On November 28, lightening struck New York City as International Healing Foundation’s (IHF) Psychotherapist, Christopher Doyle, and his wife Sherry appeared on the nationally syndicated Dr. Oz Show to share his story of change and talk about Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) in therapy. With the pending law in California to ban SOCE for minors, it was indeed a hot topic, with sparks flying throughout the show!
In the first segment, Dr. Oz interviewed Christopher about his story of change and work with clients who experience unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA)! Christopher shared about his own transformation, and that of his clients through, therapy. Dr. Oz asked Sherry how it was being married to a former homosexual man. Her words were beautiful and spot on. What a beautiful testament to change with love and truth!
In the next segment, Christopher and Rich Wyler (director of People Can Change) shared more about their stories of change, and how they help others conflicted with unwanted SSA, all the while expressing their love and support for all who experience same-sex attraction: “I support the rights of lesbian, gays, bisexual, and transgender people to pursue their dreams…and we need to understand that there are a group of us for whom living a gay life wasn’t compatible with our values and who we really believe we are . . . If I didn’t have that choice, that chance to change, I wouldn’t have my two kids today, I wouldn’t have my wife today, ” commented Christopher.
Then the fire began: two men, Peter and Gabriel, shared how they sought help to change with therapy and became suicidal before accepting themselves as gay men. Next a surprise celebrity guest, Clay Aiken (of American Idol) and Dr. Oz's resident addiction counselor, Brad shared with passion and pain how detrimental our work is for them. Brad's father was/is a preacher, and he experienced so much judgment and damnation from his father's judgmental attitudes about homosexuality. There was no appeasing his animosity, no matter how much Christopher said we love and respect all members of the LGBT community, and affirm the individual's right of self-determination.
Then Dr. Julie Hamilton, past president of NARTH, and a Dr. John Clark, psychiatrist and professor at Harvard and UCLA, debated about the merits of therapy to help those overcome unwanted SSA. It was frustrating to see how much the producers edited Dr. Hamilton’s remarks about the science surrounding therapy and change, but mid-way through Dr. Clark’s sentence that “people don’t change,” Christopher spoke up from the audience: “I changed …I’m living proof. I have a wife and two kids. You’re ignoring the research!”
While outnumbered and disrespected throughout the show by those who denigrate IHF’s work, Christopher’s powerful testimony and compassion clearly won the hearts and minds of the national viewers. Out of all the e-mails and phone calls that were received by our office in the weeks after the show aired, we had dozens of positive and supporting comments, and only one negative e-mail. In IHF’s twenty-one year history, never have we had such an overwhelming positive and warm response from a media appearance, a true sign that our message of love, compassion, and truth was heard loud and clear throughout the United States and beyond! To watch the entire show online, visit the Dr. Oz website by clicking here.
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