The patient’s anguish was clearly visible to psychiatrist Jack Drescher, MD, as the man spoke about his experience undergoing so-called gay conversion therapy. Such therapy often is rooted in the claim that poor parenting is the cause of same-sex attractions, and that patients can change if they truly wish to be heterosexual. Methods of “repairing” patients can include instructing them to beat effigies of their mothers, touch themselves while naked in front of counselors and be subjected to mock locker room scenarios in which therapists scream anti-gay epithets at them. After attending a religious-based therapy six times a week and experiencing no change in his sexuality, the patient was left feeling ashamed, depressed and suicidal, Dr. Drescher said.
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