Dr. Oz Show Fails to Televise a Balanced Gay Cure Reparative Therapy Debate
“On September 30th, a law was passed in California banning reparative therapy for minors. So today we are going inside the world of reparative therapy which some believe can turn gay people straight….and we ask the question ‘Could you change your sexual orientation and should you even try?’” says Dr. Oz as he provides a platform for a discussion about reparative therapy and whether you are born gay and whether you can you go from gay to straight.
Dr. Oz tells viewers that the question of homosexuality and whether it can be reversed has been a contentious subject for physicians and psychologists since the days of Sigmund Freud and that therapies have been tried involving both psychoactive medications and applying electroshocks to the brain.
In a landmark case 40 years ago, with changing social and cultural views and a review of past treatments and the results of such treatments on changing sexual preferences, the American Psychiatric Association ruled that homosexuality should no longer be considered a mental disorder.
However, in spite of the ruling by leading experts in the medical field, many gay men and women as well as their family members have sought myriad and some controversial therapies in an attempt to find a “cure” for being gay.
Today, the idea of gay cure and civil rights are being challenged once again with the recent passage of a California law that prohibits reparative therapy being practiced on minors.
To argue for reparative therapy, Dr. Oz has special guest Christopher Doyle, M.A. a psychotherapist who specializes in treating men who are attracted to the same sex--but don’t want to be. His other qualification that he credits himself with is that he himself was gay, but has been cured and straight for 8 years and is now married to his wife in a typical male/female marriage with 2 children.
Dr. Doyle describes his work as based on one that helps gay men who want to change by identifying what it is that causes their feelings of same-sex sexual attraction.
“Reparative therapy is when a client comes into my office and they feel that their sexual desires or attractions are in conflict with who they really are as a person. Many of my clients really do not believe that they are gay. They can see that there are specific causes for same-sex attractions, and we work with them and try to identify those causes with therapy,” says Dr. Doyle.
Dr. Doyle argues that research has shown that people are not born gay, but rather, that being gay is a complex process that involves a range of social factors that leads to becoming gay or perceiving one’s self as being gay.
“People are not born gay,” says Dr. Doyle, “…there’s many factors that are involved here, that it is not simply a biological component.”
To help cure gay men with reparative therapy, Dr. Doyle explains that he addresses 3 things with his therapy:
(1) Identify the root causes of why they have same-sex attraction.
(2) Help them resolve those issues, and heal those issues.
(3) Help them meet unmet love-needs through healthy relationships with men.
Dr. Doyle explains that what he often sees are men who are detached with respect to their relationship with other men because they did not bond with their fathers early in their lives. But with reparative therapy, the same-sex attraction relationship can be changed to what he refers to as a healthy relationship between men and that those feelings of attraction will disappear once the causes are addressed, resolved and unmet love-needs fulfilled.
In support of Dr. Doyle’s reparative therapy practice is Mr. Rich Wyler a certified life coach who is pro reparative therapy and provides retreats for men who want to go from gay to straight.
Mr. Wyler states that many men who come to his retreats are very confused not just by their feelings of attraction for men, but the mixed messages they get from a gay community that says you are born gay, and a religious community that says you should be ashamed for having those feelings you are born with.
Mr. Wyler says that his retreats provide a shame-free environment where men can discuss the issues and thereby help men come to terms with their feelings and what the community has to say about it. He states that after attending his retreats, that the majority of the attendees are changed and do go on to lead lives feeling attracted to the opposite sex.
Dr. Doyle points out that he is not anti-gay and that he supports gay rights, but he believes that there is a subset of individuals who are gay and who are in conflict with their feelings of attraction for men and with who they really see themselves as being inside. And that is where his reparative therapy can be helpful for many.
That help, however, is meeting a lot of opposition by others in the gay community who see his therapy as being harmful rather than helpful.
Dr. Oz introduced two gay men—Peter and Gabriel, both of who strongly believe that reparative therapy is malpractice and being gay is something you are born with.