Letters in support of therapy for unwanted homosexuality
Written to the Brazilian Psychological Association
NARTH, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi
Apokata. Psychological Services, Dr. Melvin Wong
March 3, 2001
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing this letter on behalf of Dr. Rozangela Justino, who we understand has been called before the Brazilian Board of Psychology because she
believes that homosexuality is changeable, and that it is a form of psychosexual immaturity.
I am the President of the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. NARTH is a 1,000-member professional group in the U.S. composed of psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts.
Perhaps you would be interested in our recent study of 882 formerly homosexual men and women who have experienced a substantial degree of
sexual-orientation change. The professional journal Psychological Reports published our study in June 2000.
Among the findings:
A total of 45.4% of the respondents reported a shift that made them more heterosexual than homosexual. The respondents who had undertaken therapy were overwhelmingly in agreement that counseling had helped them reduce their homosexual attractions. Many perceived their homosexual behaviors as an addiction.
A large majority said their religious and spiritual beliefs played a crucial role in overcoming their homosexuality.
Areas of functioning in which the respondents reported significant improvement include the following:
Sense of personal power
Sense of clarity and security in gender identity
Diminishment of loneliness
Improvement in emotional stability and maturity
Better ability to resolve interpersonal conflicts
Decreased homosexual thoughts, feelings and behaviors
Before counseling or therapy, 68% of the respondents perceived themselves as exclusively or almost entirely homosexual. After treatment, only 13% perceived themselves as exclusively or almost entirely homosexual.
Also, the following respected professionals have expressed at least conditional support for the possibility of sexual orientation change:
Robert Spitzer, M.D., the psychiatrist who is called the ¡§architect of the 1973 decision¡¨ that removed homosexuality from the DSM, recently expressed serious concern about the movement against sexual-reorientation therapy. In two months, Dr. Spitzer is scheduled to report the findings of his own study to the American Psychiatric Association. He studied about 200 individuals who say they have achieved a sexual orientation change and have maintained that change for at least 5 years.
Dr. Spitzer says:
¡§I¡¦m convinced from people I have interviewed¡Kmany of them¡Khave made substantial changes toward becoming heterosexual. I came to this study skeptical. I now claim that these changes can be sustained.¡¨
About exclusive homosexuality, he conceded, ¡§I think, implicitly, there is something not working.¡¨
Dr. Raymond Fowler, Chief Executive Officer of the American Psychological
Association, says that his interpretation of the APA¡¦s position on reparative therapy is that those who wish to explore developing heterosexual feelings or behaviors have a
right to do so as part of every client¡¦s right to self-determination.
Dr. Brent Scharman, former president of the Utah Psychological Association, considers himself a
¡§typical¡¨ psychologist¡Xnot an activist on either side of the homosexual issue¡Xand he says that all homosexual individuals should have the right to pursue change.
It is the client, he says, who should determine the direction of the treatment.
Dr. Warren Throckmorton, past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association,
studied a broad cross-section of research on sexual-orientation change. He says such treatment has been effective, can be conducted in
an ethical manner, and should be available to those clients requesting such assistance. His paper was published two years ago (¡§Attempts to Modify Sexual Orientation: A Review of
Outcome Literature and Ethical Issues,¡¨ Journal of Mental Health Counseling October 1998, vol. 20, pp. 283-304).
Dr. Martin Seligman, 1998 President of the American Psychological
Association, cites research in his book What You Can Change and What You Can't that is optimistic about change for those who have had fewer homosexual experiences and/or
some bisexual feelings.
In a recent paper in the premiere academic journal Psychotherapy, and again in the American Journal of Family Therapy, Dr. Mark Yarhouse of Regent University made a powerful case for such therapy:
¡§Psychologists have an ethical responsibility to allow individuals to pursue treatment aimed at curbing experiences of same-sex attraction¡Knot only because it affirms the clients¡¦ right to dignity, autonomy and agency¡Kbut also because it demonstrates regard for diversity.¡¨
NARTH believes that effective counseling evolves from a shared value system between client and counselor.
But when gay activism labels the desire to change orientation illegitimate, it imposes its own views and values on a dissatisfied homosexual, and takes away his right to
We hope you will visit our website, www.narth.com,
for documentation of these statements and others. Please feel free to contact us to discuss this issue, should you wish to do so.
Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D.
To Whom this May Concern
I am a licensed psychologist in private practice in California for over eleven years. I have been involved
extensively in training and supervision of doctoral level psychologists, psychiatrists in residency training, medical students, psychiatric social workers and marriage and family
therapists in the greater San Francisco bay area. I have been providing mental health training for seminaries as well as in government or university sponsored conferences in
Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong in China.
Based on my experience, unwanted homosexuality is
real and individuals suffer great anguish from it. I believe the rights of these individuals should be respected equally as we respect those individuals who do not find
homosexuality unwanted. Patient¡¦s self determination and autonomy should be respected to empower them to a higher and more effective level of functioning. I would also like to
appeal to the tenet of fairness in the market place of health care instead of what is politically expedient because we should attending diligently to realize the treatment goals
for these patients. We need to offer these people tolerance in pursuing their happiness based on a desire to change although this is against political correctness at this time.
The second point I would like to offer for
consideration is the right to freedom from hostility of a mental health professional to practice what he or she is proficient in. An advancing society based on a free market
economy cannot stifle this creativity because everyone will eventually suffer from this shortsightedness and close-mindedness. Diversity and multiculturalism enrich and they do not
limit. We should have no fear in having any mental health professional practice whatever he or she is good at.
I would therefore make this plea to give individuals
struggling with unwanted homosexuality equal access to therapy by not limiting what any mental health professionals can and should do. We need tolerance and fairness to serve our
Melvin Wong, Ph.D.
Melvin W. Wong, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist