Homosexuals Anonymous

Offering Guidance, Fellowship & Care


From Homosexuals Anonymous and Jason:

How long has your organization been dealing with conversions?
If you mean to ask how long we’ve been around: Since 1976, which makes us the oldest ministry for those seeking freedom from unwanted same-sex attractions. However, we are not “dealing with conversions”. Our goal is not to make “turn people straight”, but to help them find freedom from same-sex attractions – whatever form that freedom takes on then. Each of our members has different goals for his or her life, and so are the paths they take.

How many people struggling with homosexuality do you deal with each year?
First: We do not believe that there is something like “homosexuality” (a rather new term by the way). God has created all of us heterosexual – or better: men and women. Some of us, however, have predominant and long-lasting same-sex attractions including sexual and emotional attractions to members of the same sex – for whatever reason. To come back to your question: We do not keep record of that. Homosexuals Anonymous and Jason have several chapters around the world for people with unwanted same-sex attractions – local and online. We also counsel family members, pastors, or anybody interested in that subject. We speak at political events, mosques, churches, radio and TV shows and whoever else invites us. Whoever saves one soul, saves the whole world.

What is your success rate with conversions?
Again: Whoever saves one soul, saves the whole world. We do not evaluate success by the numbers nor by any other secular standardized system. Some of us married and founded families, some of us stayed single. God has different callings for each one of His children. Do we believe in freedom from homosexuality? Most certainly so – and the reason some have not found it yet is because they might not really believe it can be done. However, there are most likely thousands around the world who once experienced same-sex attractions and maybe even spent a good part of their lives in the gay scene and now let God change their hearts and turned their ways. Some time ago, a grandfather with same-sex attractions who chose to lead a godly life told me that to a certain degree he still experiences same-sex attractions, but when he takes a look at his wife, children and grandchildren he knows that his choice was right – and so much worth it. You couldn’t pay us a better compliment than that.

How sure are you that these people have been delivered from homosexuality?
There is no blood test you can take to measure if they are free. However, we have lots of testimonies that confirm that there is freedom. We experienced it in ourselves and in the testimonies of many others around the world. All these people have no gain in lying – they are telling the truth, which might scare gay activists because if there is one out there who found freedom of same-sex attractions, they do not have an excuse for themselves anymore. “Freedom” might look differently for the individual – some experience complete freedom, others a substantial decrease in the intensity and/or frequency of their same-sex attractions.

What methods do you use to deliver from homosexuality?
In the course of the last decades we developed and used a great variety of tools that help those who come to us seeking help. First, you have our 14-step program. Part of those steps goes back to the tradition of 12-step groups and was adapted to the special needs of people with unwanted same-sex attractions. The other steps have been developed from the experience and the road to freedom of our two founders: Colin C. and Doug M. We also use techniques and resources by various psychotherapists who worked in this field. Some of us also had a special training in psychotherapy, Christian counseling, or theology. In addition to that, we developed a network with other ministries worldwide to get the best help possible for those who seek out our services. That network provides us with a wide range of programs, recourses and counselors so that the different factors that contributed to the individual development of same-sex attractions can be addressed the best possible way.


The six ways homosexual activists manipulate public opinion:

1) Exploit the “victim” status;
2) Use the sympathetic media;
3) Confuse and neutralize the churches;
4) Slander and stereotype Christians;
5) Bait and switch (hide their true nature); and
6) Intimidation.


I am heterosexual but have a question about what homosexuals are called. What are "male: homosexuals called? Females are "lesbian". "Gay", I think, implies both male and female.
In modern-day society "homosexuals" is a term that describes man and women who have a predominant and longlasting sexual and emotional attraction towards members of the same sex. "Gay" or "lesbian" usually also implies that those people are out there, maybe even activists for their political cause.
We do not believe in such terms. God has created all of us heterosexual. Yes, some have same-sex attractions - for whatever reason. So this is what they are then: Heterosexuals with same-sex attractions.
Like that we prefer the term "people with same-sex attractions" instead of "homosexuals", "gays" or "lesbians".

Freedom from Homosexuality


A Christian Fellowship

If you are a person in conflict with homosexual feelings, or a parent, relative or friend of someone struggling with homosexuality who needs help; if you are a minister, counselor or therapist looking for a support group for a counselee wanting freedom from homosexuality then please read on. You will gain insight into Homosexuals Anonymous (H.A.)--who we are and how we can help you.

How did Homosexuals Anonymous begin?

Homosexuals Anonymous began in November 1980 as a result of two men, Colin, a former minister, and Doug, a former school principal, pooling their ideas in how to pass on to others what they had experienced in recovery from homosexuality. Colin, who had kept a five-year journal of his growth, analyzed the principles of that growth with helpful evaluation from Doug. From this analysis the 14 Steps of H.A. were born. Nine of the steps come from Colin’s journals and five of them are modified from Alcoholics Anonymous.

What is the purpose of Homosexuals Anonymous?

Homosexuals Anonymous (H.A.) is a Christian fellowship of men and women who have chosen to help each other to live free from homosexuality. The purpose of H.A. is to support individuals seeking that freedom. Group support is available through weekly H.A. meetings. Guidance is received through the shared experiences and growth of others. Strength is acquired by training the faith response through the 14 Steps.

H.A. is non-sectarian and works inter- and non-denominationally. It does not endorse or oppose any political causes, nor does it wish to engage in any controversial issues that would draw members’ energies away from the goal of maturing in their relationships with those around them and rediscovering their true identity through a restored relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

What is the purpose of anonymity?

Because the social stigma of homosexuality is often a factor in a person’s decision whether or not to seek help, H.A. members recognize that a firm assurance of confidentiality is imperative if they are to succeed in attracting and helping other people wishing to find freedom from homosexuality. H.A. promises personal anonymity to all who attend its meetings. First names only are used. Personal information shared during any meeting is treated as confidential.

While the privacy of each member is highly regarded, some people experiencing freedom from homosexuality are eager to share the good news of their H.A. affiliation with family, friends, and other support groups. Such disclosure is their own choice.

How is Homosexuals Anonymous organized?

Local H.A. Chapters are a part of a nation-wide network of chapters that function under the guidance of Homosexuals Anonymous Fellowship Services (HAFS). Local chapters are committed to the philosophy and guidelines of HAFS. H.A. chapters are developed as interested persons receive leadership training and accreditation through HAFS sponsored seminars.

Who directs the local H.A. Chapter?

Because H.A. is a self-help group, the members themselves, who have experienced significant growth, accept responsibility for different aspects of the chapter’s organization and meetings. In addition, the responsibility of helping an H.A. member work through the 14 Steps, outside the framework of the H.A. meeting, is taken on by a step coach who, having found ways of successfully applying the steps in his own life, now helps other members in the application process through example, guidance and prayer.

