Wednesday, August 5, 2009
The American Psychological Association (APA) declared Wednesday that mental health professionals should not tell gay and lesbian clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments.
Instead, the APA urged therapists to consider multiple options, ranging from celibacy to switching churches, in the case of clients whose sexual orientation and religious faith conflict.
In a resolution adopted on sweeping a 125-to-4 vote by the APA’s governing council, and in a comprehensive report based on two years of research, the 150,000-member association put itself firmly on record opposing so-called “reparative therapy” which seeks to change sexual orientation and often results in highly destructive outcomes.
Judith Glassgold, a Highland Park, N.J., psychologist who chaired the task force, said she hoped the document could help calm the polarized debate between religious conservatives who believe in the possibility of changing sexual orientation and the many mental health professionals who reject that option.
“Both sides have to educate themselves better,” Glassgold said in an interview. “The religious psychotherapists have to open up their eyes to the potential positive aspects of being gay or lesbian. Secular therapists have to recognize that some people will choose their faith over their sexuality.”