Court decision: Commonwealth may distribute book on Scientology

Munich, Germany
February 17, 2003

Munich. (ddp-bay). The Commonwealth of Bavaria may continue to distribute a current scientific study about the Scientology organization. On Monday, the Bavarian Administrative court rejected a special application from the Scientology sect to stop a publication with the title "Legal and Health Risks in Scientology", as the court reported in Munich. In its basis, the court said there was ample reason to believe that the book could be considered part of an independent scientific undertaking by the authors, and thus was not state information. Besides that, the Commonwealth no longer had an influence in the distribution of the book.

By the same special application, however, the Commonwealth had to stop distributing a short summary of the book which contained certain statements from it about Scientology that mentioned criminality which, in the court's opinion, exceeded the factually bound scope of state information work. It was said that these "apodactic" statements had been included in the short summary without explanatory comment or restriction.

Before the case ended up in the state administrative court, Scientology had tried in vain to stop distribution of the book in the Munich administrative court.

State Interior Secretary Hermann Regensburger (CSU) reacted to the court's decision by saying that the study's findings had merit in the eyes of the court, even if Scientology didn't like it. (court case number Az. 5 CE 02.3212)

Heinrich Kuefner (1), Norbert Nedopil (2), Heinz Schoech (3)
with cooperation from:
Robert Doerr, Stefanie Eiden, Raik Werner

Expert opinion:
Effects and risks of unconventional psycho- and social- techniques

An unofficial English rendition of a short summary from:

(1) IFT, Institut fuer Therapieforschung, Munich
(2) Psychiatrische Klinik der LMU Munich
(3) Institut fuer die gesamten Strafrechtswissenschaften der LMU Munich

Short Summary

1. Introduction and description of parameters

In 1998 a German Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry called "So-Called Sects and Psychogroups" published a report titled, "New religious and ideological communities and psychogroups in the Federal Republic of Germany." In it an attempt was made to compile expert knowledge in the topic. While it presented extensive coverage and opinions, it also made apparent a deficiency of empirical knowledge gained through scientific method. In this regard, only scant attention was given to techniques used by the subject groups and to the effects these techniques have upon the people concerned.

In various areas of social sciences, mainly in psychology, psychotherapy but also in sociology and education, effective methods have been developed to alter human behavior and concepts. The effects of the methods currently in use are difficult to determine, not only for the consumer, but also for the controlling agency. They have only been researched to some degree in the field of psychotherapy. In the related area of life management and other disciplines that have a tendency to modify the human psyche, there is no comprehensive oversight into the methods, the factors that make them work, or their effects. While legal and state oversight agencies keep watch on the proper maintenance of professional and ethical standards in the field of psychotherapy, this type of monitoring process is lacking in management training and in psychogroups. For this reason, it was important for the authors to develop a means of evaluating effects and risks of the techniques being offered by provider-organizations.

The overall phenomenon of a provider-organization can not be adequately measured by a single investigative assessment. This lies not only in the wide variety of claims, functions, objectives and missions each organization ascribes to itself, but also in the problems and limitations inherent to scientific investigation. The system classifications of this paper may be divided into various levels of investigation:

This paper is limited mainly to the individual aspects and to the legal level. In the authors' opinion, the psycho- and social-techniques which the various provider-organizations use on members or program participants should be analyzed independently of worldview, but at the same time the effects of these techniques on the subjects should be investigated so as to not disqualify in advance the results of the examination through an overly complex, interdisciplinary, multi-dimensional analysis. Therefore the techniques used by provider-organizations will be examined as to their effects on the persons affected. These techniques will be described as Unconventional Psycho- and Social-techniques (UPS).

Definition: to differentiate the processes used on the free market from the methods used in behavioral modification and therapy by professionals, we described them as Unconventional Psycho- and Social-techniques (UPS). The word "unconventional" refers to the fact that certain psycho- and social-techniques are not at all used in the scope of the health care system, but may also indicate that these techniques are used in the health care system, but are being used in a manner significantly different as far as intensity, control or indication are concerned. By this are meant all methods and techniques which have as a goal the alteration of human concepts, behavior or methods of communication.

2. Stating the objectives and goals of the study

The global objectives of the paper were: 1) the development of methods and instrumentation to describe and evaluate the provider-organizations by religious and worldview category, as well as by psychogroups and and life management organizations outside recognized health care systems. 2) A clear description of the methods and techniques of the Scientology and Landmark provider-organizations. 3) A legal assessment as to whether and to what degree the subject provider-organizations might be violating rights in criminal, constitutional or civil spheres, and what claims those adversely affected might be entitled to.

The objective of the developing a method was to assess not only risks, but also advantages of the psycho- and social-techniques used by the provider-organizations. The development of method and instrumentation was to also serve as an incentive for further studies. The objective of the description and assessment of the Scientology and Landmark organizations was the investigation of the psychic, physical and social effects of the psycho- and social-techniques applied by those organizations respectively upon members and participants. The third objective also included the presentation of legal problems, conflicts or violations by the two organizations, along with pointers as to possible paths of resolution.

