Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reparative Therapy

I've had several discussions recently with MoHos curious about Reparative Therapy. This is a controversial topic, to be sure, with a lot of claims made by all sides about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of reparative programs, the research supposedly supporting such claims, etc. etc.  Early on in my process of coming out I was actually interested in these kinds of programs, but my Stake President told me flat out not to pursue them, so I never did. Over the years I've talked to people who have tried reparative therapy, but they were always brief commentaries - I've never gotten an in-depth account of their experiences. So I was wondering if any here in the Blogsphere would like to share their first-hand accounts? I'm particularly curious about one called "Journey Into Manhood", which evidently is a week-end type retreat and is very secretive about their process, and even requires you to sign a non-disclosure contract! 

To me, any validity in these programs would have to be the successes they generate. I'm not interested in the claims of those who sponsor the programs, since they have financial motivations. The proof is in the experiences of the participants. So, if you've tried one of these programs, please share your story with us - positive or negative. Enquiring minds want to know.  :)

4 comments:

James said...

I did some reparative therarpy through LDS Family Services and it wasn't a negative experience, though it wasn't helpful so far as "curing" my attraction to men either. I did so voluntarily hoping to get rid of my homosexuality altogether and become straight, which was a complete failure in that regard.

The approach my counselor used was a variation on the "father wound" hypothesis from Journey into Manhood. It sounded logical to me at the time so I bought into it. They discussed how these basic desires for male-male relationships (ie: father) were lacking and they become sexualised as we go through puberty sometimes if still lacking at that point. Now I'll preface that by saying that in my case it made good sense to me because I grew up without a father and no male siblings.

As I progressed through my 3 months of weekly sessions however, I made better platonic male-male relationships but it didn't curb in any way my desire to *be* with another man. Ironically I felt like the approach of the therapy was a good one, because it did help me form fulfilling relationships with other guys, so in that respect it was successful. However, the logic did not carry over into solving the "problem" of homosexuality. I use quotes because I no longer feel that it's a problem.

Anyway, so in my personal opinion reparative therapy is a hoax, but a well-intended one. It wasn't a horrible experience for me, but it didn't help either.

Neal said...

James,

Thanks so much for your personal account. This is exactly what I was hoping for.

I think its interesting that you benefited from the program, but not in the ways the program claimed you would. I had another MoHo tell me essentially the same thing. It helped him get in touch with his feelings and sort things out, but did nothing to "cure" him of his homosexuality.

JonJon said...

I'd say my experience is similar to James. I participated in an Evergreen group several years ago and It wasn't awful. I think it helped me develop better relationships with men but it certainly didn't get rid of the attraction. It might have hindered me from really connecting with and accepting myself. Overall, I think there are some good things that can come from it, but I think it's a little misguided in what people believe it can accomplish.

Neal said...

JonJon,

Thanks for the comments. So far there seems to be common thread in the experiences of people I know - it wasn't awful, but it did not accomplish "the goal".