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The Truth

Posted on January 11, 2016 at 8:35 AM

THE RAINBOW CONNECTION - THE TRUTH ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY

 

It started simply enough. She was my friend.

 

Me, I was shy and very conservative. I was too shy for boys and didn't have any real close girlfriends. I wanted to have a special friend, one in whom I could confide my deepest darkest secrets.

 

I wasn't a tomboy or a geek. I wasn't ugly or fat or disgusting. I was just me. "Plain old Wonder White Bread," not very interesting, not very exciting. I dated a few guys, but never made that "love connection" like so many other girls that I knew had. I often wondered what was wrong with me, why didn't I feel like other girls? I certainly couldn't have approached my mother with such questions. And, I felt so odd, so different; I certainly couldn't ask any of my casual girlfriends.

 

 

When I entered college, I was full of hope and promise. This was the moment I had daydreamed about since the sixth grade. I was going to be just like my favorite teacher. How I admired her. She had long, elegant legs that I often watched and admired. Her makeup was always perfect and she drove the cutest little Mustang. As an adult now, I tried to emulate her, right down to the Mustang I drove.

 

I secured a full time job that accommodated my class schedule. It was easy, relatively speaking, but the best part of the job was my social interaction: I had found a friend. She was so understanding, attractive and outgoing: everything that I was not. She was tall, had long legs, was blessed with generous endowments. Her manner and dress were well-polished. She was the epitome of class, I revered her and she could do nothing wrong.

 

When I was in the office, we often spent our breaks together. Sometimes she paid, sometimes I paid; as friends, we didn't need to keep track. She was interested in me; it was so easy to talk to her. It seemed as though she understood everything about me. All of a sudden, I didn't feel so different anymore. I felt accepted and understood. My life was changing, although not for the better. I was too wrapped up in the ecstasy of finally belonging and finally being understood that I couldn't see it.

 

Then one Friday, she suggested that we go to dinner and a movie, I was so excited that she wanted to be my friend outside of work that I could hardly contain myself. Even though I put in really long hours that week, I looked forward to going out on Saturday night, exhausted, but energized.

 

She had made all the arrangements. We went to a marvelous movie and even if it weren't, I don't think I would have thought otherwise. I was giddy with glee at actually going out with a friend. I was wanted, I was accepted and I was understood! Finally!

 

She had chosen quite an expensive restaurant for dinner. Awash in candlelight and expensive food, we had a wonderful dinner, fantastic and interesting conversation and even splurged on souffle for dessert.We had just finished dessert. When I reached for my wallet to pay my share, she put her hand on mine and told me that she would take care of it. While grateful for her generosity, there was something about the look on her face, gentle touch and tone of her voice that just wasn't right. A small alarm went off in my head, but was quickly quieted by the rationalization that as friends, we really didn't keep track and besides, she did choose the place and she did make a lot more money than me.

 

Basking in the glow of a wonderful evening, my mind barely registered what she was saying to me. She started out by telling me what a wonderful friend I was and how grateful she was that I was a part of her life. She told me that she had never felt such a connection to another woman before, and I was just such an interesting person and so much fun to be around. She then told me that she loved me. This being the 70's, where everybody was telling everybody that they loved them, I responded that I loved her too! After all, she was my best friend and confidant.

 

And then it happened. She took my hand in hers and looked into my eyes and told me that she knew I felt that way about her, too. It wasn't registering in my brain quite yet, but as she continued talking, my mind began to swirl. I started to lose my breath, and the room began to spin out of control. The words became disjointed, she mentioned dating, love, ecstasy, and the wonderful life we were to share. I needed air! And I needed it fast! I fled the table, but she found me. She was confused about my actions. Didn't I say I loved her too? Wasn't she my type? She thought I was a lesbian! How could she possibly think that? What on earth was she talking about? She tried to persuade me that I was a lesbian by taking everything I had confided in her and turned it around.

 

First, she talked about how I felt different. Then, she took my admiration of my sixth grade teacher and told me it was sexual attraction. Then, she used my lack of dating and not being sexually active with men to mean that I was not sexually attracted to men. She told me that being a lesbian was natural. And she used what I thought was a great friendship with her to say that I was really in love with her. Then she told me that if we became lovers a whole new world of excitement and sexual fulfillment would open up that I would never otherwise know. I asked her to take me home and told her I'd call her later.

 

I was dazed and confused. I tried to sleep, but couldn't. I didn't want to think, yet my mind was racing. Maybe she was right, some of the things she said did make sense. Maybe if I gave over to her desires, I would be fulfilled. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad and after I had tried it, if I didn't like it, I could just stop. If I did try it, then maybe it wouldn't repulse me anymore. I fell asleep on the couch.

 

It seemed that I was not asleep for so long. But when I woke, it was still dark. In reality, it wasn't "still" dark, it was dark "again." I had slept the day away. Fixing myself a snack, I sat down at my desk to work but I found myself unable to concentrate on anything other than the previous night.

 

I listed on a piece of paper everything she had said that indicated that I was a lesbian. The first thing she said was that I felt different. Yes, I had always felt different. But what did that have to do with sex? Wasn't feeling different a normal feeling? Being different had nothing to do with sexuality. The next thing she said was that I admired my sixth grade teacher because I was sexually attracted to her. Then I thought about what it was that I admired in her. In reality, I admired in her what I myself did not possess.

 

Thinking about others I admired, I found it was for the same reason, for they all, male and female, had qualities that I wished I had. Then she talked about my lack of dating. I had dated some boys, but it wasn't that I wasn't sexually attracted to boys, it was that I wasn't ready for a sexual relationship. I was still under 20, I was in school, I was working, I didn't have the time, much less the energy for a relationship serious enough to warrant sex.

 

It finally dawned on me that I was not a lesbian. The lack of close friendships with members of my own sex was my own fault. I didn't allow myself to become a good, close friend. The things I felt and my lack of a sexual relationship with boys were entirely normal. Rather, those who focused their youthful lives on such sex were the abnormal ones, especially since my faith taught that any form of pre-marital sex was wrong; it was a sin. The fact that I didn't date much was my own fault. I didn't make the time to date. Any free time I had, I used on me. And, who on this planet has the right to take a position that the lack of sexual involvement with a man meant I was a lesbian?! After all, no two people develop in the exact same way in the exact same time, not even twins! So my slow development was not caused by my sexuality, it was caused by me.

 

And then, the reality hit me, and made me sick. This woman, who I considered my friend, had taken everything I had told her and twisted it to meet her personal agenda. Not only did I feel betrayed by that duplicity, but I also recognized that she had used the same techniques on me that cults used to recruit new members.

 

She preyed on a shy, lonely, impressionable young woman. She took me into her confidence. She took my deepest secrets that I had shared with her and used them to meet her own agenda, all the while preaching unconditional love. She preached that I would find love, acceptance and satisfaction in her lifestyle. I also hadn't realized it, but she had been methodically separating me from the other workers in our office. She was cutting me off from the others who would or could have voiced their opinion had I asked. She attempted to make me emotionally dependent upon her.

 

The reality was that I was not a lesbian. I was just me. I quit that job immediately and changed my phone number. Two years later, I met the man of my dreams and was married shortly thereafter. I'm 30 years older now and looking back, I can see what could have happened to my life had I believed the messages she and the society around me were giving to me.

 

I am now active in a homosexual crisis ministry. I see, over and over again, the fraud of the homosexual community. I see young and old, men and women, many of whom are religiously observant, all conflicted in their homosexual lifestyle. I feel their pain and heartbreak at being torn between the only world they know and the world they know that G-d has planned for them. I see time and time again how much they struggle to leave their homosexual lifestyle, only to have their lover use their family and faith against them.

 

But, I tell my clients, "you have a choice." I came to a fork in the road and fortunately chose the path that has given me a completion and a happiness that is truly consistent with G-d's plan of creation. Based upon my experience, it is clear you do not have to be a homosexual. You were not born a homosexual nor do you need to live as a homosexual and, certainly, do not need to die a homosexual. Through faith, prayer, and the help provided by gender affirming ministries representing different faiths, be it JONAH, Living Stones or others, there is hope and life.

