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Thursday, September 08, 2005


Advanced look at article to be published in December, 2005

Here is a pre-publication copy of a study to be published in the Journal of Psychology and Christianity, Winter, 2005.

I had originally planned to do a follow up on this study but I cannot locate all of the participants. Instead, I am collecting data regarding those who once sought change and will follow them for 5-10 years. This will include those who consider themselves ex-ex-gay as well as ex-gay.

Throckmorton, your last name is way kick ass. Love, Seth.
Why thank you Seth, I searched a long time before I settled on it.

You realize that you are jumping into shark infested waters with an open wound by writing this paper, right?

Nonetheless, I liked it. I liked how it seems to be the only paper to critically examine these issues with a fine tooth comb. It is important to do systematic research to determine which practices are beneficial, and which ones are harmful, rather than just rely on straw man argumentation about the harmfullness of therapy.

Inevitably, its the harmful practicioners that are going to ruin it for everybody.

Ideally, a therapist should have a neutral attitude.

But that is just my opinion.

Ricky: Thanks, but I believe I jumped in those waters awhile back. :)
Warren, some food for thought.

You should check out the following 2links.


www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/ NYTBisexualityFactSheet.pdf

These are critiques of Bailey's latest study. These critiques also contest Bailey's reductionistic, essentialistic notion that arousal=orientation.

The funny thing is, some of these critiques come from gay-activists. Here are some quotes from the two articles I gave you

From the first article listed above:
"We disagree with Bailey's definition of sexual orientation...that arousal is orientation. I think the study shows that sexual orientation is a multifaceted and complex psychological construct and sexual arousal is only one part of that construct."

From the second article:

Modern school of thought is that sexual orientation is defined by a combination of cognitive and physical responses, not just by whether one’s genitals respond a certain way to pornography

(We're back!)

Hmm, I have the strangest sense that we met these 28 people in 2002... no?

It is interesting -- and understand your plain squeamishness on it -- that one of the most "helpful" aspects of these therapists was being explicitly anti-gay. Given you have promoted a client-centred approach (defined in this case as "giving them what they ask for") I presumed you'd be more openly in favour of such behaviour from the therapist. You seem to be hedging on that.

It is also interesting that the "most homosexual" before became the "least homosexual" after. This seems to contradict all the predictions, and an explanation would be helpful. If, of course, you have one :)

Also, while it is (predictably) mildly interesting that 100% were "religious" this is not very informative. I'm sure Ralph Blair also describes himself as highly religious, as do many gay men and women.

A more honest predictor would be for you to detail how many of these respondents either hold a formal position or draw an income from either an exgay or a religious-based group (of which Focus on the Family et al qualify). I have my own best guess as to why these 28 people were reluctant to be interviewed.

Unless you do want a Pattison & Pattison / Melodyland debacle... not that Pattison seemed to care about that.

(P.S. was it a 45min or a 90min interview? Or two interview rounds, with post-back responses from some?)
ricky - I have seen those links regarding sexual orientation and arousal. I think of sexual orientation as a multidimensional construct. Arousal is involved, but so is romantic disposition and inclination to pursue relationship, etc. Thought of as a multifaceted construct, the question "does sexual orientation change?" is not very precise. I would ask "do any aspects of sexual orientation change?" Follow up research will incorporate a multidimensional measure of sexuality rather than the one dimensional Kinsey rating.

grantdale - I presented preliminary results at the NARTH conference in 2002 focusing on the issue of coercion. And yes, the initial interview where I asked about coercion averaged 45 minutes with follow up interviews lasting much longer for some of the participants. The 90 minutes is an average for all contacts with all the participants. I think that is something I will need to clarify; thanks for raising this point.

I have several reactions to the finding about therapist attitudes toward homosexuality. We used the exact wording from Liddle (1996) who got it from Garnets et al ("Your therapist indicated that he/she believed that a gay or lesbian identity is bad, sick, or inferior"). This description does not allow for much nuance in the view of the therapist but is somewhat prejudicial. I therapist can hold a belief system that views homosexuality as immoral or inconvenient or contrary to evolution but not view the client as bad, sick or inferior. However, our participants seemed perplexed as to how to respond. Other indicators in the research show that the therapists reported on did not seem be viewed as helpful if they conveyed a dislike or disrespect for the participant and the participant's worldview and objectives.

Regarding the number of people in ex-gay ministry, there were 5 of the 28 who were deriving some income from these activities. I suppose this should have been reported. Interestingly, three of those five are not now in ministry but are still ex-gay.

