Why Does Ex-Gay Therapist Alan Downing Have Patients Strip and Touch Themselves In Front of a Mirror?

Alan Downing, the ex-gay counselor at Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH), teaches homosexual Jews how to be less homosexual. Two former patients (clients?) say he does this by having them disrobe behind closed doors and touch themselves in front of a mirror.

In an undercover investigation British journalist Patrick Strudwick exposed quacks like Dr. Paul Miller (former advisor to Irish lawmaker Iris Robinson) as repressed homosexuals who treat their clients as sexual objects. In Strudwick’s case, his counselor had him mentally masturbate over Skype. With Downing, ex-patients Ben Unger and Chaim Levin say they faced similar unethical treatment, as they explain in the above video posted by Wayne Besen.

Downing (pictured right) is also a counselor at Journey into Manhood, the ex-gay camping series that reporter Ted Cox exposed as a joke.

At one point during a camp weekend, participants were told to perform a hold with each other that’s similar to how a parent would hold a child, Cox said. Another hold involved one man leaning back into another’s chest. The positions were not sexual in nature, Cox said, but he doesn’t see how they could help someone become straight. “I would think that some of the things we did at the camp would be counter-productive,” said Cox, who called the weekend “literally the gayest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

Cox said the ex-gay movement is all about trying to find something in gays’ lives that made them gay. As with other programs he’s researched, Journey Into Manhood set out to find something that may explain why participants had same-sex attractions. “They’ll take any sort of negative event in your life, any kind of negative thing in your childhood and say, ‘A-ha! That’s why you’re gay,’” Cox contended, claiming one participant struggled to come up with something in his life that made him feel isolated; the man then pointed to a time in childhood when his father shooed him away because he was reading a newspaper.

The participant proceeded to act out beating his father with a bat, Cox said.

Though it’s nice to see Jewish groups taking cues from their Catholic peers about what to do in private with young men, huh?

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