01 Aug Myth Buster: Does reorientation therapy harm individuals who experience unwanted same-sex attraction?
Is reparative therapy (or reorientation therapy as it is sometimes called) harmful to individuals who experience same-sex attraction? Is it “unethical” as some members of the psychological associations claim? Those who stridently oppose reparative therapy object to the notion that homosexual behavior is disordered and in need of “repair.” But is that grounds for wholesale rejection of this branch of mental health care?
According to National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), current treatment of same-sex behaviors is neither harmful nor unethical. Thousands of former homosexuals attest to the fact that change is possible and the treatment received was desired and effective. “Conversion therapy is not appropriate for all clients, states Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, former president of NARTH, and those who “wish to affirm a gay identity could feel shamed and emotionally hurt if therapists attempted to impose conversion therapy on them.” But Nicolosi is also quick to point out that those who want to shed their “unwanted homosexuality” should be encouraged to seek treatment.
Julie Hamilton, current president of NARTH, explains: “The attacks on those who offer assistance to clients struggling with unwanted homosexual attractions is growing daily… We believe the reason reorientation therapies are under attack is because the campaign to deceive society into believing that people are ‘born that way’ is beginning to fail. The science won’t support the rhetoric, and even the American Psychological Association has had to modify their position to reflect the research.”
Here’s the exact quote from the APA:
There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation. (American Psychological Association, “Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality: Answers to your questions for a better understanding.”)
You might ask yourself why this quote has received no attention in the main stream media.
If same-sex behavior and inclinations are neither innate nor immutable, then it would follow that they should be changeable. Add to that the fact that some wish to make the change and it is difficult to understand why advocacy groups would be so adamantly opposed to reorientation therapy. Isn’t that the whole premise of mental health therapy: to help people make desired changes in their lives?
It leads us to this conclusion: The house of cards that is the “gay civil rights movement” is built upon the assertion that homosexual behavior is innate and it all comes tumbling down without that “same-sex behavior is unchangeable” foundation.
To see the complete message from NARTH on this topic, go here.