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No surprise here: Evangelical leaders who advocate gay reparative therapy took umbrage at a highly publicized American Psychological Association (APA) resolution that criticized such efforts.

By a 125-4 vote, the 150,000-member association's governing council adopted a task force report in August claiming a lack of evidence that efforts to change one's sexual orientation work.

One aspect of the 138-page resolution, however, drew praise from some Christian psychologists—and exposed a divide in the evangelical therapy community.

In a nod to the role of faith, the task force acknowledged that some clients may be distressed due to a conflict between their sexual orientation and religious beliefs.

Warren Throckmorton, a counselor who believes that the Bible prohibits homosexuality, commended the task force for "clarifying the value of helping clients sort out their beliefs and work out an identity and life that fit within the clients' beliefs."

A one-time proponent of sexual reorientation efforts, Throckmorton said he spoke up until 2004 at conventions of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). But the Grove City College psychology professor has come to believe that changing a person's sexual orientation is at best difficult.

Rather than focusing on reparative therapy, he has embraced "sexual identity therapy," which focuses on helping a person live in a way that is consistent with his or her beliefs.

Throckmorton is not alone, although he suspects he remains in a minority among Christian colleagues.

"The reparative side sees the objective as healing the trauma [of family dysfunction] and thus curing the homosexuality," said Throckmorton, former president of the American Mental Health Counselors ...

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October 2009

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