Deconstructing Reparative Therapy: An Examination of the Processes Involved When Attempting to Change Sexual Orientation
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- Bright, C. Clinical Social Work Journal (2004) 32: 471. doi:10.1007/s10615-004-0543-2
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Reparative therapy is a process through which reparative therapists believe they can and should make heterosexuals out of homosexuals. At the present time, most professional regulating bodies have banned the use of reparative therapy. In addition, reparative therapy is not supported by any reliable quantitative or qualitative studies. In spite of the lack of empirical substantiation, reparative therapists continue to practice, arguing that prior quantitative studies, as well as client self-determination, validate their methods. With a knowledge base originally grounded in psychoanalytic theory, current applications of reparative therapy cross not only scientific and psychological, but also social, political, and religious boundaries. The current trend promoting reparative therapy occurs through the conglomeration of the social, political, and religious dimensions of organizations that champion the cause of creating former homosexuals. Persons who identify as former homosexuals espouse the saving graces of a mixture of reparative therapy with various forms of religious counseling, on occasion offered by faith-based providers. The purpose of this paper is shed new light on the process and theory behind reparative therapy. This paper will attempt to provide social work clinicians with the knowledge necessary to understand and formulate an informed opinion about the use of reparative therapy for homosexuality.