Is there any cost?

There is no charge for membership in an H.A. chapter. However, because each chapter is financially independent, members are given the opportunity to make contributions at each meeting. These contributions are used to meet the expenses incurred by the local group.

What is the requirement for membership?

The only requirement  membership in an H.A. group is a desire to be and remain free from homosexuality.

What is an H.A. meeting like?

Each meeting is structured around an hour-and-a-half time frame. The meeting opens with prayer, introduction of members by first names only, and a reading of the 14 Steps. Next come the major parts of the H.A. meeting and are as follows:

1) Histories—When new members are present, senior members tell of what led them to face their homosexuality, how God led them to H.A. and how they have grown in their understanding of God, of themselves and the world around them. New members are given the opportunity to share their history, too, but only if they choose to do so.

2) Step Talk—The step guide for the evening presents a short talk on one of the steps giving insight into how the principles found in the step are being worked out in his own life and how the step might apply to those in the group.

3) Discussion—Discussion sometimes focuses on the step and at other times on growth or struggle that a member may be experiencing. This is a time when members rally round to encourage each other. Meetings are characterized by friendliness and openness. There is no uncomfortable intensity and leadership is rotated so that there are no attempts to control. Many discover that an H.A. meeting provides the best Christian fellowship they have experienced in years.

The meeting then closes with the sharing of needs and prayer.

If I change from homosexuality will I still be me?

Recovery from homosexuality is not so much a question of change as it is of self-discovery. Homosexuality is the self-limiting of your personality. As you discover the Grace of God your true selfhood will be gradually released to enable you to become the person you always knew you could be, but feared you never would be.

Is H.A. likely to perpetuate the homosexual subculture?

H.A. believes that there is no such thing as “a homosexual,” only men and women, created by God heterosexually, who because of the broken world we live in, are confused over their sexual identity. H.A. members do not introduce themselves by saying, “Hello, I’m George and I’m a homosexual.” It is the paradox of Homosexuals Anonymous that people who become members discover in time that by God’s grace they are not what they thought they were. The discovery of this Grace ensures their restoration, as dignified people, to the Christian community. Thus, H.A. Fellowship, rather than perpetuating the homosexual subculture, contributes to its decline.

How can I get involved with H.A.?

If you want to be free from homosexuality you may begin attending an H.A. chapter at any point in the 14-Step series. Meeting places and times are not announced publicly, however. Contact with your local H.A. chapter is made by telephone only. To learn more about H.A. Fellowship and your local chapter, go to our website: www.homosexuals-anonymous.com.


1. We admitted that we were powerless over our homosexuality and that our emotional lives were unmanageable.

2. We came to believe the love of God, who forgave us and accepted us in spite of all that we are and have done.

3. We learned to see purpose in our suffering, that our failed lives were under God's control, who is able to bring good out of trouble.

4. We came to believe that God had already broken the power of homosexuality and that He could therefore restore our true personhood.

5. We came to perceive that we had accepted a lie about ourselves, an illusion that had trapped us in a false identity.

6. We learned to claim our true reality that as humankind, we are part of God's heterosexual creation and that God calls us to rediscover that identity in Him through Jesus Christ, as our faith perceives Him.

7. We resolved to entrust our lives to our loving God and to live by faith, praising Him for our new unseen identity, confident that it would become visible to us in God's good time.

8. As forgiven people free from condemnation, we made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, determined to root out fear, hidden hostility, and contempt for the world.

9. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs and humbly asked God to remove our defects of character.

10. We willingly made direct amends wherever wise and possible to all people we had harmed.

11. We determined to live no longer in fear of the world, believing that God's victorious control turns all that is against us into our favor, bringing advantage out of sorrow and order from disaster.

12. We determined to mature in our relationships with men and women, learning the meaning of a partnership of equals, seeking neither dominance over people nor servile dependency on them.

13. We sought through confident praying, and the wisdom of Scripture for an ongoing growth in our relationship with God and a humble acceptance of His guidance for our lives.

14. Having had a spiritual awakening, we tried to carry this message to homosexual people with a love that demands nothing and to practice these steps in all our lives' activities, as far as lies within us.

What if I have a powerful same-sex drive? Why shouldn't I go for it? I can't stay alone for the rest of my days! Why can't I be happy too? - All questions that do have a real and sometimes painful background. So how about it? Let's start with the powerful sex-drive. The temptation is strong, if that drive has built up for many years - maybe because you had nobody to talk to and/or saw no other alternative than to finally yield. However, if there is one thing I had learned during the many years in the gay scene involving many sexual encounters with men and sexual practices you might not even heard of, then it is this: If you think you can quench that thirst from your sex drive by "going for it", then you better forget that right now. It's not going to happen. On the contrary: Once you break a taboo, the next one will be so much easier to get out of the way. Once you try to still your sexual drive by having sex with members of the same sex, you tasted blood and will want more. And more. And more. Being "creative" will become the new norm - and your life will turn around "being gay". If you think that is fun, let me tell you this: Yea, at the beginning it is like a wall crumbling down. "Finally I can be myself!" (much later you might realize that this was only a very distorted picture of yours). That big high, however, will soon make way for embitterness. You don't want to go there. There are reasons why you have those same sex attractions. Many different factors contributed to the development of your ssa - and need to be dealt with. Also there are legitimate physical, emotional, relational and spiritual needs behind your attractions. Those needs need to be adressed and satisfied a healthier way. Keeping all of that in mind, it is irresponsible to just forget about all that and tell people to "go for it". That is cheap. Seeking the quick fix will quench your thirst for a short time, numb the pain and help you forget about things - much like a drug addict does by getting loaded. However, sex does not heal and on the long rund things will get much worse. You exchange true satisfaction for the easy way out.

But what about having to stay alone for the rest of your days? If you mean "lonely" by "alone", then let me remind you that you can - and likely will - be very lonely in the gay scene. Being "alone" is something different. It is a gift that Jesus often used when He went out in the desert to pray. We need to be alone at times to spend some good quality time with ourselves and with God. To be able to be alone is a true treasure. Ever since I left the gay scene, I found times to be "alone", but most of the time the Lord grants me time to spend with the many true friends He brought into my life ever since and with the people He leads to me to help them get back on their feet again. I have never been less "lonely" than since I had left the gay life. I have found a true meaning and purpose in life and also my life has changed in all areas.

