Mr. Jo Colman Mr. John Thomas
CEO Vice President, Publisher
Psychology Today Psychology Today
115 E. 23rd St., 9th Floor 115 E. 23rd St., 9th Floor
New York, NY 10010 New York, NY 10010
March 18, 2015
Re: Removal of Sexual Orientation Change Effort (SOCE) Therapists on Psychology Today Website
Dear Mr. Colman and Mr. Thomas,
I was really disappointed to read that Psychology Today has developed a policy to exclude licensed mental health practitioners to advertise in your publication if their practice involves helping people like myself who have benefitted greatly from Sexual Orientation Change Effort (SOCE) therapy.
When gay activists originally demanded that you remove clinicians who advertise SOCE services from your publication, Mr. Charles Frank released the following statement: “We take care not to sit in judgment of others by allowing or denying individual participation.”But then, he quickly changed course and abandoned your non-judgmental position, capitulating to the bullying and intimidation of gay activists. While you are entitled to ignore the qualified practitioners who offer SOCE therapy, you cannot ignore the countless individuals who experience unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA) and seek change.
There are thousands of men and women like myself who experience unwanted SSA and choose a different path than the modern “gay” identity and life. For some, this decision involves their sincerely held religious and moral beliefs, for others, it is due to discovering that the “gay” construct simply does not work for them. I was one of those individuals.
At one point in my life, I identified as “gay” and pursued homosexual relationships for many years before realizing this identity and life was never going to make me happy. I then, out of my own free will, contacted Dr. Joseph Nicolosi and entered into Reparative Therapy from the years of 2009-2011. As a result of this therapy, every aspect of my life changed for the better. I am happier now more than ever.
For me, it was never about “curing” myself of every single sexual desire I find objectionable. It is about healing and wholeness, as well as living in congruity with who I believe I am. I found that healing wounds from childhood and adolescence made homosexual behavior much less compelling.
Even if you believe homosexual behavior to be healthy, surely you can see how healing emotional wounds and building self-image and self-worth is always a positive thing, regardless of your value and belief system. Reparative Therapy helped me reach a deep and lasting sense of congruity and wholeness, and I am forever thankful for those clinicians who offer this to clients.
That is why it saddens me to see Psychology Today abandon a bedrock principle of the mental health field, the right self-determination for the client. By removing clinicians who provide alternative treatments to gay-affirming therapy, you are essentially telling all of us that our goals are illegitimate and that all clients who experience conflicts over their homosexual feelings must accept the modern “gay” identity construct.
It troubles me that some gay activists see my choice as a threat to their own livelihood, and have chosen to provide misleading information to persuade you to believe that SOCE therapy is “potentially harmful.” This claim first appeared in a statement by the 2009 American Psychological Association’s (APA) “Task Force Report on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation.” The report simply repeated the same general disclaimer used for ALL therapeutic modalities, that they “COULD cause harm.”
However, there is no credible scientific evidence to prove that anyone has ever been harmed by Reparative Therapy or SOCE therapy, and the seven member panel of this report consisted of six openly gay therapists and one heterosexual who is an outspoken advocate for homosexuality. None of the seven ever practiced SOCE therapy, and in fact, had gone on the record as opposing SOCE therapy before the Task Force Report was ever written. The fact that they have been given any credibility on this subject is absurd.
Yet, three years prior, the President (Dr. Gerald Koocher) of the same APA said the following at their annual conference: “APA has no conflict with psychologists who help those distressed by unwanted homosexual attraction. As long as there is no coercion and proper consent is obtained, reorientation therapy is indeed ethical.” Indeed, the APA is speaking out of both sides of their mouth. How then can you take their opinions seriously? More importantly, what about the thousands of clients with unwanted same-sex attractions that read Psychology Today? Are you really going to abandon and disrespect them in favor of political correctness?
Two years ago, I started an international network of support groups for men and women like myself who are seeking help to overcome homosexuality (www.Joel225.org). The pressure from gay activists to shut down and silence individuals like me is incomprehensible. This issue does not apply to the gay community or to anyone who feels happy with a gay life. This is only for self-motivated individuals who are seeking out this type of therapy.
I realize that Psychology Today readers may have different views about homosexuality, but I hope you can see that SOCE therapy can be very a positive, affirming, and healing experience for individuals, like me, who have chosen a different path. I hope that you and Psychology Today will reconsider this decision and stop attempting to silence the voices of licensed practitioners who have helped thousands of us. I am one of them, and my voice deserves to be heard.
Advisory Board, Voice of the Voiceless