Question: How long have you been going to “Conversion Therapy”?

Answer: We need to define a few terms before answering the question.

What exactly is “Conversion Therapy”? Is that the name of the therapy in which I have participated?

Not really.

“Conversion Therapy” is a term that the mass media uses to describe the type of therapy that I have been going to. But I don’t use that term and my therapist doesn’t use that term. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi uses the term “Reparative Therapy” to describe his work. Here is what he says about the term:

Dr. Nicolosi began this work in 1981 as the originator of reparative therapy®. Reparative therapy is not the same as “conversion therapy.” It has nothing to do with shaming the client, forcing any kind of change, alienating families, or giving clients “shock treatments and nausea-inducing drugs,” as activists claim.  Also, reparative therapy was never intended for people who identify as gay and are content with their gay-self-identification. It was aimed at people who do not identify with their same-sex attractions.

Joseph Nicolosi – Reparative Therapy®

Is the therapy I have been going to “Reparative Therapy”? Maybe at times it was.

But I have been going to therapy for quite some time. I started when I was approximately 17 years old when I saw Dr. Berenson in Great Neck. We never discussed “homosexual” feelings – I was too embarrassed to talk about them.

I saw Dr. Fulton in Tufts University, and while we eventually spoke about my homosexual feelings and experiences, he felt I should embrace them. I didn’t want to hear that from him – though at the time I didn’t quite know what I wanted instead.

In 2007 when my first wife filed for divorce, I started seeing my therapist Shlomo Zalman Jessel (He is the therapist who is seen in the documentary). Was that “reparative therapy”? Probably. I saw him once a week and also met with a group of like-minded men for about 2 hours once a week. I eventually dropped the private therapy and continued in the group until shortly after I was married in 2011. I stopped the group because my second wife didn’t like that I was going to such a group.

I restarted therapy with Rabbi Yitzchak Rubin, but this therapy was just “regular” therapy: We spoke about the problems I was facing in my life, and he sometimes helped me find solutions – or at least calmed me down so that I could accept what was happening (I loved my second wife, but the marriage was like being on a roller coaster, and it was not easy for me). That lasted for about 18 months.

In 2017 when my second marriage was not doing well (it ended soon thereafter in divorce), I decided to resume therapy. But it wasn’t exclusively for SSA problems – I also wanted help me with my day-to-day life.

So back to the original question:

How long have you been going to “Conversion Therapy”?

Answer: If we consider “conversion therapy” to be “reparative therapy”, then we might say “About 4 years.” If you want to include the therapy that I started in 2017 which sometimes included same-sex-attraction topics, then add another 4 years for a total of 8 years.

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