I have posted this as a public service.
I am still working on cleaning up this document so there may be mistakes
in formatting and content.
UNDERSTANDING AND HELPING INDIVIDUALS WITH HOMOSEXUAL PROBLEMS
LDS Social Services
USE OF THE DOCUMENT
This training document has been prepared for the exclusive use of LDS Social
Services to assist staff, interns, and contract providers in their work with
individuals having homosexual problems. Because the document is approved
only for "in house" use, it should not be reproduced nor distributed to others
outside of LDS Social Services.
UNDERSTANDING AND HELPING INDIVIDUALS WITH HOMOSEXUAL PROBLEMS
For more than 100 years homosexuality has been a topic of scientific and
psychotherapy inquiry and debate. Freud and his contemporaries viewed
homosexuality as a deviation or "inversion" of natural psychosexual development,
the causes of which being as varied and numerous as the theorists espousing them.
According to Freud, the deviation resulted primarily from a distorted parent-child
relationship which led the child to reject his or her own gender role and identify
with the opposite~sexed parent.
This view received considerable empirical support later in this century through
studies by Irving Bieber and a number of other researchers (Siegelmm, 1987).
Psychiatrist Kraft-Ebing (Bullough, 1987), on the other hand, viewed homosexuality
as the result of a diseased psychosexual center of the brain,set off by masturbation
in certain individuals. The treatment was the removal of masturbatory impulse
through post-hypnotic suggestion, and the encouragement of heterosexual interest.
Yet another nineteenth century theorist, Morton Prince, believed homosexuality
could be accounted for by socialization. The cure: strengthening the will of the
individual and helping him develop a sense of morality (ibid, 1987).
In the contemporary scientific community the controversy over the influence of
nature and nurture in the etiology of homosexuality continues as it did in the
early 20th century. Dorner and associates (1980) noted that experimentally induced
prenatal stress has been shown to irreversibly alter the sexual behavior male rats.
Dorner hypothesized that a deficiency in Certain prenatal hormones creates a
biological predisposition to human female homosexuality. He further hypothesized
that the same biological process that leads to homosexuality in the female would
also lead to homosexuality in the male although through different mechanisms.
Gooren and colleagues (1984) criticized the Dorner studies by asserting that
hormonal studies in rats cannot be used to assess the effect of organic brain
substances on the sexual behavior of primates.
Simon LeVay (1991) tested the hypothesis that a portion of the anterior hypothalamus
was involved in the origin and regulation of male sexual behavior. LeVay found
that a region of the anterior hypothalamus was larger in heterosexual men than
in either women or homosexual men. The study showed no difference in the size
of that same brain region in the brains of women and homosexual male
Dr. William Byne (1993) cited problems with LeVay's study. He pointed to a lack
of willingness on LeVay's part to assist in the replication of his findings and
to the fact that the medical histories of LeVay's case samples were not screened
carefully enough to support his conclusions.
Byne suggests an interactional model, or a combination of biological and
environmental factors which lead to the emergence of homosexual behavior.
It seems reasonable to suggest that the stage for future sexual orientation may
be set by experience during early development, perhaps the first four years of
life. This is not only the period during which gender identity is established
largely in response to social cues, but also a period of tremendous brain development
....(L)earning and environment influence the chemistry and structure of the brain
itself....biological factors influence temperament rather than sexual orientation
per se. We then offer some ex\amples of how one's temperament could then bias the
emergence of sexual orientation in the context dependent manner. This model is
interactional because biology influences temperament which, in turn influences
how an individual shapes and is shaped by his environment. Such an interactional
model allows for multiple developmental pathways leading to homosexuality and is
consistent with the replicable research suggesting an influence of biological
factors on sexual orientation. Moreover, it could explain that failures of various
psychosocial theories that have focused on either the personality of the individual
or on his familial milieu but not on the interaction of the two (Byne, 1993, p. 33).
John Money (1987) reached similar conclusions. He suggested that homosexuality
resulted in part from a combination of prenatal and pubertal hormones rather than
from the direct influence of chromosomes and genes. He concluded that although
humans are influenced by prenatal brain hormonalization, they are also strongly
dependent on postnatal socialization.
The treatment of homosexuality has a long history in the psychiatric and psychological
professions. Beginning with Sigmund Freud at the turn of the 20th century, many
clinicians have attempted to treat homosexual clients (Bancroft & Marks, 1968;
Barlow & Agras, 1973; Berg & Allen, 1958~, Nintz, 1966; Socarides, 1969;
Stevenson & Wolpe, 1960; van den Aardweg, 197n; and Ellis, 1959).
Elizabeth James (1978), in a comprehensive review of the homosexuality-treatment
literature, acknowledged that the recovery and improvement rates for both bisexuals
and homosexuals using several different types of therapy was encouraging.
Citing a 45 percent recovery and improvement rate for exclusively homosexual
clients, James noted that there is room for the development of new treatments
and combinations of techniques that will enhance the effectiveness of those
procedures already in use (Ibid, 1978).
During the 1960's, gay activists began to more openly and vigorously fight to
legitimize the homosexual lifestyle (Bayer, 1981). They moved to ensure that
homosexuals would be accorded all of the civil rights heterosexuals enjoy.
As gay activists grew in power, they became more radical in their efforts to
shape public and professional perceptions of homosexuality. They fought not
only for public tolerance of homosexuality, but to persuade the public and
professionals to value and endorse homosexuality as a desirable alternative
lifestyle (Bayer, 1981).
