Ethical Questions Raised at Mr. Bachmann’s Clinic

July 11th, 2011 at 7:57 am | 18 Comments |

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The Nation revealed this weekend that the Christian counseling centers owned by the husband and chief advisor of GOP Presidential Candidate Michele Bachmann have been practicing the widely discredited and potentially harmful “reparative” therapy intended to change people from gay to straight. Marcus Bachmann had previously denied that his clinics engaged in “ex-gay” therapy.

But The Nation missed the real part of the story that raises serious ethical and legal questions about Mr. Bachmann’s practice. Buried in the details in the source material provided by the gay rights organization Truth Wins Out; one finds that at no time did employees of Mr. Bachmann’s clinics ever educate the client on the dangers of reparative therapy (such as suicidal ideation), its historical lack of success in changing sexual orientation, or that the practice has been denounced by mainstream medical and mental health associations. Additionally, the client should have been informed that reparative therapy is considered “experimental”, he should have been told of the availability of other therapy options, and had the risk and benefits of each option explained.

This “informed consent” is required by the ethics code of the American Psychological Association (Mr. Bachman holds a doctoral degree in psychology) and informed consent is also a requirement of the ethics code of the American Association of Christian Counselors. This latter group mandates written informed consents as well as special written consent prior to initiating therapy when the goal is a change in sexual orientation.  The undercover investigator with Truth Wins Out, who videotaped five counseling sessions in Mr. Bachmann’s clinic,  has confirmed that at no time was he given an informed consent either verbally or in writing.

Thus it appears that Ms. Bachmann’s spouse and lead advisor owns a clinic that is practicing unethically in a way that is known to harm patients. This break from traditional evidence-based practice and Mr. Bachmann’s previous insistence that his clinic does not engage in the discredited therapy, raises legitimate questions about the integrity of one of Michele Bachmann’s chief advisors.

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18 Comments so far ↓

  • Nanotek

    had not considered that … you’re right … thank you

  • bluestatepastor

    What this article doesn’t say (but The Nation does) is that the aforementioned PhD is from a nonaccredited correspondence school; and that Mr. Bachmann holds no license nor certification to practice therapy. In most states, he would not be permitted to be in business at all. Minnesota’s regulations aren’t as strict as some others.
    I think it’s entirely fair to ask Rep. Bachmann about this, as she is a business partner in the practice.

  • CentristNYer

    The Bachmanns certainly do seem made for one another. Their denial of reality, their single-minded adherence to discredited “facts” and their nanny state impulse to control others (while at the same time proclaiming their love for limited government) is downright amusing.

  • tom78212

    Here is an interesting article which includes background on Union Institute:

    http://ezinearticles.com/?Federal-Employees-Win-Promotions-With-Bogus-Degrees&id=1996708

    Union Institute says this on its site re the issue of accreditation

    Accreditation
    Union Institute & University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.

    Web address: http://www.ncahigherlearningcommission.org/
    Phone #: 1-800-621-7440

    Most recent institutional reauthorization: April 2010
    Next scheduled comprehensive review: 2016-2017
    What does Union Institute & University’s accreditation mean? Learn more here.

    This is the link to the Higher Learning Commission: http://www.ncahlc.org/

    To determine if an online/campus college/university is a degree mill selling degrees read the GAO reports – available online.

    While the GAO does red light degrees from degree mills and these cannot be used for hiring or promotions, many people continue to buy their degrees. I worked on Ft Sam Houston and knew people who had fake degrees. They were permitted to use the title “Dr” even tho’ everyone knew that a degree from Kennedy-Western, for example, was simply bought. After being listed by the GAO as a degree mill, K-W changed its name to Warren National Univ and closed in 2009. BTW, those fake-dgree holders whom I knew were given “credit” for training classes paid for by the Army as part of their degree plans.

  • forkboy1965

    And why are they receiving federal funds for what amounts to a religious exorcism at best?

  • Raskolnik

    forkboy,

    One of my mentors growing up was an ancient withered Jesuit priest who had performed several exorcisms over the course of his life, please do not sully the practice of ritual exorcism by comparing it to whatever ungodly horrors that awful Bachmann man unleashes on his victims

    • forkboy1965

      Really?

