How do people get enthralled in Scientology? After all, it's a religion invented by a sci-fi author, their claims are rather ridiculous, and they milk money from their members like there's no tomorrow. Why would anybody become a member? Well, it works like this:
New potential members are drawn in by offering them free "auditing" sessions. "Auditing", as they call it, is basically just a fancy name for a form of light psychotherapy, which contains a form of light psychological manipulation.
The "patient" is subjected to somewhat standard psychotherapy: They are instructed to remember the most negative events in their early lives, and relive them in their minds as clearly as possible. They are then told that they are now clear of that negative memory. This is immediately followed by instructing them to remember one of the most positive early memories they have, to contrast it with the negative one. This is a form of light psychological manipulation mixed with actual psychotherapy: It makes the subjects feel better about themselves by "getting rid" of negative memories, and reinforcing positive ones.
Some people participating in these "auditing" sessions feel so much better that they are motivated to come back and repeat the experience. They strongly associate "auditing" with a positive outcome of feeling better and happier, and they want more of it. Some of them may become almost psychologically addicted to it. As a side-effect, the strong positive perception they gain of "auditing" and Scientology in general this way, lowers their critical thinking about everything else they will be taught there. After all, if these sessions make them feel so much better, surely there must be some truth to what they are saying?
Of course the catch here is that only the first few "auditing" sessions are free. Once the subject gets hooked, the sessions start costing some money. Little at first, but ever increasing. The more time the subject spends there, the more the subject "advances" in the cult, the more it will start costing them. The richer you are, and the more you advance, the more money you will find yourself spending there, up to rather outrageous sums (it has been estimated that the richest actors have paid millions of dollars in total to the cult.)
When they become involved in the cult, they are soon taught, like any
good religion does, to fear leaving the cult. They demonize and
dehumanize people who critique the church or have left it. They call
someone like that a "subversive person" and they instruct to avoid and
shun such people.
There's also demonstrably a lot more going on behind the scenes as well, as revealed by ex-member auditors, such as secretly recording the sessions of the richest and most influential members, who are revealing their innermost secrets in the auditing sessions, to blackmail them if they want to leave.
So, where does the irony, ie. hypocrisy, comes into play in all of this?
Well, you see, the church of Scientology is infamously vocal against the practice of psychology. It considers psychology to be an evil plan to control people and to suck money out of them... while they themselves are using psychotherapy to do that exact thing.
The hypocrisy is just astounding.