Some gay activist groups have concluded that society would be more tolerant
of homosexuality if sexual orientation can be shown to be innate. Thus, they
view any criticism of biological determinism as "anti-gay." Byne (1993) suggested
that the Gay Liberation Movement is attempting to subjugate scientific rigor to
An important landmark in the gay activist battle to reshape public and professional
perceptions of homosexuality came on December 14, 1973. -n that date the Board of
Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove homosexuality as
a diagnostic category from the APA's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).
According to Bayer (1981) the decision to remove homosexuality from the DSM was
made after APA officers and members had endured several years of intense political
pressure and disruptive lobbying efforts by militant, gay activist groups.
In discussing the APA decision, Socarides (1988). leading researcher and
theoretician on homosexuality, stated:
The action was all the more remarkable when one considers that it involved the
out-of-hand and peremptory disregard and dismissal, not only of hundreds of
psychiatric and psychoanalytic research papers and reports, but also of a number
of other serious studies by groups of psychologists, psychiatrists, and educators
over the past seventy years (p. 53).
. .it amounted to a full approval of homosexuality and an encouragement to aberrancy
by those who should have known better, both in the scientific sense and in the
sense of the social consequences of such removal (p. 58).
As LDS Social Services practitioners we need to be aware of the political climate,
but not be persuaded by it. There is sufficient scientific research and clinical
evidence to conclude that homosexuality is treatable and preventable when we
understand its origin and development.
Professionals who resist the tide of the current political movement are often
criticized for offering a choice of change to those who have homosexual attractions.
The gay community offers an "either/ or" position; people are either gay or straight.
They purport that if someone has any same~sex tendencies he or she is most likely gay,
and there is little that can be done about it. They also teach that if homosexuals
are to find any measure of happiness, they must acknowledge their innate "gayness"
and live a life consistent with it (Schow, Schow & Raynes, 1991). In light of the
political climate, it is important to make a distinction between "gays" and
"homosexuals" (Nicolosi 1992). "Gays" generally have accepted their sexual
orientation and attempt through the media and the political arena, to secure social
acceptance and special legal rights based upon their sexual preference.
There are, however, homosexuals who are distressed by their homosexuality and
who do not identify themselves with the gay, social/political movement.
These men and women are interested in overcoming their homosexuality and developing
normal heterosexual interests and relationships. These "non-gay homosexuals" are
those for whom the efforts of LDS Social Services are focused.
FIRST PRESIDENCY STATEMENT
To provide appropriate help, it is important that practitioners and clients
understand sexual relationships in light of Church doctrine. The following
statement by the First Presidency provides important guidance:
The Lord's law of moral conduct is abstinence outside of lawful marriage and
fidelity within marriage. Sexual relations are proper only between husband and
wife appropriately expressed within the bonds of marriage. Any other sexual
contact, including fornication, adultery, and homosexual and lesbian behaviors,
is sinful. Those who persist in such practices or who influence others to do so
are subject to Church discipline.
Individuals and their families desiring help with these matters should seek
counsel from their bishop, branch president, stake or district president.
We encourage Church leaders and members to reach out with love and understanding
to those struggling with these issues. Many will respond to Christlike love and
inspired counsel as they receive an invitation to come back and apply the atoning
and healing power of the Savior (Understanding and Helping Those Who Have
Homosexual Problems, 9/92).
HEALTHY MALE SEXUAL DEVEL-PMENT
As infants, both boys and girls are identified first with the mother, who is the
primary source of nurturance and care. Whereas the girl maintains primary
identification with mother, the boy has the additional developmental task of
shifting identification from his mother to his father. It is through the
relationship with his father or other males that the boy Will formulate his
masculine identification, which is necessary in order for him to develop normal
masculine personality traits. According to Dallas (1991), this additional
developmental task for boys might explain why males seem to have more difficulty
than females in developing gender identity and may also explain the higher number
of male homosexuals.
Nicolosi (1991) suggests that in the course of the child~s life, every significant
developmental lesson has its critical period.
**************** reports that a male child has some sense of his father as early as
4 months of age. By 18 months he can differentiate pictures of boys and girls, men
and women -n a social level he himself is increasingly treated as a male. During
this time the acquisition of language further reinforces the basic division of
people as either male or female. Blos (1985) states that a boy develops a need to
move away from his mother.
In his move towards autonomy, his father becomes the model the boy naturally tries
to emulate. The boy gradually begins to view his father as a self-like object.
When the boy is open and receptive to maleness, he will exhibit a special interest
in his father and attempt to be like him Nicolosi (l991) concludes that a young
boy does not yet understand that his emerging interest in his father comes from
an innate similarity based in their shared masculinity. Neither does he realize
that his father incorporates an image of what he himself is destined to become,
but somehow there is a natural attraction to his father's male image.
With the boy's emerging sense of being like his father, a dependency arises
desires his father's acceptance. The emerging masculine self-image is very
fragile and must be nurtured and supported by the father to fully develop.
For appropriate gender identity development, a boy needs the encouragement of
his father or other male figure. The boy, with ample encouragement and support,
will seek to emulate that which is exciting, fun, and energizing about his father.
With this support comes the freedom and power to outgrow his dependency upon
A father has a very significant influence in a boy's life (Wyden, 1968).
According to Nicolosi (1991) if the father is warm and receptive, the boy
will be encouraged to disidentify from his mother and begin to identify with
his father. He will then become masculine~identified and probably heterosexual.
