Sunday, March 12, 2006

If You're Gay--You Better Stay that Way

Well, the APA (American Psychological Association) is at it again playing the activist role rather than the social science one when it comes to homosexuality (Hat Tip The National Psychologist). The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is a national association of mental health professionals serving men and women who are dissatisfied with their homosexual attractions.

Personally, I'm skeptical about turning gay people straight. But shouldn't the client be the one to choose, not the APA? The APA has decided that the answer is no.

Not only did the APA deny CE (Continuing Education) credit to professionals attending the annual NARTH conference in November, stating that "The program content is not consistent with APA policy" but the APA is attempting to declare therapy to modify sexual orientation unethical (National Psychologist, March,April 2006). Nicholas Cummings and Rogers Wright, authors of Destructive Trends in Mental Health,talk about the APA's attempt to silence those who disagree with their positions:

When writing their newly released book Destructive Trends in Mental Health, Wright and Cummings invited the participation of a number of fellow psychologists who flatly turned them down--fearing loss of tenure, loss of promotion, and other forms of professional retaliation. "We were bombarded by horror stories," Dr. Cummings said. "Their greatest fear was of the gay lobby, which is very strong in the APA."

'Homophobia as intimidation' is one of the most pervasive techniques used to silence anyone who would disagree with the gay activist agenda," said Cummings. "Sadly, I have seen militant gay men and lesbians-- who I am certain do not represent all homosexuals, and who themselves have been the object of derision and oppression-- once gaining freedom and power, then becoming oppressors themselves.

Perhaps the APA should turn the mirror on itself when it comes to being intolerant and closed-minded. APA articles such as this one claim that Conservatives have an intolerance for ambiguity -- but isn't intolerance of ambiguity just what the APA is engaging in on the issue of homosexuality? Isn't it extreme to go from diagnosing homosexuality as a mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) prior to 1973 to claiming that NARTH has no right to help those who want to change their sexual orientation to do so? Should we really trust an institution that swings to such extremes when it comes to psychological issues, and yet insists that it is right in whatever position it takes?

If clients want to change their sexual orientation, shouldn't they be able to make that choice just like the clients who embrace being gay or heterosexual? (How would the APA act if someone else were trying to shut down therapists who assisted formerly "straight" clients with getting in touch with their "gay" feelings?) Is the appearance of political correctness so entrenched in the APA that they would violate their own ethical code of client autonomy, self-determination or diversity?

I guess the answer to the last question is "Yes."

Update: Please help me in my support of the book, Destructive Trends in Mental Health. I have purchased several copies and hope that others will too--give them to your favorite therapist or mental health professional or read them yourself. The book is chock full of great information on political correctness with chapters ranging from "The Psychology of Victimhood" to "The Dumbing Down of Psychology."

"Wright described the difficulties he has encountered with the American Psychological Association since the Association instituted a "strategic decision not to respond" to their book in an effort to avoid attracting attention to it. Initially, the APA prohibited its member-publications from reviewing Destructive Trends. "So much for diversity and open-mindedness," Wright added wryly."

Update: Listen to our podcast on this issue as well as psychology and politics with Dr. Nicholas Cummings here.


Blogger Helen said...


Yeah, just check out the conferences of psychologists--you can pick out the male psychologists out a mile away. The normal men flee the field (I would if I had known better and wasn't young and stupid when I entered--and I'm not a guy). Between the way they treat men in the field, the crummy pay, and the length of time to get one's degree (average PHD--seven years plus one year postdoc prior to license) is more than most men want to put up with.

11:44 AM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...

The APA (Psychological) and the American Psychiatric Association have both gotten much too involved in politics and advocacy for my taste. (I resigned the Amer. Psychiatric many years ago for that reason.) The most difficult thing for therapists is to approach their patients without any personal wishes of their own. (BTW, I do not refer to my patients as "clients" or "consumers", a subject I am in the middle of preparing some posts about for the next few days.) The goal for any therapist should be to help the patient understand himself and why he has the difficulties he does. If he is conflicted about his sexual orientation, my job is to help him understand those conflicts so that ultimately he can make his own, freer choice, about what he wants to do. To decide a priori that your patient is gay or straight, especially when that is a conflicted area that they come to you for help resolving, strikes this therapist as bordering on malpractice.

12:03 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, (I'm not 100% sure about this, but I think it's true) I've heard the APA had itself classified homosexuality as a mental disorder until a few decades ago. Maybe they're trying to overcompensate now.

12:08 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO: Dr. 'InstaWife' Helen
RE: As If...

"...the APA (American Psychological Association) is at it again playing the activist role rather than the social science one when it comes to homosexuality (Hat Tip The National Psychologist). The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is a national association of mental health professionals serving men and women who are dissatisfied with their homosexual attractions.

Personally, I'm skeptical about turning gay people straight. But shouldn't the client be the one to choose, not the APA? The APA has decided that the answer is no." -- the good doctor

...we couldn't see THIS coming.

Political correctness has nothing to do with reality.

Personally, I gave up on the credibility of the APA back in the late 80s. The only think I use them for these days is formating of referential material in foot notes and bibliographies.

Sooner or later, others will wake up to reality as well. Hopefully sooner than later.


[Hipocracy — An over desirous tendancy to require reality to conform to ones own agenda; contrary to what others think.]

P.S. Big brother should be appearing soon.

12:13 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Shannon Love said...

When I was in college in the mid-80's I was denounced as a crypto-facisist for asserting that I thought that a lot of homosexuality had a physiological basis. My experience was very common.

At that time, Leftist were still in their "blank slate" mode full throttle in which any suggestion that any behavior resulted from biological roots made the suggester a Nazi. They adopted that stance not because the science supported it but because they thought it the most politically expedient. They feared that if people thought of homosexuality as a biological problem that society would treat it as a disease. They pushed the idea that homosexuality was just a freely chosen behavior.

A decade later, the politics had changed. Leftist now saw that they could get more traction by making homosexuality a matter of biology like race. So they reversed 180 degrees and begin to assault anyone who viewed homosexuality as a choice.

Over the intervening years the fundamental science had changed very little. No one made any kind of fundamental breakthrough that demonstrated conclusively that homosexuality had biological origins. The only thing that changed if was the politics.

If the politics change a few years down the Left will whipsaw back around and anyone holding the current viewpoint of the ABA will be denounced as a bigot.

12:51 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's pretty clear we all live on a multidimensional continuum of sexual attraction to various things. If someone decides to try to consciously move their desire along some axis of that continuum, no one has any right to tell them its prima facie wrong or a mistake.

Some sexual attractions are actually injurious to society and the individual holding them, like pedophilia or bestiality. While NAMBLA might disagree, few people are going to argue that its not in society's interest to try to move pedophiles' attraction away from children.

While I don't think homosexuality is intrinsically injurious to society, an individual might find it burdensome, or in the case of gay men, perhaps even unhealthy due to AIDS and hepatitis concerns.

12:59 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Kevin L. Connors said...

It is things like this - standards based more upon supposition and popular caprice, than objective observation and analysis, that has your field so often considered "not real science," Helen.

Not that "real" scientists aren't also subject to the same human failings ("global warming" anyone?), it just seems to happen more often in the field of psychology.

Kevin L. Connors, Editor
The Daily Brief

1:00 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my nephews has been working as a counselor with an MSPsych (or whatever it is that uses numbers) for the past dozen years or so.

He entered a well-known doctoral program in clinical psychology a couple of years ago and has now been driven out by such behavior, althoug not about sexual orientation. It is just way too political and doesn't match with what he had been seeing in more than a decade of actual practice.

I believe him when he says that the APA in general is getting less and less relevant and even less useful.

Too bad.

1:03 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO: Shannon Love
RE: History Repeats Itself

"If the politics change a few years down the Left will whipsaw back around and anyone holding the current viewpoint of the ABA will be denounced as a bigot." -- Shannon Love

We've seen this before. Amongst the Communists, where it was popularly known that...

...Today's Truth is tomorrow's Lie.

Seems to be the same with APA.



1:09 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger KipEsquire said...

If the American Medical Association refused to grant CE credit to The Leech Institute for a course on "Is Bloodletting Really So Bad?" I doubt you would have a problem with it.

1:19 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not that if someone wants to change their physical gender (sex reassignment surgery), the APA of course supports that. But if someone wants to take the much less radical course of changing their sexual preference, that is not allowed.

