Title: Tough. Love? Credit: Craig Young Comment Tuesday 25th September 2007 - 2:06pm1190685960 Article: 4996 Rights
Elements of the so-called 'exgay movement' in the United States have their origins in the highly suspect 'tough love' adolescent behavioural modification corner of fringe psychotherapies. And here? "Tough love" originally arose from a US antidrug cult entitled "Synanon." This group argued that it could 'treat' hardcore heroin addicts through social isolation, humiliation of its initiates, hard labour and sleep deprivation. However, this abusive institution only ended up creating more psychological problems for its members- and didn't provide long-term meaningful relief from severe heroin addiction problems. Chillingly, there are also US exgay programmes that use their own fundamentalist version of 'tough love' programmes against lesbian and gay adolescents. Mother Jones refers only briefly to two such programmes, New Horizons Youth Ministries and Love in Action. As far as I am aware, neither organisation operates within New Zealand, but I had a look at Love in Action's website. LIA has been in repeated conflict with authorities over unlicensed 'mental health support' living services, administration and dispensation of psychotropic medications. Fortunately, it discontinued its Tennessee exgay youth 'boot camp' but now runs a so-called Family Freedom Initiative that tries to combat 'same sex attraction', pornography and promiscuity amongst teenagers. I'd have to say that the unlicensed prescription and administration of psychotropic medication cited above is deeply disturbing, although admittedly LIA no longer practices this. As the residential Living Waters programme has already attracted controversy over abrupt expulsion of one participant here, it might be worth asking whether we should call for stronger scrutiny of such programmes here, perhaps even at the legislative level. Recommended: Maia Svalavitz: "How A Cult Spawned the Tough Love Industry" Mother Jones: September/October 2007: 46-47 Craig Young - 25th September 2007    
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