      Considering the views of the Catholic Church on homosexuality I don’t see any real difference between what your Jesuit friend did and what Bachmann is up to.

      • MiyamotoIsoruku

        Then you are ignorant. One does not exorcize people because they are sinners (the Church of course teaching that homosexuality is a sin–a teaching I disagree with); one ministers to them lovingly, encourages them to repent and sin no more, and offers the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Exorcism is for those who are literally possessed demons, and is intended, as tom said, to be a healing ceremony. If you can’t tell the difference between what Bachmann is doing and Catholic exorcism, then it would appear you are guilty of one of the last socially acceptable forms of prejudice in this country–anti-Catholic bigotry.

  • JohnMcC

    Was pulled into this by the BlueStatePastor’s comment above. Bit of Googling reveals that Mr Bachmann got his MA from Regents — the Pat Robertson-affiliated college in Va — and his PhD from a ‘distance-learning’ ‘on-line’ university based in Cincinnati called Union Graduate Institute. According to Union’s web page they are accredited by the North Central Association which is actually the accrediting agency for Ohio. Being the skeptical person I am I went to the Dept of Education website and verified that Union is in fact accredited by the North Central Ass’n.

    So I agree that some reservations could be reasonable in regards to his professional education. But I bet he would be allowed into practice in any state.

    Oh, update: The Nation article as posted on the web does not give Mr Bachmann’s C.V. One has to look it up elsewhere; I chose to go to the Bachmann & Associates web page.

    The real questions are those pointed out in the original posting, specifically whether ‘reparative’ therapy being rejected by the APA casts doubt on his project.

    • tom78212

      Yes, I pointed out earlier that Union is accredited now. The question is whether it was accredited when “Dr” Bachman earned his online degree. As to whether he could be licensed in any state is still a question since his degree is not, apparently, recognized by the professional association of American psychologists. And he is not at this time even licensed in Minnesota.

      @ Raskolnik: I lived in central Texas for many years and have witnessed both “limpias” and exorcisms carried out by curanderas and priests. These were very personal rituals performed for their cleansing effect on the individuals. I doubt that the sessions conducted at the Bachman “clinics” come even close to the intimate ceremonies I witnessed.

  • Holmes

    A correspondence school PhD? Oy, as my Jewish friends would say. Is the entire conservative movement populated with mental defectives?

  • Hunter01

    What’s next? Correspondence schools for dentists, physicians, and surgeons? Conservative wingnuts have reduced our beloved country to a laughingstock.

  • McParland: Washington continues giant game of chicken over national debt | Jack's NewsWatch

    [...] candidate, a social conservative married to the owner of a Christian counselling centre that specializes in “curing” gays. She has eclipsed Sarah Palin by entering the race first, and gave her campaign an enormous [...]

  • McParland: Washington continues giant game of chicken over national debt (1) | Jack's NewsWatch

    [...] candidate, a social conservative married to the owner of a Christian counselling centre that specializes in “curing” gays. She has eclipsed Sarah Palin by entering the race first, and gave her campaign an enormous [...]

  • McParland: Washington continues giant game of chicken over national debt (2) | Jack's NewsWatch

    [...] candidate, a social conservative married to the owner of a Christian counselling centre that specializes in “curing” gays. She has eclipsed Sarah Palin by entering the race first, and gave her campaign an enormous [...]

  • McParland: Washington continues giant game of chicken over national debt (3) | Jack's NewsWatch

    [...] candidate, a social conservative married to the owner of a Christian counselling centre that specializes in “curing” gays. She has eclipsed Sarah Palin by entering the race first, and gave her campaign an enormous [...]

  • McParland: Washington continues giant game of chicken over national debt (4) | Jack's NewsWatch

    [...] candidate, a social conservative married to the owner of a Christian counselling centre that specializes in “curing” gays. She has eclipsed Sarah Palin by entering the race first, and gave her campaign an enormous [...]

  • Dorianmode

    My question is : how is the clinic coding the patient visits? Supposedly they are using CPT and ICD-9 codes, and “v” codes for procedures. If they are using 290-300 CPT codes, and there is NO corresponding disorder in the DSM, (and the American Psych Assn took out “homosexuality” many years ago from the DSM), and they are billing the visits based on these codes, it raises the question of fraud. Who has audited the clinic lately ?