Joseph Nicolosi

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Joseph Nicolosi
Joseph Nicolosi.jpg
Born(1947-01-24)January 24, 1947
New York
DiedMarch 8, 2017(2017-03-08) (aged 70)[1]
Linda Nicolosi (m. 1978–2017)

Joseph Nicolosi (January 24, 1947 – March 8, 2017) was an American clinical psychologist, founder and director of the Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic in Encino, California, and a founder and president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).[3] Nicolosi advocated and practiced reparative therapy, a controversial practice that he claimed could help people overcome or mitigate their homosexual desires and replace them with heterosexual ones.[4]


Nicolosi described his ideas in Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach (1991) and three other books. Nicolosi proposed that homosexuality is often the product of a condition he described as gender-identity deficit caused by an alienation from, and perceived rejection by, formative individuals of the subject's gender which interrupts normal masculine or feminine identification process.[5] He also held that adaptation to gender trauma during formative years could alienate a child from their "fundamental nature." His goal was to restore "that which functions in accordance with its biological design.”[6]

Nicolosi held a Ph.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology. He was a founding member of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and was its president for some time. NARTH is a professional association that promotes the acceptance of conversion therapy. He was an advisor to, and officer of, NARTH.[3][7] He was a Catholic.[4]

In 2012, California passed a law that banned the provision of conversion therapy to minors, including some of Nicolosi's existing patients. Nicolosi was named as a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the law on constitutional grounds[8] but the law, effectively barring Nicolosi's clinic from taking on patients under the age of 18, was subsequently upheld. The Supreme Court later explicitly referenced this case.[9]

He died in March 2017 at the age of 70 from complications from the flu.[10]

On July 2, 2019, leading online book retailer Amazon removed several of Nicolosi's books from their catalog, following a petition requesting that they do so.[11]

Mainstream view of conversion therapy[edit]

Like all forms of conversion therapy, reparative therapy is pseudoscientific, based on faulty assumptions, opposed by mainstream medical and psychological practitioners, and potentially harmful to patients.[12][13][14] Some states have enacted laws against conversion therapy.[15]

See also[edit]


  • Nicolosi, Joseph (1991). Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach. Jason Aronson, Inc. ISBN 0-87668-545-9.
  • Nicolosi, Joseph (1993). Healing Homosexuality: Case Stories of Reparative Therapy. Jason Aronson, Inc. ISBN 0-7657-0144-8.
  • Nicolosi, Joseph; Byrd, A. Dean; Potts, Richard W. (June 2000). "Retrospective self-reports of changes in homosexual orientation: A consumer survey of conversion therapy clients". 86. Psychological Reports: 1071–1088. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • Nicolosi, Joseph (2002). "A meta-analytic review of treatment of homosexuality". Psychological Reports. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • Nicolosi, Joseph & Nicolosi, Linda Ames (2002). A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-8308-2379-4.
  • Nicolosi, Joseph (2002). "A critique of Bem's "exotic becomes erotic" theory of sexual orientation development". Psychological Reports. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • Nicolosi, Joseph (2008). "Clients' perceptions of how reorientation therapy and self-help can promote changes in sexual orientation". Psychological Reports. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • Nicolosi, Joseph (2009). Shame and Attachment Loss: The Practical Work of Reparative Therapy. InterVarsity Press
  • Nicolosi, Joseph (2017). A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality, revised edition. Liberal Mind Publishers