 

Adapted from the first chapter of an upcoming book: The Rainbow Connection-The Truth About Homosexuality, by Kaelly Langston, which also appeared in a slightly different format in the March 2003 "Bridge Builder," a publication of Living Stones Ministries.

Common Questions

Posted on January 7, 2016 at 2:45 PM

COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT SSA

 

Written By Floyd Godfrey, LPC

Family Strategies & Coaching, LLC

Floyd Godfrey, a counselor in Mesa, Arizona, created the following handout that is generally provided to his clients and to their families. He may be contacted at [email protected] His web site is www.healinghomosexuality.com

 

 

Why do you use the word SSA (same-sex attraction) instead of gay or homosexual?

 

We utilize the term SSA because the feelings of attraction describe something you're experiencing, rather than describing something you are. SSA is a condition, not a state of being. It is an adjective, not a noun. We have found numerous emotional and developmental issues, which commonly foster same-sex attraction. Our approach is to address these core emotional and developmental issues.

 

Is change really possible?

 

There are many individuals who have experienced permanent change in sexual orientation. Change is possible. Unfortunately, our society currently believes it is innate (genetic) and unchangeable. This is a myth unsubstantiated by science. Any good psychologist will admit that orientation is impacted both by genetics and also environment. (Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 32, No. 5, October 2003, pp. 403-417.; M.F. Schwartz & W. H. Masters The Masters and Johnson Treatment Program for Dissatisfied Homosexual Men, American Journal of

Psychiatry 1984:141, 173-81.; Simon & Schuster, 1978.)

 

What should I expect from therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA)?

 

In our observation, there are several different phases a man or woman typically goes through when working to diminish SSA and develop OSA. The first phase involves education and self-awareness. The client will engage much reading and journaling. The second phase leads into goal-setting and behavioral changes. This would include changes in habits and behavior - social changes, sexual sobriety, etc. This would also involve behavior, which promotes satiation of emotional deficits. The third phase brings the client toward healing emotional wounds. At this point we often involve the client in group therapy, gestalt work, psychodrama, inner-child work, experiential weekends, or other formats which promote deeper emotional healing. By the fourth phase, the client

often reports feeling "neutral" about sexuality. Adults and youth frequently report feeling "nothing" sexually, at this stage. This is common during the recovery process. It's a bit like going back again to re-experience puberty. During this fourth phase we begin to reinforce heterosexual imagery, and encourage healthy OSA behavior. The final

phase of recovery involves maintenance. This fifth phase is critical for permanency, just as insulin would be for a diabetic. ("Coming Out Straight: Understanding and Healing Homosexuality," by Richard Cohen, Oakhill Press, 1999.)

 

How long should therapy take?

 

In the beginning, therapy is best implemented on a weekly basis. However, toward the end - perhaps the final phases - therapy is much less frequent. To get through all phases of recovery may take anywhere from eighteen months to six years. The length of treatment depends upon the depth of emotional wounding and deficits. It also depends upon the man's ability to implement personality and behavioral changes. ("New Study Confirms Homosexuality Can Be Overcome," National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, 1997, www.narth.com).

 

What if the new opposite-sex attraction (OSA) doesn't feel as strong?

 

Our clients tell us that the new OSA never feels as "obsessive" as the SSA. At the beginning of treatment the men and youth often describe an incessant preoccupation with the same gender. For some, it's almost a compulsive feeling. The new OSA will not feel obsessive in nature. It will not constantly be on the client's mind. However, at appropriate intimate times, the OSA feelings will be strong and very enjoyable. It

is our belief that SSA is more emotionally intense because it is a result of emotional wounds and deficits. Because the OSA comes from a place of healthy attachment and emotional satiation, it should never be as intense as the SSA. ("Desires in Conflict: Answering the Struggle for Sexual Identity," by Joe Dallas, Harvest House Publishers, 1991.)

 

Are there people who cannot change orientation?

 

We have not seen anyone who cannot change, but there are many who don't. We have worked with individuals who don't believe that it's possible. Perhaps parents are forcing the individual to come to therapy, or they are receiving pressure from somewhere (e.g., church, social). If they don't gain some sense of hope that change is possible, they won't be empowered to make the necessary changes. It takes time and hard work. The commitment and persistence required won't come from a client who is hesitating or who feels pressured to "change." Due to this dilemma, we are not in the business of pressuring someone to change when they have no desire. We are anxiously engaged helping individuals heal emotional wounds and fill emotional deficits. We cannot work with those who don't want to come. ("You Don't have to be Gay," by Jeff Konrad, Pacific Publishing House, 1987).

 

Why do people say it's genetic or unchangeable?

 

There are many differing reasons for this myth. Some individuals have gone through counseling that did not deal with the root causes of their SSA. Consequently, they feel as though therapy "didn't work." Some gay psychologists have also done research attempting to find genetic markers. Lobbyists have worked hard to convince politicians that they should be allowed equal status as a minority. Also, the Hollywood crowd

and media have introduced the gay lifestyle as acceptable and healthy. These factors and others have all convinced society that you cannot change. (Dr. Neil and Briar Whitehead, "My Genes Made Me Do It: A Scientific Look at Sexual Orientation," Huntington House Publishers, 1999; W. Byne and B. Parsons, Human Sexual Orientation: The Biological Theories Reappraised, Archives of General Psychiatry 1993:50; 228-239.; Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, “Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth," Basic Books, 1996.)

 

Is change permanent?

 

Change is as permanent as the client makes it. If the client fills the emotional deficits and heals the wounds, the SSA diminishes. If the client makes "permanent" changes in personality, then the change will be "permanent." Those who withdraw back into old ways of relating, or who go back to old patterns of behavior, typically have the SSA return. You must permanently change how you live, for the change in orientation to

be permanent. It might be similar to taking insulin for diabetes. The OSA seems to remain constant if you make lifestyle changes. ("Homosexuality: Symptoms & Free Agency," by Scott & Kae Andersen, Bonneville Book, 1998.)

 

 

Floyd Godfrey, LPC

Family Strategies & Coaching, LLC

2152 S. Vineyard, Bldg 5B -114

table. Arizona

 

Tel: 480-668-8301

Toll Free: 877-271-9389

Lesbianism

Posted on January 7, 2016 at 2:25 PM

CLINICAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL ISSUES OF LESBIANISM

Introduction

 

The lesbian condition is complex in its origin and very diverse in its expression. The elements of the lesbian struggle vary in degree and intensity, as do the temperaments and personality types of the women. My clients present with a variety of Axis I and II disorders as well as unique stories and histories. Therefore, in my treatment of the lesbian client, I first and foremost want to meet and interact with the unique individual sitting in front of me. Lesbian women are intelligent and intuitive and can tell if I am truly "seeing" them or trying to squeeze them into a box or theory. I hold my models and theories loosely so I can meet the true person. I also want to encounter the "whole" woman, not just her lesbianism. I want to give her the message that she is more than her lesbian struggle. I want her to know that she is important, and I am not sitting with her simply because I think her sexual orientation needs fixing or that I can "fix" her.

As a therapist, I want to respect her human dignity. Many of my clients are not sure they want to totally resolve the lesbian conflict. The emotional aspect of their struggle seems to reach down into the very core of their being. It is often a long process for a woman to just define the struggle, let alone to begin to disidentify with it. Over six years ago, about two years into my practice, I decided to make a commitment to myself and to my clients that I would work with them regardless of where they are at in their decision to resolve the lesbian conflict. I agreed that I would not place demands or expectations on them with respect to their sexual struggle that would, in any way, condition or impede our ongoing work together. In other words, I have decided to be committed to them, wherever their journey leads, and to remain committed for the long haul. The "long haul" seems to be an average of 4-5 years of weekly to bimonthly appointments.

 

While there is much variation amongst lesbian women, there are still many notable themes that consistently emerge in their stories and struggles. I would like to highlight a few of those here.

 

Roots of Lesbianism

In broad sweeping terms, the roots of lesbianism can be discovered in four basic elements:

 

A strained, detached or disrupted bond or attachment with mother without an available mother substitute, resulting in a need for secure attachment.

A lack of respect and/or protection from men, often in the form of sexual abuse or rigid gender roles, resulting in a fear or hatred of men.

Few, if any, close girlhood friendships, resulting in a need for belonging and fun.

