People often think that aversion therapy – conditioning people to associate an undesired behaviour with pain, discomfort or shame to deter them from engaging in said behaviour – is a thing of the past. But the cost efficient proverbial cattle prods of Gilead are still being used today. And its 2018.
Aversion therapy was popular in the 1960’s and 70’s, mainly due to the fact that it was relatively cheap to use and had relatively ‘good’ success rates in the short term. However, relapse rates were high. Besides, it never looked at the psychological reasons why people had ended up living with an alcohol addiction or narcotic problems.
How does this fit in with choosing to come out to your friends and family as LGBTQ+? Put simply, it doesn’t. However, there are people out there who try to shame others out of being who they are and from trying to be happy. Through their words they cause untold pain and suffering to someone who is just trying to be happy through being themselves. Personally, I struggle to understand why people give the gender and sexuality of others a second thought? But, sadly, there are still more people like that than we might like to imagine. Despite it being 2018.
"Pride therapy (as I’ve started calling it) is about finding the inner confidence to be yourself, to live your life in a safe and happy way. "
Even to date, there are still stories of people being taken/coerced to go to aversion therapy to deter them from living a life they are proud of, of being themselves. Writing this just brings home how archaic some people’s attitudes are. It can incredibly damaging to have someone constantly tell you that you are disgusting, unnatural or that God will never love you. Now, I don’t believe in God myself, but I’m fairly sure that if there is one that He would love people who choose love and choose to share that love and happiness with others unconditionally. As you may have seen in the news recently, even the Church of England is against aversion therapy! However, the government still seems to be dragging its feet on the CoE’s call for it to be banned. You can read more about this story here.
Aversion therapy for LGBTQ+ is incredibly dangerous. Pride therapy (as I’ve started calling it) is about finding the inner confidence to be yourself, to live your life in a safe and happy way. To not feel intimidated by the expired opinions of others. Pride therapy is about confidence, identity and just that, pride. Being proud to be you. That doesn’t necessarily mean being loud or dramatic, it just means practicing inner peace and self-love, and learning that the opinions of those trying to coerce you into aversion therapy don’t actually matter, ironically.
I offer a bespoke hypnotherapy service that can really change your own perspective of yourself. If you’re struggling with coming out, feel like you need to explain or justify yourself to others, exhausted by social or gendered expectations then please get in touch because you are not alone. Hypnotherapy can help bring about lasting change if you are suffering with depression, anxiety, self loathing, self destructing or being bullied or victimised in any way then feel free to get in touch.
Most importantly, just know that you are not alone. All you need to do is reach out. There is a whole local community and world waiting to support and celebrate you. Just try it and see.