An article on Anglican Mainstream caught my attention entitled: ‘Beyond Critique’ – LGBT Mental Health Issues.
It’s advertising an upcoming Core Issues Trust ‘Briefing Seminar’ in London in association with Christian Concern. The seminar is rather boldly called: Beyond Critique: The Misuse of Science by UK Professional Mental Health Bodies.
Media Statement from Core Issues Trust
The Royal College of Psychiatrists is a highly respected institution which is trusted by the nation, as are the UK’s largest counselling and psychotherapeutic professional bodies, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the UKCouncil for Psychotherapy (UKCP). The latter have issued professional practice statements and guidelines forbidding their members to assist clients to reduce homosexual feelings, under any circumstances. All three organisations promote a biological causation of homosexuality, sidelining significant research findings which suggest the profound influence of environmental experiences in childhood on an individuals’ sexuality.
A 2007 submission by the Royal College of Psychiatrists to the Church of England is a debatable document which may mislead the Church and the general public. It goes beyond science in identifying societal discrimination as the primary cause of the high incidence of various mental health issues experienced in the LGBT community. We call on the Church to reconsider this document, together with its likely consequences for counsellors, psychotherapists, and their clients who share traditional values, in the light of the best scientific research.
One consequence of the position taken by the professional bodies is that vulnerable individuals seeking to reduce unwanted same-sex attractions are now denied professional help to pursue their legitimate therapeutic goals. Although these organisations criticise attempts to “pray away the gay”, they are now making it more likely that amateur therapists and informal church-based ministries will be the only way open to people who want to reduce same-sex attractions, even if they are seeking to protect their marriage and family. Such therapeutic approaches will not be supported by professional competencies, protection, regulation, supervision or professional indemnity insurance. This is analogous to promoting the practice of back street abortion, which society has striven so hard to eliminate.
I’ve made my position clear on ‘Reparative Therapy‘ or whatever you want to call it, and that is quite simply I know that no amount of ‘therapy’ would alter my hard-wired sexual proclivity, so why should it anybody else? However, if a person seeks treatment for an unwanted sexual attraction, I feel they should be free to do so, and psychotherapists should be free to offer this service privately.
Again, personally, I don’t think Christian organisations or Churches should be promoting ‘gay conversion therapy’; however, they should be free to do so. This said, I do have a problem with importing Canadian extremists to support this endeavour.
On this link you can view the seminar flyer in PDF and you will note the involvement of this guy:
Dr Joseph Berger
Consulting Psychiatrist in Toronto, Canada, doubly certified as a Specialist in Psychiatry by both the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He has been an Examiner for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology for 25 years in the Oral portion of the Board Certification Examination, and at one point in his career, taught and supervised as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He remains in practice.
Professor Berger has seen many clients with same-sex desires, fantasies and behaviours, and has successfully treated a number of such people who have become heterosexual, have married, and have had children, in fulfilling relationships. He has published in this area of work. Dr Berger has served as a scientific advisor to the National Association for Research and Therapy for Homosexuality (NARTH). He has been a past President of the Ontario District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association, and was a representative to the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association for 8 years for the Ontario District Branch. He is author of the book “The Independent Medical Examination in Psychiatry” Butterworth Lexis Nexis 2002.
“I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex – but not counseling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings…On the contrary, don’t interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world. Maybe, in this way, the child will re-establish that necessary boundary…It is a mistake for various interfering, ignorant, and biased busybodies to try to “counsel” the other children into accepting the abnormal. It is very healthy to be able to draw the line between what is healthy and what is sick.
So Dr Berger advocates the mechanism of bullying by a child’s peers for the purpose of behaviour modification. I’m not alone in finding these comments morally abhorrent.
The irony of inviting this man to take a key role in an seminar that seeks to address “the high incidence of various mental health issues experienced in the LGBT community” is bloody palpable. In fact, this seminar shouldn’t be called: ‘Beyond Critique’ but ‘Beyond Irony’.
And you know what, the truth is, I only checked this guy out on a curious whim.
The ever thickening alliance between the UK Christian Right and their extremist overseas counterparts is troubling. And if you need evidence of this I suggest you follow Richard Bartholomew who charts this in forensic detail.