Elizabeth Daily Journal

Dianetics Founder Challenges Psychiatry to Mental Duel

February 12, 1951

L. Ron Hubbard, of Elizabeth, founder of the controversial new mental health science of dianetics, today hurled a challenge at the psychiatric profession, many members of which have sharply criticized his theories.

Mr. Hubbard, organizer of the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation at 275 Morris avenue, suggested that two impartial judges select two neurotic individuals, without previous advice from either psychiatrists or dianeticists.

The psychiatrists would treat the patients for a week, under his proposal, with psychometries - tests, to the laymen - of the most rigorous nature and before and after treatment.

"Thereafter," said Mr. Hubbard, "our foundation will give them dianetic processing for one week, with comparative psychometries. If the resultant psychometries prove that dianetics has not done uniformly more for these persons than psychiatry, I will be perfectly willing to withdraw my book, 'Dianetics,' and admit that dianetics is not better than psychotherapy."

"This decisive test is offered in all sincerity," said the letter addressed to the Menninger Clinic at Topeka, Kan., the American Psychiatric Association and the New York Psychiatric Advancement Committee.

Mr. Hubbard charged that psychiatrists have been flailing at him "from behind the scenes and from behind the armor of their professional immunity."

He said that they had incited legal action against the furthering of dianetic knowledge, a reference to the impending District Court suit brought against the foundation by the State Board of Medical Examiners.

The test, he declared, was proposed because of the "unwarranted and unfounded statements against dianetics" by persons "having but scant knowledge of the subject."

Dianetics, which claims to offer permanent cures for certain mental ailments, has been in existence since last May, when Mr. Hubbard's book was published. In addition to the foundation headquarters in this city, branch foundations have been opened in New York, Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, Kansas City and Honolulu, with other groups active in fifteen countries.

The foundation asserts that more than 1,000,000 persons are currently engaged in the practice of dianetics. The theory has been blasted by psychiatrists and other professional groups as a panacea that is potentially of great harm to those with mental ailments.