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Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 6th 2009, 05:15 PM

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...W7uDwD99T09TG0

"Psychologists Repudiate Gay-To-Straight Therapy.

NEW YORK The American Psychological Association declared Wednesday that mental health professionals should not tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments.
In a resolution adopted by the APA's governing council, and in an accompanying report, the association issued its most comprehensive repudiation of "reparative therapy" a concept espoused by a small but persistent group of therapists, often allied with religious conservatives, who maintain gays can change.
No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the resolution, adopted by a 125-4 vote. The APA said some research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.
Instead of seeking such change, the APA urged therapists to consider multiple options that could range from celibacy to switching churches for helping clients live spiritually rewarding lives in instances where their sexual orientation and religious faith conflict.
The APA had criticized reparative therapy in the past, but a six-member task force added weight to this position by examining 83 studies on sexual orientation change conducted since 1960. Its report was endorsed by the APA's governing council in Toronto, where the 150,000-member association's annual meeting is being held this weekend.
The report breaks new ground in its detailed and nuanced assessment of how therapists should deal with gay clients struggling to remain loyal to a religious faith that disapproves of homosexuality.
Judith Glassgold, a Highland Park, N.J., psychologist who chaired the task force, said she hoped the document could help calm the polarized debate between religious conservatives who believe in the possibility of changing sexual orientation and the many mental health professionals who reject that option.
"Both sides have to educate themselves better," Glassgold said in an interview. "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."
In dealing with gay clients from conservative faiths, says the report, therapists should be "very cautious" about suggesting treatments aimed at altering their same-sex attractions.
"Practitioners can assist clients through therapies that do not attempt to change sexual orientation, but rather involve acceptance, support and identity exploration and development without imposing a specific identity outcome," the report says.
"We have to challenge people to be creative," said Glassgold.
She suggested that devout clients could focus on overarching aspects of religion such as hope and forgiveness to transcend negative beliefs about homosexuality, and either remain part of their original faith within its limits for example, by embracing celibacy or find a faith that welcomes gays.
"There's no evidence to say that change therapies work, but these vulnerable people are tempted to try them, and when they don't work, they feel doubly terrified," Glassgold said. "You should be honest with people and say, 'This is not likely to change your sexual orientation, but we can help explore what options you have.'"
One of the largest organizations promoting the possibility of changing sexual orientation is Exodus International, a network of ministries whose core message is "Freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ."
Its president, Alan Chambers, describes himself as someone who "overcame unwanted same-sex attraction." He and other evangelicals met with APA representatives after the task force formed in 2007, and he expressed satisfaction with parts of the report that emerged.
"It's a positive step simply respecting someone's faith is a huge leap in the right direction," Chambers said. "But I'd go further. Don't deny the possibility that someone's feelings might change."
An evangelical psychologist, Mark Yarhouse of Regent University, praised the APA report for urging a creative approach to gay clients' religious beliefs but like Chambers disagreed with its skepticism about changing sexual orientation.
Yarhouse and a colleague, Professor Stanton Jones of Wheaton College, will be releasing findings at the APA meeting Friday from their six-year study of people who went through Exodus programs. More than half of 61 subjects either converted to heterosexuality or "disidentified" with homosexuality while embracing chastity, their study said.
To Jones and Yarhouse, their findings prove change is possible for some people, and on average the attempt to change will not be harmful.
The APA task force took as a starting point the belief that homosexuality is a normal variant of human sexuality, not a disorder, and that it nonetheless remains stigmatized in ways that can have negative consequences.
The report said the subgroup of gays interested in changing their sexual orientation has evolved over the decades and now is comprised mostly of well-educated white men whose religion is an important part of their lives and who participate in conservative faiths that frown on homosexuality.
"Religious faith and psychology do not have to be seen as being opposed to each other," the report says, endorsing approaches "that integrate concepts from the psychology of religion and the modern psychology of sexual orientation."
Perry Halkitis, a New York University psychologist who chairs the APA committee dealing with gay and lesbian issues, praised the report for its balance.
"Anyone who makes decisions based on good science will be satisfied," he said. "As a clinician, you have to deal with the whole person, and for some people, faith is a very important aspect of who they are."
The report also addressed the issue of whether adolescents should be subjected to therapy aimed at altering their sexual orientation. Any such approach should "maximize self-determination" and be undertaken only with the youth's consent, the report said.
Wayne Besen, a gay-rights activist who has sought to discredit the so-called "ex-gay" movement, welcomed the APA findings.
"Ex-gay therapy is a profound travesty that has led to pointless tragedies, and we are pleased that the APA has addressed this psychological scourge," Besen said."


