Monday, August 01, 2011

Story on conversion therapy

NPR radio news just broadcast a story on Can Therapy Help Change Sexual Orientation?:
The debate about the value of conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy, has been raging in psychological circles for more than a decade.

About three years ago, the American Psychological Association came out with an official position paper on it. The APA said that it was basically a bad idea, and that there was no evidence that it was possible to change sexual orientation. Therapists also shouldn't tell their clients that change was possible, the APA noted.

This morning on Morning Edition I profile the conversion therapy experiences of two men. They represent two sides of a debate that hasn't been resolved despite the APA's position.

One side feels that therapies which seek to make gay people straight are invariably harmful. The other says the therapies can help gay people who are profoundly uncomfortable with same-sex attraction.
The story is from Alix Spiegel, who told the 2002 story about how her grandfather was a closeted gay psychiatrist who changed the official definition of sexual deviance to exclude homosexuality in 1973.

The APA did not really say that there was no evidence of change. It said that there was evidence that therapy could change sexual orientation, but that it was insufficient to justify endorsing the therapy, considering that such therapy is contrary to certain political goals. See here for details.

The underlying problem here is that nearly all psychological therapies are unscientific and ineffective, and the profession is politicized and corrupt. They cannot explain why they endorse sex change therapy but not sexual orientation change therapy.

The show gave this very strange justification for refusing homosexual conversion therapy:
Clients request a lot of things based on lack of knowledge... If a girl with an eating disorder came to a therapist saying that she wanted to be thinner, the therapist couldn't ethically honor her request.
Maybe this is part of why we have so many fat women getting useless therapy.

The story is generating a lot of angry comments from leftist NPR listeners who complain that the story was too balanced. One said that there should not be balance on this subject, just as there should not be balance on the teaching of evolution. They say that they would listen to Fox News if they wanted to hear something contrary to the gay agenda.

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