  The process takes many years.  The individual completes this penultimate scientology advanced level when there are apparently no more personalities left but his own.

The scientologist then pays another ten to twenty thousand dollars for the privilege of determining which of the lifetimes of those now allegedly departed parasite personalities he mistook for his own.  That is what L. Ron Hubbard left behind as his legacy.

However, after completing that final scientology level himself Hubbard went back to chasing down more of what he apparently found to be an endless hoard of demonic, parasitic personalities that he continued to harbor.  Frustrated, he attempted to finally rid himself of the demons in one fell swoop and kill himself in the bargain through the application of electric shock.  He dismally failed in the assisted attempt on his own life.  Whether or not that attempt was the cause, at about the same time as his suicide mission Hubbard sustained a debilitating stroke.  He was reduced to asking others whether they could hunt down his own parasitic demons personalities for him. (see Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior)

Since Hubbard’s 1986 death scientology authorities have taken to having advanced members who have completed the full scientology program but who are still unsatisfied re-do the entire scientology program from the bottom up.  The believer is given to understand that the source of his dissatisfaction is some misapplication of scientology along the way.

For the dedicated member of this monotheistic religion that repeatedly promotes that when in doubt one should ‘do as Ron (L. Ron Hubbard) would do’, there should be little surprise that often one does not experience a happy ending.

Ability

Related posts:

What We Do: Part 1

Graduating Scientology (What We Do: Part Two)

What We Do: Part Three

Ability

In my estimation one of L. Ron Hubbard’s most important contributions to spiritual psychotherapy was his guided approach to witnessing.  The Scientology Grades were for the most part developed in Ron’s attempt to build a smoother, more sure-fire route to ‘Clear’, which he defined as the ‘unrepressed, self-determined’ state of being that is not continuing to unwittingly create his or her own mental barriers.  Engram running of the early fifties was a grinding, messy affair.  Notwithstanding ample claims otherwise in Scientology publications and lectures, the results were inconsistent and many times catastrophic.  Fifteen years of experimentation and research led to the introduction of the Grade Chart.  It was the culmination of years of research on how to achieve ‘Clear’ more rapidly and certainly than with the uncertain, hit-and-miss Dianetics engram running method.

As Ron developed each Scientology grade, along the line he claimed that each, individually, was the answer to attaining Clear, quite independent of one another.  For example, Grade 0 is the Communication grade.   The book that serves as the backbone of Grade 0 technology – and the auditing (communication) process itself – is called Dianetics 55!   The book explains the entire universe within the sole construct of communication.   It posits that if one were perfectly ‘cleared’ on the subject of communication one would have no ‘case’ (the cumulative aberration of an individual) and thus would not only be Clear, but also OT (Operating Thetan, later ‘higher’ postulated state of being).

It is the same for Grade 1 (problems), Grade 2 (hostilities and sufferings), Grade 3 (change), and Grade 4 (fixed conditions and ability to do new things).   The statement of those goals, intentions, and results at each Grade were memorialized in his lectures along the way.  And at every level you can find Ron postulating – in fact, stating as factual certainty in his own inimitable style – that that grade is the answer to Clear and beyond.

During much of that research period Ron included a caveat about each of those levels being the answer in and of itself.  That is, that if an auditor were addressing the recipient-client from the perspective and with the intention of improving ability his postulated Clear and beyond could and would occur.  Addressing ability was starkly in contrast to the approach in Dianetics, which attacked disabilities.   This is well covered in the Ability Congress lectures.  There, Ron pronounces as ‘law’ that if an auditor approaches a client with the attitude of improving ability, he will get more ability. If he focuses on addressing disability, he will cause more disability.

As was most often the case in the history of Dianetics and Scientology research, the survival considerations of fighting enemies and having the wherewithal to do so and carry on affected the ability or willingness to test out the hypotheses and claims Ron made along the way.  It was a fast-moving train constantly receiving and firing volleys, while attempting to lay ever-more instant and consistent track.  Critics of Scientology and Hubbard will give more nefarious, ill-intentioned reasons for that omission of testing.  The reason why is of little import, because regardless of causation, the fact remains.

Along the way, the once stable foundation of the priority of addressing ability as opposed to disability was lost.  I have found through 35 years of practice that this loss was fatal.  Focusing on disability results in a never-ending ‘bridge’ requiring cult-like devotion and ultimately creating regression.  Focusing on ability brings greater ability and determinism.   There is one thing that perhaps best distinguishes how we practice from others we are aware of.  Our first stable foundation is that we audit and train toward ability.