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Shame and Attachment Loss: The Practical Work of Reparative Therapy [Paperback]

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Pages   474
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 1.4"
Weight:   1.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2009
Publisher   IVP Academic
ISBN  0830828990  
EAN  9780830828999  

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Item Description...
Bringing together a Judeo-Christian anthropology with biological and psychodynamic theories of human development and sexuality, psychologist Joseph Nicolosi details the reparative therapy techniques he has developed over the past twenty years.

Publishers Description
Bringing together a Judeo-Christian anthropology with biological and psychodynamic theories of human development and sexuality, psychologist Joseph Nicolosi details the therapeutic techniques of reparative therapy he has developed over the past twenty years. Written in three parts, the book first describes the nature of the psychodynamics of same-sex attraction as understood in the reparative therapy approach. The second part describes the various phases of treatment. The final part deals with walking clients through the process of grieving and the healing of their wounding. Endorsed by numerous notable leaders in psychotherapy, Nicolosi offers practical guidance for counselors and therapists who want to offer reparative therapy to those seeking change.

Buy Shame and Attachment Loss: The Practical Work of Reparative Therapy by Joseph J. Nicolosi, Ph.D., H. Newton Maloney, Ph.D. & Robert Perloff from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780830828999 & 0830828990

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Not Just for Psychotherapists  Apr 8, 2010
The introduction to this book begins: "This book is for psychotherapists who seek techniques to assist a systematically ignored group, the non-gay homosexual - a population thought by most of my colleagues not to exist." However, I'm not a therapist - just a friend to someone who struggles with unwanted SSA - and I found Nicolosi's book to be informative and helpful.

The book starts with an overview of reparative therapy in general, and then goes on to explain a family dynamic which is common in Nicolosi's patients. This was interesting, and complete with charts, but I really enjoyed the book as it moved past Chapter Four. After that point there are a lot of client/therapist transcripts and these were eye-opening for me - in fact some of them reminded me strongly of conversations that I'd had with my friend, and I was able to see them in a different light.

It's true that this book is technical, and much of it is focused on therapeutic techniques, but I also found it interesting and relatable. I learned much from reading about how Nicolosi's clients have been able to work through their childhood dysfunction and deep grief in order to find healing. I would recommend this book not just for therapists who are interested in helping those who deal unwanted same-sex attraction, but also to those who have a loved one in that position.
This is a tough one  Feb 10, 2010
Too many qualifications for his statements. Too apologetic; seems like a committee of Christian extremists dictated revisions. Though the basic premise may be correct, there is too much unpacking to get to what he wants to say.
Scientific Confirmation of the Reality of Sexual Orientation Change  Dec 25, 2009
In a global environment that vacillates between sheer discrimination and the push for diversity tolerance, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi takes the "gay rights" issue out of the political and social spheres and zooms in on the actual fundamental right of any man who experiences same-sex attractions: the right to understand the causes of his homosexuality, to process his own traumas, to assert his own feelings, to be able to be in control of his own thoughts, and to choose the direction of his own life. His is a much needed voice that bears the authority of scientific expertise that testifies to a sometimes skeptical and other times militant world that the ex-gays do exist, and that they are people of extraordinary courage, perseverance, and strength.

Dr. Nicolosi's book Shame and Attachment Loss may appear dauntingly scientific to the average reader, but in fact, it contains a wealth of accessible information that is extremely needed and crucially helpful for people who deal with homosexual friends of family members. One of the first things that a "lay" reader may extract from this book is a list of causes that produce homosexual feelings and behavior. Dr. Nicolosi does not discard social causes that may occur in late childhood or early teenage years such as peer-pressure, the fad of homosexuality, curiosity, experimentation, the need of belonging, and the thrill of joining a socially marginalized minority. He also admits to the existence of psycho-biological factors, namely an in-born "sensitive temperament" (31) and "prenatal hormonal influences...that may result in a low-masculinized brain" (18). But he views the above factors as secondary to family upbringing.

