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THX-1138, Synanon, Attack Therapy, and Scientology

September 10, 2009


I watched THX-1138 tonight, George Lucas’ first movie. It’s a dystopian sci fi movie where everyone is controlled by drugs, surveillance, and an android police force. Everyone has to have their head shaved.

I was reading the wiki article on the movie and learned that Lucas used people from a drug rehab project called Synanon, who also required their people to shave their heads. And that’s not all,

Beginning in the mid-1970s, women were required to shave their heads, married couples were made to break up and take new partners, males were given forced vasectomies, and a few pregnant women were even required to have abortions.

Sound familiar? There’s more – in response to trouble from authorities involving their unauthorized medical clinic, their leader declared that Synanon was a tax exempt religious organization, the “Church of Synanon.”

One more thing that bears a striking resemblance to our Scilon friends:

Control over members occurred through the “Synanon Game.” The “Game” could be considered a therapeutic tool, likened to group therapy; or a social control, in which members humiliated one another and encouraged the exposure of one’s innermost weaknesses, or both.

Scientology utilizes the same form of attack therapy, according to the SP Times exposé on Scientology:

Church spokesmen confirm that managers are ordered into pools and assembled for group confessions. It’s part of the “ecclesiastical justice” system the church imposes on poor performers.

What are your thoughts on attack therapy? Apparently it is controversial, yet somewhat legitimate form of therapy. What do you think of the similarities between Synanon and Scientology? Synanon, of course, went down in flames amidst court cases that exposed their internal practices to the public, yet why does Scientology persist?


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One Comment
  1. moonwalkingbear permalink

    True therapy is not controversial because it is therapeutic. Attack therapy is controversial. I think that answers the first question. Synanon did not die, but re-emerged in the Therapeutic Communities Movement. Synanon influence persists.. See “Synanon Cult Influence on Alcoholics Anonymous, Addiction Treatment and the Criminal Justice System 1968-2017”

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