2017 Training Institute Conference Report


This year’s Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity’s NARTH Training Institute was held on October 20th and 21st at the historic Peery Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. In attendance were a variety of seasoned and novice therapists as well as parents and other advocates for client self-determination.  For the second year running, the conference featured core curriculum courses designed to prepare clinicians to provide ethical and professional sexual attraction fluidity exploration in therapy (SAFE-T). Those licensed therapists who complete the three-year cycle of training courses will be noted in the Alliance referral network by a special designation indicating that they have completed advanced training in this area.


This year’s keynote speaker was former Alliance Board member and current President of the American College of Pediatricians Michelle Cretella, M.D..  Dr. Cretella is a board certified general pediatrician with a special interest in adolescent mental and sexual health. In her talk, Dr. Cretella raised serious concerns about the practice of providing puberty blocking drugs to gender dysphoric minors.  She observed that there are serious adverse health consequences to minors who undergo such treatment that are likely to be unnecessary since the great majority of these children do not persist with their gender dysphoric into adulthood.


The conference also featured tributes to the organizations co-founder Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D., whose untimely death occurred in March of this year.  Dr. Nicolosi’s wife, Linda, wrote a moving tribute to her husband that was read by Christopher Rosik, Ph.D..  Michael Davidson, Ph.D., then paid homage through the debut showing of a documentary film he produced (“Joseph Nicolosi—a true friend”) that included clips of interviews he conducted with Dr. Nicolosi in recent years. Joseph Nicolosi, Jr., Ph.D., then spoke about his father and outlined some projects that he is working on to honor his father’s legacy.  Finally, Ben Kaufman, M.D., the sole remaining co-founder, provided some fond collegial recollections of Dr. Nicolosi and encouraged conference attendees to be a loving and engaged presence within the community of professional mental health providers.


Two awards were presented this year.  Michael Gasparro, MFTI, and new student Board member, was given the Nicolosi student award.  Through Michael’s encouragement, the Board recently committed to having an Alliance presence on twitter: #AllianceTCSI.  Long-time Board member Paul Popper, Ph.D., was honored with the Alliance President’s Award.  Dr. Popper has been involved with the Alliance since 1993.  During the annual pre-conference Board meeting, he announced his retirement from the Board of Directors in order to spend more time with his family and particularly his many grandchildren.


Course offerings at the 2017 conference focused on topics such as professional ethics, treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, promoting client self-determination, psychopharmacology, identifying underlying emotional roadblocks that inhibit change, research updates, and political and policy issues.  The cadre of expert presenters included David Pickup, LMFT, Thomas Schmierer, LMFT, Al Howsepian, M.D., Jim Phelan, Ph.D., Shirley Cox, DSW, Michael Cox, LCSW, Keith Vennum, M.D., Christopher Doyle, LPC, Laura Haynes, Ph.D., Sharon Slater, and Christopher Rosik, Ph.D.. The conference also featured a report from ideologically diverse members of the Utah Reconciliation and Growth Project who have labored together for four years to identify areas of common ground between the SAFE-T and gay affirmative perspectives

Alliance Award Recipients


Annually the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice may present awards to worthy individuals in the fields of research, psychotherapy and medicine as well as those who have made a significant contributions in advancing the public understanding of human sexuality. Here are some of those award recipients with links to a brief biography.

Paul Popper, PhD                                      

Michael Davidson, PhD                             

Walter Schumm, PhD

Mathew D. Staver, JD

Michel Lizotte

Joseph Nicolosi, PhD

Robert Perloff, PhD

Stanton Jones, PhD

Benjamin Kaufman, MD

Nicholas Cummings, PhD

Robert Spitzer MD

Christopher Rosik, PhD

Richard Fitzgibbons, PhD

Loretta Loeb, MD

Harold Voth, MD

Eleanor Galenson, MD

Abraham Freedman, MD



Dr. John and Karen Raney

A. Dean Byrd, PhD

Martin Silverman, MD

David Pickup, MFT

Julie Hamilton, PhD

Philip Sutton, PhD

Janelle Hallman, PhD

James E. Phelan, LCSW

Linda Ames Nicolosi

William Duncan, JD

Mark Yarhouse, PhD

Dr. Neil and Briar Whitehead

Dale O'Leary

Lynn Wardel, JD

Laura Schlessinger, PhD

Jeffrey Satinover, MD

Judith Reisman, PhD

Alliance Board
Alliance Board

2017 Alliance Board of Directors

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Thomas Schmierer
Thomas Schmierer

Clinical Workshop Presentation

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Reconciliation and Growth Panel
Reconciliation and Growth Panel

Plenary Session Presentation

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Alliance Board
Alliance Board

2017 Alliance Board of Directors

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