Skip to comments.Fordham U Dissertation Furthers Spitzer's Landmark Study on Sexual Re-orientation Success
Posted on 03/18/2006 3:23:44 PM PST by little jeremiah
Dr. A. Dean Byrd Reviews Dissertation on Factors In Re-orientation Success
March 13, 2006 - In a doctoral dissertation directed by Dr. Jay C. Wade, Department of Psychology, Fordham University, New York, Elan Y. Karten investigates the psychological and religious characteristics of dissatisfied same-sex attracted men who seek sexual re-orientation interventions.
As a logical follow-up to Spitzer's landmark study, the Karten research was specifically designed to investigate the following: the respondent's relationship to his father; type of sexual self-identity; quality of psychological relatedness to other men; and which form of religious values demonstrated the strongest relationship to change. Karten defined "success" in this study as "an increase in heterosexual functioning, a decrease in homosexual functioning, improved psychological well-being, and a greater heterosexual identity."
Among Karten's most robust findings: treatment success is best predicted by a reduction in conflict regarding the expression of non-sexual affection toward other men.
This finding has important theoretical and clinical implications. Perhaps for some boys, early childhood development of strong, non-sexual relationships with other males will prevent the development of homosexuality. Such a theory finds support in the psychodynamic literature, as well as the more recent "Exotic Becomes Erotic" (EBE) theory of Daryl Bem. In addition, Karten's finding strongly suggests that development of healthy, non-sexual relationships with men is an important part of the treatment process. His finding also provides supportive evidence for the effectiveness of men's groups that foster healthy, non-sexual male relationships.
Karten also found significant differences in the perceived effectiveness of traditional psychotherapy, religious interventions, alternative approaches, and self-education. Interestingly, traditional psychotherapy was rated as the least helpful intervention in this category. Religious interventions, alternative approaches and self-education were deemed important. The psychological variables examined in the study such as high lack of psychological relatedness to other men, reduction of conflict associated with restrictive affectionate behavior between men, heterosexual identity, high intrinsic religiosity, and absent/weak bonding with father as a group predicted treatment success. Men who became more comfortable in expressing their thoughts and feelings to other men and those who became comfortable with non-sexualized touch demonstrated a significant advantage in treatment.
Contrary to expectations, Karten's findings indicate that the more one identified as heterosexual, the less change there was in the individual's sexual feelings and behavior toward both women and men. Logically, Karten concluded that the more an individual self-identifies as heterosexual, "the less likely the individual would even seek change in his orientation to be more heterosexual."
Of particular interest was the finding that problematic masculinity may be more amenable to sexual reorientation interventions than an absent/weak paternal bond. This finding suggests that homosexual attractions may be more related to gender (a sense of maleness or masculinity) than to sexuality itself. Also, it may suggest that treatment aimed at strengthening gender identity may be more efficacious than focusing on strengthening parental bonds.
Thus Karten's study, along with others, adds to the body of clinical and research data that conclude that homosexuality is more fluid than fixed. Indeed, the quality of such research, mentored by seasoned professionals, provides scientific evidence to refute the repeated claims of The American Psychological Association (APA) that there is "no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative therapy as a treatment to change one's sexual orientation." The Spitzer study provided clear evidence to the contrary. And now, the Karten study expands on the Spitzer study by identifying factors that are associated with treatment success.
With such data providing support for the efficacy of reparative therapy with some individuals, the question of the ethics of APA discouraging such therapy now becomes center stage. No longer can the opponents of reparative therapy state there is no scientific evidence of its effectiveness. More importantly, as reparative therapy is studied, perhaps it is time for APA to insist on data to support the efficacy of other therapies, including gay affirmative therapy.
The ethical route demands the following: clients should be informed of the possibility that they may be disappointed if therapy (for any reason) does not succeed, so they can make a rational decision whether or not enter therapy. Offering such a choice should be fundamental to any therapeutic endeavor, and is central to client autonomy and client self-determination. In fact, it is clearly unethical for any professional, informed by the literature and guided by evidence-based interventions, to deny the choice of therapy to those who are unhappy with their same-sex attractions and seek therapy to diminish those attractions.
Though such research into sexual reorientation may be viewed as politically incorrect, no longer can it be ignored. Sociopolitical concerns must not interfere with the scientist's freedom to research any reasonable hypothesis, or to explore the efficacy of any reasonable treatment.
Elan Karten, supported by his mentors at Fordham University, has made a major contribution to the scientific literature. He has departed from the academy which has so often capitulated to political correctness, and has agreed with Dr. Robert Spitzer who noted that "science progresses by asking interesting questions, not by avoiding questions whose answers might not be helpful in achieving a political agenda." Perhaps other universities will follow Fordham's lead.
