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Source: (consider it) Thread: NYT ex-gay article
orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
You have committed the fallacy of assuming that the people whose sexuality has changed are somehow more in control of their sexuality than those whose sexuality hasn't.

If it was possible to change your sexuality, then there wouldn't be a problem. Ex-gays would be able to change themselves back into gays again, and the problem would be solved.

It's precisely because they can't change themselves back into gays that the problems they face arise in the first place. And, to add insult to injury, it seems that the only people who are prepared to take that seriously, and to provide any support (flawed though it is), are the Christian fundamentalists.

And you're arguing in knots, because it was the fundamentalist Christians who told this man HE COULD CONTROL HIS SEXUALITY.

Not me. Them. So it's completely bizarre for you try to turn this around and say I'm the one propagating fallacy. He didn't change his declared sexuality because it just naturally happened. He 'changed his sexuality' because people told him (1) he COULD, and (2) he SHOULD.

[ 25. June 2011, 10:29: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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Jessie Phillips
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
As well as seconding mousethief's response, I don't see where you got the idea that I had vitriol against ex-gays for 'not being as gay as they should be' to begin with.

Any harshness in this thread has been directed at (1) people who tell people they OUGHT to become 'ex-gay', and (2) probably you for mounting arguments that make no sense whatsoever.

That may be. But for a person who is ex-gay, it can be hard to make that distinction. All they hear is that people don't take them seriously - and that people get angry at the suggestion that perhaps they might now be straight, when they thought they were gay in the past.

quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Put it this way: if there was a person who said that they were gay, didn't have a problem with being gay, but they weren't gay anymore, I doubt that would trouble me.

This is not about you personally.

You see, any of us could just as easily say that if there was a person who said that they were straight, didn't have a problem with being straight, but they weren't straight any more, then it wouldn't trouble us.

But that doesn't change the fact that coming out can be a difficult and frightening experience for some.

Or are you now telling me that coming out is a trivially simple matter, and that anyone who ever says they found it difficult to come to terms with being gay, is just a histrionic attention-seeker who's making mountains out of molehills?

Looks like a double-standard to me.

quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
But that is not this situation. What we have here is the usual: a person who says that they were gay, but (hallelujah!) they've seen the light!

I don't see how it's any different to the triumphalism that is sometimes associated with people's coming out stories.

quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
And you're arguing in knots, because it was the fundamentalist Christians who told this man HE COULD CONTROL HIS SEXUALITY.

So you're telling me that fundamentalists convincing gays that they can control their own sexuality is a serious problem, then?

The way I look at it is this: a person either can change their sexuality, or they can't. If they can't, then it should be self-evident that they can't. So the attempts that Christian fundamentalists make to convince them otherwise won't make any difference.

So, what exactly is the problem here?

  • Is it that the fundamentalists are actually right?
  • Or is it that that the ex-gays secretly know that the fundamentalists are wrong, but, for some reason, they see fit to peddle their myths anyway?

If it's the former, then I can't see why that would actually be a problem. So let's suppose for a moment that it's the latter. Why do you suppose an ex-gay might be motivated to toe the fundamentalist line?

Try and empathise for a moment, and see it from the ex-gay's point of view.

If it was actually true that they could control their sexuality, then why would they put up with all the vitriol that gets thrown at them by the gay community for being a traitor to the cause?

Do you seriously think that being alienated from their former friends is something that causes them absolutely no pain whatsoever?

Surely it would be a lot simpler for ex-gays just to cut the crazy fundies loose, change back to being gay again, so that they can enjoy the benefit of the mutual support network of the LGBT community, who, you'd have thought, could understand them and empathise with their plight much much better than the Christian fundies possibly can.

But for some reason, that doesn't happen.

The way I see it is that there's a turf war going on, between the LGBT ideologists, and the Christian fundamentalists. They both want to claim the ex-gays for their own. I personally don't believe that either side has got the moral high ground - but it's not hard for me to see how the fundamentalists might be able to get the edge from time to time.

If the LGBT ideologists want to win that war, then they will need to go one better than the Christian fundamentalists. How hard can that be? By your own admission, the fundamentalists manipulate people into spending their time propagate stuff that clearly isn't true. So they're not exactly bastions of the hospitality ethic, now, are they?

But if, in spite of the low standards of the fundamentalists, the LGBT ideologists still can't do any better, then I don't think the LGBT ideologists can claim the moral high ground.

