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Dec 05 2012

Perkins: Reversion Therapy ‘Nonjudgmental’

Tony Perkins had Arthur Goldberg, the defendant in that lawsuit by the Southern Poverty Law Center over “ex-gay” reversion or reparation therapy, on his radio show. Goldberg claimed, as he has before, that if you go for such therapy and it doesn’t work, it’s your fault:

Perkins: This lawsuit, I would say it looks frivolous to me, it’s kind of novel. Their using a consumer law, consumer fraud is what they’re challenging here, that you’re promising one thing and not delivering. It’s kind of outrageous I think. You’ve said that it’s ‘without merit, designed to create a chilling effect upon speech and programs to assist people in overcoming these same-sex attractions.’

Goldberg: Correct. Their theory is basically if someone goes to Weight Watchers and says ‘I want to lose fifty pounds’ and they don’t lose fifty pounds, they’re going to say, ‘oh Weight Watchers you promised me you’d help me lose fifty pounds and I didn’t lose fifty pounds,’ same basic theory.

Perkins: Obviously the outcomes of any type of counseling is in large part determined by the patient following and genuinely perusing this path of wholeness.

Goldberg: Yes. In fact as an example, I don’t want to get into the facts of the case, but one of the plaintiffs talks about ‘I went to five sessions.’ Five sessions, hello? Is that any kind of long term involvement in terms of showing that you’re really serious about wanting to overcome?

And now it’s time to play Spot the Contradiction:

Perkins: I think we’ve got to be very clear here. You’re here to help those who want help and it’s a compassionate help, a nonjudgmental help for those seeking a wholeness that has been eluding them in their current lifestyle.

Goldberg: Precisely.

Yes, it’s “nonjudgmental” — while telling people they aren’t “whole” if they’re gay, that they’re broken and only God can fix them, and that if they fail to become straight it’s because they just aren’t trying hard enough. In the warped world of fundamentalism, that’s compassion and nonjudgmental. In the real world, of course, it’s exactly the opposite.

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  1. 1
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    Just like all those liberal re-education camps the Right is always so terrified we’re going to ship them off to. Those aren’t judgmental either.

  2. 2
    composer99

    Perkins & Goldberg appear to be evading the premise of the SPLC lawsuit.

    Based on the cited transcript they are claiming that the suit is about unsatisfied customers (“I went to gay reversion therapy & am still gay!”)

    When in fact, as noted previously:

    “JONAH profits off of shameful and dangerous attempts to fix something that isn’t broken,” said Christine P. Sun, deputy legal director for the SPLC. “Despite the consensus of mainstream professional organizations that conversion therapy doesn’t work, this racket continues to scam vulnerable gay men and lesbians out of thousands of dollars and inflicts significant harm on them.”

    The lawsuit describes how the underlying premise of conversion therapy – that a person can “convert” to heterosexuality – has no basis in scientific fact. Conversion therapy has been discredited or highly criticized by all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations. It is the longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences that homosexuality is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation.

    So it’s more along the lines of suing because the “therapy” offered is rank quackery.

  3. 3
    wscott

    Love the person who is left handed, hate the left-handedness.

    Oh wait, it’s the other thing isn’t it?

  4. 4
    Sastra

    If you use the “nonjudgmental” label and apply it to their earlier analogy with Weight Watchers, you can see why they could think someone might think it makes sense to use it. It wouldn’t seem out of place for a weight-reduction program to talk about how they will not “judge” their clients, even though both they and their clients think their weight is a problem. All it means in that context is that the therapists will be sensitive and accepting and avoid shaming or personal criticism. While they work on the problem.

    The analogy falls apart, however, because in their therapeutic approach a gay person is not akin to a client who wants to lose some weight: they’re approached like a patient who has a serious illness. They’re creating the very problem they want to treat — and that’s where the “judgmental” part comes in.

    It has nothing to do with how “nice” they are.

