"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)

Gay-affirming Therapy (GAT)

Core Issues Trust offers Change Oriented Therapies (COTs) but it is important to know what Gay Affirmation Therapy (GAT) and Sexual Identity Therapy (SIT) offer

Basic Overview of GAT:

According to its proponents, GAT is a client-centered approach that includes:

  1. Providing acceptance and support
  2. Taking a comprehensive assessment
  3. Promoting active coping
  4. Developing personal and social supports
  5. Resolving residual trauma
  6. Increasing safety and reducing stress
  7. Empowering the confrontation of stigma and discrimination
  8. Exploring and developing dimensions of identity
  9. Reducing negative mental health consequences of minority stress
  10. Deprogramming internalized LGB stereotypes
  11. Lessening shame and guilt
  12. Facilitating involvement in consciousness-raising activities
  13. Developing an affirming faith perspective

Possible or claimed Strengths

  1. Takes the impact of stigma and discrimination seriously.
  2. Avoid overly simplistic religious understandings of homosexuality that can contribute to harmful outcomes. For example, that SSA is completely volitional, always caused by poor parenting or sexual abuse, or associated with rampant promiscuity.
  3. Can reduce psychological distress from isolation and self-alienation by resolving conflict through adoption of LGB identity.
  4. GAT is deemed consistent with professional ethics codes.

Possible Limitations & Risks:

  1. Possible mismatch of values between therapist and client regarding same-sex attractions and behavior.
  2. Frequent therapist cynicism regarding the possibility of change in SSA.
  3. Overemphasizing the potential for harm from COT.
  4. Invalidating a client’s perceptions of childhood trauma or family environment as involved in the origins of their SSA. 
  5. Promotes supports and resources that question the legitimacy of traditional theological and moral perspectives on sexual conduct. 
  6. May underreport the potential health risks of same-sex sexual activity (particularly for men).
  7. Frequently views a client’s choice not to pursue GAT as universally signaling the effects of stigma, not an informed and autonomous choice. 
  8. Tends not to make referrals to SIT or COT therapists.