OT 1948: Diagnosis

Reference: DIANETICS: The Original Thesis

This paper presents Chapter 12 from the book DIANETICS: THE ORIGINAL THESIS by L. RON HUBBARD. The contents are from the original publication of this book by The Hubbard Dianetic Foundation, Inc. (1948).

The paragraphs of the original material (in black) are accompanied by brief comments (in color) based on the present understanding.  Feedback on these comments is appreciated.

The heading below is linked to the original materials.



It is a useful and positive principle that whatever confronts or contests the analytical mind of the preclear will also confront and contest the analytical mind of the auditor. When the auditor is acting as the analytical mind of the preclear, whatever emotion or antagonism is directed towards him is the emotion or antagonism which is directed by the reactive mind toward the preclear’s own analytical mind. If a preclear cannot hear what people are saying in his engrams, he has another engram about “can’t hear.” If he cannot feel anything in his engram, it is because he has an engram about “can’t feel.” If he cannot see, he has an engram about not being able to see, and so forth. If he cannot return, he has an engram about going back, or returning to childhood, or some such thing. If he is doubtful and skeptical about what is happening or what has happened to him, it is because he has an engram about being doubtful and skeptical. If he is antagonistic, his reactive mind contains a great deal of antagonism. If he is self-conscious or embarrassed, it is because his reactive mind contains self-consciousness or embarrassment. If he insists on maintaining his own control, refusing to do what the auditor tells him to do (although he is returned), it is because he has an engram about self-control, and so forth and so on. This is identity thought, and is used in diagnosis.

In the “BODY-MIND-I” model, the “I” is the objective viewpoint, which sees things as they are. The mind puts the filters there. When the auditor cannot understand something about the auditee, then it is the same thing that the auditee cannot understand about himself. That difficulty is being generated by the aberrated nodes of the mental matrix.

The return is the best method of learning the problems of the preclear. Trying to work the preclear into remembrance, hearing, seeing, feeling, going back and forward, going to sleep, awakening, and taking due notice of what he says about the entire process will form a rather complete diagnosis on one who is not insane. Questioning the preclear as to what is wrong with him while returned will elicit replies straight out of his principal engrams. Listening to an endless justification of his actions is both a delay and a waste of time but listening to what he has to say about what he thinks has happened to him or what he is afraid of is of definite value.

Dianetics employs the method of “return”, which is to go back and re-experience an incident. But there is not always a clear cut incident. Therefore, mindfulness employs the method of concentrating on the difficulty while letting the mind freely associate.

Free association is letting the mind associate whatever is there without any interference. No conscious effort is made for the auditee to remember anything. The auditee simply thinks of the difficulty and focuses on it for as long as necessary. The focus can go pretty deep. There is no questioning of the auditee other than that the auditee may briefly summarize the outcome of the free association. The auditee is trained simply to observe and not to justify any outcome.

The insane form and pose a slightly different problem but essentially the same.

It is a clinically established observation that the reactive mind is relatively shallow. Below it lies the basic personality of the individual no matter how “insane” he may be. Therefore, by one means or another, a rational being may be reached within a person, a being which is not aberrated. It is this fact of non-aberration which makes the basic personality a difficult aid in diagnosis. Here however it can be established what the person really wants, what he hopes, what he actually feels. It has been observed that no matter what his raving state, providing his brain structure is normal and complete, the basic personality is entirely sound and sane and will cooperate. After auditing the person will become this strong, competent and able personality.

An insane person is simply too introverted. His attention needs to be extroverted before he can be audited. But this is the first step with any introverted person.

The reactive mind, when unable to exert itself to its aberrated full in the environment of the person, will break the person, or cause him to lose tone. Therefore it is of definite interest to discover what immediately preceded the break of the preclear or what is currently causing him unhappiness. Something is dispersing his dynamics. The probability is that he has a chronic restimulator in his vicinity. Wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, superiors, etc., can be the source of such breaking since they turn the purpose of the reactive mind, which pretends to desire above all else the best interest of the person, back upon the person himself. Thus these sources cause the individual to lower back into the tone of the reactive mind, apathy, or a low tone two.

Diagnosis is isolating the difficulty to focus on. The difficulty may be understood broadly at first whatever is currently causing him unhappiness. As auditing proceeds, this difficulty may be narrowed down to something more specific. When there is a mental breakdown one may isolate the difficulty that preceded the break. There may be persons associated with the difficulty. The free association then includes their personalities.

The problem of the fixed person and the problem of the sympathy engram are both visible in the aberrated individual. The identity thought of the reactive mind has taken some part of the personality of some individual in the current environment and referred it to some part of the personality of an individual in the engramic past. The discovery of this identity is one of the principal problems in auditing. The sympathy engram is of a very specific nature, being the effort of the parent or guardian to be kind to a child who is severely hurt. If that parent or guardian has shown the child antagonism prior to the time of the injury, the adult (preclear) is prone to reactivate the injury in the presence of the identity personality with whom he is now associated. This causes many somatic ills to present themselves in the present. Only the exact words of a sympathy engram will soothe the aberrated personality.

