Saturday, November 11, 2006

Shrinks reverse themselves on gays

August news:
American Psychological Association (APA), President Gerald P. Koocher voiced support for the treatment of those distressed by unwanted homosexual attractions. ...

Highlighting the importance of client autonomy and self-determination, Dr. Koocher stated, "APA has no conflict with psychologists who help those distressed by unwanted homosexual attraction." ... He emphasized that -- 1. The choice to enter therapy to diminish homosexual attractions and to strengthen heterosexual potential must be respected. ...
This was a little different from this 2000 APA statement, and afterwards, Koocher apparently had to backtrack:
Mr. Koocher said discussion of interventions in the "extremely complex issue" of sexual orientation "must balance patient choice with the therapist's ethical obligation to obtain informed consent for any therapy process."

"When dealing with sexual orientation," he said, a therapist "must" be sure that a person wishing to change is not "motivated purely from the social pressures of a homophobic environment" because therapy "will not modify societal prejudices."

Mr. Koocher further stressed that "patients must understand" that treatments intended to modify sexual orientation "lack a validated scientific foundation and may prove psychologically harmful."
This is bizarre. The APA recognizes all sorts of odd disorders, such as Encopresis, which is defecation into inappropriate places. Similar thinking would say that the therapist must make the patient understand that therapy will not modify society preferences for using toliets.

Ever wonder how the psychiatrists and psychologists decided in 1973 that they would no longer classify homosexuality as a disorder? According to this March 1993 Atlantic Monthly article:
Hooker administered psychological tests to her sixty subjects, including the Rorschach ink-blot test, producing sixty psychological profiles. She removed all identifying marks, including those indicating sexual orientation, and, to eliminate her own biases, gave them for interpretation to three eminent psychologists. One of these was Bruno Klopfer, who believed that he would be able to distinguish homosexuals from heterosexuals by means of the Rorschach test. As it turned out, none of the three could tell the homosexuals and heterosexuals apart.
(Also pdf here.) This says:
In 1973, Dr. Robert L. Spitzer was one of the major forces in removing homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) list of mental disorders. On May 9, 2001, Spitzer presented a study to the APA which proves that those struggling with homosexuality can, in fact, leave the lifestyle behind.
You can find a summary of Spitzer's paper and other research
here. I have no idea how scientific it is. A lot of bogus stuff passes for science in this field, including Rorschach ink-blot tests.

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