Jason

Christian Ex-Gay Ministry

Heilung

Heilung - was ist das überhaupt?


Jason International praktiziert keinerlei Form von Therapie. Wir sind eine Selbsthilfegruppe und Seelsorge-Organisation.

Was kursieren da nicht für Ansichten über Organisationen wie die unsere - zumeist von Menschen, die uns nie kennen gelernt haben.


Wir würden therapieren, was nicht als krank gilt, wir treiben Menschen angeblich in psychische Erkrankungen, sind fundamentalistische Christen, verklemmt, radikal, rechts-populistisch, wir hätten es nur selber nicht geschafft, eine befriedigende gleichgeschlechtliche Beziehung aufzubauen, kurz: wir müssen schnellstmöglich aus der Öffentlichkeit zum Wohle derselben verschwinden.


Zuallererst: Wir sind eine Seelsorge-Organisation, die (kostenlos!) Selbsthilfegruppen und Einzelgespräche für Menschen mit ungewollten gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen, deren Freunde  und Familienangehörige und alle sonstigen Interessierten anbietet. Wir betreiben keinerlei Therapie (allerdings befürworten wir das Recht eines jeden Einzelnen zur Wahl einer Therapie mit dem Ziel seiner Wahl) . Auch ist unser Ziel nicht, Menschen von "schwul" zu "hetero" zu bringen. Ein solches Ziel wäre für uns zu kurz gegriffen. Als Christen ist unser Ziel das eines jeden Jüngers Jesu: Heiligkeit. Wir sind aber auch für Menschen anderer Glaubensrichtungen - oder Nicht-Gläubige - offen. Die einzige Bedingung für eine Teilnahme an unserem Programm ist der Wille zur Veränderung (wie die dann aussieht, entscheidet letztendlich der Einzelne). Ohne dem wäre alles weitere sinnlos.


Wir arbeiten mit einem 14-Schritte Programm, das teils auf den üblichen 12-Schritte Programmen basiert und für die Bedürfnisse von Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen angepasst wurde, teils auf Erfahrungen unserer Gründer. Derartige 12-Schritte Programme sind international anerkannt und werden auch weithin verwendet.


Ebenso fließen gängige Instrumente aus der christlichen Seelsorge oder christlichen Programmen mit ein, die bei der Suche nach der eigenen Identität behilflich sind.


Alles in allem also nichts Außergewöhnliches oder Verdächtiges.


Bei der Entwicklung menschlicher Sexualität spielen viele Faktoren eine Rolle: Gene, die Umwelt, die Erziehung, das Verhältnis zum gleichgeschlechtlichen Elternteil oder zu Gleichaltrigen, Missbrauch und vieles mehr. Die Epigenetik hat mittlerweile herausgestellt, dass die früher oft verwendete Formel, ein Gen würde zwangsweise zu einem Verhalten führen, so nicht haltbar ist. Viele Faktoren spielen bei der Entwicklung von Genen eine Rolle. Ebenso verändert sich unser Gehirn jede Sekunde eines Lebens: Gene werden auf Basis verschiedenster Einflüsse in unterschiedlicher Stärke ausgebildet oder gar rückgebildet, oder es werden aufgrund unseres Verhaltens oder unserer Umweltbedingungen neue Gene begründet (!).


Wir sehen Menschen so, wie die Bibel sie sieht: Als untrennbare Einheit von Körper, Seele und Geist. Insofern sehen wir gleichgeschlechtliche Empfindungen nicht einfach als "Krankheit". Das wäre eine unzulässige Reduzierung eines sehr komplexen Sachverhalts. Als Christen wissen wir, dass wir alle gebrochene Menschen sind, die der Gnade Jesu Christi bedürfen.


Was wir tun, ist, die Hintergründe dieser Neigungen im Rahmen von Seelsorge und Gruppengesprächen anzugehen: Identitätsfragen, unbefriedigte emotionale, soziale, spirituelle und sonstige Bedürfnisse, das Verhältnis zu Gott, zu Familienangehörigen oder Freunden, eine Sinnfindung im Leben, um nur einiges zu erwähnen.


Es gibt also so einiges im Leben von Menschen, was "gebrochen" sein kann und im übertragenen Sinn einer "Heilung" bedarf, ohne dabei einfach nur eine psychische Erkrankung im Sinn zu haben.


Kurz und gut verstehen wir unter "Heilung" also die (Wieder-)Herstellung eines ganzheitlich ausgeglichenen Zustandes von Körper, Seele und Geist auf Basis des christlichen Glaubens.



Sexual Attraction Fluidity Exploration in Therapy (SAFE-T):
Creating a clearer impression of professional therapies that allow for change
Christopher Rosik, Ph.D.

During its May 27th, 2016, meeting, the board of the Alliance
for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity (ATCSI) voted unanimously to endorse new terminology that more accurately and effectively represents the work of Alliance therapists who see clients with unwanted same-sex attractions. The board has come to
believe that terms such as reorientation therapy, conversion therapy, and even sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) are no longer scientifically or politically tenable. Among the many reasons the board felt it time to retire these older terms as much as possible were the following:
1. These terms imply that categorical change (from exclusive SSA to exclusive OSA) is the goal. This is a degree of change that is
statistically rare and not demanded of any other psychological experience as a condition of legitimate psychological care.
2. The current terms imply there is a specific and exotic form of therapy that is being conducted (not standard therapeutic modalities)
3. These terms imply that sexual orientation is an actual entity (i.e., the terms all reify sexual orientation as immutable).
4. The terms imply that change is the therapist’s goal and not that of the clients (i.e., it’s coercive rather than self-determined).
5. These terms (especially SOCE) do not differentiate between professional conducted psychotherapy and religious or other forms of counseling practice.
6. These terms have been demonized and/or developed by professionals completely unsympathetic to therapies that allow for change in same-sex attractions and behaviors.

This means that Alliance clinicians are immediately on the defensive as soon as they reference their therapeutic work in these terms.
For all these reasons and more, first the Alliance Executive Committee and then the Alliance Board discussed potential new terminology and finally settled upon the name "Sexual Attraction Fluidity Exploration in Therapy" (the acronym of which is SAFE-T). The Board believes this term has many advantages that commend its usage. First, it addresses all of the concerns noted above. It does not imply that categorical change is the goal and in so doing
create unrealistic expectations for many clients. Nor does it imply that change which is less than categorical in nature cannot be meaningful and satisfying to clients. It also makes clear that
SAFE can occur in any number of mainstream therapeutic modalities. Furthermore, by focusing on sexual attractions it avoids the implicit assertion that orientation changes or that orientation as
an immutable reality even exists. By stressing therapeutic exploration, the new term accurately conveys that the therapist is not being coercive but merely assisting individuals in a client-centered examination of their sexual attractions. The Board also appreciated the fact that the acronym SAFE-T immediately challenges portrayals of the professional therapy utilized by
Alliance clinicians as harmful.
Scientifically, the fluidity of sexual orientation (and, for our purposes, especially same-sex attractions) for many women and men is now beyond question (Diamond & Rosky, 2016; Katz-Wise, 2015; Katz-Wise & Hyde, 2015). The language of SAFE-T highlights this reality and points to human experience that cannot be denied, again without the complicating focus on orientation. The only counterarguments to SAFE-T on fluidity grounds might be that therapy-assisted fluidity has not been proven to occur and such efforts could be harmful. These arguments are much easier to defend against with SAFE-T than when one is trying to defend implications of complete orientation change. First, we know that sexual attraction fluidity occurs in response to relational and environmental contexts, the very factors that therapists routinely
address in their work (Manley, Diamond, & van Anders, 2015).
Second, there is research in progress to support the occurr
ence of therapy-assisted sexual attraction fluidity (Santero,
Whitehead, & Ballesteros, 2016; Pela & Nicolosi, 2016), not to mention a rich history of past research, as good as any research of its era (Phelan, Whitehead, & Sutton, 2009). Finally, recent research on “ex-ex-gays” (e.g., Bradshaw, Dehlin, Crowell, & Bradshaw, 2015; Flentje, Heck, & Cochran, 2013) tells us no more about SAFE-T than research focused on divorced consumers of
marital therapy would tell us about its safety and efficacy. While it
is reasonable to conclude that more research is needed to better comprehend the extent of therapy-assisted sexual attraction
fluidity, denying the potential for such a therapeutic process
would seem to be much more a matter of ideological compulsion than it is one of theoretical or scientific implausibility.
Due to all of these important considerations, the ATSCI Board encourages Alliance members and supporters to join them in employing the terminology of SAFE-T in their professional work. One might say, for example, “I practice a cognitive form of SAFE-T” or “I practice SAFE-T from an interpersonal perspective” or “There is no scientific basis for banning any form of SAFE-T” or even “I don’t do SOCE, I only practice SAFE-T.” Because this term
represents what Alliance clinicians actually do in a scientifically accurate and defensible manner, the Board anticipates that the professional interests of these therapists and the public policy
interests of supporters will be much better served by SAFE-T.

References
Bradshaw, K., Dehlin, J. P., Crowell, K. A., & Bradshaw, W. S. (2014).
Sexual orientation change efforts through psychotherapy for LGBQ individuals affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy.
Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2014.915907
Diamond, L. M., & Rosky, C. (2016). Scrutinizing immutability: Research on sexual orientation and its role in U. S. legal advocacy for the rights of sexual minorities.
The Journal of Sex Research. Advance online publication. doi: 10:1080/00224499.2016.1139665
Flentje, A., Heck, N. C., Cochran, B. N. (2013). Sexual reorientation therapy interventions: Perspectives of ex-ex-gay individuals.
Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, 17, 256-277. doi: 10.1080/19359705.2013.773268.
Katz-Wise, S. L. (2015). Sexual fluidity in young adult women and men: Associations with sexual orientation and sexual identity development.
Psychology & Sexuality, 6, 189-208.
doi: 10.1080/19419899.2013.876445
Katz-Wise, S. L., & Hyde, J. S. (2015). Sexual fluidity and related attitudes and beliefs among young adults with a same-gender orientation.
Archives of Sexual Behavior, 44, 1459-1470. doi: 10.1007/s10508-
014-0420-1
Manley, M. H., Diamond, L. M., & van Anders, S. M. (2015). Polyamory, monoamory, and sexual fluidity: A longitudinal study of identity and sexual trajectories.
Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 2, 168-180.
doi: 10.1037/sgd0000107
Pela, C., & Nicolosi, J. (2016, March).
Clinical outcomes for same-sex attraction distress: Well-being and change.
Paper presented at the Christian Association for Psychological
Studies conference, Pasadena, CA.
Phelan, J. E., Whitehead, N., & Sutton, P. M. (2009). What the research shows: NARTH’s response to the APA claims on homosexuality.
Journal of Human Sexuality, 1, 5-118.
Retrieved from , http://www.scribd.com/doc/115507777/Journal-of-
Human-Sexuality-Vol-1
Santero, P. L., Whitehead, N. E., & Ballesteros, D. (2016).
Effects of Therapy on U.S. Men who have Unwanted Same Sex Attraction. Manuscript submitted for publication.


Alle Unterstützung für aktive Schwule, aber keine für die, die erst gar nicht dorthin wollen?

Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen haben in der Regel ein breites Angebot an Beratungs- und sonstigen Dienstleistungen zur Verfügung – wenn sie diese ausleben. Staatlicherseits dick subventioniert bleibt hier kaum ein Wunsch oder Bedürfnis unbefriedigt.
Will man/frau aber – aus welchen Gründen auch immer – dieses Leben verlassen oder erst gar nicht dorthin kommen, sieht es rabenschwarz aus.

Therapien

Ansprechpartner für psychotherapeutische Unterstützung: Die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Psychosomatik und Nervenheilkunde (DGPPN). Auf eine Anfrage hin, ob es denn für Menschen mit ungewollten gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen Unterstützung gibt – wohlgemerkt nicht (!) automatisch für Menschen, die „heterosexuell“ werden wollen, kam eine sehr standardisierte Antwort: Zunächst wird man darüber belehrt, dass 1973 die amerikanische Psychiatervereinigung APA Homosexualität vom DSM (Liste der psychischen Krankheiten) gestrichen hatte. Als Folge davon wurde das 1991 auch bei uns (hier: der ICD) so gehandhabt. Homosexualität sei keine Krankheit, sondern eine häufige Form menschlichen Zusammenlebens. Sie bedürfe deshalb keiner Therapie.

Abgesehen davon, dass dies keine Antwort auf die ursprüngliche Frage war (es ging nicht um eine „Therapie“ von Homosexualität, sondern um therapeutische Begleitung bei der Suche nach einem alternativen Leben!), wird hier – bewusst oder unbewusst – ein wesentliches Detail verschwiegen.

Die Tatsache, dass Homosexualität aus dem DSM bzw. ICD genommen wurde, beruhte keineswegs auf neuen medizinischen Erkenntnissen. Die lagen damals schlichtweg nicht vor – und tun dies auch heute nicht. Der Grund hierfür war allein politischer Art – ein erheblicher Druck der Schwulenbewegung. Selbst heute also lässt sich die DGPPN instrumentalisieren und verschließt politisch nicht korrekten Forschungen den Weg.

Weiterhin heißt es in der Antwort, die DGPPN lehne „reparative Therapien“ oder „Konversionstherapien“ entschieden ab. Auch hier: dies war nicht Gegenstand der Frage. Außerdem konnte ich keine Organisation und keinen Therapeuten hier in Deutschland ausfindig machen, der eine „Konversationstherapie“ anbietet. Auch hier geht die DGPPN der Schwulenbewegung auf dem Leim. Reparative Therapie und Konversionstherapie werden hier fälschlicherweise in einem Atemzug genannt, beschreiben aber etwas ganz anderes. Während eine Konversionstherapie die sexuelle Orientierung verändern will (es gibt mittlerweile tatsächlich Anzeichen für eine „Fluidität“ menschlicher Sexualität – sie ist also keineswegs in Stein gemeiselt!), konzentriert sich die Reparative Therapie auf einige der Faktoren, die zur Entwicklung gleichgeschlechtlicher Neigungen beitragen, etwa eine Störung der Geschlechts-Identität, unerfüllte legitime Bedürfnisse, ein gestörtes Verhältnis zum gleichgeschlechtlichen Elternteil etc. Dies ist offenbar der DGPPN noch nicht einmal bekannt – sie bedient sich ungeprüft der Meinung von wissenschaftlichen Laien, die ihre eigene Agenda verfolgen. Selbst das Argument, Homosexualität sei eine „häufige“ Form menschlichen Zusammenlebens, ist wissenschaftlich irrelevant. Eine psychische Störung, die häufig auftritt, wird alleine dadurch ja auch noch nicht zum weniger pathologisch. Die Tatsache, dass es viele tun, macht etwas weder in moralischer noch in medizinischer Form „besser“ oder „schlechter“.

Als medizinischen „Beleg“ für die eigene Sichtweise führt die DGPPN an, es gebe keine empirische Evidenz (Nachweis) für günstige Effekte von Konversionsverfahren, wohl könne Patienten dadurch aber Schaden zugefügt werden. Erneut wird hier auf eine Verfahren polarisiert, dass weder bei uns allgemein angewandt noch gefragt wurde. Derart pauschalisierte Aussagen sind nicht wissenschaftlich und schon gar nicht ethisch vertretbar. Jeder Therapeut und jede Therapeutin kann dem Hilfesuchenden potentiell Schaden zufügen. Die Frage ist, ob dann die Therapieform als ganze oder der Therapeut Schuld hierfür trägt. Da die DGPPN sich offensichtlich noch nicht einmal mit den wissenschaftlichen Arbeiten hierzu befasst hat und alternative Therapiemodelle auch im Studium nicht Gegenstand der Lehre sind, kann sie hierzu auch keine gültige Aussage treffen. Würde man die von ihr getroffenen Aussagen auf alle Formen sexuellen Empfindens übertragen und damit alles mehr oder weniger als „normale“ Formen menschlichen Zusammenlebens hinstellen, würde dies zu absurden und unverantwortlichen Ergebnissen führen.

Die Mitarbeiterin der DGPPN (der ich noch nicht einmal böse Absicht unterstellen will!) weist weiterhin darauf hin, dass psychische Erkrankungen unabhängig von der sexuellen Orientierung „anhand der klinisch relevanten Symptome gemäß ICD-10 Kriterien klassifiziert“ werden und dementsprechend von Fachleuten therapiert werden sollen. Dies ist schon aus wissenschaftlicher Sicht ein unsinniges Vorgehen. Hier werden bewusst Faktoren und Ursachen ausgeklammert bzw. voneinander getrennt gesehen, die durchaus etwas miteinander zu tun haben können. Mit anderen Worten: Der Patient bekommt nicht die beste Hilfe, die verfügbar ist, da dies politisch nicht korrekt ist.