If both parents encourage the boy this way, he will be well on his way to
developing a male gender-identification and ultimate heterosexuality.
Kennel and Klaus (1982) state the motherrs maternal instincts are strong.
She needs to be needed by her children. -ne of the father's roles is to help
his son move beyond the mother's inherent need to prolong the mother and infant bond.
Through his example, the father demonstrates to the boy that it is possible to
maintain an intimate but separate relationship with his mother. Ideally the mother
and father should work together to assist the boy in the identification shift from
feminine to masculine (Blos, 1985).
Wyden (1968) states that in a healthy masculine relationship, the father commits
himself to the development of maleness in his son. For this purpose, it is not
necessary for the father himself to be defined as overly masculine. A gentle,
creative father has no adverse effects upon the boy's gender identity as long
as the boy respects and identifies his father and himself as male. Once the boy
identifies himself as male, he is open to male models in his father, other adult
men and his peers.
HEALTHY FEMALE SEXUAL IDENTITY
Bowlby (1969) and Brazelton (1990) have found that the female identifies her
mother as her first significant other. She begins life dependent upon her mother
and later begins to move toward autonomy. Because the female begins her sexual
identity with her original care giver, her core identity issues are not as
difficult as they might be for a male. Males are three times more likely to
have gender identity problems than females (Dallas, 1991). If a girl is secure
in her relationship with her mother, a healthy curiosity can develop about males.
This curiosity leads to a desire for discovery. The sexual desire comes from a
sense of mystery about the unknown (Nicolosi, 1991). Mother is known, father
is not. That sense of mystery in combination with adolescent hormonal changes,
leads to a desire to investigate. The father becomes the object of that
According to Howard (1991) the relationship between a female child and her
father is also very significant. A young girl needs her father to affirm her
femininity. She needs to have a safe arena in which to "reality test" her
femininity and receive support, not rejection from her father.
ETIOLOGY OF MALE GENDER IDENTITY CONFUSION
The confusion of early core sexual identity has been identified as one of the
most crucial factors in the development of homosexuality among males (Green, 1987).
"Core gender identity" refers to the culturally fixed signals that discriminate
males from females. Depending on the person's age, the signals may be, for
example, the toys one chooses to play with such as a doll or a toy truck or
the activities one chooses to engage irk such as football or ballet. In the
homosexual male, this core gender identity has become confused.
In order for the core gender identity to become confused, the boy must disidentify
with his father. According to ~oberly (1983) this disidentification may result
from abuse, from an absent or an emotionally distant father, or simply from the
boy viewing himself as different from the men in his world.
This disidentification leaves the boy no other alternative than to cling to his
mother. This mother-son relationship should not be seen as an abnormal attachment
to mother but as an abnormal detachment from father.
Initially the boy may openly protest his father's nonnexistent or negative
attention. If the boy's protest is ignored or punished, he concludes that the
expression of his needs is futile or even dangerous. This leaves the boy with
no attachment to his father except in his imagination and no real-life human
connection except to his mother and the female ale world.
Wyden (1968) indicates that fathers have an absolute veto power over rprolonged
mother-son attachment. A father's inability or unwillingness to use his veto
opower by forming a positive, affirmative relationship with his son leaves the
boy vulnerable to ambivalence in his gender identity.
Worthen (1984) indicates that if the son is detached from his father there is a
good possibility that a wifeUhusband detachment exists as well.
The pre-homosexual male's mother may see men as representing that which is
unfeeling, competitive, uncompassionate, and even brutal. In this situation
the mother might send a message that civilization, culture and feeling relationships
are things which the mother and the daughter, or the mother and the sensitive
son share in common. In this case the mother contributes to the disidentification
between the father and the son. As the boy connects with his mother he also begins
to identify with his mother's perception of father. If the boy is ever to repair
his relationship with his father, he must not only overcome his own negative images,
he must resolve the image he learned from his mother as well. If a boy has no father
or other male to identify with, he is dependent on his mother's impression of the
male gender. It is in the three-way relationship between the parents and the child
that the homosexual's family background is commonly dysfunctional. Homosexuality
is, in part, a symptom of some type of relational deficit. Typically there is an
overly close relationship between mother and son, with the father non-existent or
distant from both of them.
Bly (1990) states that a boy needs a male model to make the shift to a masculine
identity. The abusive, absent, or distant father leaves a void in the life of the
young boy which creates a "father-hunger" or an intense desire for the male-to-male
contact that was missed.
During adolescence young men and young women begin to experience a natural emergence
of sexual desires. If a young man is experiencing a father hunger, his emotional
needs become confused with his emerging sexual stimulation. When homo emotional
needs become combined with sexual stimulation, the need for same-sex associations
becomes sexualized. This leaves the boy with the false impression that he had a
homoerotic desire for male companionship all his life. A male's homosexual sexual
desires are a result of unmet needs.
Dallas (1991) observes that sexual needs are natural to sexual beings. Sexualized
needs run a different course. These emotional needs are expressed indirectly through
sexual activity. The needs are usually legitimate, but sometimes the vehicle used
to express them is not. For example, many men use sex as a means of reassuring
themselves that they are virile, competent and masculine. The need for being viewed
as competent and masculine is legitimate. The exploitation is not. The comfort and
peace of mind which comes from satisfying, emotionally intimate relationships is
important for all of us. The need for a nurturer, mentor or close friend is
legitimate and intense.
According to Fine (1987) the real pain for.those with homosexual struggles is the
inability to get what they need from a male relationship without the sexual component.
