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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

 

Comments on the sexual identity therapy guidelines welcomed

On the sexual identity therapy blog, I have entered an open forum to allow comments and questions regarding the guidelines. I hope bloggers from here will review the guidelines and post questions, comments and offer support.

Comments:
Still need Yarhouse's approval form or whatever it was called... :)

(if you did send it, it hasn't arrived)
 
What purpose are these guidelines meant to serve, that have not yet been? What has been wrong in the past, or better yet, what are you trying to change?

Thanks.,
 
As far as I can tell, there are no guidelines for reorietation or reparative therapies. While sexual identity therapy is broader than either labels above, we sought to provide some quality standard for the public and professionals.

We want to say, here are ethical guidelines for engaging clients who present with sexual identity distress. Gay affirming and reparative therapy both goes way beyond the available research to say the origins of same sex attraction are certain. We believe this is a scientific and therapeutic error. Both extremes prescribe outcomes for therapy, we do not. We make this the client's role. Both extremes are not well researched. We hope our guidelines provide some consensus which could allow client satisfaction research. We want to change the focus on sexual orientation change to client satisfaction.

We believe that some of the problems encountered in reparative therapies would be addressed by these guidelines (e.g., holding therapy, rigid assumptions about family background).
 
One need not claim to know the etiology when conducting GAT. I don't know why you said they do.

You need not make much comment at all about the origin to affirm with a distressed client that they can indeed live a fulfilled, productive, happy, etc life. Contrary to what they may have heard.

The fact that most therapists are both GAT-based and lean to a biological basis simply reflects what most people have come to understand. Even if you won't :)

However, RT claims to alter something more than an identity (affirming it, or otherwise). It requires those who practise it to claim to know the origin, because only then can they alter it.

I also see no problem -- in fact, would advocate for it -- with the idea that dispelling any false notions about the lives of gay men and women (ie doing GAT) can run alongside a client's wish to nevertheless pursue SIT or whatever you're calling it.

It would harder to argue that a client who was comfortable with hearing GAT, but still wanted SIT, was being driven by baseless fears etc and therefore open to abuse. Wouldn't that be a good thing?
 
I think the guidelines are definitely a step in the right direction. I do think that a good deal of the tension between Evangelicals and the gay community would be cleared up if everyone were made to understand that ex-gay does not mean a person is no longer gay - in the sense that they don't have same sex attractions anymore. If Evangelicals would stop using Reparative Therapy as a political tool, and acknowledge the above, then the gay community could lower its defensive rhetoric and therapists of all kinds could get on with helping to heal those who need it.
 
As a gay man and a Christian, Anon's prediction is way off the mark, that "a good deal of the tension between Evangelicals and the gay community would be cleared up if everyone were made to understand that ex-gay does not mean a person is no longer gay."

If anything, admitting that "ex gay" is really a new name for the closet will only maintain the mixture of distrust and pity that happy healthy gay Christians have for such efforts.

Here's why: the numbers of gay Christians is growing along with the number of affirming congregations. The number of gay families is increasing as well.

Those people, those families, will only stand in starker contrast to suggestions that we train people to avoid certain relations or relationships, and send them off to marry heterosexual women, even build families, carrying such a risk of disaster and dissolution down the line.
 
Dr Throckmorton,

What has been the status quo (how would you describe it, being that you used the words "badly in need", and how do you think things will look or change when the SIT are out in the public domain among clinicians?

Thanks

Jean.
 
I think I have an article somewhere describing the acceptance of biological etiology being a part of GAT. I will look for it. Informally, many therapists do this if you can believe the report of their former clients.

More...
 
/sigh

The fact that most therapists are both GAT-based and lean to a biological basis simply reflects what most people have come to understand. Even if you won't :)
 
Maybe that is what "most people" believe but to say it has scientific support is not settled. Actually, it seems to me that the interactionist position is where consensus is at the moment.
 
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