by Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D.


What Freud Really Said About Homosexuality - And Why

Joseph Nicolosi, PhD
Journal of Human Sexuality, vol. 7, 2016, pages 24-42.

Summary – There is increasing public and professional debate over the normality and treatability of male homosexuality. This warrants a return to the earliest professional understandings of the condition, i.e., the origins of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. While gay-affirmative theorists dismiss early psychoanalytic theory regarding the nature and causes of homosexuality, this perspective continues to offer a foundation for understanding same-sex attractions and for the application of effective therapeutic interventions. While often unclear about his views on homosexuality, in three primary and other peripheral writings, Freud depicts his diverse, perhaps ambivalent, views on the phenomenon. These views are summarized in seven categories: 1. The Reality of Reproduction. 2. The Theory of Universal Bisexuality. 3. Psychosexual Immaturity. 4. Homosexuality and Narcissism. 5. Reparative Concept. 6. Therapeutic Pessimism. 7. Homosexuality as “Perversion.” Working within the limited theoretical framework of the Oedipus Complex, Freud offered basic observations and fundamental principles which modern psychodynamic-oriented theories and therapies continue to develop.

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The Traumatic Foundation of Male Homosexuality

Joseph Nicolosi, PhD
Crisis Magazine, December 19, 2016

Summary – As a psychologist treating homosexually oriented men, I’ve watched with dismay as the LGBT movement has convinced the world that “gay” requires a revised understanding of the human person. The psychological profession is much to blame for this shift. Once, it was generally agreed that normality is “that which functions in accordance with its design.” […]

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A Call for the American Psychological Association to Recognize the Client with Unwanted Same-Sex Attractions

Joseph Nicolosi, PhD
Journal of Human Sexuality, vol. 6, page 6-21, 2014

Summary – Though the APA has endeavored to advocate for persons of various sexual orientations and gender identities, it has neglected to advocate for the homosexually oriented person who does not wish to claim a gay identity. This article discusses the possibility of decreasing unwanted homosexual attractions and exploring heterosexual potential and introduces the views of psychotherapists who support an individual’s right to pursue such change. Those advocates include APA past presidents Nicholas Cummings and Robert Perloff. Other clinicians have published peer-reviewed data that provides supporting evidence for successful sexual-reorientation therapy. Four recommendations are proposed.


Clients’ Perceptions Of How Reorientation Therapy And Self-Help Can Promote Changes In Sexual Orientation

A Dean Byrd, Ph.D., Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D., Richard Potts, Ph.D.
Psychological Reports, 2008, 102, 3 – 28

Summary – Presented is a summary of 882 homosexual people’s responses to five questions about sexual reorientation therapy. Of the 882 participants, 726 reported that they had received reorientation therapy from a professional therapist or a pastoral counselor. As a group, 779 (89.7%) of the participants viewed themselves as “more homosexual than heterosexual,” “almost exclusively homosexual” or “exclusively homosexual” before receiving reorientation therapy or making self-help efforts to change. The majority reported they believe sexual reorientation and various forms of self-help were helpful to them, psychologically, spiritually, and sexually.


Finally, Recognition of a Long-Neglected Population

Joseph Nicolosi
Archives of Sexual Behavior 32(5):445-447.  2003

Summary – As a clinical psychologist who has worked almost exclusively with homosexual men for over 15 years, and as the originator of the term “reparative therapy,” I am very grateful to Spitzer for giving a voice to ex-gays. Although this client population remains little recognized, there are hundreds of ex-gay men and women whose quiet and heroic struggles have been assisted by the clinicians associated with the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).  Some NARTH clinicians see same-sex attraction as a developmental disorder; others do not.  But whether or not they hold to the “disorder” theory, all of these clinicians have agreed to support clients who choose to diminish their unwanted homosexuality and develop their heterosexual potential.


