In a resolution adopted by the governing council of the American Psychological Association, mental health professionals were prescribed to not tell gay clients that they can become straight through therapy or other treatments.
The resolution focused on advising mental health professionals. An accompanying report included the organization’s most comprehensive repudiation of so-called reparative therapy, a concept espoused by a small but persistent group of therapists who maintain that gay men and lesbians can change. The theory is often allied with religious conservatives.
No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, reads the resolution that was adopted by a 125-to-4 vote. The association reported that some research suggested that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies in those undergoing the treatment.
The American Psychological Association urged therapists to consider multiple options, which could include celibacy and switching churches, for helping their clients live spiritually rewarding lives in instances where their sexual orientation and religious faith conflicted.
The organization has criticized reparative therapy in the past, but a six-member panel added weight to that position by examining 83 studies on sexual orientation change. The studies date back to 1960. The American Psychological Association report was endorsed by the association’s governing council in Toronto, where the association’s annual meeting is being held this weekend.
Psychologists contacted note that the report breaks ground in its assessment of how therapists should deal with gay clients who are struggling to remain loyal to a religious faith that disapproves of homosexuality.
Based in Washington, DC, the American Psychological Association (APA) is a scientific and professional organization that represents psychology in the United States. With 150,000 members, APA is the largest association of psychologists worldwide.
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