The fundamental cause that he has recorded for most of his clients is a narcissistic-triadic family, dysfunctional or malattuned to the child's needs, with an "over-involved mother and [a] critical / detached father" (39). His scientific findings point to the root of homosexuality as being either a traumatic childhood that causes the young boy not to want to identify with an oppressive male figure, hence his homosexual effemination, or "a history of being victimized by manipulation and control" (35) especially by mothers or other influential females who were "inconsistent in their emotional responsiveness" and offered "conditional love" (73-74), a system of emotional enticement followed by withdrawal and blackmailing. Dr. Nicolosi's other seminal book, A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality, is a resource that expounds on the mechanics of parenting that may lead to homosexual behavior, so we do not find an exhaustive coverage of this area in Shame and Attachment Loss.

Being aware of these factors is of paramount importance not only for parents, but also for wives or potential wives of homosexual men. Dr. Nicolosi explains that SSA men who marry may project this image of manipulative and controlling women on their wives (242). Women are notorious for their drive to manipulate men both at a pre-marital stage and during the marriage. Some women engage in manipulative emotional games simply for the thrill of the chase and because they think that these games will spice up the relationship. Other women do it because they have hidden agendas that involve reaching a certain social or financial status. And still other women manipulate men because they have a huge, selfish ego, and a super-dominant personality. Dr. Nicolosi's observation should be taken as a warning signal for women to avoid manipulation in a relationship with a gay or ex-gay man and to replace it with honest communication and creative ways of allowing the man to grow and assume responsibility and learn how to share decision-making with his wife in a mutually agreeable way.

One thing that would be difficult to avoid, however, both for a parent and for a romantically involved woman is to express love and appreciation without insinuating a label of specialness. Dr. Nicolosi postulates that "the liability of `specialness'" leads to narcissism and is usually inculcated by the mother: "`I got the message from Mom that my charms, sociability, verbal and social skills, and emotional sensitivity made me better than the ordinary male,' one client said. This specialness conferred on him meant that he did not have to achieve masculinity to win his place in the world" (43). It is true that each person is special, and each person should be acknowledged and appreciated as such. This is the message of the positive thinking philosophy, of capitalist individualism, and even of Christianity: God created everyone to be special, unique, and Christ died for each individual, for that one (out of one hundred) lost sheep. So how can one acknowledge the uniqueness of an individual, who happens to experience SSA, without stalling the development of his masculinity? Since Shame and Attachment Loss does not provide an answer to this question, Dr. Nicolosi's concept of "specialness" as a "liability" remains an intriguing issue and prompts the reader to further investigate the author's stance on it. Perhaps A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality may enlighten parents on how to deal with "specialness" in a constructive way. Affirming the child's specialness or a man's specialness, for that matter, cannot be harmful in itself as long as it is correctly channeled.

As part of the family background, Dr. Nicolosi mentions two parenting errors that may cause inhibitions that later lead to homosexuality. One is parental reprimand of sexual self-exploration at a critical age. "The male genitals are the embodied symbol of the boy's essential difference from his mother," explains the author. "A negative parental reaction when the child is engaged in genital exploration or play may (especially in the very sensitive child) prompt the boy's shame-filled disavowal of his masculinity" (69). One of the 2009 episodes of the Hispanic Univision show "Mujer: Casos de la vida real" ("Women: Real Life Cases") documents a real situation of a man who develops same-sex attractions and is sexually inhibited towards his wife because he never had a chance to process the trauma of his mother's violently scolding him after catching him masturbating at some point during his puberty years. This is one tragic case since the wife, hurt at the discovery that her husband is homosexual, shames him publicly at a family party, blaming him for his sexual orientation. The man leaves the party in a hurry, goes home, and commits suicide. Thus, this case indicates what extreme consequences such a parental shaming moment may have.