  5. 5
    scienceavenger

    Imagine how fast they’d change their tune if someone started an ex-born-again reparation therapy to assist people in overcoming their imaginary friend delusions. After all, it’d be compassionate help, a nonjudgmental help for those seeking a wholeness that has been eluding them in their current hallucinatory lifestyle.

  6. 6
    cptdoom

    The differences between Weight Watchers and “ex-gay therapy” (and I say this as someone who’s tried both) are that Weight Watchers 1) does not promise you will lose weight and 2) can actually point to clients – who aren’t employees of the organization – who have been successful using their program.

  7. 7
    steve84

    Don’t forget the part where they blame the parents for somehow screwing up, thus judging them and causing real rifts between parents and children

  8. 8
    karmacat

    I read about what they do in the therapy sessions. The therapy itself is abusive, let alone the rationale for it. They had patients strip naked in front of the therapist and hug another man. This is a terrible boundary violation that leads to more psychological problems for the patient. That kind of practice has led to medical licenses being revoked if you are a psychiatrist.
    They also would have patients hit an effigy of their mother with a tennis racquet, which is just stupid. They make assumptions that the father is too distant and the mother is too close to the patient. It is important as a therapist to approach a patient without any preconceived notions (as much as one can).

  9. 9
    eric

    Goldberg one second:

    one of the plaintiffs talks about ‘I went to five sessions.’ Five sessions, hello? Is that any kind of long term involvement in terms of showing that you’re really serious about wanting to overcome?

    Goldberg the next second:

    a nonjudgmental help for those seeking a wholeness

    Nonjudgemental – I do not think it means what you think it means.

  10. 10
    dugglebogey

    It’s like going to Weight Watchers and asking them to help you lose 150 pounds when you weigh 149. It can’t be done and if they tell you it can, they’re ripping you off.

  11. 11
    Modusoperandi

    karmacat “They also would have patients hit an effigy of their mother with a tennis racquet, which is just stupid.”
    Yes. That is stupid. Mother would never let people play tennis. Mother didn’t put up with such things. Mother said chess was the only permissible game. Well, I hope you’re enjoying chess in Hell, Mother!*

    * This psychotic episode brought to you by Novartis Pharmaceuticals, makers of Clozapine and other fine medications. Ask your doctor if Clozapine is right for you, today.

  12. 12
    DaveL

    The differences between Weight Watchers and “ex-gay therapy” (and I say this as someone who’s tried both) are that Weight Watchers 1) does not promise you will lose weight and 2) can actually point to clients – who aren’t employees of the organization – who have been successful using their program.

    Well, there’s also the fact that Weight Watchers has been scientifically shown to work (a rarity among weight-loss methods), and that its methods are not abusive in themselves.

  13. 13
    John Hinkle

    I’ve noticed that religious wingnuts love analogies. I think that’s because, when there’s no substance behind whatever it is they’re peddling, they have to try associating the nothingness with something tangible to get the heads nodding and the wallets opening.

    Most of us know it by the more common colloquialism: bullshit.

  14. 14
    scienceavenger

    They love analogies because they never learned the Phil 101 lesson that analogies are illustrations, not evidence.

  15. 15
    Raging Bee

    Of course the “therapy” is nonjudgemental: they judge you an abomination first, THEN you go and get the “therapy.” They’re TOTALL SEPARATE, see?

  16. 16
    Dr X

    @Raging Bee:

    Of course the “therapy” is nonjudgemental: they judge you an abomination first, THEN you go and get the “therapy.”

    Actually, I read that they proudly avoid the word abomination, favoring in its stead, the non-judgmental word abhorrence. Wouldn’t you feel better knowing that you’re merely abhorrent?

  17. 17
    jeevmon

    @ scienceavenger

    Imagine how fast they’d change their tune if someone started an ex-born-again reparation therapy to assist people in overcoming their imaginary friend delusions.

    In their view, those places already exist. They’re called “universities.”

  1. 18
    clothinf blog

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