You’re right, there could be some overlap between AACC and NARTH, and let’s just assume that the beliefs around the etiology of homosexuality espoused by NARTH and AACC are not mainstream (although I am not convinced this is true) – does that mean their opinions don’t count or that their voices should not be heard?What about the value of diversity that universities supposedly hold in such high regard?
Meanwhile, he discussed with me that his group is not interested in converting the entire homosexual world to heterosexuality — only those with unwanted same-sex attraction.
He also feels there is a legitimate place for conversion therapy.
After sharing a draft of his report with me, here is how our e-mail chat unfolded: In your research at Virginia’s universities, you often encountered counselors who believe that conversion therapy, as you just mentioned, or any sort of sexual orientation change effort (SOCE) is not a viable option.
How can you convince them that sexuality change is possible for some people?
Often times, the issues that clients work through include painful trauma from the same gender (parent/peers) such as rejection, not feeling wanted, not fitting in, bullying, and feeling inferior because of their gender non-confirming behavior and interests.
When clients work through those issues in therapy and experience acceptance and intimacy in non-sexual relationships with heterosexual friends (males with males/females with females), the desire for sex with the same gender gradually decreases as they begin to understand what they are really looking for, emotional connection with the same gender, not sex.
But your report discusses the statements often made by LGBTQ counselors that this therapy is discouraged by many mainstream mental health organizations such as the American Psychological Association (APA).
All of these so-called “mainstream” mental health organizations have committees within them that make policy recommendations for sexual minorities, which are typically composed of individuals that are LGBT.
Our goal is not to change gays, but to offer an alternative for those who believe they are inherently heterosexual and experience unwanted homosexual feelings.
So if SOCE is not “brainwashing” or “praying away the gay,” what is it?
To understand what SOCE therapy is, you must first understand the meaning of sex.