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Tue

13

Feb

2007

Ted Haggard and the S.S.A.D. “Ex-Gay” Fraud
Tuesday, 13 February 2007 08:06
by Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.

You have to love the timing. On the same day Ted Haggard – the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals and vociferous anti-gay crusader whose lengthy relationship with a male prostitute brought about his downfall – was proclaiming he’s now “completely heterosexual” after three weeks of “ex-gay” counseling, Boston Legal aired an episode in which “Alan Shore, Denny Crane and Bethany Horowitz are hired to represent a judge who is suing a company for not delivering on its promise to cure” his S.S.A.D. A bogus “disorder” and the fraud of “ex-gay therapies” exposed, in fact and fiction.

When the Haggard scandal broke, Ted’s friend, confidant, and fellow anti-gay crusader James Dobson, whose Focus on the Family organization has its own faith-based “ex-gay” program called Love Won Out, almost immediately after agreeing to “counsel” Haggard. A day later he backed out of the “restoration.” Dobson’s stated reason: “I don’t have the time.” In explaining his decision on Larry King Live, Dobson said Haggard’s conversion “could take four or five years."

Right, Dr. Dobson. It takes years to brainwash people into repressing an essential part of their being, into denying their innate sexuality, and into becoming a drone for their oppressors.
Even other for-profit “ex-gay” advocates had doubts about Haggard’s speedy “transformation”:

“I do know that a three-week journey is not something reflected in my own life. ... It took me three years to change my personal orientation,” said Randy Thomas, executive vice president of Exodus International, which seeks to put gays on the “straight path” through biblical inspiration.

Randy got a bit “sensitive” recently when tagged “ex-gay for pay.” Moreover, “the day after this blog post went up” and people began “pointing out the many issues folks have with Randy’s Exodus mission, he yanked public access to his web page.” Truth always stings “ex-gay” advocates.

As for Exodus International, psychologist Jeffry G. Ford was once the executive director of Outpost, an “ex-gay” ministry in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He spent many years as a national speaker for Exodus International, which serves as a communications hub for “ex-gay” ministries. His firsthand accounts of the “ex-gay” sham, the damage and harm reparative, conversion and aversion therapies do have been published in peer reviewed scientific journals. His seminal study “Healing Homosexuals: A Psychologist’s Journey Through the Ex-Gay Movement and the Pseudo-Science of Reparative Therapy” appeared in The Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy.

On July 28, 2004, Los Angeles Times writer Steve Lopez published a background story on Exodus:

The Florida-based group was inspired nearly 30 years ago in Anaheim by charismatic Christian leaders who declared homosexuality a sin. Just one problem. [The] two men who helped get the movement started were counseling gays to go straight when, lo and behold, they fell in love with each other. … The two men dumped their wives, abandoned Exodus, and wore each other’s wedding bands. …

Acknowledging and accepting one’s sexuality are major steps toward mental health and living an honest life of self-respect. Denying one’s sexual orientation leads to a disingenuous life of repression, witness the executive director of another faith-based “ex-gay” organization, Love in Action: “Rev. John Smid…is married to a woman and claims to have left behind ‘the homosexual lifestyle,’ if not same-sex attractions” [italics added].

According to the American Medical Association, “there is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative therapy as a treatment to change one’s sexual orientation.” The AMA “does not recommend aversion therapy for gay men and lesbians.”

The American Psychological Association has stated that “groups who try to change the sexual orientation of people through so-called conversion therapy are misguided and run the risk of causing a great deal of psychological harm to those they say they are trying to help.”

The American Psychiatric Association concurs: “gay men and lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation positively are better adjusted than those who have not done so.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “therapy directed at specifically changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation.”

Ex-gay therapies were publicly decried in 1999 as unethical by both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association. The National Association of School Psychologists and the American Counseling Association concur.

The American Psychological Association held its 2006 annual meeting in New Orleans. As the Associated Press reported,

About two dozen protesters on Friday [August 11, 2006] marched for an hour outside of the American Psychological Association convention meeting in New Orleans to protest the organization’s stand on homosexuality.

The group, which was sponsored by the conservative ministry Focus on the Family, was protesting what it sees as the APA’s views on the immutability of homosexuality.

Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, a Los Angeles psychologist and president of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality [NARTH], said they disagree with the APA’s stand …

In 1974, the APA ceased listing homosexuality as a mental disorder. The protesters demanded that the APA change its current position.

