|Posted on October 23, 2021 at 11:55 AM|
Want to get involved in a Christian ex-gay ministry and counsel people with same-sex attractions who seek a life beyond the gay scene? Here are some points to ponder:
If you want to counsel someone, you definitely need solid psychological training and knowledge as well as guided experience - even when you are not offering psychotherapy. Just to mean well certainly is not enough and might cause a lot of damage. Make sure your knowledge is always up-to-date!
If you offer Christian counseling or pastoral care, get a solid education! There are guidelines that must be followed in order to help your clients!
In order to answer and deal with theological questions, you need to have the background needed to do so. A pastor's degree from the church of the moonlight does not count as theological background!
If you are a man married to a divorced wife because your way of interpreting the Christian faith allows that, do not criticize gay Christians for doing the same.
Do not write self-help books, do not counsel and do not give public speeches if you have none of the above!
Being an ex-gay does not mean you have no same-sex attractions anymore. It means you left a life in the gay scene (or did not even go there to begin with) and chose another way.
Your job is NOT to turn gays into straight people. As a Christian, it does not matter if you have same-sex attractions or not. What matters is if you follow Jesus Christ!
Don't make a living preaching to the choir or by living in the past. Going from Church to Church talking about your experiences is a nice thing to do, but the people that need you most are probably not in there. They are where most Christians usually don't dare to go. Yet Jesus commanded us to go (out!) and make disciples, not to give nice talks to fellow Christians while charging them for it!
You need to be in constant contact with gays as well. They are not your enemies. Love them like Jesus would!
Offer unconditional love - not a "I love you, but..."!
Be there also for those who are not Christians or who want to stay in a gay life. Show them God will never leave them!
Don't keep on giving testimony over and over again. It is not about you and you should not stir things up all the time, but look ahead now!
Be honest! There is nothing wrong with having same-sex attractions! It is up to us what we do with them. Don't tell people you don't have them anylonger ("ex-homosexual") when this is not the truth!
Remember it is always up to the client to set a goal, not to you. Even - and especially - if you have a license as a psychotherapist you should only work within the standards, rules and guidelines of your profession!
|Posted on April 13, 2017 at 4:55 PM|
Have you ever been told you have an "anger issue" - along with some Bible verses to help you to repent? Anger is a completely normal emotion. Nobody (!) does NOT get angry. Jesus got angry. He got so angry He chased the merchants out of the temple. Stop pretending you have no emotions and/or emotions are a bad thing. Emotions have a function in our lives. We have them for a reason. Without emotions, humanity would not even have survived. They protect us, motivate us or prevent us from doing something. Get a life!
|Posted on January 6, 2016 at 1:10 PM|
Why Is This Child Different From Most Other Children?
Ten Questions & Answers For a Parent of a Homosexual Child
(*NOTE: Deep appreciation to Rabbi Samuel Rosenberg,L.C.S.W., Clinical Director of JONAH, and to my Co-Director, Arthur A. Goldberg, for their help with this article. JONAH, Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality, can be reached by telephone at 201-433-3444 and on the Internet at www.Jonahweb.org.)
“Gender, that deep sense or essence within us that reflects our
biological sex, is absolutely fundamental to our humanity.”
- Janelle Hallman
OK. You may have always suspected something, but now you know. Your child is self-identified as “gay.” You try to bargain with God, you cry, you rage, you deny – but you can’t run away from the pain that has gripped you ever since your child told you the news.
Why did this happen to your child? In today’s politically correct culture, the “experts” tell us that he/she was born that way, but in your heart and soul you know that isn’t true and that something went wrong in your family. Is it your fault? Is it your child’s fault? Is it anyone’s fault? Bottom line, what can and should you do about the situation?
Every day, anguished Jewish parents (as well as parents in every other societal group) around the globe ask themselves these questions as they go through the torment of learning about their child’s involvement with homosexuality. One of the worst aspects of this family problem is the common advice that parents must accept their child “for who they are” and there is nothing they can do. Even worse is the mistaken notion that reparative/change/reorientation therapy can actually harm their child. Nothing is further from the truth.