The other traumatic situation mentioned by Nicolosi is a family that inhibits the boy's natural reaction to pain and shames him for expressing his feelings of anger, discontent, sorrow, crying, etc. "The child of the narcissistic family has been taught that to be sad is to be shameable," explains Nicolosi (371). The author further shows how the therapist can take the message of critical parents -- "`You're not supposed to cry, you're not allowed to feel sorry for yourself.'...'You're upsetting everybody else. There's no reason to be unhappy. You have everything you need, and nothing to complain about.'" - and can use it as a gateway to trauma processing: "But to deny the existence of the loss, I [Nicolosi] told him, is to continue to punish himself" (366-7); hence, Dr. Nicolosi's insistence on exercising and affirming his clients' feelings (especially the negative ones).
The author views homosexual acting out as "a narcissistic defense against truly mourning the loss of an authentic attachment to one or both parents" (356). In fact, narcissism ranks high among the symptoms of homosexuality explicated in this book, and it appears to be responsible for many of the relational barriers in the life of a homosexual. Again, being aware of how these symptoms work and what their causes and consequences are is an invaluable tool for people who work on a professional or personal level with homosexual men. Communication shutdown is, for example, one major impediment that discourages most people from relating long-term and on a deep level to a homosexual individual. The majority of people who have ever gravitated around a homosexual man will report that the latter may go into periods of complete shutdown when phone calls and emails are not returned and replied, the homosexual man does not engage in initiating any contact, and sometimes, he acts out an utter avoidance or plain rejection; these periods may range from weeks to years. This kind of behavior may be taken as offensive by a friend or relative who is ignorant about what goes on beyond this silence and sheer rejection of the relationship. So this may alienate the straight friend/relative. On the other hand, persisting in maintaining this relationship, without being aware of how the homosexual man feels during a shutdown period, may also drain and discourage the other. Dr. Nicolosi not only acknowledges "emotional distancing" as a symptom (45), but he also explains what causes it:
a) fear of disappointing the other person and shame that drives the homosexual man to hiding and avoiding -- "I always assume that if somebody really knows me, they won't like me," confesses one of his clients (201).
b) a "chronic emptiness, the inability to feel and trust and the inability to relate intimately to others and to love" (367). Most of it is based on a fear of criticism and of being hurt (77) as the homosexual man projects past trauma on current relationships and anticipates that this person, too, will hurt him eventually. More particularly, there's a fear of straight men who might "diminish" and "degrade" him (51) and a fear of women who may "manipulate and control" him (51) in a way similar to his parents or childhood mentors.
Dr. Nicolosi's book Shame and Attachment Loss builds extensively on many decades of research in the field and provides ample references to expert scholarship. But there is one thing that the author establishes from the very beginning and which clearly distinguishes him from other researchers, namely that he will not embrace a convenient and widely used relativism. He boldly expresses his stance on homosexuality as a self-destructive behavior, an enactment of self-punishment, a defense against shame for a "sense of masculine inferiority" (102), an "attempt to compensate for a deficit" (93), and a defective "esteem reparation" (96). He makes a point of affirming to both his readers and clients his views of homosexuality as an abnormal but correctable response to trauma while openly admitting that some of his clients choose not to pursue change. Although the author mentions social and religious traditional disproval of homosexuality, he focuses on its psycho-somatic negative effects, underlining the high risk of mental and emotional imbalance and exposure to deathly STD's that homosexuals run. In this sense, Dr. Nicolosi highlights the fact that "Change cannot be motivated primarily by social or religious guilt" (19) and plays on the clients' "intrinsic motivation" (19) as a primary catalyst of change. His treatment methods do not involve any religious arguments, but he does use social issues either to equip his clients to interact with straight males and to learn how to develop their own masculinity -- "crash course" about straight men (305) -- or to counteract gay activism propaganda, debunking some of the popular myths that support homosexuality as a normal behavior (the born gay theory, fidelity in gay relationships, approval of homosexuality by other societies/cultures throughout history, instances of homosexuality with animal species, the "dangers" of reparative therapy, homosexuality as a healthy lifestyle).