Given that the focus of our inquiry was not sexual orientation change per se, I cannot say why the most homosexual became the most heterosexual. I think that is a question we are all pursuing.
Thanks for the more clarity. Agree, the extra would help.

[A] therapist can hold a belief system that views homosexuality as immoral or inconvenient or contrary to evolution but not view the client as bad, sick or inferior.

How so? How would you accept being told either of these six terms? (particularly if they buttress a prior background). All these are prejudical terminology -- but one has a religious flavour. Who cares where from -- what is the effect on the client? How does this fit with professional standards?

Given that the focus of our inquiry was not sexual orientation change per se

Aaahhh, but that's what we're all interested in Warren... who cares if someone thinks they are Napoleon. We're talking about what professionals claim to offer a client.

ex-gay ministry, there were 5 of the 28 who were deriving some income from these

Yeah, I know (that's from "Little Britain" if you didn't guess).

I actually asked about all their involvement with organisations that would boot them for not claiming to be "changed" or "heterosexual" enough. Haley, or Matheson, for example -- neither of which (strictly) are "involved in exgay ministry".

I cannot say why the most homosexual became the most heterosexual. I think that is a question we are all pursuing.

Well... how about, guess based on you professional expertise? I think it's because they are trained liars and/or frightened out of their wits (see above), but you may have a different explanation.

And no comment on Pattison and his "successful group"??? :)
Thanks for the more clarity

Gawd, my English teachers would be appalled.
It would appear that the best therapists walk the fine line between reorientation and gay affirming therapies.

Participants did not prefer professionals who were not knowledgeable about gay and lesbian issues, who pressured or advised one to come out to someone in spite of the belief that it was too risky, who did not understand the problems of societal prejudice against gay men and lesbians, and who sought to help participants feel good about themselves as gay or lesbian

So clearly, the therapist needs to be able to empathize with gay people in general, and to understand the difficulties of being gay. Also, the therapist needs to have a keen understanding of the dangers of Internalized Homophobia (IH), something which a bad reorientation therapist may only serve to fortify. It was mentioned elsewhere on this site (I forgot who) that the elimination of IH is an essential step of reorientation therapy.

At the same time, the therapist needs to be supportive of the client's decision to live a heterosexual adaptation (notice I never said "orientation"), and some bias in favor of heterosexual adaptation (on the therapist's part) may help. However, again, we walk the fine line: even though one may have some bias in favor of a heterosexual adaptation, it is not the therapists place to talk about sexuality when it is not necessarily, nor is it the therapists place to "argue" with the patient if he eventually chooses to accept his gay identity. I think you made this pretty clear in the conclusion.
Grantdale: could you be so kind as to explain the "Pattison-debacle?" Thanks (I've heard of the Pattison study, but I'd be interested to hear of any ethics breaches--if any)

As for the strictly homos who became strictly straight: my two cents is that theorizing about them here is pointless. We'd have to talk to them in detail, and perhaps talk to their wives and collect info regarding their sex life, arousal patterns, behavioral habits, etc.

(I agree with Chivers as well as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force that arousal is not the SOLE determining factor of "orientation," yet it seems to be an important component)
Ricky, I'm sure Warren would predict this coming...

Nicey, but do your own work in the future :)

An hint : Bussee and Cooper. Pattison interviewed them. They were two of the "K6 to K0 changes". They lied.

Again, do your own work and verify. People lie about this stuff.
Thanks Grantdale =). Cooper and Busee--that basically tells me all I need.

About doing my own work...like I said I was only offering my two cents about why the pure homos became pure heteros. Didn't mean to "steal anyone's thunder."


Frankly we couldn't give a tinker's cuss about who is with who. We know (personally) people who've jumped this side of the fence and the other, sometimes more than once. They haven't "changed", even though they appear to be the exgay wetdream.

What does bother us is a notion that if you can go though an exgay mindflip, a (sexless) courtship, followed by a marriage, followed by a "force myself to do it" child causing.. that makes you a wonderful heterosexual husband for all and ever. Pfftt.

Ya see, we also (personally) know women who've had that done to them. It ain't pretty. It's scaldingly cruel, to both (and the kids).
I do not know if I was included in the study, although Dr. Throckmorton did interview me. I want to report that I am still almost exclusively heterosexual in my "orientation" and totally heterosexual in my behavior. What's more, I am very happy about it.

I do not work for an ex-gay ministry and never have.

I do not like anyone's suggesting that I am lying or fearful. That is presumptuous and impolite.
No probs Ricky.

