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Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, reparative therapy pioneer, dies at 70

Ex-gay therapy pioneer Dr. Joseph Nicolosi dies at 70.
Photo credit:
The New Civil Rights Movement

As San Diego is poised to host an ex-gay convention in June, word come that Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, the man who commandeered that movement has died at the age of 70.

Nicolosi led one of the biggest gay therapy organizations in the country called National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).  

It is within this forum he claimed homosexuals could “repair” their desires for the same-sex and eventually become heterosexuals.

He also claimed that desires for the same sex were a result of alienation and rejection, thus manifesting a “gender identity deficit,” which could be overcome with therapeutic psychological interventions.

“The term “reparative,” then, conveys an insight about the nature of homosexuality, which is that same-sex attraction may be an unconscious effort at self-reparation,” Nicolosi wrote on his website. “Through this shared perspective, client and therapist collaborate as they probe deeper for a fuller understanding of the client’s experience.”

Along those same lines is conversion therapy, which uses religion to sway homosexuals into becoming straight.

Both of these practices have been criticized by several psychological organizations as damaging, such as American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, and the American Psychiatric Association.

Nicolosi has said he doesn’t wish to change every homosexual, only those adults who seek out reparative therapy and are willing to eradicate homosexual thoughts.

“First, as with all good therapy, Reparative Therapy never involves coercion,” he wrote in his blog. “The client has come to the therapist seeking assistance to reduce something distressing to him, and the RT psychotherapist agrees to share his professional experience and education to help the client meet his own goal. The therapist enters into a collaborative relationship, agreeing to work with the client to reduce his unwanted attractions and explore his heterosexual potential.”