NARTH at odds with Exodus over reparative therapy

Historically, the National Association for the Research and Therapy (NARTH) has considered Exodus an ally in the social discussion of sexual orientation change efforts. Until recently, Exodus sold reparative therapy books in their bookstore but recently removed them. Also, Alan Chambers recently told an audience at the Gay Christian Network conference that

The majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them have not experienced a change in their orientation or have gotten to a place where they could say that they could  never be tempted or are not tempted in some way or experience some level of same-sex attraction.

I asked Alan Chambers about the reason for the removal of the reparative therapy books and he told me that Exodus wants to be clear that Christian discipleship is how they want to be known. He also said that he has respect for reparative therapy observations but added

The reason I removed RT books from Exodus Books is because I don’t agree with using this research as a means to say that “this” is how homosexuality always develops, “this” is the primary means in which to deal with it and this is “the” outcome you can expect.  Too, Exodus, as a whole, is not a scientific or psychological organization…we are a discipleship ministry and that is where I think our strength is and energy should be focused.

Apparently, these developments are troubling to NARTH leaders. One of them, David Pickup, recently penned an article at the Anglican Mainstream in defense of reparative therapy.  He wrote the article in direct response to the comments by Alan Chambers, noted above. Pickup writes:

Authentic Reparative Therapy really works. It works to help men change their sexual orientation, naturally dissipate their homoerotic feelings, and maximize their heterosexual potential.

However, there is evidence from the Exodus ministry that could be signaling an unawareness of this important message. Exodus has indicated a significant change in their views and policies as evidenced by the remarks of Exodus President Alan Chambers at the Gay Christian Network Conference last week. The official commentary on the peter-ould.net website has brought this to our attention. I believe their interpretation of Alan Chamber’s remarks is correct.

Chambers’ remarks essentially indicate that:

1. Exodus will no longer indicate or specifically claim that change from Gay to 100% straight is possible for anyone except for a few rare cases.

2. Exodus has apologized and will continue to do so for making these unrealistic claims, which they now believe have contributed toward misinformation, hurtfulness and homophobia.

3. Exodus will work to achieve a deeper understanding of the truth of homosexuality, which will allow them to minister more effectively and compassionately to those dealing with homosexuality.

Pickup then says something that will leave Exodus and NARTH watchers in disbelief.

In my experience, Exodus has, quite unintentionally for the last 20 years, failed to understand and effectively deal with the actual root causes of homosexuality and what leads to authentic change. I laud their willingness to admit their naiveté’, but I do not see anything so far that indicates they now truly understand the psychological, developmentally-based causes of homosexuality or what produces real change.

According to Pickup, not only is Exodus clueless now, they have been for 20 years. I imagine that will come as a shock to those in Exodus who have been given talks straight out the reparative playbook for all those years.

Pickup then offers his slant on why change in orientation should be recognized even if a same-sex attracted person is still same-sex attracted after they say they have changed.

(Parenthetically, let me state it is important that we recognize that just because a man might feel occasional sexual attractions towards men does NOT mean significant and real change has not occurred. Let’s take other challenges common to many people: depression or anxiety for instance. How many people who have successfully dealt with these issues are 100% changed so that they are not susceptible to later feelings of depression or anxiety? Can a therapist guarantee a client will never have those feelings again? Of course not. The same is true for homosexuality. Real change has occurred; however, no apologies should be made if much successful change has occurred even though homosexual feelings occasionally surface.)

I asked Alan Chambers what he meant by saying “99.9″ don’t change and he said:

I cannot speak for others who say that temptation or attraction don’t equal orientation.  As a layman with regards to that issue, I tend to link them all together and that is where that 99.9%, non-scientifc/anecdotal/experiential statement comes from.

So what does it matter if some same-sex attraction remains? Doesn’t even a little shift deserve the word change attached to it? Alan seems to want to extract himself from this semantic debate by sticking to experience – the vast majority of people he knows retain attractions to the same sex. Pickup wants to explain that away by making sexual attraction analogous to depression or anxiety. Since he sees same-sex attraction as a disorder which stems from childhood wounds, that may work for him, but it won’t work for those who do not see it that way.

One problem here is political. NARTH wants to be able to say SSA people have changed if they experience a reduction in awareness of SSA and perhaps an experience of opposite sex attraction. This is a kind of change and if left in the therapeutic context, I would not quarrel too much with this (except to say that I don’t agree with the kind of techniques often used to push people this way). However, NARTH does not stay in the therapeutic context. They provide support for political groups who want change to mean complete change from gay to straight. Change is such a volatile concept because a modicum of change in the therapeutic setting is then exaggerated in the political and legal settings to argue against same-sex attraction as something intrinsic to the vast majority of people who experience it.

Pickup then lectures Exodus about theology and calls on them to align closer with reparative therapists.

If Chambers and Exodus do want to truly understand the nature of homosexuality, then they should be open to understanding the psychological underpinnings of these issues and start to recommending qualified therapists who are experts at facilitating significant change. If not, then Exodus will fall into deeper controversy than they are in already. They will be reduced to the myopic ministry of simply helping people to deal with their homosexuality through behavioral changes, which, by the way, reflects the American Psychological Association’s belief about Reparative Therapy: that real change is not possible and people may be helped only in the sense of conforming their behavior to reflect their religious beliefs. In short, Exodus will eventually lose even more effectiveness and begin to flounder.

Pickup even claims that reparative therapy is biblical:

Generally, many Exodus members cannot or will not see that Reparative Therapy is reflective of sound biblical principles. They do not understand shame and its role in the etiology of homosexuality. Not knowing this has led to the unintentional shaming of many same-sex attracted individuals for years, and has actually impeded their progress!

So Exodus has been part of the problem all these years?! I have been to several Exodus conferences over the years, and I can say they work hard not to shame people. The only sessions where I heard any shaming take place was in the sessions where reparative therapists told their audiences that the reason they were SSA was because their fathers didn’t love them and their mothers were smother mothers.

After chastising Exodus for shaming people, he engages in the practice by blaming parents and indicting parents and churches for causing the gay.

Many people of faith do not understand the root causes of homosexuality, which are primarily experienced in childhood. If they did understand, they would have to deal with the truth that they may have contributed to the development of their child’s homosexuality by not supplying enough of their emotional and identity formation needs. In general, parents find it very hard to believe how their child’s upbringing could possibly have been so injurious to them since they loved their child so much. However, loving a child and giving the child the love he needs can be two entirely different things. Parents and churches often find this idea to be unbelievable.

All I can say to Pickup’s last sentence there is: if only. If it were true that evangelicals were more skeptical of these ideas, then I believe Exodus would have changed the tune a long time ago. If only evangelicals were more skeptical, we would not be in such a polarized society where Christianity is synonymous with anti-gay.

As if a few anecdotes proves anything, Pickup closes by citing come quotes he says come from satisfied change customers.

“This is really hard work, but when I focus on healing the pain of what I didn’t get from my father or my friends, something in me heals. Then when I get my male needs met, the SSA just goes away by itself.”

“I really feel more attracted to women now. I want to love a woman and have a family.”

“I still have shame issues, and I once in a while feel attracted to a man, but I know how to work on that and feel affirmed by other men now.” I see myself as a man like other men, and the sexual attractions just sort of go away.”

“This affirmation work and the needs I’m getting filled feels a lot better than sex with a guy.”

I have no doubt that healing from real wounds in life can be beneficial emotionally and it can also lead to a better sense of self-control. So when people who are sexually compulsive find some way to understand themselves better, they can resist whatever pressures push them to risky behavior. However, as Alan Chambers recently noted, such benefit infrequently leads to an elimination of same-sex attraction.

Now if four quotes are sufficient for Mr. Pickup, I will end with four statements from my clients about reparative therapy and their experience.

Our therapist told us after taking our money that there was nothing he could do for us because our family didn’t fit the typical family for a homosexual. He even said that our son would grow out of it because we didn’t fit the mold.

I quit going to Journey into Manhood because it just didn’t last. After a weekend, I did lose some of the same-sex attraction but it always came back. I went to a support group, and saw a reparative therapist and it just didn’t change.

When we took our son to the reparative therapist, he told us that same-sex attraction invariably arises due to a broken relationship with me, his father, and a mother who compensates for this. We were devastated; the man said he was describing our family but he was wrong. My son and I have always been close.

You know, I used to want to change my attractions. I felt like a failure when I saw a hot guy. But the last 3 years have been awesome, I don’t have to pretend or anything. I am who I am and that is an SSA man who loves his wife and kids.

I believe it is possible that Pickup’s clients find an adjustment that suits them. However, the mischief starts when reparative therapists generalize those experiences to gay people as a group.

I am sure it obvious that I think Chambers is much more on the right track than Pickup. Although Exodus continues to refer to reparative therapists and there are member ministries that are quite reparative in their approach, I think a move toward ministry and honesty about what people can expect is valuable.

  • http://nojam75.blogspot.com Norm!

    Considering how Exodus and its member ministries often blamed former participants for their ‘failure’ in experiencing change, I admit to having schadenfreude now that Exodus is being blamed by NARTH for failing to understand change.

    The ex-gay in-fighting would be funny if we weren’t talking about so many ruined lives of those who devoted themselves to Exodus’s and NARTH’s claims. I’m glad Exodus is reconsidering its past support for Reparative Therapy and changing rhetoric, but much more needs to be done.

  • Michael Bussee

    Exodus needs to formally cut all ties to NARTH. They never should have allied themselves with NARTH in the first place.

  • Michael Bussee

    So NARTH doesn’t think Exodus is excellent. Does Exodus still believe that NARTH is?

    “NARTH is an excellent professional, scientific, and therapeutic organization… that provides much research and many articles helping the lay person to understand some of the root contributing factors of same-sex attraction.”

    http://exodusinternational.org/2010/02/dispelling-the-myths-about-onebyone-and-exodus-international/

  • StraightGrandmother

    I’d like to add to your article some information from Jon Smid’s blog. Jon Smid was the Director of the residential program in Tennessee called Love In Action that attempted to change people’s sexual orientation, he was also a Board Member of Exodus International. He worked in this area for over 20 years. He was also at the Gay Christian Network conference with Alan Chambers, sitting right next to him if I recall right. So far Jon is on his third Installment of repudiating sexual orientation change efforts, I was so sad when he wrote about the parents after they were told that it was their fault their child is gay which is what Reparative Therapy teaches,

    “The deeper problem with this material is that it is very easy to place responsibility on the parents and loved ones of a gay person for their homosexuality. It could be assumed then, if the dad was distant, or the mom over close and too protective, then the blame could be found with the parents! If the neglect or abuse from a parent or loved one, then the gay person could say it was their fault.

    As parents and loved ones came to conferences, or counseling weekends at Love In Action, and sadly, many other national events, they would come with grave concerns for those they loved. Child development theories were often taught at these events. In their attempts to seek answers that might “fix” their kids it was very easy for the grief stricken parents to take on unhealthy responsibility for something in their child’s life that many people would call “sin.” Therefore, the parents could go away not with freedom, but with greater burdens like “I caused the sin in my child’s life.”

    I have attended over 35 Love Won Out conferences all of the country. These are one day events that were produced by Focus on the Family. They were typically attended by anywhere from 500 to 1000 people, mainly comprised of parents. They hosted teachings by psychologists who believed in developmental theories so child development came along with the package. Men and women shared their stories of disconnection with parents in several of the workshops as examples of these theories. Tears of sadness, grief, and an ability to relate flowed from many of those in attendance.

