"We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice,
we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself." Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison (1943-1945)

Faith and Professional Help

Alliance/NARTH Institute Statement on Faith and Therapy for Unwanted Same-Sex Attractions and Behavior1

The Alliance has great respect for the religious faith and spirituality that animates many individuals experiencing unwanted same-sex attractions and behaviors. We find this dimension of human experience is often a critical factor in the motivation and persistence of clients who come to experience the reality of change. While some in the faith community have promoted a faith versus therapy dichotomy, we would respectfully disagree with such a limiting perspective. Rather, for many individuals, the interaction of their religious faith and their participation in a scientifically informed therapy for unwanted same-sex attractions and behavior is experienced as mutually beneficial.

 

The Alliance agrees with those in the religious community who would not want to make sexual orientation change an “idol” wherein the achievement of less than complete orientation change is viewed as failure or, still worse, an indicator of insufficient faith. We think this is a misunderstanding of the role of professional therapy. From a theological perspective, scientifically informed professional therapy for unwanted same-sex attractions and behavior can be viewed as a form of general revelation, one tool among many that God has provided to help some people in their journey toward sanctification and holiness. While neither necessary nor sufficient for these ends, professional therapy can play a valuable role in this spiritual, emotional, and relational formation process for some believers. It can do this by assisting individuals inaddressing the deeper emotional or psychological factors that may be related to their same sex attractions and behaviors.

 

The Alliance therefore encourages the faith community to consider professional therapy for unwanted same-sex attractions in its proper context. It is not a replacement for a broader, life-long sanctification and discipleship process. It is also not irrelevant to these processes for some individuals when conducted in anethical and scientifically informed manner. Although some within the faith community have discouraged individuals from receiving such therapeutic assistance, this cannot be justified by either science or scripture.Consequently, the Alliance believes such psychological care should be made available to those within the faith community wanting to explore the degree to which their unwanted same-sex attractions and behavior may be subject to change.


1Board Members, Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity and NARTH Institute