Thursday, August 6, 2009

"Let not sin therefore reign..."

The WORLD Magazine blog notes an aspect of the new American Psychological Association task force report that hasn't been emphasized in most news reporting:
The AP, for instance, leads with the part that says psychologists shouldn’t tell gays they can become straight. And the WSJ notes the “striking departure” from past policy: the APA also said that it’s ethical and even beneficial for psychologists to help people who don’t want to practice the homosexual lifestyle, by helping them construct an identity that puts their sexuality to the side. Therapist Warren Throckmorton practices this, telling his clients who are struggling with homosexual attraction that they are not insane or mentally ill, that he can’t make them straight, but that they can also choose not to practice the homosexual lifestyle.
It isn't orientation that is sinful but behavior. There is always a choice about how to act — and that is true irrespective of sexual orientation.

From the Wall Street Journal article:
....[I]n a striking departure, the American Psychological Association said Wednesday that it is ethical and can be beneficial for counselors to help some clients reject gay or lesbian attractions. ....

According to new APA guidelines, the therapist must make clear that homosexuality doesn't signal a mental or emotional disorder. The counselor must advise clients that gay men and women can lead happy and healthy lives, and emphasize that there is no evidence therapy can change sexual orientation.

But if the client still believes that affirming his same-sex attractions would be sinful or destructive to his faith, psychologists can help him construct an identity that rejects the power of those attractions, the APA says. That might require living celibately, learning to deflect sexual impulses or framing a life of struggle as an opportunity to grow closer to God. ....

The new approach allowing therapists to help clients transcend their sexual orientation was developed by an APA task force of six academics and counselors, some active in gay-rights causes, and endorsed by the group's governing body. Their original mandate was to respond to the growing visibility of sexual orientation "change therapists" who claim it is possible to alter arousal patterns. The task force reviewed scientific literature on change therapy and found no evidence it worked.

But the task force also gained an appreciation for the pain some men and women feel in trying to reconcile their sexual attractions with their faith. There are gay-affirming churches. But the task force acknowledged that for those from conservative faiths, affirming a gay identity could feel very much like renouncing their religious identity. .... [more]
WORLD Magazine | Community | Blog Archive | APA: Psychologists can help gays reject gay lifestyle, A New Therapy on Faith and Sexual Identity -

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