Throckmorton Opposes Programs Mixing Ministry And “Treatment”
In the same Washington Blade article as the post below, Warren Throckmorton weights in on the risk of unlicensed programs such as Love In Action which combine ministry and “treatment.” (Tenn. opens new probe of ‘ex-gay’ facility, Washington Blade, by Eartha Melzer, July 01, 2005.) Oddly the Blade choses to paraphrase and not directly quote Throckmorton even though writer Eartha Melzer interviewed him. I verified this with Melzer and Throckmorton via email today.
[Throckmorton] believes that Love in Action is mixing ministry with treatment and that people can be damaged by sexual reorientation therapies offered by unprofessional practitioners.
Throckmorton emphasized that while a parent might compel a teen to attend church, a professional counselor is bound to obtain informed consent from a client and should not treat a minor solely because his parents are upset about his sexual orientation.
Love in Action advertises a therapeutic environment in which professional counselors help people overcome “addictive behaviors including homosexuality.”
Via email correspondence today I asked Throckmorton about the paraphrasing and he replied that it was essentially accurate but:
I said, LIA MAY BE [bold added] mixing ministry with treatment. I don’t know that for sure, but it seems that there is some mixing of these terms in their public statements.
I’m amazed that a prominent “ex-gay” promoter admits that “people can be damaged by sexual reorientation therapies offered by unprofessional practitioners”. However, are not most “ex-gay” ministries operated by unprofessional practitioners?
Don’t most of the Exodus-affiliated ministries mix “ministry with treatment”? I believe most people go to “ex-gay” ministries to go beyond religious obedience (not having gay sex) and want to find a method or therapy to cure or fix their same-sex attractions. The “ex-gay” movement doesn’t just advocate religious abstinence and celibacy, but also implies the promise of becoming psychologically “normal” and possibly heterosexual through reparative therapy (and Christ, etc.). Reparative therapy, which often involves dealing with “root causes” such as childhood abuse, self-esteem issues, etc., would seem to require a professional counselors who are trained to deal with such issues — not lay pastors who often are still working on their own issues.
Did Throckmorton explain the difference between LIA and other “ex-gay” ministries? Afterall, LIA is one of (or the) oldest “ex-gay” ministries that much of the “ex-gay” movement seems to have based on.
Norm, that exact same thought on the Exodus-affiliates came to mind. Throckmorton isn’t my area of expertise so I alerted Mike to his statement and I’ll let him do the analysis in regards to Exodus-affiliates.
This is somewhat orthogonal to the topic of the thread, but I do not understand the continual fascination here regarding an instructor (Throckmorton) who has a gig at a rather obscure religious college. I won’t go further, because I’d probably be banned, but I’m just curious.
I guess he purports to profess on a pseudo-science (psychology) but, so what?
NB: I have a background in a real science (physics), and I can recognize a pseudo-science.
The problem with Throckmorton and his ilk, they fuse psychology (which is a science based off reasoning the actions and thoughts of a individual) with their religious convictions.
If one wishes to be a psychologist, they first must be able to divorce their religious convictions from their theraputic practice; until they do that, the feedback they give to their client will be biased, and won’t be of any use to the client who they’re trying to help
I think the best thing Throckmorton has said is this, “professional counselor is bound to obtain informed consent from a client and should not treat a minor solely because his parents are upset about his sexual orientation” – I completely disagree with the idea that one can change their sexual orientation, but at the same time, if a consenting adult decides to approach the likes of Throckmorton, then as an adult, they should be allowed to make that decision.
The circumstances are different when a child is involved, and the current situation is no different to, for example, if one were try to ‘exorcise a demon’ – which has been in the past considered child abuse – you could, if you wanted to, consider these anti-gay camps as exorcism done over a week, with alot more torture.
kaiwai at July 2, 2005 10:01 PM
I’d put it a bit differently. They fuse their clinical counseling with their religious convictions. They may profess that their clinical counseling has something to do with a pseudo-science such as psychology, but that doesn’t make it true, and that doesn’t mean that their clinical counseling has any higher degree of reliability than, say, the use of leeches in curing physical ailments.
By the way, it is their claim that their clinical counseling is based on psychology is why I call psychology a pseudo-science. I’m fully aware that some real science is occurring among some psychology researchers. I’m also aware that a legitimate scientist tries to minimize the biases that they bring to their work. I’m further aware that that is sometimes difficult to do.
But one thing that is characteristic of a good scientist is that he or she observes (and tries to describe) what is. What is characteristic of a religiously-motivated pseudo-scientist is that they try to figure out a way to make something the way they believe things ought to be. There is a rather significant difference.