Fellow clinicians and others have written us to honor Dr. Nicolosi’s life and work.
From counselor Andy Comiskey:
“My good friend and colleague Dr. Joseph Nicolosi passed away yesterday from an unexpected, swift illness. I am in shock. He is the man who gave men like me, the courage to name the wounds related to our early gender identity, to get on a healing track, and proceed onto all we were created for.
“As a devout Catholic, he held fast to belief in our fruitfulness, and he eschewed the false solutions offered by the LGBT community; as an astute clinician, he persevered to ensure that the healing arts and sciences still applied to persons with same-sex attraction who knew that they were stuck and needed to get on with life.
“He did it all with panache. He was a force of nature—youthful at 70 years old, mouthy, colorful, an unflagging provocateur of truth. He never lost focus. The last time I saw him was a year ago at his home with his wife; he exuberantly rehearsed a new paper he was presenting at NARTH, which he co-founded and designed as the only enduring network offering clinical care for persons with unwanted SSA.
“The sheer volume of his output in papers, books, and presentations around the globe is staggering and can be summed up in these words: humanity is created to realize its heterosexual potential, and homosexual behavior is a symptomatic attempt to repair early wounds that left the boy alienated from that potential–the innate masculinity that he has failed to claim. Sound psychotherapy is thus one means through which we can welcome the confirmation that eluded us in our wounds and recover our dignity as men from the illusion of seeking ‘completion’ in homoeroticism.
“I would urge you all to secure any of his books or articles. My personal favorite: Shame and Attachment Loss, published by IVP.
“Joe got it right. He never apologized for the light he shone. In 1980, he founded the Thomas Aquinas Clinic in Los Angeles the same year Desert Stream began in LA. He provided for me and my colleagues studying psychology a reasonable, clear direction amid the forces of irrationality. Ever exuberant, he seemed to enjoy the challenges he faced. He was born to burn calories caused by his contention that humanity has a direction born of God— a track that no activist can alter.
“God made Joe fit for the fight, and he did so brightly and boldly in the face of adversity. Some did not know what to do with him. We did know. We loved him. His gift freed us to embrace life. Exuberantly.”
From counselor Joe Dallas:
"You rarely put the words ‘gruff’ and ‘elegant’ together, but my friend Joe broke all the rules. He was gruff like a Bronx bar-hopping sailor, never one to mince words, hold back, or worry about the censors. I loved that about him, even if it made me wince more times than I can remember.
“But he was elegant too, in a classically male sense. He was a man's man who thought a man should look the part, which meant, to my chagrin, my being subjected to his critiques of my suits at virtually every conference we spoke at. He disliked mismatched colors or bad fits the way Pharisees disliked the most minute deviations from tradition. I would always shrug and promise to do better, but I don't think I ever managed to meet his high standards.
“In addition to his humor and keen intelligence, I remember a very brave man - an authentic culture warrior - who made kamikaze missions out of interviews, taking heaps of scorn from interviewers and guests and letting them bounce off him like eggs off teflon. He knew who he was, where he stood, and what he valued. Dear Lord, do we ever need more of his kind today! I miss him already, and I know, as do so many others, that an enormous void has been left.”
From Rev. Paul Wood (Toronto, Canada):
"What a tremendous loss! Dr.Nicolosi!!!! A truly great man! I never met him, but heard him speak many times. He was always right! He told the truth, no doubt due to his strong faith, and he did not hide his faith.
“He gave all of us courage and strength. He tackled the most difficult issue of homosexuality when he was in a minority.
“He knew the suffering of homosexuals and reached out to them. He didn't tell them to ‘stay that way, it's wonderful,’ because he knew it is not. He went against a huge avalanche; he faced corruption and propaganda. In time, gay people and all of us will see he was right. He was kind and loving and knew he was unpopular with many, due to the frenzy and betrayal of MOST of his colleagues.
“Joe cared. And he suffered for that. The world owes him a debt of gratitude. I will offer my next Mass for him and will pray for his family.
“We have lost a giant, a giant in science and psychology and a giant in faith and family. His work has been done and he has accomplished a great deal. We are bleak without him. Thank you Lord, for Joe; now please receive him into your heavenly kingdom and fill Joe with love.’”
From journalist Robert Knight:
"Joe's passing is a deep loss for America, and especially for the cause of truth.
“I will never forget talking to Joe and learning so much about the underlying causes of same-sex attraction and the ways to counter those influences.
“Joe was fearless, inventive and a leader in a field where most men fear to challenge what they know to be colossal lies, told from the highest levels of academia. He gave hope for real, lasting change, and endured many attacks for his boldness. May God grant him the peace that passes all understanding. I thank God for allowing Joe to touch the lives of so many.”
From psychologist Nathan A. Solomon, Ph.D.
"I have learned of Dr. Nicolosi's passing with deep sadness. Decency has lost a courageous warrior.”
From counselor David Pickup, M.A., LMFT:
"Dr. Joseph Nicolosi gave the world the truth about homosexuality within the high standards of psychological research and anecdotal evidence. He reflected the truth of our Creator in terms of God’s marvelous design for men and women within the interventions of authentic Reparative Therapy.
“As such, he gave unconditional love to same-sex attracted individuals who knew they were not born homosexuals. The gift he gave us was the kind of compassionate and brilliant psychotherapy that all therapists aspire to demonstrate. Authentic Reparative Therapy was designed to remove the roadblocks to the authentic self, and it will continue on forever in the minds and hearts of the many clients who experienced lasting change, and in the future of professional therapists who will carry on his work.”
