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Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

APA on Homosexual Therapy a Disappointment, Conservatives Find Hope

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By Nathan A. Cherry

There are those that do not believe that a homosexual can change, “go straight.” But such a belief is a slap in the face to Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, a ministry reaching out to people with unwanted same-sex attractions. Chambers was once a homosexual himself, but through faith and the support of his family left the lifestyle and is now happily married with a family of his own. And his story is shared by thousands of others.

Despite the testimony of Chambers, and many others, the APA (American Psychological Association) has formally denied that reparative therapy works. In a 130 page report release last Wednesday, the APA announced that:

“Mental health professionals should not tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments. Instead, 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.”

It would seem that the APA believes that if you don’t like what your church is telling you that you should just find another church that agrees with you. Hmm, what if I don’t like what my mechanic tells me, or my dentist, or how about my boss? What if I don’t like what my President tells me? Such thinking does not confront any issue; it merely acts like a parent giving in to a spoiled child demanding its own way.

What troubles me is the APA’s blatant disregard for the change in people’s lives. Such stories as the one of Alan Chambers, and even Jeff Johnston, gender issues analyst for Focus on the Family who were once trapped in an unwanted lifestyle, but through reparative therapy have left it behind. Johnston said of the APA report,

“There are a lot of people out there who haven’t just changed their sexual identity or behavior, but their attractions have also changed, I’m one of those people.”

And despite these stories the APA denies that such change is possible. Are these men liars? Has the APA interviewed former homosexuals in order to understand how reparative therapy changes people? I highly doubt it. To give even the slightest credit to reparative therapy would be to deny that homosexuality is genetic, and therefore a choice. By doing this the APA, and other agencies would have to conclude that homosexuals cannot be given special rights any more than alcoholics, drug addicts, or any other person with a disorder.

The report goes on to say, of reparative therapy:

“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.”

“[T]he results of scientifically valid research indicate that it is unlikely that individuals will be able to reduce same-sex attractions or increase other-sex sexual attractions through SOCE [sexual orientation change efforts].” (Click here for quote origin)

They might as well slap Alan Chambers and Jeff Johnston in the face and call them liars.

Despite the disappointing tone of the APA report, some positive results were concluded. The following paragraph from the Baptist Press highlights the positive conclusion for conservatives:

“For those who believe homosexuality can be changed, the report concluded, ‘the appropriate application of affirmative therapeutic interventions for those who seek [sexual orientation change efforts] involves therapist acceptance, support, and understanding of clients … without imposing a specific sexual orientation identity outcome.’ Although such a sentence may not sound significant, it actually is: It gives the patient the ability to decide his or her direction in the therapy. Conservatives feared the APA not only would call such attempts unethical but also conclude that patients who desire to change should not be assisted. In another possible nod to Christian conservatives, the report concluded, ‘[W]e take the perspective that religious faith and psychology do not have to be seen as being opposed to each other.’”

Alan Chambers was pleased with the small change he saw in the APA attitude toward the role of faith in the life of a person with unwanted same-sex attractions,

“Optimistically, I think that this is gradual change [at APA], and we believe that gradual change is better than no change at all. So, for the APA to come out with some nod toward religious folks who are conflicted about these issues, it’s a good sign. What’s not good is that they deny the truth of my story and the truth of the story of tens of thousands of other people like me that have experienced not only significant but real and lasting change.” (Click here for quote origin)

Further Food for Thought: “New APA Report on Treatment of Homosexuality
Has APA given nod to gay change therapy?”
Study Concludes That Sexual Orientation Can Be Changed
Homosexuality: Genetic, Disorder, Choice?

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One Response

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  1. Alan Chambers and Jeff Johnston may have “left the lifestyle,” but it cannot be proven that they are now heterosexual and free of desire for men. Just because they say they are doesn’t make it true, as we now know from the many “straight” Christian and conservative leaders that have been caught having sex with men. Moreover, there are no studies proving that reparative therapy DOES work, either. Two dubious cases of “cure” do not in any way constitute any valid support for this “treatment.”


    September 22, 2009 at 12:18 pm

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