Join us at the beautiful Orlando Airport Holiday Inn on September 25 and 26, 202.
Special Alliance Institute room rates are available.
Alliance 2019 Institute Report
By Christopher Rosik, PhD
The annual conference of the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity was held this year at Arizona Christian University in Glendale, AZ. Enthusiastic attendees from around the country enjoyed food, fellowship, and cutting-edge seminars on a variety of topics. Our keynote speaker was Christopher Doyle, MA, LPC, who is a licensed psychotherapist, executive director of the Institute for Healthy Families, Founder and Director of Northern Virginia Christian Counseling, and a mental health counselor and staff member at Patrick Henry College. Christopher spoke compassionately about his work with families who are dealing with a sexual minority child and the need to promote healthy relationships and boundaries within the family system. He cautioned that a focus on sexual attractions and identity is often not productive in such work and any changes in sexuality possible may come downstream of promoting greater health and attachment within family relationships. In an earlier breakout session, Christopher also spoke about his recent book, The war on psychotherapy, which documents the strategies and distortions of those promoting therapy bans.
Other presenters included Laura Haynes, Ph.D., who reviewed the purported genetic and biological influences that may give rise to same-sex attractions and behaviors and provided information suggesting even some scholars within the American Psychological Association have indicated there is room for psychological factors to be considered. She cited research that affirms the reality of sexual orientation fluidity and change, contending that messages denying this possibility and alienating individuals from their faith and family may in fact contribute to hopelessness and suicidality among religiously conservative sexual minorities. She contended that the relevant scientific literature supports the rights of individuals to pursue sexual attraction fluidity exploration in therapy (SAFE-T).
In addition, David Pickup, MFT, and Robert Vazzo, MFT, shared with attendees the utility of Image Transformation Therapy (ImTT) with clients generally and same-sex attracted men in particular. They engaged attendees in a demonstration of ImTT and encouraged them to investigate this relatively new approach. In another workshop, Mike Cox, LCSW, shared his cognitive-behavioral, change focused, and client-centered approach to assisting clients overcome stumbling blocks and achieving change in their lives. Andy Visser, MA, shared his insights on how people can form safe, loving, and nurturing relationships with LGBT-identified persons. Jenae Juarez, LCSW, shared her experiences working with Native American peoples in Arizona. She provided a detailed cultural history of the Native American Tribes of Arizona, including their attitudes toward same-sex attractions, that could aid therapists encountering this often poorly understood cultural group. David Pruden, MA, and Geoff Heath, JD, reviewed the rationale for the Alliance’s “No Harm” initiative and went over the specific content proposed for model legislation that could change the conversation around therapy bans.
Other presenters included current Alliance President Keith Vennum, MD, Monica Breaux, PhD, MSW, Christopher Rosik, Ph.D., and Phil Sutton, Ph.D. This year two President’s Awards for outstanding service to the Alliance were conferred, one to long time Executive Director David Pruden, MA, and the other to Past Alliance President Carolyn Pela, Ph.D.
Overall, the 2019 conference provided an excellent opportunity to be exposed to professional scholars, topics, and perspectives that are largely ignored within contemporary mental health associations as they move away from traditional values and toward a left-of center ideological domination regarding matters of human sexuality. If, upon reading this recap, you wish you could have attended this year’s conference, the Alliance would encourage you to reserve the dates of September 25th and 26th, 2020, in your calendar now, when next year’s conference will return to Orlando, Florida.
Call for Workshop Presentations for 2020
The Alliance for Therapeutic Choice holds an annual training institute in the fall of each year where licensed counselors, therapists, academics and other para-professionals can participate in a professional training program - open to all conference attendees -that leads to an Alliance Preferred Provider status for referral therapists and a similar recognition for students, new professionals, and non-referral clinicians. The faculty for the professional training program are selected by the Board of Directors from established Alliance member therapists, physicians, academics and researchers.
In addition, we invite all Alliance for Therapeutic Choice members to participate as a workshop presenter or discussion leader at the annual Training Institute on clinical, legal, sociological, research, health and other related issues concerning various aspects of human sexuality, addictions, pornography, homosexuality, etc.
To apply to be a 2020 conference presenter (July 15, 2020 deadline):
1. You must be an Alliance Partner member in good standing.
2. Provide a proposed workshop topic, an outline of the workshop content, and the proposed learning format (lecture, video presentation, panel discussion, etc.) along with any audio visual needs.
3. Include a brief professional biography and personal photo.
4. Describe briefly the learning objectives (what would someone learn, understand or gain) for those who attend.