Main | Thursday, August 06, 2009

APA: Ex-Gay Therapy Doesn't Work

Citing 83 studies performed since 1960, yesterday the American Psychological Association declared that "reparative therapy" for homosexuals does not work and should not be attempted. But you knew that.
In a resolution adopted by the APA's governing council, and in an accompanying report, the association issued its most comprehensive repudiation of "reparative therapy" — a concept espoused by a small but persistent group of therapists, often allied with religious conservatives, who maintain gays can change. No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the resolution, adopted by a 125-4 vote. The APA said some research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies. Instead of seeking such change, the APA urged therapists to consider multiple options — that could range from celibacy to switching churches — for helping clients live spiritually rewarding lives in instances where their sexual orientation and religious faith conflict. The APA had criticized reparative therapy in the past, but a six-member task force added weight to this position by examining 83 studies on sexual orientation change conducted since 1960. Its report was endorsed by the APA's governing council in Toronto, where the 150,000-member association's annual meeting is being held this weekend. The report breaks new ground in its detailed and nuanced assessment of how therapists should deal with gay clients struggling to remain loyal to a religious faith that disapproves of homosexuality.
The APA's press release is here.

Wayne Besen: “Ex-Gay therapy is a profound travesty that has led to pointless tragedies and we are pleased that the APA has addressed this psychological scourge. It is our hope that persistent violators of the principles enumerated by the APA will be held accountable for their unethical actions.”

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