Queer Action Coalition

Saturday, July 09, 2005


As first outlined Here, in the Washington Blade, by Eartha Melzer on July 01.

The Investigation specifically deals with Love In Action's claims to offer drug and alcohol counseling.

The questions seem to lie in the semantics of LIA's statements about what it is they actually do.

Are they simply a "Christ-centered ministry" that does nothing more than offer a Christian alternative, or are they a "treatment center" that is offering services to people by unprofessional practitioners in an unlicensed, unaccountable environment?

The real danger seems to lie in the fact that when a counselor is operating in an unlicensed environment, they aren't held accountable to even minimal professional standards of ethics, allowing the practitioners to exhibit, and inflict social bias with their clients. This appears to be the particular difficulty in this case, because legally they can be homophobic, biased Christians, and offer these views to others in a form of counseling draped as "ministry". However, it is illegal for them to operate as a "Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facility" as defined by the State of Tennessee, because in this case the State recognizes the danger of such therapy, or treatment offered by unprofessional practitioners to clients with addiction and mental health issues.
Since no major mental health organization views homosexuality as a mental illness, or disorder, any licensed practitioner who approaches a homosexual person with bias, and/or offering "treatment", may lose their license permanently for being in violation of ethics. That said, it seems that Love In Action really has no choice to become a licensed facility, simply because their model of therapy does not follow the ethical standards that are required to acquire such licensing,


Love in Action makes several statements about who they are and what they do, on their official site alone they describe themselves as:

"an addictions treatment center"
"a professional recovery treatment center"
"a Christ-centered ministry for the prevention or treatment of unhealthy and destructive behaviors facing families, adults, and adolescents."
"a Christ-centered Memphis-based international recovery treatment center"
"a leading authority on healing from sexual brokenness."

Most recently in an interview with Family and Friends magazine they refer to their program as:

"a Christian discipleship program"

As stated on the official Refuge Website:

"Refuge promotes change among clients through the use of therapeutic groups, individual counseling and family support..."

It claims also that Refuge is:

"a safe place for young people and their families to find true freedom from addictions through the power of Jesus Christ...
....Designed to minister to adolescents struggling with broken and addictive behaviors such as…
-Pornography-Drugs and alcohol-Sexualpromiscuityy-Homosexuality

As defined by: American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

ad·dic·tion : Compulsive physiological and psychological need for a habit-forming substance
ther·a·peu·tic: Of or relating to the treatment of disease or disorders by remedial agents or methods
treat·ment: Administration or application of remedies to a patient or for a disease or injury

A copy of the letter that the Tennesse Department of Health sent to Love In Action 29th June 29th.

What the major mental health organizations say about therapy based upon sexual orientation, and reorientation therapies.

American Psychiatric Association
American Psychological Association
National Association of Social Workers


  • I guess it's a start. I wish they'd get them for the REAL problem, and not the ancillary one, you know?

    By Blogger abbyladybug, at 12:30 PM  

  • Isn't his name Smid and not Smith?

    By Anonymous Tyler, at 12:40 PM  

  • They're looking into it. Whether they shut them down for licencing issues or tax fraud I really don't care.

    I hope it may lead to questions about whether it is acceptable that an anti-gay ministry like this exists, offers potentially damaging treatment, and yet does not have to be accountable in any way.

    They are working within the law as it stands, but I hope they will also look at the law itself.

    By Blogger Willie Hewes, at 10:54 AM  

  • thank u for your informative words!

    By Blogger stevie.be., at 11:28 AM  

  • aw, snap. i bet they are just scurrying around.

    I couldnt find any record of second chance's having reopened. there's a second chance ranch, but it's for old horses.

    By Blogger sue, at 11:58 AM  

  • "potentially damaging treatment" Believe me Willie, it is damaging. I spent 3 years there. It's been over 5 years since being in contact with the staff and I still have issues and problems form their damaging treatment. I tried to do something about it then, but nobody would listen to me. Maybe now the state will do something.

    By Blogger Scott, at 4:51 PM  

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