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Barnabas62
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Yep. "Could" and "should" seem to be the key words here. If in a mirror-image experience someone told me that my heterosexual orientation was not something I was stuck with, that I could change it and should change it, I'd find it hard to believe that I could and even dafter to believe that I should. But that's the way I am. Not everyone is.

I guess there are three main categories here.

1. Folks who are sure that their orientation is hetero- or homo- and who believe and act accordingly.

2. Folks who are sure that their orientation is, to some greater or lesser extent bi- and who believe and act accordingly.

3. Folks who are not sure about their sexual orientation and find the whole issue a puzzle.

If you're in category 3, the best kind of help you can get is from somebody who doesn't really mind how you resolve your uncertainty.

Most folks I've met fall into categories 1 or 2, but I have talked with a few in category 3. One time, I listened to a young man talk through his confusion. He thought he might be gay, even though he really was attracted to girls, and wasn't turned on by men. Couldn't work it out.

Turned out that an element of chavvyness in his peer group had given him the impression that sensitivity and emotional openness were characteristics of females and gays, but not "real" men. Not so much said, more implied. "Good Lord", I thought, "macho man rides again".

After the conversation, I was pretty sure he was strongly hetero-, but a good deal less sure about one or two of his more chavvy friends. Seemed to me likely that there was some compensation and smokescreening going on.

A personal lesson I learned was the realisation that I wasn't bothered about which direction the clarification led to. Far better for him just to understand himself better, whatever that meant. A classic non-nouthetic counsellor's guideline at work, but it made moral sense as well.

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
If you're in category 3, the best kind of help you can get is from somebody who doesn't really mind how you resolve your uncertainty.

I know this is classic non-nouthetic advice ... and B62 down to a't' ... but I'd like to push you further on this -

Do you really mean this? Doesn't mind at all? What if they resolved it by going out and having sex with any animal, vegetable or mineral they wanted? What if it was without consent?

IME there is no such thing really as completely non-nouthetic counselling. Or at least if there was B62 wouldn't sign up for it.

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orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
The way I look at it is this: a person either can change their sexuality, or they can't. If they can't, then it should be self-evident that they can't. So the attempts that Christian fundamentalists make to convince them otherwise won't make any difference.

What. Absolute. Rubbish.

The attempts that were made to convince me otherwise did massive amounts of damage. They certainly prolonged my psychological suffering by... *rough calculations* 5 to 10 years.

The rest of your post is so full of appalling stupidity that I don't kmow where to begin. You constantly speak of 'double standards' while fusing together concepts that aren't equivalent. You use analogies that don't make any sense.

I have no idea what your agenda is here. As far as I can tell, you're furiously trying to defend the right of people to change their sexuality of their own free will, while providing no evidence whatsoever that this actually ever happens. Here in the real world, people respond and react to the pressures that are put on them. Those pressures are not equal and opposite.

Christian fundamentalists do not go around saying 'hey, did you know that you can change your sexuality if they want to'. They go around saying 'this is not really you and you MUST change'. I have never, ever met a gay person that goes around saying that to their outwardly straight friends.

And for your information, a heck of a lot of ex-gays become ex-ex-gays. Not only is the failure rate of these ex-gay programs massive, so is the 'recividism' rate. So guess what? What you suggested would happen, but then dismisssed, IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS!

Frankly, if you want to continue this discussion any further, I suggest we move it to Hell. Because I doubt I can limit my frustration at your bizarre methods of argument any longer. Your only position seems to be a desire to be as vague and unclear as possible.

[ 25. June 2011, 14:06: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
I don't see how it's any different to the triumphalism that is sometimes associated with people's coming out stories.

[brick wall] Because they are celebrating COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS, not exact opposites!! [brick wall]

Celebrating a change of sexuality/sexual behaviour and celebrating a new openness about sexuality are totally different. And this is what I mean when I refer to you fusing concepts together in ways that make no sense. The difference between the two 'celebrations' is so breathtakingly obvious that I can only conclude you haven't the slightest idea about coming out. AT ALL. And probably not about ex-gay programs either.

Well I've been around both, thanks.

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orfeo

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For your analogy to work, an ex-gay would have to be someone who secretly knew they were straight all along, and has finally declared to the world that fact after years of pretending to be gay.

That is not how it's dealt with in any ex-gay program I have either been part of or heard about. It's a completely bizarre proposition.