Womit wir beim Abschluss-Statement der DGPPN-Kollegin sind: "Direkt oder indirekt erfahrene Diskriminierung kann zur Entstehung psychischer Erkrankungen bei homosexuellen Menschen beitragen." Hier trägt die schwule Propaganda reiche Früchte: alles, was nicht politisch korrekt ist, ist „Diskriminierung“. Hier wird in unglaublicher Art und Weise unterstellt, dass Therapeuten, die oben genannten Ratsuchenden Hilfe anbieten, nicht wissenschaftlich arbeiten, sondern „diskriminieren“. So macht man es sich selbst sehr einfach – man muss sich erst gar nicht mit dem Thema in einer objektiven, wissenschaftlichen Herangehensweise befassen, sondern stellt Andersdenkende als Menschen zweifelhaften moralischen Charakters dar. Das ist nichts anderes als unselige Propaganda.

Die angestrebte Therapie, so die DGPPN, ziele nicht auf die Homosexualität ab, sondern auf die Konflikte, die in Verbindung mit religiösen, gesellschaftlichen und internalisierten Normen entstehen. Mit anderen Worten: der gute alte Leitsatz „Nicht der Homosexuelle hat ein Problem, sondern die Gesellschaft“. Ziel des Therapeuten sei es, dass sich der/die Homosexuelle wieder gut bei dem fühle, was er/sie tut und gegebenenfalls alle Einstellungen überwindet, die dem entgegen stehen. Das ist keine wissenschaftliche Therapie, das ist ideologisch motivierte politische Korrektheit par excellence. Hier fügt die DGPPN ihrerseits möglicherweise denen Schaden zu, die aus persönlichen, religiösen oder anderweitigen Gründen ein Ausleben ihrer Neigungen nicht für gut heißen können. Anstelle ihnen beizustehen und ihre Ansichten zu respektieren, sorgt die DGPPN noch für Schuld- und Schamgefühle und will ihnen Ansichten aufschwatzen, die nicht die ihren sind. Mit welchem Recht?


Die Krankenkassen

Hier hält man sich mit einer klaren Antwort auf die Anfrage bedeckt. Die AOK etwa geht erst gar nicht auf dieses Thema ein, sondern verweist allgemein auf Informationen zur Psychotherapie. Auch hier wird einem Ratsuchenden offenbar nicht weiter geholfen. Soll man vielleicht erst alle Therapeuten in der Gegend abklappern, um einen zu finden, der bereit ist, einem beizustehen?



Die Kirchen

Bei einem Pastor, einem Priester etc. Hilfe zu suchen, ist beinahe ein Glücksspiel. Manch einer wird hier das finden, was er/sie sucht, allerdings ist die Bandbreite der Haltungen, Meinungen, Ansichten und Herangehensweisen hier – selbst innerhalb einer Kirche – enorm. Wenige halten sich an das, was ihre eigene Lehrautorität verkündet. Viele handeln nach eigenem Gutdünken. Wirklich empfehlenswert ist dies für Betroffene nicht. Zu groß ist das Risiko hierbei, an „den Falschen“ zu geraten – mit unkalkulierbaren Konsequenzen.


Angebote im Bereich Lebensberatung und Seelsorge

Hier sieht die Lage etwas besser aus. Im Gegensatz zur landläufigen Meinung sind von anerkannten Lehreinrichtungen zertifizierte Lebensberater und Seelsorger in der Regel theoretisch und praktisch sehr gut ausgebildet und erfahren. Natürlich führen diese Einrichtungen keine Therapien durch, eine seelsorgerische Begleitung oder eine Teilnahme an einer Selbsthilfegruppe kann hier sehr hilfreich sein. Zu nennen sind hier etwa christliche Einrichtungen wie Wüstenstrom (www.wuestenstrom.de), das Weisse Kreuz (www.weisses-kreuz.de) oder Organisationen wie Jason International (http://jason-online.webs.com), der Partnerorganisation der internationalen, wohl ältesten Organisation auf diesem Gebiet: Homosexuals Anonymous (www.homosexuals-anonymous.com).


Fazit

Der Standpunkt der DGPPN soll hier auf keinen Fall verteufelt werden. Selbstverständlich sind psychische Krankheitsbilder von entsprechenden Psychotherapeuten oder Psychiatern zu behandeln. Betroffene sollten hier keinesfalls zögern, Hilfe zu suchen. Nötigenfalls klärt ein Eingangsgespräch, ob der Therapeut/Arzt bereit ist, die Einstellung des Patienten zu akzeptieren und nicht dagegen zu arbeiten. Gleichwohl werden die meisten Betroffenen alleine dadurch nicht die Hilfe finden, die sie brauchen. Abgesehen davon hat nicht jeder von ihnen eine psychische Erkrankung. Deshalb ist ein TNetzwerk von Freunden, Seelsorgern, Lebensberatern, Therapeuten, Ärzten usw. nicht nur sinnvoll, sondern notwendig. Der DGPPN kann man nur wünschen, dass sie nicht das nachplappert, was andere ihr vorplappern, sondern sich als Teil eines Netzwerkes siieht und dieses – wie auch die Ratsuchenden und deren Überzeugungen selbst – respektiert.

How Do I Start To Walk Away From Homosexuality ?
Written By David, An Israeli JONAH Struggler (posted Nov. 2007)

"That's the key here: healing SSA is a progress from compulsion and a sense of weakness, to a mature sense of competence and self-mastery as a man."


Here's a brief attempt at an Intro for Beginners:

1. "I think I'm gay and..."

You are not gay. There is no such thing. Decades of scientific research have not come up with ANY evidence tosupport the idea that gays are "born that way", or that homosexual attractions are inborn.

You have been lied to.

Those of you who follow the news from Israel - and maybe have a personal connection here - already are familiar with the gross, ideologically motivated distortions of the truth about Israel by the media and other liberal strongholds such as universities.

The same thing has been done to promote the pro-gay agenda.

For many, a first step in the process is cutting through the media stardust and getting at the truth: there is no genetic basis for homosexuality, you do not have to live with this forever, it is not an immutable part of your makeup.

If you don't take the time to really work this out - the lies of the pro-gay propaganda machine will close around you like a shackle, preventing you from growing, healing, and living the life YOU choose to lead.

2. What is this term "SSA"? Doesn't it just mean I'm gay?

We use the term SSA - Same-Sex Attraction - to describe our drives and behaviors.

It's not an identity. It's a behavior that we wish to change.

More accurately: it's a symptom.

In most cases, sexual attraction to one's own sex is a maladapted, unhealthy response to trauma, or to events that block or sidetrack normal development. Studies (ironically, some of them conducted by gay organizations!) have shown clearly that the majority of men who feel same-sex attractions share certain traumatic experiences or dysfunctional family situations. The most common are:

- Dysfunctional parental relationships - missed bond with father, abusive or distant father, smothering or emotionally enmeshed mother, narcissistic/manipulative father or mother... Often dysfunctional parents come in pairs!

- Childhood or teenage sexual abuse

- Peer wounds, especially during puberty: exclusion (particularly from one's gender group), ridicule, abuse

- Other experiences that lead to a mindset of inferiority or inadequacy compared to others - especially to other men.

To cope with these traumas/challenges, our minds have "hijacked" sex and pressed it into service to fill another emotional need, or cover a wound.

Another way of saying it is: we have sexualized that which we feel is lacking in us (yearning for love, approval, and acceptance from men), or created a comforting sexualized escape from the perceived threat of heterosexuality (smothering mother, being a "good little boy").

This isn't an identity.
And it's not just a normal variation on human sexuality.

It's a compulsive behavior, with many points in common with other compulsive behaviors.

For example, bulimics and anorexics have done something similar - they have taken the normal urge to eat, and the normal pleasure of eating, and invested them with additional meanings in an unhealthy way - turning these normal drives into self-damaging behaviors.

If you have spent any time around the gay "community" you may have seen this - the vast majority of "out and proud" homosexuals drift through short-term relationships and anonymous sex, constantly pursuing the "dream lover" that will fill their unmet needs. This pattern is clearly compulsive, and can lead to self-destructive behavior.

3. Can you just quickly show me how to control my urges so I can get married?

Nope.
It is not possible to simply control the surface behavior. This is like "sticking your finger in the dyke" - the pressure just builds until it blows up.

We said that SSA is similar to other compulsive/addictive behaviors. Well, the healing path is similar, too: it is necessary to uncover the underlying, unmet needs - the meaning that you have invested in your SSA feelings - and to resolve them.

This can mean grieving past abuse, or missed opportunities to bond with one's father.

It also has a positive element - after identifying where your path of growth was blocked, it is possible to build other, more healthy ways to meet your emotional needs. It is possible to learn healthy, appropriate ways to interact and feel intimate with both men and women.

By this process - introspection and healing past wounds, and building a healthier self-image and way of being - we heal the underlying causes of our SSA.

In most instances, people who do this feel the force of the same-sex attractions diminish, and feel heterosexual attractions grow.

The pace of your healing depends on your own personal story. A young person dealing with minor doubts about his masculinity will handle things differently than someone seriously traumatized by a dysfunctional background.

4. So I can get rid of these feelings?


Well... let's go back to that bulimic, or look at recovered alcoholics and drug users.

They have built a balanced view of life - and a healthier view of themselves and others.

But at times of stress in life - the old, broken "solutions" often suggest themselves. The classic example is the guy who hasn't had a
cigarette in years, but asks for one during a stressful time.

Similarly, healing for us means being free to choose - and live - the lives that we want, and that we feel are right and holy.But in some
cases and situations these feelings may crop up.

If the wounds are deep, healing means being able to live your life - despite occasional pains from the past.

Healing means that when the broken non-solution of SSA suggests itself, you will have other, healthier behaviors - and reasons for living - with
which to answer that momentary impulse.

And the truth is that adults must do this all the time - countering many unproductive impulses, attaining self-mastery.

That's the key here: healing SSA is a progress from compulsion and a sense of weakness, to a mature sense of competence and self-mastery as a
man.

So, You Want To CHANGE?
Author / Contributor :: Anonymous JONAH Man


I was thinking about a statement I recently read from a mental health professional. It was a warning against the whole "change movement" and how guys who try to change, and "fail", are prone to pain, grief and even suicide.

I realize that I am part of this "change movement". I talk with a lot of guys, participate in seminars and experiential weekends, and am frequently quoted. I have become aware that this involvement is not trivial. We're talking about people's lives. I often say that I would never encourage people to take on this "journey". I would never tell a gay person that he is wrong or bad or shouldn't be that way. This journey ain't no picnic either.

But give me a guy who "wants" change. Someone who has it in his heart to find a new life . . . to connect with G-d and his true self and not be lead around by the hole in his chest (and then his penis) . . and I'm off and running. I'll jump in with both feet and all 2000 minutes of my cell phone.

But what of men who hit the "wall"? Those whose ego, willfulness, humanness, whatever, just revolts. The ones who get stuck right smack dab in the middle of the pain. They can't go back to the lie fully and they see no future for themselves. I know them, because I have been one of them . . . and some days, I am one of them. If we tell the truth, we all feel like this at times yet if we don't let our transitory feelings define us, then we can start journeying again once the crisis has passed.

Two years ago I wanted to put a gun to my head. But I couldn't. I decided that a sick, messed-up father, who was fighting for his life, was better than a dad who killed himself. I can be selfish, but not that selfish . . . nobody is better off if someone kills himself. But still, I was willing to give up, to just say f*** it! They are better off without me. I hear that from lots of men.

What am I getting at? I guess it's the responsibility of taking a stand, of speaking my truth that change is possible. That for me, it is, and was, worth every second of the pain, confusion and failures. It scares me when the reality of people's lives comes crashing through. At that moment I am all too aware that after someone calls me, they are then alone at night with their thoughts, fears and pain.

I am often harsh, flip and irreverent when I speak on this issue . . . I guess sometimes that's needed. But again, these are real people with real lives and what I have to say actually influences people. That scares me. I am fearful when I hear statements like the one I heard from the psychologist about the damage this "change" thing can cause. And I believe there are lots of people who mean well but do cause damage.

There are people in AA who kill themselves, they just can't seem to get sober . . . the pain and humiliation gets too great and they end it. AA is still a great and awesome spiritual entity.

How do I end this rant? I guess with speaking what's on my mind. I have a mixture of deep love for the men and women who take this journey . . . and I have a fear of taking a stand. But I'm willing to push through that fear and take a stand, with reality staring me in the face. MY truth is my truth and if it makes waves, so be it. Seems I can't shut up when G-d wants me to talk.

And to those who are in the thick of it, in what I call "no man's land" . . . that place of confusion where the past doesn't work, the future is unclear, and the pain of the present is almost too great to bear, I say hang on, pray with all your heart and soul, yell, scream, talk, and stay connected. The miracle may be closer than you think. Please don't give up on life.

And to Ben, Arthur, Elaine, David M and Richard C . . . I honor you for taking a stand and speaking your truth. I believe in you and your missions . . . and am awed by your courage. Thanks for saving my life and countless others.

Posted December 2004

So, You Want To CHANGE?
Author / Contributor :: Anonymous JONAH Man


I was thinking about a statement I recently read from a mental health professional. It was a warning against the whole "change movement" and how guys who try to change, and "fail", are prone to pain, grief and even suicide.

I realize that I am part of this "change movement". I talk with a lot of guys, participate in seminars and experiential weekends, and am frequently quoted. I have become aware that this involvement is not trivial. We're talking about people's lives. I often say that I would never encourage people to take on this "journey". I would never tell a gay person that he is wrong or bad or shouldn't be that way. This journey ain't no picnic either.

But give me a guy who "wants" change. Someone who has it in his heart to find a new life . . . to connect with G-d and his true self and not be lead around by the hole in his chest (and then his penis) . . and I'm off and running. I'll jump in with both feet and all 2000 minutes of my cell phone.

But what of men who hit the "wall"? Those whose ego, willfulness, humanness, whatever, just revolts. The ones who get stuck right smack dab in the middle of the pain. They can't go back to the lie fully and they see no future for themselves. I know them, because I have been one of them . . . and some days, I am one of them. If we tell the truth, we all feel like this at times yet if we don't let our transitory feelings define us, then we can start journeying again once the crisis has passed.

Two years ago I wanted to put a gun to my head. But I couldn't. I decided that a sick, messed-up father, who was fighting for his life, was better than a dad who killed himself. I can be selfish, but not that selfish . . . nobody is better off if someone kills himself. But still, I was willing to give up, to just say f*** it! They are better off without me. I hear that from lots of men.

What am I getting at? I guess it's the responsibility of taking a stand, of speaking my truth that change is possible. That for me, it is, and was, worth every second of the pain, confusion and failures. It scares me when the reality of people's lives comes crashing through. At that moment I am all too aware that after someone calls me, they are then alone at night with their thoughts, fears and pain.

I am often harsh, flip and irreverent when I speak on this issue . . . I guess sometimes that's needed. But again, these are real people with real lives and what I have to say actually influences people. That scares me. I am fearful when I hear statements like the one I heard from the psychologist about the damage this "change" thing can cause. And I believe there are lots of people who mean well but do cause damage.

There are people in AA who kill themselves, they just can't seem to get sober . . . the pain and humiliation gets too great and they end it. AA is still a great and awesome spiritual entity.

How do I end this rant? I guess with speaking what's on my mind. I have a mixture of deep love for the men and women who take this journey . . . and I have a fear of taking a stand. But I'm willing to push through that fear and take a stand, with reality staring me in the face. MY truth is my truth and if it makes waves, so be it. Seems I can't shut up when G-d wants me to talk.

And to those who are in the thick of it, in what I call "no man's land" . . . that place of confusion where the past doesn't work, the future is unclear, and the pain of the present is almost too great to bear, I say hang on, pray with all your heart and soul, yell, scream, talk, and stay connected. The miracle may be closer than you think. Please don't give up on life.

And to Ben, Arthur, Elaine, David M and Richard C . . . I honor you for taking a stand and speaking your truth. I believe in you and your missions . . . and am awed by your courage. Thanks for saving my life and countless others.

Posted December 2004


JONAH'S Psycho-Educational Model for Healing
Author / Contributor :: ELAINE SILODOR BERK & ARTHUR A. GOLDBERG JONAH Co-Directors

Written By ELAINE SILODOR BERK & ARTHUR A. GOLDBERG, JONAH Co-Directors


Science and religion often clash, and rarely are they used to prove one another in modern times.

The authors wish to acknowledge the input of Martin Pressman, a facilitator in the JONAH program, for developing several of the concepts set forth in this article and for his help in editing this article.


"I continue to be amazed at what I experienced. The kindness, compassion and love from each man was apparent. All of them courageous - choosing to fight this battle. I can honestly say I slaughtered several of the demons inside of me which have been blocking my growth for years. I know that I am a different person now. I feel different. I think differently and one of the guys even told me that I look different. I am so certain that this battle can not only be fought but won."


(Response of a JONAH member after attending a Journey into Manhood Weekend, as reported on the JONAH @ shamash listserv.)

"I will be doing some mundane chore when I'll bust up laughing because I know I'm a man! This is such a powerful thing for me to realize. It's what I've lusted for in others for so long, and I now I have it myself. This is so-o-o cool! I am a man among men. NEVER did I think I could say that, or know it in the core of my being, but I'm there … and I LOVE IT! I welcome it and own it, and feel it."
(Response of a JONAH member after attending a New Warrior Training Adventure Weekend, as reported on the JONAH @ shamash listserv.)


