Exclusive interview with psychotherapy expert: Accompaniment is a keyword in Church documents
The Vatican has not condemned “reparative” therapies for homosexuality, nor does it admit them. In fact, there is no official text with a consideration of homosexuality as if it were a disease.
The news that the Vatican has for the first time condemned “treatments” to cure homosexuality has been pointed out by several readers to our writing as erroneous, or at least ambiguous.
A private letter apparently addressed to the Spanish bishops has become media gossip: The letter in question, from a Vatican dicastery, refers to a particular case allusive to an association that would presumably also offer therapy to people with homosexual tendencies. However, this document does not “set a precedent” magisterial, doctrinal or normative.
The Catholic Church has not officially positioned itself against or in favor of so-called “reparative or conversion therapies”, which have long been questioned by psychology and medicine. However, there is a fundamental confusion: identifying any type of psychological therapy with abusive “reparative therapies”.
An expert consulted by aleteia.org emphasizes “that the accompaniment and psychotherapy is not necessarily for the homosexual issue, but to help solve identity problems and especially those that arise as a consequence of non-acceptance, mistreatment and discrimination that they raise much the anxiety and the stress of life ».
For their part, some media jumped to the fore, pointing out the obscurantism of the Catholic Church in this matter, despite the fact that there is a silent work without recognition of many Catholic people and associations, like the Good Samaritan, helping the “wounded person” along the way, without asking: Are you gay or not?
The summary disinformation considers that certain “practices”, or treatments, whose dangerousness as well as obvious uselessness has been scientifically denounced for a long time, could be implemented by some Christian-inspired associations that seek to teach LGBT people to repress their “inclinations”.
In this context, we spoke with Guillermo Dellamary, who is a philosopher graduated from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, psychologist and Catholic youth psychotherapist (between 15 and 25 years old). And with more than 40 years of experience working with various age-specific situations.
In the past, Dellamary has been one of the psychologists for an organization of gay Catholics in Latin America. There he dealt with several cases of “successful conversions,” he said.
However, he affirmed that he did not continue because he discovered that in practice in many cases – without homosexuality being the core of the problem – there are aspects of personality and high life conflict that are due to deeper reasons of analysis and help .
“Many times it develops in very neurotic personalities which makes homosexuality see as something that requires therapeutic help,” said the expert.
The reality beats the idea
The psychologist explains that “due to his own sensitivity, social rejection, inability to accept himself, that person renounces the offspring, excess genital appetite, frequent infidelity in his relationships, emotional instability and many other psycho-emotional conditions found in the personality independent of homosexuality«.
“So the concept of therapy is essential, not because of homosexuality itself, but above all because of the implications of identity conflicts, rejection, object of aggression, discrimination, marginalization, evaluation, confusion and other conditions that accompany it” .
The person in the center
Dellamary argues that there are several working techniques that have been successful, at the same time he emphasizes that accompaniment implies an overall vision.
“The (technique) that I have used has to do with the resolution of the conflict that results from the fear of parental and family rejection, their anger and disapproval, which produces a lot of anguish, anxiety and instability.”
He also indicated that the “desexualization” of mental and emotional life is worked in order not to make attraction the affective center of life. And in this way, accompany to overcome fear, anger and rejection of the opposite sex. Many times, even not addressing the issue of homosexuality directly, the resolution of emotional wounds produces the change in that person.
«I worked on a case 20 years ago that had a clear homosexuality that finally got married and today he has 2 daughters and a boy with a happy family. He managed to overcome that his inclination of clear homosexual attraction, will not determine his sexual life and maintain sexual abstinence with men and learn to have sexuality and affection with his wife today, she aware of the situation helped him to enjoy the female sex even to Despite the low attraction.
From a Christian perspective, accompaniment has to do with helping not to live in the tension and anguish caused by the complex social life that is lived by discrimination, pointing out, disapproval and rejection.
The psychotherapist also proposes that the person be helped not to sexualize their relationships and to maintain, if possible, greater abstinence and chastity, the same as the Church indicates to heterosexual people.
Meanwhile, he spoke openly and stated that there are some people with a homosexual tendency in the clerical and religious sphere who choose the felling or the convent: “It must be recognized that for many centuries the priestly and religious life has been a refuge.”
People who find in “chastity and not marriage a rest and acceptance that reduces social and community pressure.”
“And on the contrary, there is greater acceptance and recognition for their work and presbyteral actions regardless of their homosexuality, because no one assumes that they do not marry for that, but for a vote.”
Acceptance vs rejection
“Certainly there is much debate, ignorance and confusion on the subject, but those of us who have worked on it have it a little clearer and even so its causes are still a mystery as the Catechism itself points out.”
The accompaniment is a keyword that the document proposes Amoris Laetitia to families with homosexual children (points 250, 251). Also because the need to manage anger, anxiety and loneliness is transversal in people’s lives.
Dellamary illustrates that the catechism signals an “acceptance. And not a rejection. It is also an act of charity without any judgment on who has not necessarily decided to be, but what to do before it.
«The option is chastity and abstinence. In addition, transmuting it into a life with greater stability and joy despite the family and social inconveniences that it entails. And above all feel a growing increase in spiritual life and sacramental praxis, “he recommended.