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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

 

I am not a reparative therapist

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.

Comments:
"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)."

Then I guess you need a word for that.

Boo
 
Sexual identity therapist? That's three, couldn't get it into one.
 
Or are you gonna pull a Leonard Nimoy and write another entry in a couple of months entitled "I am a reparative therapist"?
 
Chance of that happening: 11.3768%

Not a trekky, what did Leonard do?
 
His first book was called "I am not Spock."

Then many years later he wrote a book called "I am Spock."

Not a trekky either, but I pick things up ;-)
 
I believe that Drescher's election would only be detrimental to a very a particular, Ex-Gay political movement. Also, Chambers seems to be over dramatizing and uplaying the perceived deleterious effects of Drescher's election.

Who would really be affected? Would his election automatically make it impossible for a person with SSA (same sex attraction) to seek out therapy to help live a successful heterosexual life? No.

Ah, but the thing is, the latter is different. Notice how I made no mention of "orientation change," or "gay to straight." Therapy to help a man live a heterosexual life is NOT an issue. In fact, gay therapist Joe Kort offers this sort of thing.

However, therapy based on the premise that being gay is inferior, that it is a condition that somehow needs to be improved upon or cured, is what the issue is about. Therapy should NEVER make a person feel like he has to do something in order to feel better. Also, I don't particularly trust many of these religious ministries. A lot them just don't seem qualified (though I've read your credentials Warren, and I must say, I'm impressed.)

What's the difference between therapy that helps a man live a heterosexual life and therapy that attempts to change a person's seemingly innate inclinations? The truth of the matter is, very little. What Joe Kort offers and what Joe Nicolosi offers really isn't too different in actual practice, except the latter takes a pathological view of SSA, while the former doesn't. The basic techniques of behavioral management (involving cognitive behavioral control techniques), to my knowledge, aren't really THAT different.

However, the important difference is the different world views each one subconsciously instills in the patient.

U.M.
 
I'd agree with those sentiments UM.

Therapy to help a man live a heterosexual life is NOT an issue.

Indeed, and the vast majority of the men seeking such therapy are straight.

Some people mess up parts of their life with the confusion or poor decisions (or whatever) they have in other parts. Some of them may be helped by a therapy approach.

(Personally, I use an early night or catching up with friends or cooking or a good walk along the foreshore when everything starts to mount up... but that's just funny ol' me.)

I think it must also be considered what effect the very claim to be able to alter sexual orientation has on the mental health of some gay men and women, and on the behaviour of anti-gay parents etc.

Even if it (deliberate change by therapy) can occur, those cases are comparatively rare; and very different to a spontaneous process of self-discovery (that ck has mentioned before, and which we have seen among several personal friends).

If there wasn't such a blatant interestion between anti-gay groups and "sexual identity therapists" -- two things with a long history together -- I doubt they'd be many people taking any notice; or giving a tinker's cuss what people attempted in their own lives.

Hence, I'm finding it rather difficult to find much sympathy for Warren and his self-labeling. The views made here within "I am not a reparative therapist" have not been made in the anti-gay web tabloids that Warren typically expresses an opinion in.

If I can be so bold Warren -- next time Focus or the AFA seek a comment for an article defending reparative therapy... perhaps repeat your words used here (or, refuse contributing?)

I'm aware of your self-label, and the distinction you want to draw between RT and (newly coined) SIT... but only because I have read it here and not in your usual outlets. Clarify, or forgive others their confusion. :)

Perhaps you may wish to clearly draw the distinction between RT and SIT as a page on drthrockmorton.com? For the record.
 
I think the theoretical perspective is pretty different between the Joes. But I think there is truth in what you are saying. I think people who see both Joes would find themselves confronted about out of control behavior of any sort, straight or gay. I think the Joes would differ a good bit on the answer to the question, "What should I do about my SSA?"

I have been clear with anyone from anywhere that asks that I do not operate from a reparative theoretical position. I know for sure the AFA and FOTF people know it.

Mark Yarhouse and I will soon submit sexual identity therapy guidelines for publication that will define things more clearly. This set of guidelines could be used by both Joes; in fact I hope they will be.
 
