Conversion Therapy

"Conversion therapy" (also known as "reparative therapy") is a pseudoscientific therapy that aims and purports to change sexual orientation. Conversion therapy has been a source of intense controversy in the United States and other countries. The American Psychiatric Association has condemned psychiatric "treatment" which is "based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that a patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation." It states that, "Ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals' sexual orientation." It also states that political and moral debates over the integration of gays and lesbians into the mainstream of American society have obscured scientific data about changing sexual orientation "by calling into question the motives and even the character of individuals on both sides of the issue."

The highest-profile contemporary advocates of conversion therapy tend to be fundamentalist Christian groups and other right-wing religious organizations. The main organization advocating secular forms of conversion therapy is the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), which often partners with religious groups. Psychologist Douglas Haldeman writes that conversion therapy comprises efforts by mental health professionals and pastoral care providers to convert lesbians and gay men to heterosexuality by techniques including aversive treatments, such as "the application of electric shock to the hands and/or genitals," and "nausea-inducing drugs...administered simultaneously with the presentation of homoerotic stimuli," masturbatory reconditioning, visualization, social skills training, psychoanalytic therapy, and spiritual interventions, such as "prayer and group support and pressure." NARTH repudiates aversive techniques and stresses therapeutic efforts toward growing more fully into what it considers one's biologically appropriate gender identity.

National medical and scientific organizations in the US have expressed concern over conversion therapy and consider it potentially harmful. The advancement of conversion therapy may cause social harm by disseminating inaccurate views about sexual orientation. As a result, conversion therapy on minors is illegal in the US State of California.

The ethics guidelines of major mental health organizations in the United States vary from cautionary statements to recommendations that ethical practitioners refrain from practicing conversion therapy (American Psychiatric Association) or from referring patients to those who do (American Counseling Association). In a letter dated February 23, 2011 to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Attorney General of the United States stated "while sexual orientation carries no visible badge, a growing scientific consensus accepts that sexual orientation is a characteristic that is immutable". In a position paper released May 17, 2012, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) stated that services that aim to "cure" people with a non-heterosexual sexual orientation lack medical justification and represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people, and noted that there is a professional consensus that homosexuality is a natural variation of human sexuality and cannot be regarded as a pathological condition.

Read more about Conversion Therapy:  History, Medical, Scientific and Legal Views

Other articles related to "conversion therapy, therapy, conversion":

Sexual Orientation Change Efforts - Methods - Conversion Therapy
... The American Psychological Association defines conversion therapy or reparative therapy as therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation ... The American Psychiatric Association states that conversion therapy or reparative therapy is a type of psychiatric treatment "based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the ... and dangers of prejudice associated with conversion therapy (American Psychological Association) to recommending that ethical practitioners refrain from using conversion ...
Chris Kempling - 2002 Suspension - Letters To The Editor
... Kempling, an advocate of conversion therapy, wrote "Sexual orientations can be changed and the success rate for those who seek help is high ... evidence supporting the idea that sexual orientation can be changed and notes that conversion therapy can be harmful, while the American Psychiatric Association questions the scientific validity of the theories ...
Conversion Therapy - Medical, Scientific and Legal Views - Legal Issues
... case, the Ninth Circuit addressed conversion therapy in the context of an asylum application ... The Ninth Circuit held that the conversion treatments to which Pitcherskaia had been subjected constituted mental and physical torture ... children and teenagers from undergoing conversion therapy, which Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on September 29, 2012 ...
Sexual Orientation Change Efforts - Debate - Forced SOCE
... cases dealing with conversion therapy, the Ninth Circuit addressed the topic in the context of an asylum application ... hypnosis." The Ninth Circuit held that the conversion treatments to which Pitcherskaia had been subjected constituted mental and physical torture ... the victims." There have been few, if any, medical malpractice lawsuits filed on the basis of conversion therapy ...
Maggie Gallagher - Conversion Therapy
... by The Nation editor Richard Kim about her support of gay reparative therapy ... Gallagher denied having ever supported ex-gay therapy and claimed that Kim was "making stuff up" ... Robert Spitzer for his research on the possibilities of ex-gay therapy and calling on then President George W ...

Famous quotes containing the words therapy and/or conversion:

    Show business is the best possible therapy for remorse.
    Anita Loos (1888–1981)

    The conversion of a savage to Christianity is the conversion of Christianity to savagery.
    George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)