Therapeutic Guidelines

We recognize that homosexuality is not considered an illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). However, some question their sexuality while others experience unwanted SSA and wish to explore the possibility of change.

Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Unwanted Same-Sex Attractions and Behaviors 
The following is the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality's (NARTH) Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Unwanted Same-Sex Attractions and Behavior. These guidelines are intended for the treatment of clients who experience unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA) and behavior. Only clients who indicate they are distressed by their SSA and desire to change sexual attractions and behaviors will be treated according to these guidelines.

Attitudes Toward Clients Who Seek Change

Guideline 1. Clinicians are encouraged to recognize the complexity and limitations in understanding the etiology of same-sex attractions. 

Guideline 2. Clinicians are encouraged to understand how their values, attitudes, and knowledge about homosexuality affect their assessment of and intervention with clients who present with unwanted same-sex attractions and behavior. 


Guideline 3. Clinicians are encouraged to respect the value of clients' religious faith and refrain from making disparaging assumptions about their motivations for pursuing change-oriented interventions. 


Guideline 4. Clinicians are encouraged to respect the dignity and self-determination of all their clients, including those who seek to change unwanted same-sex attractions and behavior. 


Treatment Considerations


Guideline 5. At the outset of treatment, clinicians are encouraged to provide clients with information on change-oriented processes and intervention outcomes that is both accurate and sufficient for informed consent. 


Guideline 6. Clinicians are encouraged to utilize accepted psychological approaches to psychotherapeutic interventions that minimize the risk of harm when applied to clients with unwanted same-sex attractions. 


Guideline 7. Clinicians are encouraged to be knowledgeable about the psychological and behavioral conditions that often accompany same-sex attractions and to offer or refer clients for relevant treatment services to help clients manage these issues. 


Guideline 8. Clinicians are encouraged to consider and understand the difficult pressures from culture, religion, and family that are confronted by clients with unwanted same-sex attractions. 


Guideline 9. Clinicians are encouraged to recognize the special difficulties and risks that exist for youth who experience same-sex attractions.


Education

Guideline 10. Clinicians are encouraged to make reasonable efforts to familiarize themselves with relevant medical, mental health, spiritual, and religious resources that can support clients in their pursuit of change.


Guideline 11. Clinicians are encouraged to increase their knowledge and understanding of the literature relevant to clients who seek change, and to seek continuing education, training, supervision, and consultation that will improve their clinical work in this area.


A summary of these guidelines can be viewed at 
http://narth.com/2011/02/volume-2-of-the-journal-of-human-sexuality. Each of these treatment guidelines is explained in detail in Volume 2 of NARTH's Journal of Human Sexuality.

For more information, see: 
National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, Task Force on Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Unwanted Same-Sex Attractions and Behavior. (2010). Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Unwanted Same-Sex Attractions and Behavior. Journal of Human Sexuality, 2, 5-65.  © 2010 National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. Used by permission.