Continuing False Claims Against Reparative Therapy

So, Joseph Nicolosi died March 9, 2017. Dr. Nicolosi was a clinical psychologist practicing primarily in California and who is rightly considered the father of Reparative Therapy, a therapy designed to aid people in understanding and healing psychological wounds that result in, for them, unwanted same-sex sexual attraction.


Tom Usher

I won't go into what Reparative Therapy (RT) is but rather what it is not. That approach is to get right at the matter of false claims against RT.

RT does not advocate or condone the use of aversion therapy, torture, or coercion of any kind, ever. Dr. Nicolosi repeatedly wrote that and stated it openly.

It is critically important to say this because various media entities and individuals falsely lump RT in with quite outdated coercive practices. They often do this by focusing exclusively on the negatives of extreme coercion while giving RT and other non-coercive therapies any credit whatsoever for documented successes. They deliberately leave the reader/viewer with the false impression that RT tortures people, which couldn't be further from the truth.

Authentic RT practitioners tell parents of a child with same-sex attraction that they, the practitioners, will not treat any such child if the child is coerced into it in any manner. The practitioners will also stop the therapy if the child wants to stop.

The painting of RT practitioners as monsters for doing such work is itself a monstrous injustice and horrible mischaracterization.

My friend, Jeremy Schwab (I've not met him directly but have communicated with him quite a bit), knew the doctor very well. It was from Jeremy that I learned that ABC did a story on RT represented as follows:

Reparative Therapy Exposé on ABC's 20/20
Hosted by Susan Cottrell and Robert Cottrell
Friday, March 10 at 9 PM - 10 PM CST

I didn't see it. From the conversation among RT adherents, I clearly gathered that RT was cast in a negative light by 20/20 via 20/20 lumping RT in with negative practices (practices not used by or advocated by but rather condemned by RT). If that is in fact what happened, the method employed was condemnation by both omission and misdirection.

Because RT is anti-coercion, its practitioners and other adherents tend to be the opposite of aggressively assertive. Meanwhile, those opposed to anyone having the right to choose such non-coercive therapy are often (but not always) quite aggressive, pushy, and the like.

In reading about this recent issue surrounding the doctor's death, I read a private comment that impressed me by getting right at the heart of the matter and done so by one writing with firsthand experience. It so impressed me that I asked him for permission to quote his entire comment. He not only agreed but also agreed that I attribute it to him. Here it is.

[The person's name to whom the comment is responding], having participated in JiM myself, and having come out of it (1) feeling nothing but wonderful about myself, (2) having complete shame abandonment, and a feeling of not being alone, (3) having seen a mega-boost in my confidence and self-actualization in the world of men, (4) feeling empowered to pursue my goals in life, (5) recognizing more deeply my own right to self-determination, and, most significantly, (6) having been instilled with NO illwill or negative feelings towards the greater LGBT community or the Pride movement (a few coparticipants in my JiM are now happily living as "out" and partnered gay men), I have a REAL PROBLEM with this narrative that the leftist media, upheld by LGBT, Inc., are trying to assert. Do you realize that Pres. Obama tried to make it illegal for me and other men to have the experience I had at JiM? Do you realize that candidate Clinton made it a point of her campaign platform to outlaw what Jeremy, I, and hundreds of men have done with our own lives, of our own free will?

I have a REAL PROBLEM with the greater gay community trying to make criminals of a small subgroup within their ranks which they find inconvenient to the goals of the perceived majority. This is the very draconian form of governance they say they are trying to escape, yet they are turning from persecuted to persecuter.

Now, just as with the Syrian refugee crisis (which I was alarmed about back in 2013, way before it became cool to care about it), immigration (which I have cared about in a comprehensive way since I became an adult, and long before it became cool during Trump's incendiary campaign), and other issues, I get that there is a bandwagon propaganda campaign against so-called reparative therapy. It's easy to jump onboard assuming it's the right thing, because everyone else is. However, someday I hope people wake up to what they are trying to do to people like me, Jeremy, and many other great men. (Did you read the hate comments Jeremy posted?)