Not getting anywhere with the APA or any other legitimate professional medical association, the “ex-gay” movement cooked up its own mental disorder: Same-Sex Attraction Disorder – S.S.A.D. – the bogus “disorder” featured in the Boston Legal episode.

One of the “disorder’s” first appearances was in a chapter of the 1991 book Homosexuality and American Public Life, edited by Christopher Wolfe. The tome was published by Spence Publishing which also features among its authors such ultra-conservative, anti-gay crusaders as Robert H. Knight, Phyllis Schlafly, Robert Neuhaus, and David Horowitz.

The author of the S.S.A.D. chapter  in Homosexuality and American Public Life was Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a member of NARTH's “Scientific” Advisory Committee. According to Fitzgibbons, “The three most important risk factors for the development of SSAD in men are weak masculine identity, mistrust of women, and narcissism” and “The major conflicts that lead to SSAD in women are, in my opinion, a mistrust of men’s love, a weak feminine identity, or intense loneliness.”

Fitzgibbon’s claims were picked up, altered slightly, and became the foundation of Richard Cohen’s version of S.S.A.D. – “Same-Sex Attachment Disorder” – in his 2001 book Coming Out Straight, from vanity publisher Oakhill Press. Two years later Cohen was permanently expelled from the American Counseling Association for six violations of its ethics code that bars members from actions which “seek to meet their personal needs at the expense of clients, those that exploit the trust and dependency of clients, and for soliciting testimonials or promoting products in a deceptive manner.”

Deception is the essence of “ex-gay” therapies and the videos promoting them. It’s also the essence of Haggard’s “restoration.”

The whole “ex-gay” movement’s pseudo-science and the distorted religious dogma underwriting it are also deceptions. What it all comes down to is one group of people who will distort, pervert and use anything and everything to make sure another group of people can’t live their lives in peace and dignity.

Can there be any more pathetic raison d’etre? 
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a guest said:

0
mallee ...
As a homosexual male my only response to this diversion from the issues at hand is *Yawn!
 
February 13, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
What are the issues then?
I see that Mel specialized in writing about the Religious Right. Should he be writing about Iran?
 
February 13, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
mallee ...
Given that the issue of the religious right's backing for the insane capo and his mafia mob, illegally lodged in the white house is relevant, your point is well taken, and in retrospect I withdraw to a degree. But yes, there are more pressing issues IMH than trying to destroy the credibility of a movement which any sane person already knows has no credibility, and yes, the framing of Iran is one of those issues.
 
February 13, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
"Anything But an Exposé"
It appears that the writer and those in opposition to
the ex-gayphenomena can't seem to find any legal cases
of anysubstance that would back their claims of quackery
regarding reparative therapy, they desperately resort
to the fantasy world of Hollywood to meet their
wish-fulfillment needs. You can watch a portion
depicting the courtroom drama of this episode at

Although, I didn't see this episode, I am told the
story goes that this older gentleman is suing his
former reparative therapist(s) for malpractice, since
they promised him that he would change his SSA
inclinations to predominantly OSA ones. He spent an
approximate total $40,000 for this mode of therapy
over the years. How many, I don't know. Of course,
this did not occur and he indubitably suffered many
adverse affects and symptoms as a result. Again, what
they were claiming, I don't know either.

However, even before I got a chance to see it, I can
tell you this. And, this is not fantasy, nor Hollywood
propoganda:

1) No reparative therapist, at least as a member of
NARTH, or even in the Exodus coalition of ministries,
promises a client that he or she will experience
change. This is very misleading. In fact, it is the
duty of all reparative therapists to inform clients
while any therapeutic contract is formulated in the
therapy's initial phase, that this is the case. In
fact, the therapists will not contract until that is
made crystal clear. And, if the client chooses no
longer to pursue reparative therapy, and then requests
assistance regarding their sexual issues, then many,
if not most NARTH therapists will refer them to a gay
affirmative therapist! Even if this isn't the case,
then the NARTH therapist is obligated to at least
refer them elsewhere.

