"Psychologists act against Dianetics"
By Lucy Freeman
September 9, 1950
Psychological Association today called on
psychologists, "in the public interest," not to use in therapy the
techniques "peculiar" to a new approach in mental health called
Dianetics. It is outlined in a book of the same name.
The action was taken in a resolution adopted by the Council of
Representatives, governing body of the association, at its closing
The association stated that "in view of the
generalizations and claims regarding psychology and psychotherapy made
by L. Ron Hubbard in his recent book "Dianetics," the American
Psychological Association adopts the following resolution:
"'While suspending judgment concerning the eventual validity of the
claims made by the author of "Dianetics," the association calls
attention to the fact that these claims are not supported by empirical
evidence of the sort required for the establishment of scientific
generalizations. In the public interest, the association, in the
absence of such evidence, recommends to its members that the use of
the techniques peculiar to Dianetics be limited to scientific
investigations designed to test the validity of its claims.'."
The book, now a best-seller since its publication several months
ago, has been the subject of discussion in psychological and
psychiatric circles. The psychologists represent the first scientific
group to take official action against it and did so only after long
In explaining the action of the council, Dr. E. Lowell Kelly, a
member of it and of the board of directors, said, "what we have here
is a man who claims he has discovered an exact science of the mind and
developed a technique of therapy which goes far beyond that known to
psychology, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis."
He described the technique advanced in the book as "as a
hodge-podge of accepted therapeutic techniques with new names."
One of the main objections to the book made by psychologists is its
contention that anyone, having read it, may practice therapy
successfully without danger to the patient. There is no evidence in
support of this view and "considerable evidence against it," Dr.
Mr. Hubbard is described by his publishers as "a mathematician and
theoretical philosopher." The book is titled "Dianetics, the Modern
Science of Mental Health, a Handbook of Dianetic Thereapy." The
preface states that the author has discovered a technique "which will
invariably cure all psychosomatic ills and human aberrations."
In another recommendation, the council "strongly urged" the 8,000
members of the association, as individuals, to offer "tangible
support, in all possible ways, financial and otherwise, to their
collegues whose connections with the University of California at
Berkeley have been severed by recent action of the Regents."
In New York, neither Mr. Hubbard nor a spokesman for his publisher
could be reached last night for comment