The principle risks associated with techniques, such as the large group and marathon sessions conducted by Landmark, biofeedback procedures used by Scientology with the e-meter, or the trance states induced in either organization, have been described in detail in the various literature on the topic in general and on these two organizations in particular, and it is assumed that these are already known. A position will be taken as to the principle risks of using psychotherapeutic techniques by lay people who do not have professional training in the supplemental opinion ("Unfavorable effects of hypnosis and suggestion procedures, as well as behavioral therapy procedures, see attached).

This expert opinion is the result of applying various research methods:

  1. by analysis of the practitioner's written sources;
  2. by evaluating the testimony of experts who have special knowledge about the methods being evaluated and their providers;
  3. by evaluating testimony of service receivers, and
  4. by participative observation by the researcher, in so far as this was possible.

For this the following instrumentation was developed:

The provider-organizations to be investigated should apply as wide a spectrum as possible of different methods and techniques, and propagate clearly distinctive objectives into various publics for diverse feedback. For this reason the following provider-organizations were selected for the study:
The Scientology organization with an - according to its own self-presentation and its public accommodations - extensive unique worldview and methodical background, Landmark-Education as a more commercial provider in the life management sector, whose methods are nonetheless distinct from those of professional therapy and counseling providers, and two stationary therapy institutions for drug addicts with professional psycho- and socio-therapeutical claims as control groups. These were selected primarily because of their intensive therapeutic effects through a variety of methods.

While the therapy institutions and Landmark-Education were willing to take part in the study, the Scientology organization refused to cooperate in any way and refused to grant members of the study group access to their meeting, counseling and training spaces. They also prevented active organization members and program participants from being questioned. This might have constrained the validity of the obtained results; the organization also refused a previous invitation to contribute to the scientific opinion by providing a competent representative. A conclusion can be drawn from this that any attempt made by researchers who have not been approved of by Scientology would fail, as long as cooperation by the organization is made a condition of the study. For this reason the authors decided to conduct the research despite the above-mentioned constraint, and to interpret the results with due caution.

3. Overview (Forming the opinion)

The following overview on forming the opinion should facilitate the legibility of the text on the whole. After the presentation of the initial situation and of the goals and missions (Chapter A) follows in Chapter B a description from the primary literature of the provider-organizations being researched, which enables readers to familiarize themselves within a limited amount of space with the concepts and self-perceptions of the organizations (Chapter B).

In Chapter C, Methods, the methodological parameters, both the empirical research statements with regard to instrumentation and target groups are presented, including the methods of content analysis and the testimony options. In Chapters D and E follow the separated evaluation of both surveys, as well as the psychiatric or psychological evaluations of the results. The method of analyzing the primary literature, starkly different from the surveys because of qualitative considerations, is described in detail in Chapter F, which also contains the results of this section of study.

In Chapter G follows a legal assessment of various conceivable cases which can appear in association with the services of the provider-organizations and whose practical relevance is assessed based on the empirical data. That is accompanied by a summary of the current state of legal affairs with regard to both provider-organizations in literature and in legal decisions.

In Chapter H follows a comprehensive discussion of the results.

4. Methods

In the empirical section, the opinion presents a retrospective field study with two partial studies, the expert survey and the subject survey. The second section consists of the analysis of the primary literature with a method for analyzing content.

Testimony about the effects of psycho- and social-techniques lead to a number of problems in method which had to be resolved for the limited scope of the opinion. It must first be stressed that the study of psycho- and social-techniques that provider-organizations use on people who have been members for years or for all their lives is not possible for a random sample under test conditions. A valid study can be accomplished only if its duration is over a matter of years and with the full cooperation of the provider-organization. Neither circumstance existed for this opinion. The two retrospective partial studies enabled 1. the description of the applied psycho- and social-techniques, 2. the assessment of risks and advantages by experts and 3. in diminished, interpretive form testimony about variations of diagnoses and symptoms or complaints from the personal statements of the subjects.

Expert Survey

For the expert survey, persons were sought out who had counseled clients and their relatives for problems or difficulties in connection with their participation in a large as possible variety of provider-organizations. Selection criteria included various therapy establishments, as well as agencies (state, church and welfare associations). 20 experts were selected from a list of all counseling establishments in Germany, but all were not interview due to time constraints.

