Center for Gender Wholeness offers therapy for individuals experiencing distress over unwanted homosexuality, partners of homosexual men, and opposite-sex couples dealing with one partner’s homosexuality. [ MORE ]
Therapy at the Center for Gender Wholeness (CGW) focuses on mental and emotional wellbeing, resolving conflicts between sexual desires and gospel truths, and helping clients reach realistic personal goals for growth and resolution. [ MORE ]
The following treatment phases are a general overview of how treatment unfolds. These phases are flexible and tailored to the needs of the individual. [ MORE ]
CGW therapists are trained in highly advanced therapeutic modalities to provide optimum care for individual clients, couples, and families. [ MORE ]
Types of Therapy
Therapy sessions at CGW range from 45 to 90 minutes, depending on the needs of the individual client. Shorter sessions are beneficial for clients who need more cognitive or behavioral help while longer sessions facilitate deeper therapeutic healing work.
Individuals will usually have homework assignments to complete between most sessions. The homework is designed to help integrate the processing done in the sessions. Individuals are also encouraged to be involved in activities outside of therapy such as those listed in Phase 4 above. These will greatly extend the benefit of therapy.
Therapy for Partners
Partners of men in therapy for unwanted homosexuality are strongly encouraged to participate in therapy themselves. Many years of experience have shown that when the partner is NOT involved, problems and setbacks often eventually occur. These problems can become very serious, compromising the man’s progress and threatening the relationship. In many cases, a partner’s participation consists of opportunities to discuss her feelings and concerns about the process and the changes that occur in their relationship as a result of the man’s therapy. In other cases, partners need help with trauma and betrayal they’ve experienced due to the man’s emotional deficits or sexual behavior. And in some cases, a partner needs to heal trauma she experienced before the marriage, which surfaces due to issues created by the homosexuality or sexual addiction of her partner. The importance of partners being involved in their own work cannot be overemphasized.
The process of individual therapy tends to bring up intense issues for those involved. As these issues surface, intimate relationships can be affected both positively and negatively. Also, as those in therapy heal and grow, old relationship patterns tend to shift. This can be destabilizing for the couple. Sometimes couples may feel like their relationship is getting worse because of therapy. For these reasons, we strongly encourage couples to participate in couples therapy at appropriate points in their healing journey. More on couples therapy.
Our primary therapeutic goal is to resolve distress and increase psychological and emotional wellbeing. For members of the Church with unwanted same-sex attraction, that often involves resolving conflicts between their sexual desires and gospel truths. It also includes developing acceptance and compassion toward themselves, reducing anxiety and rumination about perceived flaws and inadequacies, and developing patience with the gradual process of growth. Many of our clients experience problems with depression, anxiety, OCD, addiction, and the effects of trauma and abuse. Therefore, CGW therapists are highly trained in responding to a full range of clinical issues.
Resolution of issues that underlie unwanted same-sex attraction is our second priority. Each individual has a unique potential with regard to their ability to resolve these issues and to diminish their attractions to the same sex. Some may be able to greatly decrease their same-sex attraction and to develop strong attractions to the opposite sex. Others may have little success diminishing their sexual feelings toward others of their sex and will have no capacity to develop heterosexuality, yet they may attain peace and patience with their situation. The desires of each individual are unique, and may change through the therapeutic process.
CGW staff carefully discuss therapeutic goals with each client at the beginning of therapy. These goals may be re-evaluated during the therapy as well, to ensure that the course of therapy remains in harmony with client desires, which sometimes shift. If a client’s goals change in such a way that they require a skill set outside those of CGW staff, an appropriate referral will be made.
Phase 1: History Taking and Treatment Planning
This may require one to three sessions to gather the history, after which the therapist completes a case conceptualization and treatment plan outside of session at no extra fee.
Phase 2: Support and Priority Issues
In this phase, we work with clients to generate internal and, if needed, external support for their therapeutic process. In the simplest cases this might mean marshaling internal resources before digging into the deep work. In other cases this could include gaining the support of loved ones, becoming involved in a twelve-step group, joining an addiction recovery program, or beginning nutritional supplementation or medication. It always includes developing a strong and trusting relationship with the therapist.
This phase also includes working on priority therapeutic issues, which are conditions or situations that pose a threat to client wellbeing, cause extreme distress, or disable the progression of therapy. Suicidal thoughts, distress caused by trauma, dangerous addictive behavior, and intense negative ruminations are examples of such conditions.
Phase 3: Processing and Recovery Work
This phase represents the bulk of therapy and may last from several months to a few years, depending on the needs of the individual. Individuals may attend therapy weekly or every other week during this period. This phase may include several components in addition to individual psychotherapy:
- Addiction recovery work involving a specialized addiction recovery program, twelve-step groups, reading of recovery literature, and a sponsor
- Couples counseling for clients who are married
- Experiential work in groups and specialized weekend programs (see below)
- Reading of materials specially developed to help individuals who are working to resolve unwanted same-sex attraction
Phase 4: Termination and Follow Up
When all therapeutic goals have been met, clients transition to the follow-up phase, which may consist of monthly or bimonthly sessions for a few months until the client feels prepared to discontinue therapy altogether. Throughout therapy, clients are taught how to recognize signs that additional work needs to be done so they can re-engage in therapy in the future if needed.
Brainspotting is a powerful, focused treatment method that works by identifying, processing and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional or physical pain, trauma, dissociation and a variety of other challenging symptoms.
Brainspotting functions as a neurobiological and psychological tool that supports the clinical healing relationship. There is no replacement for a nurturing therapeutic presence and the ability to engage the client in a safe and trusting relationship where he or she feels heard, accepted, and understood.
Brainspotting works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems. Brainspotting is accordingly a physiological treatment that has profound psychological, emotional, and physical consequences.
A “Brainspot” is the eye position that is related to the energetic or emotional activation of a traumatic or emotionally charged issue within the brain. Located by eye position, paired with externally observed and internally experienced reflexive responses, a Brainspot is actually a physiological subsystem holding emotional experience in memory form.
Brainspotting stimulates and promotes deep processing, integrating, and healing activity within the brain. This appears to take place within the brain’s emotional centers at a reflexive and cellular level. It typically results in a de-conditioning of previously conditioned, maladaptive emotional, psychological, and somatic responses and patterns. More on Brainspotting.
See videos about Brainspotting:
What is Brainspotting, Part 1