There is some major news that impacts the world of Christian counseling. It is being reported all over the place and I read an in-depth article about it this morning in the Wall Street Journal. The article is titled: A New Therapy on Faith and Sexual Identity
… in a striking departure, the American Psychological Association said Wednesday that it is ethical -- and can be beneficial -- for counselors to help some clients reject gay or lesbian attractions.
The APA is the largest association of psychologists world-wide, with 150,000 members. The association plans to promote the new approach to sexuality with YouTube videos, speeches to schools and churches, and presentations to Christian counselors.
I am not sure what to make of this. I am not a big fan of psychology in general and I am really not a fan of it when you blend it with Christianity. Christian counseling often is treading a fine line between the truth of the Gospel and worldly solutions and techniques. I found these passages to be especially troubling...
According to new APA guidelines, the therapist must make clear that homosexuality doesn't signal a mental or emotional disorder. The counselor must advise clients that gay men and women can lead happy and healthy lives, and emphasize that there is no evidence therapy can change sexual orientation.
But if the client still believes that affirming his same-sex attractions would be sinful or destructive to his faith, psychologists can help him construct an identity that rejects the power of those attractions, the APA says. That might require living celibately, learning to deflect sexual impulses or framing a life of struggle as an opportunity to grow closer to God.
"We're not trying to encourage people to become 'ex-gay,'" said Judith Glassgold, who chaired the APA's task force on the issue. "But we have to acknowledge that, for some people, religious identity is such an important part of their lives, it may transcend everything else."
What concerns me here is that people receiving therapy like this are going to find themselves in a weird situation where they compartmentalize the sin in their lives without really confronting it. It also seems to be a capitulation that the issue of homosexuality is not inherently wrong, but may be something incompatible with religious observance. I am certainly not an expert on psychology, but I can’t help but wonder if this methodology is really proper from a Christian counseling standpoint. From the article I read, it seems that an early part of this counseling is showing that homosexuality tendencies are deeply rooted. I should say so, they are rooted in sin for thousands of year and generation after generation of sinful humans.
People who have made homosexuality a part of their lifestyle don’t have a self-image problem or a mental disorder or a chemical imbalance. They have a sin problem. I think that needs to be dealt with before you can start any sort of counseling. Many people, myself included, have serious issues with sin. That doesn’t mean it can’t be worked through with prayer and support, but it is not something to be compartmentalized, it instead needs to be sanctified. I am not sure that men can lust after men, even if not acting on that lust, and be healthy.
What do you think? Is it appropriate to counsel homosexuals in such a way that it allows them to more or less accept their homosexual proclivities while at the same time suppressing them so they can fit in with a religious community?