To the mainstream medical community, reparative therapy for homosexuals is quackery. Organizations either denounce it or call it dangerous and the Texas GOP was skewered for endorsing the practice in its 2014 platform. So when Unfair Park learned about a billboard at Forest Lane and U.S. 75 promoting a reparative therapy practice, we were intrigued. Dallas, after all, just enjoyed a solid year for equal rights. We called up David Pickup, the California and Dallas based family counselor behind the sign, and had a conversation about the practice.
Pickup says the treatment he provides is authentic reparative therapy, not the junk demonized by the media. He treats men, he says, who believe that their homosexual feelings are not inborn.
The feelings of the men Pickup sees are based on "very severely unmet needs and very severe issues of gender identity inferiority that usually start in childhood, that eventually creates homosexual feelings within them," he says. "The men who are looking for help are looking for ways to build their self-esteem, cut down any suicidal feelings, and security in their male gender identity, which translates to an automatic spontaneous lessening and in some cases dissipation of homosexual feelings."
Pickup says he uses standard American Psychological Association techniques that would be used for any issue being treated in therapy to "go down to deeper levels and resolve these deeper issues." The APA and other medical organizations are against reparative therapy for political reasons, he says.
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"I'm not worried because the medical associations or any other association is worried about it because they don't know what they're talking about. They're either not courageous enough or not knowledgeable enough or willing to do enough research around what the real issues are," he says. "I don't think they care about people who are dealing with these issues who know that for them homosexuality doesn't represent their authentic selves and for whom this really works."
California and New Jersey have banned reparative therapy for minors, something Pickup strongly disagrees with, although he says he won't treat anyone who doesn't want to be treated. The Virginia Legislature killed a similar bill on Thursday.
"Without realizing it these states are doing harm to so many children," Pickup says. "Any good therapist knows that homosexual feelings in part sometimes come up because they've been sexually abused by pedophiles, for example. It doesn't matter if the pedophile is gay or straight, that's what happens. Their sexual organs are stimulated and they have, because it's same sex, they have those feelings because of that reason."
Not allowing therapist to attempt to lessen to homosexual feelings of teens and adolescents who want them lessened isn't right, Pickup says.