Boy Erased Paper

Guidelines for Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and FamilyPaper

Counselors and psychotherapists have been portrayed in various ways in books. Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family, a memoir by Garrard Conley, portrays counseling as it occurs at Love in Action (LIA) – a church-supported conversion therapy program – a facility that attempts to “cure” homosexuality. While conversion therapy is an umbrella term including reparative therapy, for the purposes of this assignment, I will refer to the process interchangeably.

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In addition to reading Mr. Conley’s memoir, prior to commencing your work on this paper, please view the web links, relevant to this assignment, posted in Brightspace. They will assist you in answering some of the questions outlined below.

Although your Boy Erased paper is not solely a research paper, research will be an integral component (this will become clearer when you review the expectations below); consequently, your paper must be written in APA format. Part of your work will center on how the counselor, counseling process, and helping professions are depicted. To that end, below is a list of questions to contemplate, research (if necessary), and answer. Please do not simply answer the questions; I expect that you will write a cogent, well-written, well-formatted essay.

Moreover, I expect detailed specifics and examples so that I can be sure that you have read the work and viewed the information in the web links. Keep in mind that learning does not only take place via textbooks; a well-executed work of fiction can often supplement and greatly enrich learning. Too, in the age of Hulu and Netflix — which, by the way, I have nothing against — my hope is that reading will allow you to experience the power of the written word.

§ What is reparative therapy?

§ What exactly is this therapy trying to repair?

§ What is the brief history of reparative therapy?

§ Please include meaningful references to the brief video and the Cornell University meta-analysis of reparative therapy in your discussions.

§ Referencing the Portland Press article as your resource, indicate whether conversion therapyis illegal in Maine? Briefly address its current legality in Mr. Conley’s home state of Arkansas.

§ Is it effective?

§ Why does the counseling field not endorse reparative therapy?

§ Why is this “therapy” particularly dangerous to utilize with adolescents?

§ Using the Trevor Project as your resource, discuss the potential suicidality of LGBTQIA+ relative to heterosexual youth. How is this depicted in Boy Erased? Please provide specific examples.

§ How do LIA’s “therapists” approach counseling? Is their therapeutic approach based on the client’s strengths or weaknesses?

§ Provide specific examples of their antithetical approach to counseling.

§ What are some of the fallacies that LIA perpetuates?

§ Based upon what you have learned about the counseling process, should counseling be utilized to “cure” homosexual clients?

§ What, if any, are the ethical issues presented?

§ Are there BETA approaches or techniques that you recognize? Be specific by giving examples.

§ What BETA techniques might be useful with LIA clients?

§ What kind of an image of the counseling or helping profession is presented?

§ On page 335, an ex-gay survivor describes the lasting effects of reparative therapy by saying, “It elevated sexuality from being part of my life to being the central fact of my life; everything revolved around it and my fear of it and being discovered.” This survivor’s sexuality had become his master status. What is a master status and how, in this instance, is it not helpful?

§ In Mr. Conley’s epilogue, does it appear that his time at LIA is indelibly etched in his psyche? Give specific examples of the damage LIA’s “counseling” .


What does the scholarly research say about whether conversion therapy can alter sexual orientation without causing harm?



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