A Doctor's Report on Dianetics

A Doctor's Report on Dianetics: Theory and Therapy is a non-fiction book analyzing Dianetics. The book was authored by physician Joseph Augustus Winter, with an introduction by German Gestalt Therapy research psychiatrist Frederick Perls.

The book was first published in hardcover by the Julian Press Julian Messner, in 1951, and published again in 1987, by Crown Publishing Group. The work was the first book published that was professionally critical of L. Ron Hubbard.[1]

A Doctor's Report on Dianetics
A Doctor's Report on Dianetics
Cover of the first edition
AuthorJoseph A. Winter
CountryUnited States
PublisherJulian Messner
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date
1951, 1987
Media typePrint (Hardcover)

About the author

Joseph Augustus Winter, an American medical doctor and "psychosomatacist",[2] had previously served on the board of directors and as the medical director of L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetic Research Foundation. He also wrote the 1950 original introduction to Hubbard's Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.[3] Winter resigned from the HDRF foundation in October 1950, stating "there was a difference between the ideals inherent within the dianetics hypothesis and the actions of the Foundation".[1][2] He also felt that Dianetic techniques were potentially dangerous if performed without medical training and disapproved of the lack of scientific evidence supporting Hubbard's claims.[1] Prior to their falling out, Winter had stated that the Dianetic technique of auditing had cured his six-year-old son of fears of ghosts and the dark.[2]

Main points

According to a 1951 article in Time magazine, in A Doctor's Report on Dianetics "Winter tries to filter Hubbard's strange mixture and pick out the scraps fit for human consumption".[2] Winter wrote that auditing could be a useful technique for psychiatrists to use during psychoanalysis and agreed with Hubbard's conceptualization of prenatal "engrams" that traumatic memories can be formed and stored during the prenatal stage, but Winter was skeptical about "sperm dreams", stating they were likely imagined and not true memories.[4]

Winter also objected to patients recalling deaths from previous reincarnations, Hubbard's authoritarian attitude and disregard for using the scientific method, and Hubbard's view that anyone could become an auditor without medical training.[1][2][4][5] Winter wrote that Hubbard's techniques sometimes harmed clients,[6] and that he had yet to observe a single "Clear" (Hubbard's term for people with an allegedly "optimum brain" after being cleared of all engrams).[1][6][7] Though Hubbard claimed that a Clear had been obtained after twenty-four hours of therapy, Winter wrote that he never observed an individual reach the state of Clear or display any of the unique abilities Hubbard attributed to a Clear.[7] Winter also believed that some people became psychotic due to their involvement with Dianetics, and he included a case study in the book.[3]

Winter also rebuked Hubbard's "Guk" program, which was a combination of vitamins and glutamic acid that was meant to make Dianetics subjects "run better".[1][2][8]

Critical reception

The Princeton Theological Seminary called it an important new book on psychotherapy, in Pastoral Psychology.[9]

Martin Gardner analyzes the book extensively in Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science.[4] Gardner wrote that the "most revealing" material in A Doctor's Report on Dianetics, were the records of the author's own auditing sessions.[4] Pitirim Sorokin wrote in The Ways and Power of Love that though Winter wrote an enthusiastic introduction to Hubbard's Dianetics, his own book exposed some of Hubbard's more "charlatanish" claims.[6]

The book was also reviewed in The American Journal of Psychology[8] and The American Journal of Psychiatry.[10] In a review of the book in Psychosomatic Medicine,[11] Frank Egloff wrote that Winter did a "relatively good, factual job" and provided a "fairly clear, dispassionate view of dianetics".[11]

