APA Reviewing Gay Counseling & Reparative Therapy genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Six Degrees of Speculation

Science At The Edge

In a move that may signal the repudiation of gay reparative therapy...an effort to convert one from homosexual to heterosexual...a task force of the American Psychological Association will conduct a review of its policies with regard to the counseling of gay and lesbian clients. The review has led numerous religious groups to send letters to the APA urging the panel to accommodate the religious belief that homosexuality is wrong.

NEW YORK -- The American Psychological Association is embarking on the first review of its 10-year-old policy on counseling gays and lesbians, a step that gay-rights activists hope will end with a denunciation of any attempt by therapists to change sexual orientation.

Such efforts -- often called reparative therapy or conversion therapy -- are considered futile and harmful by many gay-rights activists. Conservative groups defend the right to offer such treatment, and say people with their viewpoint have been excluded from the review panel.

A six-member task force set up by the APA has its first meeting Tuesday.

Already, scores of conservative religious leaders and counselors, representing such groups as the Southern Baptist Convention and Focus on the Family, have written a joint letter to the APA, expressing concern that the task force's proposals would not properly accommodate gays and lesbians whose religious beliefs condemn gay sex.

"We believe that psychologists should assist clients to develop lives that they value, even if that means they decline to identify as homosexual," said the letter, which requested a meeting between APA leaders and some of the signatories.

Clinton Anderson, director of the APA's Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns Office, said the panel would base its findings on scientific research, not ideology.

"They want a rubber stamp of approval for a form of therapy that's questionable in its efficacy and they don't want to deal with the issue of harmful side effects," said Drescher, who is editor of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy.

While I realize that there are individuals from strict religious backgrounds that may be inclined to seek out those who purport to assist with altering one's sexuality, I also believe that the practice of psychotherapy has a scientific basis and promoting therapies which can be demonstrated to be harmful would be contrary to the purpose of therapy and should not be endorsed simply because religious leaders want to treat troubled individuals as guinea pigs in their efforts to push an anti-gay agenda.

I'm also amused that opponents of homosexuality frequently insult the field of psychotherapy...primarily based upon the APA's position that homosexuality is not a mental illness and should not be treated as such. Notwithstanding, when attempting to legitimize therapeutic practices that legitimize their objectives, they suddenly become proponents of the scientific method. Unfortunately, the "experts" they rely upon have, for the most part, been discredited by the APA for their biased disregard for proper research standards.

One of the predominant perpetrators of this contrived data is Paul Cameron, a psychologist and researcher who was dropped from the APA in 1983 (though he states he withdrew prior to the ethical concerns that prompted the review of his membership). Regardless of who dropped who first, the concerns about Cameron's work subsequently led to a condemnation by the American Sociological Association in 1986 and a disassociation by the Canadian Psychological Association in 1996.

Consistent with the doctrines of absolutism that dominate religious dogma, opponents of homosexuality like to play both sides of the fence...they routinely accuse the APA and the field of psychology of supporting the gay agenda while at the same time promoting their own versions of voodoo science as uncontestable and certain fact. In other words, they see the scientific method as secondary to their own conclusions. Their "research" starts with the desired conclusion and then proceeds to fabricate the data to achieve the desired result.

I'm convinced that fanatical evangelicals hope to use false science and "repaired" individuals tortured by years of religious indoctrination to build a case for the classification of homosexuality as a mental illness and the re-criminalization of homosexual sex.

Anyone that doubts that science is under siege by extremist zealots determined to institute a theocratic government need look no further than men like Paul Cameron and James Dobson and the many other "Christianists" who are working diligently to establish quasi-scientific foundations to produce faux facts to further their faith based facade.

Let's hope the APA delivers a scientific slap in the face to these dangerous demagogues.

Image courtesy of www.edge.org

Daniel DiRito | July 11, 2007 | 11:31 AM
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