Now, as in the ENTIRE WORLD OF PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCOLOGISTS, there has been trial and error, mistakes as adjustments over the years. And much hinges on the individual "patient," including personal goals and self-determination. However, you cannot criminalize everyone just because you can find one botched case. We don't do this in medicine, engineering, education, and so forth. Totally unfair propaganda happening here from ABC [et al]. One day people will recognize it in horror. [~ Michael Turnblom]

Thank you, Michael. Thank you also, Jeremy, for doing what you do to prevent misguided people from blocking others exercising their God-given right to choose to diminish and even leave behind ways of behaving and ways of thinking they don't want.

I've seen it often expressed that the "LGBT community" acts as if it's a one-way street. People can experiment with and adapt all sorts of sexual behaviors and thoughts but cannot be allowed the reverse: to reject them and change accordingly in heart, mind, body, and soul. Imagine if society held that view concerning all things. A person could be abused into angry reactions at the drop of a hat but could never be allowed to learn to undo that conditioning so as to become less and even nonreactive in the face of what would otherwise trigger inappropriate, excessive, even dangerous anger. Imagine no possibility of rehabilitation for any criminals.

As an aside, don't be fooled by LGBT people acting righteously offended at their behavior and desires being equated with inappropriate angry and/or criminalized behavior. I'm not making a statement concerning equality of behavior. Criminals' behaviors vary greatly concerning severity, yet I'm speaking about all crimes. I'm speaking in general terms to make a point. The analogy of circumstances is valid. The issue is with change and not a state concerning the degree of rightness or wrongness of the given behavior. Murder is worse than stealing a loaf of bread. Sometimes it isn't even wrong to take a loaf of bread. Sometimes the crime is withholding the bread. Regardless, both murder and thief have a right to repent and change.

Back to the point, RT opposes coercion while many LGBT activists definitely support coercion to prevent free choice concerning people leaving LGBT behind. If you don't see how profoundly wrong that coercion is, what's blocking you?

Lastly, let me leave you with this thought. Many people, especially boys, are exclusively heterosexual but are homosexually molested, abused, and in some cases, forcibly raped. The impact results in unwanted same-sex attraction. They are usually quite confused by this, understandably so. The LGBT community (almost monolithically) is responsible for making it illegal for any such young people from receiving any licensed professional help to diminish or eliminate that resulting unwanted same-sex attraction. I call that barbaric.

What is extremely sad is the legions of LGBT-community supporters who deliberately ignore it. It's part and parcel of what's wrong with the whole intersectionality concept.

I wrote elsewhere yesterday as follows:

I want to be on record as saying quite emphatically that intersectionality is a completely erroneous "concept often used in critical theories to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another." Of course they can, are, and should be when appropriate, which is definitely the case in my case for example.

The terms are typically left woefully ill- or undefined. People engaged in exercising this intersectionality typically refuse to even entertain any discussion as to the merits of the sweeping, overreaching concept.

It's ironic that they consider themselves liberals when their behavior is extremely intolerant, irrational, and anti-intellectual. It's identity politics run amok. It's all or nothing. You completely agree or are shunned without due process. It's ironic because those who usually call themselves conservative are often more apt to debate in detail any and all aspects of any of the subjects. There are, as suggested, exceptions. I've been banned by many conservative and liberal websites and groups for being too detail oriented and too demanding and intellectually challenging. Rigor is not the forte of many.

Now, there is a comment section below. Be advised, this is not a forum for stupid, immature, profane, thoughtless, quippy comments. It is not a forum where anyone will be allowed to attack rather than intelligently discuss the subject matter. If you are an LGBT activist imagining you can hit and run or troll, think again. Honest debate is welcomed and encouraged. Dishonest approaches are not. They will be deleted. Also, once you've had your say, don't expect to be allowed to beat it to death.

Such rules are fair. If I were to run into them elsewhere, I would adhere and not be offended.

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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