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Reparative Therapy of Same-Sex Attractions - Why the Bashing?

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

Robert Gollwitzer

Categories: Therapy, Counseling, Recovery


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