The former clients said they were emotionally scarred by false promises of inner transformation and humiliating techniques that included stripping naked in front of the counselor and beating effigies of their mothers. They paid thousands of dollars in fees over time, they said, only to be told that the lack of change in their sexual feelings was their own fault....There's a lot of ineffective counseling out there. At what point do you call it consumer fraud and dole out damages to the patients who volunteered for it and emerged with new problems or the same problems/nonproblems they began with?
Since the 1970s, when mainstream mental health associations stopped branding homosexuality as a disorder, a small network of renegade therapists, conservative religious leaders and self-identified “life coaches” has continued to argue that it is not inborn, but an aberration rooted in childhood trauma. Homosexuality is caused, these therapists say, by a stifling of normal masculine development, often by distant fathers and overbearing mothers or by early sexual abuse.
“The defendants peddled antigay pseudoscience, defaming gay people as loathsome and deranged,” said Sam Wolfe, a lawyer with the [Southern Poverty Law Center].In the mental health (and religion) field, where does the science end and the pseudoscience begin? Freudian therapy is pseudoscience, isn't it? How about getting all the psychiatrists of the world to cough up all the fees they've collected over the decades?
Obviously, Wolfe begins with the position that the perceived problem is not a problem, and he has no sympathy for those who offer to cure the nonproblem and is uninhibited in his efforts to pump up hatred of those terrible bigots. Loathsome! Deranged!
We can find more civil, moderate, and non-litigious approaches to ending the pain caused by these misguided attempts at reorienting sexuality. I recommend more science, more conversation, more intelligence, more empathy... for everyone.