Source: Winnipeg Sun

The story is a familiar one. A young man is found by family to be sexually attracted to men and coerced through a fear of hell to seek “therapy” to go straight. This is the story that led a young Canadian man to seek out the help of Terrance Lewis, a minister and (former) counselor at Providence College and Seminary.

The man said Lewis started a program of “touch therapy,” which included the two kissing and fondling each other and engaging in sexual roleplaying.

“He said I was to tell no one about it because no one would understand,” the man testified.

During “touch therapy” sessions in Lewis’ car, Lewis asked him to masturbate, the man said. Lewis also admitted to fantasizing about him, the man said.

Many ex-gay therapists have practiced what they call “touch therapy,” including Richard Cohen, who extends this from touching to hugging or even cuddling on the couch. Dr. Chris Austin carried touch too far and was convicted of sexual assault, as was Terrance Lewis in the story above. While certainly not all ex-gay therapists go to this extreme, starting with the premise that sexual orientation should, or even can, be changed has led to unorthodox and at times, illegal “therapy.”

Those who insist that professional, medical organizations must accept these as effective and therapeutic do so because they defend their “world view.” Everyone has the right to see the world as they like, but should an entire science be held responsible for maintaining that view? At what point is it the responsibility of the therapist to acknowledge that even a deeply held belief can lead one to seek help which is not — helpful.

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