Student Scholarship Award–NARTH Conference 2012

For the second year, the National Association of Research and Therapy offered the Joseph Nicolosi Student Scholarship Award at its annual conference. This award is given to a student who has made a significant contribution to research in areas of scientific interest to NARTH. This is one way NARTH can encourage the next generation of mental-health professionals to contribute to a greater understanding of successful therapy.

The graduate training programs today typically display an unwelcoming, if not hostile environment to any student who shows an interest in this area of study. The intent of this annual award is to enable NARTH to express its support and appreciation to students who have shown a willingness to take an unpopular stand for what they believe is the greater good. This year’s recipient of a $1,000 scholarship was William Stanus.

Mr. Stanus explained his work as follows:

My Master's thesis involves a qualitative, phenomenological investigation into the experiences of five men who have been in therapy for issues related to unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA) at the Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic in Encino, CA. This is a population of clients who continue to be neglected and misunderstood within the mental-health professions as well as the wider culture. Many would understand their struggle as one of internalized stigma or "homophobia," instead of seeing these men as having the ability to envision and pursue a life consistent with their own personal worldview and values. As such, I felt it critical to contribute to the scientific literature by allowing these men to tell their stories of being in reparative therapy. Theirs is primarily a story of the healing of masculine identity. Some of the themes that emerged in their stories were: painful family relationships, past experiences of abuse and gender-trauma, a history of shame as it manifests in the body, and the struggle to develop healthy same-sex emotional (non-erotic) intimacy. I was inspired by learning of their struggles and successes. My hope is that this project will assist in giving voice to a culturally disenfranchised minority.


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