Updated: 17 March 2006
For the list!
Interesting. Thanks for the post.
This is the truth that those pushing the "gay" agenda hate worse than poison. Takes away the very foundation of any special "rights" they demand.
You may be interested in the research of Dr. Paul Cameron. He is controversial in the ex-gay movement for his theory that a homosexual orientation is largely the result of personal choice. He denies the popular theories of "family dynamics" and "gender confusion" causing homosexuality.
A few excerpts:
"...Rather than gender confusion, FRI believes the facts show that homosexuality is largely about an obsession with sex and self-centeredness, and a desire to rebel against society, ones family, etc... We would argue that these same mechanisms also account for most of those who take up smoking, drug abuse, or other common bad habits."
Yes there is hope, even without clinical re-orientation the statistics have shown that for the majority of male homosexuals it is a fleeting experience with most beginning young usually introduced to the lifestyle by older predatory males and leaving the lifestyle as they get older. Most homosexuals desire heterosexual normalcy and have in many cases tried to mimic normal heterosexual relationships with one partner assuming a dominant and the other a submissive partner role. You will often find a more masculine personality pairing with a more femine personality. This has been observed for some time and suggests that there is a some kind of underlying physchology that is distorting the natural attraction of men towards women.
I am wondering about this assertion about Dr. Cameron. It certainly doesn't fit with what I've read.
I agree. Everyone is born heterosexual (aka as "normal") and there are a variety of factors that are known to cause homosexuality.
Later I'll post some links, don't have time at the moment.
Interesting this research shows that a STRONG, MORAL FATHER is one key to not becoming a homosexual. Gee, who woulda thought?
I believe Cameron's focus is more narrow than others and he disagrees with folks we quote and reference. As I see it, homosexuality is so complex it's impossible to list all the reasons why some turn to homosexuality.
There is no genetic test or procedure (experimental or otherwise) that can
determine one's sexual orientation. When people claim to be gay and we believe
them, what we're really doing is taking them at their word. We believe their
claim, we believe their testimony and we believe their declaration that they
But there are some people who are suddenly skeptical when one claims to be
ex-gay. They don't believe the ex-gay claim, they don't believe the ex-gay
testimony nor their declaration that they are ex-gay.
When somebody uses a certain standard to measure the credibility of what one
group says, but then refuses to use the same standard to measure the
credibility of what another group says--thereby ignoring the claims of the
second group (ex-gays)--he should ask himself why he believes one group and
not the other... This is a double standard.
Here's links to a couple of websites and on FR article describing how homosexuality develops, some with personal stories:
How Might Homosexuality Develop?
Putting the Pieces Together
Root Causes, Homosexual Consequences
Thanks for your comments. An additional point could be made that seems to support Dr. Cameron's listed motivations or causes for homosexuality is this: the extensive homosexual indoctrination that kids are exposed to via GLSEN in schools, sex-ed, homosexual teachers and counselors, Girl Scouts (sometimes, obviously not all GS leaders are homosexual, but the organization does promote sexual activity and experimentation), entertainment and so on. Kids are literally encouraged and urged to "try it - you might like it!" and, of course, since they are also told that homosexuals are born that way and can't change, their rebellion or acting out now condemn them as a lifelong member of the "gay" club.
How many homosexuals "tried" it, and now feel imprisoned by the "gay" life?
Mmmmm.... riiiiight -- cuz there were no homosexuals before GLSEN, the Boy/Girl Scouts, sex-ed in schools, etc.
"Marital sex tends toward the boring end. Generally, it doesnt deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does ... The evidence is that men do a better job on men, and women on women if all you are looking for is an orgasm." (Dr. Paul Cameron, Rolling Stone, 18 March 1999)
Cameron may seem too critical, but I think his points should be examined. If they ex-gay movement is basing their curing methods on an incorrect etiology of homosexuality (i.e. same-sex parent issues), how successful can they be? And why would the Biblical condemnations against homosexuality ignore these psychological factors?
Paul's letter to the Romans points out that "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections...burned in their lust one toward another..." What cause? They "...changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator..." That is the etiology of homosexuality right there. The sin behind homosexuality is rejecting God and worshipping the self.
Do you think I was saying that before the aggressive homosexual rights movement there was no homosexuality?
Dr. Cameron's point, if I understand it correctly, is that if a person has no interest in morality, love and marriage but is solely interested in extreme sexual gratification, no matter how acheived, then the "gay" life offers a great deal of no strings attached extreme sex. Of course, if a person is interested in love, morality and commitment, such extreme sex is repulsive.