    As I stood at my booth, the parents would flood out of the auditorium heading straight towards us with red eyes and Kleenex in their hands. They were full of questions and I handed out hundreds of copies of material that they could take with them that would resonate with what they had just heard.

    I don’t think I have ever seen such a large gathering of grieving parents in my life. It was as though they had all lost their children to death and gathered for a common memorial service!

    http://www.gracerivers.com/acknowledge-part-three/

    It is interesting that just a few days ago I stumbled upon Mr. Pickup’s website

    http://www.reorientationtherapy.com/?page_id=8

  • StraightGrandmother

    I guess I could never be a psychotherapist because I can’t make heads or tails of Nicolosi’s Shame Based Treatment which he shares in these 3 videos.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0f54H_iH0k

  • Michael Bussee

    Decades ago, one of the co-founders of Exodus (Robbi Kenney) issued the following directive to her follow leaders in the movement: “Know what you are offering. … You are NOT offering heterosexuality… [but] the power to come into celibacy.” She even advised, “avoid calling them ex-gays.”

    Since that time, a growing number of former Exodus leaders have admitted the same thing: People don’t change their orientation through these programs — and many are harmed trying. These former leaders have offered public apologies.

    Wendy Gritter (formerly an Exodus leader) urged Exodus leaders to “deal humbly and transparently with the perception that we have lied” about orientation change. As part of the GCN panel, she strongly urged Exodus to offer a public apology for misleading the public about it.

    Many “ex-gay” survivors have added their own voices, describing deep emotional and spiritual harm they experienced in these programs, trying to become heterosexual. I correspond with more and more each day.

    The APA and all other major psychological, medical and social work organizations have stated that these programs do not produce orientation change and that such efforts pose significant psychological harm.

    Dr. Throckmorton issued a direct challenge to Exodus and NARTH to stop spreading a “distorted narrative” about change. Alan Chambers heard the panelists at Gay Christian Network say the same thing. Perhaps he is finally listening.

    But it seems that all this has made NARTH feel increasingly isolated. They sound angry about it. By God, they know what “causes” homosexuality and only they know how to fix it. Anyone who disagrees with them is “unscientific” and “unBiblical”.

    They predcit that “Exodus will eventually lose even more effectiveness and begin to flounder.” Personally, I think that’s what is happening to NARTH right now.

  • Pingback: Box Turtle Bulletin » Exodus International Drops “Reparative Therapy” Books

  • David M.

    I want to pick up on one sentence of Pickup’s article on Anglican Mainstream, not as a prooftext of what I have to say, but as a place to jump in: “Maybe Exodus should stick with strictly spiritual concerns of the souls in their churches, and let the qualified therapists do their work to facilitate real change.”

    I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist, but I am a lifelong student of theology. From that perspective, I make a few observations:

    1. It is evident that many of the members speaking for NARTH are motivated by religious beliefs rather than psychological insight. I don’t mean to compartmentalize human life, but psychology and theology are distinct disciplines. There is a problem when psychologists or psychiatrists make claims that are motivated by religious beliefs under the guise of psychology. If they wish to speak as theologians, I have no problem with that (aren’t we all theologians of some sort?). But in that case, they should step out from behind their degrees and claim to be speaking only as lay students of theology.

    2. As a matter of theology, if God’s expectation has been that homosexually oriented people should become heterosexual, it seems strange that God would provide the mechanism for this (reparative therapy) only in the 20th century. Assuming that people of other ages were homosexually oriented, even if they didn’t use that psychological description, what did God expect of them? Modern psychology and psychiatry is a great blessing, but it cannot be the answer to a problem which is defined by some as sin. That is theological nonsense, bordering on blasphemy, i.e., making a savior of psychology.

    3. Pickup’s statement quoted above points to what may be a problem in his thinking. I don’t want to give too much weight to a single sentence, even when placed in context. But… it appears Pickup is making a distinction between the “real change” reparative therapy offers, and the “spiritual” issues with which Exodus might concern itself. I had always thought that the sanctification spoken of in Scripture meant real change! If sanctification/holiness is not the motivation for pursuing reparative therapy, then why is Pickup writing about it on an Anglican site. Let’s get real. The main motivation for most people pursuing reparative therapy is religious. Pickup knows this. So exactly what does his distinction between spiritual matters and real change mean? Or maybe the whole sentence is sarcastic, faulting Exodus for being too “spiritual,” too ethereal to be of any earthly good.

    Maybe, just maybe, orientation change is not the real change God is looking for.

  • David M.

    @StraightGrandmother: “I guess I could never be a psychotherapist because I can’t make heads or tails of Nicolosi’s Shame Based Treatment.”

    Au contraire, I think it’s a sign you might make a great therapist.

  • David M.

    WT: “As if a few anecdotes prove anything…”

    Having been a client of several therapists over the years, I can testify to the desire many clients have to please their therapists. Being like many gays a sensitive man, I never wished to hurt my therapist’s feelings. Even if I really thought the whole process had been more or less fruitless (and it’s happened more than once), if I were asked by the therapist if the therapy had been helpful, I would reply with an ambiguous, “Well, yes, I think I’ve gained some things.” Not a lie, but not anywhere near the whole truth.

    When I’ve had a skilled therapist, one who is gifted to connect with clients, I’ve also experienced the sway a therapist can have over one’s thinking/feeling. As a client, you learn to frame things the way the therapist frames them. But if there has not been real change (and this may take a long time to know), the effect is termporary.

    So when I read the kinds of comments Dr. Pickup offers, or with all respect, those that Dr. Throckmorten offers, I do so with some skepticism.

    All that to agree with you, that client comments such as these often say more about the personality of the client and the closeness of the client-therapist relationship than they do about any lasting results of therapy.

  • Richard Willmer

    Under the circumstances ‘Pickup’ is a most unfortunate name.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Richard I was thinking the same thing re:Pickup.

    David M =

    If sanctification/holiness is not the motivation for pursuing reparative therapy, then why is Pickup writing about it on an Anglican site. Let’s get real.

    I have always been uncomfortable the mixing of psychology and religion as it relates to sexual orientation Change Efforts. I think out of all of them I have looked at Catholic Courage has the best approach. They say right on their Courage website that they do not encourage Catholics who are gay to try to change to heterosexual as there is no guarantee it will work. They go for chastity. At least they are up front about it. They don’t promise something they can’t deliver.

  • StraightGrandmother

    The way I read the article is NARTH is saying, “Exodus you are not the Way, the Truth and the Light we Psychologists are, so you should respect that and defer to us.”

    The article is a typical set up we have seen before just like Exodus. Bait and Switch. Here is the opening paragraph the Bait.

    Authentic Reparative Therapy really works. It works to help men change their sexual orientation, naturally dissipate their homoerotic feelings, and maximize their heterosexual potential.

    then lower down in the article the Switch.

    my fellow therapists and I know many, many clients who have experienced the dissipation of much or most of their homosexual feelings. Some of those have moved on toward women, some have not.

    I bet Pickup’s real beef is cha-ching. “Hey Exodus, stick with NARTH keep sending us those cash cows. We know how to fix them” Exodus is a cash pipeline for him and nobody wants their cash pipeline cut.

    Just as a point of information Mr. Pickup is ex-gay himself.

  • David M.

    @Richard Willmer: “Under the circumstances ‘Pickup’ is a most unfortunate name.”

    LOL! Maybe the sanest thing that can be said about his article.

  • David M.

    StraightGrandmother: “I bet Pickup’s real beef is cha-ching… Exodus is a cash pipeline for him and nobody wants their cash pipeline cut.”

    I think you may have a point. But I wouldn’t take it as far as seeing Mr. Pickup’s primary motivation for his work as mercenary. I like to believe the best about everybody, so maybe I’m naive. Still, I suspect he’s a man who either has found help for his issues or wants to believe he’s found help through reparative therapy. I suspect he wants to help other men find the help he has found/wants to have found.

    There is a danger in this, namely, transference, in psychological lingo. He would need to take care that he is not trying to help himself by helping others. But I see no reason to believe he is doing that.

    When I was college age, I remember leading a Bible study out of Romans 1 for some boys at a camp. I cautioned them against all the evils of homosexuality — promiscuity, disease, you name the stereotype. During that week of camp, one boy in my charge tried to throw himself out a second story window. I was told by a camp leader to move on to other topics. I didn’t understand at the time. I do now. I look back on that event with profound regret. If I knew that boy’s name, I would apologize to him profusely today. But given what I knew or thought I knew at the time, I was doing my best to help. No excuse, but an explanation.

    Mr. Pickup is no doubt a great deal less naive than I was as a college student in the late 70s. But I suspect he is doing his best to help other men who deal with unwanted same-sex desires. He may be worried that Exodus will stop referring clients (I don’t think that’s happened yet), but he may also be genuinely concerned that other men will not receive the help they need.

    Misguided in my view, but not ill-motivated.

  • http://leadthemhome.org Bill J. Henson, Jr.

    Thanks for this excellent report, Warren. In my ministry, I regularly meet amazing parents who have raised their children with security, love, and togetherness. All parents make mistakes and every child experiences deficits of one sort or another, but most parents I counsel have given their children a very loving home and life. This is humbling, because it suggests that SSA originates in settings that are quite positive – or else the deficits are quite common and benign. All to say: there is NO way to absolutely identify steps that parents can follow to avoid having an SSA/LGBT child. For this reason, a radically different approach to care and outreach is needed in the evangelical church today. That shift, if you will, is underway. Many will take this shift into the theological realm. I do not believe that is necessary. What we need is a posture shift…a change in our actions, attitudes and words so that faith roots can be nourished rather than chopped at. We need to meet SSA/LGBT folks where they are. Great job Warren!

  • David Blakeslee

    Dear Michael and Warren,

    Congratulations on your persistent and compassionate work to get down to the basics of what can honestly be said about happiness, orientation change, religious practice and compassionate support .

    This statement by Exodus is tremendous…and amazing as it comes only 4 years after Warren made his move away from NARTH.

    That is a blip in time for any organization to change (but too long for those who have suffered with misinformation).

    It is a credit to the power of this blog.

    SG,

    There is very little money in change therapy…it represents a miniscule group of people who seek psychotherapy. Most of the therapists who do this work, only have a few on their caseload at any one time.

    It is much easier to make a good living as a therapist working with common mental health concerns.

  • David M.

    @Bill J. Henson, Jr.: “What we need is a posture shift…a change in our actions, attitudes and words so that faith roots can be nourished rather than chopped at. We need to meet SSA/LGBT folks where they are.”

    Thanks for joining the conversation, Bill. Your post was my first encounter with you. I found your website, and am just now listening to your testimony. I appreciate your desire for evangelicals to be more welcoming of sexual minorities. I respect your theological position, and know that you have made your own “journey through homosexuality,” as you phrase it.

    Despite my evangelical background, I find myself disagreeing with you that a posture shift is sufficient for the church. Partly for my own sake, I will try to articulate why. At the surface level, I am repelled by the idea of a kinder, gentler version of condemnation. I know this is not what you intend. Yet I think this will be the reality that emerges from a mere posture shift.

    The deeper reality is this (forgive my saying things you already know). Homosexuality or SSA is not reducible to isolated sexual acts. As you have experienced in your own life, it is a relational pattern. You allude to this in your testimony when you talk about your desire for closeness with your father, and the emerging desire for your male peers, even before you were aware of sexual attraction. The overtly sexual component is just the tip of the iceberg. Homosexuality is part and parcel of our way of relating to other people as gay people. It is only one manifestation of the way we as gays love others.

