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It’s Confirmed: Marcus Bachmann’s Clinic Practices Ex-Gay Therapy

Jim Burroway

July 8th, 2011

Michele and Marcus Bachmann on the campaign trail.

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s political adviser and “Godly husband,” Dr. Marcus Bachman, denied in 2006 that his Minnesota clinic, Bachmann and Associates, practices ex-gay therapy — even though he promoted the ex-gay movement at a pastoral conference the year before, and in 2010 he spoke of gay children as “barbarians” that “need to be disciplined.” That last bit of advice — disciplining gay children — is eerily familiar after BTB’s original investigation last month revealing that ex-gay therapist George Rekers’s most famous patient, four-year-old “Kraig”, was actually Kirk Andrew Murphy, who remained gay and committed suicide in 2003. Kirk was also “disciplined” as a very young boy while under Rekers’s direction.

Now we have confirmation that Bachmann and Associates does, in fact, offer ex-gay therapy. John Becker, Truth Wins Out’s Director of Communications and Development, attended five private sessions with Bachmann & Associates counselor Timothy Wiertzema:

During the sessions, Wiertzema claimed that it was possible to change from gay to straight through prayer and therapy. During the third session Wiertzema  said, “…it’s possible to be totally free of [same-sex attraction]. For sure.” and that “It’s happened! It really has happened to people.” In the fifth session, Wiertzema says, “…obviously your goal is not to have any feelings of attraction for men…And I really am going to recommend that we start working on how you can develop your attractions towards women.”

…During session 5, Wiertzema advised Becker to “further develop your own sense of masculinity.” Reparative therapy reinforces strict gender roles and works to erase outward appearances of femininity in men and masculinity in women. Because these programs do not genuinely change sexual orientation, much focus is placed on changing behavior so an individual can “pass” as heterosexual, even if the gay person has not changed on the inside.

“Passing” is all that a substantial number ex-gay programs really care about, simply because it is the best-case scenario anyone can truly hope for. Exodus International president Alan Chambers often says that he struggles daily to keep from doing “what comes naturally to me.” But constantly struggling to pass can carry with it enormous consequences. Again, Kirk Murphy’s case is illustrative. As a very young boy, he was taught that revealing who he really was would have dangerous physical consequences for him, and so as he got older he continued to suppress his emerging sexuality, fully aware that “I can’t act that way or people will know that I’m different.” He suppressed it so successfully that his doctors at UCLA did not notice that Kirk not only wasn’t straight, but also was under tremendous emotional duress.

Today, all major medical, mental health, and counseling organizations oppose ex-gay therapy. In an exhaustive review of the professional peer-reviewed literature, the American Psychological Association concluded (PDF: 816KB/138 pages) that “enduring change to an individual’s sexual orientation is uncommon” and that “there was some evidence to indicate that individuals experienced harm” from such therapies. But of course, patients going into clinics like Bachmann’s will never know it. There is no such thing as informed consent in those kinds of settings:

[Becker] was never informed about possible alternative treatment options such as gay-affirmative therapy. Nobody ever told Becker about the potential for harmful side effects like depression and suicidal thoughts. And although he was asked to sign a treatment plan outlining his problem, desired outcome, and treatment strategy, he was never given nor asked to sign any kind of informed consent document that disclosed the above information about “ex-gay” therapy. As such, we 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.

You can read Becker’s first hand account here.

Comments

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Bernie
July 8th, 2011 | LINK

OMG! The wife of Michele Bachmann LIED?

Then again, what can anyone expect from the Tea Party. Their platform was Jobs, jobs, jobs, and taxes. Then we saw their true agenda once they got in. Their true motive as dictated by the legislation that they introduced; Anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-Muslim. Is it any wonder that he lied about not delving into any reparative therapies.

Edwin
July 9th, 2011 | LINK

This couple need to be tarred and feathered and run out of the United States. They are just a pair of lying crooks. The State of Minn. needs to go after them and get all that money back.
We have to many of the homophobs in this country. If they don’t like the laws that are being passed just get out of the U.S.
Those kind of people we don’t need.

David C.
July 9th, 2011 | LINK

Ex-Gay “Therapy” is pure quackery. These so-called practitioners that claim to offer such therapies should lose their license and be prosecuted for fraud if they have taken state or federal money.

Christopher
July 9th, 2011 | LINK

Who are these people, and why do they always run for public office in the US?

Would someone PLEASE tell me what kind of mass stupidity has gripped the country to the south of me?????

JohnAGJ
July 9th, 2011 | LINK

Speaking of Alan Chambers, he’s at it again in Charisma magazine. Here’s a snippet:

Celibacy is the godly option for all single men and women. Yet today, while many Christians with same-sex attractions are choosing celibacy, they’re also opting to keep the gay identity/label. This falls short of God’s best because identity matters. How we view and refer to ourselves is very important.

You’ll have to scroll down through Lou Sheldon’s dreck to read the rest of Chamber’s comments.

Ezam
July 9th, 2011 | LINK

Was this ex-gay week or what?

http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4265

John
July 9th, 2011 | LINK

This is presented as an either/or proposition, that one has to be either gay or straight, which Alfred Kinsey fairly conclusively showed not to be the case. Most of this is based on out-dated psychiatric thought from over 50 years ago. They keep at it because it supports their Biblical viewpoint which is not open to question or debate. Basically, they are closed-minded homophobes.

PLAINTOM
July 9th, 2011 | LINK

I am so tired of this choice argument the Religious Right keeps throwing into the debate concerning equal rights. I will tell you what is a choice, religion. I am getting to the point that I believe a debate concerning special status and legal rights for people choosing a religious life style is a legitimate area for public debate.

Priya Lynn
July 9th, 2011 | LINK

Plaintom said “I am getting to the point that I believe a debate concerning special status and legal rights for people choosing a religious life style is a legitimate area for public debate.”.

Of course its a legitimate area for public debate. Its outrageous that people are exempt from some laws because of religion or get special treatment because of religion.

Timothy (TRiG)
July 9th, 2011 | LINK

If I was making the laws, a fundamental tenet would be, “You don’t get special rights merely because you have (or claim to have) an invisible friend.”

TRiG.

Timothy Kincaid
July 10th, 2011 | LINK

Those who oppose religious freedom may wish to consider that religious freedom is the right to practice according to one’s beliefs. That freedom also protects the rights of the freethinkers or other atheists to challenge religion, for wiccans to meet, and for faiths who support our rights to demand equal access.

For all their whining and moaning, religious freedom really doesn’t impact Christians much at all. When you are a clear majority, there really aren’t that many real threats to your freedoms. Rather, (and perhaps ironically) religious freedom protects those who suffer from majoritarian religious abuse.

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