A key problem occurs when a person gets attached to somebody because that person is similar to a personality in his engramic data. Discovering this brings great relief. Another key problem occurs when the engramic data is making a person ill in an effort to gain sympathy from somebody similar to an engramic personality.

There are not many personality types. A human being learns through mimicry. If his own self is found to be too painful he can become another self and very often does. A tone four can become another person at will without being aberrated about it, thus enjoying books and plays by “being” the person portrayed. But an aberrated individual can become part of the engramic cast of his reactive mind and so solve all of his problems in such an aberrated fashion. Aberrated persons are not themselves since they do not possess their own determinism.

As has been stated, those emotions, doubts, worries and problems which confront the auditor when attempting to place the preclear in reverie or to work him in that reverie will lead the auditor into the basic content of the reactive mind.

There are certain definite manifestations which can be suspected and certain routines which follow every case. Every human being has been carried in the womb and every human being has been born. The discovery of the basic engram on each chain is extremely important. Finding the basic engram is like taking the enemy in the flank. There is nothing before it, therefore the end most remote from the adult life of the individual is the end most exposed for the attack of the auditor.

The above is good to know. The mind engages its knowledge in free association as it sees fit. The mind is not consciously directed in any way.

In the basic engram the preclear can see, feel, hear, and freely emote. When he is returned to later incidents, it may be found that he cannot do these things no matter how hard the auditor works to enable him to do so. By pursuing the engramic chain up its chronological sequence, this ability will be restored. Therefore it is necessary first and foremost to locate the basic engram. This may, in some few cases, lie later than birth. In the majority of the cases it will be found to lie at or before birth. No discussion is here entered about the ability of the human mind to remember at such remote periods. It can be stated however that when engramic data does exist, the time track is opened by pain and antagonism at these extreme points and can be contacted and exhausted. It is with the greatest difficulty that the auditor will find the basic engram. It is ordinarily quite painful, and since the scanning mechanism has as its purpose (or one of its purposes) the avoidance of pain, it will not easily reach them. Like the scanning mechanism on a cathode ray tube, the scanners of even a very reduced potential analytical mind sweep over, skipping and not touching the data on the engramic chain. By various means the auditor must then require the scanners to contact that data and force the data back onto the time track where it can be properly exhausted.

In Dianetics procedure one’s primary effort is to find the basic engram by tracing the somatics down the time track, and force its contents into awareness. This is a simplistic model and dangerous. It does not work always, and it does create problems.

In Mindfulness procedure, the mind finds its own best way to assimilate the aberrated nodes back into the mental matrix. The mind is neither forced nor directed in any way. The concentrated focus on the difficulty maintains the general pressure on the mind to keep freely associating to resolve the difficulty. This approach is very safe.

Light prenatals are the best possible approach to a case. When the only prenatal is an extremely heavy one or an attempted abortion (which, by the way, are very common), the auditor must use a great deal of guile. It can be said that the basic engram and the beginning of the actual engram chains is very early, before, near, or during birth, is painful, and will not be easily contacted. In that few preclears have more than a few hundred serious engrams, the task is light when once begun but requires a great deal of imagination and persuasion.

The early Dianetics procedure made guesses and then used lot of cleverness to contact the actual engramic data. This is trial and error that can backfire. No such guile, imagination or cleverness is required in the mindfulness approach. It renders the use of E-meter unnecessary.

A prenatal must always be suspected unless birth, when lifted, rises easily into a tone four. If none of the engrams will rise into a tone four, the auditor would suppose that he has not discovered the basic. There are three kinds of engrams: the precursor, the engram and the follower. By engram here is meant that experience which the auditor has found and is working upon. If it does not seem to be lifting after a few recountings, a precursor (earlier engram) must be suspected and returned to. In this way an earlier basic may be discovered. Blows in the womb, attempted abortions, and birth are the usual basics. Easily the most important are the prenatals.

All this information should just be kept as part of background knowledge. It is not used consciously in mindfulness auditing. This information may or may not be applicable. The missing data could simply be not having connected all the dots. It could be more than just a single basic incident at the bottom of it.

When a child is abnormally afraid of the dark, he probably has a severe engramic experience in prenatal. This prenatal experience will include all the sound data and sensory data of the incident. It is idiotic and identical. The preclear will have somatics. These on the first few recountings will be ordinarily faint and then become more severe as more data is located. The data will finally be in a more or less complete state and the engram will begin to lift, rising up through the various tones. All prenatals are apathy experiences and are therefore serious. Minor taps and discomforts in the womb are of no consequence. A true engram will consist of such a thing as a knitting needle being rammed through the foetus, half of the foetus’ head being badly injured, blows of various kinds bringing about foetal unconsciousness and so forth. Return eventually will find an opening into any period when there has been pain.

