I do not see this as a final word but I am reflecting on reparative therapy these days and wanted to get some of my thoughts down.
I am not a reparative therapist.
UPDATE: For more information regarding a framework for interventions regarding sexual identity, see the Sexual Identity Therapy guidelines…
From the Advocate:
Gay man runs for APA president
The Advocate, CA
An openly gay man is running for president of the American Psychiatric Association. Jack Drescher heads the APA’s Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists and is a critic of therapeutic efforts to turn gay people straight. This summer he told The New York Times that “most people who go through these experiences often come out feeling worse than when they went in.”
Activists in the “ex-gay” movement say that if Drescher wins the post, it could mean dark days for them. Alan Chambers of Exodus International said on Focus on the Family’s news site that he’s “very concerned that our culture is being fed misinformation and that people are reacting in a way that is detrimental to our religious liberties.”
One of the leading proponents of reparative therapy, Warren Throckmorton, told Family News in Focus that there’s no way of predicting Drescher’s agenda but that whatever it is, he’ll be highly visible and influential. The APA sends out ballots next month. (Sirius OutQ News)
For the record, I am not a reparative therapist. I don’t accept the validity of the neo-psychoanalytic explanation for all same sex attractions; I do not follow the therapeutic formulations of reparative therapists. I believe people are capable of integrating their sexuality within a traditional religious or value position regarding sexuality and that sometimes this leads to significant change in the direction of their sexual attractions. I believe that romantic orientation and erotic orientation are related but distinct processes and that romantic attachment can re-orient erotic orientation (e.g., Sheryl Swoopes, ex-gay men who are attracted to their wives only). I believe that biologically based temperamental factors interact with environmental factors which lead to same sex erotic orientations (e.g., Bem). If that makes me a reparative therapist, then the word is a poor choice for a general belief in change potential for those who desire to pursue it.
Are Sexual Preferences Changeable?
Warren Throckmorton, PhD
July 19, 2005
Wayne Besen tracks down a dizzying array of former ex-gay leaders who later came out of the closet for good, including the two founders of Exodus. From an article by Mark Benjamin on Salon.com, July 18, 2005.
The article containing the above quote is entitled, Turning Off Gays and is the first of a four part series on the Internet site, Salon.com. The series is billed as an investigation into the Christian netherworld of reparative therapy,™ a disputed practice to convert gays and lesbians into heterosexuals. The topic is important to many due to the current curiosity, both scientific and popular, regarding the nature of sexual orientation.
Are sexual preferences changeable? Activist Wayne Besen, quoted above has made a career out of claiming that such change is impossible. As evidence, the Salon article, referencing Mr. Besen, claims that there were two founders of a prominent organization of former homosexuals, Exodus International, and that both of them reverted to homosexuality.
Are these claims accurate? Let me cut to the chase. Mostly, they are not true. In fact, after investigating the matter, I found that there were more than two people on the founding board of Exodus. Of these founders, only one reverted to homosexuality. Furthermore, one of the two men referred to by Mr. Besen was never in leadership with Exodus.
Here are the details….
To read the rest of the essay, go to DrThrockmorton.com. (This website is no longer functional). I am not sure if the above essay exists anywhere in full which is just as well since I don’t stay by the conclusions.)