Beyond the Smokescreen: Helping Homosexuals Change

j0422122Since protests, demonstrations and incessant harassment by homosexual activists motivated the American Psychological association in 1973 to modify it’s position on homosexuality, the APA has embraced several claims regarding homosexuality:

1. There is no conclusive or convincing evidence that sexual orientation may be changed through reorientation therapy.

2. Efforts to change sexual orientation are shown to be harmful and can lead to greater self-hatred, depression and other self-destructive behaviors.

3. There is no greater pathology in the homosexual population than in the general population.

Given the human capacity for self-delusion, if alcoholics decided to rise up and demand their “rights,” to demand that they are “just as good as everybody else,” and demanded that the medical community stop viewing alcoholism as a disorder, what might be the resulting medical “finding”?

1. There is no conclusive or convincing evidence that alcoholism may be changed through rehabilitation therapy.

2. Efforts to change alcoholism are shown to be harmful and can lead to greater self-hatred, depression and other self-destructive behaviors.

3. There is no greater pathology in the alcoholic population than in the general population.

After all, many of the dynamics, thought processes and behaviors of homosexuality are very similar to those of alcoholism and other self-destructive behavioral patterns. Rehabilitation efforts for alcoholics (and drug abusers) often involve periods of great depression as the subject can no longer rely on the behavior which gave them comfort. Facing responsibility for their alcoholism can lead to periods of self-hatred and loathing, and can even lead to more dangerous relapses later on.

Also, given that the recovery rate for former homosexuals is better than that than that of alcoholics or drug users, the case could easily made that “There is no conclusive or convincing evidence that alcoholism may be changed through rehabilitation therapy.”

And since many homosexual activists (and even many in the medical community) are so adept at ignoring the tremendous health risks associated with homosexual behavior, it should be at least as easy to ignore pathologies allegedly related to alcoholism.

It would be insane to make such assertions regarding drug and alcohol use, wouldn’t it?

Perhaps that is why the APA is beginning to face the music and modify its pro-homosexual stance even if only slightly.

In March the APA published an updated brochure on homosexuality. While the previous information put out by the APA had referred to biology and genetic causes of homosexuality (even though no such evidence existed), this one took a notably less sure tone about allegedly biological causes of homosexuality:

…no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles…

The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality recently reviewed 125 years of reports by clinicians, researchers, and former clients and found that reorientation therapy has been beneficial for those who want it.

Like anything designed to help a person, the subject has to want to change before help can prove beneficial.  But not wanting to change in no way invalidates the benefit of help for those who do want to change.

You can read more about this historic study here.

26 Responses to “Beyond the Smokescreen: Helping Homosexuals Change”

  1. Amazing to see the blatantly false claims “officially” embraced by “experts.” Goes to show how much you can trust some of those “official” positions, huh?

    Homosexuality is not normal or healthy. Period. Those who recognize this are simply acknowledging reality — factual, checkable reality. Accusing them of “bigotry” or “hatefulness” does nothing to counter that reality.

    The more gay people come to acknowledge the reality of their position, the better. Those who try instead to change the rest of the world to fit their dysfunction will ultimately benefit no one, least of all themselves.

  2. The truth is that no one can claim exactly why some humans exhibit homosexual behavoir. Three factors have been identified-biologic, psychologic and social influences- and which one of these is the predominant explaination has never been proven. Is it a combination of all three or just one or largely one with the others slightly influencing behavior-we dont know. Various studies, including the NARTH study have been done with varying results. The NARTH study looked at past studies and concluded that some homosexuals could attain conversion to heteosexual life. The study could not say how successful conversion theray is, because some studies showed it useless while others showed a certain percentage could change. So all they could conclude was that there are some studies that have shown that some people benefit from conversion therapy.

    The problem with all these studies is that regardless of what they found, there was no long term follow up to see if the benefit was lasting, which is the tell-tell sign of whether something is successful. Therefore none were valid. The only way to know if conversion therapy works is to do a prospective study, not a retrospective study, and follow the individuals for years. Until that is done, neither side can claim they know if homosexuality is biologic,psychologic or socially influenced and amenable to therapy.

