The Reparative Therapy Makeover Continues: No Naked Therapy?

Last week, NARTH’s Chris Doyle and Julie Hamilton went on the Dr Oz show to defend reparative therapy by portraying it as something other than reparative therapy. This week, NARTH’s representatives carried the makeover a little further in a NBC News article.

There is much I could comment on and may in the future, but in this post I pause to consider an astounding claim is made by David Pickup. Pickup, a one-time supervisee of Nicolosi’s and member of the Mankind Project, claims

“I can say this: I don’t do oranges therapy, and I don’t do naked therapy…”

Pickup is referring to the therapy allegedly practiced by counselors and life coaches at Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (the H used to stand for “homosexuality”). In the complaint brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center, former JONAH clients claim that they were asked to remove their clothes for various “interventions” designed to help them bolster their masculinity. There were also some creative uses for oranges in the JONAH program. In his defense against the charge that reparative therapy is all about strange techniques such as described in the JONAH lawsuit, Pickup made his statement about oranges and naked therapy.

Well, I don’t know what Pickup does in his office, but he does recommend a weekend masculinity initiation that involves nudity. For years, Pickup as been a senior staff member for the Mankind Project in Los Angeles as his NARTH 2008 bio makes clear:

David Pickup, M.A., IMF

David H. Pickup holds a Masters Degree in Psychology. He is currently registered with the California Board of Psychology as a Psych Assistant and with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences as a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern. David is interning under the supervision of Dr. Joseph Nicolosi at Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic in Encino, California. His work is centered on young boys who are struggling with Gender Identification Disorder and with adolescents and adult men who are dealing with same-sex attraction. David is a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and is also a Life Coach for men working out of same-sex attraction. He operates The WorkOUT program and website, which includes individual and group coaching for men in Los Angeles and in several different countries. David speaks on Reparative Therapy and its practical applications for churches and men’s groups in the southern California area. He is also a senior staff member of The Mankind Project’s intensive weekend trainings for men in the Los Angeles area. (emphasis added)

The Mankind Project’s signature program is The New Warriors Training Adventure which invites men to get naked during part of the weekend festivities. This is well documented on their own website. They say it is optional but they strongly defend the practice (in addition to the “cock talk” portion of the program where men hold a wooden phallus and talk about their sexual history) as being an important aspect of the program.

Currently, Pickup offers discounts to the New Warriors Training Program to those who sign up for his online reorientation therapy program (only 5.99 a month!). Reparative therapists have for years viewed the New Warriors Training Adventure as being useful for same-sex attracted men because they believe SSA derives from wounded masculinity. Thus, when Pickup recommends the weekend on his reorientation therapy website, he does not simply hope his clients will have a fun weekend in the woods. The purpose is therapeutic.  While he may not be doing the naked therapy, he is recommending it.

For more on the Mankind Project, see this page.