    A major problem with seeing gay sex as a moral evil is the implication that our way of loving is intrinsically disordered. I was married heterosexually for many years. But I could never bring the fullness of my capacity to love to my wife. If I had remained married to her, my capacity to love would have remained unrealized, thwarted. I can’t see that thwarting of love and desire as being part of the “life to the full” which Jesus said he came to bring. The rejection of gay desires necessarily implies the rejection of my way of loving others. (This really needs a longer explanation, but blogs don’t lend themselves well to long responses.)

    Another problem is that we gay men are then condemned to never have the love of God mediated to us through physical, erotic love. Biblically, sex is sacramental. It is physical reality that points to and partakes of the love of Christ for us, his Bride. No doubt some are called to celibacy, and if successfully celibate, are able to experience the love and desire of God for them directly, mystically if you will, without the mediation of a human erotic relationship. For most of us humans, though, our ability to experience God’s love and desire for us comes through experiencing the love and desire of another human being. My wife’s love, through no fault of hers, could not touch that deep place in me that longed to be desired and desiring. I have experienced that with my partner. Our mutual love has become for me a mediation of the love of God. I am able to be more open to God’s love, to know better what God’s love means, because I have been loved by my partner. And I am wired in such a way that this understanding could come only through a relationship with a man.

    In short, denying the goodness of same-sex love means that 1) our way of loving is condemned as an impulse toward moral evil, and 2) we must come to experience God’s love, if we experience it at all, without the benefit of the ordinary means that God has given us. Many of us are not equipped psychologically to make the leap directly into an unmediated experience of God’s love. Even in the best of circumstances, that leap is exceedingly difficult, as any monk will tell you.

    If God has blessed you with that ability, I admire you for it and completely affirm the goodness of your journey. I do not think the path of celibacy is right for all of us. Nor do I think heterosexual marriage can accomplish its spiritual purposes for gays. I believe the Spirit is guiding the Church to change her mind about the morality of covenantal gay relationships, for the sake of our salvation.

  • Lynn David

    I wonder what the new line by Exodus would mean to those such as the Parents Action League of Anoka-Hennepin School District. They have recently jacked up the rhetoric and asked that the school district should allow that being gay is to be diseased. See:

    http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2012/01/13/conservative-christian-parents-fight-right-discriminate-against-lgbt-students-anoka-

    Which has the entire ‘manifesto’ of the Parents Action League. And also:

    http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/01/17/405041/some-minnesota-parents-call-for-ex-gay-therapy-teaching-about-aids-as-gay-disease/

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Thats an interesting question .. I had posted part of their demands on the Anoka-Hennepin thread (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2011/09/15/anoka-hennepin-school-districts-sexual-orientation-curriculum-policy/)

    This is a portion of their latest demands from their own website .. (http://www.parentsactionleague.org/concerns-demands/ )

    ———-

    9.Provide the following pro-family, ex-homosexual, and ex-transgender information and websites to all counselors, school psychologists, SLAs, prevention specialists, assistant principals, principals and classroom teachers:

    National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH)

    American College of Pediatricians (ACOP)

    Facts About Youth

    Exodus International

    Parents and Friends of Ex-gays and Gays (PFOX)

    Mission America

    Family Research Council

    Courage

    JONAH

    —————–

    My guess is that since they list most of the exgay organizations out there that this won’ t phase them that much.

    Dave

  • Patrocles

    The central statement of Dr. Throckmorton seems to me:

    “Change is such a volatile concept because a modicum of change in the therapeutic setting is then exaggerated in the political and legal settings to argue against same-sex attraction as something intrinsic to the vast majority of people who experience it.”

    I translate:

    1. From a strictly scientifical/therapeutical point of view, Pickup is right. SSA and SOC are a matter of degree, as are anxiety and depression (not because they are disorders, but more simply because they are emotions).

    2. NARTH has been compromised by the collaboration with the “political and legal settings”, i.e. people like Exodus (not the other way round) – because Exodus wanted, needed and proclaimed a hundred-percent-change and now crashs down with that insane idea.

    3. Follows that Alan Chambers’ 99.9 number is unreliable, not only because it is based on anecdotical evidence, but because he doesn’t want to speak about gradual change at all. Will say, the question of gradual change is still unsolved.

    4. The reason why the gay community doesn’t want to speak about gradual change is that they insist in their SSA being something “intrinsic”. Now, I wonder if and since when “intrinsic” has become a terminus technicus in psychology. Is it used as a mere surrogate for “genetic” (a genetic cause of SSA can’t be proved)? Or does “intrinsic” mean that people have a certain attitude w.r.t. a particular emotion, “that emotion belongs to me”? In that case, “intrinsic” would depend on the particular culture in which people live – for example, depression (“melancholia”) was some hundred ago seen as an intrinsic/inseparatable part of a certain man based on his “humores” (body fluids). But we don’t buy in that idea nowadays and have found some therapies against depression.

  • Ralph

    Exodus has had so many changes of position and direction of what is and isn’t over the years, I think that they have lost a great deal of credibility. Alan Chambers opinions seem to change like the wind and he should really consider resigning his position and allow someone who is more open to wider and more diverse interpretations of SSA or whatever you want to call it. Exodus needs a fresh start with new leadership.

    This is also a big problem with religious institutions. I am sick and tired of pastors and lay and religious leaders proclaiming that homosexual sin is more morally wrong than other sin, sexual or otherwise. Gay people, SSA, BI-sexual and everything in between are ALL welcome to the Church of Jesus Christ and the Synagogue of the Great Jehovah God. One opinion, explanation and theory about SSA, etc. does NOT and NEVER fit all. If someone thinks or feels that they have “changed” or have accepted the way that are (or whatever you want to call it) enough to satisfy their needs and they are happy and contented with it, who are we, or anyone else, to say that they are not following protocal of some scientific or religious principle or someone’s theory? And why must the SSA person measure up to some scientific, religious or secular idea of what is right or wrong from NARTH, EXODUS, COURAGE, ETC., otherwise they must walk the plank and enter into the Hall of Judgement (of therapists, psychologists, leaders of organizations, religious and secular) who will decide their fate? We should always be respectful of one another and stop condeming those who say that they are ok with themselves, be it gay, ex-gay, bi, or any combination thereof. It is their life to live.

    I don’t know of any therapist who could ever claim 100% cure rate for anything and most are lucky to get 20% if that. And, Grandmother, you usually have something interesting to say, I don’t think it was very nice of you to make a remark about the spelling of David Pickups last name. What point were you trying to make anyway?

  • StraightGrandmother

    Ralph, well I thought that it was funny, in a humorous type of way, that a man who has a career focus of sex has a last name of Pickup. The inferred reference, or humor, was about getting picked up, like we used to say in the olden days, “He picked her up in a bar” Now days I think they use Hook Up. I thought in a low key way that that was humorous. I am sorry to disappoint you this time Ralph.

  • David M.

    @Patrocles

    You lose me when you call sexual orientation an emotion. Orientation certainly includes emotion. But sexuality has aspects that do not fall neatly into the category of affective states of mind.

    I think the word “intrinsic” in this case means that sexual orientation is a relatively fixed aspect of one’s being. Women show more fluidity than men. And some men can experience relatively small degrees of change with great effort. But both experience and psychological studies find it a relatively unchanging characteristic. If you don’t like the term intrinsic, I’d be happy to hear your suggestion of another. But as you can easily see, I’m an essentialist when it comes to sexual orientation.

    Your attempt to deconstruct WT’s statement seems tendentious to me. And I imagine a smirk on your face. If I have misread your intentions, I apologize.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Well if you don’t like the word intrinsic, how about innate? Patrocles I see what you are saying about “gradual change” but I have to tell you I can’t get that Lexapro article out of my mind when you mention gradual change.

    The guy who was seeing Nicolosi for 8 years 3 times a month, and still gay. At what point do you just throw up your hands and say, “That’s it I can’t cure you, you are just always going to be gay”? How gradual is gradual Patrocles?

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2011/12/01/narth-founder-retracts-claim-of-sexual-reorientation-via-lexapro/

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  • Patrocles

    SGM,

    I’m a Nicolosi fan, as long we speak about description or phenomenology. (I’m one of the people who have read Nicolosi and thought: Wow, this man is the first who can tell what I feel). I agree with Nicolosi insofar as (my and others) SSA has to do with a failed way to become a man. I think that Nicolosi’s explanation is much too narrow (there are a lot of ways in which you can fail to become a man, and in some cases it’s indeed a case of innate qualities: you’re born with such a degree of femininity that the way to become a man is much too far). And I don’t expect anything from Nicolosi’s present kind of therapy, in fact I wouldn’t recommend anyone to try that. (I still hope that Nicolosi will rethink his therapy – perhaps he reads this blog?

    My considerations about SSA and SOC as gradual don’t refer to therapeutical change but to change in general (which Dr. Throckmorton hopefully will study some day, and people who change accidentally shouldn’t simply be classified as “essentially bisexual”, as if their experience was irrelevant for us).

  • http://leadthemhome.org Bill J. Henson, Jr.

    @ David M: I really respect your opinion. David, we probably agree on more than we disagree. The theology is not a small area, but it is only one area. I see how heterosexual marriage was once heavily pushed for individuals experiencing SSA. How many lives were ruined. How much a person’s internal experience was glossed over because the entire mission was getting them fixed, so to speak. Many atrocities have deeply wounded a lot of people.

    Side Comment: I do not push heterosexual marriage for ANY person – gay or straight. The pushing of marriage surely has something to do with an insanely high divorce rate in the evangelical church. Instead, I encourage all teens and young adults toward what I call “the glory of a single life abandoned to God.” It is in this place of knowing God and doing His will that all of us will find His best.

    Fortunately, this “marriage-push-mentality” is becoming less common as the church gains greater understanding. It is a steep learning curve, but most church leaders I encounter are hungry to grow. .

    The reason I believe “posture shift” works is because regardless what you or I believe, there is as great of diversity in what a wide spectrum of people believe as there is diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity – and what that means to each person. Not everyone can internalize or acculturate to an LGBT identity and not everyone with an LGBT identity is spiritually comfortable.

    Against the backdrop of decades of a culture war posture, anything but full acceptance of homosexuality can be a painful threat to many people – especially those over 35 years of age from my experience. This (my) generation and the ones before experienced much pain from the church.

    This next generation, however, has a better ability to communicate acceptance and internalize acceptance in the midst of difference in belief. All to say: I see many people, both those who consider SSA a struggle and those who identify as LGBT, being nourished within an evangelical faith community. For them, church is “home” and they are growing. I celebrate this progress.

    Every ounce of posture shift that can nourish spiritual identity in teens and young adults is a critical work to be achieved. If God’s Spirit then guides the church into a newer understanding of scripture, so be it. But right now, we’re not there. And right now, there is work that is greatly needed.

  • Patrocles

    David M

    of course, my “translation” of Dr. Throckmorton’s sentence was tendentious. But then, his presentation was tendentious, too.

    I appreciate him as, by heart, a sober and moderate scientist. And in general, our deeper convictions (resp. our judgment about the present state of scientifcal knowledge) don’t differ much. (There are exceptions.)

    But on the whole, we agree about the basics. Only, he “frames” or “paints” his presentation in a way that suits his polemical interests (like, praising Chambers at the cost of Pickup), and I’ve amused myself with framing or painting my presentation in the opposite direction.