1:20 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has been going on for quite some time. I was enrolled in a Master's program in counselling in 1996, and when I learned of the APA's stance that "treatment" for homosexuality was deemed unethical, regardless of the client's wishes or feelings about the matter, that is when I left the program.

1:39 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Dr. Sanity said...

There are so many destructive trends in mental health, it is hard to know where to begin. I have purchased the book and look forward to reading it. Thanks for the heads up!

1:45 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm married to an academic psychologist and friends with many more. I've never once seen anything from the APA in my house, nor have I heard of anybody going to their conference.

2:01 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO: KipEsquire
RE: Seriously

"If the American Medical Association refused to grant CE credit to The Leech Institute for a course on "Is Bloodletting Really So Bad?" I doubt you would have a problem with it." -- KipEsquire

You don't know me very you. [Note: It's a 'rhetorical question'.]



2:01 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the good doctor's post, there is not a single reference to any scientific basis for reparative therapy. Indeed, she does not even claim, for example, that ANY peer reviewed study suport the theory that a person can "change" their sexual orientation. As such, why should that "theory" get any more support from the APA than phrenology or crystallomancy?

Indeed, if the APA accepted a "liberal" political theory with no scientific support, the right would be yelling about the politicization of psychology. But, instead, we have more whining from the right about their inability to get the scientific establishment to endorse one more religiously inspired theory as "science". What next? Castigating the APA for rejecting a "Mental illness is really just demonic posession" theory?

2:05 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when a patient asks for help during a transition of sexual orientation, you just say, "Tough it out, I won't help you"?

Clearly there are people of "mixed-up" orientation, undecided.

The therapist should not push them in a direction, but should help them resolve their inner struggle IF THEY ASK FOR HELP!!!

2:37 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO: B-Rob
RE: Okay....

"ANY peer reviewed study suport the theory that a person can "change" their sexual orientation." B-Rob

...which'peers' are we thinking of with respect to a 'peer review'?

The politically correct peers of the APA, perhaps?

Great idea that. Reminds me of the perpetual quesiton of who watches the watchers. As in a scenario of if the APA is adamently opposed to an idea, how is a one to get an honest review of any valid issue relating to said idea.



2:40 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


What? The APA never accepts "liberal" political theory with no scientific support? Where is their scientific support on their various political positions, e.g. Equating Zionism with Racisim? etc. In a content analysis of the American Psychologist, three coders--one liberal, one conservative and one centrist--found that 97% of the articles advanced liberal themes or policies.


The APA has endorsed CE credit for rebirthing techniques (which actually killed a child in 2000) and for Critical Incident Stress Debriefing which has been found to be ineffective or potentially harmful so their standards are not too high unless you violate their political beliefs.

2:47 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So does the APA consider all therapy to modify any sexual orientation to be unethical? Even for violent, sadistic, heterosexual rapists? Heterosexual pedophiles? How about homosexual pedophiles? Just wondering.

2:55 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger DWPittelli said...

To Shannon,
(who reports that in the 1980s it was only PC to see homosexuality as a choice, while now it is only PC to see homosexuality as biologically determined):

And my understanding is that in the 1950s the majority of homosexuals thought it was due to their adolescent sexual experiences.

I personally think that all three factors must be significant, although that the choice factor may be limited to ones early sexual choices.

3:13 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lunatics really are running the asylum.

Literally, I guess.

The list of institutions that have fallen into the hands of political hacks is impressive. Or at least it would be if it wasn’t so depressing to watch so much of our cultural heritage being destroyed by the remnants of Marxism.

Universities, public schools, professional associations, the national media, labor unions, several federal and state courts, Hollywood…

Can any of these be taken back, or do they all need to be replaced by parallel institutions?

3:20 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger somercet said...

So... you can have sex reassignment surgery when you are unhappy being a man or a woman, but you can't ask for help if you're unhappy being gay (or straight)?

3:30 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

if its between 2 or more consenting adults, regardless of sex, race, or anything, then they should be allowed to do it.

3:47 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger DWPittelli said...

B-Rob implies that there isn’t “ANY peer reviewed study suport [sic] the theory that a person can "change" their sexual orientation.”

How would such a study be done, B-Rob? Take a large group of homosexuals requesting such therapy, and randomly assign them? Not ethical or practical, and what would the “control” get? (No therapy, pro-gay therapy?) Basically, one would have to instead look at all of the patients of a given NARTH program, and see how many are both “straight” and happy. But if they all came to the program because of personal motivation – they were unhappy as gay people, or about being gay – then the alternative to a “control” would be a pretty low baseline (by definition, people who are unhappy about a major facet of their lives).

I actually do not think there are many, if any, people who are entirely homosexual who could, through therapy, become entirely heterosexual, especially if their motivation was primarily external (family, religion, legal or even fear of AIDS).

But people can and do "change their sexual orientation” even without such therapy, so I’m not sure what claim B-Rob is making,

People do change their outward behaviour and desires quite often. Men and women leave marriages to be gay. Perhaps these people were just fooling themselves. However, I have known of several women who were left by their husbands, or widowed, who effectively became lesbians with no prior knowledge that they were capable of such a change; and women who are lesbians in college often become heterosexual (the parallel among men seemed to happen more commonly in the past and in Britain, (e.g., John Maynard Keynes), where all-boy schools were/are more common). Most of these changes seem to be motivated by availability, but at least in the case of people leaving college, it is not that same-sex relationships became impossible to find, but that straight ones became more appealing, to people who were often surprised that this was so.

3:52 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Barry Dauphin said...


In the same issue of the National Psychologist, there is another important article. Pat Deleon, former APA president, is making noises that there are too many Divisions in APA, thus diluting APA's "message", and he is raising the possibility that Divisions be required to turn over any excess dues/receipts to the APA Practice Directorate. In other words some folks in the "big" organization want to make it structurally impossible for any of the Divisions to get any traction for alternative views to APA political activism and simultaneously pump up the coffers.

4:17 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

How many years have gay people spent trying to "change" their sexuality to no avail?

I myself spent 15 years.

It's about time we started a lawsuit against these phonies at Narth. And I think Dr. Helen should be included in that lawsuit.

This shit has been forced on us. We were lied to as well. The "success" rates they tout have been proven to be bogus crap.

Fine - try to convert us all you want. But when it fails - you have every right to be held accountable for destroying people's lives. It's called malpractice.

It's time to sue Dr. Helen and make her defend this hocus pocus crap in front of a jury of her peers.

4:29 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Eric said...

I've been upset by this stuff for many years and I have a few thoughts.

"pb" hit the nail on the head. Why is it that it's fine to change your sex, but heretical to change your sexuality?

If there is such a thing as sexual freedom, well, doesn't that mean the right to be free to choose what you do sexually? If there's a right to be gay, isn't there just as much right not to be? This intolerant attitude reveals major insecurity on the part of gay activists -- it's as if the idea what other people might do sexually is a threat to their own sexuality. Even their existence! Yet wasn't the gay movement originally started to combat intolerant and intrusive views of human sexuality?

And why is the assumption so frequently made that there's no such thing as bisexuality? If you're a man and say you're bisexual, all people hear is the gay part.

Being told you have to be straight is just as tyrannical as being told you have to be gay.

4:41 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


Who is forcing anything on you? I do not understand your use of the term force here. I am not trying to convert anyone to anything.I am merely pointing out that those people who want help from a therapist to change their sexual orientation have the right to do so--just as you have a right to seek out the type of treatment that you want and the APA should not be able to stop clients from doing so--either way.

4:50 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wrong Helen. When I go to a doctor, I want professional help. The doctor should not necessarilly do what I "want", especially if what I "want" has been proven to cause even further emotional stress and increased suicide rates.

Maybe you should do some research on some of the harm that reparative therapy does. It has zero discernable effect on changing people's sexual orientation, only makes gay people even more distressed, as they now see themselves as failures for having failed to "change" and leads to more depression and misery.

I've been there and done that. I'm speaking from experience. You're speaking from ignorance and you've obviously done ZERO research into this matter.

We were lied to be the psychocooks, who pretend that their therapy is successful, when it's been proven not to be. Families are FORCING their children to attend these brainwashing camps, which only brainwash kids into thinking that there is something wrong with them.

Almost every gay person goes through a period of depression and denial before coming out. The last thing we need are "doctors" reinforcing that depression and prolonging misery.

As I stated - it's clearly malpractice in my eyes. Please show me these people who have been "converted". You can't, as they don't exist. Every few years you'll find that their "suceessful" spokespeople are subsequently spotted in gay bars, or they come out on their own terms and finally accept their sexuality.