So what about "being happy"? I think it is a big misconception in today's culture and society that once with throw something in the "love"- or "being happy"-pool, everything is fine. No, it isn't. Being "happy" is not a criteria that something is good or morally acceptable. An alcoholic who just had a bottle of wodka might say he is "happy" now. A family father might have just left his wife and kids to live with his new girlfriend, "love" her and be "happy" with her for the rest of his days - it would still be unacceptable adultery in a Christian's eyes. Following Christ will give you true joy and tell you about the difference between "being happy" and finding that joy only God can give. And please don't mistake love for a fuzzy feeling. Feelings come and go. Love is a covenant where one person gives himself or herself (reflecting Christ's life-giving covenant with His bride, the Church) and where the two take the willful decision to stay together for their whole lives to become one flesh again. Again? Yes, our sexual drive hints back to the beginnings, where Eve was taken from Adam's flesh. This drive seeks that union back again - becoming one flesh. So much one you have to give this "one" a name nine months after.

To cut it short: I know it isn't easy to leave the gay life. It can be very scary as you have no idea what you signed up for and where this will take you. So for the beginning I give you this piece of advice: Scratch together the little faith and trust you can find in you and put it on God. And then let yourself fall and begin the journey - step by step. God has never broken any of His promises. He will be with you every second of the way and lead you out of this. Promised.

Understanding Same-Sex Attraction

Aren't terms like "heterosexuality" and "homosexuality" terms defined in the 19th century? Should we therefore better not use them?

Well, yes and no. The terms as such are relatively new, the concepts behind them not so. We do not believe in "homosexuality" as an identity in and of itself (we see same-sex attractions as something some heterosexuals have). However, we use the term and concept of "heterosexuality" refering to biblical sexuality, human identity and the concept of a lifelong and monogamous marriage between one man and one woman for the benefit of the spouses and to create offspring.
Is Homosexuality Perverse?

If so, should we call it like that? First, in my view there is no such thing as "homosexuality" (a rather modern term). Some heterosexuals (even that term is rather modern) have same-sex attractions - for whatever reason. That doesn't make them an extra species nor does it give them an extra identity. This needs to be stated clearly - both to people with ssa and to the public in general. You do not get "extra rights" for feeling that way and your whole life should not turn around being like that. So what about it being perverse? Let me take a running start for that: You first need to define that word - "homosexuality" or better: same-sex attractions. Usually you mean by that a long-term and predominant sexual and emotional attraction to members of the same sex. The causes for it are still unknown, but most scientists agree that the development of those attractions is caused by a whole bunch of different factors. Likewise, addressing and dealing with those factors can in turn influence the attractions. So are those attractions - or is "homosexuality" - "perverse"? If we mean by that that they are in some way medically speaking a gender identity disorder and like that are not what we refer to as "normal" or "unnatural", then I have to answer with a clear - yes and no. Yes, this is part of the whole problem but no, seeing people with ssa simply as "sickos" would be not helpful for them and also to simplified. It is more than just a disorder or a disease. Also from a spiritual perspective. It is not for nothing that Jesus separated sexual sins from others as they go against the own body which is the temple of the Lord. So let's just say they are a misguided way of dealing with legitimate needs and past hurts. Same-sex sexual acts and lustful fantasies are wrong from a Christian (and Jewish, and Muslim...) point of view because the go against God's design for human beings. We are created in His image and He should know what is best for us - and what leads us to very negative consequences. So keeping all of that in mind, can and should we call that "perverse"? I get the point of those who do, but calling that "perverse" is inappropriate for the following reasons: Keep in mind the factors that contributed to the development of ssa. Usually that started way back in childhood - so it is not just a "perverse" way of sexual preference that an adult chooses to get an orgasm. Yes, they are "perverse" in the sense that they are not what would be seen as "natural" (in the meaning of "planned by God for the best of mankind"). But no, they are not and should not be called that way as the term is misleading and insulting. Sort of puts shame and worthlessness on the whole package of problems that those people already have. And for this very reason it should not be called that way as it does not help people with ssa - quite on the contrary. They might feel "sick", "disordered", "evil", "scum" - in short: "pervert". Yes, their orientation and their sexual fantasies and/or acts got sort of out of control, but they are not "perverts" because of that. Also it is a misleading term for the public as they will only hear that word without understanding how it is meant. So we might better use other words to describe it. But one thing needs to be said as well: Both people with same-sex attractions, parents of kids who feel that way or parents in general whose children might have to face gay groups or messages at school, the public, authorities, churches and whoever else out there needs to hear a very clear message that there might be very negative physical, emotional, psychological, relational and spiritual consequences of a "gay" life. Ain't nothing "gay" about it. Gays might respond it doesn't have to be that way, but a look at the statistics is enough to prove that it often is - and it is not society who can be blamed for that. It is the "gay" life itself. If we love those people then yes, we need to give them a message of hope and love that there is a way out. Part of that message, however, is tough love. We need to love them enough to tell them the truth. Everything else has little to do with the Christian faith or with sound therapy. Many young people who think about embracing the "gay" life only get to hear the polished version of that life that gay activists spread - that makes them look good and nice and those who object look bad. That's victimizing. That's propaganda at it's best. Our job is to spread the truth while also giving them a helping hand so they know there is a way out. Hope that helps.
Is Homosexuality Genetic?
Author / Contributor :: Dr. Neil Whitehead

Twin Studies: Is Homosexuality Genetic?

Written By: Dr. Neil Whitehead ( http://www.mygenes.co.nz/ ) (Posted January 2008)

E-mail: whiteh@paradise.net.nz

The answer to all the alleged biological influences is conclusions from - Twin Studies.

In this paper I describe a very simple form, which avoids many complications and gives us the information we need. Usually identical twins are compared with non-identical twins. In the case of SSA this has given very ambiguous results, but we find if we only consider identical twins, the situation becomes much clearer.

We compare whether both identical twins have a given trait. Identical twins have identical genes. And they usually have identical womb environment. And they have virtually identical upbringing. So if they both have the same trait, probably some combination of common genes, prenatal factors and upbringing is responsible. So the critical question is – if one twin has SSA, does the other twin? And in what percentage of cases?

Look carefully at the next figure:

Figure 8. Pairwise concordance among identical twins for 1 Lung Cancer, 2 Criminality, 3 Stroke, 4 Breast Cancer, 5 Same Sex Attraction, 6 Leukemia, 7 Malformation, 8 Alzheimer's, 9 Ulcerative Colitis, 10 Rheumatoid Arthritis, 11 Alcoholism, 12 Schizophrenia, 13 Depression, 14 Suicide attempt, 15 Diabetes type I, 16 Divorce, 17 Crohn's disease, 18 Asthma, 19 Hypertension, 20 Co twin is best friend, 21 Diabetes type II, 22 Autism, 23 Opposite Sex Attraction, 24 Phenylketonuria

The top point, #24 is phenylketonuria, caused by a known gene defect. If one twin has it, the other twin almost always has it. #23 is OSA. The concordance is very high. If one twin is OSA the other is usually OSA as well. However we cannot tell from this whether it is caused by genes, upbringing, or some combination. The concordances decrease as we move to the left, until we reach SSA which has a concordance of 11%. The other points with that kind of value are the cancers, which all oncologists will tell you have a large element of chance involved. SSA has a large element of chance in it. In fact we have to say it has an unusually large element of chance in it compared to most traits. By change we mean non-shared events, which affect one twin and not the other.

This 11% is a terribly important statistic. All the common biological and social influences known and unknown and yet to be discovered, add up to 11% concordance for men and 14% for women twins. All that long list of biological influences previously given in this paper are included, and they only add up to 11-14%.

Four papers agree that SSA pairwise concordance has about this value. One of them, a paper on adolescent twins found an SSA concordance of 7% for men and 5% for women, which is even lower but in the same ballpark. So we have to take it the figure is accurate and not going to change. If one twin has SSA the other usually does not.

There is one complication. People may say to you “I thought the concordance figure was 30%” or they may say “52%”. It is a fact that the early studies had higher figures but are also now universally acknowledged (and by their authors) to be highly biased samples. It is also a fact that they were quoting a concordance called “probandwise concordance” which is more complex than the “pairwise” concordance I quoted to you, significantly higher, and used in later calculations that do not immediately concern us in this paper. The only important conclusion is that whichever form is used, SSA would still be clustered among the traits with a very high chance component. The irony is that far from being a trait with extremely high degree of dictation by genes, it is almost as far from that as it is possible to get. This is another sad example of the public tending to believe the exact opposite of the truth in scientific matters SSA dictated? The exact opposite. I hope that from now on you will not be disturbed into thinking the genes or prenatal conditions are overwhelmingly important, regardless of what new discoveries may emerge.

Four years ago I spoke at the annual NARTH conference, and used the higher probandwise concordance figures. At that stage I was too conservative. I said the genetic effect was small. Now I would say “unusually smallâ€.

The gay activist may say to you – “Oh SSA is still dictated by the genes, but they are not exerting their effects – this is a known genetic phenomenon called poor penetrance”. The answer is that you have to have a known gene or genes producing the trait before you can say that, and in this case there are no genes. You might say to such a person “Please come back when a gene is found!

Now I want to clarify some points because there is significant risk of misunderstanding. I am not saying 11% of all twins have SSA – only about 2-3% do. I am not saying when a twin has SSA that in their case there is genetic influence and in other cases no genetic influences – all of us are subjected to all the genetic and social influences.

Why twins might differ

Now this analysis I am presenting shows that chance – non-shared experience - is an unusually large factor and accounts for differences between identical twins. What would be examples of this?

One twin sees internet SSA porn and the other doesn't
One twin misperceives the father favoring the co-twin
One twin is unlucky in (heterosexual) love and thinks he is gay
One twin is sexually abused and the other is not

Chance events, non-shared circumstances can lead to very different endpoints.

Now a disturbing factor for some at this conference may be to hear that not only are genetics a minor factor but family circumstances are also. While this is generally true for the vast majority, there is a small minority for whom the family circumstances are vitally important. But if one twin rebels against the masculinity expressed by his father or peers, the other usually does not. This is a chance occurrence, and as a generalisation parents are mostly not to blame for the SSA of their children. Accidental misperception of parental motives is much more common.

Written By Floyd Godfrey, LPC
Family Strategies & Coaching, LLC
Floyd Godfrey, a counselor in Mesa, Arizona, created the following handout that is generally provided to his clients and to their families. He may be contacted at fgodfrey@familystrategies.org. His web site is www.healinghomosexuality.com

Why do you use the word SSA (same-sex attraction) instead of gay or homosexual?

We utilize the term SSA because the feelings of attraction describe something you're experiencing, rather than describing something you are. SSA is a condition, not a state of being. It is an adjective, not a noun. We have found numerous emotional and developmental issues, which commonly foster same-sex attraction. Our approach is to address these core emotional and developmental issues.

Is change really possible?

There are many individuals who have experienced permanent change in sexual orientation. Change is possible. Unfortunately, our society currently believes it is innate (genetic) and unchangeable. This is a myth unsubstantiated by science. Any good psychologist will admit that orientation is impacted both by genetics and also environment. (Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 32, No. 5, October 2003, pp. 403-417.; M.F. Schwartz & W. H. Masters The Masters and Johnson Treatment Program for Dissatisfied Homosexual Men, American Journal of
Psychiatry 1984:141, 173-81.; Simon & Schuster, 1978.)

What should I expect from therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA)?

In our observation, there are several different phases a man or woman typically goes through when working to diminish SSA and develop OSA. The first phase involves education and self-awareness. The client will engage much reading and journaling. The second phase leads into goal-setting and behavioral changes. This would include changes in habits and behavior - social changes, sexual sobriety, etc. This would also involve behavior, which promotes satiation of emotional deficits. The third phase brings the client toward healing emotional wounds. At this point we often involve the client in group therapy, gestalt work, psychodrama, inner-child work, experiential weekends, or other formats which promote deeper emotional healing. By the fourth phase, the client
often reports feeling "neutral" about sexuality. Adults and youth frequently report feeling "nothing" sexually, at this stage. This is common during the recovery process. It's a bit like going back again to re-experience puberty. During this fourth phase we begin to reinforce heterosexual imagery, and encourage healthy OSA behavior. The final
phase of recovery involves maintenance. This fifth phase is critical for permanency, just as insulin would be for a diabetic. ("Coming Out Straight: Understanding and Healing Homosexuality," by Richard Cohen, Oakhill Press, 1999.)

How long should therapy take?

In the beginning, therapy is best implemented on a weekly basis. However, toward the end - perhaps the final phases - therapy is much less frequent. To get through all phases of recovery may take anywhere from eighteen months to six years. The length of treatment depends upon the depth of emotional wounding and deficits. It also depends upon the man's ability to implement personality and behavioral changes. ("New Study Confirms Homosexuality Can Be Overcome," National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, 1997, www.narth.com).

What if the new opposite-sex attraction (OSA) doesn't feel as strong?

Our clients tell us that the new OSA never feels as "obsessive" as the SSA. At the beginning of treatment the men and youth often describe an incessant preoccupation with the same gender. For some, it's almost a compulsive feeling. The new OSA will not feel obsessive in nature. It will not constantly be on the client's mind. However, at appropriate intimate times, the OSA feelings will be strong and very enjoyable. It
is our belief that SSA is more emotionally intense because it is a result of emotional wounds and deficits. Because the OSA comes from a place of healthy attachment and emotional satiation, it should never be as intense as the SSA. ("Desires in Conflict: Answering the Struggle for Sexual Identity," by Joe Dallas, Harvest House Publishers, 1991.)