    As for “emotion”:may I get somewhat scholarly? I suppose that we are hampered by the inaccuracy of ordinary speech. I would porpose to make a difference between three stages:

    - the actual state of being attracted/aroused which is similar to actual emotions

    - the disposition of getting attracted/aroused by particular perceptions (visual, olfactory etc.) which is similar to a disposition of getting depressed by particular experiences

    - the abstract or “dimensional” concept of “sexual orientation”) under which we subsume different dispositions as alternate or compatible human possibilities

  • David M.

    @Bill J. Henson, Jr.

    Thank you for your thoughful and kind reply. You are a gentle man, and I do respect you, your journey, and the position you take. I appreciate your desire to create some open space where people can set aside fierce debate and try to discern the way ahead. No doubt the way ahead will look different for different people.

    You are right, I’m over 35. I’m 52 in fact. I married because my wife and I were good friends. I wanted her beside me in life. But looking back, I was not “in love” as we say. Neither she nor I had a clue what my sexual attraction to men would mean once we were married. I stayed in that marriage, believing I must be faithful to my vows, for over 20 years.

    I agree with you that the church would do well to lower the temperature of this debate. In terms of the spiritual lives of gay people, the first step, I believe, is humility. By that, I mean, to accept themselves for who they are, made of earth and given the breath of God. Part of this is simply recognizing same-sex desires, without any kind of judgment or any kind of action. Simply, they are there, neither good nor bad, but real and present and part of who I am. Only then can discernment begin. The current hot debate makes this extremely difficult.

    Bottom line, though, as long as the church continues to hold to an official teaching that gay sex is sin, gay people will perceive themselves as second-class citizens of the Kingdom at best, their way of being will be shamed, and they will face tremendous obstacles in their journey toward God.

    The last time the church changed her mind in this way related to slavery. I imagine you on the side of a southern church, saying something like, you don’t personally hold slaves, but you have friends who do, and they’re not ready to change yet, so let’s give them some space and time. I imagine myself on the side of a northern church, saying, slavery is evil. I cannot stand by while even one more man or woman is beaten or enslaved for the benefit of another. This must end now.

    Until the church recognizes her error, she will have to give account for the LGBT people whom she bars from the Kingdom. She may be as kind and sweet as any southern slaveholder ever was. It won’t matter.

  • David Pickup

    I appreciate the thoughtful discussion on my article. I do think that many things were assumed on this blog that are simply and obviously not correct. However, I’m glad this is a forum to discuss such relevant and important issues.

    I particularly appreciated Ralph’s remarks below:

    “If someone thinks or feels that they have “changed” or have accepted the way that are (or whatever you want to call it) enough to satisfy their needs and they are happy and contented with it, who are we, or anyone else, to say that they are not following protocal of some scientific or religious principle or someone’s theory? And why must the SSA person measure up to some scientific, religious or secular idea of what is right or wrong from NARTH, EXODUS, COURAGE, ETC., otherwise they must walk the plank and enter into the Hall of Judgement (of therapists, psychologists, leaders of organizations, religious and secular) who will decide their fate? We should always be respectful of one another and stop condeming those who say that they are ok with themselves, be it gay, ex-gay, bi, or any combination thereof. It is their life to live.”

    I also appreciated Patrocles’ statement, which I think all of us have a tendency to do:

    “Only, he “frames” or “paints” his presentation in a way that suits his polemical interests (like, praising Chambers at the cost of Pickup), and I’ve amused myself with framing or painting my presentation in the opposite direction.”

    My article in question was, in the end, a professional opinion based on my own experience as a clinician. In this experience I have seen real change occur to significant degrees based on practically anyone’s standard of authentic change. It was also written because I have observed such marvelous episodes, (inside session and outside), of men feeling so good about themselves as men, feelings of being so much closer to God and His design, so unburdened by the crushing psychological wounds that have bound him in terms of gender and sexuality, so filled with tears of grief and then joy for the healing experiences, and for some, much more powerfully erotic and loving desires toward women.

    I never demand anyone believe as I believe, even about Reparative Therapy. I focus on real evidence. Also, in my personal experience, RT is reflective of sound biblical principles because it simply includes a detailed version of how we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and how being made can go tragically wrong. In my opinion, this is similar to the scientific discovery that man has a heart and vessels. This discovery is part of the details of being wonderfully made.

    I am always open to constructive criticism and comments.

  • David M.

    @Patroclus

    Thank you. Your post is enlightening for me. I believe I understand you better now. Maybe a way for me to get at what I mean by the “far more” of homosexuality is to quote a passage from C.G. Jung that has been crucial in my accepting myself as a gay man. Jung is writing about what he calls “a man with a mother complex.” Like Robert Hopke, whose writing led me to this passage, I believe what Jung is describing is a man who is close to his inner feminine, regardless of whole notion of a “mother complex.” I believe this passage describes many, maybe most, gay men.

    Jung says such a man “may have a finely differentiated Eros instead of, or in addition to, homosexuality. (Something of this sort is suggested by Plato in his Symposium.) This gives him a great capacity for friendship, which often creates ties of astonishing tenderness between men and may even recue friendship between the sexes from the limbo of the impossible. He may have good taste and an aesthetic sense which are fostered by the presence of a feminine streak. Then he may be supremely gifted as a teacher because of his almost feminine insight and tact. He is likely to have a feeling for history, and to be conservative in the best sense and cherish the values of the past. Often he is endowed with a wealth of religious feelings, which help to bring the ecclesia spiritualis into reality; and a spiritual receptivity which makes him responsive to revelation.”

    This passage led me to see that my homosexuality is not an entity unto itself. It is part and parcel of a larger framework of personality, and one cannot and should not expect to extract this one part of the framework believing that the rest can stand on its own. So for me, the question, do I want to be rid of my homosexuality became: Do I want to be rid of my deep capacity for friendship? Do I want to be rid of my teaching gifts? Do I want to be rid of my feeling for history? Did I want to be rid of my spiritual receptivity?

    I have come to see the whole thing as a gift. I realize psychoanalytic theory doesn’t hold much weight in most discussions of psychology today. But I think here at least, Jung got it right.

  • Teresa

    @David Pickup, much of what you said in your Comment, I think, is quite wonderful for those men you’ve helped. However, I have a several questions for you concerning Reparative Therapy (RT).

    Are you operating under the assumption that homosexuality is solely caused by poor parenting when a child is very young? Also, aren’t homosexuals undergoing RT quite a small population of homosexuals, as a whole; and, are they a true representative sample of the larger community? Would you refer a client to another therapist if the client decided he wanted to be a monogamous relationship? Finally, what percent of your practice is really RT, if you care to share?

    Thank you for sharing and willingness to hear from others on this Blog.

  • ken

    David Pickup# ~ Jan 28, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    since you are here David, I’d like to ask you a few questions about your article and for some sources of the real evidence you base your opinions on.

    In the article referenced you stated

    to learn the root causes underneath homosexual feelings and how to help an individual experience significant change based upon the resolution of those causes

    what are these root causes? and how have you determined these factors (“roots”) are what determines a person’s sexual orientation?

    further, when you say significant change has occurred, can you give some specific examples of what has changed and how you measured it?

    You also state:

    Furthermore, the success of Reparative Therapy is not defined by 100% change.

    so what is the definition of success in Reparative Therapy? And again, how is it measured?

    You mention in your article how Exodus’ methodology is flawed:

    if their leaders are not going to refer strugglers to qualified therapists who are expertly trained to facilitate real and profound changes in these strugglers, then they will have rendered themselves, once again, tragically ineffective.

    .

    Exodus has been around for nearly 40 years now. Have you ever spoke out against their methods before?

    many gay organizations, educational institutions, and psychological associations do not believe change is possible, regardless of the significantly strong scientific and anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

    Again, can you cite any of this strong scientific evidence that change in sexual orientation is possible?

  • David M.

    @David Pickup

    I apologize for responding to your last name as I did above. There is precious little to laugh about on a blog like this. I’m sure you, though, are more than tired of people pointing out the double entendre. Even as I wrote my “LOL” above, I was thinking if you ever saw this page, I would regret having written it. I humbly ask your forgiveness.

  • Teresa

    From Narth as posted on Box Turtle Bulletin by Jim Burroway:

    Finally, it also needs to be observed that reports on the potential for sexual orientation change may be unduly pessimistic based on the confounding factor of type of intervention. Most of the recent research on homosexual sexual orientation change has focused on religiously mediated outcomes which may differ significantly from outcomes derived through professional psychological care. It is not unreasonable to anticipate that the probability of change would be greater with informed psychotherapeutic care, although definitive answers to this question await further research. NARTH remains highly interested in conducting such research, pursuant only to the acquisition of sufficient funding.

    So, it seems NARTH is awaiting definitive answers to the causation of homosexuality.

    I agree with Stephen on this, when Exodus was championing ‘change’ from gay to str8, NARTH was quite happy to be bedfellows with them … regardless of how Exodus went about their ‘change’ program. The religious aspect outweighed everything else; and, no one cared how ‘change’ happened.

    Now, because ‘change’ seems unlikely to occur in ways that people want to accept, Exodus has been wrong, all these years. Does anyone think any of the persons working through ‘change’ as homosexuals didn’t seek outside therapy?

    I’m not at all opposed to RT for persons wanting that approach. I think it’s as legitimate as any other alternative health approach. However, I have no idea how NARTH plans on handling a credible scientific study for RT, even if they get the funding.

    BTW, how long is the average RT client in therapy; and, how much does this cost in-total?

  • David M.

    @Ralph: “If someone thinks or feels that they have “changed” or have accepted the way that are (or whatever you want to call it) enough to satisfy their needs and they are happy and contented with it, who are we, or anyone else, to say that they are not following protocal of some scientific or religious principle or someone’s theory?”

    If only life were so simple. Most of us think that religious institutions have a need to say things about morality, the government has the need to say things about legality, and so on. Moreover, we need to be instructed in moral principles and have the boundaries of law. The problem, of course, is that some of us, sometimes through years of desperate searching, have found a place of equilibrium. I am so grateful to constructing a new life as a partnered gay man. I go to church, then, and I am told (in many churches) that my equilibrium is immoral. I file my income taxes and am told I cannot claim my partner as a spouse.

    It would be an anarchical world if governments had no laws and churches taught no morality. Most of us don’t question the need for laws or morality. We question whether the church and government have gotten it right. That’s what the “war” is all about. And it’s not going away until there’s a resolution. Some of us are fighting for a space where we can hold on to our equilibrium.

  • Carol A Ranney

    Laura says: (On Don Miller’s blog http://donmilleris.com/2008/08/27/donald-miller-barack-obama/)

    January 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    “OK. This is my reply to all this homosexuality rhetoric. First, I am pretty sure that the O.T. and N.T. authors’ understanding and meaning of “homosexuality” were vastly differently than our common understanding of the term today. Which makes me VERY hesitant to say God hates ALL homosexuality (as we under homosexuality today). In fact, I am hard pressed to find examples in the bible which draw a correlation between a state of being (being gay in this instance) and sin. In fact the only instance that talks about a state of being and sin is being a human and that meaning you are a sinner… I know people have TRIED to make the bible say being Black or being a Jew was a sin, but, uhm, we are beyond that (I hope!). When the writers are talking about homosexuality they are really talking about homosexual acts. And, pray tell, what WERE these homosexual acts? Well, in the O.T. they are talking about gay rape, which I think we can all agree on, that’s detestable and a sin. In the N.T. times homosexuality was often a reference to a sex relationship between an older Roman citizen and his young male slave, which, again, we can agree was bad. To sum up biblical homosexuality ? present-day homosexuality. That is all.”