We just get p'd at how much of this goes on heresay. No body seems to care about checking the basic facts -- and we advise you do that because (shock, horror) even we COULD be full of bs.

How's it go: I'm not paranoid, I just don't trust you... :)

You'll excuse the presumption knowing the most famous "testimonial" histories. Without knowing who you are, we make no comment.

We also resent the exgay campaign that presents us as useless, society-damaging, selfish, promiscuous, god-hating, child-abusing, poor role model, AIDS-ridden, STD-infected, gender-confused, bad-parented, drug-taking, confused, mentally ill, SADD, a Gay Agenda, lonely, anti-heterosexual, anti-family, or any of the other vile untruths that get directed at us.

Oh, & we CANNOT change. Nor do we want to.

Neither of those is a reason to treat us or our relationship poorly.

If you read above, we frankly don't care who you bang. Those people that you do, on the other hand, probably will.
Grantdale, I would be very surprised to find that very many ex-gay people espouse the views that you list. I for one do not, and neither do any of the ex-gay people that I know. As a person who understands homosexuality from the inside, I have nothing but compassion and respect for gay people.

I think you are mixing up ex-gay people with anti-gay people. They are not the same thing.

Could you name at least one not-antigay exgay group for me? A few names would be even better. You've said that few exist, so I presume it shouldn't be too difficult to list them. I am more than prepared to check them out and report back.

Also, who did you exgay with?

(And, honestly "compassion" is a dead give-away -- you DO think there's something wrong with "us". Care to specify that?)
Some random responses between classes.

Looking back over the participants, by grantdale's definition of "ex-gay or related ministry," there were 6 people who would qualify. Four of those people, while still ex-gay are not now in such positions. Believe it or not, that is how is was.

I do not know for certain how many people are still ex-gay. I know most of them are but this question is why I want to conduct longitudinal research.

Warren if I wasn't clear, I apologise. Perhaps I should not have used slang. (on a blog???)

I wanted to know how many would suffer some consequence (instinsic or extrinsic) if they said something that indicated to others that they were still homosexually interested/attracted/aroused/whatever. I'm not sure how else I can word this other than turning to legaleeze. I'm not interested to know you interviewed Alan Chambers. His response we already can predict, for now.

And don't you think the knowing how many are STILL exgay is the question??? These intervies were 3+ years ago.

Without you placing these names off with a trustworthy someone else for oversight, how will anyone ever accept what you report? Actually SOME will, I'm sure.

This isn't a matter of you being an honest person or not (that doesn't even come into it) - it's basic verifiable research techniques. Hand the data over to an "enemy", and then allow anyone compare notes in 5 years time.

I presume you're still contemplating the other questions, in between enlightening the sprog of GCC feepayers :)
I can't say much more about the identities of the participants without risking a violation of confidentiality but believe it or not, the number 6 (at the time) is still correct even with your expanded definition. For many of them, the only person at the time who knew they were ex-gay was me.

Regarding follow up, I intend to do this as best I can for a follow up report. So just keep your skepticism alive for awhile longer. Stay tuned.
You would only be violating the identities if you released them to someone without informing the person. We understand this, and firmly live it day by day. Ask them.

Skeptical, me??? If it's been sustained this long, rest in comfort knowing it can be sustained awhile longer. Even I was an agnostic about gravity until that awful ballooning accident off the Malay Peninsula. I decided not to trust hot air at that point. And still don't.
Dear Warren,

I`ve read carefully your article and really glad that you have done this research.

I have translated some parts of it into Russian and plan to publish it at our site.

Still I want to make some remarks.

I understand that you were writing to show that reorientation therapy does positive effect, and because of this you have used the same measurement tools as Liddle.

But don`t you think that it`s just a waste of time to convince the opposite side with their own arms instead of developing new tools for those who are already convinced?

For me, for ex., it`ll be more helpful if you try to find which particular steps of tech. 14, 16 & 17 give more positive results and which simply do not work. Perhaps, if you could show what really works it would be more impressive for the gay-affirming party also.

Only when you identify these steps, you can show that smb. who is in opposition, that he did not take some crucial steps and because of this failed.

Perhaps it was half-done in Shildo & Shroeder study, but it looks unfinished. The books of reorientation therapists such as J.Nikolosi or the sites as PeopleCanChange also contain such data, but sometimes just quick and at the same time qualitive scientific review needed.

Inspite of all the critique I want to thank you for all research you are doing and to wich you peace from above!
one more thing. when you name 11 tools from Shildo et al, you miss one (j), so you have only 10

Sorry for my mistakes in English, too :)
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