The questions about Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and the extremist anti-gay views she shares with her husband, Marcus Bachmann, continue to multiply. Marcus Bachmann markets himself as a psychologist who provides "Christian counseling" at his practice, Bachmann & Associates.
The Washington Post did a lengthy piece on July 6 on both Bachmanns' history of anti-gay extremism and their joined at the hip mentality of opposing any and all civil rights for LGBT Americans. Pam Spaulding chimed into the mix a post raising serious ethical issues that seem to surround Marcus Bachmann's "Christian Counseling" practice in Lake Elmo and Burnsville, Minnesota.
Adding even more fuel to the fire is Think Progress' story of Michelle Bachmann's 2004 endorsement of Focus on the Families utterly bogus and, in the view of the American Psychological Association's view, unethical, ex-gay ministry, Love Wins Out. While both Bachmann' are dodging questions on whether Bachmann & Associates offers ex-gay "reparative therapy" a lot of questions exist as to the nature of Marcus Bachmann's credentials and how he operates his practice without being licensed.
A perusal of the Minnesota Revised Statutes reveals that state licensing is required for psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors. Yet, by all reports Marcus Bachmann holds no license. The obvious questions are how and why? Is this the type of "expert" Michele Bachmann would utilize were she to be elected to high office?
But Bachmann's lack of a license to practice isn't the only irregularity surrounding Marcus Bachmann professional qualifications. He apparently prefers to be referred to as "Dr. Bachmann." Coincidentally, from my years of following "family values" organizations, affixing "Dr." in front a supposed expert's name is a favored tactic to add credibility.
The Post story and others indicate that Bachmann received his PhD from Union Graduate Institute in Ohio. While it's an apparently legally created institution, it's doctoral program in psychology is not accredited by the APA which means its degree holders cannot be licensed in a number of states. Moreover, it specializes in limited residence and distance learning programs. That's right, it is not a traditional university offering typical doctoral education program.
Given these unanswered questions about Marcus Bachmann's practice and his unlicensed status, these thoughts raised in Pam Spaulding's post are indeed relevant:
Someone should publicly ask him to provide a copy of the informed consent that he has patients seeking to undergo "ex-gay" therapy sign. Informed consent is a legal procedure to ensure that a patient or client knows all of the risks and costs involved in a treatment. The elements of informed consents include informing the client of the nature of the treatment, possible alternative treatments, and the potential risks and benefits of the treatment.
For ex-gay therapy, the informed consent should tell a patient that "ex-gay" therapy is not proven, is considered "experimental", is not supported by research, that no medical or mental health association endorses it, that it could have harmful side effects including depression and suicidal ideation, and that change to heterosexuality is not likely. A good informed consent should also list alternative treatments and options, including learning to live life as a celibate homosexual or seeking gay affirmative therapy.
A good informed consent would inform a potential client that she/he could spend years and tens of thousands of dollars seeking "change" but would most likely continue to experience homosexual attractions for the rest of his/her life.
Obviously, if Bachmann & Associates has noting to hide. releasing such documentation s hould be a non-issue. As for specifics of Michele and Marcus Bachmann's virulent anti-gay track records, here are highlights from the Washington Post story:
Michele Bachmann has called gay marriage "probably the biggest issue that will impact our state and our nation in the last, at least, 30 years." In 2005, she ran screaming from a bathroom at a constituent forum, claiming that a lesbian had attempted to keep her there against her will. (The woman said she was merely questioning Bachmann about her position on gay marriage.) As a state senator, she was seen crouching behind hedges to observe a gay rights rally. (She has explained that she was checking the turnout.) Dr. Bachmann's views on homosexuality have likewise earned him the ire of gay activists and liberal critics.
The Bachmann campaign declined to specifically address whether the couple's clinic, set back amid serene ponds in an office park gauzy with floating dandelion seeds, engages in the practice of reparative therapy.
Both Bachmanns have warned that a greater acceptance of homosexuality could have grave social consequences. . . . In Dr. Bachmann's interview with Point of View talk radio in 2010, he said that parents and authority figures have a responsibility not to allow homosexual feelings "to move into action steps" and warned that the rate of homosexuality in public schools would increase if it became tolerated with "full, wide-open doors." Both Bachmanns have been supportive of Janet Boynes, the author of "Called Out: A Former Lesbian's Discovery of Freedom."
Think Progress adds this to the already disturbing picture of this frightening couple:
In 2004, as ex-gay proponents "Love Won Out" prepared to hold their annual conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota for those "struggling with unwanted homosexuality," Bachmann not only lent a quote for the group's press release but also "opened the conference with a greeting and blessing."
Yes, criticism of Bachmann and her husband may cause the delusional elements of the GOP base to rally to her cause. However, it is critical that moderates and independents realize just how extreme Bachmann and her husband are in their beliefs and policies towards civil rights for all citizens.