Politically astute gay activists have changed the way society views homosexuality in less than four decades. To their credit, gay activists have brought the issues surrounding homosexuality out of the closet. While this is good, the callous myths that homosexuality is inborn, benign, and unchangeable are absolutely false. Homosexual attractions are the result of childhood wounds which arrested a child’s psycho-sexual development. JONAH’s multi-faceted program (outlined below) offers great hope that your child can grow out of homosexuality and into the God-given heterosexuality which was his/her birthright. Please go to the Library Section of JONAH’s web site, Jonahweb.org, for a more complete discussion of this Model:
JONAH’S PSYCHO-EDUCATIONAL MODEL FOR HEALING HOMOSEXUALITY involves:
Healing of the Family System
Jewish Spiritual Development
Masculinity Development & Empowerment
Networking, Support Groups, Daily Internet E-mail Listserve
Overcoming Shame & Narcissism
Receiving Healthy Touch & Affection
Experiential Healing Weekends
JONAH is frequently asked these ten common questions. The answers below can help start a parent on the long, difficult, but ultimately rewarding quest of learning why their child feels same-sex attractions and what can be done about changing this painful truth.
QUESTION ONE: WHY DID THIS HAPPEN TO MY CHILD?
ANSWER: The good news is that your child was born, like all children, to develop into a heterosexual; the bad news is that your child suffered emotional wounds in his/her childhood that blocked his/her innate capacity to grow into heterosexuality. The specific issues for each individual will depend on the totality of his/her environment
As Richard Cohen tells us in his book, Coming Out Straight, same-sex attractions (SSA) are symptoms of underlying wounds. They represent an inappropriate response to conflicts in the present, a way to medicate pain and discomfort, unresolved childhood trauma, archaic emotions, frozen feelings, wounds that never healed. They also represent a reparative drive to fulfill unmet homo-emotional love needs of the past – an unconscious drive for greater bonding with the same-sex parent.
Very briefly, homosexuality is not about sex, but is rather an emotionally-based condition consisting of the following three subconscious drives:
Need for greater attachment to the same-sex parent and less attachment to the
opposite sex parent
Need for stronger gender identification
Fear of sexual or emotional intimacy with the opposite sex.
QUESTION TWO: DO LESBIANS AND GAY MEN DEAL WITH THE SAME
ANSWER: Some of the issues underlying male and female homosexuality are the same, but others are different. Here is an outline of the key elements underlying male and female same-sex attraction (SSA). For lesbianism, I will quote Janelle Hallman, a therapist noted for specializing in lesbian issues:
The Most Frequently Reported Elements of the Lesbian Struggle:
A strained, detached or missing bond and/or attachment with mother WITHOUT an available mother substitute, resulting in a fear of abandonment and need for secure attachment;
The presence of disrespect or abuse at the hands of a male, resulting in a fear or hatred of men;
Few if any girlhood/adolescent same-sex friendships, resulting in a need for acceptance,
belonging and fun;
A sense of emptiness or identity confusion in lieu of a full and rich identity, resulting in a need for self and gender identity.
Common Root Problems of the Male Homosexual Struggle:
( A complete discussion of these issues can be found on the web site: peoplecanchange.com.)
- Feelings of masculine deficiency;
Idealization of other males and maleness; same-sex peer wounds;
Fear of men, estrangement from men, disassociation from maleness;
Overidentification with the feminine;
Over-sensitivity; body image wounds
Father hunger; mother enmeshment;
Shame, secrecy, self-loathing, isolation, loneliness;
QUESTION THREE: WHAT ARE THE FIRST STEPS I SHOULD TAKE TO HELP
MY FAMILY COPE WITH THIS PROBLEM?
ANSWER: Homosexuality is a systemic problem involving family, extended family, school environment, peers, etc. You should never ostracize your child nor should you blame your child. Each member of the family needs to do his/her part in healing the family system.
Family therapy and/or spiritual counseling will help to educate the members of the family in how to set up new and better relationships. Whether your child chooses to leave homosexuality or not, strengthening the family is a worthwhile goal. The lines of communication between parent and child should always be open. Many families find an improvement in their relationship with their child as a result of this “big secret” finally being out in the open. Parents don’t have to accept homosexual behavior, but they do need to always love and accept their child.