There's a philosophical problem that soon arises when one thinks about these things:

Do people really change orientation? Or is the apparent change really a matter of discovering something that was there all the time, hence no change?

Joseph Nicolosi himself feels that all people are born heterosexual, and homosexual is the deviation. Thus, going by Nicolosi's first premise, people don't really "change" per se. They are only rediscovering a heterosexual side that was there already, as created by God. Thus nothing new is added or created, only something old is rediscovered. He calls it finding one's "True Self."

Someone like Jack Drescher would believe that people are born a certain way, but even he would say that sexual orientation "change" is possible, but only in a handful of individuals (I will find the quote when I have time, but he does say it like the way I wrote it). However, he does feel that attempts to change, especially when placed in the context of a religious framework where guilt and eternal damnation come into play, can be pretty damaging (and I don't disagree).

Well, we really do need to call into question this concept of "change." It kind of gets tossed around and taken for granted in conversations such as these ones.

My own thoughts is that we are talking about something intangible and psychical, and ultimately obscure and hard to nail down. It almost makes more sense to me to talk of changing behavior.

After all, when we talk of behavioral change, we no longer have the philosophical problem (stated above: "did he really change?). Behavioral change is easy to monitor and verify.

However, when it comes to psychological change, how in the world would anyone be able to answer the question regarding if a person really changed, or merely discovered something there all along? After all, we can't read minds. And even if we could read minds, it may still be difficult to answer the question regarding if the person really changed or merely discovered something old.
 
UM, there are some major problems focussing on behaviour alone.

You can get most people to do most anything at the point of a gun or for $1 million. Threats or bribes, and some willingly use them.

But we're not talking about traffic rules here -- this is about an individual's affectional and sexual life.

Virgins? Adolescents? Experimenters?

I have yet to find even the most anti-gay heterosexual describe their own sexuality as a mere behaviour. To reduce a homosexual's sexuality to that -- and act accordingly -- is scaldingly inhumane, and not something any majority would tolerate.

I don't particularly care what consenting adults do with themselves or each other, but...

What I, or "we", do want is for everyone to change a little bit and accomodate gay men and women as equal citizens, able to form their own lives under the same terms.

Exgays, or "anti-gays", however, wish to change an individual by a dramatic amount; or at least die trying.

That is not an inconsiderable difference in viewpoint. Which one most closely fits the "Golden Rule"?
 
I'm not saying that behavior is all there is, only that in terms of "change", behavior is the most apparent and easily measurable thing (this applies to apparent gay to straight, or straight to gay shifts). There is definitely a psychological component, but one that is hard to objectively measure and/or even talk about.

Perhaps there is an interaction between thought and behavior that is not worked out here. We are proceeding from the premise that the two are completely different and apart from each other--a dualism if you will. In a lot of cases it is: if you hold a gun to straight man's head and tell him to fellate another man, he'd probably do it.

But it would also seem that behavior can influence thought, though I can't think of any examples at the moment. Though I will say that getting married to woman and having sex with her usually does not work for getting rid of homo thoughts (in fact its the worst thing a person can do, for himself and the woman).
 
UM -- I'm glad to hear it :) For a moment I thought I was talking with Paul Cameron (who relies purely on behaviour for his child molestation filth etc).

Dating way back to Bell & Weinberg (78, 81) we have data to back what we have always known...

Sexual desire pre-dates behaviour (by approx 3 years). There isn't even a correlation between sexual abuse and later homosexuality, or self declared identity. The major diff. between then and now is that the age of coming out has fallen -- prev. most waited long after being aware and after starting behaviour. Now, coming out more frequently occurs between the two. Self-labelling has followed suit.

I'd also suggest -- following from your comments -- that some (and I mean, smallish number) do indeed have a psych. blockage from abuse or sexual repession that holds up the process of development (the awareness, the search, the label, the integration). Such people may behave, initially, at odds with how they later behave (and often behave rather oddly or extremely because they aren't really doing what they want).

