2021 Training Institute Conference Report

 

The fall months are typically among the busiest for the Alliance. The 2021 fall season has proven no exception to this rule. On September 22nd and 23rd, the Alliance held its annual conference, which was again done virtually, with live sessions each evening and additional prerecorded sessions available on demand for attendees until December 31, 2021. Access to these presentations can still be purchased for a very reasonable fee. 

 

The first night live keynote presentation was given by Andre Van Mol, M.D., who offered helpful insights into the transgender phenomenon exploding across the western world. He noted that 85% of childhood Gender Dysphoria desists by adulthood unless it is affirmed, describing puberty blocking agents as “gateway drugs.”  He challenged a strictly minority stress view of the elevated psychiatric conditions found among transgender persons and described research indicating mental health problems generally precede Gender Dysphoria. He exhorted health care professionals that it is their right and their duty to not commit malpractice.

 

Sheri Golden, Ph.D., followed Dr. Van Mol and led attendees through two case studies from her experience of working in therapy with transgender clients. One case focused on a transgender minor and the other involved her work with the parents of a transgender adult child. She referred to two books that may be of assistance, one directed to clinicians (Gender Dysphoria, by Evans & Evans), and the other to a more general audience and specifically parents (Desist, DeTrans, and Detox, by Keffler). 

 

The second night of live presentations began with Michael Cox, LCSW, discussing the importance of both physical and emotional connections in overcoming unwanted sexual impulses. He asserted the need for clinicians to focus on the client’s connection with others as a common issue needing attention for both those with unwanted same-sex attractions and those struggling with sexual promiscuity. Mr. Cox was followed by former Alliance President Carolyn Pela, Ph.D., reporting on the details of the longitudinal outcome study just published in the Alliance journal, the Journal of Human Sexuality. Dr. Pela and co-author Philip Sutton, Ph.D., found non-heterosexual men who pursued therapy to explore the fluidity of their unwanted attractions achieved “remarkable improvements in well-being.” Because of the importance of this research, and the generous support of Dr. Joseph Nicolsi, Jr., which enabled the study to be offered as “open access”, this research can be downloaded presently through the Alliance and journal websites.

 

Additional pre-recorded presentations for the conference included those focusing on a variety of relevant topics, from specifically clinical considerations to those for a general audience as well as new research findings and stories from detransitioners and desisters. Distinguished presenters were Philip Sutton, Ph.D., Julie Hamilton, Ph.D., Andy Visser, LPC., Christopher Rosik, Ph.D., Matthew Sciba, LPC, Walter Hyer and Erin Brewer. Stay tuned for information regarding the format/location of the 2022 conference.


A few weeks later, on November 4th and 5th, the Alliance board met in Dallas, Texas, for their annual strategic planning meeting. This year the board was joined by an organizational consultant to assist in reviewing Alliance history, assessing the current cultural climate, and updating the Alliance mission statement to reflect these realities. The first draft of this new mission statement read, “The Alliance exists to promote human flourishing by providing a more complete truth, informed by natural law, about the science of sexual orientation and biological sex, through education, training, advocacy, and therapy.” The Board also identified and discussed some priorities for the organization, including the recruitment of young professionals, diversifying revenue streams, and insuring the future of the journal. The Dallas meeting was the first time Board members had met in person for two years, and was a joyful time of reacquainting for all involved!

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.

Carolyn Pela, PhD

Peter Sprigg, M.Div.

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

 

David Clarke Pruden, MS

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

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