Introduction


These quotes are representative of similar sentiments expressed by our members who have participated in the gender-affirming processes ("GAP") espoused by JONAH. Gender empowerment, rather than homosexuality or androgyny, is the ideal we seek and although we are a relatively new organization, we believe that the results demonstrated by our members should be shared with the therapeutic community. We believe our experiences are not only replicable but will help others gain new insights and tools to help their clients.


JONAH, Jews offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality, is the first organization dedicated to educating the world-wide Jewish community about the prevention, intervention, and healing of the issues surrounding homosexuality. While JONAH works closely with other religious and secular groups which share our viewpoint that same sex attraction (SSA) is treatable through a strategy of inner healing for those who are motivated to change, we are developing our own comprehensive psycho-educational healing strategy. We believe our model holds great promise for achieving the healing desired by our members or others who utilize it. Although Dr. Joseph Nicolosi has written about a number of these therapeutic procedures in Reparative Therapy for Male Homosexuality, and others have spoken about them at NARTH conferences, we have been fortunate to see how these strategies effectively interact when used as part of a comprehensive plan of healing SSA.


This holistic strategy of combining elements from several gender-affirming processes ("GAP:" a program designed to fill in the developmental gaps) has been praised by our members who noted a synergistic effect which in turn resulted in an acceleration of their healing. When these various aspects of the healing model are combined, particularly when compared to those who only received individual private therapy, we found a marked difference in the ability of the struggler to achieve changes in identity, behavior, arousals, and fantasies. In fact, the experiential, spiritual and emotional work done by the client outside of the therapist's office was reported to be critically important to implement the cognitive understandings he may receive during the therapy session. However, even at the cognitive level, a variety of additional resources (such as bibliotherapy or participation in support groups, whether in-person, teleconferenced, or e-groups) accelerated the recovery of the client.


In fact, this holistic approach to intervention resulted in accessing a member's inner drives, dismantling his defenses, intensifying his affective involvement in the treatment, identifying the transference patterns and projections as they arise, and unlocking the unconsciousness. Analogous to certain aspects of Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP), as developed by Habib Davanloo and Patricia Coughlin Della Selva, this approach appears to shorten the time frame needed for a client to achieve an enduring change for his unwanted same-sex attractions.


Impressive progress in overcoming same-sex attractions and regaining masculine identity has been reported by several of our participating male members.(A separate article will report on which healing strategies our women members found most effective.) Since motivation is a key element in what traditionally has been a relatively long treatment process for healing SSA, the measurable and attainable progress as occurs within this "gap" approach is critical in sustaining the perseverance needed to continue the process.
The gender-affirming process is completed when a man comes to own his masculine power and takes his place as an equal in the world of men.


To encourage therapists and faith-based ministries to utilize these multiple healing strategies when treating men with homosexual attractions, we are providing brief descriptions of several facets of JONAH's gender affirming process for healing. For more detailed information, please feel free to contact our organization. For the purposes of this discussion, we have listed our healing strategies in alphabetical order:


Bibliotherapy
Experiential Healing Weekends
Healing of the Family System
Individual Psychotherapy
Jewish Spiritual Development
Masculinity Development and Empowerment
Mentoring
Networking, Support Groups, Daily Internet E-Mail Listserv
Overcoming Shame and Narcissism
Receiving Healthy Touch and Affection


We'd like to explain that through our in-take interviews, we were dismayed to find several clients who had either been in therapy for SSA for several years or who had participated in certain programs of other faith-based ministries but had no idea about the wealth of resources available.


All too often we found clients who were never informed about books which could help them understand the origins of their feelings or from which they could learn how others healed from many of the same wounds which precipitated their same-sex attraction. We also found a lack of knowledge about helpful websites, group support meetings, and mentoring programs. Most of them never participated in the experiential weekends nor did they even know of their existence.


In other cases, many religiously observant clients maintained an erroneous belief that faith alone, without any psychological assistance, would bring about the desired healing. Our observation is that in these cases, all too often, simply a repression of behavior occurred without an effective treatment of fantasies or arousals.


Our belief is that therapists working with those struggling with unwanted SSA should encourage their clients to avail themselves of the numerous resources now available in addition to individual therapy. We were surprised to learn from many of our members that numerous therapists (a) never informed them about available resources outside the therapy session nor (b) provided any encouragement to participate in those activities. Our experience has shown that strugglers experience an exponential leap forward when they use our psycho-educational model as a check list to assure themselves that they are doing everything possible to accelerate the healing process.


Bibliotherapy


As Dr. Joseph Nicolosi points out in his book, Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality:A New Clinical Approach (p.204), the therapeutic utilization of books, reading materials, tapes, video cassettes and other educational sources permits the individual struggling with SSA to gain several beneficial insights. These include: (a) The knowledge gained from biographical information of recovered homosexuals lends credence to their own struggle and prospects for recovery. Our members are inspired when they can relate their own experiences to those who have successfully resolved the underlying emotional issues which cause SSA and this simultaneously lessens the concern that they are alone in their struggle. (b) Reading material enables the individual to understand the causes, the healing strategies, and the basics of reparative therapy, thereby enabling them to apply this new-found knowledge to their own situation. (c) Finally, as Nicolosi says, bibliotherapy can offset the "demoralizing confusion created by gay propaganda and the popular media of our culture." (p. 204).


JONAH has found that reading about the issues underlying same-sex attractions is a vital part of the healing process. In fact, we not only encourage our members to read extensively about the subject but we also recommend that spouses, siblings, and parents read the same materials. Families need to be brought into the healing process, an approach strongly advocated by psychotherapist Richard Cohen in his book Coming Out Straight: Understanding and Healing Homosexuality.


The books provide a psychological framework and encouragement for the struggler through explanations of how others have healed. Often members report how they saw parts of themselves portrayed in the literature. Book discussions occur within the JONAH support groups as well as on the daily E-mail listserv. Some members who discussed these materials with their therapist reported that the literature provided their therapist with an opportunity to help the struggler dig deeper into his issues.

JONAH has a Book Order section on our web site [www. Jonahweb.org] which lists many recommended books and permits the viewer to order the book directly through our site.


Experiential Healing Weekends


JONAH refers our members to several experiential weekends, some of which contain a generic spiritual component involving a Higher Power unconnected to any particular religion. (Ultimately we hope to develop an experiential weekend specifically incorporating certain Jewish motifs.)


Weekends consist of discussions, psychodrama, journaling, and individual "drills" which enable participants to reach feelings not usually accessible in the short time frame of the typical therapeutic session.


The most popular and effective programs, as reported by our members, are three complimentary and synergistic weekends listed here:

Journey into Manhood (web site: peoplecanchange.com)

New Warrior Training Adventure (web site: mkp.org)

Love, Sex, & Intimacy Seminars (web site: gaytostraight.org).

Describing the objectives and methodology of one of these weekend programs will illustrate why they are so effective. For example, here is a description of The Journey into Manhood weekend, principally designed by Ben Newman of Peoplecanchange, together with David Matheson, an associate of Dr. Joseph Nicolosi:


The objective of the Journey Into Manhood is to provide "an experiential weekend for men who experience unwanted homosexual feelings and are sincerely self-motivated to work to lessen homosexuality identity, attractions, and behaviors and to increase masculine identity and desires. The training is designed to teach these men, through words and processes, that mature heterosexual masculinity can be achieved through authenticity (or internal integrity), need fulfillment, masculine identity, and male bonding." (Peoplecanchange Journey into Manhood Protocol)


These objectives are accomplished by challenging men (1) to examine their beliefs, perceptions and judgments about themselves and others that may be producing a sense of gender inferiority (2) experience trusting and bonding with other men in non-sexual ways (3) process deep feelings related to their pasts, themselves and their relationships with others, and experience at least an initial release of those feelings that may be blocking growth into heterosexual masculinity and (4) become ready to embrace a new way of seeing themselves and of being in the world, particularly in the world of men.


As shown in the quotes set forth at the beginning of this paper, men return from these weekends nearly euphoric from the experience of accessing their inherent masculine power. For some, this is the first time in their lives they could sense ownership of their own masculinity and deal with deep personal issues (such as same-sex peer wounds, mother wounds, or father wounds) in a safe, supportive environment which encourages them to break down destructive behavior patterns to which they had clung for many years. These concentrated and intense emotional experiences yield significant results and give hope to many.


Additionally, our members report that when they become sufficiently comfortable in the New Warriors' community of men and have an opportunity to staff a weekend, they find the experience to be even more powerful than the initial weekend because of the leadership role they are able to assume.


Healing of the Family System


JONAH believes that homosexuality frequently can be viewed as a family system problem, not just an individual problem. When parents, in particular, can become a part of the healing process, it is extremely beneficial to the whole family system. Often, parents inadvertently contributed to the development of their child's SSA. Much has to do with the child's perception of the relationship between him and his mother and father. Once the parents understand the sources of their child's problem, we found many are able to assist their child in the developmental growth process required to overcome the condition.


Even when parents cannot be brought into the healing process because of physical or emotional abuse, extreme neglect, or emotional incapacity, there are siblings, extended family, or close family friends who can participate. Sometimes, just to openly discuss the issues with close family or friends brings immeasurable relief to an overcomer who has kept this part of his being hidden for so many years.

We encourage our members to openly discuss their issues with family members and to provide educational material to those in his "circle" who are willing to learn about the underpinnings of homosexual attractions. Several of our members have attended, together with the families, the Love, Sex, and Intimacy Seminars given by Richard Cohen of the International Healing Foundation. In doing so, they reported experiences which enabled them either to begin or to accelerate the process of peeling back their own defensive detachment from their father figure, untangling their mother enmeshment issues, and repairing the fractured relationships with siblings and other family members.


For those who are married, we often find that the struggler was leading a double life. Most wives who are informed of the homosexual condition by their husbands (which we strongly encourage) respond favorably and perform a major role in the healing process. Again, couples who have attended the Love, Sex, and Intimacy Seminars. and utilize appropriately trained reparative therapists for couples therapy in their follow-up work, reported favorable results.


Today's politically correct notion that homosexuality is merely an alternative lifestyle can complicate the healing process, particularly when the family member or spouse incorrectly believes the struggler was born that way or has a so-called "gay gene." Therefore, we must redouble our efforts to educate the entire community that homosexuality is a treatable condition.


Elizabeth Moberly expressed the importance of family in treating the homosexual condition. In a 1985 lecture given to the Royal Society of Health, she said, "The homosexual condition - although often an occasion for sexual expression - is in itself a state of unfulfilled developmental needs. For this reason, homosexuality may best be evaluated, not by comparison with sexuality in general, but by comparison with the parent-child relationship and facilitating of human maturation."


JONAH recognizes that support groups (for spouses, parents, family, and friends of those wishing to heal from SSA) are critical to the struggler's healing. Each group faces unique problems as they confront past issues which may have led to their loved one's homosexual attractions or to the construction of changed relationships, both in the present and reaching into the future, as their loved one accomplishes the human maturation Moberly spoke about.


Individual Psychotherapy


JONAH wishes to make clear that we only work with members who either seek to grow out of their same-sex attractions or are ambivalent about such attractions. Should prospective members request to become more comfortable with their homosexual attractions or with the gay lifestyle, we will refer them elsewhere and make no value judgments about their choice.


However, for those who seek assistance, JONAH maintains a global referral list of therapists, both for in-person therapy and for phone therapy. Therefore JONAH is always seeking therapists who agree with and are skilled in reparative and directive therapy and will adopt the gender affirming healing processes advocated by JONAH. Those who are interested in being part of our referral service should call (201) 433-3444 and leave a message.


We believe that the type of therapist who can best help these men is not the classical emotionally-detached therapist. Such therapy, in the words of NARTH co-founder Joseph Nicolosi, "reactivates memories of earlier frustration from the cold and distant father." (Reparative therapy for Male Homosexuals, p.20) Nicolosi continues: "Withholding personal involvement merely frustrates the homosexual client, who particularly needs intimate male connectedness, and whose healing comes primarily through the therapeutic relationship." Thus, Nicolosi concludes, the therapist must be emotionally involved with his client, create a directive approach, exude an air of masculinity, "and, within therapeutic guidelines, permit dependency."


We believe that gender identity determines sexual orientation and that one sexualizes or eroticizes that with which he does not identify. To successfully treat someone with a homosexual condition, our experience shows that a directive and activist therapy program is critical in assisting a client to internalize his gender identity, demystify his romantic attractions to the same sex, and satisfy his unmet developmental needs for attention, affection, and approval from others of the same gender without sexualizing these needs.


Jewish Spiritual Development


Although JONAH is an outreach organization that works with all Jews, from the strictly observant Orthodox to the most secular of Jews, we stress certain aspects of our religious teachings. We blend lessons from the Torah (what Christians refer to as the Old Testament) with other Jewish sources in order to help individuals access their inner souls and thus recapture their G-d given inherent heterosexuality.


Part of the reason for this emphasis is to provide the person struggling with SSA with the ability to distinguish a moral right from a moral wrong in today's culture war. The Torah's eternal values integrate the principles of deferred gratification and the exercise of restraint in sexual activity into the human psyche. In doing so, we note how this view is antithetical to today's prevalent moral relativism in which the only factor to restrain human behavior is mutual consent. Simply stated, this attitude can be summed up as follows: "If two or more consenting adults want to _______ (fill in the blank), then no one else need be concerned."


When we understand that the homosexual cohabitation prohibited by Lev.18.22 and explained in the Talmud (Nedarim 51a) is a mistaken response to an unfilled emotional need, we are able to remove an oppressive guilt from the person who was mistakenly led (most often by forces initially beyond his/her control) into such activity.


By understanding the root causes, and the unfilled needs for which the behavior (or fantasy) attempts to compensate, a program of remediation becomes achievable. We find it is helpful to employ a combination of both the Jewish concept of "teshuvah" (a process of transforming one's inner being, commonly translated as "return" or "repentance") and the secular understandings of gender affirming therapies.


Jewish law creates a delicate balancing act: accepting the individual as a human being who deserves love and compassion but rejecting the homosexual activity in which he/she may participate. But this "love the person but not the behavior" principle is equally true of any illicit sexual behavior, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual. For example, we accept the community philanderer as a person but disapprove of his/her sexual brokenness. It is incumbent upon the community to understand the mentality and inner development of the persons who perpetrate the act and find a way to assist them in their healing.


JONAH makes special efforts to reach the Jewish community through synagogues and the large network of Jewish organizations in order to spread this message of hope and healing.


Masculinity Development and Empowerment


At its core, male homosexuality is a matter of undeveloped manhood. True healing requires a resumption of the journey into manhood. The boy who physically grew into an adult male but missed out on certain developmental stages will need to go through them now. Nicolosi points out, for example, that the pre-homosexual boy who missed out on rough and tumble play with his father and , later, did not take part in the physical competitions characteristic of his age often ended up removing himself from such competition and thereby diminished his own sense of masculinity. (Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality, p. 193)


A basic issue in healing SSA involves reconnecting the individual from the alienation he experienced from his own gender. To help SSA individuals take ownership of their G-d given masculinity is a formidable task, but we at JONAH have developed several tactics to assist in this regard. The person with same-sex attraction must learn how to experience trust and how to bond with other men in non-sexual ways. As discussed in the experiential weekend strategy section, The New Warrior Training Adventure (or the Sterling Men's Group) is particularly helpful in this regard.


To illustrate a program employed to assist men with their masculine development, it is useful to cite the two hour sports activity we developed following each support group. We utilize knowledgeable coaches to lead these activities. We receive outstanding feedback from group members as to the effectiveness of the sports therapy. They learn teamwork, including how to trust other men and bond with members of their team.


Men who are not able to attend our group meetings find that having a coach or a friend teach them a team sport, such as baseball or basketball, is invaluable in developing their masculine identity. We do not seek to make any of these men into athletic stars but rather use this exercise to reinforce their connection to other men. They are doing things that men do. In the process, they discover their own masculine strength which they had previously believed was lacking and receive affirmation of their inherent masculinity.


Since masculinity is connected to the use of the body, when men are not using their body, they often disconnect from it. Playing sports heals the disconnection with body from which our members suffer. Members report that playing sports and learning the skills helped them heal that disconnection while simultaneously increasing their sense of masculinity. As David Matheson, an associate of Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, said to one of his clients who is also a member of JONAH, "Doing something you think you can't do is empowering. Gaining mastery over fear, ineptitude, and inadequacy is empowering."


In addition, playing sports helps our members overcome the problem of passivity. Men learn that the ball is not going to come to them unless they are in a position to catch it. This insight is a lesson of life. Healing from SSA will not happen unless the person does the work required to overcome it.


There is another aspect of engaging in sports activities as part of the strategy of resuming the growth into manhood. Many of our members report that their fear of sports stemmed from early childhood same-sex peer wounds and that learning how to play sports in a safe environment permitted them to overcome these wounds. They found themselves able to bond with other men, many for the first time in their lives. And, as Nicolosi makes clear, central to the repairing of homosexuality is the establishment of nonsexual intimate relationships with men (Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality, p.194). Being involved in traditional men's activities, such as sports, is a direct way to heal those wounds.