A sense of emptiness and lostness in lieu of a full and rich sense of self and identity as a feminine being, resulting in a need for a self and gender identity.

While the presence of these elements is not an absolute predictor or determinant of the lesbian struggle, they are nevertheless the most common and frequently reported facets of the lesbian story. These elements are generally sequential in order of development or experience, can be causal or predisposing for the subsequent element and are therefore interrelated. An adult woman actually cycles in and out of these elements and related needs as she acts out the lesbian bond in an attempt to repair the inherent dilemmas. Unfortunately, this "acting out" can actually intensify these predisposing conditions of lesbianism.

 

I would also like to suggest that there are some common innate characteristics shared by lesbian women. These would include an above average intelligence, strong sensitivity to hypocrisy and injustice, athleticism, natural draw to more stereotypically masculine interests, capacity to feel deeply and passionately. It is the combination of the above environmental factors and inherent characteristics that may eventually lead to a lesbian struggle.

 

Developmental Issues

To highlight the specific developmental issues that are present in most lesbian struggles, I wanted to share the research findings from an unpublished doctoral dissertation by Dr. Sheryl Brickner Camallieri. Dr. Camallieri used an instrument called the Measures of Psychosocial Development (MPD) to assess the developmental differences between 54 allegedly heterosexual and 54 allegedly homosexual women. The MPD measures the developmental resolution based on Erik Erikson's model of psychosocial development. The eight stages are listed below.

 

While Dr. Camallieri admits that the scope of her research does not establish the cause of the differences (which could be developmental or attributed to the social and political climate regarding lesbianism), "Of the 19 scales analyzed, six of the scales indicated a significant difference in the scores between the two groups of women" (p. 3). The heterosexual women scored significantly higher on the favorable resolution scales of Trust, Intimacy and Generativity (marked in squares below). The lesbian women scored significantly higher on the negative resolution of Identity Confusion and Stagnation and Total Negative Resolution (circled below).

 

 

I have since given this assessment to over 25 of my lesbian clients and continue to see extremely high identity confusion and stagnation scores as well as low trust and high mistrust scores. Additionally, there is another pattern that has emerged in my client's testing: relative to their other scores, the lesbian woman scores significantly high in the positive resolution of Initiative and/or Industry (also circled above). If we were to just consider the results of the MPD based on suggested methods of interpretation, we would conclude that these are women who feel very insecure and unsafe in their world; are unsure of others and doubt that anything good will last. They have used performance, competence and assertiveness in a compensatory fashion, probably to gain a sense of control, value and purpose. They hold no inherent value or clear identity and therefore have little capacity or motivation to sacrificially give to others. Emotionally, they remain in a depressed state of self-absorption. This is a fairly accurate description of the lesbian experience.

 

As you might guess, these developmental deficits and compensations coincide almost perfectly with the clinical themes in a lesbian's history.

 

A strained, detached or disrupted bond Mistrust

or attachment with mother without

an available mother substitute, resulting

in a need for secure attachment.

 

 

A lack of respect and/or protection from Initiative/Industry -

men, often in the form of sexual abuse assuming a toughened or

or rigid gender roles, resulting in a masculinized stance towards

fear or hatred of men. life and survival.

 

Few if any close girlhood friendships, Identity Confusion (solid-

resulting in a need for belonging and fun. ified during adolescence)

 

A sense of emptiness and lostness in lieu Stagnation

of a full and rich sense of self and identity

as a feminine being, resulting in a need

for a self and gender identity.

 

Specific treatment options need to take into consideration these developmental needs. Ultimately, treatment should start with the beginning issue of trust, move through the subsequent developmental issues with a major emphasis on identity formation and conclude when the woman is free to give, love and contribute to the betterment of the world.

 

 

Contrasts Between the Masculine and Feminine

I would now like to offer some framework around the differences between the male and female developmental journey in order to highlight the nuances of the lesbian struggle. I hope to also provide a framework for understanding the essence of the true masculine and feminine. It is essential to have some framework such as this if we are to help gender-confused clients.

 

Attachment and Identification

Boys and girls follow different developmental paths in terms of attachment and identification. Both boys and girls are to be initially attached to mom at birth. To develop healthily, a boy must move, strive and initiate to successfully separate from mom and ultimately attach and identify with dad. Homosexuality becomes a serious possibility when this step or process is frustrated or altogether missing for the boy. A girl on the other hand is supposed to remain and rest, so to speak, in an experience of ongoing or continuous connection. Figuratively speaking, she warmly rests secure at home with mom, to eventually receive dad who is to gently move towards her to offer his love, affirmation and protection.

 

Lesbianism initially becomes a possibility when this needed ongoing attachment with mom is absent, insufficient or undesirable. (Lesbianism becomes an even greater possibility if dad's movement is non-existent, abusive, or becomes masculinizing of his daughter.)

If for the girl, her initial attachment to mom is perceived to be weakened or broken, a type of homelessness is created for the girl that even the homosexual boy does not experience. In this way, the lesbian condition is more primal and perhaps more entrenched emotionally and psychologically than male homosexuality. The girl is essentially stripped of her most fundamental tether in the universe. There may be no greater trauma in a girl's life developmentally than one that interferes with her primal relationship with mom. Mom is not only the first bond and attachment for a little baby girl, but is the relational object with whom this little girl will form her first sense of self and eventually rely on to complete her identification process as a female.

 

Besides internalizing the insecurity that a break in this foundational relationship creates, the girl will activate or move in an effort to find the attachment for which she was designed and so desperately needs. She begins to follow the developmental path of a male, that is, moving, striving and initiating. Unfortunately, trust in others and her self is not adequately formed to support secure and meaningful connection or relatedness (this is the mistrust that the MPD measures). She is filled with a sense of aloneness and need that further fuels her movement and initiation to resolve her dilemma (herein lies the high initiative and industry scores on the MPD). Simply put, this emotional movement disrupts her normal growth and development and identification as a feminine being (identity confusion), not to mention the false paths such movement will uncover. Let me add another picture of gender differences.

 

Erikson Research on Preadolescent Play Constructions

In the 1940's Erik Erikson conducted research at Berkeley on preadolescent play constructions. While he wasn't specifically addressing gender differences in his study, Erikson was struck by the fact that when given a set of blocks, little boys and girls built different constructions of space.

 

The boys' construction looked something like the one below. The construction would also include such things as cars among the buildings and people atop the buildings. As one can see, boys seem to be naturally preoccupied with the outer world, nature, objects and things.

 

 

The girls' constructions tended to look like the picture below. The people sat close together and faced the inside of the room. Girls seem to be naturally preoccupied with the inner world of human relatedness, communication and connection.

 

Theological Perspective

Theologically, the creation story of Adam and Eve parallels Erik Erikson's findings and adds some important notions about the true masculine and feminine. First, Adam and Eve were created equal in terms of dignity, value, call and purpose. (To work with a lesbian successfully, you must truly believe and hold to this conviction.) They were to both Fill and Multiply - the realm of human relationship and Rule and Subdue - the realm of nature, animals and the earth (found in Genesis 1:27, New International Version). Second, they were created differently. Adam was created from the ground, was placed in the garden with the plants and animals and became very busy working, moving, initiating, ruling and subduing. Eve, on the other hand, was the only created being made from another living being. Her primal essence is one of human relatedness. She was immediately placed in front of Adam and became busy relating-being known and loved. Both Adam and Eve were needed to complete God's purposes for humanity, but it seems that their very origins and initial experiences point to difference and uniqueness.

 

 

True Femininity and the Inner World of Connectedness

Another way to look at these differences is seen in the complementary circles below. Perhaps the masculine (I believe gender is not merely a construct of socialization or learning processes but a fundamental and inherent aspect of our humanity) has a greater exterior strength of movement, initiation and courage to face and deal with the outer world but with an inner core of tenderness and compassion for human relatedness. It is this exterior strength, movement and confidence that homosexual men seemingly lack or struggle discovering.

 

Perhaps the true feminine means having an exterior that is inviting, restful and receiving with an inner core of solidness and strength of being and courage to face the complexities of another soul and the requirements of ongoing intimacy. Lisa Beamer (the wife of Todd Beamer who helped guide United Flight 93 away from human targets) is a great example of a woman with an inviting, restful exterior and a solid inner core. She was sad, but not crushed as she faced the tragedy of losing her husband. She was not fragile, wispy, whiney, needy, overly dependent but solid, strong, articulate, lovely.