Says Fine, "The love between homosexuals is a pseudo-love, more often than not
simply a reaction formation against hatred. The abundant case material in the
literature demonstrates this point over and over again" (1987, p. 91). In reality
the need for and sex are separate. In the mind of the homosexual they are combined
and intermingled. The emotional needs become mixed in and confused with a sexual
For example, the young boy may begin by fantasizing about an intimate relationship
with his father or a father substitute. As an adolescent, he continues that fantasy
with the addition of erotic thoughts, fantasy and masturbation. He is then left
with the mistaken conclusion that his new erotic fantasies and impulses about
male-to~male sexual encounters were present since his earliest recollections.
In reality, what actually existed since the earliest recollections was the desire
for a healthy, intimate, non-sexual relationship with a man. The sexual component
was added at a time when those interests become a natural part of that individual's
development (Moberly, 1988). The motivation to repair the loss of the father-son
relationship creates a sexualized father-hunger or reparative drive. Along with
the male identity hunger comes a great deal of guilt, shame and doubt.
The shame and doubt, combined with the reparative drive, make the male homosexual
very ambivalent about male relationships.
The shame and doubt result in secrecy and isolation which puts the male homosexual
in the mode of desiring, but painfully avoiding whatever male support may be available.
If the individual feels so much ambivalence and shame about his feelings that he
cannot bring his dilemma to light; hiding is his only other option. When he hides
his feelings from everyone, particularly males, he isolates himself from the
solution to his problem.
The difficulty of homosexuality arises when the pain associated with male
interactions is accompanied by an unwillingness to relate to the love source which
was perceived as hurtful. This interruption of, and reaction against, masculine
identification has been referred to as a "defensive detachment" (Moberly, 1983).
The child not only detaches from his father, but resists restoring the attachment.
Thoughts such as, "All men are cruel," or "I don't want to be like him," put the
young boy in a position to further detach from all male relationships and all
activities which identify him as a man. Cutting himself off from male activities
such as rough and tumble play, contact sports, and competition, effectively dooms
the young boy to being labeled as a sissy or momma's boy which adds to his isolation
This lack of involvement in male activities and the resulting isolation from peers
further reinforces his perception that all males are different from himself (Green, 1987).
According to Nicolosi (1991) the boy faces a serious dilemma: on the one hand
he yearns for attachment to his father or other males; on the other, his defensive
detachment prevents him from developing relationships with men. It is this
attraction repulsion ambivalence which makes male homosexual relationships so
promiscuous and unstable. This is better described as a same-sex ambivalence rather
than a homosexual attraction. Most homosexual males missed this "myself-as-male"
identification process by maintaining a certain distance from other boys during
their formative years. The boy who will later identify himself as homosexual is
attracted to other males by his same-sex deficits and need for identification
Konrad (1992) suggests that the type of males an individual homosexual is attracted
to are often those possessing the characteristic he-feels he most lacks in himself.
His quest for the perfect partner often includes a search for a clear complexion,
large muscles or a virile appearance. This search is one of trying to possess
through someone else those quaLities he believes to be lacking in himself.
The process of development of male homosexuality could be summarized as follows:
(a page is missing here: I'll scan it later!)
of thoughts and feelings, particularly if the family is not open to the sharing of
Howard (1991) suggests that traumatic events such as rape or sexual abuse are often
a common denominator for female same-sex attractions. Physical, sexual and
emotional abuse can affect a woman's ability to relate to both men and women.
If the abuse came from a woman, there may be a longing for female attention that
was never given. If the abuse came from a man, the woman may decide that men are
tyrants to be avoided at all cost. As she cognitively associates men with childhood
trauma, she may find the idea of sex with a male body repulsive or frightening
(Dallas, 1991). Women may be seen as safe, loving and non-threatening. In many
cases, a woman will turn to other women for the most intimate forms of love and
Blumstein and Schwartz (1983) state that while men are more likely to seek
homosexual relationships for sex, women, in the long run, seem to seek lesbian
relationships more for companionship and nurturance. This is not to say that
the lesbian relationship is devoid of sex, but some lesbians seem to feel the
presence of men limits their creativity, spontaneity and imagination.
Bogle (1985) states that peer interaction is also a crucial factor in the
development of lesbian relationships. She suggests that female peers with common
sexual and abuse struggles can form a relationship and solidify a same-sex identity.
Both male and female homosexuals have a reparative drive or a desire to repair the
breech between them and their same-sex parent (Moberly, 1983). Even though sexual
contact is part of both lesbian and homosexual relationships, one difference seems
to exist between the genders. Men appear to have sexualized the drive and use sex
as a substitute for the relationships they really need. Women, on the other hand,
seem to value the relationships and have a tendency to develop overly dependent or
enmeshed emotional relationships to meet their needs (Howard, 1991).
Their overdependent relationship is unhealthy for both parties but is seen
as the only solution to unmet needs. According to Howard (1991) a dependent
relationship might be characterized by the following:
1. Jealousy, possessiveness and exclusivism in the relationship.
2. -ther people are viewed as a threat to the relationship.
