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Is Josh Weed A Reparative Therapist, Or What?

Joshsite-200x300Last weekend I wrote about Josh Weed, the relationship therapist, Mormon, and father of two who came out on his blog as 1) a gay man who is 2) happily married to a woman. There has since been a lot of chatter about Weed in the gay blogosphere, mostly centered around the man's profession. Is Josh Weed, apparent nice guy, a "reparative therapist"? 

Weed works with a group called LifeSTAR Washington, which deals primarily with issues of sex addiction. In his professional bio, Weed writes:

As a therapist, Josh works with many people struggling with difficult life issues, but focuses his efforts mainly on adolescent and adult sexual addiction issues, with an emphasis on youth treatment. His work is dedicated to helping people combat patterns and beliefs that cause feelings of shame, hopelessness and despair. Josh also works helping those with sexual identity issues and unwanted sexual attractions and/or behaviors. Before transitioning to private practice, his clinical work revolved around his role at Kent Youth and Family Services, where he still performs Drug and Alcohol assessments. Josh particularly enjoys working with youth; helping them feel hope as they face many life challenges.

... which sounds a lot like it could have to do with the un-gaying of young people. But on Friday, Weed told Gay.com that he's most definitely not a reparative therapist:

Over the phone Weed said, "I don't believe that a gay person can or even should change their sexual attraction." Then Weed responded via e-mail with this:

I do not practice, nor do I believe in, reparative therapy or change therapy. Quite the opposite, my therapeutic stance is one that favors (but does not depend on) the idea that sexual orientation is immutable.

My therapeutic approach is to meet clients where they are--wherever that might be--and then help them to analyze the goals and aspirations that they have for their own life.

Given my background, I feel especially adept at helping clients who feel that their attractions are "unwanted" because of cultural or religious contexts. I work with them to help them accept their sexual orientation for what it is, so that they can move forward into the decision making part of their life.

I help them get to the point where the question becomes something like, "This part of me is real, and I am totally okay. Now what?" I then help them as they navigate the difficult waters of decision.

My clients make extremely varied choices for their lives and futures. My role is to help them do so in a way that is authentic and true to what they want for themselves, and not to appease outside sources of pressure (like family, church or culture at large).

... all of which strikes this reader as a little fluffy. It seems to suggest that if a guy comes in to Weed's practice and says he's happily partnered up in a gay relationship but has trouble with compulsive infidelity, then Weed accepts the gayness and tries to help with the cheating. But if somebody comes in and says he's gay and wants to live heterosexually, Weed tries to help with that, too.
Does that count as "reparative therapy"? If not, does Marcus Bachmann count as a reparative therapist

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  1. "It seems to suggest that if a guy comes in to Weed's practice and says he's happily partnered up in a gay relationship but has trouble with compulsive infidelity, then Weed accepts the gayness and tries to help with the cheating. But if somebody comes in and says he's gay and wants to live heterosexually, Weed tries to help with that, too."

    This is exactly what therapy is supposed to be...

    Posted by: bklynb | Jun 17, 2012 1:16:56 PM

  2. @bklynb, no, it's not. The goal of therapy is to assuage a patient's mental conflict with reality and their situation, not to encourage them to enter into a relationship that is unlikely to make them OR their spouse happy just to satisfy society's expectations. The goal is to help people be true to themselves, not to lie convincingly.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jun 17, 2012 1:26:25 PM

  3. We'd need to know the proportion of his work that deals with identity issues. If most of his time spent counseling drug addicted teens then I don't see any potential problem.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 17, 2012 1:31:09 PM

  4. Listen he should be for marriage equality for all GLBTs.

    I mean if Marcus Bauchman can have a "wife" ... so can he!

    Posted by: FunMe | Jun 17, 2012 1:32:46 PM

  5. It's not reparative therapy- it's worse. Weed flat out says that you cannot change your sexual orientation which is a scientific truth. The trouble with evangelicals is that they deny biology; and in doing so makes their outreach to gays look silly. A gay person in an evangelical outreach will eventually realize that they were born gay and cannot change that. What Mr. Weed does is accept biology but say that they gay behavior should change. Many of our detractors say they don't hate gay people but hate our behavior. Laws change behavior. Weed's position is perfect for those who claim that gay people are choosing sinful/destructive lives and our laws protect society and ourselves from it. Weed lives as an example to prove that just because you're gay it doesn't mean you can't be perfectly happy in a heterosexual relationship. He doesn't seek to change your orientation, he seeks to change your attitude toward it. People should accept the moral 'truth' that a life like his is what's best for every gay person- And laws (like prop 8) are what's really best for people...but he wants us to know he doesn't hate us.

    Posted by: dana chilton | Jun 17, 2012 1:36:48 PM

  6. I am SO ANNOYED by this f#cking little weirdos existence. I think his whole life is dubious and I want him to go away POST HASTE.

