I tried some Dianetics books in high school. They do have some funky (if simple) psychological techniques, although you'd think meditation or creative role-playing might take you much the same place - if you "focused" on it enough. I tried "analysis" on a friend a few times. I often felt it was something like fortune telling, requiring a lot of guesswork and chance. That is, unless you like psychoanalytic models where everything leads back to the parents, or back to some other fixed model you've already chosen. In which case, you would just keep tossing the patient different topics with different hints until you get there. At least as an amateur working off a book more about meditation tricks, I was doing that.
Then we picked up a report in some magazine (I wanted to say Time or Newsweek, but can't seem to track it down now). It was a long running list, rather like the video, of disaffected celebrity followers, possible Silence of the Lambs cases, cooked books, and clashes with the government. Besides claims of bullying the flock, a mention particularly that jolted me was a reference to the organization being associated with some sort of rocket attack in California. It might have been in the 70's, and these days I wouldn't dismiss an organization's whole name simply because it got violent once or twice. But, the whole package felt fishy in addition to my being much more reactionary then. We dropped that pursuit.
Scientology seems to be trying to occupy a number of different roles. As I gather, some of it can be spiritual. Some is claiming to be more therapeutic. From the video history of legal issues, it seems to have an organized crime component too. As a business, there is this massive book and "workshop" push with special efforts to land on best seller lists and plenty of hefty marketing and retail work. When the IRS comes along, it refers to religion. And, there are certain scientific and religious structures and concepts among the ingredients. I can say that, without fussing about how much or what quality are required to be rated "a science" or "a religion."
It's true that various types of functions like these can't be neatly categorized in modern societies. They don't precisely fall under any one type of institution or practice all the time, no matter what the formal names or categories are. The impression I get about Scientology though, is that its bureaucracy is very interested in occluding or misrepresenting the actual links between its various faces. It also appears the outfit is trying to conceal something that is particularly hard to hide: Perhaps more business is being served than spirit. There is a certain desperation to enforce order visibly that suggests special duplicity. A happy, happy church of free choice shouldn't need a press gang to keep people inside. A well-planned psychiatric program that works, shouldn't be too closely associated with sapping physical health and funds to the point of exhaustion.
Granted, other businesses and more established churches have similar edges to them. Still, I have an impression that Scientology is doing something to crack certain, deeply cherished social limits and eventually, emotional tripwires about standards for abuse better than some larger groups. It wouldn't be the first time one organization becomes the depository of society's unease with some really pervasive issues. But in itself, that's not a good reason not to question that particular depository closely and pick apart the issues. Particularly if lots of disaffected people are streaming out of that organization.