Ted Haggard’s team clarifies the situation

I missed this February 19, Denver Post article regarding clarifications in reports that Ted Haggard might see himself as being free of same-sex attractions. Frequent commenter gordo brought this to my attention on a previous post.

This quote indicates a more process view than the earlier reports: “”There should be no confusion that deliverance from habitual, life-controlling problems is a journey and not an event,” Stockstill said. “Ted will need years of accountability to demonstrate his victory over both actions and tendencies.”

It appears he may see himself as heterosexual with a homosexual problem. However, he sees himself, one thing I am impressed with is the transparency of the New Life Church.

7 thoughts on “Ted Haggard’s team clarifies the situation”

  1. I would assess for substance abuse and probably address that first if relevant. I would have to get the context initially as well. While I do not think one has to know with certainty why problems arose, I do think the context for those problems are very important. I am influenced by relational frame theories (behavioral theories) and social psychological research on the power of the situation. Social context is so influential in the development and maintenance of behavior that I would want to know what about the situations Mr. Haggard perceived was associated with the behaviors we have read about. The meaning to him of all of this would form the basis for interventions designed to facilitate valued commitments.

  2. Not that you asked…but if I were Mr. Haggard’s therapist, I would approach the substance abuse problem first. There is little to nothing you can do with a client who is not clean/sober. The subsequent issues in rehabilitation (deception, moodiness, irritability, etc..) along with the difficulties in coping with emotional stressors would be something to be addressed for some time before even thinking to approach other issues. Being honest and genuine about one area of life which is likely for him, far less stigmatizing, may pave the way for authenticity in later work on a topic which carries closer emotional involvement.

    Just my thoughts.

  3. Thank you Tim, that is indeed what I meant. David – were you being ironic? Damn! I can never tell with you therapists.

    A couple of other observations:

    1. How can someone demonstrate victory over tendencies?

    2. I’m not sure our culture is all that freedom loving anymore. Most people accept – even welcome – increased government intrusion in private life. Soon we may all have our own personal cognizant overseer.

    3. The life which Jag describes so well is not authentic. Nothing can change that fact and the only way he will demonstrate it is to improve his skills at deceit. Obviously with his recent comments he’s working on those skills.

    4. The sex with the escort I can understand completely. I’ve seen the guy’s picture. He’s hot. Its not hard to understand why someone attracted to guys would do that. It’s the drug use I can’t understand and to me that is the more serious of his issues. I wonder whether the focus of his therapy is on the sex or on the drugs.

    David or Warren – if you were Mr. Haggard’s therapist, what would be your initial approach?

  4. David,

    I think that was Gordo was finding odd was not the idea of oversight. It was the use of the word “overseer”.

    That word is not common outside of certain church settings and for some, their only point of reference is slavery.

  5. Very interesting article. Unfortunately, this continues to add confusion to an already mired issue. Haggard has stated that he has “struggled” (we might say have inclinations toward) same-sex attractions his entire life. Defining himself as “heterosexual” might be a bit of a stretch given his self-report of the duration of these issues, his numerous unsuccessful attempts at change, and his most recent proclamation of miraculous heterosexuality in only 3 weeks time.

    Noting same-sex attractions as a “problem” or sin that must be cured seems to not only be stigmatizing to the population at large, but detrimental to individuals like Ted who seem to clearly have some natural proclivities toward the same-sex, but will never even attempt to come to terms with who he is….or if this is an option for him.

    Instead him and many like him will lead lives of desparation, secretly fantasizing, hooking up with strangers as a wife and children sit at home. This seems by far the sin that should have been focused on. They are seeming accessories to a very desparate man.

    Stigmatizing gays/lesbians in the faith has enormous ramifications to the individual, and their families.

    Best of luck to him.

  6. As a highly indepedent, self-reliant, freedom loving culture, the notion of supervision or oversight feels constraining and oppressive.

  7. from the Denver Post article:

    Although church leaders have stayed positive, attendance has declined between 8 percent and 10 percent since the scandal, said another overseer, the Rev. Mike Ware. He said recent snowstorms might have played a role.

    It appears that the church’s transparent approach has been successful. Most churches would empty out going through what New Life is going through.

    Is anyone else uncomfortable with the term overseer? The word is too associated with slavery.

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