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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 6th 2009, 11:37 PM

Was there ever a real dispute over whether this worked?
   
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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 7th 2009, 05:15 AM

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Was there ever a real dispute over whether this worked?
There was a dispute over whether or not homosexuality is a psychological disorder. The dispute was enhanced by whether or not you could change one's sexual orientation via therapy or via other ways.
   
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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 7th 2009, 05:26 AM

Yes, there are many people of the world who believe being gay is a choice.

I'm really glad this is just out in the open now, and therapists aren't able to hurt people like that.



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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 7th 2009, 06:33 PM

For those who want to be rid of their homosexual tendencies, why not have therapy available? It sounds very much like cognitive behavioral therapy to me.

Definition of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: "a psychotherapeutic approach that aims to influence dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and cognitions through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure."

This is a proven method that has seen good results. I don't see why the same methodology cannot be utilized in eliminating unwanted homosexuality.
   
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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 7th 2009, 06:55 PM

And why should this treatment not be available for those who want it?

Now I want to make it perfectly clear that I don't believe that homosexuality is a choice in most cases and I don't think it is an illness.

I would compare it to having your wisdom teeth grow in. No-one chooses to have their wisdom teeth, and it is completely natural to have them. For many people, this doesn't present any problem and they don't need them removed, however some people experience unnecessary pain or possibly infection when they get their wisdom teeth, so it is easiest for those people to have them removed.

Last edited by PhoenixAlive; August 7th 2009 at 07:13 PM.
   
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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 7th 2009, 07:52 PM

As I read it Araeana, the problem is that in some (or many) cases, attempting such therapy can actually be harmful to the patients' emotional or psychological well being. In essence, the cure can be worse than the condition. Otherwise, I would tend to agree with you. Though I think I would add a stipulation that says such therapy can only be given to patients over the age of 21 (or thereabouts), so that religious parents can't force such therapy on their homosexual children, ala Love in Action, and similar things.


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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 7th 2009, 07:58 PM

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I would add a stipulation that says such therapy can only be given to patients over the age of 21 (or thereabouts), so that religious parents can't force such therapy on their homosexual children, ala Love in Action, and similar things.
Agreed. It would definitely be harmful to the patient if it was forced by parents.
   
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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 8th 2009, 06:09 AM

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And why should this treatment not be available for those who want it?
Because if it is available, then the therapists who are part of and adhere to the APA will have to give treatment for that. In other words, the APA could then have to say that it is a disorder to be treated using certain methods. It could work if the therapists are not part of the APA in any way, shape or form and if that is the case, then it may work. However, it will still imply that homosexuality is a psychological problem which can be treated via psychotherapy, which is something that the APA has just said it is not. Quite a big problem with that.
   
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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 8th 2009, 03:15 PM

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Because if it is available, then the therapists who are part of and adhere to the APA will have to give treatment for that. In other words, the APA could then have to say that it is a disorder to be treated using certain methods. It could work if the therapists are not part of the APA in any way, shape or form and if that is the case, then it may work. However, it will still imply that homosexuality is a psychological problem which can be treated via psychotherapy, which is something that the APA has just said it is not. Quite a big problem with that.
The debate over whether homosexuality is a psychological disorder aside, if the homosexuality is unwanted by the individual, then it becomes a problem that can be treated. If the the APA made the distinction between unwanted homosexuality and homosexuality in general, then would that solve your problem?
   
