Hat tip to the hardworking folks at Box Turtle Bulletin who bring this report of an English journalist’s forray undercover into the world gay conversion therapy.
Happily out and gay Patrick Strudwick is a journalist for the British paper, The Independent. Strudwick spent some time undercover going to therapist sessions with a therapist who would attempt to convert him from gay to straight, apparently by discerning the cause of his homosexuality. His experience begins at a conference in London last spring put on by Joseph Nicolosi, founder of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).
Strudwick reports that Nicolosi claims, “Homosexual behaviour is always prompted by loneliness. It’s a pathology, a struggle to connect with the male identity.” Nicolosi goes on to use his tag line: “We advise fathers, ‘If you don’t hug your sons, some other man will.’ We train the mothers to back off.”
From there, Patrick underwent “therapy” with one of Nicolosi’s acolytes. As Strudwick writes:
She begins her wound hunt by asking about my family. I tell her that I have a close relationship with my parents and that they always gave me huge amounts of love, so I didn’t understand why Nicolosi says that homosexuality is caused by inadequate parenting. “Well, there was something happening within your family dynamics that led to your depression,” she says.
Lynne explains that people only identify as gay when they are already depressed. “There’s a confusion, there’s an anxiety, there’s a lot of pain,” she says. “Often the thought can be, ‘Oh I’m confused about my sexuality so I must be gay’.” She says that at the heart of homosexuality is a “deep isolation”, which is, she says, “where God needs to be”.
Since none of those situations seems to explain it, this therapist moves right on down the list to the crazy stuff:
“Did you have a difficult birth?” she asks. No, I say. Why?
And then she moves into the tired old realm of trying to blame it on some un-remembered sexual abuse in childhood.
No, I say. “There was no sexual abuse?” she asks, leaning in and squinting again. No, I repeat. “I think it will be there,” she replies, dropping her voice to a concerned tone. “It does need to come to the surface.”
This is why suggestive therapy is not acceptable. This is where “wounds” are created where none exist.
I think perhaps this lady learned her craft as an apprentice in the Ms. Cleo call center. Ms. Cleo, if you recall, was on TV constantly as the spokesperson for some 900 number fortune telling scam. She’s not unlike some of these psychics–I’m picking something…I think it’s “Joe”…yes, that’s it Joe. Does that mean anything to someone in here? Let’s see, and you know a Joe, and there was something bad…no, oh yeah, it is something good. Joe is laughing, does that mean anything? Oh, Joe was mute…oh but he’s not now, and that’s what he wants to tell you.
There are certainly good people who go into counseling. I’m lucky to have encountered a couple over the years, but there are also some people who are in far worse shape than the people they are counseling.