A Meta-Analytic Review of Treatment of Homosexuality

A. Dean Byrd and Joseph Nicolosi
Psychological Reports, June 2002

Summary – This paper examined and synthesized studies of treatment of individuals identified as homosexual using meta-analytic technique.  A large number of studies (146) evaluating treatment efficacy were identified, most published prior to 1975 and 14 of which met inclusion criteria and provided statistics that could be used in a meta-analysis.  These 14 outcome studies were published between 1969 and 1982 and used primarily behavioral interventions.  Analysis indicated that treatment for homosexuality was significantly more effective than alternative treatment or control groups for homosexuality (ES=.72), and significant differences were found across pre- to post analysis (ES=.89).  In other words, the average patient receiving treatment was better off than 79% of those in the alternative treatments or as compared to pretreatment scores on the several outcome measures.  This meta-analysis of 14 studies provides empirical support for a group of 146 studies which have narratively suggested that treatment for homosexuality is effective.  Variables related to treatment efficacy are examined.


A Critique of BEM’s “Exotic Becomes Erotic” Theory of Sexual Orientation Development

Joseph Nicolosi and A. Dean Byrd
Psychological Reports, June 2002

Summary – A critique of Bem’s “Exotic Becomes Erotic” theory (1996) on the development of male homosexuality was offered. Limitations were outlined in light of relevant research findings.  The authors proposed an alternative model to explain male homosexuality, i.e., reparation of early boyhood trauma, which better accounts for significant psychodynamic elements and available research.  Finally, comparisons were made between specific elements of the two models.


A Developmental Model For Effective Treatment Of Male Homosexuality: Implications For Pastoral Counseling

Joseph Nicolosi, PhD
American Journal of Pastoral Counseling
Vol. 3, No. ¾. 2001. Pp. 87-99

Summary – Contemporary clinical literature rarely addresses the question of family factors in the formation of male homosexuality.  Yet most researchers freely admit that homosexually oriented men were not “born that way.”  This leaves a critical gap in our understanding of the homosexual condition and also hampers our ability to successfully treat dissatisfied homosexuals.  This paper utilizes the Classic Triadic Family model as identified by Bieber and others, and blends it with the Narcissistic Family system for a fuller understanding of a family model considered by the author to be prominent in the backgrounds of many homosexually oriented men.  Implications for reparative therapy and pastoral counseling as well as growth into one’s heterosexual potential are discussed.  [Article copies available for a fee from the Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-342-9678.  E-mail address:  Website:© 2001 by The Haworth Press, Inc.  All rights reserved.]


Retrospective Self-Reports of Changes in Homosexual Orientation: A Consumer Survey of Conversion Therapy Clients

Joseph Nicolosi, A. Dean Byrd, Richard W. Potts
Psychological Reports, June 2000

Summary – We present the results of a survey of 882 dissatisfied homosexual people whom we queried about their beliefs regarding conversion therapy and the possibility of change in sexual orientation. There were 70 closed-ended questions on the survey and 5 open-ended ones. Of the 882 participants, 726 of them reported that they had received conversion therapy from a professional therapist or a pastoral counselor. Of the participants 779 or 89.7% viewed themselves as “more homosexual than heterosexual,” “almost exclusively homosexual,” or “exclusively homosexual” in their orientation before receiving conversion therapy or making self-help efforts to change. After receiving therapy or engaging in self-help, only 305 (35.1%) of the participants continued to view their orientation in this manner.  As a group, the participants reported large and statistically significant reductions in the frequency of their homosexual thoughts and fantasies that they attributed to conversion therapy or self-help. They also reported large improvements in their psychological, interpersonal, and spiritual well-being. These responses cannot, for several reasons, be generalized beyond the present sample, but the attitudes and ideas are useful in developing testable hypotheses for further research.


Beliefs and Practices of Therapists who Practice Sexual Reorientation Psychotherapy

Joseph Nicolosi, A. Dean Byrd, Richard W. Potts
Psychological Reports, April 2000

Summary – There is currently controversy regarding whether sexual reorientation or conversion therapies are ethical and effective forms of treatment for dissatisfied homosexually oriented people. We present the results of a survey of 206 psychotherapists who practice sexual conversion therapy.  187 therapist said they believed homosexuality is a developmental disorder and that the 1973 decision by the American Psychiatric Association to “depathologize” homosexuality was politically motivated and unscientific.  The therapists believe that the majority of dissatisfied homosexually oriented clients who seek conversion therapy benefit from it, experiencing both changes in their sexual orientation and improved psychological functioning.  We conclude that therapists who persist in providing reorientation therapy do so because they believe it is an effective and ethical treatment option for their clients.