Debunking a Fallacy: New Study Shows Therapy for Undesired Same-sex Attraction “Can Be Effective, Beneficial, and Not Harmful”

Nov 6, 2021 by

by Andre Van Mol, MD, Christian Medical & Dental Associations:

Ideology-driven legislative initiatives are underway to ban therapeutic choice—“conversion therapy” being the provocative, pejorative and ill-defined colloquial term used as a jamming tactic—in the U.S. and internationally for people with undesired same-sex attraction or levels thereof. Carolyn Pela and Philip Sutton have delivered a very welcome contribution in the form of a stringent study answering criticisms levied against what is more properly termed SAFE-T (sexual attraction fluidity exploration in therapy), SOCE (sexual orientation change efforts) or change-allowing therapy. The foundational requirement for such therapy—and for talk-therapy of any kind for any patient complaint—is a willing, motivated and self-directed client. Involuntary therapy is failed therapy, no matter the problem.

Pela and Sutton’s “Sexual Attraction Fluidity and Well-being in Men: A Therapeutic Outcome Study” appears in the Journal of Human Sexuality.[1] It is described thusly, “Using a quasi-experimental, single-group, longitudinal, repeated measures design, the study evaluates the fluidity of opposite-sex attraction experiences (OSAE), same-sex attraction experiences (SSAE), sexual attraction identity (SAI), and well-being in 75 male adult psychotherapy clients.” The authors provide details on scales, questionnaires, metrics and methods, but the gist is this: “A linear mixed model was used to analyze the SSAE, OSAE, and SAI data obtained at baseline, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months, with results showing statistically significant fluidity of all three factors.”

The study specifically used Reintegrative Therapy™ as their method, described as “a specific combination of evidence-based, mainstream treatment interventions for trauma and addiction. RT includes the use of EMDR and mindful self-compassion, emphasizing client autonomy and self-determination and is supportive of SAFE-T.”

Their participants tended to be: “18–35 years old (52%), Roman Catholic (57%), religious (75% attended church once or more per week), and White (83%).” Also, 92% of participants desired to explore sexual attraction fluidity and claimed motivation of “either religious reasons (30%) or a desire to pursue a traditional marriage (37%).”

Results were impressive: “SSAE decreased, OSAE increased, and SAI moved toward heterosexual identity.” Data also “revealed a clinically and statistically significant improvement in well-being.” “Overall, the results of this study document that exploring sexual attraction fluidity in therapy can be effective, beneficial, and not harmful.”

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