Ex-gay Therapist Says He Changes Gay Brains; Michael Bailey Says Prove It

Recently, on the Joni Show, ex-gay therapist Jerry Mungadze said his therapy helps rewire the brains of gay clients. Listen (see RWW for transcript):

If you want the full context, go to this segment on the Joni Show and hear the rest.

Mungadze did not say how he accomplished this or how he tested it. His website mentions neurotherapy but we are not given many specifics.

Being aware that Michael Bailey at Northwestern University has challenged ex-gay therapists to send clients to his lab for brain scans to assess change in sexual arousal patterns. I asked him if he was open to issuing the same challenge to Mungadze. As I expected he agreed enthusiastically. Essentially, the challenge requires that Mungadze send a client to his lab before and after therapy to see if sexual arousal patterns have changed. Mungadze can invite the press or any other observers if he wants to. Bailey and I have discussed this for several years and made these offers to others. Thus far, no one has taken him up on the offer. I wonder if Mungadze will.

 

 

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  • William Birch

    “Bailey and I have discussed this for several years and made these offers to others. Thus far, no one has taken him up on the offer.”

    How shocking! No one? Really? I wonder why.

    I suppose, then, that with bi-sexuals, their neurons fire only sometimes — sometimes yes, and the person desires the opposite sex; and sometimes no, and the person desires the same sex. This is “science”? How embarrassing.

  • Boo

    No, with bisexuals you’d brain scan them being exposed to heterosexual and homosexual stimuli and their brains would show response to both. Although evidence suggests it’s easier to detect bisexuals if Bailey is not involved inthe detecting.

    • William Birch

      Nice!

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Boo/William – Bailey has since assessed bisexuals in the lab and acknowledges bisexual patterns. See this pdf http://www.bibrain.org/ControversyOverBaileyV2.0.pdf

    • William Birch

      Thank you for that!

      BTW, I got the names switched for a second (Bailey and Mungadze). My “Nice!” response would have been directed toward Mungadze, not Bailey.

  • Zoe Brain

    Sample size > 1 would be good too.

  • buddyglass

    There’s more than one way to “rewire” a brain. Maybe he just means that he’s “rewired” the brain by teaching the individual coping techniques that allow him to resist the temptations SSA presents and to not be entirely disgusted by the prospect of heterosexual intercourse (even if it’s not something eagerly desired). That would still be “something”, even if it’s not a complete reversal of the brain’s arousal responses.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    buddyglass – As I will point out in a future post, Mungadze believes he can read brains via the colors assigned to various parts of the brain by the patient. He gives his patients markers/crayons and asks them to color in the various brain structures. He then reads them like inkblots or tea leaves. He really thinks he is peering into someone’s brain.

    • buddyglass

      Warran- yeah, that’s bizarre. My only point is that “no change in arousal response measured via brain scans” doesn’t necessarily imply “therapy was a failure and had no lasting effect”.

  • Zoe Brain

    “Dr. Mungadze received a BS in Bible from Dallas Bible College in Dallas, Texas, an MA in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas, and a Ph.D. in counselor education with a minor in psychology from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. ”

    Dr. Mungadze is a member and frequent presenter for the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), the American Academy of Christian Counselors (AACC), the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, and Texas Victims Services Association (TVSA).

    In addition to his private clinic, Dr. Mungadze is an Adjunct Professor at Dallas Baptist University in Dallas, Texas.”

    It’s not impossible he knows something about neurobiology. The problem is that because of the AACC’s ethical standards regarding Transgender and Sexual Orientation, he has to ignore a lot. Less than you might think though, PTSD causes structural changes in the plastic areas of the brain, ones visible in imaging. But the areas we’re looking at have no evidence of plasticity.

    I really hope he takes up Bailey’s offer. While I have differences with the man and think he’s impossible to deal with, he may know his stuff here too.

    If we don’t experiment, and go where the facts lead us, we’re not scientists. It would be very very exciting indeed if such changes were shown in double-blind experiments with large sample sizes. It would force us to re-evaluate a lot of what we think we know.

    I’m not holding my breath though.

  • Boo

    Warren- that link purporting to correct distortions itself contains a number of rather glaring distortions, but I assume you don’t want this thread diverted into being all about Bailey.

  • Dave

    Perhaps I missed a step here but I would think sexual arousal alone would not be the key to determining whether someone has changed from gay to straight since orientation is (from what I understand) much broader than that. While being aroused by someone typically travels together with finding them romantically attractive I am sure there are circumstances where one does not neccessarily indicate the other.

    Blessings,

    Dave

  • Boo

    Actually Warren, strike what I just said about diversion. Your citation of that article implies you consider it a credible source, so let me ask you a simple question:

    If David Barton began going around claiming, without offering any evidence, that you are part of a very small band of activists who are only criticizing him because you are mentally ill, what would your response be? (that’s not a rhetorical question, I’m honestly curious) Would he be exhibiting scholarly integrity in making that claim?

    • ken

      Boo says:

      June 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      “Would he be exhibiting scholarly integrity in making that claim?”

