Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Straight and Narrow Minded

The Washington Post has an article describing the practice of reparative therapy, a treatment designed to make gay people straight.

Until the early 1990s the treatment, also known as reorientation therapy, was largely relegated to religious groups or to the fringes of mental health. Mainstream therapists have been taught to help patients distressed about their homosexuality work toward self-acceptance, to overcome the internalized homophobia thought to be the cause of much emotional turmoil.

Reparative therapists reject the views held by an overwhelming majority of mental health practitioners. They regard homosexuality as a pathological preference forged in the crucible of a troubled childhood and not, as most scientists believe, an inborn orientation significantly influenced by biological factors such as genetics and exposure to hormones in the womb.
The Post reports that this kind of nonsense is gaining purchase in mainstream culture. Pretty scary.

If the article piques your interest, there’s an accompanying profile on one of the leading practitioners of reparative therapy, a “cured” homosexual, Richard A. Cohen.

He is not licensed as a therapist, he explained, because he "didn't want to jump through the hoops and deal with the heterophobia and anti-ex-gay attitudes." He circumvents the licensing requirement by asking for donations to his foundation. "I am not doing therapy per se," he said. "I'm coaching."

In 2002, Cohen was permanently expelled from the American Counseling Association (ACA) for multiple ethical violations.
No, no, this guy knows what he’s talking about. He’s got a lot of great techniques. He advises gay patients to pray for heterosexuality and has them hit a stack of pillows with a tennis racquet while yelling “daddy.”

I don’t know why it’s taken this long to catch on.

--Matthew McCoy