3. Preference to be alone with a special friend rather than in the company of others.
4. Irrational anger, depression or irritation if the friend withdraws from the relationship.
5. Romantic or sexual feelings about a person who is a friend.
6. Loss of interest in all other relationships.
7. Preoccupation with the friend's appearance, personality problems and interests.
8. Unwillingness to make short-term or long-term plans that do not include the friend.
9. Unable to see the friend's faults realistically.
10. Defensiveness when asked about the relationship.
11. A display of affection such as physical contact which is inappropriate for a friendship.
12. Speaking freely for the friend in conversations.
13. Other people feeling uncomfortable around the members of the friendship.
In normal heterosexual relationships, the male, who has been trying since early
childhood to achieve separation from his mother and establish his male identity,
insists on a certain amount of distance from his female partner. A female child,
on the other hand, seeks to identify with her mother even while making real boundaries
between herself and her same-sex role model. When two women are lovers, however,
the boundaries tend to blur. These women have a tendency to gel wrapped up in
each other. They often feel they must do everything together, enjoy all the same
things, and dislike all the same things. They often feel that any individuality
dooms the relationship (Schow, et. al., 1991). Sexual interests occur among
lesbians but they seem to follow the pattern of women in general. Sexual responses
occur in the context of feeling loved and safe.
Blumstein and Schwartz (1983) found in research on sexual frequency among various
types of couples that lesbian couples have the lowest frequency of sexual interaction
in long-term relationships. Few male homosexual couples, on the other hand, were able
to attest to any type of sexual fidelity for more than five years.
McWhirter and Mattison (1984) claim that sometimes gay males settle into long
term relationships while maintaining a continual string of outside affairs.
According to Earle and Crow (1989) male homosexuality is often associated with
addictive behaviors. It is seen much less often with females. True intimacy
includes sharing pain and understanding, and accepting the complexities of a
partner's personality. It is characterized by a commitment to a positive, evolving
relationship over a long period of time (Paul ~ Paul 1983). Homosexuality, in most
cases, grows out of substituting the need for true intimacy with sex. When sex is
substituted for intimacy an addictive property is added to the picture.
For some who have given up hope of achieving intimacy, sex provides a momentary
anesthetic relief from tension, pressure, worry, and the responsibility of forming
functional relationships. The sexual outlet (either masturbation or actual homosexual
contact) becomes an exclusive, self-absorbing "pleasure button" that must be
reused again and again to achieve momentary relief and block the pain of isolation.
The repeated, exclusive use of one pleasure source becomes part of a ritualized,
addictive pattern. The addict has a powerful memory of an intense high from the
orgasmic release and a desire to recapture the associated euphoric feeling.
This pushes the addict into a constant vigil attempting to organize and shape the
environment to provide another sexual opportunity. The homosexual addict becomes
keenly attuned to every possible opportunity for the next sexual contact. The drive
becomes compulsive (Carnes, 1991).
When sex is used as a chronic anesthetic, thoughts become consuming. Low self- esteem
is constant; "I canrt do it. n "I am a horrible person. n "Nobody accepts me." These
become part of a constant distorted belief system about oneself and the outside world.
The addict begins to feel that if success becomes dependent upon his or her own
social skills, it will never happen. The addict has a strong desire to escape
the unpleasant emotions created by the erroneous belief system. This belief system
creates a difficulty in dealing with stress which is fairly constant.
The compulsive thoughts result in a consuming fantasy about the next high.
The fantasy crowds out thoughts of friends, family, worth and any other possible
forms of gratification. At this point all values and everything of worth Ann be
sacrificed for the sexual anesthetic which gives the homosexual momentary but
inset relief from sadness, anger, anxiety, fear, and pain (Carnes, 1989).
Beck and Beck (1990) state that compulsive or addictive behavior is the result
of a compulsive cycle. The cycle begins with feelings of isolation. Next, compulsive
behaviors are developed to block the feelings of isolation. "A true victim of the
compulsive cycle will become more and more absorbed in the action of self-indulgence,
will ignore responsibilities and relationships in favor of participation in the
activity, and will eventually realize that he or she is unable to stop the behavior,
even by the most determined effort" (p. 17).
This loss of self-control and deterioration of life-style and relationships that
accompany an addiction lead to the third stage of the compulsive cycle: feelings
of selfhatred. If the action is specifically forbidden or considered a sin, the
addict's feelings of guilt, shame and selfhatred become overwhelming.
Feelings of self-hatred move the behavioral addict along to the fourth stage of
the cycle: actions of self-concealment. These actions include lies and deceit
which reconfirm the beginning of the cycle: feelings of isolation (Beck and Beck, 1990).
STEPS OF RECOVERY AND TREATMENT
Step 1. Establish an environment of safety and trust. The client must be helped
to build an emotionally intimate relationship with the therapist which includes
a clear understanding of the therapeutic boundaries. The client needs to understand
that he or she can explore behaviors, perceptions and feelings in an environment
of honesty and trust. -bviously homosexuality is far too deep-seated to be blunted,
much less reversed, by any kind of punishment or aversion therapy. Punishment
causes fear, isolation and silence which were all major contributors to the
problem in the first place.
The case studies mentioned in the literature all describe years of hiding, shame
and silence. Like childhood abuse, homosexuality develops in an environment of
secrecy and is maintained by silence. To overcome this wall of silence, a special
intimacy must occur between the therapist and the client or between the client
and someone who accepts the client even when the very worst is shared.
Recovery is unlikely without a genuine, emotionally intimate, non-sexual connection
with at least one other person of the some sex. The experience of closeness with
one significant, same-sex individual can then be duplicated as the client deepens
bonds with others in his or her life. Relationships are a major key to recovery.