    Certainly if a person wants to engage in conversion therapy, that is their right. But as is the case for all therapies that dont have long term data that prove they are effective,ineffective or neutral in efficacy, great care must be undertaken.

  3. This study may not have put a figure on the success rate for repairative therapy, but I've seen others which show the success rate much higher than that for drunks and drug addicts.

    Like any unnatural and self-destructive behavior, it's a matter of wanting to change. If you don't strongly want to change, you won't.

    But the contention that change is not possible, or even harmful, is absurd. It's a cop out employed by those who don't want to change in order to make themselves feel better about their poor choice.

  4. Dr. Rutledge, your assessment could equally apply to obsessive/compulsive disorders. Would you advise O/C patients similarly?

  5. dr theo As you know O/D disorders come in a variety of packages and some do respond to psychotrophic meds, but I believe psychotherapy , behavior modification in particular, is the best tool to combat it. Sometimes a multipronged approach with medication and 'repairative therapy' if you will, seems to give the best results in some.

  6. You are correct about about the treatment regimen, but is it treatment of the disorder or simply amelioration of symptoms? I contend further that most O/C patients (except the mildest cases) need to take drugs for effective control of their condition, usually for life. Perhaps we should be looking for a drug to “treat” homosexuality. But I don't think the homosexual gestapo would approve of that.

    The only difference between O/C disorders and homosexuality in this discussion is drug therapy; take that out and we are dealing with virtually the same problems of diagnosis and treatment, and what Mr. Ellis has said is true for both:

    “Like any unnatural and self-destructive behavior, it's a matter of wanting to change. If you don't strongly want to change, you won't.

    “But the contention that change is not possible, or even harmful, is absurd. It's a cop out employed by those who don't want to change in order to make themselves feel better about their poor choice.”

    Of course, if you have decided 'a priori' that homosexuality is a normal, proper, safe and emotionally fulfilling lifestyle, then my arguments are pure foolishness.

  7. I don’t think it is as black and white as you suggest. I agree with what I think you were trying to say in your very last sentence that if your not willing to change, then you won’t and saying this change could even be harmful is rationalizing your behavior.

    But you are clearly wrong when you say any unnatural or self-destructive behavior ,if you just want it to, can be changed. In other words, change can not occur unless you want it to, but wanting it to-no matter how much or sincerely-doesn’t guarantee change as you suggested with self-destructive behavior. Severe depreesion, bi-polar illness,paranoia will not change with simply ‘want to’. Chemicals must be used, because they are biologic, chemical illnesses.Is there a biologic process associated with homosexuality-we dont know.

    Which brings me back to my point. No one has shown that homosexuality is or isnt a purely biologic or purely psychologic phenomena( or a percentage combination).We do know that some have changed through repairative therapy. But when you say that ALL someone has to do ‘is really want to change’, is that some gut feeling you have or do you have knowledge or evidence that proves it.No one else seems to.

  8. It's far more black and white than you care to face. “Black and white” means “right and wrong” and those are choices many people don't like to make…because the right choice often involves sacrifice and hard work, and the wrong choice often involves stigma and guilt…and to avoid both, people want to believe in “gray areas.” There are a few gray areas out there…but they are few.

    While there are issues in brain chemistry associated with mental and emotional problems, these often involve “cart before the horse” misunderstandings of the causes and remedies. We cause many of our own problems by our moral choices; bad moral choices can lead to guilt, which in turn can lead to depression, which over long periods of time can lead to even more mental and emotional problems, even an alteration of brain chemistry. Sometimes our reactions to trauma do the same thing, and in such cases the fault may not be totally our own.

    Some people encounter trauma, disappointments and adversity while maintaining a positive outlook; others let it get to them temporarily, and still others allow it to plunge them into a prison of despondency. Some people can experience long periods of depression, but when they make their minds up they've had enough, can pull out of it with no assistance from drugs or therapy; I've been there and done that myself.

