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Debunking gay-to-straight therapy

The American Psychological Association takes on so-called gay “reparative” therapy. Will “ex-gay” therapists listen?

The American Psychological Association just “officially debunked” the validity of gay-to-straight therapies, said Joel Schwartzberg in the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger. This is a “refreshing triumph of science over willful ignorance,” not to mention a big step toward the acceptance of gays in America. It’s too bad “evangelists” of so-called “conversion” or “reparative” therapy “don’t give a hoot about what the larger psychological community does or says.”

Maybe they would, said Kim Trobee in Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink, if the APA and the larger psychological community didn’t overlook “years of clinical research that shows sexual orientation is changeable through therapy.” Some people struggling with gay attractions don’t share the APA’s “false assumption that homosexuality is normal and positive.”

Those ethically or religiously “conflicted” gay men are the whole point of the APA’s report, said Stephanie Simon in The Wall Street Journal. And while the new APA guidelines stress that there is “no evidence therapy can change sexual orientation,” they also—in a “striking departure”—say it’s ethical for counselors to promote rejecting gay attractions, even if that means embracing celibacy.

Such “repression” might work for some struggling gays and lesbians, said Wayne Besen in The Huffington Post, but most of us would find it “destructive to self-worth and psychological well-being.” In fact, the most important point of the APA report is that it “smacks down the absurd notion, pushed by charlatans,” that “ex-gay” therapies do anything but leave a trail of “psychological casualties.”

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