The "success" cases don't exist. So to "teach" that change is possible - is a flat out lie.

5:15 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

If I went to a psychiatrist to cure cancer, do you think the APA should condone that? Do you think they should give credit to a psychiatrist who actually says he can treat cancer through psychotherapy? I'm sure you can find one or two that say they can.

Sure - the patient is free to choose whatever doctor he wants. But don't FORCE the APA to give academic sanction to such lunacy.

Being gay is not a psychological issue. Psychiatrists finally figured that out after a century of failing to "treat" gay people. Good for them for realizing it's not their "issue" to solve. It's only their issue to help people deal with the fact that they are gay. They can no more "treat" being gay, than they can treat cancer.

Even Freud realized this at the end of his life.

5:26 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, god, it's downtownlad, a troll among trolls.

Baseless threats of bogus lawsuits just demonstrate that you know nothing about the law, in addition to your ignorance on other subjects.

The bitterness and anger of the gay activist community are the biggest cross that gay people have to bear these days. Their fascistic behavior merely suggests that there are no rational arguments for gay rights. As someone who actually supports gay rights, I'm embarrassed by that stuff.

Downtownlad, if you tried to change for 15 years, it suggests that you've got some major self-loathing going on. I've seen you on a number of blogs, and I think it's justified, frankly, but not on account of your sexuality -- just your personality.

5:33 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

Tino-G - Behavior is not the same as orientation. I'm a gay man and I'm perfectly capable of having sex with a woman. Doesn't mean I'd like it. And doing so does not make me straight. If I'm having sex with a woman, but fantasizing about a guy, I'd say that makes me pretty gay.

5:34 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

anonymous 5:33,

Thanks for the heads up on this troll--I've gotten other emails etc. that he is known for trolling other blogs. Sorry I took him seriously for a moment.

5:44 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While the subject of "converting" sexuality is being discussed I had a few questions.

Has anyone ever heard of the following:

-Anyone trying to "classify" sexual orientation using infrared imaging as a crude plethysmograph? And then trying to force the subject into the "conclusion" of the "classification"? (Of course there are numerous problems with this - witness the "erection" male dogs get when they defecate.)

-Anyone hypothesizing that certain ethnic groups, namely germanic or scandinavian groups, have higher incidences of homosexuality or bisexuality than other ethnic groups, contradicting the various population studies?

-Anyone crippling or disabling the genital nerves and then restoring partial function using electrical stimulators - the excuse being given that the "subject" was a sex offender or sex addict?

-Anyone attempting to use chemical castration in addition to other drug treatments to "convert" sexual orientation? (That's the thinking, I'm not saying it's valid - I think it's nonsense.)

Any assistance appreciated.

5:47 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

Troll? Yes - who is stifling dissent now.

Sorry Helen - But I blogged for over a year, and have over 60,000 hits to my blog.

Typical closed minded conservative bigot.

5:48 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The APA is not an organization commited to the scientific method. Subsequently, it lives by the fads esposed by its leaders. Sadly, this suggest that the APA is ultimately a facist-like organization.

5:49 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

Anonymous is afraid to identify themself and goes right into a baseless accusation.

Who's the troll?

Me thinks Dr. Helen is not even a real doctor.

5:49 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey the APA should be irrelivant, they are the ones that defined a person as being a pedophile only if they felt guilty conflicted by thier behavior or were caught. Check out your DSM IV.

5:51 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

Glad to see that Dr. Helen condones this gay suicide.

I hope that makes her sleep better at night, knowing that she's contributing to this. And thank goodness she won't have any "trolls" calling her out on this.

God forbid she shoudl actually have to look at the "results", i.e. a teen suicide, that she is endorsing as "science".

5:53 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can always count on downtownlad to self-destruct before the thread ends. See above.

And someone who calls himself "downtownlad" has no business criticizing anonymity.

6:00 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...


Let's see anonymouse. You rejoice when gay kids commit suicide and encourage it's practice.

I, for one, think that's pretty fucked up.

Sorry - but you're one evil person if you think a gay kid committing suicide as a result of failed reparative therapy is a good thing.

The APA agrees with me.

I think Dr. Laura must have had some oxygen stop feeding her brain during her heart attack, if she thinks gay kids committing suicide is something that should be encouraged.

6:03 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

And anonymous is still anonymous. Probably because it's a blogger that I've called out before for lies and smears.

Funny how they are so out to silence me. I've referred to various outside sources that support my point.

Anymous and Dr. Helen have referred to - well none actually . . . .

6:05 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I have sex with women sometimes I think of more attractive women, what does that make me?

6:06 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

And here's proof that they want gay kids to kill themselves.

"I would rather you commit suicide than have you leave Love In Action wanting to return to the gay lifestyle. In a physical death you could still have a spiritual resurrection; whereas, returning to homosexuality you are yielding yourself to a spiritual death from which there is no recovery." - John Smid - Director of Love in Action

And Dr. Laura is trying to SHAME the APA for not endorsing Love in Action.


6:10 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Gaius Arbo said...

This is exactly why I never pursued my "credentials" in Psychology. I have a dual major (Psychology and Mathematics) and only one of those fields is not subject to subjective interpretation. (Did that make sense or was the subject "subject" used once too often?)

Downtownlad, you may have tried to reorient yourself unsuccessfully (I have no way of knowing the truth of those statements), but you seem to completely miss the point of this post. You do so because you assume everybody is exactly the same as you are.

I was once told that Thomas Aquinas defined arrogance as "I am the measure of all things".

It took me quite a few years to truely understand that quote.

6:16 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee downtownlad, looking at the explosions above I can't imagine why your family wouldn't want to talk to you.

Must be because you're gay. Couldn't be your obnoxiously unrelenting jerkish personality or anything.

I think you you could use a therapist, and not for your sexual orientation.

6:17 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Downtownlad proves the point. Dr. Helen wants to discuss an issue where she thinks the APA in particular, and PC police in general, wish to shut down all debate. Then downtownlad comes along and accuses anyone who doesn't agree with his position exactly of murder. It's classic shut-down-the-debate tactics.

6:18 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

And more evidence that ex-gay therapy does not work.

Oh yes - providing evidence makes one a "troll"... Nonetheless, some open-minded readers of this comment thread might actually be interested in facts . . . .

6:18 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

As I suspected - anymous is simply an adversary who doesn't like my opinion.

They obviously are readers of my blog too, considering that they know my family history.

Anonymous provides zero facts on the subject. Contributes nothing. Just the slander of "troll" to try and silence an actual debate on this subject.

Typical closed-minded conservative. Afraid of a real debate.

6:20 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger davidvs said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:22 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

Jeffrey Price, a gay teen, is dead because of another failed reparative therapy attempt. The psychiatrists are clearly at fault here.

And anymous could care less that Jeffrey Price is dead.

I care. That's why I'm here to provide the facts. To prevent more kids like Jeffrey Price from choosing a path that will lead to depression and suicide.

6:23 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger davidvs said...

[sorry, had to fix a typo]

Sigh. I was finding this thread worth reading (as someone who is not in psychology, but in other fields that struggle with what biases nonsense the field's leaders purport as truth) until the "troll" appeared .

Mr. Downtownlad, I'll happily share that I'm someone who used to have bisexual desires, but now am purely heterosexual in my desires. And I've known others who have also seen their sexual orientation change. Your claims are false, just as is your angry and slanderous assumptions that anyone here condones or rejoices because of suicides.

6:23 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

Here is an ex-gay leader, one who was touted as a "success" on the cover of Newsweek, being spotted in a gay bar in D.C.

Yup - that's a rousing success there. Again - I'd like to see some evidence to why the APA should endorse this junk science????

6:26 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

Glad to see that others agree with my claim that a lawsuit should be pursued against these ex-gay organizations.

"An attorney for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund said organizations like Exodus International could be liable for damages caused by the therapy if they are using methods outside accepted bounds. Depending on local laws, the groups could also be liable if they don't do what they promise or if they advertise falsely, said Hayley Gorenberg, Lambda's deputy legal director."

6:28 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

Davis V.S.

Bisexuality is not the same as gay. Nobody denies that bi people can swing back and forth. But there is zero evidence that being bisexual is a psychological orientation. Sure - it can swing one way or the other, but not because of psychotherapy.

Sorry - but please provide actual evidence, besides your entirely irrelevant claim.

There has not been ONE documentated case of a change in someone's sexual orientation because of psychotherapy. There has only been a change in behaviour. If you feel differently - please provide some actual evidence.