    Posted by: Munro | Jun 17, 2012 1:43:23 PM

  7. Josh Weed, a study on weak-mindedness and delusion. I'll never understand our attraction to stories like these.

    This whole thing makes me whole heartedly thank my parents for encouraging me to think for myself.

    The only reason people cling to "faith" is because they are afraid of death. If parents taught their children you have one life and a short time to live it and to make the most of it, can you imagine what the human race could be capable of?

    Instead, we have people sacrificing themselves on the promise of some afterlife.

    I shook off the shackles of religion and hetero-supremacy at a young age so these people confound me.

    Posted by: WayneMPLS | Jun 17, 2012 1:52:47 PM

  8. aint nothing "reparative" about it. it's damaging.

    p.s. we're not broken

    Posted by: t | Jun 17, 2012 2:33:20 PM

  9. @Jazzy, many of us don't buy that a deeply religious adolescent is anything other than the product of years of religious indoctrination. When that belief is imposed on a child from an age when they had no reason or ability to decide for themselves what to believe--from an age when they had no way of knowing the profound conflict that would arise--and when there is zero evidence that their belief is true, but abundant evidence that it is harmful, it seems dishonest to treat those involuntarily imposed beliefs as a healthy component of an individual's psyche and not THE source of distress.

    Posted by: JJ | Jun 17, 2012 4:30:47 PM

  10. @JJ, You are making an ill-informed and frankly, ignorant presumption. You sound like one of those ignorant people who talk about 'the gays' converting young impressionable people into the homosexuals. It's so incredibly disrepectful to imply that all young people are 'indoctrinated' into a religion. You completely disregard so many of the fundamental aspects to having a faith and how deeply intimate and powerful it is for so many people. I respect the fact that you clearly do not have any regard for religion (that's your choice) and you clearly have antipathy for those who do, but know this JJ; you are no better than the thugs who peddle hate about our kind. You, JJ, are truly no better. For shame.

    Posted by: Jazzy J | Jun 17, 2012 6:13:15 PM

  11. @ Perry- No there are not bigger fish to fry. If this guy is indeed who he's accused of being then this insidious behavior must be addressed. If people are entrusting their emotional well being to Josh and he's willingly selling them down the Mormon party line with willful disregard for their mental and emotional well being he needs to be exposed for what he is.

    Posted by: sean | Jun 17, 2012 6:21:11 PM

  12. Are some of you people so damaged that you think what this guy is doing is ok? Has all the years of homophobia twisted your mind? He has a right to live his life whatever way he wants, but this is in no way healthy for him or his family.

    Posted by: J | Jun 17, 2012 7:34:03 PM

  13. @Jazzy, I never said that religion wasn't deeply intimate and powerful for people. On the contrary,it's precisely because it is deeply intimate and powerful (I used the word "profound" in my last post) that people who have had religion imposed on them involuntarily can suffer such severe emotional distress that they have to seek professional help, if they don't kill themselves. But the fact that a religion may affect people deeply does not mean that its tenets are true. And I find no shame in considering people to be victims of abuse when they've been taught by their parents and families that they'll be rejected and unworthy of love if they don't conform to a belief system that isn't supported by a single fact. My position may change if they could simply prove that what they believe is true, and I don't think that's a lot to ask when a child's life is at stake. Also, I don't think all beliefs are equally valid, and so I don't consider people's beliefs beyond scrutiny when they seek to impose those beliefs on others, including--perhaps especially--their own children.

    Posted by: JJ | Jun 17, 2012 8:35:49 PM

  14. @JJ, you should make it a point to meet a Mormon, and keep an open mind (i.e. doesn't mean you have to agree 100% or disagree 100%, just listen to understand). Request to meet missionaries who will come to your place and talk with you about their faith. You'd be surprised. We and the Mormons actually have a lot in common more than what divides us.

    When you learn more about their faith you will come discover information that is presently not a part of your argument. You seem intelligent, I trust that the more information you receive the more you will come to respect the differences we and them have-but like you they too are people who want to love and live. Who knows maybe if you keep an open mind they might also become more educated about gay life and realize that our two cultures have a lot in common.

    I'm not Mormon, but me as a gay man reading the story of Joseph Smith really affected me. He was savaged and brutally ostracized for genuinely believing he saw an angel. His followers were killed in cold blood for simply having a faith they believed as true. His GREAT crime was living his truth, just like us we live our truth as gay men and just like them we take the hate and have to forgive the ignorance of others. I think the more we try to find in common, the closer to a better world we can create for all of us.

    Posted by: Jazzy J | Jun 17, 2012 9:08:16 PM

  15. @J who died and made you God? What gives you the right to decide for someone else what is healthy for him or his family? What evidence do you have other than your prejudice (other than it must be weird and unhealthy) that he's an awful father or husband? You have an awful lot of assumptions about someone you don't even know.