Data queries were developed, mainly based on literature about psycho- and social-techniques and about mental programming, to form an extensive interview guide, which consisted of the following three parts. Part 1 deals with statements with experts and their experience in the field. Part 2 deals with the clients' comings and goings [to and from the organization], and part 3 contains a summary of the psycho- and social-techniques (joining, management, rules, goals, monitoring of special psycho- and social-techniques, and guidelines for departure [from the organization]), as well as the focus on assessment of risks and advantages. The experts should assess these techniques on the basis of their experiences with regard to risks and benefits for the clients. Risks, in this case, are defined as results that the clients deem negative, and benefits as results for which clients see positive effects in social, physical or psychic areas. Before implementation, the interviewer receives training, so that the complex evaluation process can be more precisely stated.

Subject survey

The subject survey, like the expert survey, is a methodical, retrospective field study. Subject data is gathered by means of four research instruments independently of each other:

a) A semi-standardized interview created for the research. A modified version had to be developed for the control group.
b) The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID-I) (Wittchen et al., 1997)
c) A specially compiled self-evaluation questionnaire to evaluation dependency
d) A questionnaire from the Shell Study for value assessment.

To a): The newly developed interview guide for subjects was compiled from seven sub-areas and contains the same psycho- and social-techniques as does the expert survey. Similarly it also contains specific questions for the evaluation of legal aspects and a list of symptoms and complaints. The sub-areas address: I. Method and circumstance of initial contact, II. Results and/or contacts with or in the provider organization, III. Themes and offers from the provider, IV. Construction and structure of the provider-organization, V. Techniques and methods of the provider (psycho- and social-techniques), VI. Behavior of the provider upon departure [from organization] or refusal [of services], VII. Changes noted (symptoms and problems in psychic, social, health and financial areas). I - IV deal with yes/no questions. V - VII probe quantity and intensity on a scale of 1 to 5 (not at all, a little, some, much, very much). Further, the subject evaluate methods and techniques they experienced with regard to harmfulness and usefulness on a six-point scale (can't be rated, somewhat harmful, harmful, neither one, somewhat useful and useful). The interview also contains the option of asking open questions and recording the answers.

To b): The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID, Wittchen, Zaudig & Fydrich, 1997) is an semi-structured clinical interview, distributed in scientific studies, which permits an interviewer who has clinical experience to probe for symptoms, syndromes and diagnosis corresponding to the diagnostic criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals of Mental Disorders in its fourth revision (DMS IV). The interview consists of two parts: Axis I psychopathology, which leads to psychiatric diagnoses, and axis II Personality disturbances. With this interview instrument, general medicine patients, as well as ambulant or non-ambulant psychiatric patients can be examined, including patients who do not present themselves as patients with psychic disturbances, e.g., in a general mass survey. Its language and scope are suitable for adults (18 and up).

To c): In the form of a self-evaluation scale (A-scale), items from the area of dependency upon psychotropic substances were adapted for the area of psychic dependency for UPS providers.

To d): From the Shell Study (Initial work of the German Shell Study, 1992) came a list of questions for value assessment. This was meant to rate changes in values while participating in programs at the provider-organizations.

The subject random sample turned out to be 26 people who had participated in Scientology programs. It had been originally planned to have 20 former members and 10 active members studied. After two letters were sent to the Scientology organization and written refusals in response to them were received (see attachment), we had to do without the involvement of active Scientology members.

17 participants of the Landmark Organization: of these, 5 persons were active in the organization, the remainder were participants in Landmark organizations. It had originally been planned to have 10 participants who had been sent through counselling centers, but that did not happen, the rest were to have been recruited though counselling centers. Due to unexpected bottlenecks, the numbers planned were not fully attained.

20 patients of stationary establishments for rehabilitation treatment of drug dependents: 10 clients each were surveyed in two addiction clinics. The sole condition for answering questions was that they had been in therapy for at least a month.

Survey of subjects was arranged to occur after the survey of experts began, so as to be able to subsequently add questions to the one from the other which had not previously been provided for. Interviewer training was conducted in advance. In a workshop on the topic of unconventional psycho- and social-techniques and on the planned research, one expert had the opinion that conducting the SCID with former members would be highly problematic, and so therefore should not be done. For this reason we had to do without the SCID for subjects who this expert handled.


Evaluation was to be done with the SPSS statistical program. The statistical process was stated in detail immediately before the presentation of the results. A large number of the tables can be found in appendices.

Method of analyzing primary literature

In contrast to the two surveys, the analysis of the literature was accomplished primarily qualitatively. As an examination guide, the model of structured content analysis according to Mayerling (1991) was selected. This is characterized, besides by a summary of content, by an interpretive classification of the selected statements according to a preformulated list of of questions.

5. Results

5.1 Expert Survey

Practical Basis

With regard to the extent of counseling and time expenditures, responses varied greatly from counselor to counselor. The variation in the length of counseling indicated a very diverse concept of counseling, from statements of investigation to concepts of therapy, whereby these questions were not a matter for this paper. A constant factor in all this was that Scientology and Landmark, besides the Christian fundamentalist provider-organizations, played a significant role in the clientele of the experts.

