The news coverage on the APA Task Force Report on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation has been interesting to read. For the past several days I’ve been doing interviews many of which attempt to set up an “us against them” story. This is unfortunate, because it is not what I’ve been attempting to convey. I think the news report that best captures what I’ve been attempting to communicate to reporters is this one with CBN News. (Although my part here is brief!)
What I have been trying to communicate is that the APA task force report has set a new standard on attempting to take religion seriously. The members of the task force did a good job of delving into the psychology of religion literature, and that does not often happen in these kinds of background documents. There is a real understanding throughout the report that some religious people will make their religious identity a priority in terms of their sexuality and sexual behavior and identity. The report concludes by suggesting that psychologists help people navigate their identity concerns in a supportive way.
I’ll try to put together more of detailed take on the report in the near future, but I am currently preparing for a paper session at APA scheduled for Sunday. This is an update on our longitudinal study of attempted change of orientation through Exodus ministries. But I would not want that paper to detract from the benefits to be found in client-centered, identity-focused approaches to working with sexual minorities. In fact, my own approach to counseling is identity-focused and client-directed and is based on the Sexual Identity Therapy Framework.