Joseph Nicolosi helped thousands coping with unwanted homosexual desires
March 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, a psychologist and a pioneer of “reparative therapy” to help people overcome unwanted same-sex attractions, died March 9 at age 70 from complications resulting from the flu.
Nicolosi, a devout Catholic and the co-founder of NARTH (now the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice), leaves behind wife Linda and their son, Joe Jr. People from all over the world have written memorial tributes to him, with some thanking him for helping them overcome sexual identification problems or to understand the nature of homosexuality. A family funeral services for Nicolosi will be held Wednesday.
In a field fraught with ambiguous terminology (e.g., “sexual orientation”), escalating — even fanatical — LGBT opposition, media cynicism and misreporting, Nicolosi persevered. His counter-cultural message of “If gay doesn’t define you, you don’t have to be gay,” was outrageous and “hateful” to intolerant homosexual militants, but it brought hope to people of faith and others struggling with unwanted homosexual desires.
“Joe worked in a profession that has lost its intellectual integrity,” wrote his wife and professional partner Linda Ames Nicolosi. “Gay activists have such a stranglehold on psychology that no one dares defy them. Joe, however, did defy them. And I thank him for his courage.”
The Nicolosis contrasted their approach with that taken by “gay-affirmative therapists” that dominate the field.
One of the talking points of LGBT activists regarding “reparative therapy” — or any effort guiding people to leave LGBTQ lifestyles — is that it universally harms the people it is intended to help. Such generalizations, aided by biased media coverage, became the basis for laws banning ex-gay therapy for minors in California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.
Nicolosi’s success stories: David Pickup
But that talking point conveniently ignores the success stories of pro-heterosexual change therapy — people like David Pickup, whose story is told in a PFOX (Parents & Friends and Family of Ex-Gays) on Nicolosi’s site. (There are many Christian-based testimonies of men and women like Charlene Cothran, who abandoned LGBTQ lifestyles without psychological therapy, but they, too, are largely ignored by the media.)
Describing himself as the "quintessential kid that was set up for homosexuality," Pickup said he "didn't identify well with my gender in growing up," and that "I wasn't close to my father at all." He said he became "defensively detached" from his dad and more attached to his mother and sister. Also, he said as a "sensitive boy" he was bullied by his peers and was sexual molested beginning at age five.
"I always felt odd, not boy enough, and then later on … not man enough," he said. He tried to repress his same-sex urges due to his strong Christian upbringing but started acting out homosexually in his late 20s. Then he became acquainted with Nicolosi's work.
Pickup said several years of therapy resulted in the "resolution of my gender identity inferiority," raised his self-esteem as a man, and led him to get his "male emotional needs” met that were “hardly [met] one bit growing up" (e.g., bonding with his dad).
As a result, “my same-sex attractions automatically, spontaneously … through this therapy began to lessen and dissipate," he said. "So reparative therapy really worked for me. It helped save my life."
Pickup is far from alone. Arthur Goldberg, whose ex-gay-ministering organization JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing), was forced to close last year due to an SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) lawsuit, offered this tribute to his friend Nicolosi:
“The former [homosexual] struggler wrote to me: ‘What a tragic loss for his family, and for the many thousands of men like us. I first heard [Nicolosi] in an interview with James Dobson in 1991, discussing his new book ‘[Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality].’ I ordered it immediately and read it within a week and thought, “Finally, someone who understands me better than I understand myself!” What a brilliant, compassionate and kind man he was to have devoted much of his life to this struggle of ours. We are better men for his life's work.’”
Pickup went on to become a licensed Reparative Therapist himself, based in Dallas.
Homosexuality as a problem
"I don't believe that anybody is really gay," Nicolosi told The New York Times in 2012 in a rare “mainstream” news article giving voice to contented former homosexuals. "I believe that all people are heterosexual but that some have a homosexual problem, and some of these people attempt to resolve their conflict by adopting a sociopolitical label called 'gay.'"
Nicolosi summed up his views on the roots of male homosexuality in his 2002 book, “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality” (a revised 2017 edition of which is now available):
“At the very heart of the homosexual condition is conflict about gender. In the boy, we usually see a gender wound that traces back to childhood. He comes to see himself as different from the other boys.
“Gender woundedness usually exists as a silent, secret fear — one that the boy’s parents and loved ones only vaguely suspect. The boy has felt this way for as long as he is able to remember. That differentness creates a feeling of inferiority and isolates him from other males.”
According to a welcoming video on his website, Nicolosi said his Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic in Encino, California, was the "largest psychological clinic in the world that specializes exclusively" in the area of lessening same-sex attractions. It had a staff of seven therapists handling "about 135 ongoing cases a week of men and women from around the world."
"We're not about condemning gays and lesbians. Certainly they have a right to pursue their life and their happiness," Nicolosi said in the video. "Rather, we're available to help men and women who want to decrease their same-sex attraction and want to develop their opposite-sex potential.”
He said more than half of his clients “were told by other therapists that they were born gay and that they had no choice. We don't believe this is true. Homosexuality is not simply a matter of biology."
Despite the growing media criticism of pro-heterosexual therapy in his final years, science seems to be coming around to Nicolosi's view that "sexual orientation" is not rigid nor innate — as LGBT activists had claimed — but changeable.
As LifeSiteNews reported last year, Dr. Lisa Diamond, a top American Psychological Association researcher and the co-editor-in-chief of the APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology, concluded that homosexuals are not “born that way” because “sexual orientation” is fluid.
