Reversion Therapists Lie on TV

Reversion Therapists Lie on TV December 3, 2012

Warren Throckmorton watched a couple of prominent advocates of gay reversion/reparation therapy go on TV with Dr. Oz and lie about what that therapy entails and what their views are on homosexuality. They’re trying to portray these “pray away the gay” ideas as kind and loving, not hateful and destructive.

For example, they denied that this kind of therapy tells gay people that there’s something wrong with them. As Throckmorton points out, as the 2:45 point of this video clip, a gay rights activist says, correctly, that reversion therapy inherently implies that there’s something wrong with gay people that they have to fix to be healthy and “normal.” Julie Hamilton, a proponent of that therapy, says she agrees and then says:

Reparative therapy does not tell children that there is something wrong with them.

But her writings are full of such proclamations, saying that men are turned gay because they don’t have a close relationship with their fathers and such. And she has edited a book on such therapy that includes statements like this, from anti-gay bigot Joseph Nicolosi:

The homosexually oriented man typically carries a deep sense of shame for his strivings to make a connection with the masculine. On some level, he believes he is defective, insignificant, and depleted in his masculinity. Homosexual acting-out seems to promise reparation of those negative feelings, i.e., attention, admiration, and masculine reassurance, adding with it the reassurance that he truly does possess a worthy male body.

I think it’s great that Throckmorton, who at one time helped advocate this sort of thing (though never in favor of forcing anyone into it), has over the last couple years started to call out these people for their distortions.

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  • Why would anyone obtain “therapy” to correct something that’s not wrong in the first place? It’s like going to a therapist because you are a successful student…

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Reparative therapy does not tell children that there is something wrong with them.

    This statement is self-refuting, since you don’t repair things that are not broken.

  • iknklast

    So they not only torture logic, they also torture the language. The very word “reparative” implies that something is broken. If it isn’t broken, you don’t fix it (as the old axiom goes).

  • Chiroptera

    Spanish Inquisitor, #1: It’s like going to a therapist because you are a successful student…

    You’re talking about advocates of an extreme anti-intellectualism. I can totally see this coming next down the road.

  • marcus

    There isn’t much being said about Oz’s take on this crap. I am unable (unwilling also as I might be tempted to put my fist through my monitor)to watch the video. Synopsis anyone?

  • MikeMa

    The term reparative does imply that something is in need of repair. Still, rather than change their outlook to accept that gay is not a choice or not in need of repair, they will more likely change the name.

    Normalization Therapy

    Actualization Therapy

    Instreaming Therapy

    That is what the creationists tried to do. I hope these bigots will be just as successful.

  • I find it interesting that on her own website, in her biography she does not state where Dr. Julie Hamilton received her doctorate. Seems a bit odd.

  • Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Why would anyone obtain “therapy” to correct something that’s not wrong in the first place? It’s like going to a therapist because you are a successful student…

    No. It’s like being forced to go to a therapist because you are a successful art history student, who enjoys art history, but whose parents are deeply concerned that for some values of “productive” art history is not as productive as, say, metallurgy.

    ReSTEMative therapy: fix your child’s craving for a degree with no reasonable connection to a productive career!!!

    “Because we love your perfect child so much, we’ll rip that useless, maladaptive lust for connection and beauty out of their deranged psyches and replace it with a healthy outlook that values making new, useful cogs for our most important machines.”

  • kosk11348

    Aren’t you guys used to parsing wingnut yet? Hamilton said “Reparative therapy does not tell children that there is something wrong with them.” The key phrase is with them. It’s the old “love the sinner, hate the sin” approach. They don’t teach that there is anything innately wrong with homosexuals, only that homosexuality is wrong. Reparative therapy is supposed to be the “proof” that homosexuals are not a lost cause, since they too can find Jesus and stop their sinning.

  • slc1

    Re usingreason @ #7

    Ms. Hamilton teaches at Palm Beach Atlantic Un. Among its “distinguished” alumni is one Victoria Jackson, a frequent butt of Mr. Brayton’s humor.

    A quick and dirty Google search failed to turn up the educational institution where Ms. Hamilton earned her PhD (WPBU doesn’t appear to have a faculty directory).

  • gopiballava

    I think that Crip has it right.

    It’s also possible that, extending Crip’s analogy, the student themselves would be unhappy and depressed when reading about average salaries for art history graduates, and want help forming a new career choice. Equally, a gay person might hear about the tortures of hell and want help avoiding them.

    If they’re an adult, they have the right to be misguided. As a provider of commercial services, a practitioner can and should be held to a high standard – no unprovable claims about how perfect their service is. IMHO it should be illegal to force children into reversion therapy given the evidence of harm.

    Here’s my favorite take on the topic:

  • @slc1

    Lol, following links from Victoria Jackson’s twitter lead me to some of the craziest crap I’ve ever seen. I would not recommend it, seriously mind damaging things were seen. I can find no information on this woman’s doctorate and am in no way surprised.

  • Sastra

    Spanish Inquisitor #1 wrote:

    Why would anyone obtain “therapy” to correct something that’s not wrong in the first place?

    No, you’ve got it wrong. Reparative Therapy and Reversion Therapy are not “therapies” — they’re philosophies.

