- (Photo: Reuters / Jeff Haynes)
Marcus Bachmann came out in defense of the Christian counseling business he and his wife, Michele, own, maintaining that they do not have an agenda of trying to change someone – namely from gay to straight.
After coming under fire from a pro-gay group that claimed Bachmann & Associates was practicing "reparative therapy" aimed at "curing" gays, Bachmann told the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune that such counseling is not their focus.
Rather, treatment for depression and anxiety is more commonplace, he told the local publication.
Bachmann himself specializes in marriage and family, depression/anxiety, anger management, and family of origin issues, according to the clinic's website.
Still, counselors would address the issue of same-sex attraction if those struggling with it requested help, he noted.
"Will I address it? Certainly we'll talk about it," he told the Star Tribune. "Is it a remedy form that I typically would use? ... It is at the client's discretion."
His comments come a week after Truth Wins Out released an undercover report, claiming to prove that Bachmann's clinic in Minnesota "does try to cure gay people."
The group sent John Becker with a hidden camera to the clinic where he told the counselor he wanted to get rid of his homosexuality and that he was Christian.
Becker had five sessions with the counselor during which he was told that it was possible to be free of same-sex attraction and guided on how to develop attraction toward women.
The counselor, according to Truth Wins Out, told the pretend patient that attraction to the same sex “is there, and it’s real, but at the core value, in terms of how God created us, we’re all heterosexual.”
"Our investigation clearly shows that his clinic has great antipathy towards gay and lesbian people and his therapists work to convert clients from gay to straight," Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen reiterated on Friday.
But investigative reporter Mark Benjamin found that Bachmann & Associates indeed isn't a "conversion therapy mill."
He wrote in Time magazine that judging from the recorded sessions between the counselor and Becker, the "therapist didn’t appear to claim any expertise in how to change Becker’s homosexual urges."
The counselor also admitted that he “doesn’t have a ton of experience with this issue” and told Becker that it is “important as we sort this out that you remember not to beat yourself up too much” about homosexual urges.
"Throughout the transcripts, Becker’s therapist came across as somebody who was willing to try to make Becker straight, but didn’t usually do that kind of thing for a living," stated Benjamin, who once posed as a gay man to find out how "reparative therapy" works.
Truth Wins Out – whose mission is to fight anti-gay religious extremism – nevertheless believes Bachmann & Associates is disdainful toward LGBT people and wants the business to end the "harmful and discredited practice of 'ex-gay' therapy."
Bachmann, who has been a clinical therapist in the Twin Cities for more than 20 years, clarified to the Star Tribune that counselors at his clinics do not force any treatment on patients.
"This individual (Becker) came to us under a false pretense,'' he noted. "The truth of the matter is he specifically asked for help.''