Dr. Nicolosi's primary method is to assist the client to link a present conflict to a past trauma, to help him identify his own feelings (cognitively and through body work), to analyze these feelings, and then to engage in grief work. Addressing emotional inhibitions that are so prevalent with homosexual men, the therapist asks the client to verbalize a feeling triggered by a certain conflictual situation and then to identify the bodily reactions associated with that feeling. The body work approach stems out of the scientific theory that "...all the functions of the brain are mediated through the body. It is the body that mediates between the brain and the world. An altered bodily response to an object will alter the cognitive meaning of that object" (169). Dr. Nicolosi emphasizes the role of body work in processing the awareness of the shame moment: "These sensations alert the client to a shame moment that would otherwise go unnoticed by the cognitive functions" (261). For a man who has been inhibiting his feelings all his life, it may be difficult to cognitively articulate them, so watching his body reactions may actually help him identify, anticipate, and actively engage his feelings. Scientifically, this is rooted in the "dual-brain psychology" established by Schiffer in 1998 which attempts to connect the affects in the right brain to the cognition in the left brain, thus "building a link between thinking and feeling" (211). It is clearly a way of "re-wiring" the client into staying with himself, acknowledging his feelings, and processing them cognitively at the same time. It definitely increases self-awareness and empowers the client to be more in control of his thoughts, feelings, and actions. A direct effect of body work may be the client's realization "that his homosexual attractions are generated primarily not by the attractiveness of the other man, but by the way he is feeling about himself" (107), which is an important step in the progress of therapy.

The grief work ensues after body work and enables the client to not only re-live the past trauma, but also to feel the pain without any inhibitions. The therapist empathetically "stands in the grief" with the client, which represents the first time the client can freely experience pain in the presence of another, a supportive mentor. The positive effects of grief work are illustrated by the statement of one of Dr. Nicolosi's clients: "Grief work helped me get in touch with all of my feelings--especially the negative ones I didn't want to feel. When I am connected to my true feelings, I feel strong, masculine and alive. That's when I'm no longer drawn to looking at other men, and my life can go on" (430). It is crucial for the success of therapy that grief work be used not only to process past trauma, but also current shame experiences; Dr. Nicolosi also uses "homosexual enactment as an opportunity for grief work" (419), thus turning a negative experience into a positive consequence.

The therapist's empathy plays an essential role in Dr. Nicolosi's approach. In a "working alliance" with the client, the therapist is constantly exposing vs. imposing (289), leads the client to acknowledge and affirm his need for 3 A's -- attention, affection, approval (101) -- and guides him through a shift from self-hate/disgust to self-compassion, facilitating healing through compassion for self and others (115). Self-compassion triggered by an understanding of the client's legitimate needs and constantly anchored in reality will also diminish shame, and thus open the channels of communication between therapist and client: "As the personification of the reality principle, the therapist attempts to expose the client's illusions while avoiding shaming him. This is achieved by showing the historical necessity for his illusory creation. Highlighting his childhood need for his narcissistic defense diminishes the client's shame reaction to such exposure" (119). With Dr. Nicolosi's approach, the client takes precedence over the method; he advises that the therapist should be "willing to compromise the session sequence to follow the client's affect. It is the pursuit of affective expression that produces therapeutic insight" (170).

The client-therapist sample dialogues presented in this book often feature an affective blockage, a breach in communication/relationship, which Dr. Nicolosi calls "the double-bind," which is then corrected through the "double loop" (a reconnection, an opening) and followed by the Meaning Transformation (MT) phase, which involves the interpretation of feelings and events. This approach of the double bind and double loop mirrors for the client the possibility of reconnecting after a breach in real-life relationships.

Dr. Nicolosi's reparative therapy system facilitates the shift from homosexuality to heterosexuality through gradual attainment of several goals:
a) desensitization and reprocessing of trauma
b) identifying what leads to homosexual acting out: powerlessness, failure to express anger, envy of others' masculinity, fear; as an illustration, one client states his realization that "when he was feeling accepted and connected with other guys--especially on a physical level--his homosexual preoccupation disappeared. It was during times of social isolation and rejection that his same-sex fantasies resurfaced to preoccupy him" (299)
c) making the distinction between friendship and erotic feelings; the awareness and analysis of sexual (mental) engagement that implies a "disconnect" from friendly dialogue (109)
d) shifting from a passive to an assertive attitude; Nicolosi acknowledges that some SSA men are assertive in their profession, but not in their private relationships (239)
e) the client should be able to achieve feeling and dealing at the same time by grief and assertion (Fosha 2000 qtd. in Nicolosi)
f) increasing self-participation in life decisions, community involvement, self-love, empowerment
g) the client should be able to face "the reality that happiness and fulfillment can never be `imported' from any other human being" (91)