      No he would not, but just because someone has one instance of bad behaviour doesn’t invalidate all of his work.

  • Jayme Peta

    I often think that almost anyone can make the claim that they are “rewiring the brain.” I mean, yes, wouldn’t you assume that a certain amount of intensive therapy would change brain patterns? Does this mean that the brain is “rewired” or that, even this was a beneficial change and not just a change is the kind of result that one might see after any sort of behavioral training, regardless of whether it is good or bad? Doesn’t training response with reward and punishment practically REQUIRE “rewiring?” I’m sorry I just don’t think that we’re going to somehow see, in the brain, anything that shows if someone is “truly” gay or not, or whether they’ve changed.

  • Boo

    No, and neither does a pattern of responding to criticism of one’s work purely with ad hominems, many of which turn out not to be true, necessarily. But it does mean the test would have more credibility if done by someone else. (If one were to grant that sort of test can determine orientation in the first place, of course).

    My basic problem with the guy is that if you look at his history, he does have a clear pattern of accepting any evidence that accords with what he wants to believe at face value, even if it turns out later to be fraudulant **coughcoughKiiraTrieacoughcough** while reaching for any excuse he can to dsmiss any evidence which contradicts what he wants to believe out of hand. Claiming that anyone who tells you something you don’t want to hear must automatically be lying or deluded is not the mark of a good scientist, and attitude is a poor substitute for rigor.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      Boo – You are right, I don’t want this thread to be about Bailey. I only brought out the bisexual foundation paper as an indicator that Bailey changed his mind on bisexuality. There might be a thread in the future to discuss the issues you are referring to but this isn’t it.

  • Patrocles

    Sexual arousal was mostly tested by pupil dilation and phallometry. Both methods are plausible and in accordance with everyday life experience. The pupil diation method is just now defended by a study from Cornell University.

    The brain scan method sounds, of course, much more “scientific”, mostly because it requires a technical kit and because it has nothing to do with everyday life experience., But I wonder if it is really as good or better validated than the other methods.

    As for Mudzenga I suppose that we’d have at first to test what brain parts are affected in what way when a patient chooses a colour for the colouring of a brain graphics.

    Might we have an instinctive feeling which connects brain parts with emotions – in the way we instinctively connect other body parts (the heart, the solarplexus etc.) with psychological givens?

  • Zoe Brain

    We need several cohorts for such an experiment.

    Start with 3 groups, one (A) gay about to go through Mudzenga’s therapy, one gay and not going through it (B), one control (C).

    Expectation: A and B will show similarities with each other, and both show differences from C.

    Then post-M treatment,

    1) B should show differences from A

    2) B should show similarities to C

    3) A should show same differences from C as before.

    4) C should show no change.

    If only 1) and 3) were both true, and in areas not known to be neuroplastic, that would be novel. If all 4 were true, we’d say that the M treatment does what it claims to do.

    We’d even learn a lot if we only looked at neuroplastic areas. Though if hormones were involved in the treatment, we’d learn less.

    See

    Changing your sex changes your brain: influences of testosterone and estrogen on adult human brain structure by Pol et al, Europ Jnl Endocrinology, Vol 155, suppl_1, S107-S114 2006

    Next, we’d try to correlate self-reporting with any differences to see if that is a reliable proxy.

    Finally, long-term follow up of all cohorts.

    Everything should be double-blind, with imagers unaware of which cohort each subject belongs to. Peer-review of experimentation and ethics both before and during.

    Anyone see flaws in this concept? How big should each cohort be for confidence?

    My own confidence in Bailey should be irrelevant here – double-blind plus peer review should remove any bias, that’s why we do it, as we may not be aware of our own subjectivity.

    There’s probably at least one PhD thesis here. It would be important to publish the results though, regardless of whether the hypothesis is evidenced or not. Others may find things in the data we’ve missed.

  • Michael Bussee

    Notice Joe Dallas (formerly of Exodus and Restored Hope Network) nodding in agreement as Anne Paulk of Restored Hope Network looks on. Restored Hope Network is the group that now endorses NARTH and reparative therapy and calls Exodus “heretical”. Exodus dumped NARTH last year after Joe Nicolosi suggested using gay porn to reduce “SSA”. Also last year, Alan Chambers (President of Exodus) admitted that “99.9% do not change their sexual orientation.

    • AJ

      I noticed that also with Joe Dallas. What is his deal? I heard him speak at an Exodus conference years ago. I went up to him afterward to speak to him, and I remember him basically saying to not count on much change in attractions. And now he’s on this show nodding his head as this guy spouts nonsense. I have to say that I am surprised that he is coming down on this side instead of the Exodus side of telling the truth.

  • Wayne Besen

    Truth Wins Out has the latest on the scientific research and bisexuality. The first video is from a researcher in Bailey’s lab:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TehwQSWH6hY

    The second is from a researcher at the Kinsey Institute.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdZiRZrVUWc

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      Yes, but Wayne, do you have crayons?

  • Wayne Besen

    I prefer to finger paint — I find it significantly increases the accuracy of my scientific experiments


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