Thursday, August 6, 2009

Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy: CHANGE IS IMPOSSIBLE!

The following two articles are concerning people who have a homosexual
orientation but do not identify as gay or lesbian. In other words, an
affirmative identity for them as a gay person would cause a lifetime of
depression rather than coming out of the closet.

Professionally I
really think this is great! I have worked with so many men and women who cannot
consolidate a healthy gay or lesbian identity for so many
reasons--their
faith being one of the main reasons.

I realized years ago that it is not
for me to push them into a gay affirmative identity. It is my job to help remove
homophobia and shame and understand what is best for them. I was doing damage I
realized when I pushed for an acceptance of
their sexual and romantic
orientation when--for them--they could not choose their orientation over their
faith, family, morals and personal values.

I started http://www.straightguise.com/ for
straight folks having sex with same gendered individuals and I am going to make
it for those people who are of homosexual orientation and choose not to live
that way and for them would be leading a life of depression to idenitify as gay.

Still I think the problem is the religious institutions imprinting
homophobia and lack of acceptance of a gay identity and if these children--now
adults--would not have been imprinted with self-hate we would not have this
issue in my opinion!So this is great of the APA to acknowledge these folks.

Most important is that it is being reinforced that sexual orientation
cannot
be changed but how one lives their lives can be. The work below by
evangelical
psychologist, Mark Yarhouse of Regent University is highly
questionable as it is
not scientific but rather from a religious
perspective.

I would say that the people he "claims" are not longer gay but identify as
straight are simply people who were not gay from the start. They are people
who
have has sexual contact with other members of the same sex for many reasons that have nothing to do with homosexuality.

___________________________________________________


Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy
By DAVID CRARY
AP National Writer

The American Psychological Association declared Wednesday that mental health professionals should not tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments.

Instead, the APA urged therapists to consider multiple options - that could range from celibacy to switching churches - for helping clients whose sexual orientation and religious faith conflict.

In a resolution adopted on a 125-to-4 vote by the APA's governing council, and in a comprehensive report based on two years of research, the 150,000-member association put itself firmly on record in opposition of so-called "reparative therapy" which seeks to change sexual orientation.

No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the report, and some research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.

The APA had criticized reparative therapy in the past, but a six-member task force added weight to this position by examining 83 studies on sexual orientation change conducted since 1960. Its comprehensive report was endorsed by the APA's governing council in Toronto, where the association's annual meeting is being held this weekend.

The report breaks new ground in its detailed and nuanced assessment of how therapists should deal with gay clients struggling to remain loyal to a religious faith that disapproves of homosexuality.

Judith Glassgold, a Highland Park, N.J., psychologist who chaired the task force, said she hoped the document could help calm the polarized debate between religious conservatives who believe in the possibility of changing sexual orientation and the many mental health professionals who reject that option.

"Both sides have to educate themselves better," Glassgold said in an interview. "The religious psychotherapists have to open up their eyes to the potential positive aspects of being gay or lesbian. Secular therapists have to recognize that some people will choose their faith over their sexuality."

In dealing with gay clients from conservative faiths, says the report, therapists should be "very cautious" about suggesting treatments aimed at altering their same-sex attractions.

"Practitioners can assist clients through therapies that do not attempt to change sexual orientation, but rather involve acceptance, support and identity exploration and development without imposing a specific identity outcome," the report says.

"We have to challenge people to be creative," said Glassgold.

She suggested that devout clients could focus on overarching aspects of religion such as hope and forgiveness in order to transcend negative beliefs about homosexuality, and either remain part of their original faith within its limits - for example, by embracing celibacy - or find a faith that welcomes gays.

"There's no evidence to say that change therapies work, but these vulnerable people are tempted to try them, and when they don't work, they feel doubly terrified," Glassgold said. "You should be honest with people and say, 'This is not likely to change your sexual orientation, but we can help explore what options you have.'"

One of the largest organizations promoting the possibility of changing sexual orientation is Exodus International, a network of ministries whose core message is "Freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ."

Its president, Alan Chambers, describes himself as someone who "overcame unwanted same-sex attraction." He and other evangelicals met with APA representatives after the task force formed in 2007, and he expressed satisfaction with parts of the report that emerged.

"It's a positive step - simply respecting someone's faith is a huge leap in the right direction," Chambers said. "But I'd go further. Don't deny the possibility that someone's feelings might change."

An evangelical psychologist, Mark Yarhouse of Regent University, praised the APA report for urging a creative approach to gay clients' religious beliefs but - like Chambers - disagreed with its skepticism about changing sexual orientation.

Yarhouse and a colleague, Professor Stanton Jones of Wheaton College, will be releasing findings at the APA meeting Friday from their six-year study of people who went through Exodus programs. More than half of 61 subjects either converted to heterosexuality or "disidentified" with homosexuality while embracing chastity, their study said.

To Jones and Yarhouse, their findings prove change is possible for some people, and on average the attempt to change will not be harmful.

The APA task force took as a starting point the belief that homosexuality is a normal variant of human sexuality, not a disorder, and that it nonetheless remains stigmatized in ways that can have negative consequences.

The report said the subgroup of gays interested in changing their sexual orientation has evolved over the decades and now is comprised mostly of well-educated white men whose religion is an important part of their lives and who participate in conservative faiths that frown on homosexuality.