The book is referenced in Rodney Stark's The Future of Religion,[12] and in Frank Gerbode's Beyond Psychology.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Atack, Jon (August 19, 1990). A Piece of Blue Sky (PDF). Carol Publishing Group. pp. Chapter 2. ISBN 0-8184-0499-X.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Staff (September 3, 1951). "Departure in Dianetics". Time Magazine. Time Warner.
  3. ^ a b Cooper, Paulette (1971). The Scandal of Scientology. Tower Publications. pp. Chapter 1.
  4. ^ a b c d Gardner, Martin (1957). Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science (PDF). Courier Dover Publications. pp. 274, 275. ISBN 0-486-20394-8.
  5. ^ Staff (November 22, 1951). "A Doctor's Report on Dianetics". The Fredericksburg News.
  6. ^ a b c Sorokin, Pitirim; Stephen Garrard Post (2002). The Ways and Power of Love: Types, Factors, and Techniques of Moral Transformation. Templeton Foundation Press. p. 508. ISBN 1-890151-86-6.
  7. ^ a b Bainbridge, William Sims; Rodney Stark (1980). "Scientology: To Be Perfectly Clear" (PDF). Sociological Analysis. doi:10.2307/3709904. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-28.
  8. ^ a b Marcuse, F. L.; Winter, J. A. (January 1952). "A Doctor's Report on Dianetics by J. A. Winter". The American Journal of Psychology. University of Illinois Press. 65 (1): 154–155. doi:10.2307/1418860. JSTOR 1418860.
  9. ^ Princeton Theological Seminary (1950). Pastoral Psychology. pp. 6, 7. ISSN 0031-2789.
  10. ^ Peck, Robert E. (July 1952). "A Doctor's Report on Dianetics". The American Journal of Psychiatry. 109: 70–71. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.109.1.70-b.
  11. ^ a b Egloff, Frank R. L. "A Doctor's Report on Dianetics - Theory and Therapy" (PDF). Psychosomatic Medicine. 15 (4): 370.
  12. ^ Stark, Rodney; William Sims Bainbridge (January 16, 1986). The Future of Religion. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-05731-9.
  13. ^ Gerbode, Frank A. (August 1995). Beyond Psychology: An Introduction to Metapsychology, 3rd Edition. Institute for Research in Metapsychology. ISBN 1-887927-00-X , ISBN 978-1-887927-00-0.

External links


Dianetics (from Greek dia, meaning "through", and nous, meaning "mind") is a set of ideas and practices regarding the metaphysical relationship between the mind and body created by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Dianetics is practiced by followers of Scientology, the Nation of Islam (as of 2010), and independent Dianeticist groups.

Dianetics divides the mind into three parts: the conscious "analytical mind", the subconscious "reactive mind", and the somatic mind. The goal of Dianetics is to erase the content of the "reactive mind", which Scientologists believe interferes with a person's ethics, awareness, happiness, and sanity. The Dianetics procedure to achieve this erasure is called "auditing". In auditing, the Dianetic auditor asks a series of questions (or commands) and elicits answers to help a person locate and deal with painful experiences of the past, which Scientologists believe to be the content of the "reactive mind".Practitioners of Dianetics believe that "the basic principle of existence is to survive" and that the basic personality of humans is sincere, intelligent, and good. The drive for goodness and survival is distorted and inhibited by aberrations "ranging from simple neuroses to different psychotic states to various kinds of sociopathic behavior patterns." Hubbard developed Dianetics, claiming that it could eradicate these aberrations.When Hubbard formulated Dianetics, he described it as "a mix of Western technology and Oriental philosophy". He said that Dianetics "forms a bridge between" cybernetics and general semantics (a set of ideas about education originated by Alfred Korzybski, which received much attention in the science fiction world in the 1940s)—a claim denied by scholars of General Semantics, including S. I. Hayakawa, who expressed strong criticism of Dianetics as early as 1951. Hubbard claimed that Dianetics could increase intelligence, eliminate unwanted emotions and alleviate a wide range of illnesses he believed to be psychosomatic. Among the conditions purportedly treated were arthritis, allergies, asthma, some coronary difficulties, eye trouble, ulcers, migraine headaches, "sexual deviation" (which for Hubbard included homosexuality), and even death. Hubbard asserted that "memories of painful physical and emotional experiences accumulate in a specific region of the mind, causing illness and mental problems." He taught that "once these experiences have been purged through cathartic procedures he developed, a person can achieve superior health and intelligence." Hubbard also variously defined Dianetics as "a spiritual healing technology" and "an organized science of thought."Dianetics predates Hubbard's classification of Scientology as an "applied religious philosophy". Early in 1951, he expanded his writings to include teachings related to the soul, or "thetan". Dianetics is practiced by several independent Dianetics-only groups not connected with Scientology, and also Free Zone or Independent Scientologists. The Church of Scientology has prosecuted a number of people in court for unauthorized publication of Scientology and Dianetics copyrighted material.

