Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Gay conversion in the UK

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There was an excellent article in yesterday's Independent, in which journalist Patrick Strudwick described the experience of going undercover in the murky world of "sexual reorientation", in which therapists of dubious repute set about trying to "convert" gay people to heterosexuality. It's something that's more commonly associated with the US, but as Strudwick reveals, it appears to be thriving here in the UK too.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there's a strong evangelical Christian element. Strudwick had sessions with two therapists, and one of them in particular, who he calls Lynne, mixes religion in with her entirely predictable explanations for homeosexuality (neither of which apply to Strudwick) – child abuse and a "difficult birth" ("Often [with homosexuality the birth] is quite traumatic, the baby was put into intensive care and because of the separation from the mother there can be that lack of attachment").

Lynne is a member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (Strudwick has since reported her to them) and, perhaps most shockingly, she suggests that a local NHS GPs surgery refers "patients" to her for treatment, although she says it is best to say you need treatment for "anxiety and depression". When Strudwick phones the surgery in question, one of the partners tells him they do not refer people for reorientation therapy.

Concluding his research, Strudwick asked UCL psychiatrist Professor Michael King to comment on the practices of the two therapists he dealt with. Here's what he said about Lynne:
"This is grossly improper practice. She's imposing prayer and using evidence-free techniques. The whole approach towards the subject of sexual abuse is extremely unprofessional. Leading [and] suggestion in a therapeutic situation is the absolute antithesis of what an exploration of sexual abuse should be about. It's the base of many of these false memory syndromes. She should not be able to get referrals from a GP. Her membership of the BACP should be immediately revoked."
It really is an excellent article - I urge you to go and read the whole thing.


tall penguin said...

A fantastic article. And yet another reason for my strong dislike of fundamental Christianity. So much psychological harm being done in the name of their Sky Daddy. It makes me ill.

I'm a former Jehovah's Witness and was just speaking to a JW friend who has recently left the group. She was telling me that there are so many closeted homosexuals in the JW's having secret sex so as to keep their family ties, as excommunicated JW's are shunned for their sins.

It's sad to have to hide who you are. And worse still, to have someone mess with your mind in the name of their imaginary friend just for your natural inclinations. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

> entirely predictable explanations for homeosexuality

Is that homosexuality that has been so extremely diluted that nobody can detect a trace of it in the person -- and is thereby far more powerful?

moscow-brat said...

I was particularly amused by the lady's statement that the presence of Freemasons in one's family causes homosexuality!
Were there Freemasons in ancient Rome?