The true feminine is not weak, but boasts of the strength, courage and power to be - to be present and connected with her own heart, emotions and thoughts and with another, even in the most difficult or tragic time. The true feminine can weather loneliness. Lisa can stand in the face of her husband's death because she has her self and many other vital relationships.

 

Lesbian women typically lack or struggle discovering and accepting both of these aspects as women. They are toughened and defended on the outside and sense emptiness and desperation on the inside. Their toughness defies their inner need and their inner need, which so often is expressed in terms of dependencies, speaks to the depth of their gender brokenness. They are not living out of the strength of the true feminine.

 

Of interest is the typical profile of the mother of a lesbian daughter. According to my clients, their mothers typically had no solid self or strength of character or integrity, regardless of how they presented on the outside. The mom of a lesbian struggler is a mom who:

 

- hid in bed under the covers when dad became abusive or rageful

- was mentally ill and relied on her daughter to continually talk her out of committing suicide

- didn't even know the basics of housekeeping let alone caring for a baby or child

- was a social butterfly and alcoholic leaving her little daughter alone and unsupervised

- was unable to separate from an abusive husband

- was a dutiful wife but a shell of a woman

- bragged incessantly about herself and kids, negating any negative feelings or experiences in her daughter

- hated being a woman, never shed a tear and despised her daughter

- was openly jealous of her daughter

 

 

These vignettes do not describe a woman who is solid in being and strength of heart. They describe a woman who is insecure, dependent, afraid of being alone, weak, lost and broken and underdeveloped in her own femininity. It is easy to understand why a daughter who has a sharp intellect, strong sense of justice and integrity, high energy level with deep passions might conclude that if becoming a woman means becoming like mom, she wants nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, in the girl's detachment and flight from femininity as portrayed by her mother, she too begins to live out a deep inner desolation and crisis of her true gender identity. She has had no "home" in which to develop or become. "I don't know who I am," "I hate being a woman," and "I don't know how I feel." Many of my clients feel and believe they are not women. This is not a symptom of a transgender struggle but is an indication of their alienation from their inherent design as a feminine being.

 

Emotional Dependency

To briefly summarize, healthy development for a girl first requires that she rests and remains in the warm and secure home of mother so that she can form and develop an inner home for herself - out of which she will live, express her strength and power, create, relate, connect, nurture, bring forth life, etc. Without this inner sense of home or a secure and solid sense of self and feminine identity, she will not have the capacity to enter into healthy intimacy. Yet she will live with a deep belief that she cannot be alone. Therefore, she is unconsciously driven or on the move to find a "home" or true "self" outside of her self.

 

This is the drive behind an emotionally dependent relationship. When another woman comes along that triggers a sense of familiarity or presents herself to be a strong and competent woman (unlike mom perhaps), the lesbian literally wants to lose herself in this woman, hoping to find rest, receive the care and nurture she craves and to finally appropriate, albeit vicariously, an identity. Emotional dependency is not an inordinate love but is the consequence of a woman's deep fear of and inability to sustain intimacy. The partner is not loved or known for who they truly are. It is the sense or illusion of warm connection or secure attachment that is desired. Sadly, the "emotional dependency," if sustained, will prevent a woman from any substantial healing or change. A woman does not need to lose herself (in another woman or man) but in fact, needs to find her true self and this goal should be the primary focus of therapy with the lesbian client.

 

Personality Disorders and Traits

It is this missing core and the accompanying restlessness that I believe leads to conflicts and struggles within the lesbian woman that qualify as full blown personality disorders and traits. The most common configurations I encounter in my practice generally include a depressed and/or dependent disorder with associated self defeating, avoidant and borderline disorders or traits. Depressed - empty, dejected, pessimistic, worthless and full of self and other centered contempt, dependent - needy to the point of desperate yet fearful of rejection, self defeating - negative, self pitying and hostile, and avoidant - defended and isolated. This list accurately describes the predominant characteristics of the average lesbian woman.

 

Effective Therapy for the Lesbian Client

Work with the lesbian will require a long-term commitment which will be tasking and draining but also rewarding if the client is highly motivated to change. The individual characterological profile must be considered and appropriately handled in therapy. Generally speaking, lesbian women are deeply conflicted. But remember, every woman you see will be unique in this regard. The general goal of therapy is to establish trust (this may be the first experience of trust for many clients) so that the client can accomplish the deep inner formation work, or as quoted by Elaine Siegel, "attainment of firmer inner structures," (Female Homosexuality: choice without volition, Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press (1988)). The woman must come into her own. She must be able to embrace the breadth of her identity and humanity, her strengths and weaknesses, her glory and her shortcomings, her dreams, hopes and visions as well as her disappointments and losses. This process will involve among other things, extensive work in identifying, challenging and restructuring the woman's belief system regarding the world, God, others and herself. Lesbianism is supported by a complex system of distorted, negative and self-defeating beliefs. This system must be rebuilt. The client's defensive maneuvering and unhealthy attachments with women need to be addressed while the woman is being challenged to take risks with new and healthier relationships. Eventually she will need to deal with her opposite sex contempt and ambivalence and appropriate her own individual style of feminine relating.

 

In conclusion, because healing for the lesbian requires the establishment of her "home" so to speak, I believe that the most effective component of therapy with a female homosexual is the quality of the attachment and therapeutic relationship formed between female counselor and client. While there are many techniques that can be used to access deep unconscious conflicts and to teach cognitive truths and principles of healthy living and relationship, it is the consistency, faithfulness, caring and loving attitude of the counselor that begins to finally establish a solid center of trust and inner core or sense of being in the women we work with. It is as I love, accept and affirm my client that she can begin to unfold and continue to develop as a female being. In essence, I provide the home in which she can rest and simply become.

Lesbianism

Posted on January 7, 2016 at 2:25 PM

CLINICAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL ISSUES OF LESBIANISM

Introduction

 

The lesbian condition is complex in its origin and very diverse in its expression. The elements of the lesbian struggle vary in degree and intensity, as do the temperaments and personality types of the women. My clients present with a variety of Axis I and II disorders as well as unique stories and histories. Therefore, in my treatment of the lesbian client, I first and foremost want to meet and interact with the unique individual sitting in front of me. Lesbian women are intelligent and intuitive and can tell if I am truly "seeing" them or trying to squeeze them into a box or theory. I hold my models and theories loosely so I can meet the true person. I also want to encounter the "whole" woman, not just her lesbianism. I want to give her the message that she is more than her lesbian struggle. I want her to know that she is important, and I am not sitting with her simply because I think her sexual orientation needs fixing or that I can "fix" her.

As a therapist, I want to respect her human dignity. Many of my clients are not sure they want to totally resolve the lesbian conflict. The emotional aspect of their struggle seems to reach down into the very core of their being. It is often a long process for a woman to just define the struggle, let alone to begin to disidentify with it. Over six years ago, about two years into my practice, I decided to make a commitment to myself and to my clients that I would work with them regardless of where they are at in their decision to resolve the lesbian conflict. I agreed that I would not place demands or expectations on them with respect to their sexual struggle that would, in any way, condition or impede our ongoing work together. In other words, I have decided to be committed to them, wherever their journey leads, and to remain committed for the long haul. The "long haul" seems to be an average of 4-5 years of weekly to bimonthly appointments.

 

While there is much variation amongst lesbian women, there are still many notable themes that consistently emerge in their stories and struggles. I would like to highlight a few of those here.

 

Roots of Lesbianism

In broad sweeping terms, the roots of lesbianism can be discovered in four basic elements:

 

A strained, detached or disrupted bond or attachment with mother without an available mother substitute, resulting in a need for secure attachment.

A lack of respect and/or protection from men, often in the form of sexual abuse or rigid gender roles, resulting in a fear or hatred of men.

Few, if any, close girlhood friendships, resulting in a need for belonging and fun.

A sense of emptiness and lostness in lieu of a full and rich sense of self and identity as a feminine being, resulting in a need for a self and gender identity.

