DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Republican party made headlines for endorsing “reparative therapy,” a psychological approach that claims to effectively change the sexual orientation of adults, from gay to straight. And for one local marriage and family therapist, the recent spotlight on the controversial therapy hit close to home.
“I never identified as gay, but I definitely had homosexual feelings,” said David Pickup. Pickup shared that he was sexually assaulted as a child, which he said led to confusion about his own sexuality. He claimed that reparative therapy vanquished his sexual interest in men.
“It was all about me discovering who I really was,” said Pickup about his reparative therapy. Now, as a licensed marriage and family therapist, Pickup specializes in it. He claims he focuses on counseling people for underlying issues such as abuse, neglect or trauma.
“There’s an automatic – this is what a lot of people don’t realize – there’s an automatic, spontaneous lessening or dissipation of homoerotic feeling toward men after therapy,” said Pickup.
But the American Medical Association adamantly opposes gay conversion therapy. It’s banned for minors in California and New Jersey. But as of this past weekend, the Texas Republican Party officially endorses it.
Gay Republican Rudy Oeftering said the therapy is largely unregulated. To prove his point, Oeftering officially registered his own “reparative therapy” business with Dallas County.
“It’s sort of a joke, but it’s very serious,too because there’s people who go through reparative therapy, then after they’re finished are suicidal because they think – someone has convinced them they can change. And there’s no scientific or peer reviewed research that says that’s true,” said Oeftering.
Reparative therapy—more often called “conversion therapy” in the scientific literature—has been declared invalid by nearly all the relevant medical organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the National Association of Social Workers.
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