The April issue of the APA journal Professional Psychology: Research & Practice (Vol. 35, No. 2) includes an article, “Treating Patients Distressed Regarding Their Sexual Orientation: Clinical and Ethical Alternatives,” by Jon Lasser & Mike Gottlieb (pages 194-200).

Abstract: “Homosexuality and bisexuality have not been considered psychopathologies for many years, and recent research has suggested a wide variety of etiological considerations, many biologically based, to account for same-sex desire. Nevertheless, many patients still present with questions and distress regarding their sexual orientation. The authors address the question of how practitioners may manage these situations. To this end, the authors briefly review the background of the relevant issues, make various assumptions, consider therapists’ values, and present 4 alternatives available to practitioners who may be confronted with this situation. Each alternative is discussed with regard to its relevant ethical issues and clinical implications.”


“One of the most chronic and vexing moral debates plaguing our culture is that of sexual orientation. Many in our society continue to feel that homosexual or bisexual behavior is morally wrong. Unfortunately, many lesbians, gays, and bisexuals (LGBs) have internalized such values, and some become significantly distressed regarding their sexual orientation. One common consequence is that some individuals seek treatment to address these issues; in some cases, they will go so far as to request that their sexual orientation be changed via psychotherapy. Although some individuals seek to change from a homosexual-bisexual orientation to a heterosexual orientation, others seek more moderate goals, such as sexual identity management or celibacy. Psychologists who have not been previously interested in this issue may be inadvertently drawn into it when patients present with distress regarding their sexual desire. At such times, the psychologist must confront numerous clinical and ethical issues, such as determining appropriate treatment modalities, if any, as well as confronting his or her own values regarding the issues of homosexual-bisexual desire and behavior.”

Send reprint requests and other correspondence to:
Jon S. Lasser
Department of Educational Administration and Psychological Services
Texas State University-San Marcos
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666
JL30 [at]

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