From psychologist Jeff Danco, Psy.D.:
"I only had the privilege of meeting Joe once, at a NARTH conference in Philadelphia. For years I had read his carefully reasoned essays on treating homosexuality, and so to see him in person, I felt somewhat intimidated. But he did absolutely nothing to add to that; to the contrary, he flashed a warm, welcoming smile and seemed so genuinely and unpretentiously friendly. My work here in N.J.—occupied territory!--was always inspired by his clinical insights and demonstrable courage.
I studied in Southern California with psychologists who lectured on psycho-theological integration. Joe, in contrast, lived integration. And in so doing, he lived out his faith. That will always inspire me.
The secular leaders of the APA should honor Joe as a champion of client autonomy and self-determination, but of course they won't. That is left to us.
“Can you hear God say, ‘Well done’ to Joe? I can.”
From Rev. Daniel Whelan:
"I first came across Dr. Nicolosi's work while in the seminary in the 1990s. It was so refreshing to study his research into the factors that contribute to one's sexuality, and what may occur when this gets thwarted.
“As a priest who has been involved in the ministry of Courage, and who has given one-on-one spiritual care to those with same-sex attraction, I have always made Dr. Nicolosi's work a point of reference; and many times, I have recommended his work to those who are seeking to find answers.
“May God's eternal light shine upon Joseph Nicolosi, and may the angels of paradise lead him to heaven. In Christ, Fr. Daniel.”
From Arthur Goldberg, J.D.:
“There are no words to properly describe the shock and feeling of sadness when I heard about the death of my friend Joe Nicolosi. The way in which Joe touched people souls was incredible. His humor could always lighten a conversation. There is no way to adequately speak of the impact his teaching, counseling, and mentorship had on innumerable friends and colleagues.
“But his greatest impact was through the insights he developed which affected thousands of men and women who are now leading lives consistent with their fondest dreams. I don't think I can describe that impact any better than does a former struggler, one who successfully made the transition away from gay feelings, behavior, and identity. The former struggler wrote to me: ‘What a tragic loss for his family, and for the many thousands of men like us. I first heard him 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.’
“Joe was a dear friend with whom I worked concerning several areas of mutual interests for nearly 15 years. He will be missed. May G-d have mercy on his soul.”
From psychologist Julie Hamilton, Ph.D.:
"It is with complete shock and utter sadness that I sit to write these words about Dr. Joseph Nicolosi. It is hard to imagine that he is no longer here with us on this earth. I just spoke to him the week before he died, and as always, he was so full of life and wisdom.
“Joe was the leader of a movement— an incredibly insightful clinician, an excellent teacher, a wonderful mentor, a beloved husband and father, and a dear friend to so many of us. I had the joy and privilege of serving along side of Dr. Nicolosi on the board of NARTH for 10 years. I cannot begin to describe all that I learned from him during that time and in the years since that time. He is the one to whom I referred so many cases, the one with whom I could discuss any of my own cases, and the one who was always willing to give input on lectures I was giving.
“He was he one who was willing to do what was right regardless of whether or not it was popular, the one who was bold enough to speak up for those whose rights are overlooked, and the one who could lighten up any situation with his humor.
“He was also deeply committed to family values and God’s created order. I remember many years ago, when my husband and I were visiting Joe and Linda in their home. Joe had made a wonderful dinner (complete with basil and tomatoes that he picked from his garden). We were sitting in his backyard, talking about life. Joe asked us if we were ready to start a family. We told him we really were not sure about having a family. So Joe expressed very clearly to both of us about the importance of family, and that any other pursuits were not to be equated with the significance of family. His words that night impacted my husband and me very deeply. We’ve often joked that having our two amazing boys is partially the result of Joe’s encouragement and wisdom that night in his backyard.
“Joe has not only made an incredible impact on my life, but he has also left his mark on the world. As Harry S. Truman once wrote, it is '…men with fortitude, honesty, and a belief in the right that makes epochs in the history of the world.' Dr. Joseph Nicolosi is indeed one of those men.”
From Christopher Doyle, MA, LPC, LCPC
“When giants like Joseph Nicolosi leave this world too soon, one has to ask God, ‘why?’ As we grieve as a community, my prayer is that together, we can honor his life and work.
“Dr. Nicolosi was a pioneer in the therapeutic community for the treatment of men who experience unwanted same-sex attractions. Unlike those who came before him that approached therapy for homosexuality from a psychoanalytic perspective (in which he was also clinically trained), Nicolosi worked more from a psychodynamic approach that was later influenced by emotional/affect therapies for the treatment of trauma.
“In 1980, he founded and directed the Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic in Encino, California. At the age of 70, he was in the midst of completing groundbreaking research on the outcomes of clients in treatment.
“On a personal note, Dr. Nicolosi was a friend, mentor, and supporter of the work at the Institute for Healthy Families and Equality And Justice For All.
“My last meaningful interaction with Dr. Nicolosi was in August when he gave me feedback on one of the chapters of my upcoming book. Joe was enthusiastic about the concept of healthy attachment between parents and children, and his insights really shaped the way I was able to understand the scientific literature around the experience of male homosexuality. He was always eager to interact with young therapists, and was so approachable and willing to give of his time to educate and mentor the next generation.
“Let's remember and celebrate his legacy in the spirit that Joe would have liked - with laughter, courage, and unequivocal truth. Thanks Joe, for a life well-lived. You gave so much to all of us. You will be deeply missed.”