A case before the Bankstown Local Court, in which a 25-year-old woman is accused of stabbing her father and sister to death and seriously injuring her mother, has raised the issue of Scientology’s views on psychiatry.

The morning’s Daily Telegraph reports:

The court heard the woman’s parents were both Scientologists and opposed to psychiatric treatment.

The woman was allegedly diagnosed with a psychiatric condition last year and medicated. But in January she was allegedly ordered by her parents to stop taking her medicine.

The court heard they instead insisted their daughter take medication imported from the US, which was “not psychiatric in nature” and complied with the Church of Scientology’s rules.

But the Church of Scientology has distanced itself from the family, denying that:

A man with the same name as the dead father is listed on the Church of Scientology’s “Honour Roll” in the 2002 Impact magazine which glorifies members worldwide for their efforts in “signing more than 20 members to the church” or for donating $US20,000 ($23,200) or more.

Virginia Stuart, a spokesperson for the Church of Scientology, told Crikey that she didn’t know what the dead man “considered himself, but I believe he had purchased some books and done a very introductory course some time ago,” and that’s where his relationship with the Church ended. But she confirmed that the Church maintains some hostility toward psychiatry and psychiatric drugs.

“We are not completely against psychiatry. We are completely against the abuses of psychiatry,” Stuart said. “We are against the brutal treatment that is being passed off as curing people which causes them brain damage, which makes them addicted to highly addictive drugs, but when they come off the drugs they are exactly the same as they were before.

“Why are people so afraid to go into a psychiatric hospital? The level of treatment and care is very scary for these people, and anyone who comes out has normally had a horrible time. Why is that allowed? That’s what we want to clean up.”

Stuart says Scientology isn’t against psychiatry per se, but “opposes the unscientific nature and barbaric treatment that passes for psychiatry. We call for sound practises that result in people being helped.”

Stuart denied the popular view that the Church believed psychiatrists were behind the Holocaust, Russian Gulags, and the genocide in the Balkans, but said that “Al Qaida’s right hand man was a psychiatrist.” Further, Stuart confirmed the Church’s belief that psychiatrists are responsible for the deaths of 10,000 people per year and that 25% of psychiatrists sexually abuse their patients.

The court case continues in Sydney today.

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Peter Fray
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