Expert probe

The experiences of the experts surveyed were in reference to a selection of subjects who, in some manner, had run into problems with the respective provider-organizations, and who, because of this, sought counseling. These were people who had negative experiences, which at the same time however, did not exclude positive experiences. All in all, though, it could be assumed that the experts would have been more familiar with the problematic aspects of a provider-organization as related by their clients. Selection of experts occurred by regional division, carrier organization and professional group, so as to be conducive to representativeness of counselors, even if a group of 19 counselors is not large. Two of the counselors did not have many clients [as referred to above], but the great majority of their counseling work dealt with relatives, so they were kept in the evaluation.

Procedures used

The only statements that were used mentioned were those on which at least two-thirds of the experts agreed. The results represent the experts' point of view.
Concerning the grounds of making contact with a provider-organization, there was a distinction made between the cause and a long-term disposition to develop on one's own. By disposition was meant motivational factors and concepts, not personality factors. Problems with parents and with spouses are, in the opinion of the experts, ample grounds in the sense of cause for making [personal] contact, while a general dissatisfaction, a search for self and personality development were regarded as long-term developments. As a rule, there were usually several grounds for making contact.

With regard to the most prevalent symptoms, the ones most frequently mentioned by the expert were symptoms of depression, broken relationships and feelings of guilt. Scientology clients, however, had an inability to trust and tendencies to overidealize at the top of symptoms mentioned, followed by feelings of guilt, depression and broken relationships. The extent to which this is reflects influence from Scientology or the selection of people remains an open question.

Making contact with Scientology, in the opinion of the experts, is characterized by personal contact of people on the street, the giving of personality tests and the offer of personal counseling. With Landmark, contact occurs chiefly through friends or relatives who have participated in a course. Conducting a personality test whose psychometric criteria, reliability and validity is not proven, appears problematic in the hands of lay people.

The communication process, in the opinion of the experts, is characterized in that both provider-organizations (Scientology and Landmark) have developed concept systems, specific to the group, which they use as an exchange for their understanding of life and the world, and for an explanation of behavioral problems. All the experts stated that goals, rules and internal structures were not presented openly. Characteristic for Scientology is the use of instruments (surveys, e-meters) for the control of information and the prevalence of one-on-one conversations, while in Landmark group processes are prevalent.

Hypnosis may not be used at all in Scientology, according to statements in his Dianetics book (1950). Nevertheless, experts told of hypnotic techniques in Scientology. The explanation for that is that hypnotic techniques are used by Scientology in a different context and is defined differently. Scientology, from the viewpoint of the experts surveyed, is characterized by psycho-techniques which create frustrating situations and bring about monotonous motion as exercise. The technique used in Scientology auditing of constant repetition of previous problematic incidents and experiences to erase so-called engrams was mentioned by the experts, albeit indirectly.

In both provider organizations, length and intensity of sessions were used to influence the participants. The focussing of perceptual impression seemed particularly characteristic for Scientology.

Scientology also uses psycho-techniques of disparagement that place the views and opinions previously held by the subjects in doubt, disconnect them from their social environment in that, among other things, the standards and values of their former environments are put into question. In Scientology, breaking off contact to family members was mentioned by many experts.

Landmark put more emphasis on questioning old attitudes and concepts for the purpose of developing new, successful concepts. Outside of that, according to the experts' statements, recruitment of new participants was emphasized.

Group pressure on the participants was mentioned unanimously by all experts, especially if a participant deviated from group norms or wanted to leave the provider-organization. Selective punishment and reward is a psycho-educational which was used openly very frequently in any case. Scientology, in addition to that, practices the loss of privileges and special training, as well as the [unceremonious] exposing of others. It was said almost unanimously of the participants that more performance (work) was demanded of them than what they received in compensation.

The responses to the questions about management structure of a provider-organization corresponded extensively to each other only with regard to the role of a leadership figure. In Scientology, the founding concepts of founder L. Ron Hubbard still appear decisive for the present, but the actual structure of the organization, to the experts' experiences, as a rule, did not play a significant role, and therefore cannot be adequately evaluated in this study. In Landmark, the current leader of the forum takes a dominant position for the participants. The incitement to illegal action in Scientology needs contextual clarification. Specifically, no statement can be made about this item for which those questioned could answer with actual cases that would meet the strict requirements of "incitement" in the criminal sense.

Important goals in Scientology, as well as in Landmark, in the opinion of the experts, include the development of performance enhancement and a concept of life. It appears, moreover, that in Scientology, relief from symptoms and from upsets plays a considerable role. That means that, in expert opinion, Scientology puts forward promises of therapy. Besides that, in association with Scientology, the goal mentioned most frequently was that of saving humanity. The two latter goals are of particular sensitivity on a social plane.

