This first person narrative chronicles my story as a graduate student in a clinical psychology program in the mid-Atlantic United States, who faced discrimination from the school for my support and involvement in therapeutic help for individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction. I had provided lay counseling to same-sex attracted men for several years prior to beginning my graduate school training. Though I had been transparent about my experiences throughout my academic career and received no complaints from my internship site or clients, near the completion of my degree the administration suspended and then dismissed me for my views. I recount the tactics and arguments my opponents used, how I obtained support and resisted the discrimination, and offer insights for aspiring students, counselors, and other interested parties.
Who Says Developmental Theories Have Been Discredited?
Trauma and addictions are similar in that they both induce emotionally dysregulated trance states of altered consciousness (Miller, 2012; Shapiro & Forrest, 1997). Trauma invokes this trance state with negative, painful affect, and addiction invokes it with positive, pleasurable affects. Iraq war veterans and rape victims know this all too well when they are presented with reminders of their traumas. Addicts can often recall with vivid detail the “rush” of their first experience getting high with such clarity that it almost feels like it is happening in the present. This is not just true for drug abuse. This phenomenon can be observed with behavioral addictions like gambling addiction and sexual addictions. The resolution of these trance states can often be achieved by reintegrating the client’s core affects and unmet relational needs. The Reintegrative ProtocolTM aims to achieve this.The focus of this paper will specifically examine the protocol’s application within the context of treating males presenting with same-sex attractions and will provide instructions for using self-compassion as a method of trauma resolution, as well as instructions for EMDR-trained psychotherapists who wish to use EMDR as a method of trauma resolution.
Many significant developments have occurred in the field of same-sex sexuality in the decade since the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity (ATCSI) introduced the first edition of its Practice Guidelines (ATCSI, 2010). These developments necessitated that the guidelines be updated to address the professional and legal realities that face therapists who assist individuals in exploring the fluidity of their unwanted same-sex attractions and behavior. The revised Guidelines incorporate the now preferred language of sexual attraction fluidity exploration in therapy1 (SAFE-T) as the most accurate description of contemporary professional clinical intervention with these individuals.