FINDING A THERAPIST for Counseling on Same-sex Attractions
Do not take your child to a therapist unless you have thoroughly
investigated their credentials and success rate in dealing with
same-sex attractions (SSA). You may do more harm than good if you
allow your child to see someone who has little or no experience in
this area. You do not want to bring your child to see someone who
has little or no experience in this area.
You do not want to bring your child to see someone who will simply try to “pray” this away or “cast out demons”. And you definitely do not want to take your child to see a “gay affirmative” therapist. This is the teaching and training of the mental health profession and recovery movement. In fact, they have given a new diagnosis to those who do not accept their homosexuality: “internalized homophobia”.
This means that someone has internalized societal or religious prejudice toward homosexuality. So be careful when selecting a therapist. And, do not insist that your child see a therapist unless they have a desire to pursue change. If they are not motivated to deal with their underlying emotional issues, sending them to a therapist is a waste of time and money.
Here are some suggested questions to ask a prospective therapist:
- What is your education and training in the area of same-sex attraction?
- What is your personal belief about homosexuality and SSA?
- Do you practice and/or believe in “gay affirmative therapy”? It is important to ask this question. Don’t make any assumptions when interviewing a therapist, even if they are “religious”.
- How long have you been helping people heal from unwanted SSA?
- Have you been successful in helping men and women transition from a homosexual to a heterosexual orientation?
- What kind of success rate do you have?
- Have you had personal experience with SSA? (Some therapists, like myself, have come out of homosexuality; however, that is not a requirement for a good therapist.)
- If you work with my child, what therapeutic approaches would you use?
- If it is important to you: Do you believe in God?
Also, many therapists will say they may help your child in dealing with SSA, but they still believe in “gay affirmative therapy”. Please be direct and ask them if they practice this type of therapy (which is what most therapists are taught in undergraduate and graduate schools). Gay affirmative therapy is based on the assumption that people are born with SSA and therefore must come to an acceptance of their homosexuality. Again, they will diagnosis your child with “internalized homophobia” if she or she has not accepted his/her SSA as normal and natural.
You may want to consider family vs. individual therapy. SSA is a systemic issue and healing may be accelerated by involving all the family members (Dad, Mom, and all the children). This way, the focus is not on the child with SSA, but everyone gets to participate in family healing. In order to have your child participate in such a family healing session, you may use the magic words, “Please do it for me. I would really like you to attend, because I have issues that I would like to address and take responsibility for. Please come for me and the whole family.” That is a good way to frame the session and solicit each child’s participation.
If you choose to go this route, be sure to find a competent therapist who has experience working with the entire family system. This is an art in itself, and many therapists are not comfortable with this approach or have no training in this area.