Emily, my therapist, didn’t have horns. That was the first thing I noticed. And the earth didn't open up and swallow me. Breathe, I told myself.
I was a Scientologist doing the unthinkable. Seeing a shrink, a therapist, one of the evil ones. Hubbard’s words rang in my head: “There is no psychologist that doesn’t know he is a fake, can accomplish nothing of value and that his certificates aren’t worth the printing ink.” — L. Ron Hubbard, Criminal Minds
I was nervous. Her space was very reassuring. Comfortable chairs, soft colors, green plants and a small Buddha fountain softly gurgling. I couldn't help comparing it to the therapy environment I was used to. Scientology auditing rooms were Spartan: two chairs, a desk, and that machine--the e-meter, that some call a lie detector.
What would we talk about? My panic attacks? My fears for the future? Where to start? I decided to start with Scientology.
I tried to explain Scientology to her, about how it was a religion that wasn’t a religion, a science that wasn’t a science, and at the same time a serious undertaking and a joke. It was a religion with its own navy, its own intelligence bureau, and its own enemies list. It was a religion with roots in the occult and Satanism, a religion that practiced hard-sell closing techniques, a religion where nothing was free, a religion that promised results in the here and now in exchange for exorbitant fees. I knew none of this was adding up for her, but how to communicate all this without sounding like a hysterical, bitter apostate?
How could I explain that the end goal of Scientology therapy, of climbing the Bridge to Total Spiritual Freedom, was to be "exterior," a term Hubbard used to describe someone who could leave their body at will. When had I come to believe that such a power was important, when the deepest longing of my heart was to learn how to give and receive love?