Nicolosi’s wife, Linda, his co-author and an accomplished writer of her own on sexuality issues, described his relationship with his church, which probably represents the attitudes of countless millions of Catholics:
“Joe loved the Catholic Church and said many times, ‘The Church will always be home to me,’ even though he was angry with parish-level leadership for abdicating its rightful role in resisting cultural decline — particularly for its timidity on gender- and family-related issues.”
Dr. Joseph Nicolosi: "Homosexual behavior is always
prompted by an inner sense of emptiness"
prompted by an inner sense of emptiness"
ENCINO, Calif. - Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, a pioneer in gay reparative therapy, has passed away, succumbing to complications from the flu. He was age 70.
Nicolosi practiced as a licensed psychologist in California, and was a founding member and president of the North American Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), whose goal is to help same-sex attracted clients overcome unwanted homosexual desires.
According to its website, "It is the only secular group in the U.S. which protects the rights of therapists to counsel clients with unwanted homosexuality."
"I am heartbroken and in shock over the news of Joe's sudden death," Arthur Goldberg told Church Militant. Goldberg was founder of Jews Offering New Alternatives to Healing (JONAH), which referred men and women who desired to overcome homosexuality to counselors who could help them.
"His unexpected passing is a tragedy for the family, all of his friends and associates, and for the world at large," he continued. "He was truly an irreplaceable unique presence whose many contributions to the field of psychology were immense. He will be sorely missed by all of us whom he inspired over his lifetime. May G-d have mercy on his soul."
NARTH's website states: "Dr. Joseph Nicolosi has been successfully helping people all over the world understand these issues, the root causes and most importantly the solutions available. Reparative therapy helps those who wish to reduce their unwanted homosexual attractions and explore their heterosexual potential."
Homosexuality is not a sexual problem. It is a gender identity problem.Tweet
Nicolosi was a widely published author and speaker who focused on understanding the root causes of male homosexuality. According to him, everyone is born heterosexual, but somewhere along the way some sort of trauma takes place that pushes the person towards homosexuality. If it's not abuse, then the root cause is often a combination of distant, emotionally unavailable fathers and controlling mothers.
"Homosexuality is not a sexual problem," Nicolosi said at a conference. "It is a gender identity problem."
"Homosexuality is not about sex. It is about a person's sense of himself, about his relationships, how he forms and establishes relationships, his self-identity, his self-image, personal shame, his ability to sustain intimacy."
"Homosexual behavior is always prompted by an inner sense of emptiness," he explained.
This pattern is confirmed by multiple clients who've successfully left the gay lifestyle and no longer experience same-sex desires.
"I was the quintessential kid that was set up for homosexuality on several levels," said David Pickup, one of NARTH's clients. "I didn't identify well with my gender in growing up for various reasons. I wasn't close to my father at all; I was defensively detached from him during a phase in my life when I was more attached to my sister and mother and that kind of thing."
"I was also bullied by my peers because I think I was a very sensitive boy, and so I always felt odd — not boy enough. And then later on through puberty and above that, even, not man enough."
After being sexually molested at the age of five, he went on to sexualize other boys. "In puberty I began to feel men and boys as an object, that they were an object," he continued. "When my sexual hormones kicked in at puberty, I began to feel sexual feelings for boys, and later on, for men."
In spite of the high success rate of gay conversion therapy, liberal activists and lawmakers have been on a crusade to ban such practices because it goes against the narrative that homosexuals are 'born that way.'Tweet
In spite of the high success rate of gay conversion therapy, liberal activists and lawmakers have been on a crusade to ban such practices because it goes against the narrative that homosexuals are "born that way" and can't change. They've argued instead that conversion therapy is harmful, and have even described it as "torture."
Currently, five states, plus Washington, D.C., ban reparative therapy for minors.
At his passing, Nicolosi was working on a project to disprove this thesis that reparative therapy is harmful. In 2016, he and Dr. Carolyn Pela presented results of an ongoing study showing that conversion therapy actually reduced stress and contributed to the client's overall emotional and physical well-being — contrary to gay activists' claims.
"Findings from preliminary data collected over a 12-month period indicated statistically significant reductions in distress and improvements in well-being, significant movement toward heterosexual identity, and significant increases in heterosexual thoughts and desires with accompanying significant decreases in homosexual thoughts and desires," he summarized.
Church Militant reported on the plight of Arthur Goldberg, who endured litigation brought by gay activists, represented by the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center, who accused JONAH of consumer fraud — a charge he vigorously denied.
The court, evidencing clear bias in several rulings, refused to allow Goldberg to bring expert witnesses to testify on his behalf — among them Dr. Nicolosi. The judge wrote in the opinion denying Goldberg's use of leading reparative therapists, claiming that anyone holding the view that sexual orientation can change is behind the times, and comparing these experts to folks who believe the earth is flat.
After costly litigation, the court ordered Goldberg to shut down operations in December 2015, after which he went on to found JIFGA and a crowdfunding site, FundingMorality.com.
Because of Nicolosi's controversial and politically incorrect narrative on homosexuality, he endured misinformation campaigns from secular media, including a protracted battle with Wikipedia.
"Specifically, my therapy is wrongly described in Wikipedia," he explained. "In fact, I never tell SSA men that they should avoid opera and art museums; attend church; learn to mimic 'straight' ways of walking and talking; join group therapy; begin dating and then marry, etc."
"Whenever I correct these areas on the Wikipedia page," he continued, "the entries are promptly changed back into their original form by an activist writer."
Nicolosi is survived by his wife and son, Joseph, Jr.