2) Let's just use our common sense on this next one.
Why would anyone continue to spend their hard working
money, in this case, $40K, unless they at least
experienced some compensatory benefit eventually along
the path of the duration of therapy? This gentleman's
testimony just goes against the law and principles of
classical and operant conditioning. You know, the one
where the rat discontinues hitting the lever because
it doesn't get its reward; that being the piece of
cheese. Well, the same goes for us, even though we are
much more sophisticated creatures, being the pinnacle
of God's creation. We will become discouraged and tire
out easily and speedily, and eventually cease going to
any more sessions, if there isn't anything beneficial
concerning a therapeutic alliance that should
inevitably develop.

Do you know just how many sessions a total cost of
$40K would be? Again, I don't know how much he spent
per session, but let's just give him the benefit of
the doubt, that it was quite expensive, say at least
$125.00 for one hour for a weekly session, given that
he apparently would have resided in a much more
expensive cost of living area of the country than the
mean, given it probably would have been in the urban
setting of Boston. (Remember, no insurance will
approve this kind of therapy because of the political
mess in which the major mental health and medical
professional guilds got themselves, unless there is
evidence that the client agreed to undergo treatment
of an approved disorder, and credible interventions
are executed and documented that lead to at least the
alleviation of a symptom listed under this aforesaid
and approved disorder (i.e., depression and anxiety).
Well, that's a total cost of approximately ($125 X 52
weeks)$6,450. 00 per year. This means that, at the
least, this gentleman spent 6 years in therapy; and no
benefit? Come on! No hoax, amount of cojoling, or
quackery can get a client to stay for that long,
without some kind of satisfying change of life
experience occurs. (Of course, this could be something
of a more furtive, clandestine nature with their
therapist, such as a sexual relationship. )

In the latest research shows that this is the case.
According to Spitzer (2000), over one-third of those
subjects he interviewed did report experiencing either
significant change or at least satisfactory
functioning in a heterosexual relationship. Even more
to the point, over 30% of the clients he interviewed,
that underwent reparative therapy, indeed did not
experience any significant change in their sexual
inclinations, nor a satisfactory functioning in a
heterosexual relationship, but they did stay in the
therapy on account of these lowest common
denominators; personal benefit and satisfactory
functioning in life due to resolution or alleviation
of other interrelated personal issues (i.e.,
alleviation of depression, getting beyond sexual
compulsion, family conflicts and loneliness via the
maintenance of a solid network of friends).

This last category, although they did not experience
what was one of their original goals in therapy, they
stuck it out because of the other goals, that may even
have been added along the path and process of the
therapeutic alliance. Those who don't experience any
benefit drop out. And, Spitzer mentions this in his
research!

 
February 14, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
mikhail

Why are christians so obsessed with other peoples sexuality..so obsessed with sex, gender and genitals…really, don’t they worry about real stuff , like poverty, famine, environmental degradation, war and pestilence, the rich gettting richer and the poor getting more destitute.

Why do they get so obessed with homosexuals, claiming it is a threat to the family ..HOW? if your husband runs off with the hussy next door, how can it be the fault of gays/lesbians? How can gays/lesbians be responsible for 50% divorce rate ( incidentally highest divorce are in the bible belt ha ha ).

If your son does drug and your daughter gets laid while on booze - how is that the fault of gays/lesbians. Christians historically sought out scape-goats..they used to blame Jews, then blacks, then gypsies , then women and now since it is no longer fashionable to blame jews or blacks etc, they have to pick on vulnerable minorities like gays and lesbians.

Hitler did not kill 6 million jews in a vacuum. Centuries of marginalization and denigration and demonizing of jews as Jesus killer enable common german citizens to exercise false moral authority in killing jews. In like fashion centuries of demonizing and denigration of homosexuals embolden wicked and otherwise morally bankrupt ‘straight’ bigots to descrimiaate and do violence to gay and lesbian and other sexual minorities .

Furthermore picking on a scape-goat makes christians feel superior and ‘saved’. Denigrating others is easier than exercising love,charity and compassion which is actually the most basic teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Sadly Christians hardly practise the most important commandemt of Jesus ie. Love God then immediately love your neighbour as yourself ( be he/she gay or staight).

It is AMAZING HOW MANY PEOPLE CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIANS WHEN THEY IN FACT DO NOT PRACTISE THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDMENT OF JESUS !!! THEY WOULD RATHER BE HYPOCRITES AND BE LIKE THE PHARASEES OF OLD DUUUH !

mikhail - a child of the Universe
 
February 24, 2007
Votes: +0

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