My view: Sexual orientation is no one's fault, it is an opportunity
Absolutely not. The APA has compiled recommendations for therapists that center on honoring the agency of individuals to determine for themselves their values, behavior and self-labeling connected to their sexual orientation. These evidence-based recommendations include offering unconditional positive regard and empathy, conducting thorough assessments of the sources and symptoms of distress, assisting individuals to overcome internalized shame and stigma and helping clients to connect with increased social support.
That last recommendation brings us to where Janet, the APA, LDS Church leaders and myself can all agree: "Belonging to a community of family, friends and believers allows us to help and be helped,” reads mormonsandgays.org. “We recognize in each other our common needs for intimacy and companionship and can discuss them without shame or rejection.... Reconciling same-sex attraction with a religious life can present an especially trying dilemma...But with faith, love and perspective it can be done."
I'm grateful for religious leaders and scientific inquiry that has helped me in my own process to understand myself. My sexual orientation isn't anyone's “fault,” or an outgrowth of something negative that happened, or a symptom that I'm damaged in some way. Through caring support, sound knowledge and the sweet confirmation of the spirit, I have come to understand deeply that this part of my life is a strength and blessing to me, as well as an opportunity to further my growth.
Laura Skaggs Dulin recently completed a master's degree in marriage and family therapy at San Diego State University and also holds a bachelor's degree in social work from BYU. She produced "The Forefront Talks," a 10-segment YouTube series on how to offer support regarding sexual orientation.
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