Bibliotherapy is JONAH’s term for educating yourself about the issues underlying SSA and we believe this is a critical first step. Homosexuality is complex, caused by a variety of factors and often misunderstood by most therapists, doctors, teachers, and the general community. Therefore, parents need to read extensively until they understand the common causes of homosexual attractions and which of these apply to their son or daughter. For those who don’t enjoy reading, there are cassette tapes and videos available. The following web sites display extensive information about SSA and recommend the books, cassettes, and videos that will give you the education you need in order to help your child:
NARTH.com (Scientific and Educational)
QUESTION FOUR: WHAT ARE THE LONG TERM GOALS OF A HEALING PROGRAM?
ANSWER: Remember that your child has probably been feeling tremendous conflict and anxiety for years before you found out about his/her SSA. We have found there is a process involved in coming to terms with this issue. The following suggestions have worked for other parents who have faced this problem:
Educate yourself about the causes of homosexuality and the strategies used to grow out of same-sex attraction.
The same-sex parent should become more involved with the child feeling SSA while the opposite-sex parent should step back and encourage the growth of the same-sex parent’s relationship with the child.
Seek counseling for you and your family with a gender-affirming therapist.
Understand that you probably will go through a process of grieving, followed by healing, and finally acceptance and understanding.
Tell a few close relatives or friends about the problem so you can confide in someone about the pain and confusion you feel. Choose your confidants carefully so you do not choose someone who has accepted the gay activist’s mythology.
Seek out group support and networking with others who have faced your problem. JONAH can help with referrals to appropriate resources.
Speak with a Rabbi or spiritual advisor to help you come to terms with your relationship to God and the anguish you feel.
Understand that whether your child chooses to grow out of homosexuality or not, you can keep your family together and have more trusting and vital relationships.
Expect your family’s healing process to take time – there are no “quick fixes.”
QUESTION FIVE: WHAT SHOULD I NOT DO?
ANSWER: There are a number of caveats that are supported by most individuals and organizations that work in this field. Some are common sense and some have been gleaned by long years of experience:
Never ostracize your child. He/she did not choose to have SSA.
Don’t try to convince your child that he/she must change – it doesn’t work because a person needs internal motivation to undertake this difficult journey.
Don’t focus on this issue when you are with your child because he/she is much more than a person with homosexual issues.
Don’t try to make your child feel guilty; don’t take a burden of guilt on yourself either.
SSA resulted from the combination of his/her individual temperament, the relationships within the family, and the totality of his/her environment. Everyone in the family (including siblings) needs to assume some responsibility for repairing the broken relationships and forging healthier family dynamics.
QUESTION SIX: WHAT DOES “CHANGE” MEAN IN RELATION TO GROWING
OUT OF HOMOSEXUALITY?
ANSWER: Growing out of homosexuality rarely means that the person will never again experience a homosexual thought or attraction. We must learn to stop treating those who feel SSA as “different kinds of persons.” We understand that recovery from alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, obesity, heterosexual promiscuity, etc., doesn’t mean the person will never be tempted again. So, too, many recovered homosexuals feel overwhelmed at times of stress and desire a “quick fix” to solve their problems. However, if they understand their “trigger points” and disengage them, they generally can resist such impulses.
Fantasizing or acting on homosexual impulses has been the way these individuals handled stress and feelings of inadequacy in the past, so at times they may briefly fall back to old habits of thinking and feeling. The difference will be that now they understand their homosexual feelings are symptoms of underlying emotional issues they need to address. Fantasizing or acting on those homosexual impulses will not solve their problems – in fact, acting out usually makes things worse because acting out covers up the real issues affecting their lives. Growth out of homosexuality or “change” will be different for each man or woman who makes the journey. Some will never have a homosexual feeling again; some will frequently struggle to overcome their attractions and/or compulsions; most will fall in between these two extremes.
QUESTION SEVEN: WHY DO NUMEROUS THERAPISTS, DOCTORS, RABBIS, TEACHERS, AND MEMBERS OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY EMBRACE THE THEORY THAT HOMOSEXUALITY IS INBORN AND UNCHANGEABLE?
ANSWER: Gay activism has done an excellent job of convincing the public. Not only do they confuse political and personal goals, but most distressingly they wrongly label those who have a principled disagreement with them as homophobic. Many professionals in the therapeutic field are skeptical about gay activist claims, but are afraid of being called intolerant, non-inclusive or homophobic if they speak up or protest.