  • Ichthyic

    I’ve always found it interesting that homophobes like these “reversion therapists”, even, almost always only refer to males when they talk about homosexuality.

    why, it’s as if somehow talking about the other sex ALSO exhibiting homosexual tendencies would displace their entire mindset on the issue…

  • billydee

    Hamilton probably got her Ph.D from the same place David Barton does his research. UMA. The University of My Ass.

    There are way more ex-ex-gays than there are people who think they are ex-gays. Over the years I’ve met both kinds. Some of the ex-ex-gays are severely damaged. The ex-gays I’ve run into were in bars and other gay venues where they were trying to prove that they weren’t gay anymore. They are usually drunk and are trying to seduce everyone in the place.

    It’s just my opinion but I have a feeling that most ex-gays, and ex-ex-gays, come from Right Wing Christian backgrounds. I have never met one that grew up Unitarian or atheist, or agnostic.

  • Matt G

    Bull crap on the Dr. Oz Show? Say it isn’t so!

  • She was awarded her PhD at Nova Southeastern University, 1999, School of Social and Systemic Studies (no Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences.) Dissertation: Religious Faith as an Asset During Times of Crisis: A Qualititative Study. (sounds like single or multiple case study).

  • That should read “now called” Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

  • criticaldragon1177

    Ed Brayton,

    Why should anyone be surprised by this? What they’re doing is based on bigotry, not science or a genuine concern for other people’s well being.

  • Freeman

    I wonder what these loons would think of someone touting their reparative therapy to fix theism.

  • slc1

    Re Dr. X @ #17

    Based on the information on Wikipedia, Nova Southeastern Un. appears to be a legitimate institution and is definitely not a diploma mill. However, her dissertation does not inspire confidence in her ability to perform legitimate psychological studies. West Palm Beach Atlantic is another kettle of fish.

  • eric

    I wonder what these loons would think of someone touting their reparative therapy to fix theism.

    We know what they think about that. Here’s the latest example:

    “We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

    – 2012 Texas GOP platform.

  • SLC,

    There’s no way to evaluate Harren-Hamilton’s dissertation without reading it, but I wouldn’t assume that she did a poor job of it. I don’t know the process at NSU, but she had a committee that had to advise and approve it and I can only assume that her chair, Pat Cole, had a professional obligation to make sure that Harren adhered to minimum standards. That doesn’t mean it’s a great dissertation, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the final product is good piece of work or at least an acceptable piece of work by ordinary academic standards.

    I would not be shocked to learn that there was some serious tussling over special pleading, but that’s an assumption based entirely upon knowing the power that religious bias has exerted on Harren-Hamilton’s subsequent professional work. Her chair, Pat Cole, looks like she’s on the up and up, so I would expect that she wouldn’t have approved work that was nothing but a case of uncritical, religious propaganda.

    I don’t know if it was the dissertation topic itself or the fact that it was a qualitative study that prompted your suspicion, but case studies are legit in health-care/life sciences. In fact, they’re a vital part of the accumulating body of knowledge. It’s necessary to document complex social and clinical phenomena, and case studies are often a good starting point, e.g., X has proposed that… we will review the literature on … and examine three cases …. followed by a discussion of…

    Though I wouldn’t have chosen a title using the word “asset” (I’d probably go with “adaptive”), I don’t see a problem with case studies looking at religious belief in the context of reactions to crises. Doing so presents an opportunity to look at adaptive/maladaptive activity, both systemically and/or individually. A researcher isn’t proving anything with such a study, but that’s not the point of this sort of research. You can, instead, offer explanatory hypotheses that follow up research may be able to test.

    In the case of the functions of religious belief in family crises, the truth of the religious beliefs isn’t the object of study, rather it would be the role(s) such belief (or practice) plays in coping. Considering that belief in the supernatural, including a wide range of religious beliefs and practices, is so widespread among human beings, exploring possible adaptive and/or maladaptive functions in mental and social life is not only acceptable, but obligatory. I believe that Dawkins decided that religion is entirely a self-destructive byproduct of other selected traits, but that’s an unproven hypothesis on his part. One can certainly point out ways in which religion is a byproduct of other selected capacities (e.g., theory of mind) and it’s easy to point out many examples of maladaptivity, but I’m not aware that Dawkins actually studied religion at the level of individual coping with real-life adaptive challenges. Certainly, in psychology, we have no problem with the idea that false beliefs or self-deception can be, on balance, adaptive reactions.

  • slc1

    Re Dr. X @ #23

    I guess I’m just suspicious of someone in a secular department of a secular university, which I assume Nova Southeastern is, undertaking a thesis topic with a religious basis. Perhaps I am making a judgement based on her subsequent affiliation with Palm Beach Atlantic Un., which, from it’s wiki description, sounds like Florida’s equivalent to Liberty and Regent.

  • Agree about Palm Beach Atlantic. There are probably 20 PhDs in my field for every faculty position, so options for those looking to pursue teaching are narrow and mostly adjunct. I also imagine that there are few graduates who would fit the requirements to teach at Palm Beach Atlantic, assuming they expect adherence to the standard religious beliefs about matters such as homosexuality. All the way around, it may be a fortunate arrangement for Dr. Hamilton–within a tight market a relatively rare, perfect match, such as it is.

    Of course I don’t know how she’s regarded in the LMFT world (not my discipline, though I believe she was once president of their Florida association. Her reversion therapy pursuit likely goes down poorly with other LMFTs, but she may do good work in cases not involving homosexuality, but that’s anyone’s guess.