Assessment of risks and benefits

The experts' risk assessment of the psycho- and social-techniques took place in reference to the problems and symptoms of their clients, as well as under the aspect of manipulation by the provider-organization. The assessment of the benefits of psycho-techniques, some of which were described in the literature as manipulation techniques, was rather difficult for the experts. Therefore they were to assess the benefit from the view of the clients for the purpose of clarifying the attraction of the procedure. 4 of 9 measures for making contact were associated with a high risk in the opinion of at least two-thirds of the experts. A strong benefit was seen by the experts in only two of the nine measures. If one requires as a condition that a measure be rated as present by at least two thirds of the experts, then Scientology uses three of the four at-risk methods for making contact, and Landmark uses also uses three.

10 of 12 methods of controlling communications processes were categorized as high risk by the experts, and from the clients' perspectives 6 methods were brought up in association with great benefit. These included two procedures, namely the overcoming of personality problems and the associated use of measuring devices, that were also rated as being high risk, but from the clients' perspective were also very beneficial.

In Scientology, 9 of the 10 highest risk methods of controlling communications processes were used, with Landmark 6 of 10 high risk methods came in to play in the sense of manipulation.

Special Psycho-techniques

8 of 12 psycho-techniques were viewed as very beneficial from the clients' perspective; of those three also belonged to the group of high risk processes. The psycho-techniques with high benefit ran as follows: relaxation process, body-oriented process, inducing a trance state, methods of directing imagination, meditation process, presence of a person willing to help and, unexpectedly, hyperventilation exercises.

All together there were in practice exactly as many specific psycho-techniques rated as high risk as there were high benefit.

Scientology was characterized by three special high-risk psycho-techniques (monotonous motion, immobile body positioning, meditation process), while Landmark had no high-risk psycho-techniques, but the technique of the frustrating situation barely missed meeting the criteria. One of the psycho-techniques listed as beneficial from the clients' view (meditation technique) was also frequently named in Scientology by experts, and in Landmark apparently none of the especially beneficial processes were used. Missing the criteria by a narrow margin in the SO were the methods of inducing a trance state and the method of directed imagination.

Substance consumption

All in all three of six processes in association with substance consumption was seen as high risk by the experts surveyed, and four were very beneficial from the client perspective. The experts could not follow a positive rating of hallucinogens.

Only the distribution of vitamins applied in Scientology, which was not rated high risk, but on the contrary, very beneficial from the client perspective. In Landmark, the consumption of substances does not apparently play a role.

Psychophysical methods

Six psychophysical high-risk methods in one process simultaneously counteracted high benefit. Those included sleep deprivation, making strong demands on the body without sufficient rest or nutrition, bodily exertion to the point of exhaustion (for excessive durations in the sauna, for example), special bequests after bodily exertion or sensory deprivation (including blindfolding). The benefit and the attraction of psychophysical processes were rated rather low from the clients' view. Relaxation processes, which could also be counted as a psychophysical method, were already mentioned under special psycho-techniques, and thereby distort the assessment on the whole.

Two of the risk methods were used in Scientology, namely bodily exertion to the point of exhaustion, mainly through excessive sessions in the sauna, and inadequate rest and nutrition after bodily exertion. In Landmark sleep deprivation (not to be understood here as a psychiatric method of treatment) was rated a risk by the experts.

Control and Sanctions

In expert opinion Scientology used seven high risk regulation and control measures and Landmark only three. From the client perspective, Scientology also had beneficial measures (pressure, special material to read, service without recompensation).


The following management methods are associated with high risk by the experts, to wit: 1) a dominate leadership figure to which all were to orient themselves, 2) to the leadership figure was ascribed characteristics like omnipotence, ability to perform miracles, etc., and 3) the leader made an effort to be an ersatz parent figure. In addition, incitement to illegal conduct and sexual abuse by management were rated as very high risk.

In Scientology, according to expert opinion, two of the high risk management methods are used, namely the orientation toward a dominant leadership figure and the incitement to illegal conduct. In Landmark the criteria for relevance were not met by any method.

Rules and standards

All in all it can be stated that rules and standards were rated as less problematic, and even that more rules rated high benefit than did high risk. Rules and regulations affecting the career, however, were the topic of special criticism by the experts.

In Scientology, the criteria for high risk rules and standards was barely missed with regards to belief. In Landmark as well as in Scientology, the rules and regulations were assessed as less problematic.


With two important exceptions, little risk was seen among the prospective goals of a provider-organization. Only the goals of saving mankind and promises of salvation were assessed as high risk. Eight of the 12 goals, in contrast, were seen by the clients as very beneficial to the clients.

In Scientology the goals of saving mankind and the promise of salvation appeared especially problematic; there were no problematic goals in Landmark.

Four goals that as a rule appear in Scientology were deemed very beneficial; there were three goals of great benefit in Landmark.

Worthy of comment is the observation that, with the exception of substance consumption, between 50 and 100% of the probed psycho- and social-techniques in all areas actually appeared in the return from the clients of the experts. This means that the experts are as familiar with the listed methods as their clients are, and are therefore in the position to evaluate them.