In the personal sphere, each man or woman who feels SSA should be treated with the same dignity and compassion we feel for anyone with an emotional problem – which includes everyone of us at some point in our lives. However, to say that a problem like SSA is normal and merely an alternative lifestyle is the equivalent of saying that obesity or alcoholism is normal.
In the political sphere the gay activists have also gone too far and have almost succeeded in deconstructing the male/female design of God, nature, and evolution. We Jews were the first to proclaim that the nuclear family should be the basic building block of society. Numerous groups seek to overturn the Torah prohibition against the practice of homosexuality and accept such behavior as normal and unchangeable.
As parents who admit that we inadvertently played a role in our children feeling same-sex attraction, we must stand together and educate the Jewish community and the larger community about the prevention, intervention, and treatment of homosexuality. Our children, and all children, deserve to know the truth about this important issue.
QUESTION EIGHT: WHAT DOES JUDAISM SAY ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY AND
IS IT STILL RELEVENT IN THE MODERN WORLD?
(For a fuller discussion of this question, please see the Rabbinical Commentary Section of Jonahweb.org.)
ANSWER: JONAH’s philosophy is consistent with the Torah’s approach to homosexuality. There is no word in the Torah for a homosexual, although there are words for homosexual behavior, which leads us to believe that the Torah sets forth an understanding that homosexuality is neither inborn nor an identity. The Jewish literature is replete with examples of accepting and loving the person who feels same-sex attractions while not accepting the undesirable behavior.
Accepting a person’s same-sex attractions as inborn and unchangeable does great harm to the individual, the family, and the community. There is absolutely no reliable proof that homosexuality is inborn so to tell young people who feel same-sex attractions they were born that way and have no choice to grow out of homosexuality is simply cruel and untrue. Same-sex attractions are just one of the many life-damaging conditions we all must learn to overcome.
In Judaism, teshuvah (repentance and return) is available to all of us. We must reach out to those feeling SSA, welcome them into the Jewish community, and educate them about their ability to grow out of homosexuality.
QUESTION NINE: WHAT PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE?
ANSWER: JONAH is constantly expanding its world-wide list of referrals and resources. Please call our Message Line at 201-433-3444 for recommendations in the following categories:
Individual and/or family therapy with those committed to gender affirmative psychotherapy.
Experiential Healing Week-ends for individuals, couples, and families
Teleconferencing classes for individuals, parents, therapists, and couples
Educational books, articles, and tapes
Seminars and conferences helpful to parents dealing with homosexuality.
QUESTION TEN: IT SEEMS SO DIFFICULT TO GROW OUT OF HOMOSEXUALITY, IS IT WORTH THE STRUGGLE?
ANSWER: While we cannot answer that question for any particular individual, we can tell the truth about homosexuality so that the individual is enabled to choose his/her own path based on facts, not myths. Some will choose not to start the journey, some will only be able to journey part of the way, some will be able to complete the journey. Many who complete the journey will reach back to help others. As one inspiring response to this question, here are the words of Jeffrey Burke Satinover, M.D., who is a member of JONAH’s Advisory Board:
“I have been extraordinarily fortunate to have met many people who have emerged from the gay life. When I see the personal difficulties they have squarely faced, the sheer courage they have displayed not only in facing these difficulties but also in confronting a culture that uses every possible means to deny the validity of their values, goals, and experiences, I truly stand back in wonder. Certainly they have forced me by the simple testimony of their lives to return again and again to my own self-examination. It is these people – former homosexuals and those still struggling, all across America and abroad – who stand for me as a model of everything good and possible in a world that takes the human heart, and the God of that heart, seriously. In my various explorations within the worlds of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and psychiatry, I have simply never before seen such profound healing.
Because it is not really a battle over mere sexuality, but rather over which spirit shall claim our allegiance, the cultural and political battle over homosexuality has become in many respects the defining moment for our society. It has implications that go far beyond the surface matter of “gay rights.” And so the more important dimension of this battle is not the political one, it is the one for the individual human soul. It would be easy in this modern era, when our vision for things invisible is so easily blinded by the dazzling allure of our material accomplishment, to not even take the soul – and her loving, watchful, worried shepherd – seriously. But the soul that emerges in the lives of those who have successfully struggled with homosexuality, and the soul that is in the process of emerging in those who struggle still, is so beautiful that at one stroke her emergence into sight, even dimly, simply shatters the false dazzle of modernity.