    And back to your original point, while we have not and perhaps can never conclusively prove homosexuality has no biological influence (just as we may never prove there is no extra-terrestrial life), there is no evidence at all (other than “wishful thinking,” if you count that as “evidence”) that can excuse this immoral and unhealthy behavior. Meanwhile, the best evidence we have–which is considerable–points to relational and environmental causation.

    Ultimately, we are human beings, created with an intellect, self-awareness, a moral conscience, and a free will. We can overcome virtually any adversity, if we only want to bad enough.

    As a sidenote, I find it interesting, as Dr. Theo pointed out, that you're willing to accept the appropriateness of treatment–both drug and behavioral–for O/C which is obviously a disorder, but not for homosexual behavior, which, in all objectivity, is also obviously a disorder.

  9. I dont consider homosexuality as a normal, proper and safe lifestyle, but that could be said of many heterosexuals as well. I dont think that is the issue being discussed because now we are getting into morality which the NARTH study didnt address. My interest is whether or not there is a biologic, genetic or purely psychologic basis for it. Until we know that and we may never know, then no one can claim to know that it is a psychologic problem in toto and make a truthful claim that its simply a matter of ‘ wanting to change ‘ Yes it would be great if there were a pill for it, because I believe most would try it

  10. The bulk of the heterosexual behavior and lifestyle is not abnormal, improper or unsafe, but a mountain of data points to the fact that homosexual behavior is.

    It's also misleading to try to pretend the moral issues associated with homosexual behavior; they are a major and legitimate aspect of the entire issue. It's not the primary focus of this article, true, but it would be improper to go out of the way to attempt to minimize it.

    But strictly speaking to the biological/psychological aspect of the disorder (and it is clearly a disorder, since only 2.9% of the population practices it; the “order” is heterosexual behavior, as both the behavioral norm and the obvious biological function indicate), there is a total absence of genetic evidence for homosexual behavior. There is also no definitive biological evidence pointing to a biological cause for the behavior; the typical protests that “this area of the brain is bigger/smaller” assume (yes, we're back to assumptions again) the biological feature dictates behavior, rather than a pattern of behavior dictating biological feature. We frequently see different parts of the brain working and developing more or less based on various habitual behaviors, and this line of reasoning could easily be getting the cart before the horse.

    Meanwhile, a long history of evidence points strongly to environmental and developmental causes; this comprises the body of the research NARTH reviewed.

    Me, I'll go with the better supported theory over the wild-eyed suppositional one every time, as will most reasonable people.

  11. “My interest is whether or not there is a biologic, genetic or purely
    psychologic basis for it. Until we know that and we may never know, then no
    one can claim to know that it is a psychologic problem in toto and make a
    truthful claim that its simply a matter of ' wanting to change. '”

    Once again we (almost) agree, Dr. Rutledge. (I'm going to have to be
    careful; I have a reputation to think about!) But, I still maintain that we
    could say the same about OCD, ADD, ADHD, bi-polar disease and a host of
    other diagnoses for which we know little of their etiologies or definitive
    treatments, yet make no attempt to accomodate the disorder or celebrate its
    sufferers.

  12. No, I am not confusing things. Medical or psychological problems in and of themselves are not right or wrong, but quite often behaviors can and do lead to these problems, and those behaviors are usually benign…or wrong.

    And I think Dr. Theo would agree that while not all psychological disorders are brought on my immoral behavior, habitual immoral behavior can end up fostering psychological problems.

    Having an impulse or temptation to engage in homosexual sex is not wrong, any more than to be tempted to drink, gamble, etc. is wrong. But to give in to that impulse is wrong; it is the action which is wrong, rather than the temptation or impulse.

    Someone with a psychological disorder may commit a murder. Their psychological disorder is not in and of itself immoral,but–contrary to modern “wisdom”–the murder they may commit as a result of not properly controlling their psychological disorder is immoral. Our court system may give them a free pass, but they are not ultimately free of moral culpability.

    People plagued by the disorder of homosexuality did not choose to have that disorder, but they can choose not to surrender to or embrace that disorientation. As an old preacher once said of sin and temptation, you can't stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from building a nest in your hair.