I'd also suggest that little joy and integration is found in such behaviour by these people, compared to what can be later released. They may be mechanical, or show severe "commitment issues"; perhaps even co-morbid attributes. Some such people may benefit from therapy. (Most eventually work it out for themself.)

But, then again, life is a bell-shaped curve...
 
I'd also suggest -- following from your comments -- that some (and I mean, smallish number) do indeed have a psych. blockage from abuse or sexual repession that holds up the process of development (the awareness, the search, the label, the integration). Such people may behave, initially, at odds with how they later behave (and often behave rather oddly or extremely because they aren't really doing what they want).

Bisexual people perhaps have it the most difficult. Most people who are 100% gay or straight (Kinsey's -100 and +100, tongue in cheek) have a much more solid idea of their sexuality at a much earlier age. I've found that there is a strong tendency for bisexuals, particularly men, to self label as either gay or straight, rarely inbetween. Some would say that this is because bisexual men don't exist, but I know this to be false, because I know several apparently "gay" men who say they enjoy (they truly enjoy it) having sex with women, but loathe the bisexual label, because they feel it carries negative connotations within BOTH the gay and straight world. I also know a few apparently "straight" men who have boys on the side. They loathe the bisexual label for the same reasons.

It would appear that underlying the apparent "war" between anti-gay straights and and pro-gay gays, is a hidden population that is yet to rise to the surface and assert itself strongly within our culture. As it is, bisexuality is poorly understood, and in many cases, misunderstood.
 
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'm glad you said it. I will refrain from any talks of etiology (since that is like hopping on an eternal merry go round), but its much too easy to assume that one has an iron law that applies to everyone. In fact, Freud himself never stated that distant fathers and close binding mothers caused homosexuality, he only theorized that it MAY be the etiology for SOME homosexuals. It is his followers that later idealized his hypothesis into an iron law.

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.

So your basically saying that there is nothing inherently wrong with a person with a homosexual orientation, but merely that SOME people who identifies as gay can later, through some sort of therapy, come to enjoy living a hetersexual adaptation? Correct me if I'm wrong, but if this is true, then it seems fairly benign to me.

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

Your not a reparative therapist if the first thing you do is objective understanding of where the patient comes from. I think the word reparative" in the phrase "reparative therapy" is in reference to a first premise that homosexuality is a "broken" disease, or a disorder of sorts. If you do not buy this, then you are not a reparative therapist.

In fact, openly gay psychiatrist Ralph Roughton states that therapy should be neither gay-pathologizing nor gay-affirming, but instead, the therapist should attempt to understand, to the fullest extent, what makes the patient tick, while simultaneously respecting the diversity of values that each patient brings with him. It would appear (again, correct me if I'm wrong) that you suscribe to this.

By the way, the latter is a key fundamental in all therapies, IMHO.

U.M.
 
U.M. - I believe you are understanding my position pretty well.
 
Still trying to make sense of Drescher's position (found in the following link)

http://www.finnqueer.net/juttu.cgi?s=116_47_2

And I quote:

"Despite our differing interpretations of his study, both Dr. Spitzer and myself are of the opinion that there is a small group of people whose sexual orientation can change, sometimes even without any therapy. But neither of us believe that everyone's sexual orientation can change. To claim that everyone can change or that everyone should change is simply not true. To scientifically argue for that position in opposition to gay and lesbian civil rights is not only a misuse of Dr. Spitzer's study but a travesty of science itself."

Again, what constitutes change?

UM
 
U.M. - Thanks much for that reference. Truth is, if Drescher really believes that, then he and I believe about the same thing. Difference is he has not seen as many people who have changed as I have. Nor has he seen as many people who have experienced some harm as I have. He said this in a Washington Post article: "'Many people who try this treatment tend to be desperate, very unhappy and don't know other gay people,' said Drescher, who has treated about a dozen men who previously underwent conversion therapy."

He has treated a dozen. I know through clinical practice about 20 who have experienced some harm. In fairness, these are men and a couple of women who mostly have also experienced some benefit as well and who has not at the time completely given up on the idea (although some have now). However, given his position in the statement you quote, our disagreement is not over the possibility of change but over the degree to which it occurs.
 
