The National Association for
& Therapy of Homosexuality
Overview. About NARTH. Narth personnel
In the past, researchers attempted to change sexual orientation
through psychotherapy, aversion therapy, nausea producing drugs, prayer, castration,
electric shock, brain surgery, breast amputations, etc. All of these techniques failed miserably. These methods were largely abandoned by
the mid-1970's. However, Outrage!, a British support group for lesbians and
gays, recently found it necessary to ask the Royal College of Psychiatrists to
renounce aversion therapy and instruct its members to halt "the use of all
therapies that attempt to cure homosexuality." 1
Reparative Therapy emerged in the early 1980's as a new method of
"curing" homosexuals. It was spearheaded by Elizabeth
Moberly 2 who based her
theories on the findings of a few psychiatrists in the past whose
conclusions had long been abandoned by almost all mental health
professionals. Her belief is that children from birth progress along a path that would lead them to become heterosexual adults. However, some are deflected into a homosexual path due to incompetence
and lack of emotional contact by the same-gender parent.
Author Jeffry Ford wrote:
determined...that the homosexual men in the studies were suffering
from what she termed 'defensive detachment' and 'same sex ambivalence.'
The theory presumes that the young boy, for any of a variety of reasons, did
not bond with his father in a meaningful way." 3
Her book, published in the 1980s, has been recently reprinted and is still in
print. Her theory led to a treatment method in which a
gay or lesbian develops a close but non-sexual relationship with a person
of the same gender. Over time, this is expected to replace the close parental bond
that was missing in childhood. According to her theory, heterosexual feelings
would emerge during therapy, and homosexual feelings would fade over time.
No peer-reviewed study has ever been published on
reparative therapy. No longitudinal study has ever been conducted into its
long-term effectiveness and hazards. Sufficient anecdotal evidence has
surfaced to convince the large mental health professional societies, like
the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric
Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, etc. to condemn
reparative therapy as ineffective, and warn of potentially dangerous
side-effects. 4 The one exception is the National Association for Research
and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) - the topic of this essay. They
strongly advocate the use of reparative therapy, believing it to be very
effective and safe.
This is an untenable position.
Probably tens of thousands of persons with a bisexual or homosexual orientation are being exposed to a form of therapy that has never been adequately studied. A similar event happened back in the 1980s and early 1990s when many therapists used recovered memory therapy to recover abuse memories from their client's early childhood. On the order of 17% of their clients went on to recover abuse memories of Satanic Ritual Abuse. Eventually, it was discovered that the vast majority of these "memories" were not of real events. By this time, tens of thousands of clients and their families of origin had been damaged and many suicides triggered.
NARTH was founded in 1992 as a "non-profit, educational organization dedicated
to the research, therapy and prevention of homosexuality." It currently consists of "more than 1,000 mental-health
professionals." These are believed to be psychiatrists,
psychologists, other therapists, social workers, and behavioral
scientists. 5,6 (This number represents a small percentage of the total number of mental health
professionals; the American Psychological Association alone has over 132,000
members.) Persons who are sympathetic to NARTH's goals who is not a therapist is asked to join as a "Friend of
NARTH." Many conservative Christian individuals and ministries have done this.
The association states that their members follow many different religions and ethical
systems, ranging from Roman "Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Baha'i, Protestant, to
secular humanist/atheist." The vast majority of its members are believed to be
from the conservative wings of Christianity and Judaism.
Reporter Decca Aitkenhead of The Guardian, a UK newspaper, wrote:
"It is not an insignificant network. Narth's membership includes a former
president of the American Mental Health Counsellors' Association and
university clinical professors of psychiatry Charles Socarides, Dean Byrd and
Benjamin Kaufman. Along with Drs Jeffrey Satinover, Richard Fitzgibbons and
Irving Bieber, all have published or contributed to books about reparative
therapy, and claim that at least a third of all clients can be completely
cured of their homosexuality."
NARTH is becoming widely accepted among many evangelical Christian ministries and para-church groups, because it is seen as
the only professional mental health organization that teaches that homosexual orientation is a
disorder, that it is chosen, and that it can be changed through effort.
NARTH hold annual meetings at the same locations as the American Psychoanalytic
Association (APsaA). The NARTH Bulletin is published three times a year.
Their Executive Director/Secretary Treasurer and co-founder is Joseph Nicolosi of the Thomas Aquinas Psychological
Clinic in Encino CA. Nicolosi is a
member of the Greek Orthodox Church. He originated the term "reparative therapy." Their
late president and co-founder was Charles Socarides (1922-2005) , of the
Einstein College of Medicine in New York NY. Both have written widely on
reparative therapy. NARTH's current president is Dr. Philip Sutton. He "...
practices at two outpatient counseling centers, two elementary schools, and a
Catholic seminary. He also leads a Courage group in South Bend, Indiana." Courage is a lesbian, gay and bisexual support group that promotes celibacy. 7
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Aversion Therapy - Letter to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, " Outrage!, at: http://www.outrage.cygnet.co.uk/
- We have never been able to confirm Elizabeth R. Moberly's academic
qualifications. Some refer to her as a "therapist" or "theologian," or "psychologist"
or "self-proclaimed psychologist." Some say that she has no mental
health qualifications at all. On the back cover of her main book "Homosexuality:
A new Christian ethic" where one would expect to see her academic
she is merely described as "the originator of gender-affirmative therapy for
homosexuals." They refer to her having traveled extensively giving
seminars and appearing on television programs. See: http://www.amazon.com/ For information on her book, see: Amazon.com online book store
- Jeffry Ford, "What is Reparative Therapy?," at: http://jgford.homestead.com/
- "APA Online: Public Interest: Just the facts about sexual
orientation and youth: A primer for principals, educators and school
personnel," See: http://www.apa.org/
- The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) has a home page at: http://www.narth.com/
- As of 2001-JAN, NARTH can be reached at: 16633 Ventura Boulevard,
Suite 1340, Encino, CA 91436-1801. Phone: (818) 789-4440. Fax: (805)
- "Dr. Phil Sutton Elected NARTH President-Elect," NARTH, 2009-JAN-07, at: http://www.narth.com/
Copyright © 1997 to 2010 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2010-JUN-17
Author: B.A. Robinson