Are there people who cannot change orientation?

We have not seen anyone who cannot change, but there are many who don't. We have worked with individuals who don't believe that it's possible. Perhaps parents are forcing the individual to come to therapy, or they are receiving pressure from somewhere (e.g., church, social). If they don't gain some sense of hope that change is possible, they won't be empowered to make the necessary changes. It takes time and hard work. The commitment and persistence required won't come from a client who is hesitating or who feels pressured to "change." Due to this dilemma, we are not in the business of pressuring someone to change when they have no desire. We are anxiously engaged helping individuals heal emotional wounds and fill emotional deficits. We cannot work with those who don't want to come. ("You Don't have to be Gay," by Jeff Konrad, Pacific Publishing House, 1987).

Why do people say it's genetic or unchangeable?

There are many differing reasons for this myth. Some individuals have gone through counseling that did not deal with the root causes of their SSA. Consequently, they feel as though therapy "didn't work." Some gay psychologists have also done research attempting to find genetic markers. Lobbyists have worked hard to convince politicians that they should be allowed equal status as a minority. Also, the Hollywood crowd
and media have introduced the gay lifestyle as acceptable and healthy. These factors and others have all convinced society that you cannot change. (Dr. Neil and Briar Whitehead, "My Genes Made Me Do It: A Scientific Look at Sexual Orientation," Huntington House Publishers, 1999; W. Byne and B. Parsons, Human Sexual Orientation: The Biological Theories Reappraised, Archives of General Psychiatry 1993:50; 228-239.; Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, “Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth," Basic Books, 1996.)

Is change permanent?

Change is as permanent as the client makes it. If the client fills the emotional deficits and heals the wounds, the SSA diminishes. If the client makes "permanent" changes in personality, then the change will be "permanent." Those who withdraw back into old ways of relating, or who go back to old patterns of behavior, typically have the SSA return. You must permanently change how you live, for the change in orientation to
be permanent. It might be similar to taking insulin for diabetes. The OSA seems to remain constant if you make lifestyle changes. ("Homosexuality: Symptoms & Free Agency," by Scott & Kae Andersen, Bonneville Book, 1998.)

Floyd Godfrey, LPC
Family Strategies & Coaching, LLC
2152 S. Vineyard, Bldg 5B -114
table. Arizona

Tel: 480-668-8301
Toll Free: 877-271-9389<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office
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?

I THINK I AM GAY: A Parent's Response
Written By: Tim Geiger
(Posted Nov. 2012)

[This essay was written by Tim Geiger, a person formerly experiencing same-sex attraction (SSA), who serves as Director of the Harvest USA office in Pittsburgh. Tim's thoughtful article provides guidance to a parent about how to respond with grace and love to someone who declares, "I believe I am a homosexual." This essay initially appeared in the OnebyOne Newsletter in May, 2012; their Chairman, Rev. Jeff Winter, graciously gave JONAH permission to adapt it.]
I think I'm gay." Abraham's and Sarah's hearts stopped for an instant and everything around them seemed to stand still. It was like the shock of hearing that someone close to you has suddenly died. Now, as they hear these unexpected words from their oldest son, Mark, 20-years-old and home from college on spring break, Abe and Sarah wonder if this is also a death of another kind -death of their hopes and dreams for Mark and the death of their own desires for a "normal" life of family and grandchildren.
After the initial shock, all sorts of questions flooded their minds. Was this something they were responsible for? What will this mean for their two younger children? Will they be gay, too? Will Mark ever change? How will they deal with Mark's "friend" (though there was no "friend" at this point) if he wanted to spend the holidays with them? What would the other members of their congregation say? Worse yet - what would they think - about Mark and about them, as parents? They wanted to ask their son questions. They wanted to tell him they loved him. Yet all they felt they could do was try to process the information they already had, "I think I'm gay."
So what do you do when you hear those words...or find gay pornography on your child's computer or phone? How would you respond if you were the parents? How would you help a friend or someone in your congregation or community respond if they were in this situation? There are no easy answers, but there are a few strategies to keep in mind that may help you, your child, or the friends you are trying to help, through the difficult initial days or weeks of hearing this news and trying to understand it.
You don't need to know all the answers.
Don't feel as though you need to have all the answers, or even know all the questions to ask, right at the beginning. It's okay to tell your child after his or her initial disclosure, "This is a lot to think about and take in. I need some time to think over what you've said. I'd like to sit down with you to talk about this in more depth later - after I've had some time to calm down and reflect." Your child was in charge of the initial disclosure, and he has probably been thinking about what he would say on this day for many weeks, months or even years. So, you don't have to quickly respond. Don't be rushed. Go at your own speed.
Affirm your love for your child.
No matter what ultimately happens, no matter what you son or daughter says, feels or does, he or she is still your child. Express your love for her. Promise her that there's nothing that would ever cause you to withhold that love. This may be difficult to do, but the most important way that parents can help their child who has adopted a gay identity is to keep the lines of relationship open. Your child's behavior is not rebellion against you, although, if there is anger in her declaration, you will most likely be the prime recipient of that anger. Maintaining love and contact with your child is the best way to be faithful to God's commandments and to remain a presence in your child's life.
Ask your child what does he mean by saying he is gay.
Don't take for granted that your child's understanding of the terms he uses to describe himself is the same as yours. Ask your child how he came to this conclusion, how long he has been thinking about it, and how certain he feels it is true. Is he dealing solely with feelings or is he also dealing with behavior and/or identity issues?
You may find that your child isn't so much making a statement about his identity as it is his assessment of a situation in which he perceives himself as helpless. "I've been struggling with these feelings for years-and the only reasonable conclusion I can draw is that I must be gay." Saying you're gay and saying you've been wrestling with feelings you don't understand and don't want are two completely different things. This is an important point to clarify with him.
You don't need to know details about your child's sexual activity.
If your son or daughter is over 18, this information is often not helpful for a parent to know, and may serve only to separate parent (who may experience additional shock) from child (who may experience guilt and shame over revealing such personal details to her parent[s]). It is okay to ask general questions, "Are you in a relationship? With whom? Who else knows?"
If your child is under 18, then it is important to ascertain some level of detail about his or her behavior. "Is what you feel limited to fantasy and masturbation? Is pornography involved? Have you had sexual contact with anyone?" Keep in mind that asking these kinds of questions can be difficult for you, as a parent, to ask, and for your child to hear. Here it may be wise to enlist the services of a good counselor, one who can help you learn how to talk to your child on these sensitive matters, and who might better relate to your child. There are many counselors who are not only professionally trained in gender affirming processes but have had the added benefit of overcoming his/her own SSA issues. Don't be afraid to check around to find the right kind of counselor, one whose values and beliefs are consistent with yours as too many counselors have bought into the unfounded notion that homosexuality is innate and unchangeable.
Also in the case of a minor, it is important to assess the situation and determine if laws have been broken, and if your child is at risk from a predator, either in person or online. It is also essential to determine if sexual abuse has occurred and if so, to report this to law enforcement as quickly as possible. Talk to a counselor or rabbi or member of the clergy who is familiar with your state's laws about child sexual abuse to determine how to proceed.
Ask your child if he is content to be gay, or if he wants to change.
Some children will quickly state they're happy--and if your child does, you likely won't be able to convince him otherwise. Others, though, may report years of angst, guilt and shame over their feelings and behavior and will express either some desire to change or wonder if that is even possible. If so, enter into that struggle by sensitively talking to him, Again, it may be helpful to have your child talk with a qualified counselor who both affirms what the Bible says about holiness and sexuality and has the ability to relate well to youth.
You can't change your child.
You are not the one who is going to change your child. No matter how badly you might want to see change in your son's or daughter's life, no matter how much you pray, no matter how convincing your argument, you won't be able to convince your child to change if he or she is convinced this is "who they are."
Only through a transformation of his/her feelings, behavior, and identity will the change that is needed actually occur. God wants to do business with your child's heart - he/she has adopted or is struggling with a gay identity because, at some level, he/she has believed lies about God, self, and others. His/her perceptions have been colored---often by deep emotional wounds from childhood. He/she has come to believe what the world currently believes about life, sexuality, purpose, God, etc., instead of viewing life authentically through the lens of the Bible and commentaries.
On the other hand, what you can be is an agent of change in your child's life. Such change is likely to come about within the context of community - through your relationship with your son or daughter, or through his or her relationship with another mature, compassionate human being. Often, God can change your son's or daughter's heart but a human agent is likely necessary to give him/her the tools required to complete the change.
Your child doesn't need to become straight
What your child needs is what God calls everyone to, and that is a life of faith and repentance (teshuvah). Having heterosexual sex will not solve your child's problem. There is more to this issue than sexuality. The ethical opposite of homosexuality is not being straight - it is living by God's commandments in a lifestyle of faith and repentance. Godly sexuality is about holiness (Lev. 19:1); it is about living life according to God's design.