While the presence of these elements is not an absolute predictor or determinant of the lesbian struggle, they are nevertheless the most common and frequently reported facets of the lesbian story. These elements are generally sequential in order of development or experience, can be causal or predisposing for the subsequent element and are therefore interrelated. An adult woman actually cycles in and out of these elements and related needs as she acts out the lesbian bond in an attempt to repair the inherent dilemmas. Unfortunately, this "acting out" can actually intensify these predisposing conditions of lesbianism.

 

I would also like to suggest that there are some common innate characteristics shared by lesbian women. These would include an above average intelligence, strong sensitivity to hypocrisy and injustice, athleticism, natural draw to more stereotypically masculine interests, capacity to feel deeply and passionately. It is the combination of the above environmental factors and inherent characteristics that may eventually lead to a lesbian struggle.

 

Developmental Issues

To highlight the specific developmental issues that are present in most lesbian struggles, I wanted to share the research findings from an unpublished doctoral dissertation by Dr. Sheryl Brickner Camallieri. Dr. Camallieri used an instrument called the Measures of Psychosocial Development (MPD) to assess the developmental differences between 54 allegedly heterosexual and 54 allegedly homosexual women. The MPD measures the developmental resolution based on Erik Erikson's model of psychosocial development. The eight stages are listed below.

 

While Dr. Camallieri admits that the scope of her research does not establish the cause of the differences (which could be developmental or attributed to the social and political climate regarding lesbianism), "Of the 19 scales analyzed, six of the scales indicated a significant difference in the scores between the two groups of women" (p. 3). The heterosexual women scored significantly higher on the favorable resolution scales of Trust, Intimacy and Generativity (marked in squares below). The lesbian women scored significantly higher on the negative resolution of Identity Confusion and Stagnation and Total Negative Resolution (circled below).

 

 

I have since given this assessment to over 25 of my lesbian clients and continue to see extremely high identity confusion and stagnation scores as well as low trust and high mistrust scores. Additionally, there is another pattern that has emerged in my client's testing: relative to their other scores, the lesbian woman scores significantly high in the positive resolution of Initiative and/or Industry (also circled above). If we were to just consider the results of the MPD based on suggested methods of interpretation, we would conclude that these are women who feel very insecure and unsafe in their world; are unsure of others and doubt that anything good will last. They have used performance, competence and assertiveness in a compensatory fashion, probably to gain a sense of control, value and purpose. They hold no inherent value or clear identity and therefore have little capacity or motivation to sacrificially give to others. Emotionally, they remain in a depressed state of self-absorption. This is a fairly accurate description of the lesbian experience.

 

As you might guess, these developmental deficits and compensations coincide almost perfectly with the clinical themes in a lesbian's history.

 

A strained, detached or disrupted bond Mistrust

or attachment with mother without

an available mother substitute, resulting

in a need for secure attachment.

 

 

A lack of respect and/or protection from Initiative/Industry -

men, often in the form of sexual abuse assuming a toughened or

or rigid gender roles, resulting in a masculinized stance towards

fear or hatred of men. life and survival.

 

Few if any close girlhood friendships, Identity Confusion (solid-

resulting in a need for belonging and fun. ified during adolescence)

 

A sense of emptiness and lostness in lieu Stagnation

of a full and rich sense of self and identity

as a feminine being, resulting in a need

for a self and gender identity.

 

Specific treatment options need to take into consideration these developmental needs. Ultimately, treatment should start with the beginning issue of trust, move through the subsequent developmental issues with a major emphasis on identity formation and conclude when the woman is free to give, love and contribute to the betterment of the world.

 

 

Contrasts Between the Masculine and Feminine

I would now like to offer some framework around the differences between the male and female developmental journey in order to highlight the nuances of the lesbian struggle. I hope to also provide a framework for understanding the essence of the true masculine and feminine. It is essential to have some framework such as this if we are to help gender-confused clients.

 

Attachment and Identification

Boys and girls follow different developmental paths in terms of attachment and identification. Both boys and girls are to be initially attached to mom at birth. To develop healthily, a boy must move, strive and initiate to successfully separate from mom and ultimately attach and identify with dad. Homosexuality becomes a serious possibility when this step or process is frustrated or altogether missing for the boy. A girl on the other hand is supposed to remain and rest, so to speak, in an experience of ongoing or continuous connection. Figuratively speaking, she warmly rests secure at home with mom, to eventually receive dad who is to gently move towards her to offer his love, affirmation and protection.

 

Lesbianism initially becomes a possibility when this needed ongoing attachment with mom is absent, insufficient or undesirable. (Lesbianism becomes an even greater possibility if dad's movement is non-existent, abusive, or becomes masculinizing of his daughter.)

If for the girl, her initial attachment to mom is perceived to be weakened or broken, a type of homelessness is created for the girl that even the homosexual boy does not experience. In this way, the lesbian condition is more primal and perhaps more entrenched emotionally and psychologically than male homosexuality. The girl is essentially stripped of her most fundamental tether in the universe. There may be no greater trauma in a girl's life developmentally than one that interferes with her primal relationship with mom. Mom is not only the first bond and attachment for a little baby girl, but is the relational object with whom this little girl will form her first sense of self and eventually rely on to complete her identification process as a female.

 

Besides internalizing the insecurity that a break in this foundational relationship creates, the girl will activate or move in an effort to find the attachment for which she was designed and so desperately needs. She begins to follow the developmental path of a male, that is, moving, striving and initiating. Unfortunately, trust in others and her self is not adequately formed to support secure and meaningful connection or relatedness (this is the mistrust that the MPD measures). She is filled with a sense of aloneness and need that further fuels her movement and initiation to resolve her dilemma (herein lies the high initiative and industry scores on the MPD). Simply put, this emotional movement disrupts her normal growth and development and identification as a feminine being (identity confusion), not to mention the false paths such movement will uncover. Let me add another picture of gender differences.

 

Erikson Research on Preadolescent Play Constructions

In the 1940's Erik Erikson conducted research at Berkeley on preadolescent play constructions. While he wasn't specifically addressing gender differences in his study, Erikson was struck by the fact that when given a set of blocks, little boys and girls built different constructions of space.

 

The boys' construction looked something like the one below. The construction would also include such things as cars among the buildings and people atop the buildings. As one can see, boys seem to be naturally preoccupied with the outer world, nature, objects and things.

 

 

The girls' constructions tended to look like the picture below. The people sat close together and faced the inside of the room. Girls seem to be naturally preoccupied with the inner world of human relatedness, communication and connection.

 

Theological Perspective

Theologically, the creation story of Adam and Eve parallels Erik Erikson's findings and adds some important notions about the true masculine and feminine. First, Adam and Eve were created equal in terms of dignity, value, call and purpose. (To work with a lesbian successfully, you must truly believe and hold to this conviction.) They were to both Fill and Multiply - the realm of human relationship and Rule and Subdue - the realm of nature, animals and the earth (found in Genesis 1:27, New International Version). Second, they were created differently. Adam was created from the ground, was placed in the garden with the plants and animals and became very busy working, moving, initiating, ruling and subduing. Eve, on the other hand, was the only created being made from another living being. Her primal essence is one of human relatedness. She was immediately placed in front of Adam and became busy relating-being known and loved. Both Adam and Eve were needed to complete God's purposes for humanity, but it seems that their very origins and initial experiences point to difference and uniqueness.

 

 

True Femininity and the Inner World of Connectedness

Another way to look at these differences is seen in the complementary circles below. Perhaps the masculine (I believe gender is not merely a construct of socialization or learning processes but a fundamental and inherent aspect of our humanity) has a greater exterior strength of movement, initiation and courage to face and deal with the outer world but with an inner core of tenderness and compassion for human relatedness. It is this exterior strength, movement and confidence that homosexual men seemingly lack or struggle discovering.

 

Perhaps the true feminine means having an exterior that is inviting, restful and receiving with an inner core of solidness and strength of being and courage to face the complexities of another soul and the requirements of ongoing intimacy. Lisa Beamer (the wife of Todd Beamer who helped guide United Flight 93 away from human targets) is a great example of a woman with an inviting, restful exterior and a solid inner core. She was sad, but not crushed as she faced the tragedy of losing her husband. She was not fragile, wispy, whiney, needy, overly dependent but solid, strong, articulate, lovely.