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Louise
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Hi Orfeo,
If it's any help, I notice that Jessie makes the same kind of posts on the abortion threads, so I don't think it's anything to do with this issue, but more to do with his style of posting.

So I wouldn't bother getting upset by the content of his posts, I dont think anyone is in any danger of being convinced of anything by them. As to why he posts in this way- that would have to be a Hell call. But don't let it provoke you!

cheers,
Louise

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
You will not find anyone who says they were straight but (hallelujah!) they've seen the light and become homosexual. Except possibly a particularly fundmanetalist advocate of population control.

[Killing me] [Overused]

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Barnabas62
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# 9110

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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
If you're in category 3, the best kind of help you can get is from somebody who doesn't really mind how you resolve your uncertainty.

I know this is classic non-nouthetic advice ... and B62 down to a't' ... but I'd like to push you further on this -

Do you really mean this? Doesn't mind at all? What if they resolved it by going out and having sex with any animal, vegetable or mineral they wanted? What if it was without consent?

IME there is no such thing really as completely non-nouthetic counselling. Or at least if there was B62 wouldn't sign up for it.

Aren't you mixing up orientation and behavioural ethics? Or maybe I am!

I was actually thinking about the difference between Carl Rogers and Jay Adams. You're right that no one completely checks their moral code at the counselling door, but there's a difference between knowing that and imposing that.

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TubaMirum
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quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:

Try and empathise for a moment, and see it from the ex-gay's point of view.

If it was actually true that they could control their sexuality, then why would they put up with all the vitriol that gets thrown at them by the gay community for being a traitor to the cause?

Do you seriously think that being alienated from their former friends is something that causes them absolutely no pain whatsoever?

Surely it would be a lot simpler for ex-gays just to cut the crazy fundies loose, change back to being gay again, so that they can enjoy the benefit of the mutual support network of the LGBT community, who, you'd have thought, could understand them and empathise with their plight much much better than the Christian fundies possibly can.

But for some reason, that doesn't happen.

The way I see it is that there's a turf war going on, between the LGBT ideologists, and the Christian fundamentalists. They both want to claim the ex-gays for their own. I personally don't believe that either side has got the moral high ground - but it's not hard for me to see how the fundamentalists might be able to get the edge from time to time.

If the LGBT ideologists want to win that war, then they will need to go one better than the Christian fundamentalists. How hard can that be? By your own admission, the fundamentalists manipulate people into spending their time propagate stuff that clearly isn't true. So they're not exactly bastions of the hospitality ethic, now, are they?

But if, in spite of the low standards of the fundamentalists, the LGBT ideologists still can't do any better, then I don't think the LGBT ideologists can claim the moral high ground.

Except that Michael Glatze is not merely an "ex-gay" with a "live-and-let-live" attitude; he's on a crusade against homosexuality, by his own admission.

quote:
“Homosexuality, delivered to young minds, is by its very nature pornographic,” he claimed. In a second WorldNetDaily article a week later, he said that he was “repulsed to think about homosexuality” and that he was “going to do what I can to fight it.”

....

“God loves you more than any dude will ever love you,” he told me at the cafe. “Don’t put your faith in some man, some flesh. That’s what we do when we’re stuck in the gay identity, when we’re stuck in that cave. We go from guy to guy, looking for someone to love us and make us feel O.K., but God is so much better than all the other masters out there.”

Michael, who is 36, now often refers to gay life as a kind of cave — or cage. In an open letter to Ricky Martin, published on WorldNetDaily after Martin came out, he wrote, “Homosexuality is a cage in which you are trapped in an endless cycle of constantly wanting more — sexually — that you can never actually receive, constantly full of emptiness, trying to justify your twisted actions by politics and ‘feel good’ language.”

I mean, this is a generalization extended to all gay people - but based only on his own personal experience. He doesn't seem to realize he's projecting his own feelings onto everybody else, either. (I mean, this isn't my experience at all.)

So in fact, he is a "traitor" - not to any "cause," but to his own friends, by claiming things about them that simply aren't true. If he'd just have talked about himself, and his own experience, I don't think anybody would be troubled at all.

Even so, in fact, he did get some sympathy from the very people he's attacking; at least one person in the article stated, openly, that he was "worried about [Michael]." And nobody has attacked him at all.

It would probably be good if you read the article. Then you'd have some idea of what the facts are here.

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Timothy the Obscure

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quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:
That said, one has to be skeptical of claims to have changed from gay to straight, simply because there have been so many examples of such claims that turned out to be false.

