Recently on Advocate.com, an LGBT(Q?) site for all issues that apparently affect the community, a John Becker wrote an op-ed about going undercover to “infiltrate” the Bachmann Clinic that belongs to Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann’s husband and apparently “expose” an abusive type therapy that the LGBT community might undertake as patients.
Mr. Becker makes a lot of loose points without any real concrete ideas to support his stance because in the end, he is not truly there for the right reasons. I mean a gay guy going through therapy to expose the therapy as faulty while saying that he is truly trying to be straight is kind of like a male and female team of co-anchors going into marriage counseling to expose that it doesn’t work for a news story. The true reasoning isn’t there, as made clear by Becker’s own mission statement:
“I was to go undercover to Bachmann & Associates in Lake Elmo, MN posing as someone seeking counseling for homosexuality, schedule as many appointments as I could, and document what went on during my appointments with hidden cameras.”
According to Becker, his first visit involved paying with cash:
“Preparing for my first visit was a surreal experience. I couldn’t pay by check since my checks had my name, my husband’s name, and a Vermont address. This meant I would be paying with cash and opening my wallet before each appointment, so I realized I’d have to go through my wallet and remove or hide anything that would invite suspicion. My Human Rights Campaign credit card had to go, lest anyone recognize that organization’s ubiquitous logo. I left our ACLU membership card behind as well.”
Let’s see, a Human Rights Campaign credit card and an ACLU membership card. At least he is on the up and up! All he was missing was an SEIU badge hanging off a T-shirt that had Bush with a Hitler mustache. Could his true political intentions be any clearer here?
“At the start of our second session I went straight to the point: what could I do? Would I ever be able to be completely rid of homosexuality, or merely learn to cope with and manage it? Wiertzema’s response was that it’s situational. Some people have been able to get rid of it completely over a long time period, others over a shorter time period. Still others are able to get it to “subside,” down to a “manageable” level, but it’s still there in the background. He asked me, “Are you okay with knowing that it might take awhile, and that it might not… maybe not happen at all? …Obviously, it’s not okay, in a way, but…” I said that I wanted to give it a go, that it was better to try than to not try.”
Becker goes on to at least acknowledge that Wiertzema admitted to the treatment failing on occasion but that it was the first and last time. Again, Becker was not there with true intention of anything working and that really plays into this whole article but I will get to that when I touch on Becker’s final thoughts.
“I was never told that every professional medical and mental health association rejects “ex-gay” therapy including the American Medical Association, American PsychologicalAssociation, American Psychiatric Association, and the American Counseling Association, or that the treatment I was seeking was totally unsupported by research. I was never informed about possible alternative treatment options such as gay-affirmative therapy. Nobody ever told me about the potential for harmful side effects like depression and suicidal thoughts. And although I was asked to sign a treatment plan outlining my problem, desired outcome, and treatment strategy, I was never given nor asked to sign any kind of informed consent document that disclosed the above information about “ex-gay” therapy. As such, I believe Bachmann & Associates to be practicing unethically, even by the standards of the American Association of Christian Counselors. This is particularly disconcerting given the fact that Marcus Bachmann’s clinic has received significant funding from the State of Minnesota and the federal government.”
Potential for harmful side effects like depression and suicidal thoughts due to the therapy? I’m not out of line to question why session therapy with someone who is truly gay and struggling with their identity is any different than marriage counseling with these side effects. If you get an angry couple in a room to share their feelings on why the marriage is failing and they start coming out with some crazy stuff that they never shared with each other, who is to say one of them doesn’t go home and hang themselves in guilt? It is an unpredictable human nature.
Here are some of Becker’s points that I completely disagree with:
“I was advised to find a heterosexual “accountability buddy” as I struggled to increase my attraction to women and decrease my attraction to men. I was to confide in, pray with, and be held accountable to this person.”
Maybe my only experience with therapy is watching points) but isn’t “buddying up” with someone to help accountability issues something that happens a lot in therapy circumstances?