Mentoring


Individuals trying to heal from SSA need role models and guidance from heterosexuals of the same-sex in order to heal the wounds caused by defensive detachment from the same-sex parent and peers. Such a role model becomes a mentor who assumes a role originally designed for a father to have fulfilled for the boy as he was growing up. Qualities needed by a mentor include compassion, empathy, a non-judgmental attitude, and most importantly, knowledge about how to heal from SSA, or at least a strong desire to learn.

If the struggler is lucky enough to have parents willing and able to help, and the struggler is able to reconnect with the same-sex parent, this is the obvious first choice for a mentor. For those whose parents are unavailable, mentors can be sought from among clergy, teachers, members of social groups to which the struggler belongs or any other appropriate group. Some of our members report that the New Warrior experience (or the Sterling Men's group, a similar organization) provided them with a mentor with whom they could bond.


The importance of healthy male-to-male mentoring cannot be emphasized enough. It is not uncommon for strugglers to suffer from feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. The mentor is the role model that takes the mystery out of masculinity and supports the struggler's journey to his own masculine power.


Closely related is the need for same-sex non-sexual friendships. Nicolosi speaks of the importance of this relationship when he stated, "same-sex friendships have shown themselves to be therapeutic" (p.194). These friendships come both from
other men in recovery and from men who never had SSA.


Networking, Support Groups, Daily Internet E-Mail Listserv


Networking: Leaving behind one's same-sex attraction and achieving heterosexual attraction can be a long and difficult struggle. Essentially our gender affirming process enables members to create a totally new support structure in many different facets of their lives. Before finding our group, these strugglers often felt isolated and alone in their struggle. Alternatively, they felt that the gay lifestyle provided them with a circle of friends they could never find in the "straight" world. Thus, to create a feeling of belonging, we believe it is critical for our members to network with others in the process of recovery or with those who have completed their journey to sexual wholeness (often through the group support meetings, the daily E-mail listserv, mentoring or networking).


Members report that fellow journeyers on the road to recovery help them by sharing experiences, understanding their fears, and providing accountability and support. The benefits are immeasurable. The group support sessions and the daily E-mail listserv provide methods to make the connections so that strugglers can bond with others sharing similar concerns.


Although some therapists believe networking between those in recovery to be risky, Nicolosi encourages individuals within his support groups to network with each other outside the group sessions. Within the JONAH support network, to date we have never had a sexual liaison take place between our members. Instead we find the members provide each other with a social camaraderie that clearly outweighs any perceived risks. Our experience is thus similar to other self-help groups where affected individuals assist others who have not progressed as far as the person providing the assistance.


The person who was active in the gay lifestyle often found a sense of belonging among other gays which overcame his sense of alienation and loneliness. To replace that sense of belonging, it is critical for mentoring and networking to take place. Without it, it is difficult to establish non-sexual intimate relationships. We believe that the therapist who works individually with his patient and who does not recommend getting involved in group support and networking is doing his client a disservice. Our observable experience is that strugglers leap forward when they undertake the following processes: maintain communication with others who have healed or are in the process of healing from SSA, establish relationships with empathetic mentors, some in the process of recovery and others who have never had an SSA problem.


An interesting footnote to this process is the fact that many of our members who begin to help others heal found that they were able to strengthen their own healing process. Many have reported a greater sense of self-confidence and affirmation of their own value because their own past experiences helped others heal. In a spiritual sense, they felt good about the ability to perform the "mitzvah" (commandment) of helping others.


JONAH's gender-affirming processes enable a person to step into a totally new support structure. It provides both encouragement and direct assistance while the member travels the road to recovery. An important aspect of his masculine empowerment is the ability to connect to his brothers in recovery, thus overcoming the detachment and alienation he experienced from the world of men.

In addition to networking, our member support groups and daily E-mail listserv are additional tools to accomplish this goal.

Men's Support Groups: JONAH's men's support groups run weekly or bi-weekly for approximately 2 hours with discussions being led by facilitators who are well-versed in the issues involved in healing homosexuality. Our goal is to increase the number of groups for men (and parenthetically to do the same for women and family members).


For men who do not live near the three groups currently operating (See "more about JONAH" at the end of this article for group locations), we initially arranged teleconferencing into our in-person support groups. We found, however, that these combined groups were not as effective as unmixed in-person or teleconferenced groups. By separating the groups, we found that each group standing by itself can better maximize interpersonal relationships and significantly reduce the isolation and loneliness of the members. Teleconference support groups presently operate.


Daily Internet E-Mail Listserv: Men and woman from six different countries post messages on a private confidential JONAH listserv (hosted by Shamash.org, a service of the Hebrew College) and report how welcome they feel in our ever-growing healing community. Postings range from loving support of another's personal struggle to deep discussions on issues directly relevant to SSA.


The Daily E-Mail Listserv is an excellent method to reach strugglers with special needs: those in geographically isolated locations; those unable to afford private therapy; those who have just learned that a healing process for SSA is possible and seek to learn more about the "GAP" process; those who require daily support in their struggle.


Overcoming Shame and Narcissism


Special mention should be made of four interrelated underlying issues which therapists such as Andrew Morrison and Joseph Nicolosi have identified as pivotal to healing homosexuality but which traditional therapy has somewhat ignored. They are shame, narcissism, guilt, and grieving. Each of these issues contributed to the homosexual condition and each of our strategies has a component which addresses certain aspects of these issues.


Overcoming shame has become a major focus of faith-based groups dedicated to helping men heal from homosexuality. Phrases such as "coming out of shame" or "going past your shame" are consistently utilized by these groups when they develop their healing strategies. They have intuitively understood that shame underlies much of SSA.


According to Andrew Morrison, "Because shame is so often unspoken, many therapists have not appreciated its importance in analytic and therapeutic work. Frequently it is hidden behind the clearly defensive manifestations of distress, and these are usually investigated alone - often from the perspective of intrapsychic conflict and related dynamics - without appreciation of the underlying or accompanying shame." (See, "Shame, the Underside of Narcissism" pg. 5)


A key to appropriate treatment, according to Morrison, is the relationship narcissism bears to shame, for he believes, "that shame, in some form, is always present in narcissism and its various manifestations."


Gay activists preach that the way to overcome the issue of shame is to come out of the closet and loudly proclaim and affirm one's gayness. However, we believe there is another and preferred door leading from the closet of homosexuality. It is the door of healing - a healing which recognizes the shame and how it relates to the narcissism which underlies homosexuality.


Richard Fitzgibbons recognizes that "Narcissism is a very powerful disorder that fuels the homosexual behavior in many people. This personality weakness is not easily overcome because of the reluctance to give up a life of unchecked, irresponsible self-indulgence." When the therapist properly treats shame and narcissism (and when its recognition and overcoming is encouraged through support groups and networking), then a person's healing can progress. Fitzgibbons points out that when narcissism is not treated, "this clinical disorder is the major reason for failure in recovery from homosexuality." (See, The Truth About Homosexuality by Father John Harvey, Appendix I, by Fitzgibbons)


Our experience has been that as men look at the circumstances in which they found themselves during the process of growing up, they come to realize that they adopted a False Self (often originating from the "good little boy" syndrome) in order to cope with their situation. Much of the struggler's life was spent seeking a way to gain approval from others or trying to gratify and please.

In childhood, these men erected emotional barriers or walls which protected them from what they perceived as a harsh and unfriendly world. As adults, these same walls acted to imprison them, trapping their feelings, and preventing them from completing their journey into manhood. As men take down these walls and work through the profound grief they feel for never having been "seen" for the individuals they truly were, they can understand and mourn the loss of the "True Self" and move forward in their healing.


A therapeutic strategy needs to penetrate the two defenses of narcissism and the False Self. The client needs to be focused on fully feeling and expressing the "shamed-defective self." If he can't feel it, he can't heal it. But when he feels his inner emotions, says Nicolosi, the adult struggler discovers that "he need not fear the primal threat of abandonment-annihilation, and he can begin to surrender the defenses of homosexuality, narcissism and the False Self." (See, interview conducted by Linda Nicolosi in article entitled "Grief Work" (NARTH.com).


These issues need to be directly addressed by the therapist. Exercises to address these issues are being incorporated within the various experiential weekends referred to earlier and by our support group. However, the front line of treatment of these issues needs to come from the therapists who are conducting individual private therapy.


Receiving Healthy Touch and Affection


Many who struggle with SSA experience touch deprivation, an issue often overlooked in therapy. Ashley Montagu writes in his groundbreaking book Touching: "the communications we transmit through touch constitute the most powerful means of establishing human relationships, the foundation of experience."


As a result of defensive detachment, many men with SSA never received the healthy touch that can come from being in a healthy relationship with one's father and peers. Because many of these men never received healthy touch or did not receive the physical affection they needed from their fathers, the idea of receiving a non-sexual hug from a man as a sign of affection makes them uncomfortable.


We also have had members tell us that once they decided to stop their homosexual acting out, they missed the warmth or affection of another human being's touch. Others, even when they had opportunities to receive healthy touch and affection, such as non-sexual hugs or pats on the back, were confused as to the healthy boundaries for touch. Others, whose condition of SSA consisted of fantasy and pornography, reported a lack of physical contact over a period of years.


Many presently feel touch deprived because they did not receive physical affection in their childhood and experienced other unfilled emotional needs. We found several members who previously expressed an unquenchable need to sexually touch others or to be sexually touched either by others or by themselves (to a level where masturbation may become addictive). Such touch is the means for them to literally feel or fantasize their connection with other men, something they had yearned for all their lives.


The question of human touch is exacerbated when emotional or sexual abuse lurks in the background of a particular individual. For those who were sexually abused, intimacy stimulates painful memories. In order to avoid emotional intimacy, many sought physical gratification through anonymous sexual encounters.


Our experience in JONAH has been that as men bond with other men in a healthy non-sexual atmosphere, particularly through attendance at the experiential weekends, both the resistance to healthy touch and the need for inappropriate sexual touch dissipate. Healthy touching can be controversial, particularly if the situation is not well-controlled and the boundaries not clearly set forth. If a man has properly progressed in his healing processes and understands the proper boundaries of touch, we will then strongly encourage non-sexual hugs and affectionate gestures (like pats on the back) in our groups.


One advantage of our team sport events is the reinforcement of the cultural acceptability of victory celebrations by the players when they openly embrace and hug one another. Another culturally acceptable method of gaining appropriate touch is through regular therapeutic massages.


In order to experience safe and healing touch from another man, our members have used a number of therapeutic bodywork techniques. Among these are: massage, shiatsu and Feldenkrais. Men report touch therapy useful in releasing negative feelings and emotions stored within their bodies. The Feldenkrais method, for example, founded by the Israeli physicist Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais,has also helped men focus on how their bodies move. Through directed movements given by a practitioner, men learn new ways to use their bodies. Consequently, Feldenkrais has helped men feel connected to their bodies, improve their coordination and become more self-confident.


Having set forth the issue and the need for solutions, we believe that overcoming touch deprivation is an area in need of further development. We continue to examine practical ways of overcoming touch deprivation which exists for so many of our members.


Summary


These aspects of JONAH's healing paradigm are presented here to encourage the reader to explore the complex process undertaken when men and women begin to heal their same-sex attractions. There is no "magic bullet" for healing even though it is frequently wished for by those suffering from a same-sex attraction disorder (SSAD).


JONAH's multi-dimensional approach can be viewed as encompassing four processes which, if worked in tandem, can help facilitate in-depth healing. In our opinion, true healing occurs when an individual is able to heal at four different levels:


Cognitive: Head
Experiential: Body
Emotional: Heart
Spiritual: Soul


An incomplete healing occurs when fewer than the four levels are accessed.


While individual psychotherapy is critical to help individuals heal from SSAD, participating in private therapy, without these other experiences, may increase the time required for the healing process to occur. Obviously, it takes a longer period of time to access all four levels when a therapist is able to work with his client for only an hour or two a week. By increasing the time on task in a cost effective manner, the struggler can accelerate the time needed for healing. Moreover, by employing the multi-dimensional paradigm described in this paper, and thereby enlarging the daily and weekly amount of time in which a member delves into his head, heart, body, and soul, our reports indicate an important acceleration of the healing process.


Our purpose in setting forth our experience and findings is to share what we have learned from our members. JONAH happily acknowledges that many therapists and faith based groups have independently used parts of this model (including some of the live-in programs). Hopefully, for those readers from the therapeutic community who have not adopted aspects of this program they (a) will see the benefits of this more comprehensive approach to healing SSA and (b) will incorporate them within their treatment plans.

An Epiphany About My SSA: The Relationship Between My Acting Out and My Need For a Best Friend.
Written By: Nathan
(Posted Jan 2011)

First, let me introduce myself: My name is Nathan, I am married with 3 children. In my life, I have constantly “needed” or at least sought out a best friend. One good friend. That's all I needed, that's all I wanted. Of course, after a while, my need became obsessive. During the time I actually had such a friendship, my same-sex attraction (SSA) was virtually nil. When I didn’t have these intimate connections, I was more prone to acting out with other men.
I always focused on and looked for this best friend rather than choosing a larger circle of men with whom to have relationship. My effort was to have a few deep friendships that provided an emotional connection. Ultimately such friendships did not last. This then left me feeling emotionally drained and craving to replenish this feeling of closeness I lost. I would then look elsewhere to fill the void and start all over again. For several years, I have been trying to figure out why I had this repetitive need to find this one best friend.
When I first joined JONAH (www.jonahweb.org) several years ago, I kept telling myself that I didn't seem to fit the mold of those with SSA. I chose to not engage in therapy. After all, the classic risk factors or causes didn’t seem to apply to me. The story I told myself was that I never had issues with my peers; and, that I was close with my father, even though emotionally he wasn't demonstrative. Deep down, I told myself that I “knew” how he felt about me: I believed that he loved me and was proud of me.
So the only issue that seemed to fit the risk factors or causes concerning my early childhood was sexual involvement with an older male that I never accepted as (and to a large degree still don't) characterize as sexual abuse. I was a willing and eager participant in the activity and I never felt bad about it. (Please don't try to convince me that it was “abuse” –even though I was young-- because at this point it would be counter productive.)
This past weekend I attended a Call of the Shofar mens experiential weekend in Israel (www.calloftheshofar.org). While working on some of my issues there, I developed a theory about why I constantly looked for a best friend. While working on my issues, I was able to get in touch with my feelings and realized that although I had a close relationship with my father, a major part of that relationship was him teaching me and my siblings how to do work around the house that involved fixing things. I wasn't very good at it, and when I would mess up my father would yell at me. Eventually he stopped trying to teach me how to do the "men’s work" and I was in turn relegated to cleaning up after my siblings and preparing lunch. What came to me during the weekend work was a recognition of the deep pain of this childhood experience and such understanding brought about some major clarity: My SSA was caused by my father giving up on me, relegating me to “woman’s work,” and not teaching and mentoring me with the patience and understanding that I felt I needed.
I realize now that I felt like a failure because my father gave up on trying to teach me how to do the "men's work" around the house. This in turn has led to a lifetime of low self-confidence. As my self-confidence waned in childhood, I developed a sexual relationship with an older boy. Like I said earlier, I never considered the situation abusive. However, what came to me during the weekend processes was the interconnection between the early sexual activity and my perceptions about my father’s put down. I began to realize that my sexual activity was my psyche’s way of compensating for this perceived inadequacy. I attempted to satisfy another man, to make him happy and proud of me. Indeed, whenever I felt down, I would seek out a man to please so I could feel that I WAS A SOMEBODY. In some cases, I sexualized it; in other cases, I simply sought out a best friend. Either way, I engaged in what some psychologists call a “repetition compulsion"—a continual recreating of a past traumatic event. In other words, continue to attempt in the here and now to recreate the traumatic failure of my father relegating me to “woman’s work” by seeking out masculine approval in the hope of a better outcome.
Of course it didn't work because I quickly went back to being me with all of my insecurities and perceived inadequacies. I also recognized during the weekend that whenever I had this best friend (non-sexual) or sexualized relationship, I was substituting that person as an idealized version for the attention, affection, and approval (three A’s) that I was seeking and needed from my father. These needs, call them core needs or developmental needs, went unmet. And, my unfilled yearning for fulfillment of these needs, coupled with my detachment from my sense of masculinity through these childhood incidents with my father, expressed itself as unhealthy attachments to another male—whether it be sexualized or simply by clinging to someone as a best friend.
This led me to a further epiphany. When I have an emotional relationship with this one friend that I so desperately need, I am using him as a father figure. I realized that I became obsessive in my need to be in touch with him, to know what is going on with him, and having him know about me. I needed to please him and required his affirmation and love. I currently have such a friend, but I find that if something changes, like I don't speak to him as often as I did, or I don't think he gave me the affirmation I was seeking, I begin to panic that I did something wrong and fear that he isn't going to be there for me anymore. So while I know that this type of relationship isn't healthy, at least I have come to an understanding of where it all stems from.
Regardless of the symptom I utilize to decrease my anxiety and father wounds, and whether I work to continually reduce my acting out and simultaneously make efforts to reduce my compulsion to find a best friend, I understand it can take time. However, the major step is the first one I have taken---which is to understand the common story behind my SSA and my obsessive compulsion to always find a best friend. This insight represents a huge awakening! I then need to accept this pattern for what it is: a pattern I built up a long time ago which enabled me to move forward in my life. The insight also allows me to see this pattern for what it is not: the thinking that I was born this way as many elements of society continually preach or a belief that my SSA is so ingrained that it can never be overcome. Baruch Hashem [Blessed be G-d], I understand the impact all this has had upon my life and what I need to do to continually diminish these symptoms until they are practically gone. Rather than continually recreate the traumatic failure of the non-acceptance of my masculinity by my father, I now realize I have the ability to develop healing relationships which offer me the chance to do in adulthood what I could not do as a child, that is, to acknowledge and grieve the loss I felt from my father's actions while stopping my attempts to “import” happiness and fulfillment from another human being.
I still have major work to do, but I am on my way.