6:32 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

downtownland reacts like a Scientologist to anything that's outside his worldview: apocalyptic denunciation and lawsuit threats.

6:35 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

A definition of the word "troll":

Someone of rational thought that a closed-minded conservative wishes to silence. Rather than rely on facts - the conservative resorts to slander. Just as they claim anyone who is against the war is siding with the terrorists.

Let's have a real debate please. With actual facts.

You do know what "facts" are, don't you?

6:35 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger DADvocate said...

It sure seems the APA and others could be more open minded on this issue. There are probably plenty of people "who are bisexual to some degree, but are not 100% homosexual, nor 100% heterosexual" that could use appropriate therapy. Plus, if people can go from straight to gay, why can't they go the other way? I can't see why this would be impossible.

Now, what's his face, the banker, seems like a very unhappy fellow, especially after reading his comments and some of his blog. I've always been leary of people with this philosophy: "you can never have too much money. And I want more. Lots more." Sounds like what a lot of Republicans are accused of.

6:36 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

Fact: Ex-gay Therapy has lead to actual, documented, teen suicides.

Fact: Dr. Laura and anymous think that ex-gay therapy is hunky-dory.

6:38 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

This blog bores me.

I'll come back when Dr. Laura has her next heart attack to give my condolences . . .

Dadvocate sounds like a very poor man to me. Tis indeed better to have more money.

And sorry Dadvocate - but I AM a Republican you dubmass.

Ta ta.

Now this post is an actual "troll" post. Not the previous ones. Too bad you morons are stupid to recognize that.

6:41 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Downtownlad is wishing Dr. Helen dead! Here's proof of the VIOLENCE IN THE SYSTEM!!!!!

Okay, I tried but I can't do a good downtownlad imitation. I'm just glad he's gone, since it's him who seems to have trouble distinguishing between troll and non-troll posts. Here's a hint: If it starts with "downtownlad" it's a troll!

6:47 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Gaius Arbo said...

Lovely person.

Ah well, I've run into his comments on other blogs as well.

7:01 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Helen,
Thanks a lot for bringing this to public attention! May God bless you and yours abundantly. When someone sheds light on fascist trends like the ones you so cleverly refer to in this article, that someone is doing A LOT of good to society, acting as an awakening alarm to others. I live in Mexico, so I can't buy the book, otherwise I would. Hope lots of people buy it, read it and give it to shrinks they know.

8:00 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Hi anonymous 8:00

Thanks for the nice comment. One of the problems with issues such as race, sexuality, femininism etc. is that we cannot seem to have open discussions anywhere for fear others will accuse us of being racist, homophobic, sexist or worse. I hope that my website can provide a forum where people can talk openly about their concerns--whether PC or not. I have seen too many people cowed by cultural fascists and am frankly, tired of it. I am glad there are other people who feel the same way.

8:15 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If clients want to change their sexual orientation, shouldn't they be able to make that choice just like the clients who embrace being gay or heterosexual?"

Along those same lines...

If clients want to change their skin color, shouldn't they be able to make that choice just like the clients who embrace being black or white?

Like it or not, eventually you will come to realize that sexual orientation is not a choice you make, any more than you choose your skin color. Nor can you change it. Many have tried to convince us that they have. They haven't.

9:25 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helen -

I'd love to hear your thoughts on gender identity disorder/dysphoria.

I consider myself to be pretty open-minded on the whole range of human sexuality issues (as long as it makes you happy and doesn't hurt anyone else, go for it and have fun!), but even I draw the line at gender reassignment.

It boggles the mind that an association that as recently as the 1970s considered consensual sex within the same sex as a psychological disorder can now believe that an appropriate treatment for gender identity issues can be the removal and/or mutilation of perfectly functional bodily organs.

Again, I am perfectly happy to accept the idea of "differently gendered" bodies and minds. But when individuals make the leap from decoupling gender roles from biologic "reality" to a weirdly destigmatized version of apotemnophilia (which I believe it to be), it's disturbing to see so many psychologists enabling such a destructive behavior.

Once we live in Glenn's vision of a transhuman society where tiny nanomachines can change us from male to female and back again (and somewhere in between) at a cellular level, sure - bring it on. But to use the grossly inadequate technology of sharp knives and stitches to irreversibly modify our bodies in ways that are demonstratively significantly LESS healthy than before is nuts (in my non-professional opinion).

9:31 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Just what is a dubmass?

10:42 PM, March 12, 2006  
Blogger DWPittelli said...

[sarcasm]"If clients want to change their skin color, shouldn't they be able to make that choice just like the clients who embrace being black or white?" [/sarcasm]

1) You can change your skin color (and even nose and lip shape). Just not with a psychotherapist. (Although no doubt Michael Jackson needed a psychotherapist more than a plastic surgeon.) Further, you will still have memories of who your ancestors are.

2) Isn't this "argument" begging the question?

3) At least you didn't threaten to sue everyone who disagreed with you.

11:34 PM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, as someone who also has a PhD in psychology, and who is also completely disenchanted with all the PC hogwash that has invaded the 'profession', I have some sympathy with Downtownlad's point of view.

After all, once your brain has developed millions of neural connections associated with a certain sexuality, it might be rather difficult to undo them. You might be able to add other sexual connections, but how do you get rid of the first lot?

And I also think that, as a heterosexual, I would also feel somewhat affronted by 'therapists' trying to insinuate with their therapy that women who fancied me were 'ill' in some way; and needed re-orientation.

I know that gays might CHOOSE to undergo re-orientation therapy - and, yes, why shouldn't they - but Downtownlad is pointing out that they are, in fact, often being 'coerced'; because some people successfully imbue them with the notion that gayness is a disease which needs to be eradicated from their system; so, in desperation, they try to get rid of this 'disease'.

With regard to homosexuality being the result of nature or nurture, I am convinced that the evidence will show that nature (genes) has a huge influence in some gays, and a lesser influence in others.


2:17 AM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger AlanKH said...

Can someone tell me what evidence was offered to support the 1973 removal of homosexuality from the DSM?

2:36 AM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Zoe Brain said...

Some points to ponder:

First, anyone who wishes to try to gain help in altering their sexual orientation should have that opportunity. This is a matter of ethical obligation.

Second, prospective patients should be made aware that all such therapy is "experimental", and that irreperairable psychological damage has resulted from many such attempts, and that there has been not a single well-documented success.

Third, the question of parental responsibility for minors undergoing such therapy is vexed. We must ask the question, does a set of heterosexual parents have the right to dictate such therapy for their underage homosexual offspring to "straighten them out"? If so, what about a pair of homosexual parents - do they have the right to dictate such therapy to change their minor childrens' heterosexual orientation to homosexuality? The former seems mildly wrong to me, the latter far worse, yet are the two situations equivalent?

Fourth, the orientation-changing therapists have historically had a very poor ethical record, so much so that the whole field has been tainted. Until further research is done, the whole area has to be regarded not just as "fronge" but "junk" science. The therapists have historically been acting out of religious conviction with callous, wilfull, and reckless disregard for the patients' welfare.

So in summary, we have two conflicting ethical obligations : to do whatever we can for prospective patients, while keeping out the religious nuts, quacks, and mountebanks.

Until further research is conducted, and an ethical panel with the power to license and withdraw the licenses from orientation-changing practioners, due to the widespread malpractice in the past, I think that we cannot in all conscience support any existing orientation-changing therapy.

It is however beholden on us to support such research, and to establish such an ethical oversight panel, else we are failing in our obligations just as badly as if we had given the quacksalvers free rein to practice their electrical "aversion therapy" and pre-frontal lobotomies as has been common practice in the not-too-distant past.

Oh yes, a disclaimer: I'm a transsexual woman undergoing transition, and my own sexual orientation is best described as "extremely confused". Until April 2005, I viewed myself as a weird but straight male. After that, after a lot of soul-searching, I eventually accepted that I was Lesbian. As my hormonal balance has changed, this appears to be changing, as it does for about 50% of women in my situation, and I have to say, I find that extremely disquieting! OK, hilarious too.

Especially since I'm a conservative, and mildly homophobic. I can't help but feel this is a case of poetic justice.

2:56 AM, March 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Helen & others-

I am the original 5:47 anonymous with the questions about whether or not you were familiar with some of the situations or theories I mentioned. They were sincere questions and might have been buried in the thread, so if you have the time please address them. Also, any general information you may have about anyone falsely "classifying" heterosexuals as gay or bi and then trying to force them into the foreign orientation would be helful. Thanks in advance.

