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World-Renowned Reparative Therapist Has Died

World-Renowned Reparative Therapist Has Died

By David W. Virtue, DD
March 12, 2017

Joseph Nicolosi, 70, a leading psychologist in reparative therapy, died unexpectedly this past week. His wife, Linda, of 39 years, sent me this note: "Joe was a threat to gay-activist ideology because, after 40 years of working with homosexually oriented men and hearing their stories and understanding their traumas, he simply "knew too much." He was brave enough -- one could say, reckless enough -- to let the world know what he knew...regardless of the consequences."

"Dr. Nicolosi had always hoped for his legacy as the creator of Reparative Therapy to go on. His career was dedicated to helping people align their lives with their deeply held convictions. Anyone, he stressed, is free to live his life as gay; but we are inevitably gendered beings, and our fullest humanity calls us to live out our biological design," said Linda.

Jeremy Schwab Kelly wrote on FACEBOOK, "There was never anyone "harmed" by his work or any Reparative Therapy. Anyone who says that is lying through their teeth. Every aspect of his work was about reducing shame and bringing real healing. I am alive today because of him as are thousands of others."

Linda, Joe's lifelong collaborator, is grateful for everyone's prayers and words of appreciation and shared these words: "Joe was certainly a larger-than-life, one-of-a-kind guy. He never worried about political correctness, he was happy to swim against the cultural tide when he was sure the culture was going in the wrong direction. That got him into trouble quite a few times. Gay-activist web sites, for example, are still fond of quoting the occasional risque jokes he made during his life in the public eye, and of showing and re-showing him tossing a mic back at a rude TV interviewer. But Joe had ardent convictions about the truth of male and female design, and because of his conviction and courage, his awareness that he would face biased reporters didn't stop him from appearing on Oprah Winfrey, Larry King Live, Hannity and Colmes, O'Reilly Factor, 20/20, Dr. Phil, BBC News, etc.

A Roman Catholic, he ran the Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic and was the former President of NARTH, (National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality). He is the author of several books On Reparative Therapy And Homosexuality, including, Shame And Attachment Loss: The Practical Work Of Reparative Therapy; bringing together a Judeo-Christian anthropology with biological and psychodynamic theories of human development and sexuality. Written in three parts, the book first describes the nature of the psychodynamics of same-sex attraction as understood in the reparative therapy approach. The second part describes the various phases of treatment. The final part deals with walking clients through the process of grieving and the healing of their wounding.

Endorsed by numerous notable leaders in psychotherapy, Nicolosi offered practical guidance for counselors and therapists who want to offer reparative therapy to those seeking change. He also wrote, Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach, which explored a reparative psychotherapy, was based on an understanding of the development of gender identity, offering to help the non-gay homosexual, that is, one who is unhappy with his sexual orientation. His first book, Healing Homosexuality: Case Stories Of Reparative Therapy, offered hope to many homosexuals who may have succumbed to despair," said Charles W. Socarides, M.D. Clinical Professor of Psychiatry Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

"Dr. Nicolosi's Healing Homosexuality is uplifting for the mental health field," wrote Benjamin Kaufman, M.D. Clinical Professor of Psychiatry University of California School of Medicine.

With Linda, his wife, he co-authored A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality. "Homosexuality: is it learned, biological or both? The answer to this question deeply concerns parents. They want to know how they can best raise their children. A common belief today is that nothing can be done to foster the development of healthy heterosexual orientation in children. But the clinical experience and professional research of Dr. Nicolosi and others indicates otherwise. In this groundbreaking book Joseph and Linda Ames Nicolosi uncover the most significant factors that contribute to a child's healthy sense of self as male or female. Listening to moving recollections from ex-homosexual men and women who describe what was missing in their own childhoods, the Nicolosis' provide clear insight for identifying potential developmental roadblocks and give practical advice to parents for helping their children securely identify with their gender. Replete with personal stories from parents, children and ex-homosexual strugglers, A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality offers compassion and hope for all those parents who seek to lay a foundation for a healthy heterosexual identity in their children."

"I had the privilege of organizing what (turned out to be) his very last conference. We had participants from 104 countries last Sunday and he graciously spent 3 hours trying to respond to everyone he could. Everyone who knew him knows what an awesome man he was. We are all heartbroken to lose him, but I (and many others) have dedicated ourselves to ensure his work continues on."

I personally saw Joe at work with some 100 men in London several years ago, men who had come voluntarily from England and across Europe to share their stories of unwanted same sex attractions. He struggled with them, fought with them, was tough when it was needed, laughed with them and never gave up on the possibility that they might experience healing in their lives. Our paths crossed on occasion over the years, but I will remember him as a pioneer and a healer and I believe it is God himself who will have the ultimate say, "well done."


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