Four Principles of Growth

Presented by David A. Matheson, LPC


(This article is a reprint from a paper presented by David Matheson at the 2003 NARTH Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.)

INTRODUCTION

I am a therapist in private practice and am co-creator of Journey into Manhood (JiM), an experiential weekend for men seeking to change unwanted homosexuality. The JiM weekend is sponsored by People Can Change (PCC), a web based support organization that offers information, list-serves, and is beginning to coordinate face-to-face “JiM Groups” in a few major metropolitan areas. JiM and PCC are based to a large degree on the concepts I will be presenting.

Many men seeking to overcome homosexuality become frustrated and discouraged when they find that their feelings and attractions don't change as quickly or substantially as they had hoped. I believe that the reason these men become frustrated is because their efforts at change are not broad enough. By this I mean that their work, however intense and sincere, has not covered enough areas of life to bring about real change. For instance, a man might focus on overcoming sexual addiction but spend no time building healthy relationships with other men. Or, he may work on spiritual healing but give little attention to healing his emotional wounds.

Diminishing homosexual feelings and opening the way for heterosexuality to emerge seems to require efforts in four broad, overlapping areas. These are:


Masculinity (i.e., men changing have to feel manly and relate to other men)
Authenticity (e.g., getting out of the false self, facing real feelings in open relationships)
Need fulfillment (having those relationships, experiences, and opportunities that strengthen, nurture, and lead to joy and personal satisfaction)
Surrender (letting go of everything that prevents change from happening and letting in the things that restore growth processes)

These Four Principles are interdependent and synergistic. They are interdependent in that, in many instances, one principle cannot be lived without another being lived at the same time. They are synergistic in that they effect and are affected by each other and it is the interactivity of all the principles that causes substantial and lasting growth to occur.

Splitting these principles out is somewhat like putting a prism in white light, with white light representing the overall growth process. The prism shows us the different wavelengths that exist simultaneously in a whole beam of light.

My hope in splitting the change process out into these four “wavelengths” is to empower us to create whole growth processes, rather than to allow men to languish in incompletion.

THE PROBLEMS

To give context to the Four Principles, let me first characterize my view of the problems men with same-sex attraction (SSA) face. They have problems in four main areas:

1. Insufficient Masculinity. This refers to their feeling inadequate as men and having an insufficient connection with other men and to the masculine world. Men with SSA tend to be disconnected from the male world and from other men. And they are disconnected from their masculinity—from their own genderedness.
2. Inauthenticity. They are not just disconnected from their genderedness, but also from their most genuine feelings and impulses. As a brace against shame and deep fears of abandonment, they tend to interact with the world through a false self that has been carefully constructed so as to not arouse disapproval. They are not authentic.
3. Unmet Needs. With only limited access to their feelings, they tend to have difficulty perceiving their needs. They may also have beliefs about themselves and feelings of guilt that steer them directly away from meeting their needs. This means that their needs cannot be met, further weakening them emotionally and causing them to seek false means of self-nurture.
4. Emotional Rigidity. They tend to have difficulty making emotional shifts and being emotionally vulnerable. Their emotional and relational patterns tend to be rather rigid. Also, they often have deeply engrained thought and behavioral patterns.
I see all of these issues as reverberations and elaborations of painful childhood relationships where the boy was shamed and placed in double binds by his parents and peers. Most damagingly, he was placed in what I call a “gender double bind,” by the overall situation of his boyhood.

GENDER DOUBLE BIND

A double bind is a situation where there is no good way out—where there is pain or trouble no matter what you do. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. To quote the rock group The Cure: “If I go there will be trouble; If I stay it will be double.”

The men dealing with same-sex attraction that I and my colleagues have known over many years typically describe a particular family dynamic marked by double binds. This dynamic may be played out in a variety of ways, but the essence of it is that the boy is punished or hurt for being himself with his authentic personality, feelings, and needs.

The hurt and the punishment may be simply that his parents ignore his feelings and needs. Or it may be that he is disciplined or offended by a parent and then prevented from, or punished for, expressing his feelings about it. Or, more extremely, he may be abused and then beaten for crying. Parents, siblings, peers, teachers, and others can create double binds.

One of the worst double binds these boys experience involves their gender. They come to believe that it is bad to be a boy, or that they are unacceptable as a male. If they assert their masculinity, they are punished or shamed. On the other hand, they cannot abandon their maleness because it is integral to who they are. And to make matters worse, there is no one they can safely articulate their dilemma to. So they remain stuck in this Catch 22 for years, feeling despair and hopelessness. Gender Double Binds (GDBs) are created from a profound rejection—by parents or the environment—of a boy’s gendered self, whether by blunt force or by exquisite unconscious targeting.

It is important to note that the GDB experienced by any particular boy is created within the mind and emotions of the boy himself. Typically, there are real factors in the environment that contribute to his beliefs and feelings. And in some cases, these factors are more a matter of the boy’s perception than of external forces working on him.

When boys routinely experience double binds, they become afraid of self-expression and even afraid of their own feelings. They develop defenses against feeling and create an inauthentic “false self” that doesn’t arouse the disapproval of those around them. They become often passive and stuck in life. GDBs add to this a defensiveness against their own genderedness—against their own boyish masculinity.

ILLUSTRATION: Vic – “I think I knew from the womb: ‘You’d better not come out male.’” But his mother didn’t just expect him not to be male. He experienced a very strong expectation from her to be female—a fundamental violation of his body, mind, and spirit. To be male meant abandonment and death. To be female meant substantial loss of self.

ILLUSTRATION: Dave – Grew up feeling weak and inadequate—to try to be masculine would bring humiliation. Also, there seemed to be something bad, dirty, or even evil about masculinity. To be masculine meant shame and badness. To shun it brought more inadequacy, shame, taunting, and alienation from self and others.

RESTARTING GROWTH PROCESSES

The Gender Double Bind stops growth into mature masculinity and heterosexuality. The goal of gender affirming psychotherapy, the JiM experiential weekend, and JiM groups is to unblock the developmental processes arrested by problems in childhood so that normal growth can resume. But this growth needs optimal circumstances to proceed— especially when it has become blocked by powerful emotional and
behavioral defenses. This requires a multifaceted approach that addresses all four of the problem areas described above. The Four Principles of Change are a way of guiding that process.


MASCULINITY

The general concept of masculinity includes three more specific areas. These are internal, interpersonal, and societal concepts of masculinity. “Internal” refers essentially to gender identity—the sense of maleness and masculinity that a boy or man has of himself. “Interpersonal is about connections and affiliation with other men. And “societal” has to do with social concepts of masculinity, and with male roles.

What are the problems?

GDBs impact each of these three areas. Internally, the problem is that men with SSA typically feel a sense of inadequacy in their masculinity and may even doubt their maleness on less conscious levels. Despite a conscious knowledge of their given gender, they may feel feminine or weak in their maleness. One man described himself as having been “colonized” by his mother. Other men have mentioned that they can see
their mother reflected in their own bodily movements or hear her voice when they speak.These men tend to view “normal” (i.e., heterosexual) men as having some mysterious masculinizing quality that they lack. They also tend to disconnect from their bodies, which—being irrefutably male—are a key element of the GDB.

Interpersonally, the problem is that men with SSA have become defensively detached from other men. The sense of being fundamentally different from other males, which arises from GDBs, has put a profound wedge between the boy and his male peers, teachers, leaders, and relatives. The pain experienced in early relationships with these other males, which is typically described by men with SSA, deepens the defensiveness by adding an unconscious decision to never again attempt bonding. Defensive detachment leaves SSA men generally isolated from close, personal, non-gay relationships with other males.

Societally, men with SSA tend to feel alienated from, and resentful of, concepts of masculinity and male roles. This is essentially an extension of their internal and interpersonal detachment from masculinity and men. And the societal disconnection then interacts with the internal and interpersonal disconnection in a sort of “feedback loop,” reinforcing and exacerbating the overall sense of being out of step with the whole concept of maleness.

How is the principle of Masculinity lived?

The GDB must be broken in order for a sense of masculine sufficiency (having enough maleness inside you and around you in your life) to develop and grow. And, the GDB is broken by exposing the lies in it and by contradicting them experientially. Ways to expose some of the most common GDB lies are discussed below.

Lie: “If I behave in masculine ways (i.e., according to socially defined male roles) I will be humiliated, rejected, or shamed.” This lie is exposed and contradicted through little-by- little trying on typically masculine behaviors, including anything from sports to spitting. Some will stick and others will be dropped. Gradually, the newly adopted behaviors become integrated into the man’s overall personality and contribute to a deepening of his sense of masculinity. Having mature male role models is important in this process.

Lie: “If I expose my true self to “normal” (i.e., heterosexual) men, they will shame me and push me away.” Creating friendships with so-called “normal” men is the only way to contradict this lie. This must be done consciously, carefully, and with intention. Very often, the first step is to make deep and real friendships with other men in the process of change. The JiM weekend, JiM groups, and the many other SSA ministries and support groups offer opportunities for making such friendships in a safe and accountable environment. The New Warrior Training Adventure, New Warrior Integration Groups,church and synagogue groups and community clubs and associations offer opportunities for making the leap into close friendships with heterosexual men.

Lie: “If I pursue my authentic gender atypical interests (e.g., art, music, style, or nursing) I cannot be masculine and other men will not be able to relate to me.” The truth is that you don’t have to give up your passion in order to prove you’re a man. Rather, the challenge is to integrate that passion into an overall masculine personality and self-image.

Lie: “If I express masculine power, aggression, and anger I will be punished and abandoned.” This lie is core to the GDB and the contradiction of this lie often has a profoundly freeing and masculinizing effect. The root of this lie often goes all the way back to early childhood when the boy’s attempts at individuating and separating from mother went off track. Separation from mother, development of male identity, and
acquisition of personal power are very closely tied together. Failure to separate from mother typically has a cascading effect, derailing the other processes as well.

Contradicting this lie requires careful processes that lead the man into sometimes terrifying emotional places. There, he experiences feelings and conflicts he may have avoided for decades. The core of this work is typically anger, which is often conflicted by feelings of love and guilt. Working through these conflicts restarts the process of individuating and developing personal power, which deeply impacts in a positive way the sense of masculinity. It also provides increased energy and drive to do the other hard work of the change process to be described below.

AUTHENTICITY

To understand the principle of Authenticity, we must break it down into two related subprinciples. The first is Internal Authenticity, which in essence implies being whole within yourself and accepting yourself totally, rather than splitting off, repressing, or hiding parts of yourself. This requires an understanding of who you are on a level deeper than your job description, sexual feelings, or the labels given you by family and friends. It takes the capacity to feel and tolerate the full range of your own feelings, which can sometimes seem conflicting, confusing, and painful. And it depends on an ability to integrate these feelings, along with your beliefs about yourself, others, and the world into a self that can meet the challenges of life and relationships. Internal Authenticity might appropriately be termed “the technology of self.”

Interpersonal Authenticity is the second sub-principle within the overall concept of Authenticity. Simply put, Interpersonal Authenticity is the ability to be fully present and assertive in relationships to the degree appropriate and to respond out of your genuine self in those relationships. This starts with the assumption that each relationship is unique and calls for differing degrees of openness. Openness, or self-disclosure, is not synonymous with Interpersonal Authenticity. Not every relationship warrants disclosure of personal details and only a few relationships are conducive of true intimacy. Nevertheless, Interpersonal Authenticity suggests the ability to be genuine and true to yourself in a majority of relationships whether intimate or more superficial.

What are the problems?

As boys, these men experienced emotional conflicts (e.g., double binds) that outstripped their own internal resources and the resources of their families and peers. As a result, not only were these specific conflicts left unresolved, but the boy’s capacities to resolve internal crises did not develop. This left them unprepared to surmount conflicts over the span of their development. The pain and insecurity of unresolved conflicts caused them to shut down the feelings and split off the aspects of themselves that created the conflicts. They may have given up their anger or split off their assertiveness or needs for male friendship. They often disconnect from their bodies in order to avoid their feelings. They develop a “self” that doesn’t create conflict, but that is also false. They have lost who they truly are.

Lacking the ability to resolve emotional conflicts, existing with important parts of the self split off, and interacting with the world through a false self prevents these men from relating authentically with others. They may be friendly, personable, and “nice,” but they typically struggle with relational essentials including intimacy, attachment, self-assertion, empathy, honesty, and forgiveness.

How is the Principle of Authenticity Lived?

The principle of Authenticity starts with risking being whole. At first, wholeness must be explored in a very safe place (perhaps a therapist’s office) where the shut down feelings and split off aspects of self can be expressed and explored. Integration of contradictory feelings (like love and hate, anger and guilt) creates a greater sense of inner stability and clarifies relationships of the past and the present. Open exploration of split off aspects of self (e.g., assertiveness or sexual desires) reduces the shame that has accumulated around these and allows them also to be integrated into the self as well.

This entire process requires facing fear in a profound and new way. Men must let down their defenses in order to re-enter internal conflicts that they deemed intolerable years ago. And they must venture into their bodies where illogical, uncomfortable, and unpredictable emotions exist. The process also requires looking for self-created double binds (transferred from relationships of the past into relationships in the present).

As the therapeutic process proceeds, men naturally begin to carry their newfound assertiveness, clarity, and wholeness into the real world of relationships. They allow others to see their feelings in the here-and-now. They become able to reveal themselves to others and stay in relationship rather than defensively detaching. And they find themselves in fewer double binds.

It is important to understand that Authenticity is both the catalyst and the linchpin of change. Without it there is not going to be any real change. It must be the primary focus from the very beginning of the change process.


NEED FULFILLMENT

First, let me define the word “need.” I define “need” as that which is required in order to maintain joy. I consider joy to be the central purpose of human existence. By joy, I mean the experience of satisfaction, well being, and completion; the sense that life is good, that it has purpose and meaning. I am speaking of joy in its mature, bigger-than-self form— not mere excitement, stimulation, or even bliss, although each of these may be part of joy. But joy encompasses much more than those, including pain, disappointment, and grief.

A reverse description of “need” may add context: It is a need if not having it causes deterioration of the personality, for example depression, defenses, intense yearnings, loneliness, alienation, shutting down of feelings, or loss of interest or creativity. These are the opposite of joy and thus indicate unmet needs. Absent from this list of negative experiences indicating unmet needs are the core emotions of anger, sadness, and fear. Though many may view those feelings as running counter to joy and need fulfillment, experiencing them when warranted is actually a need in itself and part of the process of maintaining joy.

Need Fulfillment depends on two masculine drives: to preside and to provide. Presiding implies self- governance—creating order and balance in your life, which must be maintained if needs are to be adequately met. Providing implies the actual work done to meet a need, whether that is bringing home the paycheck or spending time bonding with a male friend.

What are the problems?

The problems described earlier that block men with SSA from experiencing Authenticity are the also the root problems that block Need Fulfillment. Meeting needs requires first knowing self. Of particular importance is the shutting down of feelings, splitting of self, and disconnection from the body caused by childhood double binds.

Men with SSA often do well at meeting some of their needs, but do poorly meeting others. Typically, shame or an emotional conflict surrounds the needs they do not meet. For example, meeting the need to feel at ease in the body—to feel confident and secure in your own skin—might require exercise and dieting. But intense body shame can make it very difficult to even acknowledge the body’s needs, much less care for the body or expose it by going to the gym for a workout. Or, meeting the need to individuate from mother might require creating boundaries in the relationship. But conflicting feelings of love, anger, and guilt can undermine the setting of boundaries with her.

Childhoods characterized by double binds can also diminish a man’s ability to meet his needs by engendering a passive personality. Essentially a learned helplessness, passivity results from life situations that left the boy with no power in his own life—he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. To make matters worse, he likely created a false self to interface with his hostile or unpredictable double-binding world. The purpose of the false self is to perceive the needs or wants of other people and to satisfy them. Awareness of self—along with the needs of the self—is lost.

The further in life these men go without knowledge of their needs, the further off track they can become. In some cases, a fundamental incompatibility develops between their lifestyle and the meeting of their authentic needs. Getting back on track can then require substantial effort and sacrifice.

