"Conversion" or "Reparative" Therapy
Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (also called "conversion" therapy or "reparative" therapy)
Even today, there continues to be social and religious prejudices against homosexual people in the U.S. The negative feelings produced by the stigma of these experiences, as well as encouragement by misinformed people and organizations, prompts some people to seek "reparative" therapy.
"Reparative" therapy is based on the concept that homosexuality can (and should be) cured.
However, for nearly 40 years, the scientific and medical communities — as a result of numerous studies — have affirmed that homosexuality is not a mental illness and does not need a "cure." In fact, a substantial amount of research supports that attempts to do so can be harmful to the individual.
- MPIPP Fact Sheet: The Medical and Scientific Perspective on Sexual Orientation Change Efforts
- Scientific Professional Associations' Statements on "Reparative" Therapy
- Report of the American
Psychological Association's Task Force
on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to
FROM THE REPORT SUMMARY:
The American Psychological Association's Task Force conducted a systematic review of the peer-reviewed journal literature on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) and concluded that efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm, contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates.
Even though the research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality, regardless of sexual orientation identity, the task force concluded that the population that undergoes SOCE tends to have strongly conservative religious views that lead them to seek to change their sexual orientation.
Thus, the appropriate application of affirmative therapeutic interventions for those who seek SOCE involves therapist acceptance, support and understanding of clients and the facilitation of clients' active coping, social support and identity exploration and development, without imposing a specific sexual orientation identity outcome.
To view the full report click here.
- American Psychological
Association Resolution on Appropriate
Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress
and Change Efforts
For the latest APA resolution, including a research summary and full documentation of the research reviewed, click here.
- American Psychiatric Association Resolution on Conversion or "Reparative" Therapy
- American Psychiatric Association Background for Resolution on Conversion or "Reparative" Therapy
- Answers to Your Questions: For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality — developed by the American Psychological Association
- Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators and School Personnel (Updated 2008 edition)