Sexual Reorientation Therapy Interventions: Perspectives of Ex-Ex-Gay Individuals

Annesa Flentje, Nicholas C. Heck, Bryan N. Cochran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


While the topic of sexual reorientation therapy, that is, therapy intended to change one's sexual orientation from lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) to heterosexual, is not a new one, there is renewed interest in reorientation therapy. While most of the debate surrounding this controversial practice has focused on whether or not it should be banned, relatively few studies exist that detail what the process of reorientation therapy entails. The purpose of this investigation was to find out more about the typical modalities and interventions of reorientation therapy. Participants were 38 individuals who had gone through at least one episode of reorientation therapy and later reclaimed a LGB identity (113 total episodes). Participants' open-ended responses to questions about their therapy experiences were coded into broader themes, and participants selected from a list of possible treatment methods that were used in their most recent intervention experience. Results indicated that frequently used reorientation interventions had a strong emphasis on religious practices, often included negative messages about LGB individuals, and had a greater emphasis on change than on validation techniques. Some participants recounted practices that are inconsistent with the ethical guidelines for mental health professionals. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-277
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • conversion therapy
  • ethical
  • ex-ex-gay
  • ex-gay
  • mental health
  • reorientation therapy


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