    One of the most concise and insightful summaries I have seen on this subject.

  • Michael Bussee

    I was wondering if David Pickup might have some insight as to why Alan Chambers would tell NARTH that “tens of thousands have successfully changed their sexual orientation” and then tell the Gay Christian Network that “99.9%” do not?

  • Jayhuck

    David M –

    This statement by Exodus is tremendous…and amazing as it comes only 4 years after Warren made his move away from NARTH.

    That is a blip in time for any organization to change (but too long for those who have suffered with misinformation).

    It is a credit to the power of this blog.

    Can I get an Amen? :)

  • Jayhuck

    Patro –

    I’m a Nicolosi fan, as long we speak about description or phenomenology. (I’m one of the people who have read Nicolosi and thought: Wow, this man is the first who can tell what I feel). I agree with Nicolosi insofar as (my and others) SSA has to do with a failed way to become a man. I think that Nicolosi’s explanation is much too narrow (there are a lot of ways in which you can fail to become a man, and in some cases it’s indeed a case of innate qualities: you’re born with such a degree of femininity that the way to become a man is much too far). And I don’t expect anything from Nicolosi’s present kind of therapy, in fact I wouldn’t recommend anyone to try that. (I still hope that Nicolosi will rethink his therapy – perhaps he reads this blog?

    Questions:

    1) What is a man? what are the qualities you think make up a man?

    2) Are you aware that Nicolosi’s son is a gay “activist”?

  • ken

    Jayhuck# ~ Jan 29, 2012 at 12:48 am

    “2) Are you aware that Nicolosi’s son is a gay “activist”?”

    Can you provide a cite for this Jay?

    I believe you are confusing Socarides (whose son Richard is a gay) with Nicolosi.

  • Michael Bussee

    Jayhuck: Only heterosexual males are men. Apparently, the rest of us haven’t gone deep enough.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpL_EnLGQpA

  • Michael Bussee

    I also think Jayhuck may mean Richard Socarides.

    “Socarides, who is openly gay, is the son of the late Charles Socarides (1922–2005), a psychiatrist and controversial critic of the American Psychiatric Association’s decision to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Socarides

  • David M.

    @Patrocles: “SSA has to do with a failed way to become a man.”

    Patrocles, I wonder how you respond to the quote from Jung in my post above. Do you find any of your own qualities in that quote? I would suggest to you that you have in no way failed to become a man, but you have been gifted in a way that most men are not.

    I understand the shame you speak so eloquently. But, Patrocles, you are believing the lies others have told you, others who do not appreciate the giftedness of a man who is closely connected to his anima, his feminine. Most men stuggle to connect with their feminine side. That’s part of why they marry women. They often fear their feminine side, which may explain some homophobia.

    But for we who are gay, so far as I can tell, the path to incorporating the feminine has always been open to us. If we try to close off our access to the feminine, we do so at our own peril. She will become a witch.

  • David Pickup

    @Teresa: “Are you operating under the assumption that homosexuality is solely caused by poor parenting when a child is very young?”

    No…in my opinion, there are several profound emotional/psychological factors and/or experiences, which cause homosexuality. Also, in my opinion, the use of “poor parenting” seems to carry with it a judgmental and pejorative term that suggests parents of homosexuals are necessarily horrible people. I don’t subscribe to this view.

    “Also, aren’t homosexuals undergoing RT quite a small population of homosexuals, as a whole; and, are they a true representative sample of the larger community?

    I’m honestly not sure what you are asking by the last part of your question. As to the first part, even though I’m not sure what importance there is in knowing RT clients are a small population, I can only assume they are in fact a small population in contrast to the larger homosexual population as a whole.

    “Would you refer a client to another therapist if the client decided he wanted to be a monogamous relationship? Finally, what percent of your practice is really RT, if you care to share?”

    No, without any further information, I wouldn’t have any reason to refer out. Also, about 95% of my clients are in RT. I have some gay clients who don’t want to change. And, I have a few who are dealing with marriage problems or OCD.

    @Ken: “What are these root causes? and how have you determined these factors (“roots”) are what determines a person’s sexual orientation?

    Of course these are great questions. Answering them adequately and fully can’t be done unless I get into an immensely long blog. In short, (and very inadequately), I believe the root causes to be a severe lack of affirmation of gender identity, lack of approval by male and female role models, and lack of emotional/physical affection, mainly experienced within the crucial developmental years in which identity is first formed, Typically, a boy in this situation is usually and tragically shamed and emotionally abused by several people during his upbringing. This is an attachment issue which is hurtful and often repressed because often these boys can’t handle such feelings of shame and grief. Repression can be a powerful defense mechanism from feeling deep feelings and shame-based belief systems. It can lead to a kind of “false self” which is hard to detect many times. Since this explanation is not adequate, I would suggest you consider reading Nicolosi’s book, “Shame and Attachment Loss.” It’s all there and is profoundly compelling (in my opinion).

    “Can you give some specific examples of what has changed and how you measured it?”

    In session and over time, I have assessed a major change in affect. The male client’s self esteem as a man significantly rises and his self confidence increases. He discovers his authentic self through breaking the shame-based abuse while finally feeling his long repressed grief and anger. His homosexual feelings decrease or disssipate naturally and spontaneously as he heals from his repressed wounds. His relationships with men become very loving and affirming as he experiences his authentic self in relationship with other men. Some of those long unfulfilled needs become fulfilled as well. Some move on to erotic love for women.

    Also, just as most other therapists measure client progress with other issues, my most important measurement is what the client himself reports. All the things described above are reported by successful clients who express their authentic feelings. Their affect and actions are congruent with what they tell me. Their emotional change I see in session simply cannot be faked unless they are extraordinary actors. I believe the client is always the focal point. Any good therapist knows the client’s experience, affect, behavior and consistency over the long term are good measurements of change and growth.

    “What is the definition of success in Reparative Therapy? And again, how is it measured?”

    See above.

    And, I believe there are many types and levels of success in RT. If the client feels happier while being on this journey, then this is probably a good sign of success, as in other issues people deal with. It seems that success is largely based on the motivation of the client, how deep his gender and emotional wounds are, and how caring and well trained his therapist is.

    “Exodus has been around for nearly 40 years now. Have you ever spoke out against their methods before?”

    I really don’t know what you mean exactly by “spoke out.”

    “Again, can you cite any of this strong scientific evidence that change in sexual orientation is possible?”

    Sure…see the Yarhouse/Jones study on change, and the Robert Spitzer study. They’re both accessible online on any browser, or you can go to http://www.narth .com to find them.

    @David M:

    Of course I forgive you. Thank you. And don’t give it a second thought. I honor you.

    @Teresa: “BTW, how long is the average RT client in therapy; and, how much does this cost in-total?”

    Certainly relevant questions. And, there are so many varying answers. So I answer these questions only while in an introductory consultation with a client.

    @Michael: “I was wondering if David Pickup might have some insight as to why Alan Chambers would tell NARTH that “tens of thousands have successfully changed their sexual orientation” and then tell the Gay Christian Network that “99.9%” do not?”

    I honestly do not have any insight into why Alan stated what he did that is based on any discussions with him personally. I have wondered aloud what I am sincerely afraid might be going on as I stated in my article, (based on many professional and personal experiences I’ve had), but I can’t give sure insight. I’m hoping Alan will comment more about this in public.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      David Pickup – Thanks for stopping by.

      You wrote:

      Also, in my opinion, the use of “poor parenting” seems to carry with it a judgmental and pejorative term that suggests parents of homosexuals are necessarily horrible people. I don’t subscribe to this view.

      Then you wrote:

      I believe the root causes to be a severe lack of affirmation of gender identity, lack of approval by male and female role models, and lack of emotional/physical affection, mainly experienced within the crucial developmental years in which identity is first formed,

      I believe you mean well, but the attribution of poor parenting seems impossible to avoid. This surely isn’t good parenting. You are saying that the parents of homosexuals did not show love nor did they approve of their children. First of all, many parents indeed are like this and homosexuality in a child does not result. Second, many homosexuals do not have such homes.

      What is your explanation for the gay men and women who have parents that loved them, showed them affection, and affirmed their gender identity? I have met and know many such people. I know families like this who have gay children. And I am not taking their word for it; these are people I know well.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Carol

    Yes, Laura’s comments are apposite: the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is clearly about (attempted) rape and the mistreatment of strangers; the Leviticus bits are probably to do with ritual prostitution; the N.T. references all appear to be set in contexts of uncaring, selfish behaviour, and not relationships that bear the hallmarks of mutual love and respect. All of this – and the fact that there are people who appear to be, for whatever reason, ‘intrinsically’ gay – gives very good grounds for contesting with confidence the ‘God hates homosexuality per se’ line pushed out by some.

    The ‘God hates gays’ line is even less justifiable, given the core teachings in the Gospel accounts.

    On the subject of same-sex relationships in the Bible: there is a line of thought that the friendship between the prophet Daniel and the Babylonian courtier Ashpenaz was not entirely ‘platonic’. This view is based linguistic analysis of the relevant Hebrew text.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Carrol A ranney

    I know people have TRIED to make the bible say being Black or being a Jew was a sin, but, uhm, we are beyond that (I hope!).

    I can assure you that when it comes to Intersex people, no we have not. Jews too, for that matter, unless they convert.

  • ken

    Warren# ~ Jan 29, 2012 at 6:31 am

    David, I’m going to get back to the rest of your post later, but I also wanted to ask the flip-side of Warren’s question first:

    What is your explanation for the gay men and women who have parents that loved them, showed them affection, and affirmed their gender identity?

    What is your explanation for straight men who had a severe lack of affirmation of gender identity, lack of approval by male and female role models, and lack of emotional/physical affection?

  • Jayhuck

    Ken,

    I believe you are confusing Socarides (whose son Richard is a gay) with Nicolosi.

    You are correct. I was confusing the two )

  • Richard Willmer

    @ David Pickup

    I’m very glad that you (at least sort of) reject that idiotic ‘blame the parents’ nonsense.

    I don’t agree with the idea that gay men have to lose their same-sex attraction in order to have good friendships with other men, any more than straight men have to lose their opposite-sex attraction in order to have good friendships with women. And cannot low self-esteem be attributed to external factors such as the need for secrecy or rejection and/or vilification by emotionally-challenged people who, on no objective grounds, feel threatened by gays?

  • Richard Willmer

    (Incidentally I have nothing against people having therapy to help them deal effectively with either low self-esteem or destructive behaviour patterns; quite the reverse actually. The problem I have is the apparent assumption that a patient’s sexual orientation per se is the ‘real problem’.

    Oh … I must confess that it was I who started that silly thing about names – rather for the same reason that David M. responded to my comment. I can be somewhat acerbic at times … Sorry about that; it wasn’t appropriate behaviour. One of my failings is that I sometimes find it difficult to resist the temptation to make a cutting remark.)

  • David Pickup

    @Warren:

    “I believe you mean well, but the attribution of poor parenting seems impossible to avoid. This surely isn’t good parenting.”

    Well, if poor parenting includes (for whatever reason) the lack of a father and mother to affirm their child’s gender identity, to approve of them (unconditional love), to give them affection, or to narcissistically (unconsciously) parentify their son, all without intending to do this, then sure, one could say that would be poor parenting. I’m surprised that you would identify poor parenting because I didn’t think you believed that poor parenting (in the sense above) was one of the causes of homosexuality.

