In the southeastern city of Lublin, a hub of Roman Catholic teaching, a nondescript white building houses Odwaga, or Courage, an organisation which offers "therapy" for homosexuals -- to the consternation of gay rights groups who find it an aberration.
Behind its walls, men are taught to kick a football around, women take cookery lessons and, above all, participants spend time praying with priests.
"The goal isn't to change the patient, to shift their orientations, but rather to prepare them to accept their leanings," said Lena Wojdan, a Warsaw-based psychologist involved in Odwaga programmes.
Life can be hard for homosexuals in Poland -- where more than 90 percent of the 38.2-million-strong population is Catholic and where the gay and lesbian community has complained of living in a "climate of fear".
Even high-ranking Polish politicians make openly homophobic statements.
The authorities forbade gay pride marches in Warsaw in 2004 and 2005. The 2006 and 2007 events went ahead despite repeated calls for a ban from conservatives and far-right Catholic groups, who have returned to the fray ahead of this year's edition, scheduled for Saturday.
A survey published last year found that 53 percent of Poles considered homosexuality a sin, while 45 percent felt homosexuals should try to change their preference.
Odwaga's take is more nuanced, Wojdan told AFP in an interview away from the centre's premises. Journalists are not welcome at Odwaga, which was founded in 2007 by the church-linked Light-Life Foundation.
"They need to accept that God created them as they are. This is something that they have been given to bear as a burden," said Wojdan, sporting a large crucifix around her neck.
The aim is to convince participants they should try to choose between a "sinful" sex-life and a chaste, Christian existence.
"This is a kind of suffering which has meaning for Christians, a suffering that they have to face each day," Wojdan added.