When the client has a trusting relationship with another person the chances of
recovery are greatly enhanced. Beck and Beck (1990) suggest that the compulsive
cycle mentioned in the previous section must be replaced by the "joy cycle."
Feelings of isolation in the compulsive cycle must be replaced by feelings of
belonging. This is where the priesthood leader, the therapist, or significant,
same-sex individual fit into the recovery process.
Overcoming the sense of isolation helps preclude the need for continued self-
defeating behavior. A safe environment also is one that helps the client overcome
his homosexual impulses and control his behaviors. This is accomplished by
empowering the client to develop a history of sexual sobriety and self-control.
The therapist must help the client make a commitment to cease all sexual activity,
eluding masturbation. Beck and Beck (1990) suggest that the second step in their
compulsive cycle, "actions of self-indulgence," must be replaced by actions of
progression. -vercoming feelings of loneliness and isolation is not enough if
the destructive behavior is allowed to continue. This resolve for a positive
behavior change might begin with a daily pledge to sexual sobriety and move to a
weekly and then monthly commitment.
Expecting a homosexual to change his orientation while still sexually active is
like expecting an alcoholic to change his behavior while still drinking.
Changing the behavior pattern helps the homosexual addict replace feelings of
self-hatred with feelings of self-esteem.
Step a. Help the client begin to understand the roots of his or her homosexuality
bv exploring the past. After a trusting relationship is established, the client
must have the opportunity to examine and come to understand how his or her life's
experiences have contributed to his or her homosexual attraction. The client must
be assisted to understand the erroneous conclusions that were formed as a result
of his or her life experiences. Because of the complexity of the homosexual
identity, this step of the treatment process requires that all of the following
issues which apply to the Life of a particular client be explored and understood:
a. Dysfunctional family. b. Difficulties in relationship with father. c. Difficulties
in relationship with mother. d. Incidents of physical emotional, or sexual abuse.
2. Problems with intimacy
a. Difficulty in establishing close relationships with family or friends. b.
Isolation and a feeling of being "on the outside." c. An overwhelming desire
for intimacy with another individual.
3. Diminished sense of self-worth
a feelings of ineptness or intimidation. b. A tendency to devalue oneself and
to overvalue others who are perceived as superior.
Dwelling on past failures and perceived inadequacies.
Masculine identity (male homosexuals)
Lack of healthy male modeling and bonding.
Seeing oneself as less masculine; poor body image.
Objectifying and idealizing other, "more masculine" males. Stronger social
identification with females; feeding of being more comfortable with women in
Feminine identity (female homosexuals)
Distrust of men.
Male authority issues.
Lack of feminine models.
Overly dependent relationships.
Sexual Addictive Behavior
Obsessions with sexuality.
Frequent use of pornography.
Involvement in exhibitionism, voyeurism, pornography, etc.
Frequent homosexual acts with numerous or random anonymous partners.
Other addictions and depression
a Substance abuse. b. A sense of incongruence between one's values or belief
system and his feelings and behavior. c. Feelings of being out of control of
one's life. d. Feelings of weakness, helplessness, and inadequacy (Evergreen, 1993).
Step 3. Help the client set specific goals to challenge these erroneous conclusions
and build a renewed sense of self with an appropriate gender identity. -nce the
client has identified the factors contributing to his or her homosexual identity
he or she must be assisted to set goals to overcome these factors and challenge
the erroneous self perceptions. Such goals might include associating with
non-homosexual same-sex individuals to meet emotional needs, and developing skills
in communication and gender related activities. Genuine self-acceptance includes
a renewed awareness of the love of God. The client must be helped to understand
that God loves all His children including those struggling with same-sex attractions.
A re-handling of spiritual awareness is a precursor to change (Consiglio, 1993).
Step 4. Help the client establish and carry out specific tasks to achieve the goals
set in Step 3. For example, if improving non-intimate, same-sex relationships is
established as a goal for a man or woman, the task might be to develop non-sexual
friendships with at least two other same-sex peers. The client then must be helped
and supported to be successful in the task
Step 5 Help the client develop a support network which will carry him or her through
the recovery process and through life. This step may include bringing a spouse or
other family members into the therapeutic process so the client will not have to be
totally dependent on the therapist. The client should be helped to repair his or her
relationship with the Church. Encourage consistent effort toward involvement in
priesthood quorum or Relief Society assignments and activities, and regular meetings
with his or her ecclesiastical leader.
Step 6. Assist the client in making a life plan and a commitment to life-long self
development. The client's thoughts need to be turned toward the future so he or she
can see himself or herself as a self-reliant individual prepared for whatever is to
come in the future. Educational and vocational plans should be established and implemented.
Because the lack of proper identification with the same-sex parent is often a predictor
of adult homosexuality, early intervention for children who meet a criteria for sender
confusion can be very helpful (Newman, 1976). It is necessary to involve the parents in
the intervention, help them deal with their resistance, and identify their contribution
to the identity confusion. Problems within the marital relationship also may be affecting
the child's behavior. Sexual identity questions are common among children. Children,
however, are remarkably responsive to intervention between the ages of 5 and 12.
With intervention, children in this age group can become more comfortable with
their sexual identity. The major key to prevention is to allow the child to discuss
his or her identity confusion in open, honest conversations (Newman, 1976).
Newrnan (1976) suggests the following three phases of early intervention and prevention.
PHASE I: EVALUATION
Evaluate childhood behaviors associated with adult homosexuality (Green, 1974, 1987).
