TRANSFERENCE OF RESPONSIBILITY
Kevin, a member of a Metanoia support group, was seen by Dan, another group
member, at the Brass Connection, a gay bar. In the group Kevin admits to
having "a difficult week." Slowly, details emerge. Change is difficult;
he's tried hard; no one cares, and suddenly he is back on Capital Hill --
looking for something to do. "I just went in for a beer," he protests.
The group agrees -- change is difficult. No one really understands -- or
cares what we're going through. Slowly, despair, and self-pity set into
the whole group. Stories of failure begin to abound at group meetings.
One by one, members drop out, others pick up a new partner -- from the very
group that is supposed to help people find a way out of homosexuality.
What's going wrong?
Answering this question calls for self-examination. Where are the Metanoia
counsellors failing in their responsibilities to their clients? As the
director of Metanoia, I am constantly examining our programme and
counselling philosophy. Is it consistent with God's proclamation of hope
and healing? Are we using the best counselling models available to us? Do
we continue to improve our skills? Upon reflection, I have a clear
conscience that the staff is doing the best job possible and that we are
consistently working at improving our skills. We do care, and we are
consistent in expressing that personally and corporately.
Still something is not quite right. I believe the problem is two-fold and
the solution lies with the client:
1, there is a failure to implement the tools available.
2, clients are engaging in a transference of responsibility.
Too often, they want the hard work to be done by others.
Besides being given the opportunity for the expression of emotion and
identification of behaviour patterns, the client is given many tools and
resources ranging from educational helps to support groups and seminars.
Within each of these categories, the client is given several practical
steps to implement these tools.
In counselling, feelings are uncovered and motivational dynamics are
explored. Techniques are taught to identify and disrupt former destructive
behaviour and thought patterns. Frequently, clients say, "I had a bad
week, I fell." They almost appear shocked when asked, "How did the event
take place? What led up to it?" Possibly this is the question the
counsellor may ask -- but seldom does it appear to be a question that the
client has taught himself to ask. The client should be asking himself
regularly, "What can I do about my life -- as I am living it?"
In support group meetings the same dynamics occur. Each week the step is
taught; frequently with the challenge to do something during the week: "I
learned, I came to believe, I praised, I made my fearless inventory, I
confessed, I made direct amends, I lived, I matured, I sought, I carried."
Yet when asked, "How do you do a step?" -- the response is often a blank
stare! Attending the support group is not the answer to freedom from
homosexuality; implementing the program is!
Besides support groups and counselling, Metanoia offers many educational
resources -- books, a newsletter, seminars, etc. How often are these used
by our clients? Used to discover what is going on? For some, Nexus (the
newsletter) is the only support they have. They often write back saying,
"I use the articles as a devotional daily! I live my life by them!"
Praise God! That's why they were written and published!
This leads to the second issue which arises out of our culture, the
transference of responsibility. Doctors are responsible to provide the
perfect, painless cure. If treatment is not 100% successful, then sue!
Doctors practice medicine,however, because they don't know exactly what
will happen with any particular patient. Education only insures an
Locally, a logging company is being held responsible for the death of a
number of its loggers in the May, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Who
was responsible for knowing exactly what the mountain would do? I do not
deny that the logging company and doctors have responsibility. The issue
is, they can only do so much and no more. A doctor's responsibility ends
when his patient does not follow through on his part. A doctor cannot
prevent a heart attack when the patient refuses to practice good health
As a result of our society's tendency to blame others, people tend to
transfer responsibility to someone else. The doctor is responsible for
physical health, the psychologist for emotional health and the pastor for
spiritual health. This phenomena was known from the beginning of creation:
Adam transferred his responsibility to Eve, who in turn passed it on to the
Transference of responsibility springs from bitterness. "I'm gay because
my father didn't love me," some will say. But, Dr. Moberly has pointed out
that the love deficit often resulted because the client built a defense
mechanism, a defensive detachment, to protect himself from perceived, as
well as actual, hurts from the same-sex love source. The client created
the deficit by withdrawing from the relationship himself! His bitterness
actually precipitated the break!
Freedom from homosexuality will not occur until one takes responsibility
for what is happening in his life. Coming to counselling sessions,
attending support group meetings, reading the newsletter, etc., will not
free a person from homosexuality. Freedom only comes as the client takes
the information learned and radically applies it to his life.
Many steps to owning responsibility and working it through are fairly
straightforward and simple. Review the step card daily or whenever hit by
The steps out of homosexuality are designed to be used personally.
Meetings are a time of encouragement, but if the teachings are not put to
practice, they will do nothing to bring health or freedom from
homosexuality. Those who have made the most significant gains are the ones
who have applied the program in every way they could figure out. They have
taken responsibility for their actions, for their life.
The Metanoia counsellors are not responsible for the success or failure of
their clients. The counsellors are responsible to know their material, to
be skilled people helpers, to encourage and prod along a client, and to
facilitate their relationship to Christ. That is all.
The tools are available, but one has to take the responsibility of using
them. Those who do, make significant gains in their process to health.
Those who don't, tear everyone down. Let's resolve to take responsibility
for our own healing process.
-- Douglas A Houck
For further information about homosexuality or about other areas of sexual
brokenness, please contact:
LOVE IN ACTION
G.P.O. Box 1115
ADELAIDE SA 5001
Phone (08) 371 0446
This article is reprinted by permission from
P O Box 33039
Seattle WA 98133-0039
MINISTRY TO HOMOSEXUALS
Database Listing - Ministry To
Christian Resources on Homosexuality on the web
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