Contrary to what Ananon says above, they actually are a Church and do actually have Sunday services, which can be spiritually or religiously oriented at times. But members of this church are not required to attend unless they want to. And the church is non-denominational. There are Jewish members, Christian Members, Muslim members, Hindu members, etc.. All are welcome and nothing taught interferes with their own religion nor does anyone try to. I believe that the membership numbers of people enrolled for this church runs in the millions. So a lot of people like it.
But the other part of this church is the self-improvement school that you could envision as a business, though they are a non-profit organization. But people have to be paid. They don't teach, supervise, and council for nothing - just like any other school as : A Business school, Dale Carnegie, Community College, etc... And there are books, course materials and supplies that people need to do the course or short seminars that are sometimes given. The Government doesn't fund this.
The school part is quite fun because you can actually choose from a catalogue of fun courses which have innovative technology, including topics like: How to communicate better; How to stop your ups and downs in life; How to handle negative people; How to Improve your marriage; How to overcome fears; how to confront life; how to work more efficiently; how to earn more money; how to study more efficiently; (these are not exact titles i'm giving you - but similar) And these courses are very inexpensive. They have flexible hours to do them as days, nights or weekends. They are fun to do. They give you information that seems to work, practical applications and drills so you actually do on course so that when you leave there, you can actually do it out there in the real world. You learn a lot. Meet a lot of nice people too.
They also have more advanced courses if people want to go on from basics and become more expert and those cost more and take longer to study.
They do have counseling sessions to help you deal with personal problems. If you have one of their trained experts do it then these sessions would cost you about what it would be to pay a Psychiatrist for an office visit. Scientology usually recommends so many sessions for you depending on an interview you get with case supervisor and what they think it would require to help you with those problems. But, you can also do them much more inexpensively if you take a course that teaches you how to do it and then you do it with another person who is also a student.
The only difference in these type of counseling sessions is that the sessions are not like going to psychiatrist where they would evaluate for you and give you heavy pharmaceutical medications to help you solve your personal problems. To the contrary, these sessions are designed to assist you to look at your existence, confront your problems and come to your own conclusions. And they use very innovative and scientifically designed methods.
They also do not administer or prescribe drugs. That's left up to your own doctor. But they are more holistically oriented in some ways. For example: they have a program called a ""Purification Rundown,"" which is a health process, using a sauna, light exercise and some excellent vitamins to help you to detoxify and achieve better health.
The founder of this Church, L. Ron Hubbard was interested in religion, but also how to improve man in many ways. He studied extensively in the scientific fields and so created programs above that are more of an exact science then just theory and work if you apply them as given.