And so, as dangerous a moment as this one may be, when so much of our inheritance stands in the balance, there is great hope as well. Slowly but surely, the great truths that have embodied themselves in the lives of these men and women – after terrible struggle – will be made widely known. More and more people will themselves gain the courage to return home from their long and fruitless wanderings in the wasteland of modern sophistication, however painful that return may be. It is our joyful duty to stand waiting, with open arms, remembering that we too are journeying home.” (Dr. Jeffrey Satinover: Postscript: Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth)
|Posted on January 5, 2016 at 3:45 PM|
JONAH'S Suggested Questions for a Prospective Therapist or Counselor
Author / Contributor :: JONAH's Directors
JONAH is frequently asked for referrals to therapists or counselors who are experienced in working with those who are unhappy feeling same-sex attraction. We provide referrals if we are familiar with a therapist who lives in the required geographical area and at times we recommend telephone therapy. However, there are times when we do not have a particular therapist to recommend and/or one of our members wants to interview a new therapist.
In order to be sure the prospective therapist or counselor you are interviewing understands fully the concepts involved in reparative or change therapy, we have compiled a list of questions you can ask to determine if this is the right person for you to work with.
If you find a therapist who is effective in treating unwanted same-sex attraction, please contact us with the name so we can speak with him/her and perhaps add this person to our referral list.
Here are basic questions you can ask of any therapist:
These five questions are taken directly from Anne Paulk's 2003 book:
Restoring Sexual Identity: Hope for Women Who Struggle with Same-Sex Attraction (page 115).
Do you believe that men and women are "born gay?"
Do you believe that wanting to leave homosexuality is harmful or dangerous?
Do you believe that change is even possible?
Can you support me in my desire to change?
Have you read relevant research concerning the topics of gender identity disorder,
homosexuality, and family structure?
The following six questions or requests are taken directly from Richard Cohen's 2000 book:
Coming Out Straight: Understanding and Healing Homosexuality (page 115).
Please tell me about your education and training in this area of sexual reorientation therapy.
What therapeutic modalities do you use? Please explain them in simple layman's terms.
Have you worked with others who have transitioned out of homosexuality?
What is your success rate in doing this kind of work?
Do you believe in God? (If important: What is your religious faith?)
Have you done your own healing work?
|Posted on May 22, 2015 at 4:40 PM|
Shouldn't the ex-gay movement be more than a group of ministries whose leaders wave with psychological titles, meet in secret circles, give wishy-washy press releases that are too slick to be attacked and too weak to provide real help and guidance - and charge money for services that tend to be more something like "low-level psychology" or "wellness with a Christian touch" than substantial physical, psychological and spiritual pastoral care? Sometimes it looks like some of those ministry programs are too weak to cope with the world - and even weaker to offer spiritual guidance. It's not about us and how we feel better. It's not about becoming straight or accepting whatever and whoever one is. It is not about following psychological programs designed by individuals that try to explain the whole world in simple terms. And most of all it is not about cash. It's about holiness. It's all about Him.
|Posted on April 20, 2015 at 2:05 PM|
Why is the only condition we have on someone who wants to join Homosexuals Anonymous the will to be free? Because without it everything else would be futile. You have to know what you want and you have to really want it. You need a passion to go for your goal, no matter what. If there are no emotions involved and you try to reach a goal simply through a change of cognitive thinking patterns, or because someone else wants you to and you have not the slightest wish to do so, this only become negative stress for you. It is all about how you see and evaluate this goal of being free of same-sex attractions and the way that leads to that. For some it is a drag, a pain in the butt. For others the same tools are an exciting challenge.
Think about it.
|Posted on April 8, 2015 at 3:30 PM|
It seems to be common to bash reparative therapy of same-sex attractions. Even ex-gay leaders seem to go on a distance - while carefully choosing their words in order not to look like they want to put those down who do it. Yet they do get away from it and somehow I tend to think that they are still under shock of what had happened with and to Exodus and now reject anything and everything Exodus did in order not to be seen in the same light as them. Thus they do not use any of RT's methods and try to stay on the safe side by only using spiritual means.