You can't do anything to control your child's struggle or repentance.You may have influence but no longer have "control." You can, however, respond to what the Lord is calling you to do in terms of your own faith, obedience and repentance in life as you struggle with these issues in your own family.
Bring others in.
No matter how strong your faith, you can't deal with this on your own. Isolation is a death-knell. Seek out trusted and spiritually mature friends, family members, congregation members and clergy to help you both interpret the events in your family from a biblical perspective and to help you respond in a holy and God-glorifying way in response to your child's decisions. God often ministers to His people through the context of community. Don't let your fears get in the way of faith. Consider helping others who are suffering or are in pain over sexuality issues within their family.
What about setting boundaries in my relationship with my child?
It may be appropriate to set some boundaries in your relationship with your child if she persists in her behaviors. Those boundaries will be unique for each family and will often change as needs and circumstances dictate. A ground rule for boundaries, however, is that they should exist to protect your family and to protect your child. Boundaries should never be punitive or manipulative.
How can I help my child?
Pray. Pray for wisdom, pray for faith, pray for strength to reflect the love of God to your child. Keep the lines of communication open with your child. Make sure your child knows that he can always come to you. At the same time, give him space to make his own decisions. Respect those decisions, but don't necessarily agree with or condone them. Let your child realize the natural consequences of his behavior. If your child makes decisions to pursue self-destructive or otherwise sinful behavior, communicate the sinfulness of that decision and your disappointment - but never withhold your love.
Finding yourself in a situation where your son or daughter is struggling with unbelief and sin in particularly hurtful ways is truly difficult. Rest assured that God is there to comfort you and to provide you with the "chisuk" (strength) necessary to get you through this difficult time. He is at work in all things---especially the hard ones---for the good of those who live according to His purpose. He hasn't forgotten you. To the contrary, He is the only One capable of helping you to grow in faith and hope in the midst of a dark and difficult time. Believe that He can! He is there for you.


The lesbian condition is complex in its origin and very diverse in its expression. The elements of the lesbian struggle vary in degree and intensity, as do the temperaments and personality types of the women. My clients present with a variety of Axis I and II disorders as well as unique stories and histories. Therefore, in my treatment of the lesbian client, I first and foremost want to meet and interact with the unique individual sitting in front of me. Lesbian women are intelligent and intuitive and can tell if I am truly "seeing" them or trying to squeeze them into a box or theory. I hold my models and theories loosely so I can meet the true person. I also want to encounter the "whole" woman, not just her lesbianism. I want to give her the message that she is more than her lesbian struggle. I want her to know that she is important, and I am not sitting with her simply because I think her sexual orientation needs fixing or that I can "fix" her.
As a therapist, I want to respect her human dignity. Many of my clients are not sure they want to totally resolve the lesbian conflict. The emotional aspect of their struggle seems to reach down into the very core of their being. It is often a long process for a woman to just define the struggle, let alone to begin to disidentify with it. Over six years ago, about two years into my practice, I decided to make a commitment to myself and to my clients that I would work with them regardless of where they are at in their decision to resolve the lesbian conflict. I agreed that I would not place demands or expectations on them with respect to their sexual struggle that would, in any way, condition or impede our ongoing work together. In other words, I have decided to be committed to them, wherever their journey leads, and to remain committed for the long haul. The "long haul" seems to be an average of 4-5 years of weekly to bimonthly appointments.

While there is much variation amongst lesbian women, there are still many notable themes that consistently emerge in their stories and struggles. I would like to highlight a few of those here.

Roots of Lesbianism
In broad sweeping terms, the roots of lesbianism can be discovered in four basic elements:

A strained, detached or disrupted bond or attachment with mother without an available mother substitute, resulting in a need for secure attachment.
A lack of respect and/or protection from men, often in the form of sexual abuse or rigid gender roles, resulting in a fear or hatred of men.
Few, if any, close girlhood friendships, resulting in a need for belonging and fun.
A sense of emptiness and lostness in lieu of a full and rich sense of self and identity as a feminine being, resulting in a need for a self and gender identity.
While the presence of these elements is not an absolute predictor or determinant of the lesbian struggle, they are nevertheless the most common and frequently reported facets of the lesbian story. These elements are generally sequential in order of development or experience, can be causal or predisposing for the subsequent element and are therefore interrelated. An adult woman actually cycles in and out of these elements and related needs as she acts out the lesbian bond in an attempt to repair the inherent dilemmas. Unfortunately, this "acting out" can actually intensify these predisposing conditions of lesbianism.