  13. Bob,

    I think you are confusing things. Medical or psychologic problems are not ‘ right or wrong’. You somehow want to make psychologic problems ‘ black or white’ in that the person could simply overcome them by sheer guts and true desire as you did with your depression.That is absurd because that premise would hold true for the manic, schizophrenic etc, that if they really wanted to, they could overcome it.That is why i say you tend to have this ‘black and white’ perception of psychologicproblems. I know you deeply abhor the black and white,right or wrong immorality of homosexual lifestyles, but that doesnt make the disease right or wrong. Diseases unto themselves dont have morals. What your implying is that psychologic disease is caused by immoral behavior. I believe dr theo will agree that even some depressions are refractory to all treatment irregardless of how badly the person wants to come out it no matter how moral they are

    I also agree that we cant excuse the behavior of homosexuals anymore than we can excuse the immoral or illegal behavior of a schizophrenic.

  14. dr theo

    I totally agree( and didnt understand what you were getting at) that while we dont understand the etiology of OCD, Mania etc , we ceratainly dont celebrate or accomodate these disorders in the way homosexuality is celebrated or accomodated. My only point is that medicine and medical diagnosis dont rely or depend on whether someone thinks a disease process, such as homosexuality, is moral or not

  15. Bob,

    You made an interesting comment that ' people plagued with the disorder of homosexuality, did not choose to have that disorder, but they can 'choose' not to surrender or embrace that disorientation'. We agree that homosexuality is a disorder, but isnt obsessive-compulsiveness a disorder as well. Your logic would then say that these obsessive-compulsive people then can simply “choose' not to engage in the repeticious thoughts and actions they are plagued by. We know that is not the case, so how can you with certainty say homosexual actionsare any different-that it is simply an issue of choice.

  16. If nothing else, because people have for thousands of years been choosing not to engage in homosexual behavior.

    Are you saying that OC people cannot modify their behavior?

  17. Your first sentence was a little opaque to me, because the thousands of people to whom you referred are mentally healthy and dont have to make that choice.Thats like saying for thousands of years people have chosen not to engage in obsessive-compulsive behavior

    And yes, people with OCD can modify their behavior, but they do it with psychotherapy, medications, behavior modification technigues that take years,vigilant work etc.They cant do it simply by choice as you seem to suggest is all the homosexual has to do.

    I would consider it a major medical breakthrough if we came up with a treatment regimen that was efficacious in treating the 2.9% of the population that has this problem.If repairment therapy-a terrible name- helps alleviate a certain percentage, then I am all for it. It must be done by professionals however, who are knowledgeable and able to recognize other problems should they develope.

  18. You must have completely missed what I was trying to tell you. The Bible tells us in the book of First Corinthians chapter 6 that people in the Corinthian church had once been drunks, swindlers, and homosexuals…but were not anymore.

    And today many people go through repairative therapy and successfully leave behind the homosexual lifestyle, and some do so through other means.

    Furthermore, if OC patients can modify their behavior why can't homosexuals? You agreed that they suffer from a disorder. Do you care more about OC patients, in that you want to help them get better, while writing off homosexuals in their disorder because of the pop-culture contention that “they can't change”?

    That certainly doesn't seem to be a compassionate response to disordered people to me.

  19. I must have misunderstood you, because I thought you were adhering to that old religious mantra that “By gosh if they just wanted it, they could 'choose' it away”. Research and studies like the NARTH project show that is a simple and sophomoric view of a complexed problem.

    Do I care more about OC patients? Am I not compassionate about their problem as you back handedly suggested? Do I play favorites? You truly have a lot to learn about Internists that don't discriminate on the basis of disease. Shame Bob.I believe I stated that any control or cure would be a major medical breakthrough and that I support and advocate repairative therapy if done by trained individuals.

  20. I think you see statements like those from NARTH as “simple and sophomoric” because they don't allow much room for avoiding responsibility for our own moral failures. Our culture runs from responsibility like it was the plague, so we're all used to pap that allows people to keep on doing what they're doing without feeling any responsibilty to change.