Also, if Becker takes issue with the “pray with” portion and why it holds any place in a CHRISTIAN CLINIC, maybe he should think a little harder about where he was.
“Bachmann & Associates sells a book written by Twin Cities minister and self-proclaimed “ex-lesbian” Janet Boynes. This book chronicles her supposed journey “out of the lesbian lifestyle.” Next to the stack of books was a prominently-displayed, typewritten note that read, “Janet is a friend. I recommend this book as she speaks to the heart of the matter and gives practical insights of truth to set people free. – Marcus Bachmann, PhD.”
Holy moly, this Christian kook Bachmann claims to have an ex-lesbian friend and supports selling her book. What an evil and manipulative man. What is he thinking?
“I pretended to have just told my brother that I was seeking counseling to help me deal with homosexuality. My brother’s (fictitious) response was that I should just come out, because a person can be happy and gay and still go to heaven. My therapist said that my brother “didn’t choose his words wisely.”
Again, he is at a Christian clinic. I am guessing had the therapist said the opposite about gays getting into Heaven with no problem, he would have been called out for opposing his faith. Is it really so wrong for a Christian counselor at a Christian clinic to share a Christian position?
“I mentioned Marcus Bachmann’s by then well-publicized remarks calling gays “barbarians” who “need to be educated.” “Am I a barbarian?” I said through tears. Rather than contradict his boss’ words, Wiertzema opted to doubt the authenticity of the recording I had heard: “It sounds like… something that someone just did. It doesn’t sound accurate.”
Listen, I am willing to bet that these statements weren’t just made up and researching them is a waste of time. I say that because if they were said, it was a stupid thing to say. I believe that you don’t choose to be gay, that you are born that way. I also believe that if you want to stand up for equal rights or at least tax privileges with civil unions compared to marriage, I would support that. If Marcus said this, it was wrong but you know, people make mistakes and some people hold different beliefs. The fact is, no one is handcuffing gays and lesbians and forcing them to sit through this therapy.
Here is the point, the clinic is for people that consider themselves to be struggling in some sort of manner. If I don’t drink but I want to do a piece on how the Pelosi clinic’s alcoholism therapy doesn’t work by posing as an alcoholic just to prove a political point, I can do that, but it doesn’t prove a damn thing.
The people that seek this type of therapy are individuals that truly have a concern and are looking for help. They are open to the ideas and are willing to listen. They are likely to try and follow advice whether it works or not. You know what, it might not work but then they should ask for their money back.
If there are cases like the one he mentions where a father took his son, against his will, into the clinic for treatment, then I would say that is completely wrong as well. I honestly don’t think that any treatment through therapy will work if the patient isn’t willing to acknowledge the problem and want to rectify it. NOT that being gay is a problem by the way.
“Based on my experiences at Bachmann & Associates, there can no longer be any doubt that Marcus Bachmann’s state- and federally-funded clinic endorses and practices reparative therapy aimed at changing a gay person’s sexual orientation, despite the fact that such “therapy” is widely discredited by the scientific and medical communities. It’s time for Michele and Marcus Bachmann to stop denying, dodging, and stonewalling. They owe it to all Americans to provide a full and honest explanation for their embrace of these dangerous and fraudulent practices.”
Becker’s conclusion on the clinic is based on a lot of arguments with holes. What he should have done with his team was find ex-patients that underwent therapy and had full intention of reversing their sexual orientation and failed at doing so because of the Bachmann clinic’s therapy. It would have made for a more interesting read instead of the biased hack job that actually came out of going undercover.
In the end, this is more about Becker being a liberal jerk trying to coax an emotional response from the public to garner support for the Left in the upcoming elections than it has to do with the gay community and their therapy at this clinic.
If the number one thing to do as a liberal to try and win an argument is to place blame on some previous Republican administration for an ongoing problem instead of owning up to it then the next thing to do on the check list is character-assassinate your opponent with mud throwing politics. Congrats Becker, now on to step 3.