1. Cross-gender clothing preferences.
2. Verbal statements expressing the wish to become a member of the opposite sex.
3. Taking opposite sex roles in fantasy games while protesting if given the role of a
4. Imitating the gestures and mannerisms of the opposite sex.
The following observable nminor behaviors" might suggest a need for a "selfperception"
check but do not necessarily constitute gender confusion. Encouragement of gender
appropriate behavior and a solid same-sex support system should be sufficient.
1. Dislike and avoidance of roughs competitive boy's games.
2. Dislike of mechanical toys-such as trucks, metal airplanes, construction equipment, etc.
3. Preferences for artistic activities (painting or listening to music) or for other
4. Enjoyment of girls as playmates.
5. Gracefulness in bodily movements and gestures. 6. Reports of being teased as a
"sissy" by other boys.
1. A preference for roughness and competition.
2. A dislike of feminine toys.
3. Preferences for boys as playmates and being seen as a tomboy.
4. Imitation of masculine gestures.
PHASE II: INTERVENTION
Discuss with the father his attitude that the son is a nsissy" or, worse, that he
wants nothing to do with his son. Help the father understand that regardless of his
son's personality he needs to be affirmed as valuable by his father. The typical
scenario is that the father is absent and the mother is ambivalent about upsetting
her son's happiness if his gender identity is challenged (Green, 1974).
The mother may feel that because her son has so little else (no boy friends,
girl friends whose parents dislike him ostracism at school) it would be cruel
to deprive him of his feminine activities. The mother must be helped to overcome
her own need to keep the boy emotionally close by feminine activities.
If the client is female her relationship with her father is also crucial.
The father should be assisted in affirming his daughter's feminine identity.
If the father is absent from the home, the relationship between the mother
and the daughter should be closely examined to determine if the mother is
contributing to her daughter's lack of feminine characteristics. Another
important goal in working with the parents of feminine boys and masculine girls
is to improve the marital relationship-schisms between the parents are apparent
in almost all cases. Gender confusion is less likely whe~ love and harmony are
present in the parents' marriage (Newman, 1976). Treatment for the parents is
aimed at overcoming their distance from each other.
Newman (1976) and Wyden ~1968) suggest it is essential to help single mothers
understand that a boy can get along quite well without having a father in the
home day to-day, but he must have a father substitute to whom he can relate.
It is essential to provide the boy with an opportunity to associate with adult
males such as uncles, priesthood leaders or teachers. The boy must be able to
formulate at least one positive, male-to-male relationship in which he has the
opportunity to be accepted by a warm, nurturing male figure. It is necessary for
a single mother to be aware of her son's need for this male contact and guard
against her own anxious tendency to manage the boy's life too much.
Girls can also get along without a father on a day-to-day basis but, like boys,
need the influence of a healthyGfunctioning male. A young girl's fear or discomfort
with men can have a long-term impact on her adult sexual adjustment. A young girl
also needs a female who is able to model healthy, male-female relationships.
PHASE III: P-STTREATMENT
If a boy can be helped to reduce overtly feminine gestures and play preference he
will become more acceptable to boys who previously teased and avoided him. A boy's
experiences of being ostracized and ridiculed may play a more important part than
has been recognized in his total abandonment of the male role at a later time
(Konrad, 1987). Intervention should be directed not at turning the artistic boy
into an athlete or suppressing his aesthetic yearnings, but rather at developing
his pride in being male by being able to develop a broader view of what being a
man really means. He can be helped to understand that artistic abilities and
pursuits are as much a part of the masculine world as football and stock car racing.
A young woman should be helped to become comfortable with her individuality while
still seeing herself as a female. A happier childhood and primary prevention of an
adult gender identity disorder are two related goals of prevention (Newman, 1976).
The bishop can play an important role in a young person's life by being aware of
the presence of sex-role conflicts and helping him or her become involved in
appropriate activities with peers and youth leaders.
Darlene had ached for a secure home life from the time she was a child.
Abused sexually, abandoned by her father, brought to bars night after night by her
mother, she longed to find the love her parents had never provided.
As a teenager a spiritual awakening transformed Darlene's adolescence and gave her
a new set of values. She decided to give her life to Christ. She became actively
involved in a Christian youth group and found herself genuinely impressed and
attracted to Greg, the son of a local minister. -ne night during a walk in the
forest, Greg told Darlene he loved her. He suggested that if she truly cared
about him she would consent to sexual intercourse. The proposition incensed
Darlene who concluded that no man, even those who professed strong Christian
ideals, could be trusted.
A few years later, a college roommate introduced Darlene to the first sensitive,
caring relationship of her lifeaaone in which she felt loved for who she was,
not because someone wanted something from her. This roommate turned -ut to be a
practicing lesbian who slowly but carefully seduced Darlene into the lesbian life
style. Although the lesbian relationship violated her new found faith, it seemed
to offer what she had been looking for.
A succession of relationships followed, each defaulting on their promise of long
term commitment and security. This all added up to seventeen years in the gay community.
Many of Darlene' 5 homosexual acquaintances said, "God doesn't care who you sleep
with so long as you don't hurt anyone. n Even though Darlene could not reconcile
casual sex with the morality she had known as a teenager, her efforts to shake
loose of the gay life style failed miserably. She said, "I was always drawn bade
into the lifestyle I both detested and loved."
Also while in college, Darlene become acquainted with Irene, an adult female counselor,
who seemed to take a special interest in Darlene. Irene provided Darlene with an
opportunity to discuss her conflicts and eventually divulge her abuse, her lesbian
experiences and her distrust of men. The bond between Darlene and Irene was the anchor
that gave Darlene the incentive to eventually reject the gay lifestyle.