Disbeliefs and antagonisms from the preclear on the subject of such a thing as an attempted abortion should be overlooked by the auditor or taken into account as the sign of an existing engram. A case is recalled wherein a girl insisted that if an abortion had ever been attempted on her it should have been successful. Through several sessions, while an attempt was made to lift birth, she continued this assertion until the auditor realized that this was probably a remark made by the abortionist (or the mother) when his efforts failed. As soon as this was suggested to the girl she was able to contact the actual incident. A chronic apathy case under treatment for some years in an institution, she suddenly responded to auditing, brought the abortion to tone four, erased birth to tone four and recovered mentally and physically into a social asset well above normal.

The auditor should continue to suspect prenatals as long as he cannot get later engrams easily into tone four. Once an engramic chain has been lifted at its end nearest to conception, the preclear should begin to release relatively automatically, aided but little by the auditor. The erasure should be in terms of laughter at its optimum. This laughter is the reversing of charges residual in the locks which depended for their fear content or antagonistic content upon the basic engrams.

If a prenatal painful experience is there it will come up automatically in the mindfulness approach.

Abortion attempts are easy to recognize when an auditor has had some experience. The parent who attempted the abortion will, after the child’s birth, likely be a source of anxiety to the individual who seems to require a great deal of affection and attraction from that parent. The individual will be found to be most fond of the parent (or other) who did not aid, or who actually tried to prevent the abortion attempt. At this time abortion attempts are extremely common. When an abortion attempt has been lifted, the engramic chain should easily be brought to the time track and exhausted.

If an abortion attempt painful experience is there it will come up automatically in the mindfulness approach.

Auditing is essentially very simple but it demands precise understanding of the principles involved and imagination and sympathy on the part of the auditor. He must learn to compute engramically—or learn to think with his analytical mind, only for the purposes of auditing others, engramically. His biggest problem is the discovery of the basic of basics. It may elude him for a considerable period of time.

The primary principle that is necessary is to keep the viewpoint objective and to relegate any assumption to the background. As the process of free association may take some time to conclude, a bit of patience is required.

There is, however, preparatory work to do in a case other than the discovery of the basic. Occasionally an entire time track must be rehabilitated in which “do not remember” and “can’t remember” have obscured the track. Later locks can be found and exhausted in the same manner that engrams are exhausted, and rapid scanning methods may be developed in the future for these. The hysteria or fear of the individual can be momentarily allayed one way or the other and the problem of reaching the basic can be entered upon. There are as many types of case as there are cases, but these are the primary fundamentals.

If the auditee is concerned about nothing coming up in a session then he may focus on the difficulty with remembering. The focus on difficulty may thus shift in the mindfulness approach as the situation arises.

An auditor must think his way through every case, taking as his data the constantly reiterated statements of the preclear during auditing, and accumulating experience as to how incidents can be thrust off the time track, burying them from sight by the analytical mind, thus forming a reactive mind to the detriment of the organism.

The Dianetics procedure depends on the ability of the auditor to “compute” the case. That is a great weakness of this procedure. In mindfulness procedure, no such computation is required. Even when one can guess the content of engramic node, such knowledge is simply kept in the background.  



KEY WORDS: Identity thought, Basic Personality, Sympathy Engram, Valence.

Diagnosis means isolating the difficulty that a person (auditee) is going to focus on in his auditing session. The difficulty may be understood broadly at first as whatever the auditee is unhappy about. As auditing proceeds, this difficulty may be narrowed down to something more specific.

Dianetics assumes that all aberrations arise, ultimately, from a physically painful experience. In its opinion, locating and running that painful incident is the fastest way of curing that person. Therefore, Dianetics employs the method of “return”, or light regression, to make the auditee re-experience an incident that is causing his difficulty. There is, however, not always a clear cut incident to return to.

Mindfulness auditing, on the other hand, employs the method where the auditee focuses on the difficulty while letting the mind freely associate whatever data it finds. The auditee is not made to recall or return to some incident. Instead he simply concentrates on the details of his difficulty. Mind shall automatically associate freely the data available to it.  If there is an incident to come up, it will do so. The auditee is trained to simply observe and not to justify what comes up. This way his focus can go pretty deep.

The auditee will discover details about his difficulty but he is not required to provide them to the counselor (auditor). He may discuss whatever details he wants to as part of further diagnosis. If the auditee is concerned about nothing coming up in a session then he may focus on the difficulty with remembering. The difficulty to be focused on may thus shift in the mindfulness approach as the situation arises.

When there is a mental breakdown one may look at the difficulty that preceded the break. When the auditee is too introverted his attention needs to be extroverted by taking walks, or by changing his environment, before he can avail of an auditing session.


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