Outside therapy sessions, Dr. Nicolosi recommends journaling as a confidential
self-accounting exercise that should cover certain sections -- event, reaction, assumption, assessment, summary (284)--, and most importantly, a close relationship with a straight male who would act as mentor and who would serve as an accountability partner especially in the gap between homosexual temptation and acting out (253). Like all those who truly possess high-caliber intelligence, Dr. Nicolosi also practices humility, which he expresses in an awe-inspiring statement: "The fact remains that people do not change through the application of techniques. People change through relationships--relationships with caring people who apply these effective techniques" (25). It is a statement that may produce an epiphany in the minds of so many people who genuinely desire to be instruments of healing for their homosexual dear ones. And it is certainly a privilege for such caring people to have access to the expertise of a giant of reparative therapy like Dr. Nicolosi who shares these techniques in this book.
In addition to presenting the causes, symptoms, and treatment techniques outlined above, Dr. Nicolosi also launches in his book a number of relevant concepts and typologies, which certainly help both professionals and "lay" readers to understand the mechanics of homosexual behavior. First, he distinguishes between the "gay homosexual" who affirms his gay identity and has peace with it and the "non-gay homosexual" who experiences unwanted homosexuality and is willing to engage in reparative therapy and to potentially become an ex-gay. In this context, he then defines the concept of gay identity as a "false self," and thus, reparative therapy becomes a self-discovering tool that reveals the true heterosexual identity of the homosexual client. Further, the author presents four types of false self that characterize the behavior of certain types of homosexual men (122-124):
a) the passive-compliant - the "nice guy"
b) the theatrical entertainer
c) the outrageous, hyper-feminine, drag queen
d) the angry activist - hyper-masculine
Dr. Nicolosi also postulates that there are two main types of homosexuals:
a) pre-gender - attracted to macho men that would compensate for his lack of masculinity; and
b) post-gender (some are bi-sexual): attraction to women is present, but they relate to women only sexually; no female friendships; attraction to younger boys that remind him of his boyhood and something he missed at that age; this category has better prognosis for recovery
He also outlines four types of male friendships (308-9): gay, non-gay homosexual, straight non-attractive, straight attractive (the best because it allows the homosexual man to de-sexualize male friendships).
Another useful concept provided in this book is the difference between shame and guilt. Dr. Nicolosi defines shame as anxiety towards others and directed at what you are, and guilt as being directed to yourself and to what you do, and as leading to correction (267).
In his Foreword to Shame and Attachment Loss, Dr. H. Newton Malony cautiously warns that Nicolosi's system of reparative therapy "is not presented as a therapeutic cure-all nor is it presented as a model that explains each and every evidence of homosexuality" (13). With this premise in mind, the reader may also find in this book a number of issues that may be tackled differently with other reparative systems, such as Christian counseling. One of them is body work, which may seem to be taken to some risky extremes in Dr. Nicolosi's dialogues. While awareness of body sensations associated with feelings is in itself a great method to know oneself, an exaggerated focus on the body may lead to exacerbating narcissism and to actually falling easier into the temptation of homosexual enactment. A client explains in a dialogue with the therapist what happened as he applied body work when he felt attracted to a male: "I became more curious about myself and my body than about him." But isn't such an attitude actually accentuating the client's narcissism and self-preoccupation, which Dr. Nicolosi himself identifies as pathological with homosexual clients? Furthermore, one of Nicolosi's clients says "I've learned that my body is my inner compass. It assesses the situation and my position in it. The lesson is that I can't just listen to words. I have to keep myself continually attuned to the message my body is giving me" (141). So what happens when his body gives him a message of lust that will lead him to engaging in homosexual sex? Yet in another dialogue, the therapist asks "Well, based upon our work together, which one do you think we must respect more: the body or the brain?" (231) with an obvious expectation that the correct answer was "the body." Romans 8:13 and a plethora of other Bible verses warn against the dangers of acting on what the body tells us: "For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live" (New King James Version). So body work could be successfully used in Christian counseling for homosexual men as a way of getting to know oneself, but not to the extent to which Dr. Nicolosi is perhaps pushing it.