With regard to the extent of applied psycho- and social-techniques in specific areas, the rate in Scientology varied between 16.7% (substance consumption) and 92.9% (measures with regard to social environment, social isolation). In Landmark, a great deal fewer applied methods were known (between 0 and 68.8%).

If the number of methods used is considered to be a measure of the power of influence a provider-organization has over an individual, then this is significantly higher with Scientology than it is with Landmark. In Scientology 69 of 94 psycho- and social-techniques were in use (73.4%), while Landmark had only 35 (37.2%). Even if the duration of application [for each individual technique] is not considered directly, it probably indirectly comes into play as far as the number of techniques applied over the same amount of time is concerned.

5.2 Survey of Subjects

One of the first observations that can be made from the data gleaned from survey of subjects is that people in the three groups surveyed come from wholly distinct populations which vary in many aspects not only in their needs and goals, but with regard to their social demographic origins and their income and educational status. These differences should be taken into account in the exit situation and in evaluating the effects of psycho- and social-techniques.


The Landmark participants consistently had a relatively high socio-economic status. 80% qualified for university, all were employed and with an age range of from 30 to 50 averaged about ten years older than the control group. Those surveyed only seldom reported psychic disturbances or problems, and no desires for cures were articulated. 88% of those surveyed gave self-experience and self recognition as the goal of their participation, including 48% which wanted to learn private or professional success strategies. Most of those who gave these as goals also believed themselves to have achieved them (success quotients between 0.6 and 1.0). The promises of the provider organizations, namely, improvement of self-awareness in dealing with others and improvement of ability to perform obviously corresponded widely to the needs of the participants. The application of group-specific language (reported by 88%), the new definition of everyday words (52%) and the use of universal models for solution of personal problems (82%) have to be viewed with a critical eye. Isolation and simplification would serve to increase the self-overassessment of the methods, including the ones they mastered. The leading techniques receiving special mention in connection with Landmark were directed imagination (experienced by 53%) and the induction of trance states (18%). The goals and structures were transparent enough for most participants. Criticism was openly permitted, although some was given back to the critics in return (53%). Effects were described in both positive and negative aspects, whereby there was a balance between the negative and the positive. Only one of those surveyed reported an increase in health problems, with temporary psychic effects reported by three participants. The organization did not in any case claim it alone had an exclusive solution. Departure was possible with no problem. Only one of those surveyed reported of being bothered over the telephone after leaving. The pressure of recruitment into the organization seemed uncomfortable to 53% of those surveyed.


Those surveyed from the Scientology group were former members exclusively, so that no representivity from Scientology's participants can be assumed. Nevertheless their statements may be taken as characteristic for former members of Scientology who have sought out some form of counseling. Despite intense efforts from the researchers, Scientology refused to make either course participants or organization members available for the survey or to name contact points for the survey.

In comparison to the Landmark group, a significantly higher number of former members of Scientology (46% to Landmark's 12%) described themselves as psychically unstable or ill upon commencement. The difference between participants with a psychiatric prognosis became less pronounced, however, when the minor case numbers were taken into account with this special evaluation (21% vs. 11.8%). Corresponding to this was the expectation that one of the basic motives for making the approach to Scientology was to be freed of psychic problems and illnesses (stated by 58%). This expectation corresponded to the promise on the part of the organization to free individuals from inner blocks (stated by 61%) and psychic problems (stated by 58%).

In addition to that, in contrast to both other groups surveyed, only in Scientology were goals and promises prevalent that pertained, not just to the individual, but to humanity and to the world at large and that contained, additionally, transcendental and esoteric aspects. At the same time, when those surveyed were asked whether the search for spiritual experiences may have had a definite role, only 6% were primarily and 19% had been somewhat interested in religious aspects of the provider-organization. According to the data from the subjects, promises from Scientology were not limited to individual personal aspects, but appeared as an all-encompassing solution to problems ranging from mental illness to saving the world from imminent catastrophes.

In Scientology, besides isolated processes that stemmed from psychotherapy, a large number of the methods primarily in use, according to the reports fo those surveyed, were comparable to psychological techniques of manipulation. These included compelling them to perform monotous, frustrating and apparently nonsensical tasks (reported by over 80%), creation of double-bind situations (35%), increasing existing fears (31%), and giving the impression that the organization knew exactly what its members were up to, as well as their secrets. Comprehensive and manifest documentation was kept and its use was noticed by all former members. Deprivation of sensorial focus and stimulation that leads to more deprivation (reported by 77%), and producing total exhaustion and imparting new ideas after decrease of critical ability through exhaustion (stated by 38%) are methods of psychological manipulation and which can hardly be said to serve emancipation of the individual or self-actualization. Auditing and the use of the E-meter were experienced by all surveyed.