He said this in a Washington Post article: "'Many people who try this treatment tend to be desperate, very unhappy and don't know other gay people,' said Drescher, who has treated about a dozen men who previously underwent conversion therapy."

I don't think it necessarily means that he's ONLY treated a dozen, but then again, I don't know the full extent. In other interviews, he gives the impression that he's treated much more. However, I will caution to say that both anti-gay and pro-gay therapists have a very natural, human tendency to exaggerate a little regarding numbers. Especially when both gay and conservative-religious rights are at stake.

However, given his position in the statement you quote, our disagreement is not over the possibility of change but over the degree to which it occurs.

Even still, the degree isn't all that different. He believes a few can change, you believe a moderate amount can change. Hardly the "complete change is completely possible for everyone" rubbish espoused by the likes of Richard Cohen (who creeps me out a bit, by the way).

U.M.
 
U.M. - If you see different numbers or impressions in other interviews with Dr. Drescher, please feel free to supplement my understanding.
 
Interestingly, in that same article he states

"There are probably a small number of people with some flexibility in their sexual identity who can change," he said. "Out of the hundreds of gay men I've treated, I've had one."

So is he saying that he's treated hundreds of gay men who've been harmed by conversion therapy, or just that he's treated 100's of gay men in general?

My hunch is that it's the latter, and for now, it would appear you are right about the amount of patient's he's treated. I don't mean to be nit picky, but its important to get these things straight (no pun intended).

It would be interesting to see how you and him differ in your treatment of your patients.

U.M.
 
"He has treated a dozen. I know...about 20."

But you then mention that these 20 people are, mostly, still attempting exgay therapy.

Given this, are they yet in a position to gauge any harm done to themselves? Do you imagine they will return to you for a reversal if (or when) they come to understand that they have been?

Drescher's personal dozen were already well past the position of your own clients. His clients were once doing what yours now are -- and only LATER sought out a therapist to repair the damage. How many clients have you seen that fit that category?

Apart from that, Drescher speaks on behalf of a professional body; not just himself. As Chair of the APA's Committee on Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues he has had access to the large number of collegues that have their own experience with former clients of reorientation therapy. Hence, current APA policys on the matter.

As tempting as it is to reduce this to "I say, he says" -- that could be too easily turned...

> How many gay men or women have you affirmed in their homosexuality after they sought help in overcoming an anti-gay background (often conservatively religious)?

> How many gay couples have you positively supported through a rough patch in their relationship?

Given these are the overwhelming bulk of the work undertaken by therapists working specifically on gay sexuality issues, where exactly does this place yourself with regard to homosexuality as a subject?
 
UM,

You are correct. Drescher has dealt with hundreds of gay clients over the years (not just ones recovering from reorientation therapy). His comment was related to how many of those gay men have displayed a flexible sexuality -- namely, just the one.

As Jerry Springer has long known, and which Drescher doesn't dispute, if you wait long enough some rare individual will eventually present themself.

Unfortunately, it is this unique individual that is being touted as proof that "some", "many", "most" or "any" gay man or lesbian can change into a heterosexual.

Spitzer himself estimated that a flexible sexuality only applied to 3% of people. Drescher's experience suggests even less, although he is specifically talking about men.

All the professional bodies are concerned about the other 97%-99% (who cannot and do not change) and the implications for their health should reorientation therapy continue to be aggressively marketed as a suitable final solution.

That is why they do not endorse any promotion of reorientation therapy.
 
Grantdale,
I'm wondering if Dr. Throckmorton, in his position as a counselor at GCC could do the things you suggest:

> How many gay men or women have you affirmed in their homosexuality after they sought help in overcoming an anti-gay background (often conservatively religious)?

> How many gay couples have you positively supported through a rough patch in their relationship?

Unless he's doing so in his own practice outside of the school, that would, I believe, put him in violation of the school's policy towards homosexual activity. They changed it while I was there to recommend expulsion only for "activity" rather than "homosexuality" (which it was my freshman year, I think).

