On 1998-DEC-14, the American Psychiatric Association rejected reparative
therapy as ineffective and potentially destructive. 2, 3 Their
Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a position statement opposing reparative therapy.
APA President, Rodrigo Munoz, commented:
"It is fitting that this position
opposing reparative therapy is adopted on the 25th anniversary of the removal of
homosexuality as a mental disorder from the DSM. There is no scientific evidence
that reparative or conversion therapy is effective in changing a person's sexual
orientation. There is, however, evidence that this type of therapy can be destructive."
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a pro-equality group, responded positively to this stance. 4
The APA statement said, in part:
"The potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great,
including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since
therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may
reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.
Many patients who have undergone 'reparative therapy' relate
that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy
individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction. ... The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and
satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not
presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of
societal stigmatization discussed.
Therefore, the American Psychiatric Association opposes any
psychiatric treatment, such as 'reparative' or 'conversion' therapy which
is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental
disorder or based upon a prior assumption that the patient should change
his/her homosexual orientation. The American Psychiatric Association recognizes that in the course of ongoing psychiatric treatment, there may
be appropriate clinical indications for attempting to change sexual
Also in 1998-DEC, the American Counseling Association (ACA) published
an article on reparative therapy.
Mary Bart, a former editor of Counseling Today, wrote:
"...in many [reparative therapy] cases, ... purported successes
are nothing more than bisexuals who are highly motivated to adopt
She quoted Bob Barret, past-president of the Association for Gay,
Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues in Counseling (AGLBIC) who said:
this so-called reparative therapy, I don't think they are changing
sexual orientation. I think they are changing sexual identity and sexual
behavior. ... In most of the anecdotal evidence, a lot of the 'ex-gays'
will say that they still have same-sex attraction, but they don't act on
it. And there are plenty of people like me who were married and had a
sexual identity and sexual behavior that was heterosexual, but whose
sexual orientation is gay." (AGLBIC is a division of the ACA.)
She quoted Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper who helped found Exodus
International, the leading organization which tries to develop a
heterosexual orientation in persons with a homosexual orientation. They
"After dealing with hundreds of people, [we] haven't met one
who went from gay to straight. Even if you manage to alter someone's
sexual behavior, you cannot change their true sexual orientation."
On 1999-JAN-15, the American Psychiatric Association's Board of Trustees:
"... endorsed a position
statement at its December meeting that opposes therapeutic techniques some
psychiatrists and mental health professionals claim can shift an individual's
sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. The Board acknowledged that
there is no evidence that these so-called 'reparative therapies' have any
efficacy in converting someone from one sexual orientation to another." 5
The statement points out that:
"...potential risks of
'reparative therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety, and
self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices
against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by a
APA President Rodrigo Muñoz, M.D. stated:
no scientific evidence that reparative or conversion therapy is effective in
changing a person's sexual orientation. ... there is, however, evidence that this
type of therapy can be destructive."
During 1999-APR, at its World Conference, the American Counseling
Association adopted a position opposing the promotion of "reparative
therapy" as a "cure" for individuals who are
During the year 2000:
The board of directors of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) adopted a statement on therapy designed to change a person's
sexual orientation. It said, in part:
"The increase in media campaigns, often coupled with coercive
messages from family and community members, has created an environment in
which lesbians and gay men often are pressured to seek reparative or
conversion therapies, which cannot and will not change sexual
"Aligned with the American Psychological Association's (1997)
position, NCLGB believes that such treatment potentially can lead to
severe emotional damage..."
"No data demonstrate that reparative or conversion therapies are
effective, and in fact they may be harmful..."
The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is a conservative group that still considered homosexuality to
be a "sexual disorder." Some of the following beliefs are
derived from NARTH's Statement of Policy. Others are derived from
a speech that NARTH's founder, Dr. Nicolosi, gave to a OneByOne meeting on 2000-JUN-26. 7
Homosexuality is probably the most misunderstood "sexual
Effective scientific study of homosexuality has been eroded by the
Human sexuality researchers have been intimidated into silence by a
"Social-activist groups...have portrayed sexual deviancy as
an normal way of life."
"There is no such thing as a homosexual person. We are all
heterosexuals. Homosexuality is a description of a condition. It is
not a description of the intrinsic nature of the person."
Homosexuality "works against society's essential
male-female design and family unit."
Homosexuality is often caused by incompetent parenting and/or child sexual
"The development of the male homosexual is basically
someone who did not develop that strong sense of masculine
identity and he is trying to fulfill that sense of masculine
deficit by connecting with a man. But the only way he knows how to
do it is sexually. What feels right and natural is the sex drive
that is being displaced onto a person of the same sex for
Homosexuality is often caused by early sexual abuse.
Homosexuality is preventable in childhood and treatable in
Most gays and lesbians can successfully convert to heterosexuality
through reparative therapy.