Why the Alliance Supports SAFE-Therapy
Sexual Attraction Fluidity Exploration in Therapy (SAFE-T): Creating a clearer impression of professional therapies that allow for change Christopher Rosik, Ph.D.
During its May 27th, 2016, meeting, the board of the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity (ATCSI) voted unanimously to endorse new terminology that more accurately and effectively represents the work of Alliance therapists who see clients with unwanted same-sex attractions. The board has come to believe that terms such as reorientation therapy, conversion therapy, and even sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) are no longer scientifically or politically tenable. Among the many reasons the board felt it time to retire these older terms as much as possible were the following:
1. These terms imply that categorical change (from exclusive SSA to exclusive OSA) is the goal. This is a degree of change that is statistically rare and not demanded of any other psychological experience as a condition of legitimate psychological care.
2. The current terms imply there is a specific and exotic form of therapy that is being conducted (not standard therapeutic modalities)
3. These terms imply that sexual orientation is an actual entity (i.e., the terms all reify sexual orientation as immutable).
4. The terms imply that change is the therapist’s goal and not that of the clients (i.e., it’s coercive rather than self-determined).
5. These terms (especially SOCE) do not differentiate between professional conducted psychotherapy and religious or other forms of counseling practice.
6. These terms have been demonized and/or developed by professionals completely unsympathetic to therapies that allow for change in same-sex attractions and behaviors.
What type of counseling do Alliance therapists provide?
SAFE-T offers the ethical principles and therapeutic guidelines that inform our client centered approach and essential respect for individuals who wish to live lives congruent with their deeply held values and personal goals.
Sexual Attraction Fluidity Exploration in Therapy (SAFE-T)
Alliance therapists practice from a variety of mainstream approaches and models. What unites us is our adherence to scientifically confirmed practices and supporting the autonomy and the self-determination of our clients.
A SAFE therapist is open to assisting individuals – who voluntarily come to them requesting their assistance in a client centered examination of their sexual attractions.
When assisting a client a SAFE therapist does not imply that categorical change in attractions is the therapeutic goal or create unrealistic expectations for their clients.
A SAFE therapist does recognize that sexual attraction fluidity can occur for some clients in response to relational and environmental contexts – the same factors all therapists routinely address in all their work.
SAFE therapists are committed to assisting their clients in achieving a meaningful, satisfying life that is congruent with their personal values and goals.
SAFE therapy is not a particular treatment model. A SAFE therapist might say, for example, “I practice a cognitive form of SAFE-T” or “I practice SAFE-T from an interpersonal perspective”.
Like the acronym suggests, SAFE therapy is provided by licensed, professional therapists. If you are a counselor or therapist we invite your participation.