Wherever Darlene traveled, Irene kept in touch. Irene even traveled a few hundred
miles on several occasions to check on Darlene. Because Irene never gave up on her,
Darlene come to see Irene as the only source of true friendship she had. Irene's
strong Christian commitments and genuine concern helped Darlene regain the hope she
had lost in the "Comma commonality of God. " It was through Irene that Darlene met
several men who challenged Darlene's old perception that all men were untrustworthy.
Darlene was able to change her sexual orientation by changing her belief system and
discovering a new way to live. She describes the process as "God changing a deeply
rooted part of herself" (Bogle, 1985).
Gerald is a 53 year-old white male who grew up in a small Mormon community in
Southern Idaho. Gerald was the second of four children who, with his younger
siblings, was left in the almost continual care of his oldest sister. Because
Gerald was the most sensitive and vulnerable of the children, his sister bullied
him continually. Gerald's younger sister tried to protect him and became his only
confidant. Gerald had very little to do with his younger brother whom he described
as "just a normal boy disinterested in everything but himself. n
-nce, when his parents were not at home, Gerald was sexually abused by his sister
and an older female cousin. Gerald tried to protect himself from further abuse by
Welling his father. His father accused him of lying. Gerald felt his artistic and
musical interests separated him from his peers who were baseball-playing farmers.
Gerald can remember his father telling him often that even his sisters were better
at baseball than he was. Gerald developed a deep loathing of baseball. Gerald
remembers being the butt of the family jokes and receiving constant ridicule from
his father and his older sister for his lack of athletic prowess. Gerald said he
hated M.I.A The thought of an all male class was horrifying. Scouting activities
and camping with boys so different from himself were things he just could not tolerate.
Gerald felt close to his mother who encouraged his interests in music. Gerald
learned from his mother to be an artistic flower arranger. Gerald said he remembered
many standards night presentations where sex between males and females was forbidden.
Gerald's sensitivity gave him an abiding fear of doing anything wrong. At age 12
he made a personal commitment never to have sex with a woman. About age 13 the
thought of having sex with a man occurred to him. Because it had never been
forbidden by the Church or his parents he began to seriously consider it as a
logical outlet to his budding sexual urges. Gerald said he spent a lot of time
thinking about this new concept but was too inhibited to talk about it to anyone.
Around age 17 Gerald attended another standards night where the subject of
homosexual encounters was described as "sinful. n He was devastated by the
information particularly in light of the fact that by this time his sexual
fantasies were well entrenched. He still wanted to do the right thing and made
a commitment to give up his fantasies.
Gerald had moderate success at repressing his homosexual impulses and fantasies.
After high school he went on a mission, returned home, went to college and married.
Gerald and his wife had two children. He found his sexual desires for his wife to
be somewhat passive. He began to find it almost impossible to continue to repress
his adolescent fantasies and urges. Gerald made a painful decision to live a dual
Gerald spent 20 years living a lie. Because of the humiliation and shame he felt
during that period Gerald made several attempts to reconcile his behavior with
the Church. He met with several bishops who told him to fast and pray until the
urges went away. -ne bishop tried to help Gerald by holding a Church disciplinary
council. Gerald was excommunicated but was not offered any support or solutions.
Subsequently Gerald went to two other bishops whom he described as being unwilling
to discuss the issue with him. Gerald's continual cycle of resolve, uncontrollable
urges, shame and disgust drove him to make one final attempt to resolve his feelings
with the Church. Gerald said he received a spiritual confirmation that heterosexual
attraction was a commandment and "
. . the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save He shall prepare
a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which He commandeth them" ~1
Even today Gerald says he is very sensitive to any situation where he feels he
is being treated differently than others. He said he definitely felt like he was
different from the boys his age. He knew he never fit in his family, and many of
his priesthood leaders gave him the message that they didn't know what to do with
him either. Even when Gerald was in the midst of his sexual acting out he had
several what he describes as, spiritual experiences. -ne impression that Gerald
felt was, 'The Church is true but I only have imperfect people to run it. Be patient. "
Gerald's visit to the next bishop brought the results he was looking for.
This bishop was retired and had spent most of his adult life inactive in the Church.
He had a feeling for people that seemed to come from many years of his own pain
This bishop welcomed Gerald with open arms, kneeled with him in prayer and openly
conveyed his love. This bishop concluded his first meeting with Gerald by saying,
"I will help you get what you need and stay with you as long as it takes."
At that point Gerald was directed by his bishop into therapy with LDS Social Services.
After a year and one half of treatment, which included bringing his wife into his
therapy as his confidant, Gerald feels he is making definite progress. Gerald has
been rebaptized and is serving as executive secretary to the bishop who first
became the basis of his support system.
Gerald feels he has a very personal relationship with God who, he says, has told
him, "No matter what happens to you, you will never lose my love."
Gerald says that when he is scared he sometimes has a desire to go back to his
old ways but now he has a safety net. He has a bishop, a therapist and his wife
with whom he can share his most intimate thoughts. "Most. importantly," he says,
"I know that God will never give up on me;~
Gerald says that knowing he has a spiritual backup system, the understanding and
support of his bishop, is the key to the problems Gerald also feels strongly that
any suggestion that same-sex attraction is biological and therefore untreatable
is the most serious detriment to recovery that anyone in his situation can experience.
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