Jars of Clay
Thank you for publishing Steve Rabey's article about the contemporary Christian music group Jars of Clay (“Christian Music Without the ClichÈs,” Dec. 7-l3). The Catholic media, as a whole, should probably devote more attention to this genre of music, which the secular media largely ignores. Unfortunately, most Catholics I know are unaware that this type of music exists. Contemporary Christian music has great potential to positively affect our youth, and I will spare no expense making sure that my children have access to as much of it as they want.
Scarsdale, New York
Mr. Al Luongo's letter (“Not Really Gay,” Jan. 4-10, REGISTER) states that he experienced eight years of a completely happy marriage and then abruptly wanted to “hit the center divider.”
Hearing this, I would have to question whether during the course of therapy, he had truly come to an understanding of his homosexual feelings. Had he simply learned to repress his unmet male love needs—or had he genuinely understood their origins, and then learned to meet those needs in a healthy manner?
When my own clients terminate therapy, I advise the following:
• After leaving therapy, they must take responsibility to put into practice the insights and techniques they have learned during the course of treatment;
• They must continue to maintain intimate, satisfying, non erotic male friendships;
• They must keep communication open with their wives;
• They must maintain an honest relationship with their spiritual director and/or confessor;
• They must be careful to monitor their stress levels remembering that anxiety and depression make them especially vulnerable to a recurrence of homosexual temptations;
• They must remain continually honest with themselves about their feelings.
The National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) recently completed a survey of more than 850 individuals and 200 therapists and counselors specifically seeking out individuals who claim to have made a degree of sexual-orientation change, and the therapists who have counseled them. Among the findings: Before counseling or therapy, 68% of the respondents perceived themselves as exclusively or almost entirely homosexual. After treatment, only 13% so perceived themselves. Thirty percent had had homosexual sex “very often” before treatment, while only 1% did so afterwards. The respondents to this study told us that counseling greatly raised their self-acceptance, self-esteem, self-understanding, emotional stability, and maturity.
Clearly, a major orientation shift will not be achieved by everyone; and some remaining degree of struggle may persist over the client's lifetime—as with alcoholics, overeaters, and clients struggling with self-esteem issues. Also, it is to be expected that some clients will change their minds and decide to go back to a gay lifestyle.
A female respondent to NARTH's survey said, “I never expected this much recovery. My relationships with men have greatly improved—I am able to relate sexually to men in a way I never was before. I'm learning to leave behind the familiar protective emotions of contempt, arrogance, pseudo—self-sufficiency, anger, and self-indulgence, and practice the emotions of love instead.”
Said a male respondent, “Change is extremely difficult and requires total commitment. But I have broken the terrible power that sexuality had over me for so long. I haven't been this light and happy since I was a child. People can and do change, and become free.”
As for Mr. Luongo's suggestion that I only work with clients who are genuinely motivated to change, indeed that goes without saying. The work of reparative therapy would never be possible under any other circumstances.
Joseph Nicolosi PhD
National Assn. of Research and
Therapy of Homosexuality