A NEW THERAPY ON FAITH AND SEXUAL IDENTITY .
For years there has been a serious wall erected by the American Psychological Association and other groups, insisting (based upon what many consider questionable science, or soft science, or just plain anecdotal evidence) that sexual orientation is fixed and unalterable. The direction this position tended to take was to tell people who are struggling with being homosexual that there was and should be no way to change, and that gays should embrace their identity.
This provoked a lot of conflict within some people vis a vis their faith. If the shrinks were right, did this mean their faith teachings were wrong? For many, this was the conclusion they came to, and then went about reshaping their doctrinal positions to accomodate the teachings of the psychologists and psychiatrists and gay activists. For others, the conflict just kept getting deeper, with many men and women unable to reconcile their sexual feelings with their beliefs.
To the credit of the association, there are new APA guidelines that have amended the longstanding practices of counselors somewhat. It came about as a result of a task force, initially formed to respond to the increasing numbers of "change therapists" out there--presumably mostly Christian--who were claiming that arousal patterns could be changed. The article goes on:
The new guidelines aren't without many glass walls.
"But the task force also gained an appreciaiton for the pain some men and women feel in trying to reconcile their sexual attractions with their faith...The task force acknowledged that for those from conservative faiths, affirming a gay identity could feel very much like renouncing their religious identity..."
"...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.Well. Progress. Gay rights activists aren't necessarily thrilled about the new guidelines. Some call them incredibly misguided, likely to cause great suffering. They make statements like, "People have their lives destroyed." I personally think too many experts are telling too many people they are having their lives destroyed, usually because these poor sops aren't lining up behind the experts' agendas. These people also don't understand the import of faith, and how faith shapes lives.
"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."