On Sexual Identity Therapy

Warren Throckmorton has a post up clarifying the differences between reparative therapy and Sexual Identity Therapy. He notes a difference recently in how some reparative therapists are presenting themselves in various venues. Those presentations are coming across differently than how the theory itself is discussed in professional meetings and in published writings.

My own experience with Sexual Identity Therapy (SIT) grew out of working with clients who had been through reparative therapy or a ministry with a focus on healing. What I was seeing was that the folks had not experienced as much change or healing as they would have liked. The question was: What else do mental health professionals have to offer them?

SIT is not for everyone. I’ve known of folks who have sought services elsewhere because SIT was not focused on change of orientation, and that is precisely what they wanted. Similarly, I suppose a person could want explicitly gay affirmative therapy, and SIT might be too exploratory to make much sense to them.

But for those who are exploring their sexual identity, or for those who experience a conflict between their personal beliefs and values and their experience of same-sex sexuality, SIT might be an attractive alternative, as it provides a place for the person to “navigate difficult terrain”, as I often put it. It is client-centered and identity-focused, lending itself more to a discussion of multicultural competence for working with these concerns, as emphasis is placed on healthy coping activities and broadening social support.

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