    I didn't mean to imply that you're not compassionate about OC patients. Rather, if you see the benefit of working with them through whatever therapy may help even a little, and you agree that homosexuality is also a disorder, I don't understand your reluctance to advocate therapy and change for homosexuals who want to change. Maybe it's just because I'm plain spoken, but you still don't seem ready to embrace the fact that homosexuals can change:

    I would consider it a major medical breakthrough if we came up with a treatment regimen that was efficacious in treating the 2.9% of the population that has this problem.If repairment therapy-a terrible name- helps alleviate a certain percentage, then I am all for it.

    Those treatments already exist (but like all treatments, they must be accepted and embraced by the patient before they can hope to succeed), and they have a better success rate than those for drunks and drug addicts. Why not simply state something to the effect that “I support the efforts of NARTH, Exodus and other repairative therapy groups to help those homosexuals who want to change”?

  21. I think you need to read what I say more carefully. I did not say that NARTH's statements were simple and sophomoric, but the opposite, that the NARTH study showed the solution for treating homosexuality is NOT simple. The NARTH study shows that the idea of just 'choosing' it away is sophomoric. Please reread what I said, slowly.

    Again, I said I do think it can be treated and I said I advocate reparative therapy if done in the right hands.Please read again. Why don't I simply say I support groups like NARTH and Exodus?That's the difference btween you, a non-physician, and me. As a doctor, I must refer or direct my patients to the best treatment available. It is incumbent upon me to know everything I can about that referral before I recommend it. Not read one or two articles, but to have a good grasp of what i am going to ask my patients to go through.I want to know if it is for profit, what the credentials are, who is it that I am reffering to, success rate if possible, treatment plan, comments from other docors and patients who have gone through the program etc. I certainly do this before I recommend an addiction treatment center I doubt you would feel the need to do this nor should you.I plan to look into my area and see whats available and then analyze it 'objectively'.

    I understand that you feel homosexuality is immoral and for that reason place it in such high order, but as a physician I take them as they come in to see me and give them all equal consideration

    But here is where I say we are different. You have decided to focus on the treatment issue of homosexuality and no others, which is your right. I focus on all psychologic problems without putting one on a different level than another. You feel so strongly about it that if others put it on the same plane as the other psychologic problems they see, you perceive that to mean that they or I diminish that therapy.

    I assure you that if someone walks in and wants help for their problem, be it homosexual or not,they will get full and equal effort on my part.

  22. Well, if that's what you mean, I guess I'll have to take you at your word, but you have a very roundabout, confusing way of getting to it.

  23. I think you need to read what I say more carefully. I did not say that NARTH's statements were simple and sophomoric, but the opposite, that the NARTH study showed the solution for treating homosexuality is NOT simple. The NARTH study shows that the idea of just 'choosing' it away is sophomoric. Please reread what I said, slowly.

    Again, I said I do think it can be treated and I said I advocate reparative therapy if done in the right hands.Please read again. Why don't I simply say I support groups like NARTH and Exodus?That's the difference btween you, a non-physician, and me. As a doctor, I must refer or direct my patients to the best treatment available. It is incumbent upon me to know everything I can about that referral before I recommend it. Not read one or two articles, but to have a good grasp of what i am going to ask my patients to go through.I want to know if it is for profit, what the credentials are, who is it that I am reffering to, success rate if possible, treatment plan, comments from other docors and patients who have gone through the program etc. I certainly do this before I recommend an addiction treatment center I doubt you would feel the need to do this nor should you.I plan to look into my area and see whats available and then analyze it 'objectively'.

    I understand that you feel homosexuality is immoral and for that reason place it in such high order, but as a physician I take them as they come in to see me and give them all equal consideration

    But here is where I say we are different. You have decided to focus on the treatment issue of homosexuality and no others, which is your right. I focus on all psychologic problems without putting one on a different level than another. You feel so strongly about it that if others put it on the same plane as the other psychologic problems they see, you perceive that to mean that they or I diminish that therapy.

    I assure you that if someone walks in and wants help for their problem, be it homosexual or not,they will get full and equal effort on my part.

  24. Well, if that's what you mean, I guess I'll have to take you at your word, but you have a very roundabout, confusing way of getting to it.