The true feminine is not weak, but boasts of the strength, courage and power to be - to be present and connected with her own heart, emotions and thoughts and with another, even in the most difficult or tragic time. The true feminine can weather loneliness. Lisa can stand in the face of her husband's death because she has her self and many other vital relationships.

 

Lesbian women typically lack or struggle discovering and accepting both of these aspects as women. They are toughened and defended on the outside and sense emptiness and desperation on the inside. Their toughness defies their inner need and their inner need, which so often is expressed in terms of dependencies, speaks to the depth of their gender brokenness. They are not living out of the strength of the true feminine.

 

Of interest is the typical profile of the mother of a lesbian daughter. According to my clients, their mothers typically had no solid self or strength of character or integrity, regardless of how they presented on the outside. The mom of a lesbian struggler is a mom who:

 

- hid in bed under the covers when dad became abusive or rageful

- was mentally ill and relied on her daughter to continually talk her out of committing suicide

- didn't even know the basics of housekeeping let alone caring for a baby or child

- was a social butterfly and alcoholic leaving her little daughter alone and unsupervised

- was unable to separate from an abusive husband

- was a dutiful wife but a shell of a woman

- bragged incessantly about herself and kids, negating any negative feelings or experiences in her daughter

- hated being a woman, never shed a tear and despised her daughter

- was openly jealous of her daughter

 

 

These vignettes do not describe a woman who is solid in being and strength of heart. They describe a woman who is insecure, dependent, afraid of being alone, weak, lost and broken and underdeveloped in her own femininity. It is easy to understand why a daughter who has a sharp intellect, strong sense of justice and integrity, high energy level with deep passions might conclude that if becoming a woman means becoming like mom, she wants nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, in the girl's detachment and flight from femininity as portrayed by her mother, she too begins to live out a deep inner desolation and crisis of her true gender identity. She has had no "home" in which to develop or become. "I don't know who I am," "I hate being a woman," and "I don't know how I feel." Many of my clients feel and believe they are not women. This is not a symptom of a transgender struggle but is an indication of their alienation from their inherent design as a feminine being.

 

Emotional Dependency

To briefly summarize, healthy development for a girl first requires that she rests and remains in the warm and secure home of mother so that she can form and develop an inner home for herself - out of which she will live, express her strength and power, create, relate, connect, nurture, bring forth life, etc. Without this inner sense of home or a secure and solid sense of self and feminine identity, she will not have the capacity to enter into healthy intimacy. Yet she will live with a deep belief that she cannot be alone. Therefore, she is unconsciously driven or on the move to find a "home" or true "self" outside of her self.

 

This is the drive behind an emotionally dependent relationship. When another woman comes along that triggers a sense of familiarity or presents herself to be a strong and competent woman (unlike mom perhaps), the lesbian literally wants to lose herself in this woman, hoping to find rest, receive the care and nurture she craves and to finally appropriate, albeit vicariously, an identity. Emotional dependency is not an inordinate love but is the consequence of a woman's deep fear of and inability to sustain intimacy. The partner is not loved or known for who they truly are. It is the sense or illusion of warm connection or secure attachment that is desired. Sadly, the "emotional dependency," if sustained, will prevent a woman from any substantial healing or change. A woman does not need to lose herself (in another woman or man) but in fact, needs to find her true self and this goal should be the primary focus of therapy with the lesbian client.

 

Personality Disorders and Traits

It is this missing core and the accompanying restlessness that I believe leads to conflicts and struggles within the lesbian woman that qualify as full blown personality disorders and traits. The most common configurations I encounter in my practice generally include a depressed and/or dependent disorder with associated self defeating, avoidant and borderline disorders or traits. Depressed - empty, dejected, pessimistic, worthless and full of self and other centered contempt, dependent - needy to the point of desperate yet fearful of rejection, self defeating - negative, self pitying and hostile, and avoidant - defended and isolated. This list accurately describes the predominant characteristics of the average lesbian woman.

 

Effective Therapy for the Lesbian Client

Work with the lesbian will require a long-term commitment which will be tasking and draining but also rewarding if the client is highly motivated to change. The individual characterological profile must be considered and appropriately handled in therapy. Generally speaking, lesbian women are deeply conflicted. But remember, every woman you see will be unique in this regard. The general goal of therapy is to establish trust (this may be the first experience of trust for many clients) so that the client can accomplish the deep inner formation work, or as quoted by Elaine Siegel, "attainment of firmer inner structures," (Female Homosexuality: choice without volition, Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press (1988)). The woman must come into her own. She must be able to embrace the breadth of her identity and humanity, her strengths and weaknesses, her glory and her shortcomings, her dreams, hopes and visions as well as her disappointments and losses. This process will involve among other things, extensive work in identifying, challenging and restructuring the woman's belief system regarding the world, God, others and herself. Lesbianism is supported by a complex system of distorted, negative and self-defeating beliefs. This system must be rebuilt. The client's defensive maneuvering and unhealthy attachments with women need to be addressed while the woman is being challenged to take risks with new and healthier relationships. Eventually she will need to deal with her opposite sex contempt and ambivalence and appropriate her own individual style of feminine relating.

 

In conclusion, because healing for the lesbian requires the establishment of her "home" so to speak, I believe that the most effective component of therapy with a female homosexual is the quality of the attachment and therapeutic relationship formed between female counselor and client. While there are many techniques that can be used to access deep unconscious conflicts and to teach cognitive truths and principles of healthy living and relationship, it is the consistency, faithfulness, caring and loving attitude of the counselor that begins to finally establish a solid center of trust and inner core or sense of being in the women we work with. It is as I love, accept and affirm my client that she can begin to unfold and continue to develop as a female being. In essence, I provide the home in which she can rest and simply become.

Parents of a Homosexual Child

Posted on January 6, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Why Is This Child Different From Most Other Children?

Ten Questions & Answers For a Parent of a Homosexual Child

 

(*NOTE: Deep appreciation to Rabbi Samuel Rosenberg,L.C.S.W., Clinical Director of JONAH, and to my Co-Director, Arthur A. Goldberg, for their help with this article. JONAH, Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality, can be reached by telephone at 201-433-3444201-433-3444 and on the Internet at www.Jonahweb.org.)

 

“Gender, that deep sense or essence within us that reflects our

biological sex, is absolutely fundamental to our humanity.”

- Janelle Hallman

 

OK. You may have always suspected something, but now you know. Your child is self-identified as “gay.” You try to bargain with God, you cry, you rage, you deny – but you can’t run away from the pain that has gripped you ever since your child told you the news.

 

Why did this happen to your child? In today’s politically correct culture, the “experts” tell us that he/she was born that way, but in your heart and soul you know that isn’t true and that something went wrong in your family. Is it your fault? Is it your child’s fault? Is it anyone’s fault? Bottom line, what can and should you do about the situation?

 

Every day, anguished Jewish parents (as well as parents in every other societal group) around the globe ask themselves these questions as they go through the torment of learning about their child’s involvement with homosexuality. One of the worst aspects of this family problem is the common advice that parents must accept their child “for who they are” and there is nothing they can do. Even worse is the mistaken notion that reparative/change/reorientation therapy can actually harm their child. Nothing is further from the truth.

 

Politically astute gay activists have changed the way society views homosexuality in less than four decades. To their credit, gay activists have brought the issues surrounding homosexuality out of the closet. While this is good, the callous myths that homosexuality is inborn, benign, and unchangeable are absolutely false. Homosexual attractions are the result of childhood wounds which arrested a child’s psycho-sexual development. JONAH’s multi-faceted program (outlined below) offers great hope that your child can grow out of homosexuality and into the God-given heterosexuality which was his/her birthright. Please go to the Library Section of JONAH’s web site, Jonahweb.org, for a more complete discussion of this Model:

 

JONAH’S PSYCHO-EDUCATIONAL MODEL FOR HEALING HOMOSEXUALITY involves:

 

Bibliotherapy

Healing of the Family System

Jewish Spiritual Development

Masculinity Development & Empowerment

Networking, Support Groups, Daily Internet E-mail Listserve

Overcoming Shame & Narcissism

Receiving Healthy Touch & Affection

Experiential Healing Weekends

Individual Psychotherapy

Mentoring

 

JONAH is frequently asked these ten common questions. The answers below can help start a parent on the long, difficult, but ultimately rewarding quest of learning why their child feels same-sex attractions and what can be done about changing this painful truth.

