APA Discredits 'Reparative Therapy'

Contemporary Sexuality, October 2009 | Go to article overview

APA Discredits 'Reparative Therapy'


The American Psychological Association (APA) passed a resolution detailing how therapists should treat gay and lesbian clients who want to deny their sexuality because of religious beliefs.

By a vote of 125-4, the APA's governing Council of Representatives rejected "reparative therapy," saying it hadn't proven effective, but also endorsed celibacy as a possible alternative for patients whose religious beliefs opposed homosexuality. Some conservatives have advocated "reparative therapy" as a way to change sexual orientation; many psychologists believe such efforts are harmful.

"Both sides have to educate themselves better," says Judith Glassgold, a psychologist in Highland Park, N.J. "The religious psychotherapists have to open up their eyes to the potential positive aspects of being gay or lesbian. Secular therapists have to recognize that some people will choose their faith over their sexuality."

APA appointed a Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation in 2007 to review and update APA's 1997 resolution, "Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation," and to generate a report. The task force examined peer-reviewed journal articles in English from 1960 to 2007, which included 83 studies. Most of the studies were conducted before 1978, and only a few had been conducted in the last 10 years. …

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APA Discredits 'Reparative Therapy'
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