    Additionally, I believe that if I or anyone makes a general remark that homosexuality is caused by poor parenting leaves the impression that parents are horrible, unloving people who deserve to be judged. This is why I stay away from this term. I’m all for the discovery of truth, even if it hurts, but I’m not into blaming and judging. When I have parents in session, whether they do or don’t understand the underlying causes, I show them unconditional positive regard. I find that parents who respond well in therapy have a very positive effect on the change of their son’s identity issues.

    “You are saying that the parents of homosexuals did not show love nor did they approve of their children. First of all, many parents indeed are like this and homosexuality in a child does not result. Second, many homosexuals do not have such homes.”

    For me, the assumption above is way too generic. Of course these parents show love and approval. I think every parent intends this to be given, and mostly these parents are doing the best they can. This doesn’t necessarily mean the child receives what he needs, or enough of it. If they did, we wouldn’t be discovering deeply repressed grief, anger and identity shame. In my clinical and personal experience, most, if not all, male homosexuals do not experience an attachment to their caregivers, mentoring adults or peers that is deeply connected, only in very well intentioned but “surface” ways; ways that appear to be good to some extent but tragically are not enough or at all what a child needs. I suggest we not focus on blaming parents, but on what real hope and change we can give to those men who want and need reparative therapy.

    @Ken:

    “What is your explanation for the gay men and women who have parents that loved them, showed them affection, and affirmed their gender identity?”

    See above.

    “What is your explanation for straight men who had a severe lack of affirmation of gender identity, lack of approval by male and female role models, and lack of emotional/physical affection?”

    This is such a relevant question. I get it all the time. In my experience, straight men’s wounds in this area are no where near the crushing blow to their identities as they are with men who develop homosexually. In short, it hurts a lot, but not down deep enough that it affects their gender/sexual identity. Straight men, (I don’t like that term), have much more of their inborn male needs fulfilled.

  • David Pickup

    @Richard:

    That’s ok Richard. Sometimes being acerbic is a good thing!

  • Michael Bussee

    David Pickup said:

    “In my clinical and personal experience, most, if not all, male homosexuals do not experience an attachment to their caregivers, mentoring adults or peers that is deeply connected, only in very well intentioned but “surface” ways; ways that appear to be good to some extent but tragically are not enough or at all what a child needs.”

    In my experience, the very same thing could be said of most, if not all heterosexuals who present for treatment. This says nothing about the causation of orientation — gay or straight.

    One should be very cautious of confusing correlation with causation. One should also be careful about using patients in treatment to generalize to the larger population. These two quotes are worth considering in this context:

    “The diagnosis of homosexuality as a “disorder” is a contributing factor to the pathology of those homosexuals who do become mentally ill…. Nothing is more likely to make you sick than being constantly told that you are sick.” ~Ronald Gold

    “I am reminded of a colleague who reiterated “all my homosexual patients are quite sick” – to which I finally replied “so are all my heterosexual patients.” ~Ernest van den Haag, psychotherapist

  • Richard Willmer

    @ David P.

    Well I certainly agree that ‘being acerbic’ has its place!

    I notice that you seem to view certain (psychological, I assume) ‘needs’ as intrinsic to (specifically?) male persons. I find that an interesting idea, especially if you *don’t* believe that sexual orientation is in some way ‘intrinsic’.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    @ David Pickup..

    Do you ever listen to yourself talk .. I mean seriously .. Lets see here.. You say its not the parent’s fault …

    Then you are asked: How come there are straight men who come from families that did not love them and support them but they are still straight ..

    And your answer is that people who end up gay are much more wounded in their psyche .. that the wound goes deeper than the above example of straight men from non healthy families who are still straight.

    Does this mean that these men (who end up same sex attracted) come from healthier families than the one the straight folks come from … or does it mean that they come from worse families ??

    But .. somehow .. its still not the parent’s fault?? Then how did this deep wounding happen?

    We here are not the ones who started this idea of bad families being the root cause of peope having same sex attractions .. you and your NARTH friends did. And your convoluted dance around this issue is givng me a headache. It pains me to just write this post and try to follow your logic.

    I’ve listened to Alan and others from your camp. He sounds like you do at times .. So .. I have to ask ..Do you guys go to special training to learn how to talk out of both sides of your mouth? Becasue that sure sounds like what you are doing ..

    You said in your post … “I suggest we not focus on blaming parents, but on what real hope and change we can give to those men who want and need reparative therapy.”

    How can you give them real hope if your logic is flawed and full of doubletalk ?

    Dave

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    David Pickup wrote:

    I’m surprised that you would identify poor parenting because I didn’t think you believed that poor parenting (in the sense above) was one of the causes of homosexuality.

    You are reading me wrong. I don’t think parenting has very much to do with homosexuality. I wanted to establish that the description you provide for the kind of parenting that you say leads to homosexuality can only be described as poor.

    David Pickup also wrote:

    This doesn’t necessarily mean the child receives what he needs, or enough of it. If they did, we wouldn’t be discovering deeply repressed grief, anger and identity shame. In my clinical and personal experience, most, if not all, male homosexuals do not experience an attachment to their caregivers, mentoring adults or peers that is deeply connected, only in very well intentioned but “surface” ways; ways that appear to be good to some extent but tragically are not enough or at all what a child needs.

    Here is where I believe you are engaging in confirmation bias and circular reasoning. The existence of these mood states you find are assumed to be due to parental deprivation of some kind. The parenting is assumed to be surface or inadequate if the client is gay. If the client is straight then the client might be wounded but apparently (to you) not as deeply as the gay client. The depth of the wound is assumed based on the current sexual orientation of the client. Straight – deep; gay – really deep.

    Over the years, I have worked with clients, gay and straight, who have been shamed and what stands out to me is how similar they are. I need to add that I once thought there might be something to reparative drive theory but came to disagree with it via research findings and my experience with clients and non-client friends who are gay or have gay children. Furthermore, I have seen clients and friends deeply shamed and wounded by reparative therapists. If I have an edge to my writing on this topic, it probably is because of my empathy for them.

  • StraightGrandmother

    When I read your comment Mr. Pickup, I highlighted a certain paragraph and kept reading. Not surprisingly as I read the subsequent comments all of them are referencing this same part of your comment

    In my clinical and personal experience, most, if not all, male homosexuals do not experience an attachment to their caregivers, mentoring adults or peers that is deeply connected

    And so you teach them to “man up” I think you incorporate sports into the therapy don’t you? And once they feel more manly their sexual attraction to other males goes away, have I got that right? This is kind of a one size-fits-all therapy. Here I’ll number my questions to make it easier to respond.

    SG-1 What is your cure rate, with cure being defined as establishing and maintaining a relationship with a member of the opposite sex?

    SG- 2 What would you say is the average length of time your patients see you? A year, 2 years, 8 years?

    SG-3 I would be interest to know the age groups of your patients. Could you break that down for us? Like 50% in the late 20′s early 30′s. Something like that.

    SG-4 How do most of your patients come to you? How do they find you?

    SG-5 Do you treat a lot of patients via the internet or phone?

    SG-6 Do you morally oppose Equal Civil Rights for Sexual Minorities, such as job and housing Discrimination, Civil Marriage.

    SG-7 Are you personally okay with Sexual Minorities who do not wish to pursue change? In other words, is it okay to be gay?

    SG-8 How do you council, or do you council, women who are married to homosexual men?

    SG-9 Is the absence of any sexual desires congruent with change? Say a man reports no longer being sexually attracted to men, but likewise is not sexually attractive to women, is he a change success?

    SG-10 If a man says that he feels better, just over all he feels better bout himself, after a few months of therapy with you do you count him as a success in the change category?

    I sincerely appreciate you dropping by here, as I would have no other way to get my burning questions answered. I am extremely interested in the answers you will provide. Really!

  • AJ

    David Pickup,

    Well, if your theories are correct, isn’t it the parents’ fault that their son is gay? You say that you want to find truth without blaming or judging, but doesn’t your theory judge how the parents raised their son? As far as blame, well then whose fault is it if not the parents? You would have to be dealing with some very dense parents if you tell them your true theories and they don’t feel blamed or judged. And yet you are showing these parents “unconditional positive regard”? Sorry, but you’re just trying to feel better about yourself.

  • ken

    David Pickup# ~ Jan 29, 2012 at 2:43 am

    ” “Also, aren’t homosexuals undergoing RT quite a small population of homosexuals, as a whole; and, are they a true representative sample of the larger community?

    I’m honestly not sure what you are asking by the last part of your question. ”

    She is asking: how can you make generalizations about ALL homosexuals based on a small, non-random percentage of them?

    “Nicolosi’s book, “Shame and Attachment Loss.” It’s all there and is profoundly compelling (in my opinion).”

    I’m very familiar with Nicolosi’s theories. they are based primarily on work from Freud’s time and frankly very out-dated. Nicolosi’s theories are not based on sound science, but rather unscientific observations of a very biased sample.

    Regarding change within your client base. It sounds like predominantly what has changed thru therapy is how the client feels about himself. he feels better about himself (which is a very good outcome), however, that is NOT a change in orientation. You did state:

    “Some move on to erotic love for women.”

    Can you tell me what percentage of your clients this is true for? (even ballpark estimate would be good).

    With regards to your clients I like to ask how they could be characterized (normally I’d leave this open ended, but given the lag time between question/response I’d like to give a list of attributes and have you see how many apply to your clients):

    gender atypical (i.e. somewhat to very effeminate)

    history of substance abuse

    many anonymous/casual sexual encounters (perhaps even enough to be considered sexual addiction)

    history of sexual/physical abuse

    history of depression and/or suicidal thoughts

    low self-esteem

    any other common attributes you may have noticed?

    If any of above attributes do apply to your clients, could you assign (ballpark) percentages to them? (ex. 70% of your patients report many anonymous/casual sexual encounters)

    ” “Exodus has been around for nearly 40 years now. Have you ever spoke out against their methods before?”

    I really don’t know what you mean exactly by “spoke out.” ”

    I mean have you ever written something previously about Exodus’ practices in the past?

    ” “Again, can you cite any of this strong scientific evidence that change in sexual orientation is possible?”

    Sure…see the Yarhouse/Jones study on change, and the Robert Spitzer study. ”

    While both of these studies suggest change may be possible, they also say it is very rare. Neither of them claim that these rare cases occurred due to any theraputic intervention, which quite frankly is what the “gay organizations, educational institutions, and psychological associations” mean when they say there is no significant evidence that change is possible (i.e. via theraputic intervention). although, I would agree it would be better for them to say that “change in sexual orientation is highly unlikely” (and some do say that).

  • David Pickup

    @AJ:

    With all due respect, I think you are confusing judgement (opinion) with judgementalism. Suppose you had a drug-addicted client with whom you were able to facilitate a deeper emotional understanding of the choices he’s made which led to seriously grave consequences. He might indeed feel blamed, but would you let that keep you from expressing your opinion that he would be healthier if he took more responsibility for his choices? I believe all people are entitled to unconditional positive regard even when they’ve made mistakes, including parents, peers, you, me, everyone.

    @Warren:

    “The existence of these mood states you find are assumed to be due to parental deprivation of some kind. The parenting is assumed to be surface or inadequate if the client is gay.”

    Not at all doctor. I base my findings on the most secure way we have yet to determine the truth of an individual client’s emotional state and basic personality; through the authentic, unashamed freedom of the expression of a client’s feelings within the safe, trusting relationship with an unbiased therapist.

