BARBOURSVILLE, Va., Aug. 30, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- In a new survey of almost 500 people who have ever sought professional counseling to lessen unwanted homosexual attractions, more than half (55%) said the counseling was effective in causing the frequency and intensity of their homosexual attractions to diminish. And seven out of 10 said they were either satisfied (25%) or very satisfied (46%) with their counseling experience.
The survey was conducted by People Can Change (www.peoplecanchange.com), an international nonprofit organization of men who have successfully transitioned away from unwanted homosexuality who now support others seeking similar change. People Can Change sent the survey to its email lists of people who have experienced or are seeking sexual-orientation change, as well as therapists and leaders of ministries that support such change efforts. A total of 474 people from 19 countries answered the survey.
The survey is especially timely now as counseling to reduce same-sex attractions is again in the news. In California, the state legislature is preparing to send a bill (S.B. 1172) to the governor that would ban such therapy for minors, based on the theory that it is allegedly ineffective or harmful, and minors should always be encouraged to embrace "gay pride" instead. Meanwhile, the large "ex-gay" Christian ministry, Exodus, is suffering a serious rift within its membership over whether therapy is effective and whether significant sexual-orientation change really occurs.
The People Can Change survey found other reported outcomes from counseling were:
53% of respondents said their unwanted homosexual behaviors were reduced or eliminated
38% said heterosexual attractions emerged or increased
58% said any remaining homosexual attractions became less troubling
69% said their self-esteem improved
69% said their shame diminished
71% became more self-accepting
66% felt more at peace
"Hundreds of people are telling us their counseling worked, they benefited significantly, it helped them feel better about themselves -- and in some cases it even saved their lives," said Rich Wyler, founder and director of People Can Change. "Their voices have been largely silenced or ignored by pro-gay activists and mainstream media in favor of a more politically correct view, but the experience of these men and women is real. It is valid. They can tell you from firsthand experience that counseling to reduce homosexuality can be effective, even life-saving. Their voluntary choice to pursue change deserves respect."
Contrary to allegations of frequent harm, the survey found that only one in six respondents (17%) reported ever feeling harmed in any way by their counseling experience -- and this includes some who felt disrespected by counselors who turned out to have a gay-affirming bias and refused to support a client's desire to pursue change.
In fact, for many, the counseling was lifesaving. Among respondents who had experienced serious suicidal thoughts at one time, 76% said that as a result of the counseling, those thoughts became either much less (60%) or somewhat less (16%) serious and frequent. In comparison, 11% said their suicidal thoughts increased.
A full summary of the survey will be published shortly at www.peoplecanchange.com.