Another problematic area presented in Shame and Attachment Loss is grief work which seems to have no clear and definite finality based on the dialogues and the theories shared by Dr. Nicolosi. The therapist appears to be guiding the client to processing trauma as an adult, but it is not clearly and sufficiently shown how the clients do that. The sample dialogues merely express the feelings related to a recent conflict and link them to a past trauma, which is felt and narrated, but not resolved. For example, one particular client purges anger through therapy by recounting his past trauma induced by his parents, but this does not lead to his forgiving his parents! The therapist questions genuine forgiveness and implies that anger should be expressed and that expressing his anger more important than "pretending" he forgave his parents (415). However, the client is not encouraged to genuinely forgive his parents or to pursue peace about this painful issue. Furthermore, Dr. Nicolosi admits that "Subsequent to therapy, many clients will reprocess their trauma from a higher, religious or spiritual perspective, with an expansion of self that goes beyond mere release of trauma" (449). Since it seems that the therapy illustrated in Dr. Nicolosi's dialogues is "a mere release of trauma," and the therapist does not appear involved in processing it with the client, then Dr. Nicolosi is absolutely right to point to the need for a further spiritual or religious processing of trauma.

Here is a valuable piece of advice from Dr. Nicolosi that deals with grief work and correcting the double bind by a double loop: "The therapist should not attempt to resolve the double bind by simply explaining himself to the client. Offering emotional reassurance and trying to persuade with logic never helps and typically intensifies the defense. The best approach is to join with the client in his feeling of being misunderstood, to stand with him in his double bind predicament and to empathize with his experience of being on the other side of a no-win barrier" (236). However, the therapist's empathy moments that are part of the grief work seem automatic or fabricated in the dialogues although of course it is difficult to convey to readers the therapist's genuine empathy in the absence of body language visuals and voice inflection audio output. How intense or simple can or should it be for the therapist to simply state that "we're standing together and grieving together right now," so that this may guarantee a resolution of grief that will last and produce healing beyond the therapy session? Can this empathy be sufficient to heal trauma? What makes the therapist's empathy more efficient than that of any friend or relative who has ever attempted to grieve with the homosexual man? Again, Nicolosi states that "Healthy grieving is a fully felt and conscious experience that does not involve prolonged suffering. Pathological grief, however, is marked by self-defeating, self-destructive, maladaptive behaviors" (355). Nevertheless, this particular book does not offer an in-depth explanation of how a therapist can induce "healthy grieving" and prevent it from being "prolonged"? These are all questions that urge the reader to further research the grief work method both in Dr. Nicolosi's other books and in other reparative therapy resources.

There are also two cautious warnings that Dr. Nicolosi articulates in his book Shame and Attachment Loss that need to be taken with a grain of salt. One is his elaborate recommendation of the best way in which a homosexual man may reveal his SSA to a straight man (310-11). Of course, Dr. Nicolosi is right to assert that it is important that the straight man will have a reaction of understanding, acceptance, support (312), and he is also right to affirm that it is important that the homosexual man should first provide some background info on his own childhood and things that led him to homosexuality. However, this is not always a realistic scenario. The right reaction will come from a man with whom a solid friendship has been formed, and this takes a long time. So the homosexual man may spread the steps of such a revelation over a period longer than just one "boys' night out" meeting. At the same time, more education for straight males is needed, and this should be carried out more intensely by various lay and religious organizations, so that they will understand that a homosexual man is an individual who has experienced trauma, who needs affection and self-affirmation as a male himself, and who can tremendously benefit from a sincere and non-sexual friendship with a straight male. But Dr. Nicolosi's recipe for revealing one's homosexuality to a straight male friend just like any other recipe in this sense cannot in itself guarantee a positive development in such a friendship.