    You know, I truly get you when you say you’ve seen many people hurt. I too have seen this, and deeply regret that these people have called what they’re doing helpful or reparative. I’m happy to say that it was such a revelation and a pleasure during the NARTH conference last year when a couple of us had an authentic connection with ten gay/lesbian/transgendered protesters in which we were able to understand each other so much better. Many of those guys had been very hurt. We really got them. They seemed to really get us too when we explained what we believed and why. Of course, we never agreed on the basic issues, but it was such a pleasure for both sides to agree to keep in contact with each other.

    @Straight Grandmother:

    “And so you teach them to “man up” I think you incorporate sports into the therapy don’t you? And once they feel more manly their sexual attraction to other males goes away, have I got that right? This is kind of a one size-fits-all therapy.”

    This of course is ludicrous. YOU ARE NOT ludicrous, but the above was humorous.

    As to your questions; Just FYI, I put a lot of thought and time into my posts. You’ve asked so many questions, I simply don’t have the time to go into adequate depth to answer those. I can offer however that if you’d like to consult for 15 minutes or so by phone, I’d be happy for you to call me to help you understand. Just let me know.

  • AJ

    David Pickup:

    You consider yourself to be an “unbiased therapist”? Seriously?

  • AJ

    David Pickup:

    Straight Grandmother asked a lot of really great questions. Most of them have simple answers. I think it is very telling that you don’t want to answer. Why is it that no NARTH therapists ever seem to have time to answer those types of questions? Hmmmm….. I, for one, would take you and your theories a lot more seriously if you honestly, clearly, and directly answered the questions posed by SG.

  • Michael Bussee

    “I base my findings on the most secure way we have yet to determine the truth of an individual client’s emotional state and basic personality; through the authentic, unashamed freedom of the expression of a client’s feelings within the safe, trusting relationship with an unbiased therapist.”

    Excuse me? “Unbiased”? When you start with the assumption that homosexuality is in some way disordered and should be “treated”? When you begin with a pre-formed conclusion that inadequate parenting is what “caused” it? Where’s the science to back up these prejudices? How do you know that the client isn’t just telling you what both you and he already believe to be true?

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    @ David Pickup..

    I would appreciate if you would actually answer Dr. Throckmorton’s question regarding parenting. The red herrings you are throwing out about dialoging with protestors doesn’t answer it. I can ask it slightly differently if you like (see below) …

    What kind of loving healthy parenting is able to wound folks so deeply that they end up with same sex attractions?

    …but I would still like to hear you answer the original question…

    Dave

  • StraightGrandmother

    David Pickup, I deliberatly asked vry simply questions that only take a few words on your part to answer. It makes you look bad when you decline to anser the questions.

    I am NOT in need of any counseling. As my name indicates I am a 100% heterosexual grandmother happily married to my 100% heterosexual husband. I know of no one personally who has ever wanted to change their sexual orientation. I am interested in this subject purely as academic study.

    So please reconsider and answer my short and straightforward questions. It really shouldn’t take you that long. If you don’t answer them most people will hold that refusal against you, as in what are you trying to hide. If you have nothing to hide then answer the questions.

  • Teresa

    David Pickup said to Warren:

    You know, I truly get you when you say you’ve seen many people hurt. I too have seen this, and deeply regret that these people have called what they’re doing helpful or reparative.

    David Pickup, are you saying here you do not use Reparative Therapy (RT) or some variant of SOCE (Sexual Orientation Change Efforts)?

    David P., one last question: if a new client tells you that they don’t want to be/have same sex attractions anymore, and they want to be sexually attracted to women and eventually marry; and that’s why they’re seeking therapy; what do you tell them? Do you, in fact, tell them … that there’s no reason they can’t accomplish that goal, that most of your clients are happily married and are no longer bothered by same sex attractions … that you have cured them of the mental illness, homosexuality?

  • ken

    Teresa# ~ Feb 1, 2012 at 8:41 am

    “what do you tell them? Do you, in fact, tell them … that there’s no reason they can’t accomplish that goal, that most of your clients are happily married and are no longer bothered by same sex attractions … that you have cured them of the mental illness, homosexuality?”

    These are some particularly loaded questions Teresa. And they tend to indicate you are making several assumptions about David. I would suggest if you wish to engage in an open dialogue with David you (and others) need to take a less hostile stance.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    David Pickup wrote:

    Not at all doctor. I base my findings on the most secure way we have yet to determine the truth of an individual client’s emotional state and basic personality; through the authentic, unashamed freedom of the expression of a client’s feelings within the safe, trusting relationship with an unbiased therapist.

    One, it is well documented that therapists are not unbiased when it comes to their own work with clients.

    Two, can you address why you think your experience with several SSA people (even if it is several hundred) generalizes to the millions of glb people you have not met?

    In my experience with reparative therapists (there is one exception to this trend that I have found), they simply will not acknowledge that any other experience with gay people is valid.

    Mr. Pickup, please answer this question directly: do you believe that I am mistaken when I say that I know gay people who have not had gender trauma in their lives? Do you believe that gay people who say they have always had warm and loving relationships with both of their parents to be wrong or in denial?

  • Richard Willmer

    There’s a very real sense in which the cohort of persons on which a particular therapist bases his/her views is always, at least to some extent, self-selecting. This is why all generalizations must be treated with extreme caution.

    There are two other problems with making generalizations:-

    1. (which is to do with ‘therapy’) A therapist with too many preconceived ideas based on generalizations could easily miss the real underlying problems affecting a particular client;

    2. (which is ‘moral’) Making generalizations can so often lead to stereotyping … and stereotyping always undermines respect for human dignity.

    Warren’s two questions above are absolutely key in the context of this discussion about parental influences. I’m totally confident that truthful answers to them would be ‘No’ and ‘No’ respectively. I am very interested to see if David Pickup agrees with me.

  • Michael Bussee

    Mr. Pickup sees same-sex attraction as a disorder which stems from childhood wounds. Has he considered the other possibility — that many gay people have had troubled relationships with their parents because they were gay — and not the other way around?

    I would think this would be particularly true in ridigly religious families — and families where the parents had inappropriate guilt because they believed (with the help of NARTHian “therapists”) that gayness was a disorder that they had somehow “caused”.

  • Jayhuck

    Mr. Pickup sees same-sex attraction as a disorder which stems from childhood wounds. Has he considered the other possibility — that many gay people have had troubled relationships with their parents because they were gay — and not the other way around?

    I was going to suggest this but you beat me to the punch Michael. Thanks

  • StraightGrandmother

    Michael Bussee =

    Mr. Pickup sees same-sex attraction as a disorder which stems from childhood wounds. Has he considered the other possibility — that many gay people have had troubled relationships with their parents because they were gay — and not the other way around?

    Funny you should mention that Michael because I just read the same thought by Jon Smid over on his Grace Rivers Blog

    I can look at my dad differently. Instead of saying his emotional distance created my gender struggles, I can say it shows me how tough it must have been on him to have a gay son that was so different than any other male relationships he had experienced. My dad’s world was a life with lots of other men at the Post Office. When I entered his world, a unique person challenged him deeply in ways he just couldn’t relate to.

    http://www.gracerivers.com/acknowledge-part-three/

  • Michael Bussee

    Let me tell you a story: When I was about 12 years old, I decided to try to discover why I was gay and how it might be “fixed”. I couldn’t tell anyone what I was feeling so I did the only thing I could think of — I went to the Public Library.

    I was astonised that there were 4 or 5 books on “homosexuality”. All of the cards in the cardfile were marked in big red letters: “LOCKED CASE”. I knew what that meant.

    I would have to drum up my courage and ask the very sour-looking lady librarian for permission to see them. You couldn’t check them out. They had to be read in the Library. The librarian asked me crossly, “Why do you want to read THOSE books?”

    I lied and told her I was writing a report for school. As I carried the small stack of books to a secluded corner, she called out: “Don’t just leave those books lying around when you’re done! I have to lock them up!”

    I got the message loud and clear. She only reinforced what the bullies on the playground had already taught me — that having “those” feelings or being interested in “that” subject meant that there was something very “wrong” with me.

    I was a speed reader with high school level skills. All of the books were from the “Abnormal Psychology” section. And they were unanimous: Homosexuality was an “aberration”, a “sickness”, a “psychological disorder”.

    And they all pointed to the “cause” — bad parenting. A weak, abusive or absent father and an over-protective, enmeshed and smothering mother. But my parents weren’t like that!

    It didn’t matter. These books were written by “experts”. They were “scientists”. They knew the truth. So I started looking for proof that they were true. I went back over my childhood, and tried to convince myself that my parents were not loving or strong.

    They MUST have injured me somehow. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have this “sickness”. It didn’t matter that my Dad was not weak, distant or abusive. He must have done something wrong.

    Maybe those times he scolded me when I didn’t do my chores. Maybe the times he was too exhausted from work and just wanted to rest. Maybe my Mom’s protectiveness was a bad thing after all.

    I look back on those years with deep sadness and considerable anger. I blame the “experts” — and their misguided theories about the pathological nature of homosexuality and the “faulty parenting” that caused it.

    We missed some years of closeness and understanding. During my teens, I pulled away from them because of what the books and the “experts” said. I am glad that I was finally able to release my Mom from her false guilt about it. I only wish my Dad had lived long enough for me to do the same.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Michael, I don’t know how many more of these sad stories I can listen to. The sad part is, that Librarian is still alive and well throughout much of the world today.

    Things are changing, no longer will you find homosexuality found in books labeling it as a sickness. Michael, we still have so far to go, I hope to God we get the right ruling in the Prop 8 case. Once the government stops discriminating against Sexual Minorities eventually the people will follow. It took 24 years (1991) after Loving vs. Virginia (1967) for a majority of the U.S. population to approve of interracial marriage.

    http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2011/05/20/177434/same-sex-interracial-marriage/?mobile=nc

    Thank you for everything you do Michael, and all the others here who have contributed so greatly to my knowledge in this area. I am sorry you went through what you did, you have shined a light that cannot be put out, so that our younger children never have to go through what you did. Those books are now removed from the library shelf. Now if we could just get rid of that librarian…

  • David Pickup

    @AJ:

    “…I, for one, would take you and your theories a lot more seriously if you honestly, clearly, and directly answered the questions posed by SG.”

    I think the challenge here is that you don’t see any reason to believe in my integrity even though I have honestly offered a direct and clear way to personally answer SG’s questions. I’m certainly not here to make you believe in my integrity. It feels to me like you wouldn’t take my theories more seriously regardless of how I expressed them.

    @Michael Bussee:

    “Excuse me? “Unbiased”? When you start with the assumption that homosexuality is in some way disordered and should be “treated”? When you begin with a pre-formed conclusion that inadequate parenting is what “caused” it?:

    Actually, you raise a good question here; what does bias really mean? Please know that when I talk about bias I am talking about it in it’s original meaning, which includes what can be a negative OR a positive bias. For instance, I consider my professional bias (every therapist has one) to be a positive bias based on anecdotal and scientific evidence such as the studies of Jones/Yarhouse and Robert Spitzer. You yourself have a bias, which you believe to be positive. You believe that homosexuality is naturally inborn. That means that probably your bias is going to affect everything you hear about reparative-type therapies. Mine probably will too. But I believe the fair-minded thing to do is to honestly consider another point of view. I’ve done that for a very long time, and I still believe what I believe. You probably have too, so it may be that we just need to agree to disagree.

