JOSEPH NICOLOSI, PH.D., with the assistance of LUCY FREEMAN: Healing Homosexuality: Case Stones of Reparative Therapy. Jason Aronson Inc., Northvale, New Jersey, 1993, 240 pp., $30.00.
As the tide implies, with its use of the participle, healing homosexuality is a process, and the reader should not expect cures because none will be claimed by Dr. Nicolosi as occurring among the eight cases he describes. The most that can be achieved is improvement, or improvement with occasional relapses. (Healing homosexuality in the context of this volume, clearly means making homosexuals into heterosexuals.) Whether other therapists, working with the same theory, such as the late Dr. Irving Bieber, Dr. Charles W. Socarides, or Dr. Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg, have done better, is doubtful.
The patients described by Nicolosi were all active homosexuals. One of them was married to a woman and another was a Roman Catholic priest. Their ages varied from 16 to 52 years, the youngest a high school student and the oldest, the priest.
The author used audio tapes in both individual and group sessions. The subsequent transcripts of the recordings could thus reveal with accuracy the productions of the patients and the comments of Nicolosi and other patients when in group therapy.
A frequent problem that came to the fore in the beginning with almost all patients was whether they really wanted to stay in that kind of therapy. It meant giving up a life to which they were accustomed and had offered some satisfaction, in exchange for one in which getting used to was difficult and outcome uncertain.
It is at this point that the experience and tact of Nicolosi could be helpful. He would take an activity that the patient was painfully divulging and bring out its possible positive aspects. …