I would also like to suggest that there are some common innate characteristics shared by lesbian women. These would include an above average intelligence, strong sensitivity to hypocrisy and injustice, athleticism, natural draw to more stereotypically masculine interests, capacity to feel deeply and passionately. It is the combination of the above environmental factors and inherent characteristics that may eventually lead to a lesbian struggle.

Developmental Issues
To highlight the specific developmental issues that are present in most lesbian struggles, I wanted to share the research findings from an unpublished doctoral dissertation by Dr. Sheryl Brickner Camallieri. Dr. Camallieri used an instrument called the Measures of Psychosocial Development (MPD) to assess the developmental differences between 54 allegedly heterosexual and 54 allegedly homosexual women. The MPD measures the developmental resolution based on Erik Erikson's model of psychosocial development. The eight stages are listed below.

While Dr. Camallieri admits that the scope of her research does not establish the cause of the differences (which could be developmental or attributed to the social and political climate regarding lesbianism), "Of the 19 scales analyzed, six of the scales indicated a significant difference in the scores between the two groups of women" (p. 3). The heterosexual women scored significantly higher on the favorable resolution scales of Trust, Intimacy and Generativity (marked in squares below). The lesbian women scored significantly higher on the negative resolution of Identity Confusion and Stagnation and Total Negative Resolution (circled below).

I have since given this assessment to over 25 of my lesbian clients and continue to see extremely high identity confusion and stagnation scores as well as low trust and high mistrust scores. Additionally, there is another pattern that has emerged in my client's testing: relative to their other scores, the lesbian woman scores significantly high in the positive resolution of Initiative and/or Industry (also circled above). If we were to just consider the results of the MPD based on suggested methods of interpretation, we would conclude that these are women who feel very insecure and unsafe in their world; are unsure of others and doubt that anything good will last. They have used performance, competence and assertiveness in a compensatory fashion, probably to gain a sense of control, value and purpose. They hold no inherent value or clear identity and therefore have little capacity or motivation to sacrificially give to others. Emotionally, they remain in a depressed state of self-absorption. This is a fairly accurate description of the lesbian experience.

As you might guess, these developmental deficits and compensations coincide almost perfectly with the clinical themes in a lesbian's history.

A strained, detached or disrupted bond Mistrust
or attachment with mother without
an available mother substitute, resulting
in a need for secure attachment.

A lack of respect and/or protection from Initiative/Industry -
men, often in the form of sexual abuse assuming a toughened or
or rigid gender roles, resulting in a masculinized stance towards
fear or hatred of men. life and survival.

Few if any close girlhood friendships, Identity Confusion (solid-
resulting in a need for belonging and fun. ified during adolescence)

A sense of emptiness and lostness in lieu Stagnation
of a full and rich sense of self and identity
as a feminine being, resulting in a need
for a self and gender identity.

Specific treatment options need to take into consideration these developmental needs. Ultimately, treatment should start with the beginning issue of trust, move through the subsequent developmental issues with a major emphasis on identity formation and conclude when the woman is free to give, love and contribute to the betterment of the world.

Contrasts Between the Masculine and Feminine
I would now like to offer some framework around the differences between the male and female developmental journey in order to highlight the nuances of the lesbian struggle. I hope to also provide a framework for understanding the essence of the true masculine and feminine. It is essential to have some framework such as this if we are to help gender-confused clients.

Attachment and Identification
Boys and girls follow different developmental paths in terms of attachment and identification. Both boys and girls are to be initially attached to mom at birth. To develop healthily, a boy must move, strive and initiate to successfully separate from mom and ultimately attach and identify with dad. Homosexuality becomes a serious possibility when this step or process is frustrated or altogether missing for the boy. A girl on the other hand is supposed to remain and rest, so to speak, in an experience of ongoing or continuous connection. Figuratively speaking, she warmly rests secure at home with mom, to eventually receive dad who is to gently move towards her to offer his love, affirmation and protection.

Lesbianism initially becomes a possibility when this needed ongoing attachment with mom is absent, insufficient or undesirable. (Lesbianism becomes an even greater possibility if dad's movement is non-existent, abusive, or becomes masculinizing of his daughter.)
If for the girl, her initial attachment to mom is perceived to be weakened or broken, a type of homelessness is created for the girl that even the homosexual boy does not experience. In this way, the lesbian condition is more primal and perhaps more entrenched emotionally and psychologically than male homosexuality. The girl is essentially stripped of her most fundamental tether in the universe. There may be no greater trauma in a girl's life developmentally than one that interferes with her primal relationship with mom. Mom is not only the first bond and attachment for a little baby girl, but is the relational object with whom this little girl will form her first sense of self and eventually rely on to complete her identification process as a female.

Besides internalizing the insecurity that a break in this foundational relationship creates, the girl will activate or move in an effort to find the attachment for which she was designed and so desperately needs. She begins to follow the developmental path of a male, that is, moving, striving and initiating. Unfortunately, trust in others and her self is not adequately formed to support secure and meaningful connection or relatedness (this is the mistrust that the MPD measures). She is filled with a sense of aloneness and need that further fuels her movement and initiation to resolve her dilemma (herein lies the high initiative and industry scores on the MPD). Simply put, this emotional movement disrupts her normal growth and development and identification as a feminine being (identity confusion), not to mention the false paths such movement will uncover. Let me add another picture of gender differences.

Erikson Research on Preadolescent Play Constructions
In the 1940's Erik Erikson conducted research at Berkeley on preadolescent play constructions. While he wasn't specifically addressing gender differences in his study, Erikson was struck by the fact that when given a set of blocks, little boys and girls built different constructions of space.

The boys' construction looked something like the one below. The construction would also include such things as cars among the buildings and people atop the buildings. As one can see, boys seem to be naturally preoccupied with the outer world, nature, objects and things.

The girls' constructions tended to look like the picture below. The people sat close together and faced the inside of the room. Girls seem to be naturally preoccupied with the inner world of human relatedness, communication and connection.

Theological Perspective
Theologically, the creation story of Adam and Eve parallels Erik Erikson's findings and adds some important notions about the true masculine and feminine. First, Adam and Eve were created equal in terms of dignity, value, call and purpose. (To work with a lesbian successfully, you must truly believe and hold to this conviction.) They were to both Fill and Multiply - the realm of human relationship and Rule and Subdue - the realm of nature, animals and the earth (found in Genesis 1:27, New International Version). Second, they were created differently. Adam was created from the ground, was placed in the garden with the plants and animals and became very busy working, moving, initiating, ruling and subduing. Eve, on the other hand, was the only created being made from another living being. Her primal essence is one of human relatedness. She was immediately placed in front of Adam and became busy relating-being known and loved. Both Adam and Eve were needed to complete God's purposes for humanity, but it seems that their very origins and initial experiences point to difference and uniqueness.