  1. ^ Sandomir, Richard (March 16, 2017). "Joseph Nicolosi, Advocate of Conversion Therapy for Gays, Dies at 70". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Joseph Nicolosi: Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic (March 9, 2017). "Post number 652660888270320". Facebook. Retrieved March 11, 2017. Linda Nicolosi, Joe's lifelong collaborator and also his wife of 39 years, is grateful for everyone's prayers ...
  3. ^ a b "NARTH Officers". Archived from the original on 2004-08-03. Retrieved 2010-05-10. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ a b "Amazon Pulls Books By Catholic Writer Who Promoted Conversion Therapy". 2019-07-05. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  5. ^ Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D., Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality, Rowman & Littlefield, 2004, ISBN 0-7657-0142-1
  6. ^ "The Traumatic Foundation of Male Homosexuality". Crisis Magazine. 2016-12-19. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  7. ^ "NARTH Advisors". Archived from the original on 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2010-05-10. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  8. ^ "Second Lawsuit Filed against Calif. Gay Therapy Ban". CBN. October 7, 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Allen, Samantha (March 9, 2017). "'Ex-Gay Therapy' Leader Dead at 70". The Daily Beast.
  11. ^ Hamilton, Isobel Asher. "Amazon pulls conversion therapy books like 'A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality' after 3 months of protests". Business Insider.
  12. ^ Haldeman, Douglas C. (1999). "The Pseudo-science of Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy" (PDF). Angles: The Policy Journal of the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies. 4 (1). [T]he term "reparative therapy" ... inaccurately implies "broken-ness" as the distinctive feature of homosexuality and bisexuality. ... Since mainstream mental health organizations have rejected this position, the more accurate term for therapeutic efforts to change homosexual orientation is sexual orientation conversion therapy, or simply, conversion therapy. ... Theorists such as Nicolosi and Socarides maintain that homosexuals suffer from an arrest of normal development ... [but their theories] have never been empirically validated. ... [R]eviews show that no study claiming success for conversion therapy meets the research standards that would support such a claim. ... Conversion therapy is not just an individual mental health issue but has implications for society. This discredited and ineffective psychological treatment harms people and reinforces the notion that homosexuality is bad. In this regard, it is not a compassionate effort to help homosexuals in pain, but a means of exploiting unhappy people and of reinforcing social hostility to homosexuality. Herein lies the real "reparative therapy:" helping refugees of conversion therapy reconstruct their sense of identity and rediscover their capacity to love, as well as repairing a society still affected by the myth that lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are mentally ill. Reparative efforts are best directed toward a broken social context, not the individual who has been victimized by it.
  13. ^ Ford, Jeffry G. (2001). "Healing homosexuals: A psychologist's journey through the ex-gay movement and the pseudo-science of reparative therapy". Journal of Gay & Lesbian Psychotherapy. 5 (3–4): 69–86. doi:10.1300/J236v05n03_06.
  14. ^ Australian Psychological Society (2015). "APS Position Statement on the use of psychological practices that attempt to change sexual orientation" (PDF). Australian Psychological Society. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 17, 2018. Retrieved March 17, 2018. [S]ome organisations and individuals practicing outside the remit of professional bodies such as the American Psychiatric Association or the Australian Psychological Society continue to advocate for therapeutic approaches that treat homosexuality and bisexuality as disorders. These are most commonly referred to as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapies. Many such approaches are guided by particular interpretations of religious texts ...
    The APS strongly opposes any approach to psychological practice or research that treats lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people as disordered. The APS also strongly opposes any approach to psychological practice or research that attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation. ...
    [T]he Code of Ethics [of the Society] states: "psychologists avoid discriminating unfairly against people on the basis of age, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, gender, disability, or any other basis proscribed by law” [and that] "in the course of their conduct, psychologists: a) communicate respect for other people through their actions and language, b) do not behave in a manner that, having regard to the context, may reasonably be perceived as coercive or demeaning, and c) respect the legal rights and moral rights of others". It should be noted, however, that this requirement not to discriminate and to respect clients’ moral rights does not equate to a justification to treat homosexuality or bisexuality as a disorder requiring treatment [as the Code also states that] "psychologists only provide psychological services within the boundaries of their professional competence. This includes but is not restricted to... b) basing their service on established knowledge of the discipline and profession of psychology".
    There is no peer-reviewed empirical psychological research objectively documenting the ability to ‘change’ an individual’s sexual orientation. Furthermore, there is no peer-reviewed empirical psychological research demonstrating that homosexuality or bisexuality constitutes a disorder. ...
    Psychologists are responsible for the professional decisions they make and may be liable to investigation for professional misconduct in the event a client makes a claim of maleficence. It is, of course, appropriate for psychologists to provide clinical services to clients who experience distress in regards to their sexual orientation. It is also appropriate for psychological research to be undertaken on this topic. However, the Australian Psychological Society advises that such practice and research should seek to understand the reasons for distress and how it may be alleviated. Evidence-based strategies to alleviate distress do not include attempts at changing sexual orientation, but could include challenging negative stereotypes, seeking social support, and self-acceptance, among others. (emphases in original)
    Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  15. ^ "Movement Advancement Project | Conversion Therapy Laws". Retrieved 2019-07-09.

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