Grief is what naturally happens when we are thwarted in meeting our needs. If grief is too painful or pervasive, grief might defended against through various inaccurate methods, including masturbation, pornography, and homosexual fantasies or behavior.

How is the principle of Need Fulfillment lived?

Authenticity opens the way for Need Fulfillment by increasing awareness of both cognitive and physiological aspects of emotion. This means that a man can feel his feelings and understand what they mean. He is thus capable of understanding his emotions when they tell him what his needs are and when they tell him that his needs are either met or unmet.

When men first begin the change process, they often don’t understand their needs. One way to help them find out what their unmet needs are is to follow their grieving emotions (i.e., anger and sadness) to their source. This process is used in therapy to resolve feelings from painful relationships. But it can also point out needs that were left unmet in those relationships as well as needs that are being left unmet in the present. This process also makes viscerally clear to the man the painful consequences of not meeting his needs.Feeling these consequences can be extremely motivating.

But psychotherapeutic work alone may not be sufficient to help a man understand and meet his needs. Some men benefit from personality profiles, interest inventories, and aptitude tests to broaden their self-awareness, which can shed light on their individual needs profile. Also, accessing their own memory to review interests and life experiences can help shed additional light on their needs.

It may be helpful for men to consider various categories and types of needs. This can help them become aware of areas they might not have considered previously. While each person’s specific needs are unique, most men working to change SSA seem to have needs in each of the following areas:


Relational: love, affiliation, community, affection, trust, understanding, and intimacy from people in general
Male friendship: attention, affection, and approval from men specifically
Physical: touch, pleasure, rest, work, exercise, nourishment, and grooming.
Spiritual: connection to God, the universe, or something bigger than self; inspiration,
Work/Vocation: to produce, feel effective and useful; to enjoy daily activities; to have variety.
Empowerment: safety, freedom, self-direction, autonomy, and opportunity
Rest: relaxation, sleep, diversion, and entertainment
Self-expression: the opportunity to articulate to myself and the world who I am.
As difficult as the foregoing processes of learning about needs may sound, the more difficult work of Need Fulfillment is the daily devotion of time, energy, and resources that is required in order to actually the needs. For some men, this can require substantial adjustments in their lifestyle as they begin committing their time and money to meeting their needs. This often requires a high level of commitment the people close to the man as well, especially if he is married and has a family.


SURRENDER

Put most simply, Surrender is letting change happen. Surrender is releasing from your life everything that inhibits growth and receiving into your life those things that foster it. As the previous sentence suggests, Surrender is bi-directional—it involves both letting go (releasing) and letting in (receiving).

Imagine a fortress that has been defending against an invading force for some time. The occupants of the fort are out of provisions and ammunition. They are beginning to starve and die. They are ready to surrender. Doing so requires that they first put down their weapons. This represents the “letting go” aspect of surrender. Once they have relinquished their arms, they must accept the new command of the opposing force. This represents the “letting in” aspect of surrender. When the surrendering occupant of the fortress is a man with SSA, he soon discovers that the “opposing force” is benevolent and brings replenishment and healing.

What are the problems?

Men with SSA tend to have a difficult time letting change happen. This is not a trait unique to them—many if not most people experience at least a little discomfort with change and many will avoid it if at all possible. Anyone who responds to change in this way foils his own growth and development—his own transcendence to something greater. Men with SSA tend to have problems with surrendering cognitively, emotionally, behaviorally, and spiritually. The problems in each of these areas results from unmet needs and unresolved painful feelings.

Cognitively, many men with SSA develop beliefs about themselves and the world, and about their places in the world, that are inaccurate and self-defeating. Most significantly, they have the belief that they are homosexual or “gay.” Their perspectives are often full of distortions (inaccurate negative beliefs) and illusions (inaccurate positive beliefs) that prevent them from seeing things as they truly are. Relationship interactions are often misinterpreted. Personal traits (of self and others) are often misperceived. And future possibilities are frequently misunderstood. Additionally, some men with SSA have obsessive or ruminative thought processes that they cannot let go of. Whether or not these are directly linked to homosexuality, they tend slow the change process down. And they often lead to compulsive behaviors, (to be discussed below) further slowing the process of growth.

Emotionally, men with SSA tend to be rigid and narrow in their emotional and relational patterns. They have difficulty shifting from one emotion to another. They may get stuck in anger and be unable to shift from anger into forgiveness or sadness. Or, they may get stuck in depression and be unable to descend below the depression into the anger or grief that lies beneath it. Or they may lock themselves into a defensive posture that prevents them from feeling certain or all feelings. Anxiety, numbing out, superficiality and the subterfuge of the false self are all common defenses.Behaviorally, SSA men tend toward addictions and compulsions. Most commonly, men with SSA are involved in sexual addictions, which may include fantasies, pornography, masturbation, and sex with another person whether live or by electronic means. These behaviors are repeated again and again for the pleasure or relief from pain that they bring. In homosexual relationships, engaging in very specific sexual patterns with specific types of men is often the rule.

Compulsions grow out of obsessive thought patterns and tend to be an attempt to “get it right.” Although only a percentage of SSA men also have full-blown obsessive-compulsive disorder, many SSA men experience obsessions (discussed above) and show tendencies toward compulsive behavior. Repetition compulsions are common, and some would argue ubiquitous, among homosexual men. In a repetition compulsion, the man sets up a situation that repeats a painful dynamic from childhood in an attempt to “get it right.” But the situation merely creates more painful—though familiar—feelings and ends up working as more of a punishment and distraction from moving on with life. He never really allows himself to “get it right.”

Gender-atypical behavior, although seemingly less serious than addictions and compulsions, can nonetheless slow a man’s change process.This is particularly true when the behavior reinforces to the man, or to those around him, that he is unmasculine, effeminate, or gay. Another behavioral problem worthy of mention might be termed “distractive lifestyle.” This refers to a way of living that keeps a man so busy doing unimportant things that he has no time to fall into his underlying pain or grief, or to pursue healing and change. Frequent partying, overworking, and excessive television watching are signs of a “distractive lifestyle.”

Spiritually, the problems tend to involve difficulty trusting something bigger than self and fears about being controlled and being out of control. The man’s deep shame often results in a narcissistic reaction of putting his own ego at the center of his universe. He may be wary of organizations, religion, authority, and power in any form. He may also believe that God has let him down and develop deep resentment toward the Supreme Being. From this position, the man is not open to mentoring, guidance, or inspiration. And he cannot transcend himself for fear of losing control of himself.

How is the principle of Surrender lived?

Cognitively, new mental constructs about self and the world must be acquired; illusions (inaccurate positive beliefs) and distortions (inaccurate negative beliefs) have to be exposed and relinquished. Perhaps the most significant belief about self that must be given away is the man’s belief that he is homosexual or “gay.” I believe that homosexuality cannot be changed without a conscious choice to do so. Often, the most significant belief about others that must be released is the stereotyped perspective of heterosexual men. Deep relationships with other men can help greatly in these processes, especially once trust begins to develop. Trust itself is a surrender of defensiveness and it opens the man to seeing other views of life that will challenge and correct his own. Sometimes, cognitive therapeutic processes must be employed to stop or reduce the obsessive or ruminative thought processes. These generally include an aspect of releasing or relinquishing (letting go) the obsessive thought.

Emotionally, the principle of Surrender begins with letting go of defenses and fully receiving and feeling your emotions. Emotions bring physical sensations and impulses in the body (e.g., anger might bring a pounding heart and an impulse to hit) and understanding to the mind (e.g., anger might bring recognition of the extent of abuse). Men must learn to release the physical sensations and impulses (often called a “charge”) in ways that don’t hurt themselves or others. And they must integrate the new understanding, which creates growth and expansion of emotional capacities. Men in the change process must also surrender emotionally in relationships with trustworthy people by releasing information about themselves, exposing their feelings, and receiving love and affirmation.

Surrendering unhealthful behaviors depends on surrender in the other three areas since addictions and compulsions tend to be based on cognitive, emotional, and spiritual issues. For example, sexual addictions are often held in place by a deep sense of alienation or self-hatred while repetition compulsions are often based in unresolved traumatic parent-child interactions. Working through and surrendering these underlying issues can have a dramatic impact on the addiction or compulsion. Even so, additional behaviorally based or 12 Step work is often required to fully overcome the addiction or compulsion.

Similarly, gender-atypical behavior is essentially a reflection of underlying issues involving the man’s self-perception. Emotional and cognitive surrender (as described above) is the pathway to deep changes in self-perception. At the same time, consciously surrendering non-masculine behaviors and adopting gender-typical behaviors can be quite helpful in the overall process. Finally, surrendering a “distractive lifestyle” necessitates emotional surrender but also usually requires a purely behavioral intervention to help the man change his pattern.

Spiritual surrender may be done as one powerful act of faith—willingly letting go the control of your life, trusting that something bigger than you will benevolently step in. Some men can do this. Other men can only spiritually surrender a bit at a time as they gradually feel greater trust through successful experiences with powers greater than their own, whether that power is seen as the natural change process or as God. For many religious men, the love shared between them and God creates a willingness and desire to surrender. Whether done at once or through many small decisions, spiritual surrender requires a recognition that you are a smaller force in the universe and that there is some force greater than yourself that wants your wellbeing.

Spiritual surrender also involves seeking transcendence. By this I mean, seeking to rise above where you have been, looking within yourself for more mature responses, and going to sources higher than yourself for guidance and inspiration.

CONCLUSION

The Four Principles of Change are useful because they are easily understood and implemented by men in the change process. They also provide a paradigm for therapists that can be applied in very specific ways to a full range of issues facing all men in the process.

To me, “change” means that growth toward mature masculinity and heterosexuality is resumed and completed. Growth needs optimal circumstances to proceed. My hope in splitting out the whole growth process into the four Principles of Growth is to empower us to create whole growth processes and optimal circumstances for change.

REPARATIVE THERAPY OF MALE HOMOSEXUALITY

"Nicolosi makes an all important distinction: Being homosexual does not mean being gay.... [The author] is to be congratulated for taking up the gauntlet for a much neglected population--the homosexual male who experiences his sexual orientation as ego dystonic and wants to change."
--Elaine Siegel, Ph.D.

Offers Hope to Thousands of Men
"In this major and compelling work, Dr. Nicolosi addresses the issue of changing homosexuality with courage and clinical integrity. Refusing to give in to political pressure and attack, he has listened, instead, to his patients--to their developmental dilemmas and to their developmental needs. Basing the treatment plan on this clinical data and on recent advances in understanding gender identity, he offers hope to the thousands of men who do not want to feel coerced by either their own internal conflicts or by outside political pressures to live a life inimical to who they are and to who they want to be."

--Althea J. Horner, Ph.D.



Speaks to "Non-Gay" Homosexuals with a Tone of Clinical Empathy
"Dissatisfied homosexuals have finally been addressed in a modern work that will satisfy the standards of professionals and laity alike. Direct and comprehensive, [it] speaks to the seldom recognized 'non-gay homosexuals' with a tone of clinical empathy that is long overdue."

-Joe Dallas
President of Exodus International

Reversal to Heterosexuality is Possible
"Dr. Nicolosi has produced a clearly written, scholarly book that covers the developmental, physiological, social-psychological, familial, interpersonal, and gender identity aspects of male homosexuality. Although the influence of mothers in the developmental and adaptive process is given its importance, the more compelling role of an inadequate father-son relationship in a boy's subsequent homosexuality is again corroborated and becomes a salient theme in reparative therapy. "It has become unpopular to propose that homosexuality is the consequence of a disturbed boyhood and that reversal to heterosexuality through psychotherapy is possible. Influenced only by what the clients were telling him, the author offers a rich harvest of observations that justifies the reparative treatment he describes. "This book is recommended reading, not only for mental health workers, but its easy style makes it attractive for those outside the profession."

-Irving Bieber, M.D.

The Homosexual Who Wants to Change Can
"This well-written book by a courageous clinician addresses an important societal and clinical issue: How can a homosexual male deal with his orientation without succumbing to the extremes of a gay life style? Nicolosi makes an all important distinction: Being homosexual does not mean being gay. He sees that the usual rite of coming out of the closet can be an enforced trauma, preventing further psychological growth. Instead, Nicolosi sees the quiet spaces of privacy as a growth-producing environment that can foster meaningful insight followed by change and genuine, instead of coerced, decision making. In addition, he stresses the father as an important role model and cites many vignettes in which men have found their full masculine selves during therapy. Nicolosi is to be congratulated for taking up the gauntlet for a much neglected population: The homosexual male who experiences his sexual orientation as ego dystonic and wants to change."

-Elaine Siegel, Ph.D.


Book Excerpt: Introduction


For many years, I have found myself in the odd position of being a psychologist whose profession says homosexuality is not a problem---yet many homosexual men continue to come to me in conflict.

The fact that so many men continue to feel "dis-eased" by their homosexuality can be explained in one of two ways. Either society and the Judeo-Christian ethic have coerced these individuals into thinking they have a problem; or, the homosexual condition itself is inherently problematic.

In reflecting on the homosexual condition for more than ten years as I have guided many men who are struggling with the problem, I believe some truths have become apparent.

Today, new studies place the homoerotic drive in better perspective by showing us that it originates from the search for health and wholeness. Many homosexuals are attracted to other men and their maleness because they are striving to complete their own gender identification. From this perspective, we now better understand the nature of the homosexual person's struggle. And with this understanding, we can offer more than tolerance, but--for those who seek it--hope for healing. More than civil rights, we can offer a way toward wholeness.

Empirical research and clinical evidence together will be presented in this book to demonstrate how the homosexual condition is in many cases the result of incomplete gender-identity development. Consequently it is a condition characterized by erotic but frustrating same-sex relationships.

Through my treatment of over l00 men, I have applied clinical observations to the wider body of research, and from these resources I have formulated a psychotherapy. This psychotherapy is not a "cure" in the sense of erasing all homosexual feelings. Nevertheless, it is a valid treatment offering a framework for understanding the homosexual condition and growing in masculine identification.

It should be noted here that "homosexual" is a relative term. Each individual falls somewhere along the heterosexual-homosexual continuum, possibly moving from one direction to the other during different life stages.

Also, the word "homosexual" is used in this book as convenient shorthand to denote "the man with the homosexual problem." It must always be borne in mind that no man's personhood can be reduced to a simple sexual identity.

I have chosen the term "reparative therapy" to draw attention to a neglected psychoanalytic perspective of homosexuality which traces its roots to Freud. Due to incomplete development of aspects of his masculine identity, the homosexual seeks to "repair" his deficits through erotic contact with an idealized other. Reparative therapy has recently found support through object relations theory and empirical studies in gender identity.

This book is not for everyone. Some readers will find our theoretical model irrelevant to their personal histories. We do not attempt to propose the reparative model as the sole cause or form of homosexuality. Homosexuality is not a single clinical entity and homosexual behavior results from a variety of motivations. However, the model described here fits the majority of the treatment population I have encountered, and I have no doubt that it is the most common homosexual developmental pattern.

I hope that further understanding of the homosexual condition will lead to a more realistic public attitude, and also to the wiser parenting which would aid in prevention of homosexual development. Most important, I hope to show an option for those who find the gay lifestyle unacceptable--either because of disillusionment in having lived it, or because it is in fundamental violation of their personal identity.

The vast majority of my homosexual clients are men; consequently, the etiology and treatment described in this book will be in regard to the male homosexual. I believe some of the principles stated will apply to women; nevertheless, it will take another writer to refine and apply these ideas to the problem of lesbianism.


Book Excerpt: Chapter One

Non-Gay Homosexuals: Who Are They?
Much has been written in recent years about embracing the gay lifestyle and "coming out of the closet." "Coming out" is said to mean throwing off the burdens of fearfulness and self-deception to embark on the road to freedom and personal integrity.

Yet there is a certain group of homosexual men who will never seek fulfillment through coming out into a gay identity. These men have chosen to grow in another direction.

The word "homosexual" names an aspect of such a man's psychological condition. But he is not gay. "Gay" describes a contemporary socio-political identity and lifestyle which such a man will never claim. Therefore, I call him a "non-gay homosexual."

The non-gay homosexual is a man who experiences a split between his value system and his sexual orientation. He is fundamentally identified with the heterosexual pattern of life. The non-gay homosexual feels his personal progress to be deeply encumbered and by his same-sex attractions. He usually holds conservative values, is identified with a religious tradition, and holds no deep resentments toward Judeo-Christian teachings on homosexuality. In fact he most likely finds them reinforcing and supportive of his struggle.

Before the gay liberation movement, such a man was portrayed in psychiatric literature in a one-dimensional manner from the perspective of his "medical condition." Now the gay movement has encouraged new research, often conducted by gay researchers, to shed long overdue light on the personal and relational issues of the gay experience.

With the help of these studies, men can now decide whether they want to embrace the gay lifestyle, or to take the road that leads to growth out of homosexuality. It is my hope to help illumine the latter road--the one which leads toward wholeness.

A sixteen-year-old young man came into my office, concerned that he must be homosexual. I told him that if he was, he could choose Gay Affirmative Therapy, or he could seek to grow out of homosexuality. I then proceeded to tell him about the men in therapy with me.

