Michael is 23 and is graduating from Queens College in a half a year with a degree in accounting. He finds himself attracted to both men and women. Confused by messages from the larger culture vis-a-vis the Torah culture of marriage and living a Halachik lifestyle, he is ultimately unsure of where his life will end up. He comes to therapy to help make heads and tails of his life.
Yanky is a 38-year-old Chassidishe man married with 8 children. He has a successful business and a nice family but he has been exhibiting symptoms of depression for many years. Two nights ago Yanky’s wife discovered that he has been visiting adult websites and acting on these desires with other men. Yanky calls to make an appointment to discuss after his wife told him that he must get help.
Homosexuality is a very politically charged topic. I do not wish to enter the fray (although I am aware that this might be an example of me doing so). I am only reporting on what research I’ve done, what I have seen in my office as well what colleagues of mine have shared with me. I wish to raise awareness about the very real pain that people struggle with and the fact that the right therapist can be a very significant resource. At the very least a therapist can be there to support you through your struggle. More importantly, people can and do significantly reduce or completely eliminate homosexual desires. People who have been able to do this in therapy can go on and lead healthy and normal lives with families and Torah values. My point is that there is help in our frum world for people who struggle with confusion about their sexuality. It is a service that at least a few competent therapists in New York provide.
Hashem gives us all struggles; to know what He wants from us in that struggle is sometimes quite difficult. But know, for every ounce of pain or struggle there is a Refuah. Sometimes that Refuah is learning to accept what Hashem deals us in life and sometime the Refuah is to change where or we think we are. Whatever the case, seek out a therapist who is knowledgeable about the issues you struggle with and begin travelling down the road to happiness. A wise man once said that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional (suffering being the inability to cope with the pain). Therapy is about choosing to stop the suffering. May Hashem bless all of us with happiness and with the coming of Moshiach when we will all experience the true clarity and of who we are as Hashem intended us to be.