Motivational, ethical, and epistemological foundations in the treatment of unwanted homoerotic attraction

J Marital Fam Ther. 2003 Jan;29(1):13-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2003.tb00379.x.


A recent special section of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy (October, 2000) focusing on the mental health needs of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals neglected to address the clinical needs of homosexual persons who desire to increase their heterosexual potential. This article attempts to correct this omission by outlining common motivations for pursuing change, updating the current state of knowledge regarding the effectiveness of change efforts, and providing some ethical guidelines when therapists encounter clients who present with unwanted homoerotic attraction. Finally, to assist marriage and family therapists (MFTs) in more deeply understanding divergent perspectives about reorientation treatments, an examination of the role of moral epistemology is presented and some examples of its potential influence are described. MFTs are encouraged to recognize and accept, rather than ignore or deny the valid needs of clients who seek to modify their same-sex attraction.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Erotica*
  • Ethics, Professional*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Knowledge*
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Psychotherapy / ethics*
  • Psychotherapy / methods
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*