At first he seemed confused and then after some consideration said: "Oh, you mean they're not yet out of the closet?"

The young man had been confused by the popular rhetoric which assumes that if you are homosexual, then the only honest response is to live out the gay identity. Believing this, he was surprised to hear that there are men who out of the fullness of their identities, choose a different struggle.

Those who seek reparative therapy do not blame social stigma for their unhappiness. Many have looked into the gay lifestyle, have journeyed what became for them a "via negativa" and returned disillusioned by what they saw. Their definition of self is integrally woven into traditional family life. They refuse to relinquish their heterosexual social identity. Rather than wage war against the natural order of society, they instead to take up the sword of an interior struggle.

As one 23-year old client explained:

"I've had these feelings and these urgings, but the idea of being of gay person is just ridiculous...it's such a strange lifestyle, on the fringes of society...it's something I could never be a part of."

Another young man said:

"I have never believed I had homosexual tendencies because I was 'born that way.' It is quite an insult to my dignity and a gross disservice to my quest for growth to be told that I have no hope for change."

Said another:

"To me, embracing a homosexual lifestyle has been like living a lie. I have found it to be a painful, confusing and destructive force in my life. Only since I have started to look at what is behind these homosexual feelings have I really begun to find peace."

I hope to be one voice in support of the non-gay homosexual--to explain in psychodynamic terms who he is, and to gain acknowledgment for his commitment. For non-gay homosexuals are typically seen as an insignificant group of people, and if society does consider them, it is with a certain derision. Their identity is lost between the cracks of popular ideology. The straight world shuns them, and the gay world considers them not their own.

The mental health profession is largely responsible for the neglect of the non-gay homosexual. In its attempt to support the liberation of gays, it has pushed underground another population. By no longer categorizing homosexuality as a problem, it has cast doubt on the validity of this other group's struggle.

This social neglect is also caused in large part by the non-gay homosexual himself. He is not likely to be found at parades or rallies celebrating his identity. He would rather resolve his conflicts quietly and discreetly. How paradoxically conservative are the men who wage this counter-cultural struggle! Today, even child molesters and prostitutes tell their stories to Oprah or Geraldo.

It is unfortunate that the non-gay must be identified by what he is not. The gay world's assumption is that what keeps him in the closet is fear or ignorance, and that with enough time and education he too will find liberation. Yet not to be gay is as much a decision and a conscious choice about one's self-identity as deciding to be gay.

For such a man, "not coming out" can be a dynamic place of growth and self-understanding, a place committed to change. To him, "the closet" is a place of choice, challenge, fellowship, faith, and growth---an interior place which has often opened up into transcendence.

We have recently made great progress in acknowledging the gay man in society. Now, the same understanding must be extended to the non-gay homosexual. He has made a valid philosophical and existential choice. He is not a guilt-ridden, intimidated, fearful person but someone who from the fullness of his own identity, seeks not to embrace--but to transcend--the homosexual predicament.
Why do so many people with same-sex attractions stumble on the way to freedom? Here some reasons:

- So far, they used the easy fix to deal with their hurts and their legitimate unfulfilled needs. Now they are supposed to do something, which is way harder, even though it leads to a better goal, heals their hurts and really satisfies their needs. The quick fix is just too tempting at times...
- No stress- and frustration-tolerance.
- Lack of ability to set yourself a goal and pursue it - no matter what.
- Everyone around them keeps on telling them to do whatever they feel like doing. It's all about "love", right?
- Lack of a love that is bigger than the lust.


The Great Blondin


In the late 1800's there was a great performer named Jean Francois Gravelot. He was known as "The Great Blondin." He was a "daredevil" of sorts; a tightrope walker specifically.

One of his greatest stunts, involved walking a tightrope high above the world famous Niagara Falls. Blondin performed this death-defying feat more than once, adding elements of difficulty each time. Once he even carried his manager on his back!


Blondin was quite the showman, he had a knack for engaging the crowd, stirring the suspense and excitement. Upon completing one attempt, he asked the crowd if they believed a second attempt would be a successful one. The crowd unanimously agreed it would. Always looking to better his last great feat, Blondin now asked the crowd if they believed he could cross the falls on the tightrope while pushing a wheelbarrow. Having seen his previous stunt, and how seemingly easy it was for him, the crowd had no doubt he could pull off this new, more difficult one. Again, the response was unanimous, the crowd had no doubt "The Great Blondin" could do it! 


Blondin was ready to attempt this amazing feat that only he could do, but before he set out on the rope, he had one last question for the crowd: "Which of you will ride in the wheelbarrow?" The crowd was frozen, still, silent. Not a single man or woman responded to his challenge...


All of those people witnessed Blondin cross the falls on the rope. They gained first-hand knowledge of his abilities. They had a well founded belief that he could perform the more difficult stunt. Yet, when it came time to act on those beliefs, they were silent...still. They did not trust him.


Many of us have seen what God can do, and we believe (faith)... when He calls us to "ride" with him (trust), will we sit silent? Will we stand still?...


(Author unknown)


“Getting to the next level always requires ending something, leaving it behind, and moving on. Growth itself demands that we move on. Without the ability to end things, people stay stuck, never becoming who they are meant to be, never accomplishing all that their talents and abilities should afford them.”
― Henry Cloud, Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward



Viele Menschen (insbesondere Männer) mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen holen sich Geschlechtskrankheiten - in weitaus höherem Maß als der Rest der Bevölkerung. Mit anderen Worten: Die gesamte Gesellschaft hat für die Kosten, die durch die Behandlung dieser Krankheiten entstehen, aufzukommen. Für die Lebensentscheidungen einiger weniger müssen alle zahlen (von den laufenden Subventionen für schwul/lesbische Projekte ganz zu schweigen). Ex-Gays jedoch, die dieses Leben verlassen - und mit ihm die Gefahr, solche Krankheiten zu bekommen! - werden laufend angegriffen. Dabei werden sie weder subventioniert noch muss die Gesellschaft für ihre falschen Entscheidungen aufkommen. Wo ist denn hier die Logik?


"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"

 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

How Much and What kind of Change can be Experienced?
Written By: Ben Newman

Written Originally for www.peoplecanchange.com (Dec. 2003)


The answers are very individual, depending on where we started, how actively we have worked at change, and how long it has been since we began the process.

When we talk about change, we are talking about change in sexual identity, change in sexual behavior, and change in sexual desire, but also, at a deeper level, change in our spiritual, emotional and social lives.

When people ask, "Are you saying you are no longer attracted to men?" most of us would answer:


"Attracted, yes, but not sexually. We no longer desire to have sex with other men. Our desires have changed. What we find attractive or appealing is masculinity itself, in ourselves and other men. What we desire -- and now have in our lives -- is brotherhood with other men. We don't want to be involved with them sexually or romantically. In fact, that kind of relationship would subvert the good, healthy, fulfilling brotherhood that we now enjoy instead."

When people ask, "So are you sexually attracted to women now?" most of us would answer:


"Yes, much more so than we used to be. It's usually a particular attraction to a particular woman, but we do relate to women now in a much more opposite-sex, man-to-woman, heterosexual way. We find now that this kind of relating affirms our masculinity, where it used to feel like it would engulf us in the feminine."

Paul contrasts his experience with a former male lover to his experience with his fiance now:


"I recognize now, although I couldn't see it when I was living homosexually, that my homosexual relationships always had a huge piece missing. I didn't feel whole or complete with men. I was always lacking, wanting something more from them than they could give me. With my fiance now, the best way to describe how I feel about our relationship is that we 'fit.' Physically, emotionally, spiritually, she fits. She complements the areas why I'm lacking, and I complement her, like a lock and key. And as I grow to love her more, my desire for her physically just keeps increasing. It's easy to see myself as both a companion and lover to her for the rest of my life.

"That's completely different from my former relationship with my boyfriend Jim. As I grew to love him more, I grew to desire him (sexually) less. I now know why: I started to love him normally, as a brother, instead of as a lover. I had a tremendous, growing love for him. I adored him. I still do. He's one of the most loving, caring, humble men I have ever met. But our relationship was changing to one where we were companions, not lovers. And that is absolutely consistent with what I saw in other relationships. After awhile, they would become great friends but stop having sex with each other. They would start to go outside the relationship for sex. In 12 years in the gay world, I never met a gay couple that was entirely monogamous. One in the couple has always gone outside the relationship for sex, if not both. Always."


Most of us found that we began to experience profound change once we took the focus off of our sexual orientation and placed it instead on healing with other men (especially our fathers and peers), within ourselves, and with G-d. As we grew into a more "healed," more mature masculinity, romantic interest in the opposite sex usually began to emerge indirectly, almost as a byproduct of strengthening our identities as men.

David writes:


"When I think carefully about the therapeutic work I did in those years, I see clearly that it wasn't about switching the gender of my sexual preference. It was about escaping the bondage of some deeper problems - anxiety, shame and fear. For most of my life, I had been overwhelmed by anxiety when I was in the presence of strong and intelligent men. I had been oppressed by intense shame because I felt my body was so inadequate. And I had been crippled by a fear of exposing my deepest emotions.

"The work I did in those years was to make choices that gradually freed me from the bondage of these deeper problems. Tremendous rewards followed - fulfilling friendships with other men, better health and greater confidence with my body and emotional freedom and power. Yes, my sexual orientation changed too. But in my life today, heterosexuality is like salt in the cookie dough - it's an important element, but it's not the main ingredient. You see, my struggle hasn't really been about going 'straight.' It has been about getting free."


Here are some of the areas where many of us have experienced the most change:

1. From turmoil to peace, and from darkness into light.

This is perhaps where most of us feel the most significant change in our lives. We are no longer torn apart by conflicting desires and values, sexual obsession and/or unrequited longing for male affirmation and affection. We no longer feel lost in spiritual darkness, plagued by thoughts of self-destruction. We are at peace.

2. From shame and self-hate to self-acceptance and self-nurturing.

Another profound area of change. We have come to love and accept ourselves as we are, free of shame and free of fear that others would reject us if they knew our secrets.

3. From repression to fulfillment. From isolation and secrecy to rich friendships full of honest disclosure and mutual support. From lust to brotherly love.

Instead of repressing our feelings, or indulging them in self-destructive ways, we have learned to fulfill them in healthy, self-nurturing ways that create a brotherly bond with other men. Now, instead of lusting after men as sexual partners, we identify with them as brothers.

All of us report that we have never had so many good friendships, and certainly not with other heterosexual men with whom we feel connected as equals and with whom we can be our true selves in complete honesty. These are the healthiest friendships of our lives.

4. From rebellion against G-d to love for him and joyful submission to his Divine will.

To no longer be fighting against G-d, but to seek him out as a trusted friend and companion who we know wants us to experience real, lasting joy has brought much greater peace into our lives!

5. From fear and rejection of heterosexual men ("heterophobia") to identification with them literally as our fellow men.

Rather than always panicking at being with heterosexual men, we typically now can be in the company of men, with a sense of peace, wholeness and joy, and we look forward to their company. We feel much more bonded, connected and affirmed as men.

6. From a feeling of being genderless or never being "man enough" to a sense of pride, joy and wholeness in our manhood.

7. From distressful sexual behavior or desires, sometimes even obsessively or addictively, to a healthy "sexual sobriety" that brings peace and an enhanced spiritual and emotional life.

We are not "white knuckling" abstinence from homosexual desires. We have withdrawn from the lust and done the underlying personal work so that doing so has brought peace and wholeness.

8. From disconnection from our feelings and escape into fantasy to understanding and embracing our feelings and the competence to deal with them in nurturing ways.

9. From identity as a gay or bisexual man to identity as a son of G-d and a man among men.

Our sexuality no longer defines our identity; rather, for most of us, it is our spirituality, complemented by our strong gender identity as men like other heterosexual men, that most strongly establishes our sense of identity now.

10. From identifying with women as our sisters to recognizing them as sexual beings and the true opposite sex from us, then developing romantic interest in and even sexual fulfillment with particular women.

Admittedly, none of us has become a womanizing playboy. (But neither would we want to. What merit would there be in simply trading one obsession for another?) But the more healed we have become as men, the more we have found romantic interest in women beginning to grow. Usually, each of us experienced this as attraction to just one particular woman, not to women generally. That is just fine with us - even preferable! Our desire for wife and family can be fulfilled perfectly well if our heterosexuality is experienced and expressed with just one woman. (We've also learned that this trait can be very appealing to our wives and girlfriends!)


Does this mean none of us will ever again have a homosexual thought? That we will never feel tempted by past memories? Not necessarily. But that doesn't mean we haven't changed - only that we are still human. When some of us do have moments where we feel the pull of homosexuality, we know it is a symptom of not taking care of our emotional and spiritual lives, of feeling disconnected from our brothers, from G-d and from our own sense of inner strength and manhood. We nurture our bonds with good men, we reach out to G-d, we reconnect with our masculine power, and the lust is quickly replaced by spiritual love.

To quote the author Richard Bach: "Here is a test to see if your [work] in life is finished: If you're alive, it isn't."

And so, the journey continues. The difference is, now it is a journey of peace, light, self-acceptance and self-nurturing, fulfillment, brotherly love, heterosexual family life, and love of G-d.

Who Succeeds at Change in Therapy?
Author / Contributor :: Matheson, David (Posted June 2008)

David Matheson, Licensed Professional Counselor in Utah, writes:

In the years I've been working as a reparative therapist, I've noticed some common tendencies among men who are successful in diminishing homosexuality as well as some commonalties among those who are unsuccessful. Please keep in mind that these are impressions and not the results of a study. Most of my impressions are from men who are (or have been) in therapy. I have not had occasion over the past few years to closely observe men who are not in therapy. But I believe that much of what I've written below would apply equally, if not more so, to men who choose not to engage in therapy.

In general, I believe success in this (or any) therapy process can be attributed to a single, simple principle: People spontaneously change for the better when they let go of their resistance to change. In other words, to change is natural if we can just get out of the way and let it happen. Of course, the problem with this is that men dealing with homosexuality typically have so much in the way that unblocking the natural change process can be like removing the Hoover Dam.

The tendencies I've written about below can all be seen in the context of resistance. That is, these are all barriers that people unconsciously erect in their lives to prevent change. Often, these barriers are unintentional and occasionally they may even be unavoidable. The stronger and more ingrained the pattern of resistance is--and the less aware the person is that the pattern is actually resistance--the less success the person will have in changing. I'm not sure that understanding the reasons for the resistance is that important.

Resistance may come from reticence to give up physical pleasure, discomfort with painful emotions that have to be faced, or simply fear of change. But regardless of what is causing the resistance, the resistance must be overcome or progress will be hampered.

I've divided these resistant tendencies into four different areas: life situation, unwillingness to invest, unwillingness to risk, and living as a victim. I've first listed the tendencies common among unsuccessful clients, then I've contrasted them with the approach taken by successful clients.

Life Situation

Extreme stress or commitments due to work, family, school, or church demands.
Successful clients prioritize and eliminate from their schedule things that get in the way of what is most important.

A chaotic life that doesn't allow for a regular, ongoing therapy process.
The chaos may be due to factors such as finances, work schedule, transportation problems, illness of self or family members, etc. Successful clients find ways to surmount or minimize chaos that occurs in their lives in order to allow the therapeutic process to continue.

Unwillingness to Invest

Not taking the problem seriously, as expressed in statements like, "I don't need therapy," "I don't need group," or "It's too expensive."
Successful clients recognize the seriousness of their situation and willingly do whatever is necessary to bring about change.

Ambivalence about committing to change, as expressed in statements like, "I want to change, but right now I need this boyfriend."
Successful clients are willing to let go of whatever leads them away from their goal. That willingness may not be there all at once, but successful clients continue to push themselves toward it.

False dependency on faith and spirituality without doing the psychological and emotional work necessary to bring about change.
At its roots, homosexuality is NOT a spiritual problem. Spiritual problems develop when homosexual behavior is engaged in. But to begin with, same-sex attraction is a developmental arrest that is psychological in nature. Spirituality alone will not change homosexuality! This is why we so often hear the complaint, "I prayed for years and the Lord never took this problem away."

Successful clients wisely ask for God's help with SPECIFIC needs, praying for opportunities that are needed, and allowing the Spirit to comfort and sustain them. Yet they never shift the burden of responsibility onto the Lord.

Unwillingness to Risk

Sacrificing authenticity for comfort, as expressed in statements like, "I can't do this, it's too uncomfortable."
Unsuccessful clients get overwhelmed by their own emotions and withdraw from therapy. Successful clients willingly face their fears both internally (hurtful emotions) and externally (frightening relationships and situations). This is one of the main factors separating successful from unsuccessful clients.

Feeling such shame over your struggles that you refuse to be open with others about what you are going through.
This is often expressed in statements like, "I can't tell anyone about me," or "I have to work through this alone so that no one ever finds out." Successful clients open themselves to other people and ask for help.

A rigid approach to life, which prevents you from going beyond previous limitations, seeing new perspectives, doing new things, exploring new ways of thinking and living, and doing things you've never done before.
Successful clients are open to the possibility of change in every aspect of their lives.