5:14 AM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Eric said...

Helen, I'd like to really stick my neck out here and take issue with the preposterous assertion that you are a "closed minded conservative bigot" who "thinks gay kids committing suicide is something that should be encouraged."

Insulting and outrageous remarks like those illustrate why most people hesitate to discuss the gay issue, as well as any other identity politics issue. Intimidation often works. I'm glad it doesn't in your case.

Regarding suicide, isn't it a little illogical (and a little patronizing) to assume that every gay teen who struggles with his sexuality and commits suicide is necessarily a victim of prejudice (or religious right brainwashing) without any causal connection being shown? The article linked above states:

**QUOTE**His battle, involving his sexuality and his depression led to two suicide attempts, five stays at psychiatric wards and a constant feeling he let his father down. **QUOTE**

Do we know that these "psychiatric wards" were in fact right wing brainwashing centers? Might this kid have had other issues? If for whatever reason his father was unhappy with him, how is that the fault of anyone but the father and maybe the son?

Isn't it possible for gay teens to suffer from depression without that being causally connected to their sexuality? I mean, don't heterosexual teens commit suicide without being labeled victims of religious intolerance?

Unless more questions are asked, I worry that gay teen suicides will be called "murder by bigotry" or something. There was a lot more anti-gay bigotry when I grew up, just as there was more racism and anti-Semitism. Normal people do not commit suicide because others are bigoted. While I condemn psychiatric attempts to change someone's sexuality without the patient's consent, I'm not convinced that this would cause suicide. But suppose someone wants to change his sexuality and discovers that he can't. I don't see suicide as the normal response. I suspect there may something more going on in these cases. How are we to know?

In response, of course, the advocates of fundamentalist conversion therapy are apparently trying blaming the gay movement for these suicides, because in their view, the gay movement offers "no way out." There's a kneejerk assumption going on that Person A is responsible for the suicide of Person B -- or that we all are to blame.

I'm reminded of that lawsuit against the "Judas Priest" rock group. The kid listened to a suicide song, then killed himself. Sorry, but I think there's something independently wrong with people who do things like that, and I no more blame Judas Priest than I'd blame religious quackery or gay activists.

9:30 AM, March 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If someone walked into a shrink's office and said I am a man trapped in a women's body, or the opposite, would their response be "Great, stay that way"? I suspect that they would do counseling to determine how sincere the belief is and even go so far as to cooperate with surgery to "change the sex" of the patient. If you say transgenderism is supportable, how can you say it can not even be imagined as supportable the idea of wanting to change sexual orientation?

10:30 AM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger submandave said...

While I do think one may be more predisposed to homosexuality than another, the bottom line is that is a an identification that is purely based upon behavior. There is no independent means to physically differentiate a homosexual from a heterosexual. If we do not assume a person is a born killer or a born altruist, why is it then taken as cannon that one is born with procrative-contrary instincts?

If you have time, Dr. Helen, I would be most interested should you pen a few lines on other behavioral patterns the APA assumes to be set at birth?

10:48 AM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger DADvocate said...

A person I've known almost his/her entire life had a sex change operation about 10 years ago, male to female. As a male he had been a pretty good athlete, played goalie in minor league hockey, and was always a wild partier, married and divorced. After a couple of years or so of therapy, he decided that the root to his problems was that he wanted to be a woman. Personally, I think discussing this need and coming to a resolution without a sex change would have been most desirable.

However, he and his therapist, whom I believe was a psychiatrist if that matters, decided he should have the sex change operation, which he did. Since this person has not attraction to man, she continues to have her romantic/sexual laisons with women. What we have is a 6'4" transexual lesbian. Apparently this is fine with the mental health crowd. I really don't have a problem with it but it does seem bizarre. If this is OK, why can't someone have therapy for a "gay" person wanting to go straight as long as the coercian factor isn't present?

10:59 AM, March 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The APA has gone the way of the American Bar Association, and, I suspect, other professional organizations. Its membership has been co-opted by social activists and political liberals with the agenda of using the association primarliy to advance their own doctrines. The ABA does a poor job of what it used to do well; educating its members and advancing the interests of the profession.


11:34 AM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger michael farris said...

"OK, why can't someone have therapy for a "gay" person wanting to go straight as long as the coercian factor isn't present?"

Finally, an interesting and important point. To what extent are those with same sex attractions repulsed by their apparent orientation? To what extent are they responding to societal bias or their personal inability to follow their religious principals?

From what (little) I've read, the success stories are pretty underwhelming and mostly amount to giving the patient something (religious fulfillment, the satisfaction of complying with majority expectations) that the patient may find more important than an emotionally satisfying love/sex life.

If the therapists are honest up front about that, then I have no problem with them. But I somehow suspect they aren't.

11:37 AM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Kevin L. Connors said...

Zoe Brain really had the definitive post here. This entire field is too tainted, both professionally and socially, for any good science to be conducted.

[D]owntownlad cited many anecdotal examples of damage done by sexual orientation therapy, and a few of recidivism among "converts". But that is the stuff of cocktail party conversation, not hard science.

For a patient to go to a therapist, cold, seeking sexual reorientation therapy, would be as absurd as a patient walking into a surgeon's office seeking an angioplasty. Perhaps the pains in the latter patient's chest are just acid reflux? And perhaps the former patient simply needs help dealing with societal or familial pressure related to their homosexuality?

Unfortunately, the APA's position here will just about guarantee that any therapist a patient might see will approach the situation from a standpoint of advocacy for one course of treatment or the other. In either event, without going to the analytical rigor required for the individual case, it is mere quackery.

Oh, and Helen, a while back there, you wrote: "In a content analysis of the American Psychologist, three coders--one liberal, one conservative and one centrist--found that 97% of the articles advanced liberal themes or policies." Do you have a reference to that study? That would be a valuable little tidbit, thanks.

Kevin L. Connors, Editor
The Daily Brief

1:37 PM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Sean Kinsell said...

"Anonymous is afraid to identify themself and goes right into a baseless accusation."

"Afraid to identify themself" [sic]? That has to be the funniest thing I've read all year. When have you ever risked your fat-cat job to identify yourself by name as a gay man on line, honey?

If you believe in personal liberty, then you have to accept that adults will sometimes decide there are parts of themselves that they don't like (or approve of morally, or feel like dealing with every day, et c.), want to change, and are willing to consult therapists or ministers or counselors to help them do it. Not everyone is going to agree on what is or is not a hindrance to peace of mind.

That isn't to say that data shouldn't be scrutinized. If the APA is making its pronouncements based on the scientific soundness of available studies, then great; make the relevant findings available, and trust that those who are thinking clearly will act accordingly. But if it's playing politics, then it deserves no less of a drubbing than any other body would get. The success rates of ex-gay programs, even by their own accounts, haven't been encouraging--and that's usually with highly motivated subjects. Give people whatever tools are available, and let them judge for themselves, even if they opt to pursue improbable courses of action. That's called self-determination, not fascism.

2:49 PM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


The study was from a chapter entitled "Sociopolitical Diversity in Psychology: The Case for Pluralism" by Richard E. Redding in the book, "Destructive Trends in Mental Health." The author is a JD, PHD who is the associate editor of the Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice.

It is also well documented that both academic and practicing psychologists are much more liberal than the general population and most other professionals (Lipset & Ladd, 1970, Tetlock & Mitchell, 1993).

3:03 PM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

there is too much politicalisation in all fields, from psychiatric, health physical, and every other part of the system. you cant be attentive to the needs to the client/patient/customer if you have to put your own instincts as a psychologist through the political minefield. Life should be about the choices YOU make, not what society expects especially in such a political hot potato as homosexual/heterosexual conditioning. Part of the problem is religion being disguised as politics, most relgions never exist on LOGIC, but they rely on ignorance, and fear.

this is where a dispassionate psychologist (in regards to political climbs) is an essential tool, but as dr helen says and the other posters, there are less and less psychiatrists who can be themselves without the fear of political reprisals, THATS the problem.

3:49 PM, March 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, as a butch straight Christain male psychologist, I thought I would jot down a post. I work for my patients, not for the APA. Occasionally, someone comes in and says that they do not want to be gay. I say that I understand as this is not a gay friendly world, but assure them that I am a gay friendly person. I also share that I have doubts about sexual attraction being reassignable (what a neoligism) but would be happy to work with them.