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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 8th 2009, 04:11 PM

Whenever I read these things I always get flashbacks of the South Park when Butters goes to gay camp, so funny. This should have happened awhile ago though.


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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 9th 2009, 04:30 AM

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The debate over whether homosexuality is a psychological disorder aside, if the homosexuality is unwanted by the individual, then it becomes a problem that can be treated. If the the APA made the distinction between unwanted homosexuality and homosexuality in general, then would that solve your problem?
Nope. Homosexuality is homosexuality. If you're homosexual then you're homosexual so it still is implying that it is a disorder. This is the part you haven't managed to reason around. What you have done though is you now say that although it is a disorder, people can choose for it to be treated. Amazingly, this is exactly where we were before you made your post.
   
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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 9th 2009, 04:33 AM

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The debate over whether homosexuality is a psychological disorder aside, if the homosexuality is unwanted by the individual, then it becomes a problem that can be treated. If the the APA made the distinction between unwanted homosexuality and homosexuality in general, then would that solve your problem?
You can't just get rid of it. It's impossible, that's not how it works. By allowing there to be some sort of 'treatment' not only implies that it's some disease that should be treated, but gives people who have trouble with their sexual orientation false hope.

I don't know many homosexuals who asked to be that way.



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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 9th 2009, 12:23 PM

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Nope. Homosexuality is homosexuality. If you're homosexual then you're homosexual so it still is implying that it is a disorder. This is the part you haven't managed to reason around. What you have done though is you now say that although it is a disorder, people can choose for it to be treated. Amazingly, this is exactly where we were before you made your post.
I don't see how I've said that. Homosexuality is not a disorder, it is completely natural, and its not a chosen state. I've stated that before.

However, unwanted feelings can be very harmful to a person. If someone cannot come to terms with the way they feel, and want to feel a different way, then why not give them the option through therapy? This applies to many things, not just homosexuality.

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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 9th 2009, 01:24 PM

I agree with Areana
If people are happy, then you shouldn't force them to change.

But if they want to change, then why not let them, the human mind is a powerfull thing, you can make people believe what they want to believe.
   
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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 9th 2009, 02:45 PM

What if someone doesn't want to feel another part of their feelings, like anger? You repress, repress, repress...it isn't healthy. No therapist would ever agree to helping you completely repress your anger, just as no therapist should ever agree to helping you repress your homosexuality.

Look at it as though as someone was trying to repress their heterosexuality. Don't you think that is completely ridiculous? If someone is not okay with being homosexual, they shouldn't see a therapist to repress, but see a therapist to rationalize their thoughts and accept it.


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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 9th 2009, 03:01 PM

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What if someone doesn't want to feel another part of their feelings, like anger? You repress, repress, repress...it isn't healthy. No therapist would ever agree to helping you completely repress your anger, just as no therapist should ever agree to helping you repress your homosexuality.

Look at it as though as someone was trying to repress their heterosexuality. Don't you think that is completely ridiculous? If someone is not okay with being homosexual, they shouldn't see a therapist to repress, but see a therapist to rationalize their thoughts and accept it.
No its not ridiculous. If someone has feelings of anger that they can't control and are harming their life, then would it not make sense to eliminate that anger? You're assuming that the feelings would still be there, however they would be buried by the therapy. Yes, to me that sounds unhealthy. However I'm working from on the belief that this therapy eliminates the feelings. That may not be the case, but for the purposes of this debate, that's what I've been working with.

