In response to the recent attacks on the sexual identity therapy framework, a supportive reader contacted me with a story of one of her experiences in counseling. I do know the person and can confirm the accuracy of the situation. Why should therapists avoid imposing their beliefs on clients? Read and see what you think.
As someone who has been in counseling, I enormously appreciate your emphasis on self-determination. As you wrote the other day, any therapist can force any views at any patient. When I was in grad school, I had just started with a female therapist. She was given plenty of information about my Christian beliefs and how it was important to operate within that for me to succeed. And then within 5 weeks (before I quit), she sent me to the library to read a book that was essentially how to be a lesbian. And then she basically told me that if I’d just go and have sex with someone that I wouldn’t have problems with it anymore. And then I quit. Why is respecting beliefs a better way? I really had a hard time with that, because she tried to force me out of my beliefs. And it was awful. I had a hard time trusting any therapist after that.
That therapist should have made a referral. Apparently, the value conflict was so great that the therapist apparently was not able to get past it. Therapists are not machines and have strong beliefs about many things so when the conflict is great, referral is indicated. The sexual identity therapy framework allows for such referrals while at the same time requiring respect for clients and their values.