The selection of a control group basically depending upon the statement of the problem. At the centerpoint of this comparison is not the question of how the participants of Scientology and Landmark differ from the rest of the population, but rather which methods and experiences appear in the realm of intensive psycho-social therapy and how they are viewed. Only through the selection of a client group with therapy experience could these sort of questions be answered.

The control group was characterized predominantly by social marginalization. It had the highest number of unemployed (over 60%), the lowest level of education and the greatest number of legal problems. The men outweighed the women in this group. The members of the control group had approached their provider-organizations, i.e. the withdrawl clinics, on account of their addiction problems and had hoped for help with the psychic problems and for answers to questions of their future. Most of them had arrived at their institutions as counselling referals. In spite of the great need of help stated by the participants, the provider-organizations made surprisingly few promises with regard to what could be achieved with their therapy. With the exception of relaxation procedures, the techniques surveyed, like hypnosis, catathyme imagination andparadox intervention, were not used. Also in contrast, systematic application of behavior-changing methods were not reported, although a certain principles of conduct were required of participants. Techniques qualifying as psychic manipulation without having a therapeutic weight according to general understanding were reported only in isolated cases. Information and transparency of structure were not a serious issue for the control group. Criticism was tolerated. With regard to the objectives striven for, members of the control group attained these with greatest frequency.

5.3 Analysis of the primary Literature

The analysis of the primary literature brought unexpectedly vast differences between the two provider-organizations to light. It permitted expert findings on the internal structure and the higher objectives of the organization that were especially relevant for the legal evaluation.

In the judgment of the literature analysis as an instrument for the evaluation of further provider-organizations, however, it should be taken into consideration that its effectiveness for this paper could be quite definitively traced to the specific data in the Scientology organization. The numerous, detailed, very comprehensive written statements of its founder L. Ron Hubbard set the essential foundation of all services offered by the organization. They are especially well guarded as the real capital of the organization under immaterial goods rights. Minute attention is paid to strict adherence of written instructions by all staff. Besides the content of the written source, its productiveness for the literature analysis rests also decisively on the not-so-expected contextual deviations between various books, or even between different editions of the same publication, as the case may be. None of these conditions could be transferred to other organizations.

Based on analysis of the primary literature, the following statements are applicable to the Scientology organization, in contrast to the Landmark organization:

The organization possesses an internal system of standards that puts the maintenance of interests of the organization, without exception, over the interests of the individual. In the organization, people are divided in to categories according to the criteria of "bad" and "good," as well as according to their "biological" or "evolutionary" development, which in turn is of prime importance for the extent of their subjective rights. The sole gauge for judgment of staff is their performance, which must steadily increase. Inadequate performance leads to punishment. Portions of the internal disciplinary system even include payment by the delinquent individual.

The organization furthermore gives its instructions in an objectively contradictory self-image. Claims of "religion" are sometimes emphasized strong, sometimes not mentioned at all, and other times explicitly negated. At the same time the services offered are presented as findings of scientific research and as the art of applied engineering. Verifiable proof to justify the claim of scientific procedures, however, is not contained in the writings examined.

The organization builds enemy images for its adherents in the form of psychologists, psychiatrists, and persons arbitrarily declared to be "suppressive." Criticism is also heaped upon the reigning social system, especially the principle of a social state. In case of emergencies, adherents must separate themselves from relatives who have a negative attitude toward the organization, and pay for the resultant handling by the organization as a service.

The organization does not direct its services solely to the individual, but also strives for alterations on state and social levels. Individual customers are told the courses offered give them a tangible chance of success. The courses are sold with methods explicitly described as "hard-sell." To this end, the sales staff are trained in special courses to make the customer aware of a purported necessity, to make him aware of solutions to financial problems, to suggest especially favorable opportunities to make a buy, as well as to dispel the doubts of the hesitant customer as effectively as possible. The exact observance of all internal regulations and quality of standards for the courses offered are strictly implemented and supervised.

5.4 Psychiatric-psychological assessment

In interpreting the results of the survey of subjects, several limitations, which have been referred to repeatedly, have to be considered. The control comes from a therapy establishment; the providers are certified by profession with the state; their treatment programs and the implementation thereof are subject to constant quality control, primarily by the insurer; there is an established, professional safety network for possible risks and threats. These provisions do not apply for Scientology and Landmark.

In addition, the control group consists of drug addicts are are currently taking part in a therapy program. This is in contrast to the Landmark group of both active and former participants, with the Scientology group consisting solely of former members. Repeated references have been made to the intensive but fruitless endeavors to include active Scientology members in the survey.

The psychological-psychiatric judgment of the techniques used in the the groups examined and their effects upon the subjects is relatively significant despite the precautions mentioned concerning the differences.

The control group perceived of their applied techniques, which came overwhelmingly from the areas of classic psychotherapy, as drastic. They also had to respect rules and regimentation of their lives, and had to cope with sanctions.