    “How do you know that the client isn’t just telling you what both you and he already believe to be true?

    I already answered that in my last post. It’s the way any therapist discovers the truth with a client dealing with any issue.

    @StraightGrandmother:

    “David Pickup, I deliberatly asked vry simply questions that only take a few words on your part to answer. It makes you look bad when you decline to anser the questions.”

    With all due respect, I don’t think you’re really listening to my words, or you don’t believe in my integrity of being honest with you. Your questions are not simple, and how I answered you doesn’t make me look bad. Also, I never said you needed counseling. I gave you a good-faith offer of simply talking with me. I’ve been very open with my beliefs and opinions here. I fear you may be trying (maybe without realizing it) to manipulate me.

    @Warren:

    “One, it is well documented that therapists are not unbiased when it comes to their own work with clients.”

    I believe the same thing. Before, I was talking about the kind of bias that can lead to harm. What you are talking about above is professional bias, which all therapists have, which is their point of view. You have your biases as well. I think we just disagree on which point of view is correct or helpful. My hope is that we can respectfully understand each other’s point of view.

    “Two, can you address why you think your experience with several SSA people (even if it is several hundred) generalizes to the millions of glb people you have not met?”

    I honestly think I’ve already expressed that through discussing anecdotal and scientific evidence. However, I’m open to the idea that RT may not apply to all the millions. I’m willing to look at all evidence. I assume you are as well.

    “Mr. Pickup, please answer this question directly: do you believe that I am mistaken when I say that I know gay people who have not had gender trauma in their lives?”

    Unless they’ve experienced some of the other causes of homosexuality, yes, respectfully, I believe you are mistaken in your opinions about the nature of their homosexuality.

    “Do you believe that gay people who say they have always had warm and loving relationships with both of their parents to be wrong or in denial?”

    Pretty much the same thing; Unless they’ve experienced some of the other causes of homosexuality, yes, respectfully, I believe they probably are in some form or depth of denial.

    @Richard Willmer:

    “There’s a very real sense in which the cohort of persons on which a particular therapist bases his/her views is always, at least to some extent, self-selecting. This is why all generalizations must be treated with extreme caution.

    There are two other problems with making generalizations:-

    1. (which is to do with ‘therapy’) A therapist with too many preconceived ideas based on generalizations could easily miss the real underlying problems affecting a particular client;

    2. (which is ‘moral’) Making generalizations can so often lead to stereotyping … and stereotyping always undermines respect for human dignity.”

    Warren’s two questions above are absolutely key in the context of this discussion about parental influences. I’m totally confident that truthful answers to them would be ‘No’ and ‘No’ respectively. I am very interested to see if David Pickup agrees with me.”

    Well said! I concur with these principles. All therapists need to watch for this whatever side they’re on. My answers above (my opinions) are different obviously.

    @Michael Bussee:

    “Mr. Pickup sees same-sex attraction as a disorder which stems from childhood wounds. Has he considered the other possibility — that many gay people have had troubled relationships with their parents because they were gay — and not the other way around?”

    Yes, I’ve considered this for many years and consider it my responsibility to be open to all sides. Also, I truly hear your story and your feelings below as you expressed one of the difficult, hurtful stories of your life.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    David Pickup – Well, at least you have answered clearly regarding your beliefs about homosexuality.

  • Jayhuck

    Mr Pickup –

    I find it interesting that none of the scientific or anecdotal evidence out there truly supports your theories on homosexuality or should give you reason to believe that your position on homosexuality is true (this includes the findings from Spitzer and Jones & Yarhouse) so I am flabbergasted as to how you manage to find help in them.

  • Jayhuck

    From Mr Pickup

    Pretty much the same thing; Unless they’ve experienced some of the other causes of homosexuality, yes, respectfully, I believe they probably are in some form or depth of denial.

    And that pretty much sums up all anyone needs to know about this therapist. :)

  • Michael Bussee

    David: Have you spoken directly with Mr. Yarhouse to see if his study actually supports your beliefs? He tells me that many people misunderstand his study or are drawing the wrong conclusions about it.

    You say you heard my story, but do you see the point I was trying to make? My parents were not at fault for my sexual orientation. Of course, you have that one covered. I’m in denial. How could a gay person have had good parents? That’s a possibility that your prejudice won’t allow you to consider.

    Finally, you said: “You yourself have a bias, which you believe to be positive. You believe that homosexuality is naturally inborn.” Actually, you are wrong about this. I don’t believe it’s inborn. I just don’t see it as “pathological”. I believe that no one knows what “causes” sexual orientation — not even you.

  • Michael Bussee

    Mr. Pickup:

    You say you “determine the truth of an individual client’s emotional state and basic personality; through the authentic, unashamed freedom of the expression of a client’s feelings within the safe, trusting relationship with an unbiased therapist.”

    Later you insist that he must be in “some depth of denial” if he tells you that he had warm, caring and adequate parents. So no matter how he describes his own life experience, you are so convinced of your “inadequate parent” theory that he must be wrong and you must be right?

    That hardly sounds safe, trusting or unbiased to me.

  • Richard Willmer

    I have to agree emphatically with Michael. It surely can never be right effectively to disregard sincere and repeated assertions of a client that his/her parents were ‘good parents’.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Michael Bussee:

    I look back on those years with deep sadness and considerable anger. I blame the “experts” — and their misguided theories about the pathological nature of homosexuality and the “faulty parenting” that caused it.

    It could have been worse.

    11 year old Alex lives as a girl with her mom’s support. taz.de says that nothing about her or her painted pink room says “boy”. Her hobbies include breakdancing, swimming, Harry Potter. Alex: “So since when did you know you’re a girl? Forever!” She’s on the brink of puberty and wants to be treated with estrogens. She’d rather die than turn into a man.

    A Dutch study indicates that biological boys who claim to be girls become transsexuals whereas boys who merely wish they were girls tend to become homosexuals instead. In clear-cut cases the Dutch do start hormone treatment at puberty.

    This is done in Switzerland as well. Transsexual expert Prof Rauchfleisch from the University of Basel, Switzerland, wants to see Alex weekly for half a year for a proper diagnosis, then possibly start hormones early so she won’t look like a man in a dress later on.

    Alex has never been assessed by a neutral party. 6 years ago a large Berlin clinic told her she’d be unhappy as a girl later on and confronted her with pink princesses and toy cars. She thought this was ridiculous and ended up doing a jigsaw puzzle. The head physician talked to her father for a long time, to her mother for an hour, and to Alex not at all.

    Alex’s father claims his ex-wife is the real problem, that she’s mentally ill, that she’s talked Alex into it.

    Klaus Beier, sexual medicine expert at the university hospital Charité, Berlin, says Gender Identity Disorder can be induced by the parents, for example if the mother has a problem with men. He says we don’t have clear criteria as to which children with gender identity issues turn out to be transsexuals — so it would be irresponsible to administer puberty-blocking medication.

    Alex’s mother saw a therapist; the therapist couldn’t find anything wrong (with her, the mother).

    But Alex’ new nurse (caseworker?) from the Youth Welfare Office believes the father. She, the father, or both (it’s not entirely clear) believe(s) Alex is suicidal, needs to be institutionalised, and shouldn’t get hormones. He/she/they hope(s) puberty will make Alex want to be a boy. No more girl stuff, exposure to football (soccer) and cars, a foster family away from the mother.

    Prof Rauchfleisch thinks this kind of treatment would be harmful rubbish.

    Even though there are no professional opinions, the Youth Welfare Office got the Amtsgericht (local/county/district/magistrates court) to decide in favour of having Alex committed. Alex’ mother is shocked at the decision. The case is now before the superior Court of Justice, but the Youth Welfare Office seeks a preliminary injunction to have Alex committed right away.

    Dr Klaus Beier is an expert on treating Paedophilia and Child Pornographers, and does much of his work with Catholic Priests.

    He learnt all he knows about Transsexuality 30 years ago. So far, we’ve been unable to find a child who’s been through his reparative therapy who hasn’t been permanently institutionalised, or hasn’t been released (never to the parents, they never see them again) and immediately completed suicide.

    The case is going before the courts now.

  • ken

    I’m reposting this in case you had missed it due to it being moderated.

    David Pickup# ~ Jan 29, 2012 at 2:43 am

    ” “Also, aren’t homosexuals undergoing RT quite a small population of homosexuals, as a whole; and, are they a true representative sample of the larger community?

    I’m honestly not sure what you are asking by the last part of your question. ”

    She is asking: how can you make generalizations about ALL homosexuals based on a small, non-random percentage of them?

    “Nicolosi’s book, “Shame and Attachment Loss.” It’s all there and is profoundly compelling (in my opinion).”

    I’m very familiar with Nicolosi’s theories. they are based primarily on work from Freud’s time and frankly very out-dated. Nicolosi’s theories are not based on sound science, but rather unscientific observations of a very biased sample.

    Regarding change within your client base. It sounds like predominantly what has changed thru therapy is how the client feels about himself. he feels better about himself (which is a very good outcome), however, that is NOT a change in orientation. You did state:

    “Some move on to erotic love for women.”

    Can you tell me what percentage of your clients this is true for? (even ballpark estimate would be good).

    With regards to your clients I like to ask how they could be characterized (normally I’d leave this open ended, but given the lag time between question/response I’d like to give a list of attributes and have you see how many apply to your clients):

    gender atypical (i.e. somewhat to very effeminate)

    history of substance abuse

    many anonymous/casual sexual encounters (perhaps even enough to be considered sexual addiction)

    history of sexual/physical abuse

    history of depression and/or suicidal thoughts

    low self-esteem

    any other common attributes you may have noticed?

    If any of above attributes do apply to your clients, could you assign (ballpark) percentages to them? (ex. 70% of your patients report many anonymous/casual sexual encounters)

    ” “Exodus has been around for nearly 40 years now. Have you ever spoke out against their methods before?”

    I really don’t know what you mean exactly by “spoke out.” ”

    I mean have you ever written something previously about Exodus’ practices in the past?

    ” “Again, can you cite any of this strong scientific evidence that change in sexual orientation is possible?”

    Sure…see the Yarhouse/Jones study on change, and the Robert Spitzer study. ”

    While both of these studies suggest change may be possible, they also say it is very rare. Neither of them claim that these rare cases occurred due to any theraputic intervention, which quite frankly is what the “gay organizations, educational institutions, and psychological associations” mean when they say there is no significant evidence that change is possible (i.e. via theraputic intervention). although, I would agree it would be better for them to say that “change in sexual orientation is highly unlikely” (and some do say that).

  • Pingback: Box Turtle Bulletin » Exodus 2012, Part 1: Then vs. Now, Or What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been

  • Lucas

    Warren,

    I have been refreshed by your honest critique of reparative therapy, but equally troubled in this article at the sometimes dismissal of those who have been legitimately helped by it. If something has helped someone live the life they want to with greater peace, isn’t that good enough? I think maybe both the definition of what it means to have experienced change and the definition of what it means to be SSA are far too rigid in the first place and cause a problem in the discussion on both sides.

    Perhaps Exodus is learning to be “less dogmatic” and consider complete orientation change less of a necessity, but this shouldn’t be to the dismissal of those who have been profoundly assisted by reparative therapy. My own experience has been more subtle and over a longer period of time than some associated with Narth would have you believe, but much more successful than Alan Chambers recent statement would suggest.

    Generally I want to commend your efforts to keep various sides of the argument accountable in an effort to see that truth isn’t sacrificed in the midst of socio-politics.

    Best Regards,

    Lucas


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