 

 

QUESTION ONE: WHY DID THIS HAPPEN TO MY CHILD?

 

ANSWER: The good news is that your child was born, like all children, to develop into a heterosexual; the bad news is that your child suffered emotional wounds in his/her childhood that blocked his/her innate capacity to grow into heterosexuality. The specific issues for each individual will depend on the totality of his/her environment

 

As Richard Cohen tells us in his book, Coming Out Straight, same-sex attractions (SSA) are symptoms of underlying wounds. They represent an inappropriate response to conflicts in the present, a way to medicate pain and discomfort, unresolved childhood trauma, archaic emotions, frozen feelings, wounds that never healed. They also represent a reparative drive to fulfill unmet homo-emotional love needs of the past – an unconscious drive for greater bonding with the same-sex parent.

 

Very briefly, homosexuality is not about sex, but is rather an emotionally-based condition consisting of the following three subconscious drives:

 

Need for greater attachment to the same-sex parent and less attachment to the

opposite sex parent

Need for stronger gender identification

Fear of sexual or emotional intimacy with the opposite sex.

 

 

QUESTION TWO: DO LESBIANS AND GAY MEN DEAL WITH THE SAME

UNDERLYING ISSUES?

 

ANSWER: Some of the issues underlying male and female homosexuality are the same, but others are different. Here is an outline of the key elements underlying male and female same-sex attraction (SSA). For lesbianism, I will quote Janelle Hallman, a therapist noted for specializing in lesbian issues:

 

The Most Frequently Reported Elements of the Lesbian Struggle:

 

A strained, detached or missing bond and/or attachment with mother WITHOUT an available mother substitute, resulting in a fear of abandonment and need for secure attachment;

The presence of disrespect or abuse at the hands of a male, resulting in a fear or hatred of men;

Few if any girlhood/adolescent same-sex friendships, resulting in a need for acceptance,

belonging and fun;

A sense of emptiness or identity confusion in lieu of a full and rich identity, resulting in a need for self and gender identity.

 

Common Root Problems of the Male Homosexual Struggle:

( A complete discussion of these issues can be found on the web site: peoplecanchange.com.)

 

- Feelings of masculine deficiency;

Idealization of other males and maleness; same-sex peer wounds;

Fear of men, estrangement from men, disassociation from maleness;

Overidentification with the feminine;

Over-sensitivity; body image wounds

Father hunger; mother enmeshment;

Shame, secrecy, self-loathing, isolation, loneliness;

Touch deprivation;

Spiritual emptiness.

 

 

QUESTION THREE: WHAT ARE THE FIRST STEPS I SHOULD TAKE TO HELP

MY FAMILY COPE WITH THIS PROBLEM?

 

ANSWER: Homosexuality is a systemic problem involving family, extended family, school environment, peers, etc. You should never ostracize your child nor should you blame your child. Each member of the family needs to do his/her part in healing the family system.

Family therapy and/or spiritual counseling will help to educate the members of the family in how to set up new and better relationships. Whether your child chooses to leave homosexuality or not, strengthening the family is a worthwhile goal. The lines of communication between parent and child should always be open. Many families find an improvement in their relationship with their child as a result of this “big secret” finally being out in the open. Parents don’t have to accept homosexual behavior, but they do need to always love and accept their child.

 

Bibliotherapy is JONAH’s term for educating yourself about the issues underlying SSA and we believe this is a critical first step. Homosexuality is complex, caused by a variety of factors and often misunderstood by most therapists, doctors, teachers, and the general community. Therefore, parents need to read extensively until they understand the common causes of homosexual attractions and which of these apply to their son or daughter. For those who don’t enjoy reading, there are cassette tapes and videos available. The following web sites display extensive information about SSA and recommend the books, cassettes, and videos that will give you the education you need in order to help your child:

 

Jonahweb.org (Jewish)

NARTH.com (Scientific and Educational)

Peoplecanchange.com (Non-Denominational)

Gaytostraight.org. (Non-Denominational).

 

 

QUESTION FOUR: WHAT ARE THE LONG TERM GOALS OF A HEALING PROGRAM?

 

ANSWER: Remember that your child has probably been feeling tremendous conflict and anxiety for years before you found out about his/her SSA. We have found there is a process involved in coming to terms with this issue. The following suggestions have worked for other parents who have faced this problem:

 

Educate yourself about the causes of homosexuality and the strategies used to grow out of same-sex attraction.

The same-sex parent should become more involved with the child feeling SSA while the opposite-sex parent should step back and encourage the growth of the same-sex parent’s relationship with the child.

Seek counseling for you and your family with a gender-affirming therapist.

Understand that you probably will go through a process of grieving, followed by healing, and finally acceptance and understanding.

Tell a few close relatives or friends about the problem so you can confide in someone about the pain and confusion you feel. Choose your confidants carefully so you do not choose someone who has accepted the gay activist’s mythology.

Seek out group support and networking with others who have faced your problem. JONAH can help with referrals to appropriate resources.

Speak with a Rabbi or spiritual advisor to help you come to terms with your relationship to God and the anguish you feel.

Understand that whether your child chooses to grow out of homosexuality or not, you can keep your family together and have more trusting and vital relationships.

Expect your family’s healing process to take time – there are no “quick fixes.”

 

 

QUESTION FIVE: WHAT SHOULD I NOT DO?

 

ANSWER: There are a number of caveats that are supported by most individuals and organizations that work in this field. Some are common sense and some have been gleaned by long years of experience:

 

Never ostracize your child. He/she did not choose to have SSA.

Don’t try to convince your child that he/she must change – it doesn’t work because a person needs internal motivation to undertake this difficult journey.

Don’t focus on this issue when you are with your child because he/she is much more than a person with homosexual issues.

Don’t try to make your child feel guilty; don’t take a burden of guilt on yourself either.

SSA resulted from the combination of his/her individual temperament, the relationships within the family, and the totality of his/her environment. Everyone in the family (including siblings) needs to assume some responsibility for repairing the broken relationships and forging healthier family dynamics.

 

 

QUESTION SIX: WHAT DOES “CHANGE” MEAN IN RELATION TO GROWING

OUT OF HOMOSEXUALITY?

 

ANSWER: Growing out of homosexuality rarely means that the person will never again experience a homosexual thought or attraction. We must learn to stop treating those who feel SSA as “different kinds of persons.” We understand that recovery from alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, obesity, heterosexual promiscuity, etc., doesn’t mean the person will never be tempted again. So, too, many recovered homosexuals feel overwhelmed at times of stress and desire a “quick fix” to solve their problems. However, if they understand their “trigger points” and disengage them, they generally can resist such impulses.

 

Fantasizing or acting on homosexual impulses has been the way these individuals handled stress and feelings of inadequacy in the past, so at times they may briefly fall back to old habits of thinking and feeling. The difference will be that now they understand their homosexual feelings are symptoms of underlying emotional issues they need to address. Fantasizing or acting on those homosexual impulses will not solve their problems – in fact, acting out usually makes things worse because acting out covers up the real issues affecting their lives. Growth out of homosexuality or “change” will be different for each man or woman who makes the journey. Some will never have a homosexual feeling again; some will frequently struggle to overcome their attractions and/or compulsions; most will fall in between these two extremes.

 

 

QUESTION SEVEN: WHY DO NUMEROUS THERAPISTS, DOCTORS, RABBIS, TEACHERS, AND MEMBERS OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY EMBRACE THE THEORY THAT HOMOSEXUALITY IS INBORN AND UNCHANGEABLE?

 

ANSWER: Gay activism has done an excellent job of convincing the public. Not only do they confuse political and personal goals, but most distressingly they wrongly label those who have a principled disagreement with them as homophobic. Many professionals in the therapeutic field are skeptical about gay activist claims, but are afraid of being called intolerant, non-inclusive or homophobic if they speak up or protest.

 

In the personal sphere, each man or woman who feels SSA should be treated with the same dignity and compassion we feel for anyone with an emotional problem – which includes everyone of us at some point in our lives. However, to say that a problem like SSA is normal and merely an alternative lifestyle is the equivalent of saying that obesity or alcoholism is normal.