Despite having client confidentiality as a counselor, I would guess that he couldn't really help a gay couple on campus without jeopardizing his position. Similarly with a student seeking to affirm their homosexuality. While that situation could be handled without the student engaging in same sex sexual activity, my guess is it would carry the same risks.

Also, despite the fact that while I was at GCC I personally bounced back and forth and knew some relatively openly gay students, it's not an environment where you'd think to go to a school counselor for help in overcoming the school's condemnation of you. (Even if you were gay and struggling NOT to be, the administration didn't want you to be visible at all. Maybe that's changed, but I doubt it.)

I am curious to see Dr. Throckmorton's response, though--since, of course, you directed the questions at him!
 
Grantdale,

In reference to the "unique individual" as coined by you, and described by Drescher below:


Dr. Spitzer and myself are of the opinion that there is a small group of people whose sexual orientation can change, sometimes even without any therapy. But neither of us believe that everyone's sexual orientation can change. To claim that everyone can change or that everyone should change is simply not true. To scientifically argue for that position in opposition to gay and lesbian civil rights is not only a misuse of Dr. Spitzer's study but a travesty of science itself."

I'd agree with you, Spitzer, and Drescher that to use these rare, special individuals to drive a political movement is not right. It's pathetic, its almost like they are grasping at straws to drive their own specific ideology.

However, with regards to the concept of wanting to change one's sexual orientation, I can't say that I'd wish it would be illegal, after all, patient's have a right to do what they want. One of my biggest problem with such therapy is the lack of selection criteria (as well as other things which you can probably guess).

In some interviews, Drescher further states that there is no selection criteria for conversion therapies--anyone who tries will be told that they can do it if they try harder. He seems to imply that IF this type of therapy is to continue existing, there needs to be a screening test for those who apply, to see if they do indeed have that special trait to be able to change.

This is very important. However, I don't see how such a thing would work out. After all, how would you test someone to see if they are indeed a unique individual?

Furthermore, in my mind, conversion therapy needs to be separated from fundamental Christianity. It needs to get over its own self importance, if that makes any sense. It needs to be Post Modern, and respect the diversity of forms of life, as well as cultural and contextual sensibilities. Otherwise, it's dangerous.

The therapist must be able to equally and happily support a gay man trying to improve a gay relationship, as well as a gay man who would like to explore the possibility of change.

I'd be please to converse with "conversion therapists" who fulfill the above criteria.



U.M.
 
Grantdale: Professional bodies don't ordinarily make pronouncements in advance of data as they have with reorientation.

Spitzer's estimate is a guess. He has acknowledged as much. It doesn't seem scientific to make policy based on a guess and anecdotes (Drescher).

I would not ask the APAs to endorse anything related to reorientation. On the other hand, I do not think it is appropriate to take the advocacy position they have taken. I think there should be more research, and a task force created with proponents and opponents to come to consensus about what we know, and what we don't.

Ck - I am no longer in the Counseling office. I am in professoring and public policy full time. I do continue a small private practice.

The counseling service has no obligation to alert admin about anything except suicide or homocidal students. It would be unethical to do anything else. I know of no student removed for homosexual orientation however defined.

I have worked with gay couples in a variety of contexts, although as you might imagine, very few come to see me. I have also worked with clients who do not pursue reorientation and those who are deciding what to do. I felt no pressure from admin to get kids to enter reorientation. In fact, it has never come up about any student in the 11 years I have been here. Say what you want about GCC, this is a place that respected ethics (counseling ethics at least). When I came here I told them what the professional ethics were regarding the counseling services and admin has always respected it. I am glad for that environment.
 
Professional bodies don't ordinarily make pronouncements in advance of data as they have with reorientation.

Spitzer's estimate is a guess. He has acknowledged as much. It doesn't seem scientific to make policy based on a guess and anecdotes (Drescher).


The policy they have is cautionary. It does not ban reorientation therapy, as you've said many times, but it does alert both professionals and potential clients. I imagine that comes under resonable informed consent, no?

Yes, Spitzer is guessing. Yes, Drescher is working from anecdotes (his, and that of many others). I do wonder how you would describe the basis used by reorientation advocates, such as yourself?

