Bishop Gene Robinson discusses change therapy

Ex Gay Watch posted a link to an interview with Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson that covered many topics but included several of recent interest to readers here. He specifically says that he had twice weekly reorientation therapy in his younger years.

He says it worked but didn’t work at the same time.

Q. Did you feel it (the therapy) had worked, or did it just put you in denial?

‘It didn’t work, and it almost never works for people who attempt it. I guess I did think it had worked. I suspect it didn’t make the same sex feelings go away, but it certain worked in that I felt ready emotionally and spiritually and physically for a relationship with a woman, so it certainly made that part of myself possible. And so when I entered into a relationship with the woman who became my wife, it was full of integrity – I wasn’t pretending to be something that I was not. And yet within a month of meeting her, I shared that all of my primary relationships had been with men, that I had been in therapy to make a heterosexual relationship possible, and that I felt I was in a good place to do that.’

Speaking descriptively here not prescriptively, many people in the ex-gay movement might characterize their results very similarly (same-sex attractions remain but opposite-sex attractions develop), but would consider this outcome a success. An unasked question in the interview was what changed in his thinking, beliefs, or values that led to the mutual decision to end the marriage.

Read the whole article; in my opinion, it is a candid and fascinating interview.

APA symposium to examine sexual identity therapy

Next week (August 17) I will participate in a symposium on sexual identity conflicts at the American Psychological Association annual conference in San Francisco, CA.

Here is the brief description from the association website (scroll down to Division 36):

Div. 36 (Psychology of Religion)

Friday, 2-2:50 p.m.• Symposium: “Sexual Identity Therapy to Address Religious and Spiritual Conflicts.” Co-chairs: Mark A. Yarhouse, PsyD, and A. Lee Beckstead, PhD.Participants: Warren Throckmorton, PhD, Mark A. Yarhouse, PsyD, and Erica S.N. Tan, PsyD.

Click the links above to read the abstracts of the sessions.

This search page supports a search of sexual identity to find further description of the symposium (or just click the link).

Session Title: Sexual Identity Therapy to Address Religious and Spiritual Conflicts

Session Type: Symposium

Division(s): 36

Building–Room: Moscone Center–Room 2016

Location: Second Floor-West Building

Day/Time: Fri/2:00PM – 2:50PM

Event Type: Division Event

US House includes counselors in Medicare legislation

This is off the usual topic of this blog, but I want to note it anyway. The following news release just came via email from Beth Powell at AMHCA:

U.S. House Passes “Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act,” Including Provision Establishing Medicare Coverage of Mental Health Counselors

August 1, 2007, was a historic day for the mental health counseling profession, as for the first time ever, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to establish coverage of state-licensed mental health counselors under Medicare. The Medicare coverage provision was included in H.R. 3162, the “Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act,” or CHAMP Act, a bill which seeks to increase access to health insurance for uninsured children and strengthen the Medicare program.

Passage of the provision has been a long standing goal of the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). House passage of the counselor-coverage provision brings us a step closer to achieving this objective. The bill also eliminates the discriminatory 50% co-payment requirement for outpatient mental health services.

The primary focus of the legislation is to reauthorize and strengthen the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which supports health insurance coverage for more than 6 million children whose families are low income but do not qualify for coverage under Medicaid. Unless legislation is enacted by September 30th to renew SCHIP, it will expire. H.R. 3162 would expand the program to cover 5 million children who would otherwise be uninsured, and allow states to keep pace with health care cost inflation and population growth. H.R. 3162 passed the House by a largely party-line vote of 225 to 204; all but 10 Democrats voted for the bill, and all but five Republicans voted against it.

The Senate is expected to pass their version of the SCHIP reauthorization bill-which does not include Medicare-related provisions-by the end of this week. Following Senate passage, a conference committee will be appointed to reconcile differences in the House and Senate legislation. Congress will then need to negotiate the legislation with President Bush, who has threatened to veto even the Senate’s more modest bill.

Even if the Medicare-related provisions are removed from the SCHIP legislation, Congress is expected to revisit Medicare soon in order to prevent cuts in physician payment rates scheduled to take effect by the end of the year.

I cut my teeth on advocacy for Medicare recognition in the early 90s when I discovered that my clinical counselor’s license in Ohio did not allow for Medicare reimbursement. Despite a similar scope of practice to social workers and clinical psychologists, mental health counselors (and consequently clients who wanted to see counselors) were at a disadvantage without payment recognition from the Medicare program. Through the 1990s, I helped negotiate recognition from private payers (managed care and insurance companies – e.g., Magellan Healthcare) for counselors but the Federal programs have remained difficult to enter. The Senate may yet add the provision or it may be added during conference. We have been close before but I do not think we have been this close.