The other warning that Dr. Nicolosi builds on his findings among the population of clients he served, which again is a limited pool of homosexual men, is that ex-gay men's sexual experiences with their wives are "not as intense and exciting as their earlier homosexual experiences" (324) due to some missing ingredients: to these men, women are not "exotic," "forbidden," "dangerous" (325). If that is the case, then these ex-gay men have not yet met the right women! A woman in love and totally committed to a man will find ways to spice up the relationship and come across as "exotic, forbidden, and dangerous" while also being authentic! That is just the definition of the eternal feminine mystique! Dr. Nicolosi then goes on to explain that "While ex-gay men report a qualitatively less intense experience [with their wife as opposed to their past homosexual sexual experiences], they do report a richer, fuller, and more emotionally satisfying experience, accompanied by a deep sense of well-being. They describe a feeling of natural compatibility, rightness and oneness. One now-married man said, `When I look back on my homosexual experiences, it seems like we were two little boys playing in the sandbox'" (325). This emotional and spiritual connection experienced by ex-gay men with their wives that Dr. Nicolosi reports represents a key ingredient to a solid marriage. However, ex-gay men who have experienced a change in their sexual orientation triggered by a religious conversion also report passion and full satisfaction in their intimate relations with their wives. When God works a transformation in a life, that person "is a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17), and one that has "abundant life" (John 10:10), so the element of sexual passion is not missing from their lives as Dr. Nicolosi's findings may suggest.

Science remains a much needed and effective tool in transforming lives, and Dr. Nicolosi has taken it almost to perfection in his field of reparative therapy. However, science is limited, and Dr. Niciolosi proves that when he ponders that "the transformation will probably never be total" (300). A therapist, a friend, or a relative can only do so much to bring about and sustain change. However, when all voices are silenced, and the homosexual man is alone with himself, only God's divine presence can continue to work in his mind and spirit a perfect and lasting renewal. Dr. Nicolosi himself acknowledges religious change and mentions Alan Medinger as reference literature; he also reports that his clients who have stepped away from homosexuality have also reported getting closer to God.

We should be thankful that we live in a country in which voices like that of Dr. Nicolosi can freely spread the good news that healing and change are attainable for homosexual men. Books like Shame and Attachment Loss are not only precious resources for those interested in practicing or engaging in reparative therapy, but they also raise awareness of the true emotional needs of homosexual individuals. A society that is aware of the trauma and defenses specific to homosexuals is bound to be more than politically correct and tolerant; it is bound to produce individuals who will act with compassion and with a desire to heal and restore our wounded homosexual community.
Works Cited

The Bible. New King James Version. Bible Gateway. Thomas Nelson, Inc. n.d. 24 December
2009. <[...]>.
Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York: Plume, 1988.
Great Book - Practical Approach  Oct 25, 2009
This is a great book for those with unwanted same-sex attraction, especially for those who feel that homosexuality is not part of their true selves. The book is well organized and logical. On almost every page I could see myself, or my parents, or my peers, and see the dysfunction of my past. I could also see how to work through the issues of my past so that they will not determine my future. Now I feel more free to make by own choices about my life ahead. I particularly identified with the "Shame Experience" that has been the precursor to my own acting out behavior. As I read these pages I felt, "how could anyone understand so completely the sinking feelings I have had." I have known these feelings were there for a long time. Now I know how to process the feelings so that I don't end up in behavior that I don't want. I couldn't put the book down.
Terrific resource  Jul 6, 2009
I'm not a therapist, but am involved in a program helping men with "ego-dystonic same-sex attraction" here in Warsaw, Poland. I've just received my copy, and it's amazing! Sensible, not overdone. Many (very moving) examples of client-therapist dialogues, which give reality to the theory. Little about sex, mostly about identity, learning not to operate from the false self, often "the good little boy" which children often need to learn in order to survive, and, with the support of a sensitive therapist, learning to find and operate from the "authentic self". Not leading to a "cure", but a reduction of homosexual compulsiveness, a development, a strengthening, of the authentic male self.
Gay activists are trying to convince us that "help" is impossible. This book shows that there IS effective help for those who want it and are willing to do the work, face past pains.

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