After all, it is THEIR LIFE. Not mine. I do not need anyone to be straight other than my wife. I like people to get what they want from our working together quickly, so I stay on their agenda. There is a boatload of research supporting that by staying on the patient's agenda, I am more helpful more quickly. That is what it is about for me, working myself out of a job.

The APA is falling over itself here, and is in an indefensible position. Who cares?!?!?! I let my membership lapse.


4:42 PM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


I wish it was as easy as letting our memberships lapse but remember, depending on the state you are licensed in, the APA ethics code is written into the bylaws of the licensing board--it is here in Tennessee. Say that the APA makes it unethical to engage in sexual reorientation therapy of any type, someone files a complaint against you for assisting a patient in changing his sexual orientation and you could have ethics violations filed against you or lose your license if you are engaging in "unethical practice." This is why we must watch groups like the APA--they affect laws and the legislature in a way that does not allow those of us who are licensed professionals to shrug and say "Who Cares?"

5:05 PM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger KCFleming said...

Over the years, APA positions have followed whatever direction the prevailing winds have blown. They will argue vociferously for position A, and then 10 years later argue just as vehemently anti-A.

Their scientific house is based on sifting sands, and their positions are untrustworthy. The correct scientific approach would embrace the idea that "Based on the evidence thus far, we currently hold this to be true, but we could be wrong."

Dogmatism befits their radical nature, and commitment to an ideal, but not an ideal that contains science. Rather, it is the ideal of leftist nihilism. A position is chosen by their intelligentsia and, no matter how foolish, defended with teeth bared.

How foolish they are, and repeatedly shown to be in error. They beget the Angry Ones, the failed gays-not-gays like downtownlad, whose incandescent pathology burns his very soul. It's even painful to read such rants, but in the APA world, it's society's fault, I am sure.

5:16 PM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Kevin L. Connors said...

Thanks Helen, I'll put that on my clipboard for my next library trip. -- Kevin

6:40 PM, March 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post reminds me of an article I read by an historian about the movie "Alexander." I wonder if it is possible for liberals to talk about gays without using the homophobia meme.

9:51 PM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

My impression is that discusion of anxieties about sexual identity is really rather common in psychotherapy/analysis. It seems generally helpful for someone with a heterosexual orientation to point out that people aren't psychologically one thing or another completely but that they may be 'afraid of their own self assertion' in assuming the role that is really less anxiety provoking for them.

11:17 PM, March 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every twin study on the planet have shown that homosexuality is not genetic (in that, there weren't 100% identical results from twins who shared 100% the same DNA.) So this points to environmental and developmental causes.

Secondly, just because certain ideations and urges are hard to perhaps impossible for a person to totally overcome doesn't mean that they're totally healthy and hence trying to overcome them is bad... Millions of people dealing with depression will NEVER BE CURED. But they do learn to manage and not give in to their depression.

Depressed people don't lose their human rights, they aren't oozing with horribleness, they're not incapable of brilliance in art, science or other skills... but they're not totally healthy either and it's probably not a good thing for clinically depressed or chronically depressed people to be given highly stressful jobs. In the same way, people with same sex attraction aren't ipso facto unintelligent, moral lepers incapable of doing good and operating machinery etc. but neither are they entirely healthy either - as evidenced phenomenologically by their overboard reactions to the mere suggestion that all is not well.

Plenty of minority groups have experienced entrenched societal bigotry without a higher incidence of suicidal ideations, self-destructive habits, and hyper-narcissism. People who act on same sex attraction DO. And there must be a cause for this sought outside of 'society made me do it'.

Finally, if you think the APA change from Homosexuality being in the DSM to not in 1973 was scientifically motivated....I dare you to go to the APA and get the 'boat load' of 'peer reviewed' SCIENCE that would supposedly be available. It's not there. ONE white paper, not peer reviewed, was all they used to ram rod a change of policy through on. Not very impressive.

1:44 PM, March 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Helen, I appreciate your comments about the APA and ethical guidelines, I too am licensed in Tennessee. I guess I am too used to blowing off APA nonsense.

Still, do you think they would press charges against me for well documented assistance to someone who wanted to not be gay? Actually, I am working with a case like this right now. I carefully documented my caveats, as well as how I stick with the patient's agenda for treatment. If he sues me, I feel that I have the backing of the evidence backed therapy folks as well as good documentation to cover my assetts. For me, time spent arguing with the APA is time away from working with patients. Working
with patients is what I do best! This is not apathy, it is focus on my strengths and calling.

I know that we need, that I need fair minded people who do not have a refrigerator full of liberal coolade to try to turn the tide. But my activism is played out one family at a time. Still, your kind post is giving me pause to think. Thank you.


3:54 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


The APA does not have any type of ethical guidelines in place for reorientation therapy etc. I was talking about down the line if they put such guidelines in place--they could be written into the TN licensing board bylaws. You can see the current ethical guidelines incorporated from the APA for Tennessee at:

I am on the Ethics board for the state so have kept fairly current on these issues--or maybe I have way too much time on my hands!

I did not mean to imply that all of us need to be tireless activists when it comes to our work--as psychologists, we need to be working with patients and that takes a lot of time. However, it is good to be aware of the issues and to make others in our profession aware also so that the APA does not just slip in ethics codes that many of us may not agree with or that may be detrimental to our patients.

4:43 PM, March 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While you bring up some good points, I would note simply that NARTH is not an organization whose annual conference should count for continuing education credit. Continuing education credit is designed for people to learn more and grow in a professional capacity. Going to a conference where a group pushes an unproven and, at least in some cases, demonstratably harmful "treatment" does not qualify. Attending the conference may have some value on some level, but a practicing psychologist should not be allowed to substitute this conference for one that has demonstratable merit.

8:39 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger SC&A said...

If attempting to changing sexuality is a wasted effort (no argument here), why is it so much effort and money is spent on trying to deal with pedophiles and rapists? Why is there so much funding for 'research' that can yield no positive outcome?

Will the APA, with equal vigor, support chemical castration or indefinite confinement for sexual predators?

11:57 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger T said...

Dear Dr Helen,

This is not a substantive point, but a procedural one. Please accept this apology for downtownlad's appalling rudeness and vicious personal attacks, which have added very little to this thread. I can only conclude that he has been badly brought up.



12:41 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger Sean Kinsell said...

Anonymous (1:44 p.m.):
"In the same way, people with same sex attraction aren't ipso facto unintelligent, moral lepers incapable of doing good and operating machinery etc. but neither are they entirely healthy either - as evidenced phenomenologically by their overboard reactions to the mere suggestion that all is not well."

Don't forget that you're dealing with a self-selecting population, though. The sorts of people who are motivated to speak up in these discussions tend to be those with strong feelings and pushable buttons. That doesn't tell you anything about those who just roll their eyes and wish the screechier activists would shut up. Of course, it's the same with radical feminists and the nuttier ethnic studies types.

The difference is that while most people know enough women to understand that Gloria Steinem isn't representative, most people don't know enough gays who are quietly going about their business to be able to determine whether they're seeing anything statistically significant in the individual homosexual they happen to be listening to at the moment.

"Plenty of minority groups have experienced entrenched societal bigotry without a higher incidence of suicidal ideations, self-destructive habits, and hyper-narcissism. People who act on same sex attraction DO. And there must be a cause for this sought outside of 'society made me do it.'"

That's true enough, but let's remember something: Conservatives are constantly pointing out (rightly, to my mind) that the gay rights and civil rights movements are not analogous. Then they want to have it both ways and compare gay and minority responses to adversity as if they were facing the same set of issues. But that simply isn't true in big-picture terms.

Minority kids usually grow up in minority families, with parents and other elders who mirror what they see in themselves and show how it can be developed into happy, responsible adulthood.

A lot of gay kids grow up in families in which the idea that homosexuals are miserable, haunted, promiscuous freaks is a casual dinner table topic. And even broad-minded parents usually want grandchildren and work under the assumption that their children are straight. You can't fault people for that or try to social-engineer them out of it--97%-ish of kids are heterosexual, after all, and parents, religiously devout or otherwise, have to be free to rear their children according to their own principles.

At the same time, it makes the comfy belief that self-destructiveness is somehow intrinsic to homosexuality is highly suspect. Many of us who are gay grew up feeling alienated and rejected (as developing homosexuals, I mean, not in all aspects of our personalities) not just in the larger society but within our own families. While that doesn't mean our parents weren't doing the best they could, it does have lasting effects. There are straight kids whose parents spend eighteen years telling them they're lazy and stupid or ungainly or not pretty enough, after all, and no one considers it pathological when they have some rough going in adulthood. They're just expected to suck it up eventually and deal like everyone else.