Engram (Dianetics)

An engram, as used in Dianetics and Scientology, is a detailed mental image or memory of a traumatic event from the past that occurred when an individual was partially or fully unconscious. It is considered to be pseudoscientific and is different from the meaning of "engram" in cognitive psychology. According to Dianetics and Scientology, from conception onwards, whenever something painful happens while the "analytic mind" is unconscious, engrams are supposedly being recorded and stored in an area of the mind Scientology calls the "reactive mind".The term engram was coined in 1904 by the German scholar Richard Semon, who defined it as a "stimulus impression" which could be reactivated by the recurrence of "the energetic conditions which ruled at the generation of the engram." L. Ron Hubbard re-used Semon's concept when he published Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health in 1950. He conceived of the engram as a form of "memory trace", an idea which had long existed in medicine. According to physician Joseph Winter, who collaborated in the development of the Dianetics philosophy, Hubbard had taken the term "engram" from a 1936 edition of Dorland's Medical Dictionary, where it was defined as "a lasting mark or trace...In psychology it is the lasting trace left in the psyche by anything that has been experienced psychically; a latent memory picture." Hubbard had originally used the terms "Norn", "comanome" and "impediment" before alighting on "engram" following a suggestion from Winter. Hubbard equates the reactive mind to the engram or reactive memory bank. An engram is described as a “cellular level recording” that includes both physical and emotional pain. Engrams are stored in chains or series of incidents that are similar. Hubbard describes the engram as “a definite and permanent trace left by a stimulus on the protoplasm of a tissue. It is considered a unit group of stimuli impinged solely on the cellular being.”In Dianetics and Scientology doctrine, engrams are believed to originate from painful incidents, which close down the “analytic function,” leaving a person to operate only on the "reactive" level, where everything, including pain, position and location are experienced as “aspects of the unpleasant whole.” This engram is restimulated if the person is reminded of the painful experience days later, causing feelings of guilt or embarrassment – another engram. This cycle is called a "lock" in Scientology terminology.Hubbard's concept of the engram evolved over time. In Dianetics, he wrote that "The word engram, in Dianetics is used in its severely accurate sense as a 'definite and permanent trace left by a stimulus on the protoplasm of a tissue'", which followed fairly closely the original definition in Dorland's. He later repudiated the idea that an engram was a physical cellular trace, redefining his concept as being "a mental image picture of a moment of pain and unconsciousness". According to Hubbard whenever an engram is stimulated it increases in power. Jeff Jacobsen compared auditing for engrams in Scientology to the Freudian psychoanalytic concept of abreaction, equating engrams to the painful subconscious memories that abreaction therapy brings up to the conscious mind. He quoted Nathaniel Thornton, who compared abreaction to confession. Dorthe Refslund Christensen describes engrams in layman’s terms as trauma, a means to explain the long and short term effects of painful experiences. According to Christensen, Hubbard wrote about the dramatization of an engram, where the one who suffered and recorded the pain as an engram relates all sensory perceptions during the time of the painful incident to the incident. These sensory perceptions become “restimulators” that remind the individual of the pain and triggers him or her to re-experience it.Scholar Richard Holloway writes that according to Scientology, engrams are “damaging experiences that happen by accident,” bruises through time implanted on thetans through the course of millions of lives. Sometimes the damage is intentionally inflicted by thetans who desired power over other thetans. Deliberate injuries are called implants in Scientology. Hubbard wrote, “Implants result in all varieties of illness, apathy, degradiation, neurosis and insanity and are the principle causes of these in man.” The Christian idea of heaven is a deceptive implant, Hubbard taught, for there is an infinite series of lives after the first, contrary to the Christian notion of the afterlife.Dianetics became Scientology in 1952 and the concept of clearing engrams remains a central part of the practices of the Church of Scientology.

History of Dianetics

The history of Dianetics possibly begins in the 1920s. Its originator L. Ron Hubbard claimed that his ideas of Dianetics originated in the 1920s and 1930s. By his own account, he spent a great deal of time in the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital's library, where he would have encountered the work of Freud and other psychoanalysts. In April 1950, Hubbard and several others established the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth, New Jersey to coordinate work related for the forthcoming publication. Hubbard first introduced Dianetics to the public in the article Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science published in the May 1950 issue of the magazine Astounding Science Fiction. Hubbard wrote Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health at that time, allegedly completing the 180,000-word book in six weeks.The success of selling Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health brought in a flood of money, which Hubbard used to establish Dianetics foundations in six major American cities. The scientific and medical communities were far less enthusiastic about Dianetics, viewing it with bemusement, concern, or outright derision. Complaints were made against local Dianetics practitioners for allegedly practicing medicine without a license. This eventually prompted Dianetics advocates to disclaim any medicinal benefits in order to avoid regulation.

