Posts Tagged As: Joseph Berger
April 13th, 2010
Last week, Timothy Kincaid reported that the Ontario District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association had scheduled a seminar to be conducted by NARTH member Joseph Berger to discuss whether gay people should be subjected to psychotherapy. That salon was also advertised as an “accredited group learning activity.” BTB has now learned that the scheduled salon has been canceled.
In an email sent to members by Executive Secretary Colleen Gambier:
Please note that due to unfortunate circumstances, Salon #14 scheduled for May 13, 2010, will not take place. We regret any inconvenience and look forward to seeing you at our next Salon on Oct 14, 2010 with Dr. Ash Bender on Workplace Trauma.
In 2006, Berger ignited controversy over suggestions that gender non-conforming children should be exposed to taunting and bullying in schools in order to “re-establish that necessary boundary” of conforming to gender roles. That post on NARTH’s blog was removed after considerable outcry, and the blog was eventually shut down.
April 6th, 2010
Psychiatrists in Canada received the following invitation:
As you may know sexuality is a ‘hot’ issue in the DSM V revision process. At one time, so was homosexuality. Do our attitudes change with science? Do come, and participate in a stimulating evening.
Topic: Should Homosexuals Be Treated with Psychotherapy?
Speaker: Dr. Joseph Berger, FRCPC, DLFAPA
Date/Time: Thursday, May 13, 2010, 7 – 9:30 p.m.
Location: TARTU College Main Floor/Masters Buffeteria
310 Bloor Street West
(1 block east of Spadina) at corner of Madison & Bloor
There is street and lot parking on Bloor St and also Spadina Rd and side streets North of Bloor; subway 1 block from venue
Learning Objectives: At the end of this session, participants will:
1. be better able to distinguish between scientific evidence and media propaganda, personal beliefs, and organization – however prestigious – position statements.
2. understand the difference between voluntarily undertaken insight-oriented psychodynamic psychotherapy and past attempts at aversion or conversion so-called ‘therapies’.
3. be able to acknowledge that homosexual people can have emotional problems and conflicts and psychosomatic symptoms as can any other human being and be similarly fully deserving of psychotherapeutic treatment.
“This event is an accredited group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, approved by the Canadian Psychiatric Association.”
You mean that the Ontario Branch of the APA is hosting NARTH member Joseph Berger to discuss whether gay people should be subjected to psychotherapy? What kind of crazy is that?
Here is the letter I sent to the local head of the APA:
I am a bit perplexed at the decision of the Ontario District Branch of the APA to sponsor a presentation by Dr. Joseph Berger. And I am even more startled at the seminar’s Learning Objectives.
Perhaps you are unaware of Dr. Berger’s reputation and affiliation. Although Berger has served as ODBAPA’s president in the past, he is better known as an anti-gay activist and participant with NARTH, an organization that is hostile to the APA and it’s official positions on sexual orientation.
I am greatly concerned that Dr. Berger will be presented as an authority on distinguishing between scientific evidence and propaganda. As part of his association with NARTH, Berger has for many years been engaging in anti-gay propaganda that is in direct opposition to scientific evidence.
NARTH has repeatedly been criticized by study authors and researchers for misstating, twisting, and in some cases fraudulently claiming the opposite of their conclusions. Most of the mental heath profession recognizes NARTH to be primarily an anti-gay political advocacy organization invested heavily in propaganda.
Their latest endeavor was to send out propaganda to school principals (under the alter-ego American College of Pediatricians) in which they distort legitimate research in order to make outrageous claims about gay people (e.g. “more likely to suffer from a host of negative outcomes including psychiatric disorders, domestic violence and sexual assault, and increased risk for chronic diseases, AIDS and shortened life spans”), claim that reparative therapy is effective (“individuals with unwanted same sex attraction often can be successfully treated”), and advocate for principals to deny same-sex attracted youth from access to support systems. These are all in direct opposition to stated positions of the APA.
And Dr. Berger is still closely alligned with this organization. He sits on their Scientific Advisory Committee and as recently as November he contributed an article to their site. His premise was 1) removing homosexuality from the DSM was a political decision rather than based on science, 2) the APA is persecuting those who wish to perform ex-gay therapy, and 3) that the decision by the APA to endorse the legalization of same-sex marriage was not handled to his satisfaction.
Further, Berger is not a moderate member of the anti-gay community. His differences with the APA are not mild or limited to perspective or opinion. He advocates for treatment that is far beyond the norm and which may well be in violation of professional ethics. In 2006, Berger wrote an article on the NARTH website in which he addressed the appropriate way to treat gender non-conforming children:
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.
This was of sufficient concern to merit an article in the Los Angeles Times.
