Interview on CBN News

The questions raised by the clinical practices at Bachman & Associates in Minnesota have led to some interesting questions about whether sexual orientation can change. I was interviewed today on CBN news on that topic, which you can see here. Before that interview, they show a segment on my prior research, published originally in book form, which started with 98 participants attempting to change their sexual orientation through involvement in Exodus International, a Christian ministry. What we reported at Time 3 is probably the more helpful information in the sense that we had a larger number of peope still in the study. We reported that 15% indicated in their transcipts change of orientation (though some still reported some same-sex attraction), while 23% reported a sufficient reduction in same-sex attraction such that chastity was more achievable. Another 29% were continuing in the process but were not reporting sufficient reductions in same-sex attraction to classify as successful in their change attempt thus far. Fifteen percent reported non-response, while 4% ‘failed’ and were confused but had discontinued change attempts, and 8% ‘failed’ and adopted a gay identity. (We used ‘failed’ from the perspective of the original goal to change sexual orientation.) The percentages around ‘success’ and ‘failure’ increased at Time 6, which is what is reported on in the CBN news piece, but the numbers were also smaller at Time 6, so I just offer this as clarification. 

You will note from the CBN news interview that the question is raised whether reorientation therapy is mainstream. I indicated that it is not but that there is some question as to how many people provide such therapy, and there is little research being conducted today by those who provide reorientation therapy. I thought later that what people want are fewer soundbites and hyperbole and more by way of realistic expectations for their experience in therapy (or in a Christian ministry). These are real people who often experience great conflict between their religious and sexual identities. 

I also discussed what reparative therapy is. It is essentially a subtype of reorientation therapy that is based on the premise that faulty parent-child relationships cause homosexuality by creating an emotional need that later becomes sexualized. If you are familiar with my work, you know that I do not practice reorientation therapy; rather, I focus on sexual identity and how it develops and synthesizes over time. This is actually the primary area of research I am involved in through the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity. I think a focus on sexual identity is ultimately more client-centered and holistic. So toward the end of the interview I shared that sexual identity can be explored and discussed in therapy without practicing reorientation therapy. One expression of this type of therapy is Sexual Identity Therapy(SIT), which has as its focus helping a person achieve congruence so that the person’s behavior and identity is congruent with his or her beliefs and values. SIT is cited favorably in the 2009 APA task force report on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation.

3 thoughts on “Interview on CBN News

  1. Mark,

    I’m a pastor in the Vineyard church movement, and I am hoping to write a paper for our annual Society of Vineyard Scholars meeting in April. My desire is to write something on a theology of sexual identity, and I’d like to begin researching the best work I can find. In looking through the ISSI web site, a lot of what you’re doing resonates for me.

    Could you by any chance point me at a reading list, or offer any suggestions as to resources? I am interested in reflecting on, writing about, and leading people toward a view of sexuality that draws Christians together with one another and with everyone else in the world as we follow Christ. I love impossible goals.


    Peter Benedict
    Pastor, River Heights Vineyard Church

    • You might check out The Gospel Coalition website and resource list. I did a white paper for them on sexual identity and the Christian, and I know there is another paper there on sexuality from a Christian perspective.

    • Dear Pastor Benedict,
      I have written Mark before explaining that we do a type of nutritional balancing that is changing homosexual men and women back to straight, without counseling. It came as a surprise to me, and definitely to them. The men, usually, almost always find themselves extremely confused because they lose interest in the gay lifestyle. Often this means they lose interest in those they are closest to, leaving the men very anxious and alone. We do not offer counseling because we do the nutrition programs entirely by mail in many cases. I have spoken to their doctors, and at least in one instance, urged the doctor to counsel the men, although counseling is not our area of expertise.

      This doctor would likely speak with you, and you might consider assisting us to research further by having one or more of your more difficult clients try our program. I would reduce my fee almost by half to $150.00 for the initial nutritional balancing program if this would help us research this more with your clients. The other cost of our programs is nutritional supplements. These ideally cost about $150.00 per month, on average, and need to be continued in most cases for at least a year, I am guessing, depending on the person’s age, health status and ability to follow the program faithfully.
      If this would be of interest, please let me know.
      I write about many health and lifestyle topics, but have not written about re-orientation at this time, pending further cases and research.

      Best wishes,
      Lawrence Wilson, MD

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