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Christopher Doyle responds to Exodus International shutting down

July 08, 2013 By: Tom Coy Category: Ex-gay News, Homosexuality Causation, Sexual Orientation Change Efforts

June 21, 2013

Following is the press release “Largest Christian Ministry Helping Individuals Leave Homosexuality Shuts Down – Despite the Closing of Exodus, International Healing Foundation Remain Steadfast” distributed by the International Healing Foundation: Bowie, MD – On June 19, 2013 Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, the largest Christian ministry assisting individuals who wish to leave the homosexual life, announced that it is closing its doors and apologized to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community for years of messages that people with same-sex attraction could change through prayer, counseling, and spiritual devotion.

It is saddening that Exodus, under its current leadership, has made statements over the efficacy of Sexual Orientation Change Effort (SOCE) when many of its same-sex attracted (SSA) leaders have failed to undergo such treatment themselves. Such leaders are also unqualified to make these statements due to their lack of training and education in the psychological field.

Out of respect for Alan Chambers and the work of Exodus, International Healing Foundation (IHF) has refrained from making public statements over the last few years against Exodus during their transitional time, despite what we believe have been significant errors and misjudgment on their part on the nature of sexual orientation change. However, we have and continue to remain steadfast in our belief that real change in sexual orientation is possible, based on hundreds of our own client outcomes, thousands of testimonies circulating in popular culture, and one hundred years of psychological and scientific reports published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

This is not to say that some clients that have undergone SOCE have failed to achieve change. Perhaps some of these clients genuinely believe they have been harmed; and that is not inconsistent with others forms of psychotherapy, whose outcomes report that 5-10 percent of clients have felt harmed by their treatment experience. Such outcomes are tragic, yet inevitable. What is even more tragic, however, is the message sent by the current leadership of Exodus, that attempts to change sexual orientation are inherently harmful and ineffective. Such statements, whether implicit or explicit, are unscientific, inaccurate, and discouraging to the thousands of persons who are distressed by unwanted SSA and seek help from qualified mental health practitioners.

IHF has always operated as a scientific and therapeutic organization, but we see the value in referring our clients to faith-based ministries, such as those that have operated under the Exodus umbrella, for support, encouragement, and accountability. It saddens us that Exodus, who has offered hope to so many for thirty-seven years, is shutting down. What is even more distressing is the message that Exodus, under its current leadership, has been sending to individuals who are conflicted, confused, and/or unhappy over their unwanted SSA; mainly, that 99.9% of people do not change their homosexual feelings.

What is perhaps the most discouraging element in the evolution of Exodus is the lack of persistence among leadership to understand their own internal meaning and causes of unwanted SSA. It is our clinical experience that when such persons do not fully explore and work through their own psychological drives that cause SSA, real and lasting change often does not occur. It appears this is also true for the current leadership of Exodus, especially when such statements as “99.9% do not change . . .”

Since 1990, IHF has operated as a scientific and psychological-based non-profit organization that offers psychotherapy, counseling, coaching, and education over the development of same-sex attraction, and the treatment for clients with unwanted SSA who wish to resolve those feelings and pursue heterosexuality. Over twenty-three years of work, our therapists, counselors, and coaches have helped thousands of individuals who experience unwanted SSA resolve those feelings and pursue their heterosexual potential. We have also helped countless parents and family members reconcile their relationships with LGBT-identified loved ones.

IHF recognizes that sexuality and sexual orientation is a complex and multi-faceted part of an individual’s composition, and involves more than just sexual arousal, behaviors, feelings, and desires. Sexual orientation is influenced by attachment, bonding, and other psychological drives, as well as an individual’s temperament, environment, culture, and psychosocial experiences, among other factors. Change in sexual orientation, namely from a homosexual to a heterosexual orientation, is not easy, and is not necessarily binary.

Some clients may experience a complete resolution of their unwanted SSA over the course of therapy, while others may experience smaller, significant changes on a continuum; still others may fail to achieve progress towards reducing SSA and increasing heterosexual feelings, despite considerable effort. Such experiences are consistent with a wide range of clinical issues that clients seek professional help from, with varying outcomes ranging from client to client.

It must also be noted that certain co-occurring disorders may affect a client’s progress towards reducing unwanted SSA and achieving heterosexuality; therapists, counselors, and coaches operating within the IHF network should always share such information with their clients at the outset of treatment, pursue supervision when such cases present challenges, and refer clients to higher-qualified therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists when complex issues arise outside their area of expertise and practice. Most importantly, however, is that a client’s right of self-determination be respected as they seek to work through complex issues of sexuality; IHF maintains and holds this principle at the foundation of its work.

Despite the fact that Exodus will cease to exist in its current form, I hope that the Board and leadership of Exodus will find their way in this complex discussion and debate on homosexuality. Despite my judgment of Alan Chamber’s professional leadership, I continue to hold him, his wife Leslie, and his family in my highest regard as they find their way. Even though we fundamentally disagree on some aspects of this issue, I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Alan’s authenticity and desire to seek truth, wherever that may lead him. I am also confident that the work in which Exodus International started nearly forty years ago will be improved though organizations such as IHF, NARTH, Evergreen International, JONAH, People Can Change, and the newly formed
Restored Hope Network.

Sincerely Yours,
Christopher Doyle, M.A.
International Healing Foundation
Contact: Sara Vars, 301-805-6111!&utm_medium=email