It was worth a shot, wasn’t it?!?!
A group of men are taking therapists to court for deceiving them after the promise to help them ‘overcome unwanted attractions’ failed…SMH.
According to The New York Times,
In New Jersey on Tuesday, four gay men who tried the therapy filed a civil suit against a prominent counseling group, charging it with deceptive practices under the state’s Consumer Fraud Act.
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 feelings was their own fault.
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” have 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 physical abuse.
But leading scientific and medical groups say that the theories of homosexuality are unfounded and that there is no evidence that core inner-urges can be changed. They also warn that the therapy can, in the words of the American Psychiatric Association, cause “depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior” and “reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.”
One former patient in the suit, Michael Ferguson, 30, who is now a doctoral candidate in neuroscience at the University of Utah, sought help from Jonah in 2008. He tried to battle his homosexuality, he said, when he was a practicing Mormon who believed that only those in a heterosexual marriage could achieve eternal bliss.
“It becomes fraudulent, even cruel,” he said in an interview. “To say that if you really want to change you could — that’s an awful thing to tell somebody.”
“I was encouraged to develop anger and rage toward my parents,” he added. “The notion that your parents caused this is a horrible lie. They ask you to blame your mother for being loving and wonderful.”
Another former patient in the suit, Chaim Levin, 23, grew up in an Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn where, he said, being gay seemed unthinkable.
Referred to Jonah by a rabbi when he was 18, Mr. Levin began attending weekend retreats at $650 each. For a year and a half, he had weekly private sessions with Mr. Downing as well as weekly group sessions. He quit, he said, after Mr. Downing had him remove his clothes and touch himself, saying it would help him reconnect with his masculinity.
Mr. Levin said that he was abused by a relative between the ages of 6 and 10 and that Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Downing blamed the abuse for his homosexual attractions. “Saying the abuse made you gay is terrible,” Mr. Levin said. “Once I accepted that I was gay, I was able to focus on the more serious problem of a history of abuse.”
Do you think it’s worth the ‘effort’ for men to try therapy in order to change their feelings for other men?
Images via shutterstock
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