Disconnection is the Scientologist practice of severing ties between a member and friends, colleagues, who disapprove of or criticize Scientology practices; that is, "sources of disinformation (entheta)", or Potential Trouble Sources (PTS), or Suppressive Persons (SP), that interfere with their progress in the organization. The practice was said to have ended in 1969 and then reinstated in 1983.
Like the related (but converse) practice of shunning, disconnection has ended marriages and separated families.
The official organization of Scientology asserts that disconnection is a necessary procedure to free members from persons who have a negative effect on their "spiritual growth." According to official Church statements, this practice is that it is an absolute extreme, after dialog and mediation has been exhausted. If family members of a Scientologist do not agree with his or her faith but respect his or her choices, this is not reason for disconnection. Only in the more extreme cases when someone actively disrupts or interferes with one's pursuit of "spiritual freedom" through Scientology is when, as a last resort, disconnection is used.
Disconnection is also advised when one is confronted with an abusive situation such as spousal abuse.
In contrast, critics assert that the real reason for this policy is to block access of Scientologists to any source of information contradicting the claims made by Scientology management. Despite the claims of Scientology that disconnection is a "last resort," they state, it has often been used to attack families who try to bring their relatives out of Scientology.