The Bachmann Christian counseling clinics are once again the center of controversy after a lesbian filmmaker went undercover and was allegedly given ex-gay therapy.
Now, filmmaker Kristina Lapinski, wanting footage for her forthcoming movie Gay U.S.A. the Movie, has released a verbal account of a session she had with a counselor at the clinic by the name of Sheila J. Marker after being unable to book a session with Marcus Bachmann. The account appears on a blog associated with the film. Below is an extract, but I encourage you to read the full thing:
“I went into the session using a different last name. I didn’t want to give my real last name just in case they ‘googled’ me and found out I was a gay rights activist. I described my future husband as my best friend, my buddy. I told her about my desire to start a family and please society and my religious community.
I told her I had been with a woman, and found that to be true love. …
She asked me if I had slept with my fiancé and I told her that I had not yet and that I was not attracted him. She said “how can you know how it will be until you try?”
She asked if I believed in God, and I answered, “yes.” She pulled out a bible, handed it to me and asked me to read a passage out loud. It was about love, and then she asked me to analyze it with her. We talked about love and commitment, and even though I have never been attracted to my fiancé, the commitment, she noted, was a form of love.
She told me to follow God’s road. “The bible says one man one woman… two great halves come together….” and then spoke to some extent about a woman’s duty to keep the man company… I found that oddly sexist.
She asked me if I could “pray for a miracle to happen and wake up in the morning and have it be true, what would I wish for?”
I said “money, success, a happy loving environment with friends and family.”
She was clearly implying that my miracle would be the getting rid of my “desire” which she referred to as ‘same sex attraction’- (notably what many on her side of the issue call SSA, as if it is a disorder.)
I told her I’d want my miracle to just be happiness and did not submit to the suggestion of my miracle being a cure for my “desire.” I refused to give in to that notion.
That led to her question — She asked “What is the worst that can happen if you do get married?”
I answered by saying, “well I would get a divorce, and it would be my fault because I was never really attracted to men to begin with.”
Given this was not a real situation it made me wonder what if I had in fact been a real patient and all of this was actually my situation, surely the therapist ought to have told me not to get married if I had these kinds of doubts and thought I was gay?
She talked a lot about submitting to God, giving my life path over to him and letting him direct the way. She told me if I wanted to be happy I could “give my problems to the Lord and he could take them away.”
We ended the session with a prayer and Sheila J. Marker asked the lord to take away my “desire” and allow me to pursue a relationship with my fiancé.
There’s so much to say about this.
First, the Christian counselor in the account above clearly believes in the lesser of two evils as she advocates for pre-marital sex if it is going to help banish “same-sex attraction.”
Second, the job of a counselor is not to impose upon a patient the counselor’s own personal bias but instead to lead the patient to a healthy outcome based on sound medical practice and treatment. Advocating the patient enter into a loveless marriage as an alternative to “same-sex attraction” is irresponsible at best and severely emotionally damaging at worst.
Third, there’s no proof that prayer cures people, and it certainly isn’t capable of curing something that doesn’t need to be cured.
Fourth, offering a counselling service in which the therapist relies on biblical accounts for standards of wellness and treatment is a violation of medical codes of conduct. This so-called treatment also transgresses a 2009 standard set by the APA that affirmation rather than reorientation is the appropriate treatment for anxiety relating to sexual orientation, not to mention that homosexuality has now long-since been depathologized.
Lastly, this isn’t about freedom of religion, the old “if someone wants to seek religious counseling to change they should be able to do so” lie. Here we’re talking about medical treatment that should be backed up by objective science, not religious opinion.