A coalition of groups that support ex-gay therapy has launched a new website called “Voices of Change,” chock full of mostly-anonymous testimonials endorsing the fraudulent, harmful treatment. Truth Wins Out noticed one particular video from the infamous therapist Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, co-founder of NARTH and mentor to many other ex-gay proponents, claiming that half of his clients are minors, and that proportion is growing:
NICOLOSI: We are getting more an more teenagers coming to our clinic. Years ago when I did this work, the average age of our clients were late 20′s and early 30′s…Today, I would say that 50-percent of the clients at our clinic, and we have 135 ongoing cases a week. We have seven therapists that only deal with homosexuality. Fifty percent are teenagers.
This is why California’s new ban on ex-gay therapy for minors, as well as those proposed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, are essential for protecting young people. Nicolosi encourages young people to believe they can change and that they should want to change, neither of which reflects professional therapeutic practices of affirming a client’s sexual orientation, whatever it is. The two lawsuits challenging California’s law provide plenty of insight into the manipulative tactics. According to the suit from the Pacific Justice Institute, therapists don’t even recognize the concept of family rejection, instead claiming it’s parents’ rights to enroll their kids in the harmful therapy. Nicolosi’s own suit, filed along with the Liberty Counsel and several of his NARTH protégés, rests on the pretext that ex-gay therapy is the only way some kids can reconcile their relationships with their parents.
It’s bad enough that anyone would offer or encourage something so self-stigmatizing and money-draining as ex-gay therapy, but these “therapists” also nurture and depend upon family rejection for their income. In no way can any defense of ex-gay therapy be rectified with a concern for the well-being of children.