    Posted by: Jazzy J | Jun 17, 2012 9:12:50 PM

  16. Methinks Jazzy J is not who he says he is.

    Posted by: WayneMPLS | Jun 17, 2012 10:42:55 PM

  17. Jazzy. . .my dear. I'm not sure you are who you say you are.

    But, that can't be proved as this is the interwebs and who the hell really knows who any of us are anyway.

    I'm glad you were deeply affected by the story of Joseph Smith. I encourage you to read "Under the Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer. . .I think that might open you eyes about some of what we're dealing with here.

    I feel deeply sorry for Josh, for his wife, and for his children. I'm sorry his wife will never know what it's like to look into her significant other's eyes and see that he really wants her. It's a shame too. . she's a beautiful woman.

    I feel even more sorry for Josh, who apparently will never know the joys of engaging in sex with a human being his body wants to respond to. Unless he's bisexual, which could very well be the case. If he is, however, he sure as heck needs to own up to it. Actual gay people, people who are exclusively attracted to their own gender for sexual and emotional intimacy, cannot be happy in a heterosexual marriage. Bisexual people can , of course. Cuz...you know. . they're BISEXUAL.

    And I am not at all convinced that we should "respect other's religious beliefs" as a matter of courtesy. I think Josh should know that his religious beliefs are ridiculous. I think he should know that, if he is who he says he is, he's making (made, really) a huge mistake that will ruin his life. I think he should know that his "life" will be used to hurt innocents in our community.
    I think he should know these things. It doesn't make me a mean person. It makes me a concerned person, particularly for the young LGBT people who could be harmed by this message.

    Posted by: Dramaticartchild | Jun 17, 2012 11:12:37 PM

  18. Wow Jazzy I DO work with a mormon and my boss's wife works with a group of them and we all agree they are F...ing wack jobs. Their whole religion is seriously messed up, believe me he has explained it to me and at first I thought it was a joke but he is serious about special underwear the getting your own planet the whole deal. So to say if you met one you'd feel different I don't know what mormons you've met but they must be great actors.

    Posted by: Akula | Jun 17, 2012 11:25:37 PM

  19. Although it is not the best option, for those who want it it should be their choice.

    Weed at least rejects reparative quackery, and accepts that orientation is immutable.

    So for the sake of self-hating gays that want to continue that way I say good luck and wish you all the best.

    Posted by: Jean-Pierre Katz | Jun 18, 2012 12:15:01 AM

  20. @Steve. You nailed it. This is a veiled way of saying, "It's OK to be gay...as long as you marry a woman and never act on your dirty, sick impulses. And wear you magic underwear."

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Jun 18, 2012 1:51:04 AM

  21. Jazzy,
    What if this guys truth was to beat children severely on a regular basis to bring them closer to god and he still had the nice smile and friendly demeanor. Let's say these beatings were bad enough to cause psychological harm but not bad enough to be punished criminally. I think you would argue that his counseling people to act this way was horrible. What he is doing is counseling people to get in relationships that are extremely harmful to both them and the poor spouse who has to be with a partner that doesn't desire them. Whether it's his belief or not, it is our duty to point out how horrible this kind of counseling is. I think sometime we get in a space as gay people where we accept some pretty awful things. like this guys behavior, because we are used to it. It should just be obviously offensive.

    Posted by: SFHarry | Jun 18, 2012 4:03:17 AM

  22. Electro shock treatments didn't make gays straight.

    Then the pray the gay away didn't work.

    Now, Mormons are publicizing what many confused gay men have done for centuries, marry a woman to look straight, and visit the gay bars at night for a quickie in the stalls.

    Why not just accept that God's creatures are gay and straight?

    Then the only argument would be how many. Old stats of 10 percent of society are now being considered 3 to 4 percent.

    But that is more polite to argue about, than denying your gay, so marry a woman because your church wants it.

    Posted by: Timothy Unrine | Jun 18, 2012 8:20:48 AM

  23. My own personal opinion it that the entire story (and situation) doesn't ring true. I'll avoid passing judgement, as tht certainly is my right or responsibility, but I will watch to see if he attemps to parlay his situation into some type of money maker or the entire thing ultimately turns out to be disingenuous.

    Posted by: ThomT | Jun 18, 2012 8:38:27 AM

  24. It seems that Josh is doing anything but "living" his truth. After watching a short unscripted clip of him explain his sexuality, it totally clicked. This guy (and his wife) talk a lot about "intimacy" and "trust" and other such themes, and it's that very thing that makes it clear to me their "robust" sex life is the result of them intellectualizing their sexuality, and not actually experiencing it. That's the key to the "success" of a lot of these kinds of relationships.

    Posted by: Alex | Dec 18, 2012 2:56:31 AM

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