So how about it - yes or no?
Let's first talk about what it is. Something needs to be "repaired" because it is "broken" or because there is some sort of loss or lack. That can be the lack of love from the same-sex parent in childhood for example. Therapy would now try to fill that lack and meet the legitimate need for same-sex affirmation and love through healthy male bondings. Instead of simply calling same-sex acts sinful, RT tries to work on their causes and help the individuals use their current resources to meet their present needs. Other issues might be the affirmation of exisiting heterosexual tendencies in the individual and working on gender identity issues (like what being a real man is all about - something most men struggle with I'd say).
Both Homosexuals Anonymous and Jason International approves of the underlying ideas and the methods of reparative therapy. That does not mean every therapist who applies them is a good one or that those ideas and/or methods should not be evaluated or improved. Of course they should.
However, we do NOT believe that the mixture of psychology and pastoral care is dangerous per se.
The human being as we see him/her in the Bible is an entity of body, psyche and soul. Each counselor, pastor, priest, or therapist should have at least some basic knowledge of those three. And it exactly that order the counselee needs to be checked - no matter if you do psychotherapy, pastoral care or whatever else. Is there a physical problem (make sure the counselee has a medical check-up!)? Are there emotional, psychological or mental problems or disorders (know some about their causes and symptoms and make sure the counselee gets proper help by a psychotherapist or psychiatrist)? In that context you need to see the indivdual's personal history and family background too. For some personality disorders it takes the unpacking of the past - like through psychoanalysis. Are there spiritual problems? If so which and how can they be addressed?
Those three parts - body, psyche and soul - can never seen separately. They always form one unit. However, you need to find out where the problem lies. If someone has a broken tooth you can pray till you're blue in the face, it would not help. God stressed that point: Adam had the perfect relationship with Him in the beginning, yet God said it was not good for him to be alone and made him a helper.
Even if you only focus on one part (like the spiritual one) you absolutly need to have a basic knowledge of the rest, else you are of little help and end up nowhere fast. You cannot base your programs only on one of those three parts and think this is a valid approach. It would be a very narrow and most likely very unhealthy one, as it could add shame and guilt to the already existing problems (if the counselee still makes no progress and feels like a total failure because you did not see his real problem and he thinks it is his fault).
Both Homosexuals Anonymous and Jason International do not offer psychotherapy. We have support groups and offer free Christian counseling and pastoral care. However, you will find the above ideas approached in our program with information to further help. Our basic concept is to not only look on where the issues are and how to address them best, but also to focus on what resources the individual has now, how he or she can use them best and how to make him or her strong - in all three parts ("resilience"). We are result-oriented, that is also the only condition we have for those who want to take part in our programs is the will to be free. If someone does not have that and only wants to whine and pity himself because he then does not need to take over responsibility and become active, but can stay the focus of attention and get pitied - then he or she better stays at home or leaves our group.
Let's stick with what works and not run for the hills because some fell or gay activists try to force a discussion upon us that is not ours. Don't get chicken and back off. We have a mighty enemy - so we better learn how to get our fists up and fight!
Munich, April 8th 2015
|Posted on February 8, 2015 at 8:45 AM|
We as Christians are called to go and and make disciples. We should never content ourselves just meeting on a weekly basis like a religious club and listening to nicely sounding messages. Going out, however, means going out to those who need the Lord most: The poor, the sick, the lonely, the drug addicts, the hookers, the sexually broken, the gays, the desperate, the criminals, the inmates and many more. That means diving into their (!) waters. Only working on finding new ways to lure people into the Church (building) won't cut the deal. Those people will not even waste a thought on our nicely thought-out programs. If we go to where they are at though, we need to be aware that this is the kingdom of the Prince of the Air. These are highly dangerous waters, even though they offer us the greatest challenge for a rich harves for the Lord. To go there means to prepare - to put on our spiritual armour. Having a daily spiritual structure and surrounding ourselves with good and solid Christians is crucial if we want to face the evil. Then again - there is nothing like that. THIS is what Jesus wants us to do and where he wants us to be at. All the angels in heaven will cheer for each sould saved, for each sheep that finds its way back to the flock! Hallelujah!