Living as a Victim

Passivity, as manifested in statements like, "I don't know what to do," or "I just don't think I can change."
This is also manifested as a tendency to NOT seek out help, or to be very narrow in the therapeutic activities you pursue. Perhaps you go to group meetings occasionally, but you essentially keep yourself ignorant of other opportunities. Successful clients take the responsibility for their change process and seek out every source of information and help available, such as individual and group therapy, straight male friendships, New Warriors participation, activity in a church, etc.

Being a "help-rejecting complainer."
These are individuals who are constantly complaining about the problems they face, and yet when help is offered they immediately come up with reasons why each suggestion won't work for them. Or they may half-heartedly try the suggestion just long enough to prove its ineffectiveness. Successful clients are willing to go outside the comfort of their complaints and actually try to solve their problems.



Why SSA Became a Blessing in Disguise
Written By: "S"
(Posted Dec. 2014 )
For me, SSA (same-sex attraction) is a blessing in one hell of a disguise. Every single day between the ages of 13 and 23, I would think and despair endlessly about the impossible struggle I was in, being attracted to other men. Ten years alone, keeping this heavy, shameful secret from every single person in my life. It hurt a lot, for a very long time, in a very deep place.
In October 2013, I attended the Journey into Manhood (JiM) workshop in Israel and had the most wonderfully powerful experience of my life. I haven’t been the same since. While SSA was definitely the primary motive behind my decision to attend the workshop and begin therapy, I have realized that the underlying issues, as well as the significant changes I have created in my life since the workshop, span a spectrum far broader than sexuality alone.
Over the past year since the workshop, I have worked hard at gaining awareness and authenticity within myself, and pursued activities and relationships that provide a platform for personal empowerment. I am proud to say that my achievements in these areas have brought about significant growth in my life:
* I no longer live with the burden of harboring a secret. I am who I am, where I am, and I’m OK with that, which is an incredible feeling.
* I have learned to process the attraction I feel toward other men, identify my underlying desires and needs, and meet them in ways that are not sexual, thus diminishing the sexual aspect of the attraction.
* I have processed and shattered negative beliefs about myself, such as the belief that I am “less than” certain other men.
* I found the courage to share my SSA with my parents following the JiM workshop, which has enabled me to have a more open, deep and healthy relationship with them.
* After literally a decade of dealing with a harmful pornography addiction, I have been 100% “clean” since the JiM workshop a year ago (and my smartphone doesn’t have a filter).
* I have bonded authentically with other guys, and today I own the feeling of being a good man among men.
* Perhaps most excitingly for me, this past winter I fell head over heels, emotionally and physically, for a fantastic girl. I told her about my feelings for her, and later, about my SSA. I proved to myself that what I had perceived to be impossible is, in fact, possible.
This is not to say that my journey is easy or devoid of setbacks and pitfalls. Far from it. Like all people, I go through horrible days and hard times, when the prospect looks bleak and the journey impossible. Fortunately, these times are few and far between, and I have solid friends, brothers and mentors who help me pull through (as I do for them).
I am not on this journey because of religious, political or social beliefs alone. I would readily swear on a stack of bibles that this therapy has huge, undeniably beneficial effects on many different areas across my life, with the reduction of my attraction to other men and the increase of my attraction to women being very significant among them.​​


Why Change?
Author / Contributor :: People Can Change | (Posted February 2008)

Ben Newman, the founder of People Can Change, summarizes 5 basic responses from men who expressed their desire to change sexual orientation.
Written Originally for www.peoplecanchange.com (Dec. 2003)

Why Change? What could possibly motivate us to go against our seemingly "natural" urges and do all the hard work described on this Web site?


To one extent or another, we were all motivated by at least one of the five things listed below, but usually were motivated by a combination of them: We were often miserable "gay"; we wanted to resolve the inner conflict between our homosexual desires and our deeply held beliefs; we wanted to have a family, or preserve the families we already had; we wanted to grow into mature masculinity, which for us meant heterosexual masculinity; and we felt called by G-d to come out of homosexuality into what for us was a far better life.


We were often miserable "gay."


In so many ways, "gay" just didn't work for us. It was so easy to become sex-obsessed in the pornography- and lust-saturated culture of homosexuality. It was so difficult to feel connected to G-d or some kind of higher purpose in a life where the mantra seemed to be, "If it feels good, nothing else matters." We were living in dissonance with the values, beliefs and goals we'd held for a lifetime. We pined for love and acceptance from men, but it seemed that so many gays so idolized youth and physical perfection that we often felt more rejection from our gay brothers, not less.


Still, we kept searching, partly because we didn't know where else to look and partly because we did find moments of pleasure and moments of real connection with good, decent and kind homosexual men. Those were the moments that kept drawing us back to homosexuality, hoping and believing that maybe the next boyfriend, the next encounter, would finally make us feel whole.


But for most of us, the hole inside of us that yearned for male affirmation and acceptance just got bigger the more that we pursued wholeness by engaging in homosexual behavior. Several of us were plagued by thoughts of suicide. Some of us became sex addicts, no longer able to control our obsessive search for sex. Our lives became filled with darkness.


Paul writes:


"For 12 years, I lived life as an openly gay man. I had a partner of three years who I dearly cared for, a family of wonderful loving friends scattered around the world, a house, a new job, and the prospects of a beautiful life. There was just one question that periodically raised its ugly head: Why was I so insufferably miserable?

"I was amazed. I had everything that I ever wanted. Yet, I also felt an incredible black hole inside that seemed to be sucking the life out of me. How could this be? I kept trying desperately to fill it. I read a lot of philosophy, I thought a lot about existence and life, and tried various ways to reach a peace. Nothing worked, not one damn thing. The pain just continued to increase, steadily and persistently. All I wanted to do was cease to exist, to end the suffering."


Ben writes:


"As soon as I 'accepted' that I was gay, and I could deny it no longer, I felt immediate relief from the turmoil of vacillation, but I also felt all my life's goals, dreams and values tossed to the wayside, with no higher purpose to replace them. I was adrift without a moral anchor or spiritual compass. A boyfriend talked theoretically about moral versus immoral homosexuality, but I couldn't see it (perhaps in part because I had met him at a gay bathhouse!). It seemed my 'life's work' would become about pursuing sex with men and trying to feel good about it. I just couldn't look in the mirror and like that kind of a man."


These experiences are confirmed by a myriad of statistics and our own personal experiences in the gay world. We found promiscuity was rampant; within gay circles, we found it was not only a given, it was celebrated and joked about openly. "Permanent" relationships are fleeting, lasting usually just a few months but occasionally a few years. On average, gay men die as much as 20 years earlier than heterosexual men. It is no wonder we were miserable; what is amazing is that so many seem to find fulfillment in that kind of life.


For many of us, our homosexual longings conflicted with deeply held beliefs, causing painful turmoil and confusion.


We could not simply toss aside everything we had come to believe about right and wrong, good and evil, God, and our life purpose. These things were part of our identity, part of how we made sense of the world. Many of us found we couldn't will them away any more than we could will away our homosexual desires. Nor did we want to.


We longed to have a family of our own one day, or, if we were already married or had children, we wanted to hold our families together and be the husbands our wives deserved and the fathers our children deserved.


We couldn't live with the thought of putting our wives and children through so much turmoil just because we couldn't control our lust. We had made promises to them, and we wanted to find a way to keep those promises and live with ourselves in peace.


We longed to grow into a fully mature masculinity, which for us meant heterosexual masculinity.


In short, we wanted to be men, and we simply defined "real men" as straight men. As much as we tried to convince ourselves that homosexual men were just as masculine as straight men, that there was nothing emasculating about having sex with a man or pursuing the gay interests, we felt inside ourselves that that just wasn't true.


Our masculine souls, no matter how buried below a gay identity, longed to feel as masculine as we perceived straight men to be. And we began to realize we would never feel that way as long as we related to men sexually or romantically. We learned that to grow into full masculinity, we would have to grow into heterosexuality.


We felt called by G-d out of homosexuality into what for us was a far better life.


At different times and in different ways, almost all of us turned to G-d in our turmoil, and felt this simple truth deep in our hearts: Homosexuality was wrong for us, and G-d would lead us out of the pain if we turned to him.


This became a powerful motivator in our lives. Coupled with the fact that for the majority of us, being gay just didn't work, a spiritual hope of eventual peace offered a tiny, flickering light at the end of a tunnel. We walked toward it.


And our journey began.

A Long, Hard Road: How Reparative Therapy Saved My Life
Written By: Daniel Meir Horowitz [1]
(Posted May 2012)

There has been much ado in the Jewish media about the idea of Orthodoxy and homosexuality. I have decided to share my personal story for the purpose of letting others know that, despite what so many people claim to “know,” there are options and there is a way out of Same Sex Attraction (SSA).
I was raised in a modern-Orthodox, frum family. I clearly remember in 8th grade being among other boys discussing which girls in our class they had crushes on. At the time I had absolutely no attraction to women and, to avoid embarrassment, I blatantly lied and said that I did indeed have a crush on a certain female classmate. But inside I was tormented: “When will I feel these feelings like the other guys?” I asked myself. I kept hoping that someday I would just wake up and be “normal.” Unfortunately, that time never came. By 10th grade I had already come to the conclusion that something was wrong, and also admitted to myself that I was instead attracted to other boys in my class. I recall praying and crying to G-d to “take it away” and heal me. One summer I spent every day saying the entire book of Tehillim (Psalms) in the hope that I could earn enough merit to make my homosexuality go away. But it didn’t.
After graduation, I dutifully spent a year in an Israeli yeshiva. Being in a dormitory situation was a complete nightmare. I felt trapped in a prison that I could not escape, tempted by things that I could never act upon, dangled in front of me constantly. By the end of that year I was almost non-functional, and finally mustered up the courage to discuss my situation with the Rosh Yeshiva. I was sure that I would be summarily cast away and shamed, but felt I didn’t have a choice since I was suffering so much. I needed to talk to someone. Instead, I received compassion, advice, and a recommendation to see a local psychologist.
When I returned home at the end of the year, I began immediately seeing a religious psychologist to try to work through these issues while I stayed in yeshiva. Over the next seven years I cycled on and off seeing a total of three different psychologists and one psychiatrist, spending at least twenty thousand dollars. These were highly recommended professionals, some of whom are rather well known. They all assured me that they could help me with my SSA. Yet after all of my time and money, I accomplished absolutely nothing. I still was embroiled in attraction to other men, and felt no attraction to women. All of my friends were getting married and having children, while I just spun my wheels.
During those years I became depressed and hated my life. I often contemplated suicide. Multiple times while driving home from the therapist’s office, frustrated at our lack of progress, I would think: “Just turn the wheel a little to the left and slam into the divider on the freeway. No one will know it wasn’t just an accident.” I would have to consciously switch to the right lane so I could be sure I wouldn’t give in to the temptation. Part of me truly wanted to die, though, and I regularly wished that a car would hit me when I was crossing the street.
In utter desperation I began searching the Internet for possible alternative treatments. I was willing to try almost anything if I thought it would work. I discovered a weekend retreat for men struggling with SSA. After consulting with one of my rabbeim and my therapist, I signed up for the next available open slot, bought my plane tickets to Utah and set out. The retreat changed my life. I met other men who had struggled with SSA and had moved through it. I was taught about reparative therapy and that there was hope. Soon after that weekend I started seeing a licensed reparative therapist regularly, and within a year began to slowly see signs of progress. I don’t remember exactly when, perhaps 18-24 months into the therapy, but I was reading a magazine and an attractive woman in an ad caught my attention. I found myself staring at the photograph. Then it struck me: I was actually interested in looking at the woman! I felt such exhilaration at the experience. I had instinctually done what I never would have done before. Something had changed.
Anyone who says that working through homosexual desires and feelings is an easy, quick process is lying. It is a long, hard road with many challenges, pitfalls, and setbacks. But it is possible. I wish I could say there is a “cure” for SSA, but I believe there is no such thing. SSA is something I will struggle with for the rest of my life. But now, I am in control of it. It no longer tortures me. When I am diligent and follow the game-plan provided by those who understand reparative therapy, it fades to the faintest whisper in the background and therefore no longer controls me. And I am attracted to women, when I never was before.
Why was I so tortured? Why did it hurt so much? What drove me to become suicidal? Being a frum person with SSA felt like being trapped in a prison with no escape. If I have homosexual desires, urges to do what the Torah blatantly forbids, I have only three options:

A) To give in to those desires, and violate the Torah. Many have taken that path, often eventually abandoning all Torah observance. I truly believed, and believe, that G-d gave us the Torah, and so giving in to my desires was not an acceptable course of action for me.

B) To “white-knuckle,” to try to resist these temptations with sheer willpower and live a “normal” life despite them. This was an unbelievably depressing prospect. It meant getting married with no real desire for a woman. It meant having desires that could never be fulfilled. It meant being trapped in the closet all alone, suffering. (To say nothing of how wrong doing so would be to the woman I would have married.)

There were those who would tried to offer me a variant of this option: Accept myself as a homosexual and identify as gay, and stay single, all the while refraining from violating the Torah. While on the one hand, it sounded brave, I knew it to be a fallacy and an empty dream. Firstly, I would still have to suffer a lifetime of unfulfilled yearnings. The reality is, however, that despite firm initial convictions, every single person that I know who tried this, eventually succumbed and ended up violating the Torah. This always devolved back into option A.

C) To try and change the desires, or at least mitigate them until they become a mere nuisance. This seemed to be the only viable approach to me. And I tried for many years, floundering along through therapy, even taking extra jobs to pay for it. I remember thinking at one point: “What more can G-d possibly want from me? I’m doing everything I can!!” Yet, I persevered and eventually found a treatment that helped.

The reparative therapy approach is what led me to where I am.
There are those who will wish to silence me, and protest the publication of my story. They will describe reparative therapy as a sham. I can only say that I wish someone had told me about it earlier. There are no guarantees for any treatment of any illness. But I would rather have tried mightily and failed, than to have had someone stifle me by censoring those who would have given me options and hope.
Of course, no one should ever be forced into therapy if they don’t want it. And no one can experience any change unless they want to. No matter how supportive and well-meaning family and friends are, changing sexual orientation or growing out of SSA will not occur if the person does not wish to do it for himself and find the proper therapeutic approach that works for him. For those who choose to work through their SSA, there are several alternative paths for them to take. And, by doing so, they can lead truly fulfilled lives.
Even if after spending time (and money) with one therapist is found not to be helpful, that does not in any way mean that another won’t be helpful. If, G-d forbid, someone was diagnosed with cancer and a certain treatment wasn’t working, he wouldn’t give up. He would seek out another doctor with a different method, or try alternative medicines or modalities. I spent almost ten years trying different therapy methods, and eventually one worked for me. So if one doesn’t work for you, who knows? Some other treatment might.
I want to shout to all those plagued by SSA who wish they were not: Don’t give up. Please. Despite what you read and hear in our secular culture about the false idea that change is impossible, a ray of light might be just around the corner. Keep looking and know that the help you seek is out there. You only need to find it.
[1] This is a pseudonym. Certain other identifying details have been changed as well. I truly wish that I felt safe enough to use my actual name and identify myself. However, as someone still searching for his soul mate, I am keenly aware of how careful I must be to explain these details about me at the right time and in the proper context.

Is Change Really Possible?
Written By: Ben Newman

Written Originally for www.peoplecanchange.com (Dec. 2003)

Absolutely! We testify from personal experience that change is possible. True, the journey was often difficult and frightening, but the destination has brought us immeasurable peace and joy. It was not only worth it, it saved our lives.

We no longer desire to have sex with other men. We are no longer consumed by the loneliness, lust, fear, anger and rebellion that once entrapped us. We no longer look for the romantic love or sexual interest of another man to make us feel whole. We no longer fear heterosexual men nor reject masculinity.

Today, we are whole. Not perfect. Not even finished with the journey, necessarily, but whole.

Where once there was sexual lust, today there is brotherly love. Where once there was fear and defensive detachment, today there is trust and connection. Where once there was self-hate and a feeling of never being "man enough," today there is self acceptance and a strong and confident masculine identity. Where once there was anger at God, today there is deep love, faith and trust in Him.

Many will scoff at our testimony. "Change is impossible," they will say. "Others have tried and failed, so you must fail too."

Yet history is made up of heroes who did what others said was impossible: Building the first "flying machine." Walking on the moon. Running the four-minute mile. Recovering from alcoholism. It takes only one person to prove the "impossible" is possible and to show others how. What if one single person were to make a full recovery from AIDS? The world would rally to celebrate and learn how he did it. The example of one would be enough.

The fact that many have failed does not mean that no one can succeed. The fact that some efforts don't work, at least not for everyone, does not prove that nothing works for anyone. The fact that, on occasion, a man may stumble or even return to his former "gay" life does not mean that many others have not find permanent joy and peace in their new heterosexual identities and lives.

We don't typically march in pride parades or lobby for political change, so we tend to be an invisible minority. We are not out to change the world. We were only out to change ourselves, from within.

Those who want to believe, whose hearts are open to the whisperings of truth, will know that the experiences we share are true and were right for us.