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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

 

Another article regarding Haggard and reparative therapy

AP's David Crary covers the Haggard issue with comments from the usual suspects.

This article covers some of the same ground as the Denver Post article on November 12. I was struck by a couple of points in this article. There was a certain dogmatism to the APA commenters. Doug Haldeman said there is nothing good that can come from conversion therapy. This is an extreme statement that is at odds with the experience of many who have been involved in it. Possible harm, yes; but "nothing good?" - I think that is easily falsified and is actually contrary to some of Dr. Haldeman's writings in APA journals.

I thought Joe Nicolosi made a good point by pointing out that each individual has the perogative to determine what same-sex attractions mean to him within a valuative framework. However, in my opinion, he undermined his position to some degree by assessing Mr. Haggard's history, apparently without any knowledge of him (one hopes it is without experiential knowledge), as needing to face "...the realities that you [Haggard] did not get certain central affirmations from your mother or your father..." How would one know that?

Mr. Crary correctly points out that:

There have been numerous studies, with varying conclusions, on how homosexuality originates and whether it can be changed. But there has been no authoritative study - accepted by both sides - examining the effectiveness and possible ill-effects of reparative therapy.

And so dogmatism on any side seems unwarranted.

Comments:
It is hard to know where to start with this article. The dogatism of both sides about what the other side thinks or does precludes anything constructive.
 
You have to admit this was pretty messed up:

"If this man is saying, 'This is a part of me that I abhor,' why can't we respect that?" Nicolosi asked. "Why do we have to attribute that to something external and take away the dignity of the individual to express how he feels?"

Yes, if only we could all find the true dignity that exists in self-abhorrance. Too bad the article didn't mention NARTH's history of defending slavery and child abuse.
 
Throckmorton: "This is an extreme statement that is at odds with the experience of many who have been involved in it. Possible harm, yes; but "nothing good?"

I have to agree. I am against repartive therapy on many levels, but I have met people (exgays and such) who are living happier, less self-destructive, more congruent lives now. That's harm redcution and that's a good thing, even if is doesn't change your orientation.
 
With respect boo, I don't think Nicolosi was saying that self-abhorrence is dignified. There is a distinction between abhorring one part of oneself (and only a part) and abhorring oneself as a person. Many people may have things about them that they, rightly or wrongly, abhor, but this isn't necessarily the same thing as self-hatred.
 
Here is another statement that defies understanding: Nicolosi said NARTH opposes anti-gay prejudice, but he contended that social factors which trouble gays are a legitimate reason for seeking therapy. "It's more difficult to live as a gay man than as a heterosexual," he said. "We wish to respond to those clients who feel that it is. ... It's irrelevant if it's society's fault."
 
Nicolosi: "It's irrelevant if it's society's fault."

Is this man completely amoral? Heartless? I don't get it. How can he say such a thing? It sounds like all that matters to him is that his client is unhappy, it doesn't seem to matter why. Even if the "why" is the ignorance, fear or hatred heaped upon his client by others. How can this man call himself a therapist or a scientist?
 
...needing to face "...the realities that you [Haggard] did not get certain central affirmations from your mother or your father..." How would one know that?

It's a simple syllogism:

Homosexual inclinations are caused by not getting central affirmations from your parents.
Haggard has homosexual inclinations.
Therefore, Haggard did not get central affirmations from his parents.

Duh. It's a valid argument and all valid arguments are true, right?
 
CK - Doh! How could I have missed that? That undergrad degree you got has come in handy again.
 
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