"Religious faith and psychology do not have to be seen as being opposed to each other," the report says, endorsing approaches "that integrate concepts from the psychology of religion and the modern psychology of sexual orientation."

Perry Halkitis, a New York University psychologist who chairs the APA committee dealing with gay and lesbian issues, praised the report for its balance.

"Anyone who makes decisions based on good science will be satisfied," he said. "As a clinician, you have to deal with the whole person, and for some people, faith is a very important aspect of who they are."

The report also addressed the issue of whether adolescents should be subjected to therapy aimed at altering their sexual orientation. Any such approach should "maximize self-determination" and be undertaken only with the youth's consent, the report said.

Wayne Besen, a gay-rights activist who has sought to discredit the so-called "ex-gay" movement, welcomed the APA findings.

"Ex-gay therapy is a profound travesty that has led to pointless tragedies, and we are pleased that the APA has addressed this psychological scourge," Besen said.


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August 6, 2009


Psychologists: Don't try to reorient gays
Nicole C. Brambila
The Desert Sun

Conversion therapy for gay clients can be harmful and is scientifically unfounded, The American Psychological Association declared in a report released Wednesday.

The APA instead is encouraging therapists to consider other coping strategies such as celibacy or switching to gay-accepting churches to help clients conflicted over their sexual orientation because of their faith.

“What we found is people altering a sexual orientation identity, but not altering their sexual orientation,” said Judith Glassgold, Ph.D., chair of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation.

“Right now, we're all in the dark about what causes heterosexuality and what causes homosexuality. It's still not understood.”
The adopted resolution reflects a systematic review of conversion or reparative therapies began more than two years ago, as reported Wednesday on mydesert.com.

The report looked at more than 80 studies conducted from 1960 to 2007 and concluded no solid scientific evidence exists for purporting that individuals can change their sexual orientation, and that reorientation efforts could induce depression and suicide.

“Compelling evidence of decreased same-sex sexual behavior and of engagement in sexual behavior with the other sex was rare,” the 138-page report stated.

“Few studies provided strong evidence that any changes produced in laboratory conditions translated to daily life. Thus, the results of scientifically valid research indicate that it is unlikely that individuals will be able to reduce same-sex attractions or increase other-sex sexual attractions through (sexual orientation change efforts).”
Conversion supporters said the report was disappointing.

“I don't think that this affirms anyone's religious beliefs,” said Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International. “My hope was that they would reaffirm a person's right to self-determination.”

Formed in 1976, the Orlando-based nonprofit is a worldwide network of more than 350 ministries that promote “freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ.”
Locally, psychologists praised the report, saying it was long overdue.

“It'll probably serve as a major brick in all the data that is more clearly delineating the reality that sexual orientation therapies do not work,” said Nick Warner, Ph.D., who as a clinical psychologist in Palm Springs has been counseling for 35 years.

Reparative or conversion therapy emerged in the 1970s and since then thousands have attempted to change their sexual orientation.

Elizabeth Moberly, a British theologian, proposed the root cause of homosexuality was the result of a detached and/or broken relationship with the same-sex parent.

A 2001 study by Robert Spitzer widely disputed by mental health professionals found 11 percent of males and 37 percent of females successfully reoriented, although the scientific community largely disputes those findings. The study is widely disputed by mental health professionals.

Homosexuality was once considered a mental disorder, but was removed from the diagnostic manual as such by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973.

Now all major American mental health associations affirm homosexuality is not a mental illness.

Conversion therapy success claims have long been disputed without a systematic review, making the APA's report Wednesday unique.

“People whose religious beliefs support conversion therapy, they're not really working from a scientific framework,” said Jack Drescher, M.D. renown for his work on sexual orientation and task force member.

“The American Psychological Association is a scientific organization. They can't tell people what to believe, they can only say what the science says.”




2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Joe and company,
I appreciate the information on this site. I have always wondered if I was gay or was there something else wrong with me. I lost my marriage over anonymous encounters with other men, pornography, and looking for connections with other men using the internet. My faith teaches me that homosexuality in of itself is not necessarily wrong but what I do it could be. If I choose to be monogomous in a homosexual relationship then I believe that I would be keeping true to my faith. Yet I do have to admit that after being married for over 20 years, having grown children, and being involved with individual therapy as well as 12 step programs I am not sure if what I have is confusion over my orientation or something else. Overall this is challenging on the psyche and I would like some peace of mind with the whole thing. Any ideas?

Joe Kort said...

Hi Annonymous,

Without knowing you and doing an evaluation I would not know how to help you.

The one thing I do notice is right away you say, "...or if something else is wrong with me" as if being gay would mean there is something wrong with you.

I would recommend you remove any shame around any homosexual feelings you have first. No need to feel like damaged goods no matter what your orientation is or your sexual behaviors and fantasies about men are.

I have treated many men who are homosexual in their identity and do not wish to live their lives as gay men in an affirmative way. They do not change their orientation that is impossible. However living a life as a gay man would be living a life of depression and being out of integrity with their religion. You might be one of these men.

If you are one of these men and you choose your religion over your sexuality and you can live with that there is nothing wrong with that.

At the same time, religious abuse around homosexuality is very traumatic and can cause the type of confusion you are feeling. I recommend reading the book, "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality" and see if that helps.

Warmly, Joe