True Femininity and the Inner World of Connectedness
Another way to look at these differences is seen in the complementary circles below. Perhaps the masculine (I believe gender is not merely a construct of socialization or learning processes but a fundamental and inherent aspect of our humanity) has a greater exterior strength of movement, initiation and courage to face and deal with the outer world but with an inner core of tenderness and compassion for human relatedness. It is this exterior strength, movement and confidence that homosexual men seemingly lack or struggle discovering.

Perhaps the true feminine means having an exterior that is inviting, restful and receiving with an inner core of solidness and strength of being and courage to face the complexities of another soul and the requirements of ongoing intimacy. Lisa Beamer (the wife of Todd Beamer who helped guide United Flight 93 away from human targets) is a great example of a woman with an inviting, restful exterior and a solid inner core. She was sad, but not crushed as she faced the tragedy of losing her husband. She was not fragile, wispy, whiney, needy, overly dependent but solid, strong, articulate, lovely.
The true feminine is not weak, but boasts of the strength, courage and power to be - to be present and connected with her own heart, emotions and thoughts and with another, even in the most difficult or tragic time. The true feminine can weather loneliness. Lisa can stand in the face of her husband's death because she has her self and many other vital relationships.

Lesbian women typically lack or struggle discovering and accepting both of these aspects as women. They are toughened and defended on the outside and sense emptiness and desperation on the inside. Their toughness defies their inner need and their inner need, which so often is expressed in terms of dependencies, speaks to the depth of their gender brokenness. They are not living out of the strength of the true feminine.

Of interest is the typical profile of the mother of a lesbian daughter. According to my clients, their mothers typically had no solid self or strength of character or integrity, regardless of how they presented on the outside. The mom of a lesbian struggler is a mom who:

- hid in bed under the covers when dad became abusive or rageful
- was mentally ill and relied on her daughter to continually talk her out of committing suicide
- didn't even know the basics of housekeeping let alone caring for a baby or child
- was a social butterfly and alcoholic leaving her little daughter alone and unsupervised
- was unable to separate from an abusive husband
- was a dutiful wife but a shell of a woman
- bragged incessantly about herself and kids, negating any negative feelings or experiences in her daughter
- hated being a woman, never shed a tear and despised her daughter
- was openly jealous of her daughter

These vignettes do not describe a woman who is solid in being and strength of heart. They describe a woman who is insecure, dependent, afraid of being alone, weak, lost and broken and underdeveloped in her own femininity. It is easy to understand why a daughter who has a sharp intellect, strong sense of justice and integrity, high energy level with deep passions might conclude that if becoming a woman means becoming like mom, she wants nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, in the girl's detachment and flight from femininity as portrayed by her mother, she too begins to live out a deep inner desolation and crisis of her true gender identity. She has had no "home" in which to develop or become. "I don't know who I am," "I hate being a woman," and "I don't know how I feel." Many of my clients feel and believe they are not women. This is not a symptom of a transgender struggle but is an indication of their alienation from their inherent design as a feminine being.

Emotional Dependency
To briefly summarize, healthy development for a girl first requires that she rests and remains in the warm and secure home of mother so that she can form and develop an inner home for herself - out of which she will live, express her strength and power, create, relate, connect, nurture, bring forth life, etc. Without this inner sense of home or a secure and solid sense of self and feminine identity, she will not have the capacity to enter into healthy intimacy. Yet she will live with a deep belief that she cannot be alone. Therefore, she is unconsciously driven or on the move to find a "home" or true "self" outside of her self.

This is the drive behind an emotionally dependent relationship. When another woman comes along that triggers a sense of familiarity or presents herself to be a strong and competent woman (unlike mom perhaps), the lesbian literally wants to lose herself in this woman, hoping to find rest, receive the care and nurture she craves and to finally appropriate, albeit vicariously, an identity. Emotional dependency is not an inordinate love but is the consequence of a woman's deep fear of and inability to sustain intimacy. The partner is not loved or known for who they truly are. It is the sense or illusion of warm connection or secure attachment that is desired. Sadly, the "emotional dependency," if sustained, will prevent a woman from any substantial healing or change. A woman does not need to lose herself (in another woman or man) but in fact, needs to find her true self and this goal should be the primary focus of therapy with the lesbian client.

Personality Disorders and Traits
It is this missing core and the accompanying restlessness that I believe leads to conflicts and struggles within the lesbian woman that qualify as full blown personality disorders and traits. The most common configurations I encounter in my practice generally include a depressed and/or dependent disorder with associated self defeating, avoidant and borderline disorders or traits. Depressed - empty, dejected, pessimistic, worthless and full of self and other centered contempt, dependent - needy to the point of desperate yet fearful of rejection, self defeating - negative, self pitying and hostile, and avoidant - defended and isolated. This list accurately describes the predominant characteristics of the average lesbian woman.

Effective Therapy for the Lesbian Client
Work with the lesbian will require a long-term commitment which will be tasking and draining but also rewarding if the client is highly motivated to change. The individual characterological profile must be considered and appropriately handled in therapy. Generally speaking, lesbian women are deeply conflicted. But remember, every woman you see will be unique in this regard. The general goal of therapy is to establish trust (this may be the first experience of trust for many clients) so that the client can accomplish the deep inner formation work, or as quoted by Elaine Siegel, "attainment of firmer inner structures," (Female Homosexuality: choice without volition, Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press (1988)). The woman must come into her own. She must be able to embrace the breadth of her identity and humanity, her strengths and weaknesses, her glory and her shortcomings, her dreams, hopes and visions as well as her disappointments and losses. This process will involve among other things, extensive work in identifying, challenging and restructuring the woman's belief system regarding the world, God, others and herself. Lesbianism is supported by a complex system of distorted, negative and self-defeating beliefs. This system must be rebuilt. The client's defensive maneuvering and unhealthy attachments with women need to be addressed while the woman is being challenged to take risks with new and healthier relationships. Eventually she will need to deal with her opposite sex contempt and ambivalence and appropriate her own individual style of feminine relating.

In conclusion, because healing for the lesbian requires the establishment of her "home" so to speak, I believe that the most effective component of therapy with a female homosexual is the quality of the attachment and therapeutic relationship formed between female counselor and client. While there are many techniques that can be used to access deep unconscious conflicts and to teach cognitive truths and principles of healthy living and relationship, it is the consistency, faithfulness, caring and loving attitude of the counselor that begins to finally establish a solid center of trust and inner core or sense of being in the women we work with. It is as I love, accept and affirm my client that she can begin to unfold and continue to develop as a female being. In essence, I provide the home in which she can rest and simply become.