|APA Admits Homosexuality Also Due to Environmental Factors
By Genevieve Pollock
ENCINO, California, 15 JUNE 2009 (ZENIT)
A Catholic psychologist who
specializes in reparative therapy with homosexuals says it's possible
for those with same-sex attractions to change, despite agenda-driven
ideologies that state the opposite.
Joseph Nicolosi, founder and director of the Thomas Aquinas
Psychological Clinic in Encino, spoke with ZENIT about his experience as
a clinical psychologist and the former president of the National
Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).
NARTH, a "scientific, non-religious and non-political" organization,
recently put out an article about the little known revision of the
American Psychological Association's (APA) statement on homosexuality,
which was highlighted last month in a WorldNetDaily article titled "Gay
Gene Claim Suddenly Vanishes."
Nicolosi explained that NARTH has been actively working on a research
project compiling scientific data to dispute the APA's claim on
homosexuality, targeting three unscientific assumptions that form the
basis of their policy.
He stated that these erroneous assumptions are: "Psychotherapy does not
change homosexuality, trying to change the homosexual person will harm
him, and there is no greater pathology in homosexual persons than in
The psychologist asserted that the "APA is not governed by scientists,
but by political interests."
"There has been no new data to justify their policies," he added, "but
they tend to give in to social and political pressure," and thus "NARTH
has been putting pressure on them to scientifically back up their stance
on the biological nature of homosexuality."
Now, Nicolosi reported, the APA has "diminished its position saying
homosexuality is biologically determined." They have dropped the
specific reference to a hypothetical "gay gene," he affirmed.
In other words, he said, they are beginning to recognize that
homosexuality is also due to environmental factors, not just biological
"In fact," he stated, "I and many of my colleagues at NARTH believe it
is more environmental than biological."
Nicolosi noted that "the most important scientific information" gives
"much more evidence for environmental causes of homosexuality than for
The most essential point however, the psychologist affirmed, "is that
change is possible, that men and women can come out of homosexuality."
"This idea of 'once gay, always gay' is a political position, not a
scientific position," he added.
The therapist affirmed that he has seen this in his own private
practice, and that it is also substantiated in a body of scientific
Nicolosi, also the author of "Healing Homosexuality: Case Stories of
Reparative Therapy" and "A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality,"
asserted that many people have already adopted the erroneous assumptions
put forth by the APA.
There is a need to assist and minister to men and women "who are looking
for help to come out of homosexuality," he said, "because so many times
they are just told 'Well, you're born this way,' pointing to the APA and
saying 'because they said it.'"
He expressed the hope that as the APA recognizes the efficacy of therapy
with homosexual persons, more psychologists will be encouraged to be
involved in this type of treatment.
"Within our profession," the psychologist explained, "we trump politics
with science." In other words, if we challenge the APA with scientific
data, it "has to override any political or special interest forces."
The therapist emphasized the need for all people to share this message
with homosexual persons that "you don't have to be gay."
If you know a homosexual person, he said, "encourage that person,
educate him, give that person information, take the opportunity to let
him know that choice is possible."
"They need to believe it," he added.
Nicolosi explained: "It is a very hard therapy. First of all, it is hard
in itself because you have to dig deep into emotional issues.
Homosexuality is not about sexual issues, but emotional. There are the
emotional underpinnings that have to be addressed.
"Then not only are you having to deal with those emotional underpinnings
that are challenging on an individual level, but you have the other
battle of a culture that is saying to you, 'You're homophobic; you're
naïve; you're not facing reality; you're just a guilt-ridden Christian,
get with it.
"You're fighting a culture that is not supporting you, plus you have
your own individual battle. So it's a two-front war."
"With the AIDS epidemic, this could be about life and death here," he
asserted. "We're not talking about something insignificant."
The psychologist underlined the need to "inform and educate young
He explained: "So when a 15-year-old boy goes to a priest and says,
'Father I have these feelings, I have these temptations,' that priest
should say, 'you have a choice; if you don't want to be gay there are
things that you can do.'"
"The boy should not to be told, 'God made you this way,'" Nicolosi said.
He continued: "This is not about going after an oppressed minority. It's
not about pointing out pathology for the sake of pointing out pathology.
"This is telling young people, look, if you go down this road, you are
likely to have a higher level of depression, anxiety, failed
relationships, sexual promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse than people
who live their lives heterosexually. You will get involved in more, to
be polite, esoteric exotic sexual practices. It goes on and on and on.
"And that's just science, simply a comparison of two groups."
The therapist added, "This notion that you are going to fall in love
with a man and live happily ever after is Hollywood. The reality is that
it's a hard lifestyle."
Nicolosi, also a national speaker on the topic, urged the development of
more Catholic programs, noting that other faiths have already been
putting forth a "vital ministry helping people coming out of
"Our doctrine is clear," he said, "and even if we have a weaker
ministry, our doctrine on homosexuality is more brilliant than anything
the Protestant denominations can come up with."
The psychologist specifically referenced a 1986 document signed by
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became Pope, addressed to the
Catholic bishops "On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons."
In the letter, the cardinal, at that time prefect of the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith, outlined the moral underpinnings and
practical considerations of the pastoral care of "those whose suffering
can only be intensified by error and lightened by truth."
In this light, Nicolosi underlined the importance of helping homosexual
persons who want to change, because "if you are Christian, you have to
believe that you are intended for the opposite sex" and that "sexual
complementarity is part of the natural law."
This is something that "should be evident to everyone," as "our
Christian anthropology," he stated, and yet "it is amazing" how many
people are confused about this.
"They actually believe, or want to believe, either for personal reasons
or political reasons, that God created two kinds of people: homosexuals
and heterosexuals," Nicolosi noted.
"It is seeping into the consciousness without critical evaluation," he
cautioned, the resignation that "God just made them that way."
The psychologist appealed to priests to not be intimidated to teach
about homosexuality from the pulpit, noting that he has met many
Catholics who are "discouraged that there is no resource for them."
"We have Courage as the only orthodox Catholic ministry, and it's
underfunded, underrepresented and essentially pushed to the side," he
He reported that "Courage is only represented in 10% of the parishes in
this country" and thus many "men and women who want to come out of
homosexuality" are left without resources on a local level, making it
"very tough for them."
Nicolosi suggested that if a priest is working with a homosexual person
and is uncertain about how to help, to refer him to a reparative
therapist, "who really knows about this particular kind of treatment."
"Not to just any generic psychotherapist," he added, "but to a therapist
who has training in sexual re-orientation change."
Referencing Cardinal Ratzinger's letter, he warned against a "studied
ambiguity" in the face of the real need homosexual persons have for
outreach from the Church.
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On the Net:
National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality Web site:
Cardinal Ratzinger's Letter: