‘Gay conversion therapy does not work’ – Really?

Jan 3, 2022 by

by Lisa Nolland, Christian Today:

Conventional wisdom claims this therapy is neither beneficent nor effective. Examples include ‘corrective’ rape; ‘ice baths’; heterosexual pornography; being exorcised and offered simplistic solutions to complex psychosexual problems.

Given space constraints, this article focuses on four key points.

What constitutes ‘therapy’?

First, some ‘therapy’ is not remotely therapeutic (see above). But there is more.

Research on ‘therapy’, such as Jones and Yarhouse’s 2007 path-breaking study, Ex-Gays? included ‘religiously-mediated’ practices like prayer and support.

Though valuable, these are not ‘therapy’! However in surveys on ‘therapy’, outcomes from ‘religiously-mediated’ practices have frequently been included.

Pastoral prayer and a chat are praiseworthy but hardly on par with the most sophisticated psychological expertise.

Research on positive therapeutic outcomes

Two recent studies actually support sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), the first being the research of Sullins, Rosik and Santero in their paper, ‘Efficacy and risk of sexual orientation change efforts: a retrospective analysis of 125 exposed men’.

Though broad generalizations were cautioned against, SOCE ‘was perceived as an effective and safe therapeutic practice by this sample of participants’.

The second piece of research can be found in the Journal of Human Sexuality issue 12 – Pela and Sutton’s study, ‘Sexual Attraction Fluidity and Well-Being in Men: A Therapeutic Outcome Study’.

They concluded, ‘Exploring sexual attraction fluidity in therapy [SAFE-T] can be effective, beneficial, and not harmful.’

Moreover, ‘these findings are consistent with almost a century of clinical reports and qualitative and retrospective studies which document that SAFE-T has been successful in helping patients or clients to intentionally diminish SSAE [Same Sex Attraction Experiences] and develop or increase OSAE [Opposite Sex Attraction Experiences] in a beneficent and non-maleficent manner.’

Read here


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