Okay. But should we not also be sceptical of claims to have changed from straight to gay, for the same reason?

You have to take social desirability into account. And most people I know whose behavior changed from straight to gay didn't say they changed, they said they discovered the true gay self they'd really been all along. Which has to be take with a grain of salt in the light of our well-documented tendency to recall our past feelings and attitudes in a way that harmonizes with our current ones.

I should say that I don't believe the malleability of sexual orientation has any bearing at all on the moral question. Even if people could change it at will, there's no reason why they should.

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When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:
That said, one has to be skeptical of claims to have changed from gay to straight, simply because there have been so many examples of such claims that turned out to be false.

Okay. But should we not also be sceptical of claims to have changed from straight to gay, for the same reason?

You have to take social desirability into account. And most people I know whose behavior changed from straight to gay didn't say they changed, they said they discovered the true gay self they'd really been all along. Which has to be take with a grain of salt in the light of our well-documented tendency to recall our past feelings and attitudes in a way that harmonizes with our current ones.

I should say that I don't believe the malleability of sexual orientation has any bearing at all on the moral question. Even if people could change it at will, there's no reason why they should.

Social desirability is an interesting card to play in this context. Fifty years ago (and come to think of it in most periods of history in most cultures) when homosexuality was very generally regarded as a pathological condition, I guess any of us might take the pragmatic view when talking to someone who believed they had a choice over orientation and sexual expression and say "why don't you save yourself a whole parcel of trouble and go with the majority?". I'm saying that was pragmatic advice, not moral advice. In practice, I'm sure such advice has been given and my guess is it may have sometimes got in the way of personal self-awareness. That's it's danger.

But western culture sees things differently now. It's much more a free (i.e. not loaded) choice for those who think they have a choice. If you're like me, and never perceived you had a choice in the first place, the question of the morality, or pragmatism, attached to any such choice doesn't arise.

I think that made my life easier; I have sympathies for those for whom such issues are things they need to face up to.

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John Holding

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Right, Barnabas.

The one gay guy I knew who started out thinking he was straight discovered his gayness after a failed marriage to a woman -- she left him, but not because he was gay, rather because they apparently couldn't conceive. His discovery that he was gay came later, and his same-sexrelationship -- now a marriage -- even later.

But all this was happening over 30 years ago, when there was no good reason at all for him to "become gay". He still is one of the "straightest" men I know in terms of interests, appearance, behaviour and all the rest, and works (as he did then) for a major international which couldn't care less what turns him on. The idea that there might be social reasons for "choosing to be gay" certainly doesn't work for him. (And I'm never sure quite how much validity to give to the concept of "choosing to be gay", which is what Jessie's position is, in essense. Absolutely none is where I start.)

John

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Timothy the Obscure

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I will say that I knew people (both male and female) back in the '70s who did, according to them, choose to be bisexual--and at the same time they insisted that they were getting in touch with their true nature--on the grounds that heterosexuality was inherently counter-revolutionary.

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Barnabas62
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# 9110

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That strikes me as a pretty perverse way to think, Timothy. It seems reasonable to argue, following Kinsey, that human sexuality is more a matter of a spectrum than a matter of poles. But spectrum thinking doesn't rule out folks being at, or pretty much at, the poles, unless one thinks that folks are distributed uniformly along the spectrum. There is pretty strong evidence that is not so.

As a matter of justice, it also seems reasonable to argue that prejudice against people whose sexual orientation is different to the majority is not fair, however deep seated it has often been in human culture. That is pretty much my position.

But to assert that we should express our sexuality for political reasons, rather than in accordance with one's own nature and preferences strikes me as majorly cross-grained. "As a demonstration of an asserted freedom that folks should be free to act responsibly in accordance with their innate nature, I'm going to live bisexually, regardless of my own innate nature". There's something off-base in that assertion, surely?

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Johnny S
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# 12581

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Aren't you mixing up orientation and behavioural ethics?

Quite possibly, my question involves the degree it is possible to treat the two as distinct.


quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
You're right that no one completely checks their moral code at the counselling door, but there's a difference between knowing that and imposing that.

I don't follow you. Are you saying, for example, that if your counsellee wanted to explore something non-consensual that you would not try at all to steer them in a different direction?
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Arabella Purity Winterbottom

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# 3434

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
But to assert that we should express our sexuality for political reasons, rather than in accordance with one's own nature and preferences strikes me as majorly cross-grained. "As a demonstration of an asserted freedom that folks should be free to act responsibly in accordance with their innate nature, I'm going to live bisexually, regardless of my own innate nature". There's something off-base in that assertion, surely?

