Reparative Therapy®: What It Is, and What It Is Not

I have composed the chart (see below), based upon Dr. Nicolosi’s paper “Reparative Therapy: Examining the Controversy.” I do this in response to the vilification of Reparative Therapy by certain groups in legislative hearings, the press, and some religious groups, as well as in response to ignorance and misunderstanding on the part of the uninformed. I do not speak for or represent any other group in offering this submission.  

–Keith Vennum, M.D., LMHC


Reparative Therapy®:
What it is and what it is not

What It Is

Client sets the goals of therapy

Therapeutic Alliance is essential        

Client defines clear objectives

A conscious effort to reduce shame

Removes obstacles to emotional development

Techniques that for many clients reduce unwanted same sex attractions

Client experiences a shift along a continuum

Assumption that most same-sex attractions arises from a sense of masculine inferiority and unmet needs for male attention, affection and approval

An assumption that same-sex attraction has underlying psychological cause

A willingness to explore sex abuse as a possible contributing factor

Exploration of anxieties about relating to men and women                                         

Full disclosure of therapist’s beliefs about homosexuality

Client is always free to disagree with the therapist

Treatment always meets professional practice standards

Evidence-based education to enhance the client’s safety about the gay lifestyle

What it is Not

Coercion and manipulation involved

Therapy is imposed on the client

The therapist imposes goals

An exercise in shaming client

Forced attempt to change

                                                                      A guaranteed change

                                                                      A categorical change

                                                                      A required approach for everyone


                                                                Same-sex attraction is biologically determined

Assumes that they are unrelated


Imposed behavioral exercises with men and women

A hidden agenda to manipulate the client

                                                                  The therapist is always right

                                                            Aversion therapy and other unprofessional techniques

Therapists threaten or frighten client with skewed information