This page is designed to facilitate discussion of the Sexual Identity Therapy Practice Guidelines authored by Warren Throckmorton, & Mark Yarhouse. Look in the right hand column for a link to download the guidelines. This blog is designed for public and professional comments on them.

Download the guidelines and come back here to include your review using the comment feature.

We will also periodically post information relevant to sexual identity therapy.


  1. James E. Phelan, LCSW, Psy.D on July 4, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    Throckmorton & Yarhouse (2006) have written, “Sexual identity therapy: Practicing guidelines…..” I received this recently at the Exodus Freedom Conference Jun/July 2006, Marion , IN where Dr Throckmorton presented a workshop. The goal of the guideline is to support the resolution of sexual identity conflicts in ways that preserve client autonomy and professional commitments to diversity. According to them the main goal of sexual identity therapy is client satisfaction to his individual goals and overall mental health improvement. This may or may not include change in their sexuality.

    One area of focus in the “guidelines” is on modalities of psychotherapy. The authors feel many theoretical approach can fit in, but state in the guidelines that “some approaches…may seem to blend appropriate therapeutic boundaries and are discouraged. For instance, therapists should not…provide physical touch or nurturance to clients.” They do add however that if a client chooses someone other then the therapist to involve physical contact in the therapy, then the therapist can provide oversight but only is the client signs consent. Finally they state, “Therapists should not refer clients to retreats, support groups or interventions requiring boundary violations as a condition of participation” (p 22, emphasis added).

    Questions raised:

    The latter is confusing and needs elaboration. It raises the question as to whether or not seminars like LSI Healing Seminars by International Healing Foundation and JIM weekends by People Can Change are included in that. I would like to think not considering that in the guidelines the term “boundary violation” is used. It needs elaboration, however. Besides, when would a therapist refer someone to be violated? That should go without saying. At any rate, it seems displaced and needs elaboration. Do they mean that any physical contact is a “boundary violation?” A retreat is not formal psychotherapy so why are they speaking to such when these are guidelines for the former? A violation would mean that the contact is unwelcome and not wanted. As for the retreats/group mentioned, the attendees go there with physical contact as something they want. If that’s what they want, would that not serve as client autonomy as well?

    If the client is aware of the expectation for physical contact in the retreats/groups and signs consent and is aware that they are not obligated to practice in any physical contact if they don’t want to, then would this be acceptable under the guidelines? If so, then it should be stated.

  2. sitguidelines on July 4, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    Thanks James for the comment.

    We are uncomfortable referring to any support group that has not been evaluated. JIM, etc. has not been evaluated and a therapist should not be directive in referral to such situations. My research on these groups tells me that there is no requirement for holding or touching but there is often an expectation to do so. Sometimes people are challenged to engage in highly emotion exercises which will put them in trust challenging physical situations. I do not think the potential benefit outweighs the potential harm.

    We do not completely exclude JIM type weekends, although as I say, I think it is contrary to the guidelines to encourage participation as a condition of therapy. Also, I do not think referral to anything affiliated with IHF would be consistent with the guidelines since the methods there would violate them.

    As we move forward with more endorsements and a dedicated website, I hope we can examine situations like this and post rationale in response to what I suspect will be a frequently asked question.

    Nice seeing you at the Exodus meeting and thanks again for commenting.

  3. Anonymous on July 5, 2006 at 7:09 pm

    I am a lay person reading through here and I cannot understand why a therapist would refer someone to anything done by Richard Cohen’s IHF.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.