APA: Therapists shouldn’t tell gay clients they can become straight
August 6, 2009
NEW YORK (AP) – The American Psychological Association declared Wednesday that mental health professionals should not tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments.
The APA urged therapists to consider multiple options – that could range from celibacy to switching churches – for helping clients whose sexual orientation and religious faith conflict.
In a resolution adopted on a 125-to-4 vote by the APA’s governing council, and in a comprehensive report based on two years of research, the 150,000-member association put itself firmly on record in opposition of so-called “reparative therapy” which seeks to change sexual orientation.
No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the report, and some research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.
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 comprehensive report was endorsed by the APA’s governing council in Toronto, where the association’s annual meeting is being held this weekend.