Core Issues flyerAn ex-gay therapist who surrounds himself with muscular men to help him feel masculine will be the main speaker at a reparative therapy conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, tomorrow (Tuesday, June 14). He’ll be joined by a Christian therapist who was found guilty of professional malpractice after she told a client his homosexuality was due to Freemasonry and unacknowledged sexual abuse.

David Pickup will speak at Belvoir Church of Ireland in the city, during a conference for the group Core Issues. A flyer for the event announces, “You don’t have to be gay,” and says there will be “tolerance for all views” as the supposed evidence for reparative therapy — clinical treatment to turn homosexuals heterosexual — is discussed.

Core Issues has, frankly, chosen two sitting ducks as its guest speakers. David Pickup is an enigma, to say the least. In 2008, we reported on the strange notions underlying Pickup’s understanding of gender and sexuality. In common with his compatriots at the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, or NARTH, he believes that being gay stems from inadequate male role models while growing up. With that end in mind, Pickup apparently believes that the key to treating his own homosexuality is to surround himself with muscular men to admire.

He describes his program, “The Workout,” in this promotional video — which stirred both controversy and laughter around the blogosphere in 2008 — titled, “Go Deep”:

In 2008, Pickup told an APA conference he was a practicing reparative therapist, despite explicitly denying on his website that he offered therapy. According to the Core Issues literature:

David Pickup is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of California. He underwent extensive training in Reparative Therapy for three years under the direction of Dr. Joseph Nicolosi at Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic.

David is an active member of The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), and has been a speaker at the annual NARTH conferences and spoke at the 2010 Exodus International Conference in Los Angeles.

He is currently working toward his Doctorate in Psychology at California Southern University in Los Angeles. Although his main focus is Reparative Therapy, David also has experience in dealing with depression and anxiety issues, pornography addiction, couples and family therapy, and Gender Identity Disorder (GID) in children.

But also on the bill is recently discredited ex-gay therapist Lesley Pilkington. Last month, the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, or BACP, said Pilkington “allowed her preconceived views about gay lifestyle and sexual orientation to affect her professional relationship in a way that was prejudicial.”

Mrs Pilkington had told Patrick Strudwick, a gay journalist posing as an unhappy homosexual Christian, that connections to Freemasonry and a history of sexual abuse were to blame for his “unwanted same-sex attractions.” Bizarrely, the UK’s Christian Legal Centre has continued to stand by her.

While the ex-gay habit of attributing homosexuality to sexual abuse is one thing, Pilkington insisted that Strudwick was sexually abused, even when he denied it. She prayed with him to bring supposedly suppressed memories of sexual abuse “to the surface” and suggested the abuse likely took place within Strudwick’s family.

This is an appalling way for a professional therapist to behave. Yet the evangelical Christian Legal Centre defends it. By inviting Pilkington to address its conference, Core Issues only adds to the widespread hailing of Pilkington as a martyr to political correctness and the gay lobby.

A protest is planned against the conference from 9.30am to 7.30pm tomorrow.

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