12:49 AM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sigmund, carl and alfred-

Is that real sex predators or the manufactured ones that reject the wrong women or don't agree with your views on sex and dating?

4:41 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

downtownlad reminded me of a quote by one of my fav authors terry pratchett.

"Just because s/he is a member of an (ethnic) minority doesnt mean s/he isnt a small minded petty little jerk"

5:12 AM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow on all of the trolls attacking the downtownlad troll. It's funny watching those who call out on downtownlad's personal attacks with their own personal attacks. Fight flame with flame, yes indeed. Even Dr.Helen simply took the "high road" by not going over downtownlad's point about the effectiveness of current gay-curing techniques, insteading labeling him a 'troll' and has since moved on.

But I am more interested in the results, and I think results will speak for themselves. So what if APA is indeed infested with liberals, there are also many conservative research organizations which others are free to join. If the Conservative organizations can actually make gay people straight then I am sure millions will jump from APA, and millions of gays will probably want access to these services. Money money money!

So where are all those who claim their gayness is cured? They need to speak up!

10:59 AM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for an open and interesting discussion. I have a suggestion for dealing with trolls on this subject. For every trollish post on the subject, give (or ask your readers to give) money to Exodus International or any other organization that helps homosexuals/bisexuals who wish to change to a heterosexual lifestyle. They don't have a 100% success rate, but they have been able to help many people who wished to change.

11:15 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger michael farris said...

don, but what about the anti-gay trolls?
who should we donate to to protest them?

12:04 PM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger Ben Regenspan said...

Personally, I'm skeptical about turning gay people straight. But shouldn't the client be the one to choose, not the APA? The APA has decided that the answer is no.

Clients or potential clients also choose to go to psychics and witch doctors. Should the APA give credit to attendees of psychic or spiritualist conferences? The fact is that this practice is completely unproven, as you yourself admit, and also raises significant ethical issues, as all sides are likely to acknowledge. Why should a professional organization lend its support to such methods?

1:04 PM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


Get with the program--we have been through this if you took the time to read other comments. The research at this time is mixed--the APA supports other types of therapy with much worse track records i.e. rebirthing (killed a child in 2000) and Critical Incident Debriefing--does not work etc. but the APA gives CE credit for these "therapies" because they have no political axe to grind.

It is not the CE credits that concerns me--it is the APA's attempt to make it unethical for therapists to practice any type of sexual reorientation therapy--if a client goes to a therapist and has conflicting sexual feelings or does not wish to be gay--I do not think it is fair to advocate that the patient stay gay no matter what. If a person comes to a therapist to change genders, would you advocate they stay the same, no matter what? Therapy should not be political. Further non-biased research should be done on this issue--researchers and others should not be shut down just because the APA has "decided" with no evidence that all gays are born that way and should stay gay no matter what. I say give clients a choice and let them make up their own mind.

1:24 PM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The APA has a manadate to oppose therapy that is ineffective. The "change-a-homo" therapy is ineffective. That's why the APA refuses to credit it. Simple enough for everyone?

1:36 PM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Helen revealed herself for the insipid fraud she is when she blithely equated the help professionals should provide with simply and issue of consumer choice.

Face it're just out your league. Don't worry though...everyone in the rest of the world knows that the word "doctor" in the States is completely meaningless.

1:50 PM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael Farris said...
don, but what about the anti-gay trolls?
who should we donate to to protest them?

Good point. To be fair, if you want to annoy an anti-gay troll, you could donate to groups

2:24 PM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous 1:50 PM:

You give my own anonymity a bad name.

You certainly have the right to believe anything you want, but when you use "insipid fraud" as a descriptor of someone who allows you a forum to insult her...well, you tell all of us everything we need to know about you.

Anonymity protects people from exposure that might harm their career or job. It is NOT license to be a rude jackass.

Please don't stink up this nice place with your immature and rude behavior. Disagree if you like---but your rudeness again, says more about you than it does about Dr. Smith.

2:26 PM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous' of 1:36 and 1:50 completely misses Dr. Helen's point, which is that the APA out of leftist political sensibilities is condemning a therapy approach which has a much better success rate than some it endorses, and both that the APA should clean up it's act and that until it does, it's reccomendation should not be coded into law in any fashion.

Anonymous is welcome, if they are ever in the States as it seems most of the world's population would like to be given our immigration rate (many under very adverse circumstances), and they are ill, I fully agree Anonymous should eschew any medical assistance whatsoever.

Best of luck with that.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

2:30 PM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Claims have been made that there is no peer-reviewed articles showing success in therapy assisting in changing a patient's sexual orientation.

Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, a journal of the APA, had published such an article in the June, 2002 issue. Written by Dr. Warren Throckmorton, "Initial Empirical and Clinical Findings Concerning the Change Process for Ex-Gays" found that therapists should provide this service as most patients viewed the therapy as positive and helpful.

As well, Dr. Robert Spitzer published a study in Archives of Sexual Behavior, October, 2003 which found that 5 years after therapy ended 11% of men and 37% of women (n=200) reported complete change. The remainder reported "that they still occasionally struggled with unwanted attractions".
As far as harm for the patient, Spitzer reported that "they [the patients] reported that it [the reorientation therapy] was helpful in a variety of ways beyond changing sexual orientation itself."

I just thought that some actual citations would be helpful.

3:24 PM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go ahead and google Warren Throckmorton. He's hilarious.

4:56 PM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is really not difficult.

The APA does not consider homosexuality a mental disorder, and has not done so since 1973. It has as much business 'straightening' gays as it does in carrying out liver transplants.

8:19 PM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger michael farris said...

I think the APA should engage orientation-change therapy. That's the only way to get any clarity about those who want to offer such services and wish to appear professional.

For example, since the APA does not regard homosexuality as a mental disorder, it should regard any treatment with the goal of changing orientation as an elective cosmetic procedure; the psychological equivalent of a tummy tuck or a nose job.

This would require (I assume) that those engaged in such practices can't talk in terms of 'cures', or 'recovery' or 'recidivism' etc. Instead some new set of terms that makes clear the purely elective nature of such therapy. (psychological equivalents of plastic surgeon speak).

My personal opinion is that secular treatment regimens will quickly fail and the field will be left to the overtly religious (with no veneer of dispassionate scientific enquiry and no special desire for recognition by secular treatment professionals).

12:08 AM, March 16, 2006  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I still find it more than odd that people can have sex changes operations, all sorts of cosmetic surgery, be encouraged to come out of the closet, etc. and, apparently, the APA has little problem with any of this. I doubt much true "mental health" comes out of all this.

But suggest someone could go from gay to straight and whoopee!! The people makeing the suggestions are unethical nuts. To be normal in a sick society is to be sick.

10:06 AM, March 16, 2006  
Blogger michael farris said...

The short answer is the APA doesn't regard same-sex romantic attractions in and of themselves to be a form of mental illness. (This American Life has a whole program devoted to how that happened, go and listen if you're interested). That being the case, trying one's romantic attractions isn't addressing a disorder. I'm assuming that the great majority of those who spend a significant (or most or all) of their time trying to help patients change their orientations (as opposed to getting to the root of why the patient is distressed and exploring ways of relieving that distress) _do_ see homosexuality as an illness or disorder and fundamentally out of step with APA principles. Is that so hard to understand?

I assume they do regard a perceived mismatch between one's identity (or whatever you call it) and one's physical body to be a disturbance that probably needs some degree of professional involvement. But that's a guess.

I guess people who are different from you are a challenge.

11:31 AM, March 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:26 said: "Please don't stink up this nice place with your immature and rude behavior. Disagree if you like---but your rudeness again, says more about you than it does about Dr. Smith. "

Dr. Smith herself is no example of mature and polite behavior. (To Ben, she writes: "Get with the program". And there are loads of other examples.)

12:04 PM, March 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Per Anonymous 4:56, I googled Throckmorton and found his website.

While I found what I read to be fair minded and lacking any obvious mean spiritness (based on an unrandom sample of 4 articles), I'd invite his critics to get to work and show why he is 'hilarious'.

2:09 PM, March 16, 2006  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Michael -

I guess I don't understand why someone's inability to cope with being the gender they were born isn't a disturbance. And, is having a sex change operation a solution or simply masking/avoiding the problem? We seem to think in our society that changing our physical attributes via surgery and other medical treatment is the way to happiness, make breasts larger, growth hormonse so you'll be taller, nose jobs, etc, etc. Sure if you have disfiguring defects, fix them, but a b-cup, baldness, receding chin, crooked nose, etc. isn't a disfiguring defect. What ever happened to being happy with who you are?

