From an AP news release yesterday:
[quote]Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy
By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer David Crary, Ap National Writer
NEW YORK: The American Psychological Association has declared that mental health professionals should not tell gay clients that they can become straight through therapy or other treatments.
Instead, the APA is urging therapists to consider multiple options - that could range from celibacy to switching churches - for helping clients whose sexual orientation and religious faith conflict.
In a resolution adopted by the APA’s governing council and in a comprehensive report based on two years of research, the association puts itself firmly on record in opposition of so-called “reparative therapy” which seeks to change sexual orientation.
No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the report, and some research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.[/quote]
These conclusions were based on a review of 83 studies from 1960-2007, and were confirmed in a resolution adopted by the APA’s governing council on a 125-to-4 vote.
As I’ve said over and over again, people can’t change their sexual orientation, and attempting to do so can be harmful. Let’s stave off the inevitable outcries about the APA being so politically biased that their conclusions are worthless, because these same conclusions have been reached by every major medical, mental health, and educational organization.
I like that the APA is providing therapists with ways to help gays whose religious ideals conflict with their sexual orientation. It’s obvious that reparative therapy isn’t the answer, but it’s good that the APA is taking a pragmatic approach to help people with a religious conflict. If you are 100% convinced that your god doesn’t want you to be gay, you need to deal with that conviction in a healthy way. Celibacy isn’t ideal, but it is a lot better than lying to your spouse about your orientation, only to admit down the road that you’re unable to change who you are.
What gays don’t need are snake oil promises that if people only pray hard enough, god will change their orientation. They need to understand the reality that their sexual orientation is unlikely to change, and be prepared to deal with that reality, either through celibacy or through reconsidering the correctness of their religious convictions.