Hubbard explained the backlash as a response from various entities trying to co-opt Dianetics for their own use. Hubbard blamed the hostile press coverage in particular on a plot by the American Communist Party. In later years, Hubbard decided that the psychiatric profession was the origin of all of the criticism of Dianetics, as he believed it secretly controlled most of the world's governments.By the autumn of 1950, financial problems had developed, and by November 1950, the six Foundations had spent around one million dollars and were more than $200,000 in debt. Disagreements emerged over the direction of the Dianetic Foundation's work, and relations between the board members became strained, with several leaving, even to support causes critical of Dianetics. One example was Harvey Jackins, founder of Re-evaluation Counselling, originally a sort of discrete reworking of Dianetics, which L Ron Hubbard later declared suppressive to Scientology.

In January 1951, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners instituted proceedings against the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth for teaching medicine without a licence. The Foundation closed its doors, causing the proceedings to be vacated, but its creditors began to demand settlement of its outstanding debts. Don Purcell, a millionaire Dianeticist from Wichita, Kansas, offered a brief respite from bankruptcy, but the Foundation's finances failed again in 1952.Because of a sale of assets resulting from the bankruptcy, Hubbard no longer owned the rights to the name "Dianetics", but its philosophical framework still provided the seed for Scientology to grow. Scientologists refer to the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health as "Book One." In 1952, Hubbard published a new set of teachings as "Scientology, a religious philosophy." Scientology did not replace Dianetics but extended it to cover new areas. Where the goal of Dianetics is to rid the individual of his reactive mind engrams, the stated goal of Scientology is to rehabilitate the individual's spiritual nature so that he may reach his full potential.

In 1978, Hubbard released New Era Dianetics (NED), a revised version supposed to produce better results in a shorter period of time. The course consists of 11 rundowns and requires a specifically trained auditor. It is run (processed) exactly like Standard Dianetics (once very widely practiced before the advent of NED) except the pre-clear (parishioner) is encouraged to find the "postulate" he made as a result of the incident. ("Postulate" in Dianetics and Scientology has the meaning of "a conclusion, decision or resolution made by the individual himself; to conclude, decide or resolve a problem or to set a pattern for the future or to nullify a pattern of the past" in contrast to its conventional meanings.)

L. Ron Hubbard

Lafayette Ronald Hubbard ( HUB-ərd; March 13, 1911 – January 24, 1986) was an American author of science fiction and fantasy stories, and the founder of the Church of Scientology. In 1950, Hubbard authored Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and established a series of organizations to promote Dianetics. In 1952, Hubbard lost the rights to Dianetics in bankruptcy proceedings, and he subsequently founded Scientology. Thereafter Hubbard oversaw the growth of the Church of Scientology into a worldwide organization. Hubbard was cited by Smithsonian magazine as one of the 100 most significant Americans of all time.Born in Tilden, Nebraska in 1911, Hubbard spent much of his childhood in Helena, Montana. After his father was posted to the U.S. naval base on Guam, Hubbard traveled to Asia and the South Pacific in the late 1920s. In 1930, Hubbard enrolled at George Washington University to study civil engineering, but dropped out in his second year. He began his career as a prolific writer of pulp fiction stories and married Margaret "Polly" Grubb, who shared his interest in aviation.

Hubbard served briefly in the Marine Corps Reserve and was an officer in the Navy during World War II. He briefly commanded two ships, but was removed from command both times. The last few months of his active service were spent in a hospital, being treated for a duodenal ulcer.During the late 1960s and early 1970s, he spent much of his time at sea on his personal fleet of ships as "Commodore" of the Sea Organization, an elite, paramilitary group of Scientologists. Some ex-members and scholars have described the Sea Org as a totalitarian organization marked by intensive surveillance and a lack of freedom. His expedition came to an end when Britain, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Venezuela all closed their ports to his fleet.

Hubbard returned to the United States in 1975 and went into seclusion in the California desert. In 1978, a trial court in France convicted Hubbard of fraud in absentia. In 1983 Hubbard was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in an international information infiltration and theft project called "Operation Snow White". He spent the remaining years of his life in a luxury motor home on his California property, attended to by a small group of Scientology officials including his physician. In 1986, L. Ron Hubbard died at age 74.The Church of Scientology describes Hubbard in hagiographic terms, and he portrayed himself as a pioneering explorer, world traveler, and nuclear physicist with expertise in a wide range of disciplines, including photography, art, poetry, and philosophy. Though many of Hubbard's autobiographical statements have been found to be fictitious, the Church rejects any suggestion that its account of Hubbard's life is not historical fact. In Scientology publications, he is referred to as "Founder" and "Source" of Scientology and Dianetics.

His critics have characterized Hubbard as a mentally-unstable chronic liar.

Timeline of Scientology

This is a Timeline Of Scientology, particularly its foundation and development by author L. Ron Hubbard.

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