Given RTs are only dealing with a minority of gay men and women -- and failing to change them the majority of the time -- I'd suggest that their grip on the science is even less secure.

The anecdotes of harm, and the APAs caution, do at least align with very well established information. Without even needing to see a client, attempts at reorientation have the potential to increase negative feelings that the client has about themself. These feelings are why they seek reorientation in the first place (in nearly all cases). The vast bulk of the literature and practice aligns with (I say, was designed to align with) a virulent social prejudice, as the APA has noted.

The potential for great harm therefore exists, a priori; particularly if the therapist deliberately uses that negativity to raise the stakes in the mind of their client. And particularly when the client fails to change, as most will even by the exgay promo materials.

(I don't know where you sit on all this, but Nicolosi comes immediately to mind -- let alone the "counselors" in the religiously-inspired exgay groups).

I don't think the APA is under any obligation to establish the research. They aren't the ones encouraging or promoting the attempts. Surely, that research is your obligation?

I felt no pressure from admin to get kids to enter reorientation.

And what pressure does the admin place on GCC kids? I've seen the current GCC handbook, and it makes it perfectly clear. While sexual orientation itself is not grounds for removal, an "uncooperative" attitude to that orientation is where the student and GCC part company. While at GCC they must adopt, at least in public, a negative attitude to that sexuality. Homosexuality activity -- very broadly defined at GCC -- is grounds for immediate expulsion. CK remembers the environment all too well, and this is unrelated to how you professionally conduct yourself while in session.

But we're not talking at about little GCC. I'm more interested to know how the reorientation attempts that you advocate for are to be reconciled against the potential for harm (and the known behaviour of some therapists) when considering the 97-99% that you don't see.

Until those are resolved, and given there is no medical reason per se to not be gay or lesbian, the APA is correct to caution anyone considering an attempt. They are being responsible.
 
"Until those are resolved, and given there is no medical reason per se to not be gay or lesbian, the APA is correct to caution anyone considering an attempt. They are being responsible."

I guess RT advocates can't really complain. Nothing wrong with a caution. It's not like anything is being banned. I believe a few years ago, the APA attempted to ban all RT's, but the resolution failed at the last minute.

I wouldn't have any problems with so called "conversion" therapies to help people change if:

a) the therapist first takes a realistic look at the patient to see if he indeed is capable of adapting to a heterosexual life. (check to see if he has latent heterosexuality?)

b) the therapist helps boost the patient's overall self esteem, beyond merely trying to turn them on to the opposite sex.

c) work towards alleviating the patient's sense of shame, and help him get over feelings of internalized homophobia--of not measuring up, of feeling defective.

d) do NOT precede from the premise that homosexuality NEEDS to be changed in order for the patient to be happy

I believe that it is possible to simultaneously respect the client's will to change AND fulfill the above criteria.

Perhaps it just takes a really, really good therapist
 
UM,

I don't have a problem with any of those points.

Just me, but I'd be more clear and ask that if a client presents with issues (such as major depression, substance abuse, a distorted view of how they think people live as gay, whatever) that these are dealt with first. Without tackling those, the very idea of obtaining "informed consent" is problematic.

At the end of the day people are entitled to be as ridiculous as they see fit, but we should expect more from a professional therapist.

At least, at work I mean :)

A brief summary of the APA history around reorientation therapy is here (it's the article by Haldeman).

I think they're still struggling to ensure good practice without being overly prescriptive in an environment of seemingly willful nonsense from many (most?)reorienation therapists (eg Hallman in Warren's post after this one) and false "advertising" from groups like Exodus, Focus etc.
 
I felt no pressure from admin to get kids to enter reorientation. In fact, it has never come up about any student in the 11 years I have been here. Say what you want about GCC, this is a place that respected ethics (counseling ethics at least).

That's good to hear. I interacted more with folks in admin who were concerned about the school's image (i.e., newspaper) so I got a different perspective. I was, of course, recommended to see the counseling department through the administration, but it wasn't in the context of "or you will be dismissed!" it was quite voluntary.
 
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