It works in heterosexual scenarios as well. Consider this:

A middle-aged man is happily married with children. Now, although he loves his wife and is happy in their relationship, he has fallen in love with another woman, who works with him. This is not lust or infatuation, he has truly fallen in love with her. He knows that if he pursues a relationship with this woman, he is breaking his wedding vows, potentially destroying his relationship with his wife, and emotionally harming his children. He may also be jeopardizing his job at his place of work. He does not want to do this. He did not choose to feel this way, and he does not want to have these feelings, however they will not go away. (This is assuming that you believe that you can have more than one true love in a lifetime, and that you can love more than one person this way at once.) This therapy could allow him to eliminate his feelings and return to life as it was before, with a happy family and a stable career.
   
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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 9th 2009, 03:46 PM

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No its not ridiculous. If someone has feelings of anger that they can't control and are harming their life, then would it not make sense to eliminate that anger? You're assuming that the feelings would still be there, however they would be buried by the therapy. Yes, to me that sounds unhealthy. However I'm working from on the belief that this therapy eliminates the feelings. That may not be the case, but for the purposes of this debate, that's what I've been working with.
Does homosexuality ruin your life and makes you lose control? No. and therapy doesn't eliminate feelings.

Quote:
A middle-aged man is happily married with children. Now, although he loves his wife and is happy in their relationship, he has fallen in love with another woman, who works with him. This is not lust or infatuation, he has truly fallen in love with her. He knows that if he pursues a relationship with this woman, he is breaking his wedding vows, potentially destroying his relationship with his wife, and emotionally harming his children. He may also be jeopardizing his job at his place of work. He does not want to do this. He did not choose to feel this way, and he does not want to have these feelings, however they will not go away. (This is assuming that you believe that you can have more than one true love in a lifetime, and that you can love more than one person this way at once.) This therapy could allow him to eliminate his feelings and return to life as it was before, with a happy family and a stable career.
You can't really fall in love with someone like that, it is infatuation whether you accept it or not.

But if it is 'true love', why would he be feeling this way about two people? Maybe it is not true love and he is idolizing women and judging his feelings incorrectly.


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Re: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy - August 9th 2009, 10:54 PM

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I don't see how I've said that. Homosexuality is not a disorder, it is completely natural, and its not a chosen state. I've stated that before.
If you are to give a cure or therapy to something then by definition, there must be a disorder. If there is no disorder, then what is there to treat? Nothing. It doesn't matter if homosexuality is a choice or if it's natural.

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However, unwanted feelings can be very harmful to a person. If someone cannot come to terms with the way they feel, and want to feel a different way, then why not give them the option through therapy? This applies to many things, not just homosexuality.
Notice how this shows that something is wrong with the person's feelings or the person. And also notice how the therapy is a cure to make it easier for the person? Amazingly, this shows that the person has a problem or disorder. Further notice how this makes homosexuality a disorder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhoenixAlive
No its not ridiculous. If someone has feelings of anger that they can't control and are harming their life, then would it not make sense to eliminate that anger? You're assuming that the feelings would still be there, however they would be buried by the therapy. Yes, to me that sounds unhealthy. However I'm working from on the belief that this therapy eliminates the feelings. That may not be the case, but for the purposes of this debate, that's what I've been working with.


Then you're working with a false premise and said premise does not work in the real world. This debate is about something that exists in reality and if you're using something that doesn't work in reality then I assume you can figure out the problem in that.

But the idea of therapy is to make the person healthy. The therapy you're suggesting makes the person even more unhealthy. You're not giving a cure to the disorder, you're only making the disorder larger, perhaps even causing more disorders. Yet you still persist with this in the hopes that is leads to a positive outcome.

As for your example with the anger, if you eliminate the anger then you throw all the other emotions or feelings out of sync, hence, you manage to eliminate one problem and instead of getting the person healthy, you make them unhealthier than when they came to you in the first place. How is that leading to a cure at all? It's not. Adding in more disorders isn't a cure at all. Replace the anger with the homosexuality, you eliminate homosexuality, you then eliminate natural feelings (anger toward someone, compassion towards someone, etc...).




   
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