Personally, I don't care if a person is gay or not. I have several gay friends. One anecdotal trait I've noticed, or think I've noticed, is that gay women (lesbians) generally seem happier than gay males. Is there any empirical evidence concerning this?

2:33 PM, March 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:04:

You are using a typical "bait and switch" technique to defend rude people. You say that Dr. Smith has committed the terrible crime of telling someone to "...get with the program."

Oooh. That was rude, in your world view?

Are you seriously equating that with the anonymous poster who called Dr. Smith an "insipid fraud"?

Puh-leeze. Don't compare apples and oranges in this debate.

You are just trying to justify your own behavior, I suspect. Wouldn't it be simpler to be polite and simply explain why your own view is superior...instead of lowering yourself to insulting invective?

Again, having manners does not mean being "nicey-nice." But then, courtesy and manners are rare in modern society today---and we are so much the better for it, right?

2:49 PM, March 16, 2006  
Blogger michael farris said...

"I guess I don't understand why someone's inability to cope with being the gender they were born isn't a disturbance."

I agree that a person who thinks they're "really" a woman but has male anatomy (or vice versa) has a problem, I thought I made that clear (re-reading, maybe not).
I'm not going to preach about what I think they should do about that (cause I have no idea) but clearly they need to do something. No matter how they deal with it though, they're responding to an internal disturbance of some kind.

2:54 PM, March 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Helen, thanks for supplying this post and subsequently this thread. About a year and a half ago I taught a course in the Rehabilitation Therapies Department of my University a course (undergrad) entitled "Families and Disability" that looked at how families cope with both lifelong and later onset disability, both chronic and short term. One of the topics involved chochlear implants and one student in my class who was about 95% deaf noted that he had a chochlear implant at age 20 or so but that he had it removed because the sounds that he hadn't been used to were entirely distracting. But he noted, that before he had the implant, the Deaf Community was all "over him." And indeed, the Deaf Community is conflicted over the use of this technology.

I'm with you, the patient should be the one to pick. I note, parenthetically, that some cancer patients still choose "alternative" forms of treatment for their cancer. I think that somewhat silly, but it is their choice.

I have a belief that most people will choose what is right for them most of the time. There are consequences that go with that choice, but it is their choice.

8:43 PM, March 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the fraudulent "Dr." Helen might address the hostile social environmnent that causes gay people to be unhappy with their orientation?

Y' ole InstaWife can come off "fair and balanced"

You people are a joke.

9:25 AM, March 17, 2006  
Blogger Alessandra said...

These horrible results have been taking form and occurring in more dispersed ways ever since the 80s and 90s, but only now they are getting unavoidably glaring. If you dared to criticize these APA people before, you were drowned out by the fanatical pro-homo mass choir (Dr. Laura, one great example). However, as they get more and more extreme and the terrible incongruent consequences become evermore blatant, at least more people will start to be bothered by certain aspects of pro-homosexuality fanatism. Then they will begin to take notice, they will be forced to start reflecting, and they will finally come to see how dysfunctional and fanatical pro-homosexual politics are, even if there was wide evidence 10, 15 years ago. Unfortunately, society at large is largely willingly in denial about it all, since fanatism always finds it easy to put blinders on an privileged, petulant, and irresponsible society.

We can forecast that pro-homos will continue to take over more and more powerful positions in society, but at least this will result in making them show their profound Animal Farm pig mentality in such striking ways that social denial about it will require increasing intellectual fraud on the part of those involved. And that is probably the only thing that will start pressuring society to be less in denial. The victims of all kinds of psychological and sexual violence perpetrated by homosexuals and bisexuals have basically no voice as it is. How long we will have to wait for the dozens of books and articles that correctly show how psychologically violent and degenerate are the minds of homosexual and bisexual women regarding sexual harassment of other women, for example? One of many topics that rests a total taboo in society, thanks to pro-homos (in psychology, academia, and politicks). Another topic that media doesn't dare to talk about is how much homosexuals and bisexuals engage in prostitution. And how domestically violent homosexual relationships are, and...

The APA has been a stumbling block to put in practice so many actions and movements against all different kinds of sexual violence and dysfunctions in society, because it is more concerned that people liberate sexual innapropriate behaviors and lifestyles in the name of freedom.

1:33 PM, March 17, 2006  
Blogger Alessandra said...

Not surprising the degree of blindness regarding the "I don't think people can change their sexuality" attitude from the APA and other uninformed people.

Interestingly enough, if people cannot change, then why did so many pro-homosexual psychologists and psychiatrists that were involved in the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal insist on trying to "treat" abusive priests for years, while charging hundreds of thousands of dollars for it?

The problem as I see it is that society wants to be ignorant and not know what are the psychological, sociological, and cultural roots to sexual dysfunction (which includes homosexuality and pedophilia). The idea that human beings are genetically programmed to be dysfunctional is very appealling, because it's a biology scapegoating device. That's why pro-homos are so desperate for finding the inexistent homo gene.

Incidentally, approx. 70% of all articles I saw reported at the Church scandal database reported male sexual abuse of adolescents without physical violence involved, that is, plain homosexual abuse (and not any pedophile abuse in the sense of small child victims).

Another fact our homo-obsessed media loved to ignore.

1:46 PM, March 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:25....

So why spend any energy writing anything at all here?

If we are so awful, just go. Peace be upon you, as our Muslim friends might say.

No need to be rude. And particularly, no need for an angry person like you to be rude to Dr. Smith, who---based on the emotionality of your comment, anyway---is a far better person.

4:21 PM, March 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it possible for you to understand that rudeness is in fact a very legitimate response? OfGlenn here is a fraud, trying to pass herself off as something else, and my reaction is to be uncivil. What else should I do - argue interminably from the faulty premises she has laid out? Why on Earth would any sensible person do that?

6:46 PM, March 17, 2006  
Blogger michael farris said...

"OfGlenn here is a fraud, trying to pass herself off as something else, and my reaction is to be uncivil."

If anything, I'd reverse that, having read both, he now reads like Ofhelen to me.

1:36 AM, March 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, Anonymous 6:46 doesn't get it.

"Rudeness is a legitimate response"? Riiight. That really fixes things, improves the clarity of discussion, changes hearts and minds.

It is the verbal equivalent of saying "I'll punch anyone I disagree with."

He or she thinks being rude is a great response, when he or she could easily just go elsewhere? What about being rude will change anyone's mind, or clarify the situation?

It is just childish behavior.

Argue if you like, of course. But stick to the fact, leave out the vitriol, and you might manage to change minds.

Being rude is, to be quite frank, one of the things I believe is wrong with our current society. And like graffitti in a bad neighborhood, it seems to attrack more angry and trollish people, as you can see above.

11:31 PM, March 19, 2006  
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4:32 AM, March 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The APA is part "psychological association", part enforcer of select political interests. It is not the objective scientific body society believes it to be, but a powerful vehicle through which the gay lobby, both within the APA itself and through gay activist groups, disseminates its pro-gay propaganda.

Gay activists in the 70's were well aware of the APA's hitherto untapped potential to dictate not only scientific opinion on homosexuality, but society as a whole's view on this issue. The theory went that if gay activists and mental health professionals could just wrest away control of the APA from the more objective, hard science-based professionals that were then at the helm, the general direction of research could be shifted to reflect a more "gay-friendly" position.

For example, if a recently completed study were to find a correlation, however tenuous, between certain parts of the brains of gay men and those of heterosexual women, the findings would then be trumpeted as "proving" that gay men have more in common with straight women than they do with heterosexual men and are therefore fundamentally, biologically different from their straight counterparts. By extension, if they are biologically different, than they are necessarily born different i.e. gay.

This is the kind of junk science that is relentlessly propagated throughout the scientific community, while potentially conflicting research such as the relative success rates of reparative therapy is regularly suppressed.

Further, using euphemisms to replace the traditional nomenclature of homsexuality (i.e. stop saying "homosexual"; say "gay" instead -- it is more "tolerant"), and the constant threat of removing outright a mental health patient's inalienable right to seek out help for himself/herself however he or she sees fit, really puts the lie to the idea that the APA is a purely scientific and objective institution rather than the mouthpiece, the messenger, and, ultimately, the legitimizer of the gay agenda.

12:30 AM, March 06, 2007  

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