The rules and restrictions were fairly well transparent to both those surveyed and to the external experts, and they served to prevent backsliding into a life-style they had followed up until that time. The group showed a certain degree of dependency upon the organization and the obstructions to leaving were relatively high; both of these were viewed rather positively by those surveyed.

Among the three provider-organizations, Landmark appeared to be the one with the least effective methods and which put the least pressure on the participants, whereby factors that must be taken into account in this comparison is that the duration of time Landmark could exert influence upon its members was far shorter, the population surveyed perceived of itself as more psychically stable, and that they had relatively autonomous control of their goals. The autonomy of the subjects was, in their assessment, widely respected by the organization.

Techniques such as guided imagination and the induction of trance states, which was reported by a portion of the participants, have to be viewed with a critical eye. But their use belongs in the realm of experts, since they bring about potential high risk. The goals propagated by the organization corresponded with those of the participating individuals, they appear, in principle, to be obtainable, and do not approach that of a Utopia. In Landmark, however, there are a series of rules that could hardly be characterized as drastic. In specific cases sanctions were described, but, generally speaking, there were no restrictions. Departure was - with one exception - possible without pressure or problems from the organization.

The processes and techniques used by Scientology were far more drastic, but far less transparent or controllable by the subjects, as intensive psycho- and social-therapeutic treatment programs. That particularly applied when the structures and the goals of the organization remained unclear to the subjects, which was the case in half those surveyed. Discussion about the methods, then, is made more difficult, when criticism is not possible, or when it can be done only with system conformists. Because this was reported by many of those surveyed, it is also understandable that they felt themselves to be at the mercy of the organization and incapable of making autonomous decisions.

Auditing can be understood in the sense of a conditioning methods, and the application of the e-meter in the sense of biofeedback. The latter, however, may be only a part of the effect of this device. Another aspect is manifested in that the e-meter is viewed with technical certitude as an incorruptible seer, comparable to a lie detector, for which the individual has not possible of making a counter-presentation. The extensive and obviously enforced documentation and its use reinforced the impression of the omnipotence of the organization. The use of the e-meter is not carried out on a verifiable scientific foundation.

In auditing and other training courses, a series of psycho- and social-techniques come into use that amount to treatment methods. The users of these methods are indeed subject to internal supervision, but they do not measure up to either the state criteria for medical practice, nor for those of psychological psychotherapy. The autonomy of the individual is limited by a relatively rigid system of rules, restrictions and sanctions. Because of this, those surveyed perceived of themselves as being psychological dependent upon the organization, which manifested itself in that more than half of them consistently found themselves spending their entire leisure time in the organization, whereby the remaining characteristics of psychic dependency were fulfilled by many of them. Over half (56%) of the former Scientology members can be spoken of in terms of psychic dependency, whereas with Landmark this was the case for only one participant. The involvement in and the dependence upon Scientology also led to deep-reaching changes in social environment, which was viewed by most of the former members (65.2%) as negative. Besides the group which as categorized in Scientology as dependent, there was another 24% who experienced harmful involvement. In Landmark, 30.8%, and in the control group, 29.4% indicated harmful involvement.

According to the results of the survey, many goals, promises, rules and restrictions were implemented with methods and techniques that were barely transparent to the subjects, but which had high effectiveness for human manipulation. The subject had characteristic results for their subjective condition, they reported that their feelings with regards to contacts and social behavior were not limited to negative effects. If one considered the course of psychic complaints and symptoms, then it can be see that most of them already existed before the entrance into Scientology, some of them worsened and some of them continued after departure. Improvements were reported in isolated cases. On the whole, such symptoms often appeared (much more frequently than with Landmark), but for the most part they existed prior to entry into the organization.

The firmness and rigidity of the Scientology system of exclusive righteousness and associated concepts also manifested itself in the exit system. Numerous methods of pressure, as well as emotional and external factors made life for the subjects more difficult upon departure.

On the whole it can be concluded from the survey of subjects that Scientology, using a claim to exclusivity with regard to the justice of its own concepts, undermines and restricts the autonomy of the participants with relatively rigid rules, sanctions and methods that primarily serve the purpose of psychological manipulation. This is only barely transparent to the subjects. The organization appears - at least when taking former members into consideration - to have searched out people who tend to be psychically unstable, who turned to the organization for help and succor, who temporarily find meaning, emotional dependence and support in the organization and in its methods, but who then detect negative results and leave the organization in a psychically rather worse condition than when they entered it.

After very well recognizable differences between the groups emerged in the survey, and these differences corresponded for the most part with those of the analysis of the primary and secondary literature, the list of questions appeared suitable to use as an assessment raster, and also to be used in individual cases to research the risks of a provider-organization that uses unconventional psycho- and social-techniques.

Legal Assessment

to be continued ...