But it is not just the specific selection of Dr. Berger or his extremely unorthodox proposals. It is the very premise of the presentation, “Should Homosexuals Be Treated with Psychotherapy?”
This is extremely offensive. It is akin to pondering such things as “Should races be kept segregated?” or “Should cancer be treated with leaches?” Such questions are not only outdated, but contrary to decency and they should not be awarded credibility by professional organizations.
I look forward to hearing your response explaining your decision to lend the name of the ODBAPA to Dr. Berger’s views on curing homosexuals. I’ll be sharing them with the readership of Box Turtle Bulletin.
Should he choose to respond, I’ll be sure to let you know exactly what Sommers intended by this presentation.
September 1st, 2006
The wide-ranging condemnations of Dr. Joseph Berger, the NARTH Scientific Advisory Committee member who recommended “ridicule” as an effective treatment for young children with variant sexual identity and expression, has had an effect. Warren Throckmorten notes that not only has Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, President of NARTH disavowed Dr. Berger’s advice, NARTH pulled the offending post from their blog and offers this statement:
We have pulled the discussion on gender variant children in Oakland. The article contained comments that were deemed offensive to many readers and failed to accurately express the overall views of the physician who expressed them.
We apologize for publishing the article without getting proper clarifications first about how children with gender identity disorders should be treated by parents, teachers, and counselors.
NARTH President Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D. has issued the following statement related to gender variant children and remarks made by Dr. Joseph Berger:
“NARTH disagrees with Dr. Berger’s advice as we believe shaming, as distinct from correcting, can only create greater harm. Too many of our clients experienced the often life-long, harmful effects of peer shaming. We cannot encourage this.”
I think that a lot of this is nonsense and is being pushed by people who have an agenda to disrupt society in order to further some perverted goals such as the acceptance of pedophilia, and, of course, the attempted “normalization” of homosexuality.
From a medical/scientific perspective, the notion of a child of five being “transgendered” is absolute garbage. This is a child wanting attention and wanting to play “dress-up,” with an added layer of unhappiness.
That essentially is the issue for most of these children. They are unhappy. They don’t have a “biological” based “gender identity disorder.” They are unhappy; they have an envy of certain aspects of the opposite sex role — and wish to pursuit it for as long as they can.
Tolerant parents, tolerant schools, tolerant societies, might let them get away with it. No one should be surprised that avant-garde California or sun-drenched Florida should be places where the tolerance is highest.
The notion that a person is really someone of the opposite sex “trapped in the wrong body” is poetic stupidity. It doesn’t exist in reality. A person wishing to change their external manifestations to appear to be a person of the opposite sex is someone very unhappy with being their “real” sex and/or believing in some idealized fantasy of how much better it is to be of the opposite sex.
We don’t treat distorted fantasies with mutilating surgery.
Here in cold Canada, I often talk with mothers of small children who routinely complain about how difficult it is to get their children dressed in the winter in the multiple layers of clothing they need to go off to school. I suggest to them that they make it clear to their children that they will leave home — or that the school bus will come — at such-and-such time, and they will go whether they are ready or not. I suggest that going just one day in their pajamas or underwear will be enough to “cure” them of their procrastination.
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.
I am sure that if we looked carefully, we could find some significant personal issues and aberrations in the parents of these children. These children don’t have such problems without there having been some groundwork laid by their parents in some way.
Dr Joseph Berger, FRCP, DABPN, DLFAPA
No word yet on whether NARTH intends to maintain Dr. Berger’s position on their advisory committee. It seems that following his advice can lead to a lot of hot water.
August 31st, 2006
A coalition of organisations monitoring groups claiming to convert gay people back to heterosexuality, have criticised the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuals (NARTH) after a member advocated teasing transgender children to “re-establish that necessary boundary.”
NARTH Scientific Advisory Committee member Joseph Berger said on a blog in reaction to a San Francisco Chronicle article on gender identity issues, “I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex – but not counselling 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.
As one who has experienced this sort of peer “therapy” myself while growing up (and I can’t think of any gay or lesbian friends who haven’t), I find it utterly outrageous that this advice should come from someone who purports to be a mental health professional. I can say from personal experience that the efficacy of this “therapy” was poor, but the harm great. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Independent research backs that up:
Given what we know about the effects of the sort of peer-pressure that Dr. Berger advocates against LGBT children, it is important to hold him and NARTH accountable for this dangerously irresponsible advice.
Update: Wayne Besen, at Truth Wins Out has issued a press release about Dr. Berger’s comments. Wayne contacted the Ontario APA and the Canadian Human Rights Commission to inquire about filing a complaint.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.