Yup, and cross-grained was definitely the description I would give of the women I knew who called themselves lesbians for political reasons at the height of the feminist revolution - actually, I'd have called them just plain cross. There were a significant number of them at the time I was first coming out in the early 80s, and they were a bloody pain in the neck to be around. Fortunately most of them did revert to what was normal for them quite quickly. I wouldn't say that they ever were really lesbians in terms of changing their sexual orientation, so I don't think they count in terms of this discussion. They're a historical oddity and I've only come across one other subsequently.

On the other hand, I know only a few lesbians who have never had a relationship with a man - at one stage I was the only one in my circle who hadn't been previously married to a man.

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Huia
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Arabella - I wouldn't be at all surprised if we met some of the same people. They were the only women I have ever met who identified as lesbian and put pressure on straight women. Thank heavens they do seem to have disappeared into the woodwork.

Huia

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
You're right that no one completely checks their moral code at the counselling door, but there's a difference between knowing that and imposing that.

I don't follow you. Are you saying, for example, that if your counsellee wanted to explore something non-consensual that you would not try at all to steer them in a different direction?
I'm not sure all centres work the same way, because of differences in both law and ethics of association. The centre where I worked had clear guidelines to cover these situations and these were as follows.

1. At the outset, we explained that complete confidentiality could not be offered; if we heard about illegal personal behaviour, (e.g non-consensual sex, both by force or with those under age), we had a duty of care to inform authorities. That was part of the client contract. The law is, or maybe used to be, a bit murky in this area in the UK. It provides counsellors with limited protection re client confidentiality; there have been test cases and since I'm no longer practising, I'm not sure where the current dividing line stands.

2. As a matter of practice, should a conversation look as though it was heading that way, we would step in immediately with a reminder of the guidelines to which they had agreed and ask them if they were sure they wanted to continue with the conversation.

In general Johnny there is a difference between reflecting back what you've heard and giving an impression that you collude with or approve of any particular behaviour. In short, you don't have to go down the Jay Adams directive route in order to preserve personal integrity in counselling. Sometimes it's a fine line.

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Johnny S
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Thanks B62, that makes much more sense.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Sometimes it's a fine line.

Sure is.

If your 'line' is defined by law then, for matters of sexuality certainly, that line has been re-drawn several times during your lifetime.

The grey just got greyer.

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Timothy the Obscure

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
That strikes me as a pretty perverse way to think, Timothy. It seems reasonable to argue, following Kinsey, that human sexuality is more a matter of a spectrum than a matter of poles. But spectrum thinking doesn't rule out folks being at, or pretty much at, the poles, unless one thinks that folks are distributed uniformly along the spectrum. There is pretty strong evidence that is not so.

As a matter of justice, it also seems reasonable to argue that prejudice against people whose sexual orientation is different to the majority is not fair, however deep seated it has often been in human culture. That is pretty much my position.

But to assert that we should express our sexuality for political reasons, rather than in accordance with one's own nature and preferences strikes me as majorly cross-grained. "As a demonstration of an asserted freedom that folks should be free to act responsibly in accordance with their innate nature, I'm going to live bisexually, regardless of my own innate nature". There's something off-base in that assertion, surely?

I thought so at the time, and still do. I rather suspect that most of them have now backslid into heterosexuality now that the political imperatives seem different.

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When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
  - C. P. Snow

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:

If your 'line' is defined by law then, for matters of sexuality certainly, that line has been re-drawn several times during your lifetime.

The grey just got greyer.

Probably worth another comment here. In essence, when working as a counsellor, it is important to have personal lines but applying them responsibly means you have to know the law as it applies to counselling practice.

At any time, in a particular situation, any one of us is free to apply our personal line, regardless of what the law says - or our counselling centre rules indicate - and be prepared to take the consequences. That's the way conscience works, not just in counselling but in many situations in life. The most important thing is to know what lines are there and make sure one's actions are informed by that. They do not have to be determined by those lines.

Or as Asimov pithily observed in one of his books, "never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right". Christianity and situation ethics, anyone? Sometimes he who is not against us is for us, sometimes he who is not for us is against us. Life can get pretty knife edged when seeking to do the right thing.

[ 28. June 2011, 08:11: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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