"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)

Sexual Identity Therapy (SIT)

In the coming weeks more will be said about SIT, suffice to mention that the chief proponants and innovators of this approach are Warren Throckmorton and Mark Yarhouse.

Basic Overview of Sexual Identity Therapy (SIT)

  1. Sexual Identity Therapy (SIT) is specifically developed to address issues that arise when clients report dissonance between their sexual attractions and their religious values.
  2. Does not presume a specific identity synthesis outcome for clients
  3. Does not prioritize the type of congruence clients pursue between their sexual behavior/identity and their values/beliefs
  4. Allows clients to set a therapeutic course consistent with their own values and beliefs.
  5. Promotes a synthesis of sexual identity that encourages personal well-being and integration with other aspects of personal identity.
  6. Assists clients to make meaning out of their experience of same-sex attractions and bring their behavior and identity into alignment with their beliefs and values.

Possible Strengths of Sexual Identity Therapy:

  1. Openness to a range of therapeutic identity outcomes. 
  2. Specifically incorporates client ambivalence into its therapeutic framework.
  3. GAT and COT approaches generally apply after an initial assessment and informed consent process has occurred.
  4. Affirms clients’ rights to engage with the social networks and resources that support their desired sexual identity integration.
  5. I.e., makes referrals to gay-affirming resources as well as those upholding traditional religious values.
  6. Considered by many to be ethically permissible.

Possible Limitations & Risks:

  1. May fail to resonate with clients already committed to pursuing either affirmation or change in their sexual orientation.
  2. therapist openness and neutrality to a variety of identity outcomes with different moral implications may not be experienced positively by some conservatively religious or LGB clients.
  3. Therapists may wait to long to encourage clients to move out of their ambivalence due to their own ambivalence toward the possibility of change or their inability to fully identify with the sexual value system of the conservatively religious or LGB subcultures.