 

In the political sphere the gay activists have also gone too far and have almost succeeded in deconstructing the male/female design of God, nature, and evolution. We Jews were the first to proclaim that the nuclear family should be the basic building block of society. Numerous groups seek to overturn the Torah prohibition against the practice of homosexuality and accept such behavior as normal and unchangeable.

 

As parents who admit that we inadvertently played a role in our children feeling same-sex attraction, we must stand together and educate the Jewish community and the larger community about the prevention, intervention, and treatment of homosexuality. Our children, and all children, deserve to know the truth about this important issue.

 

 

QUESTION EIGHT: WHAT DOES JUDAISM SAY ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY AND

IS IT STILL RELEVENT IN THE MODERN WORLD?

(For a fuller discussion of this question, please see the Rabbinical Commentary Section of Jonahweb.org.)

 

ANSWER: JONAH’s philosophy is consistent with the Torah’s approach to homosexuality. There is no word in the Torah for a homosexual, although there are words for homosexual behavior, which leads us to believe that the Torah sets forth an understanding that homosexuality is neither inborn nor an identity. The Jewish literature is replete with examples of accepting and loving the person who feels same-sex attractions while not accepting the undesirable behavior.

 

Accepting a person’s same-sex attractions as inborn and unchangeable does great harm to the individual, the family, and the community. There is absolutely no reliable proof that homosexuality is inborn so to tell young people who feel same-sex attractions they were born that way and have no choice to grow out of homosexuality is simply cruel and untrue. Same-sex attractions are just one of the many life-damaging conditions we all must learn to overcome.

 

In Judaism, teshuvah (repentance and return) is available to all of us. We must reach out to those feeling SSA, welcome them into the Jewish community, and educate them about their ability to grow out of homosexuality.

 

 

QUESTION NINE: WHAT PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE?

 

ANSWER: JONAH is constantly expanding its world-wide list of referrals and resources. Please call our Message Line at 201-433-3444201-433-3444 for recommendations in the following categories:

 

Individual and/or family therapy with those committed to gender affirmative psychotherapy.

Support groups

Experiential Healing Week-ends for individuals, couples, and families

Teleconferencing classes for individuals, parents, therapists, and couples

Educational books, articles, and tapes

Seminars and conferences helpful to parents dealing with homosexuality.

 

 

QUESTION TEN: IT SEEMS SO DIFFICULT TO GROW OUT OF HOMOSEXUALITY, IS IT WORTH THE STRUGGLE?

 

ANSWER: While we cannot answer that question for any particular individual, we can tell the truth about homosexuality so that the individual is enabled to choose his/her own path based on facts, not myths. Some will choose not to start the journey, some will only be able to journey part of the way, some will be able to complete the journey. Many who complete the journey will reach back to help others. As one inspiring response to this question, here are the words of Jeffrey Burke Satinover, M.D., who is a member of JONAH’s Advisory Board:

 

“I have been extraordinarily fortunate to have met many people who have emerged from the gay life. When I see the personal difficulties they have squarely faced, the sheer courage they have displayed not only in facing these difficulties but also in confronting a culture that uses every possible means to deny the validity of their values, goals, and experiences, I truly stand back in wonder. Certainly they have forced me by the simple testimony of their lives to return again and again to my own self-examination. It is these people – former homosexuals and those still struggling, all across America and abroad – who stand for me as a model of everything good and possible in a world that takes the human heart, and the God of that heart, seriously. In my various explorations within the worlds of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and psychiatry, I have simply never before seen such profound healing.

 

Because it is not really a battle over mere sexuality, but rather over which spirit shall claim our allegiance, the cultural and political battle over homosexuality has become in many respects the defining moment for our society. It has implications that go far beyond the surface matter of “gay rights.” And so the more important dimension of this battle is not the political one, it is the one for the individual human soul. It would be easy in this modern era, when our vision for things invisible is so easily blinded by the dazzling allure of our material accomplishment, to not even take the soul – and her loving, watchful, worried shepherd – seriously. But the soul that emerges in the lives of those who have successfully struggled with homosexuality, and the soul that is in the process of emerging in those who struggle still, is so beautiful that at one stroke her emergence into sight, even dimly, simply shatters the false dazzle of modernity.

 

And so, as dangerous a moment as this one may be, when so much of our inheritance stands in the balance, there is great hope as well. Slowly but surely, the great truths that have embodied themselves in the lives of these men and women – after terrible struggle – will be made widely known. More and more people will themselves gain the courage to return home from their long and fruitless wanderings in the wasteland of modern sophistication, however painful that return may be. It is our joyful duty to stand waiting, with open arms, remembering that we too are journeying home.” (Dr. Jeffrey Satinover: Postscript: Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth)

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Is Homosexuality Perverse?

Posted on May 3, 2014 at 4:45 PM

If so, should we call it like that? First, in my view there is no such thing as "homosexuality" (a rather modern term). Some heterosexuals (even that term is rather modern) have same-sex attractions - for whatever reason. That doesn't make them an extra species nor does it give them an extra identity. This needs to be stated clearly - both to people with ssa and to the public in general. You do not get "extra rights" for feeling that way and your whole life should not turn around being like that. So what about it being perverse? Let me take a running start for that: You first need to define that word - "homosexuality" or better: same-sex attractions. Usually you mean by that a long-term and predominant sexual and emotional attraction to members of the same sex. The causes for it are still unknown, but most scientists agree that the development of those attractions is caused by a whole bunch of different factors. Likewise, addressing and dealing with those factors can in turn influence the attractions. So are those attractions - or is "homosexuality" - "perverse"? If we mean by that that they are in some way medically speaking a gender identity disorder and like that are not what we refer to as "normal" or "unnatural", then I have to answer with a clear - yes and no. Yes, this is part of the whole problem but no, seeing people with ssa simply as "sickos" would be not helpful for them and also to simplified. It is more than just a disorder or a disease. Also from a spiritual perspective. It is not for nothing that Jesus separated sexual sins from others as they go against the own body which is the temple of the Lord. So let's just say they are a misguided way of dealing with legitimate needs and past hurts. Same-sex sexual acts and lustful fantasies are wrong from a Christian (and Jewish, and Muslim...) point of view because the go against God's design for human beings. We are created in His image and He should know what is best for us - and what leads us to very negative consequences. So keeping all of that in mind, can and should we call that "perverse"? I get the point of those who do, but calling that "perverse" is inappropriate for the following reasons: Keep in mind the factors that contributed to the development of ssa. Usually that started way back in childhood - so it is not just a "perverse" way of sexual preference that an adult chooses to get an orgasm. Yes, they are "perverse" in the sense that they are not what would be seen as "natural" (in the meaning of "planned by God for the best of mankind"). But no, they are not and should not be called that way as the term is misleading and insulting. Sort of puts shame and worthlessness on the whole package of problems that those people already have. And for this very reason it should not be called that way as it does not help people with ssa - quite on the contrary. They might feel "sick", "disordered", "evil", "scum" - in short: "pervert". Yes, their orientation and their sexual fantasies and/or acts got sort of out of control, but they are not "perverts" because of that. Also it is a misleading term for the public as they will only hear that word without understanding how it is meant. So we might better use other words to describe it. But one thing needs to be said as well: Both people with same-sex attractions, parents of kids who feel that way or parents in general whose children might have to face gay groups or messages at school, the public, authorities, churches and whoever else out there needs to hear a very clear message that there might be very negative physical, emotional, psychological, relational and spiritual consequences of a "gay" life. Ain't nothing "gay" about it. Gays might respond it doesn't have to be that way, but a look at the statistics is enough to prove that it often is - and it is not society who can be blamed for that. It is the "gay" life itself. If we love those people then yes, we need to give them a message of hope and love that there is a way out. Part of that message, however, is tough love. We need to love them enough to tell them the truth. Everything else has little to do with the Christian faith or with sound therapy. Many young people who think about embracing the "gay" life only get to hear the polished version of that life that gay activists spread - that makes them look good and nice and those who object look bad. That's victimizing. That's propaganda at it's best. Our job is to spread the truth while also giving them a helping hand so they know there is a way out. Hope that helps.

Robert