The Impact of Reparative Therapy on Gay Identity Development
This study examined the experiences and long-term impact of reparative therapy on the identity development of gay men. Constructivist theory and queer theory provided a framework to conceptualize the phenomena of reparative therapy and gay identity development. The study was qualitative in nature and used a bricolage approach to phenomenological research by employing a heuristic research design with interpretive phenomenological analysis. Data from ten co-researchers were analyzed and used to provide summarized depictions of each of the ten co-researchers. Seven core themes were identified: (a) anger as a response to deceptive claims and mistreatment; (b) grief and loss of time, opportunity, and youth; (c) increased sense of shame; (d) escalation of high-risk sexual behavior; (e) deterioration of mental health; (f) abusive and iatrogenic counseling methods; and (g) impairment of self-concept due to iatrogenic counseling practices. Limitations of the study include a lack of racial and ethnic diversity amongst the co-researchers and the self-report nature of the study. Unique findings of the study include anger as a response to deceptive claims and mistreatment; grief and loss of time, opportunity, and youth; an escalation of high-risk sexual behavior; and the level of impairment to self-concept due to iatrogenic counseling practices. The findings of this have significant implications for gay identity development models, the counseling profession, and advocacy efforts.