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Reparative Therapy

If It’s not Broke, then Don’t Fix it

Reparative Therapy is one therapeutic approach taken with men who struggle with unwanted homosexuality or unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA). The particular clients who seek Reparative Therapy are men who have self-determined to work on diminishing these unwanted same-sex attractions in order that they might feel more whole as men.

The term Reparative Therapy can often be misunderstood, both within the therapeutic world as well as outside of it. Some would view the words reparative therapy as a pejorative and express that it makes them feel as though they are looked at as “broken, needing to be fixed”. This can often lead to feelings of anger, resentment and even deeper still, sadness. So what in fact do we mean when we speak of Reparative Therapy?

Reparative Therapy views homosexuality as a healthy drive: it is that unconscious part of the man seeking out other men, trying to “compensate” for that which he believes he lacks within himself as a man. Reparative therapists say that while the drive itself is seen as healthy, the way a man responds to this drive can be healthy or unhealthy.

Within reparative therapy, homosexuality is not looked at as a root cause, but rather a symptom of root causes: mainly attachment and toxic shame. These root causes stem from the early formative years of a man’s life, which then effects his relationships later in life: relationships such as parents, siblings, friends and even those of a romantic nature.

The Reparative Therapeutic approach seeks to empower clients to harness their drive toward their same gender that they might get their needs met in healthy ways. Examining the drive more closely reparative therapists find underneath a variety of needs that men have of each other: approval, affirmation, acceptance, respect and friendship, just to name several.

Approaching unwanted same-sex attraction with Reparative Therapy can result in clients getting their core needs met in healthy ways by other men, attachment to their gender and ultimately seeing a diminishment in their homosexual drive.

Posted by Thaddeus Heffner, MMFT – February 14, 2011

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