Conversion Therapy - Harmful & Unethical
Let me summarize the professional consensus on conversion (reparative) therapy (CT):
The American Psychological Association as well as other associations of professional social workers and educators warn that any attempt to change a person's sexual orientation can be harmful, even fatal. The dissonance that is created by any attempt to change an essential part of one's being can lead to depression, suicide and other forms of self-destructive behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse.
We see that the best outcome that CT claims in a few cases is to place a person into an ex-Governor McGreevey type situation. The person has needs which go unmet, the spouse has no person to emotionally bond with and children have no role models of what romantic love and affection are all about. Without models of how love and affection are connected to sex, these children may become promiscuous or engage in other inappropriate behaviors. The harm CT does is not just to the person who is gay, but to the faux spouse, the children and to society as a whole.
The American Psychiatric Association and other associations of physicians condemn CT as unethical.
CT attempts to cure a disease that does not exist. Homosexually was dropped from the DSM over thirty years ago when no relationship between being gay and mental disfunction could be found. Being gay is just the natural way some people are and has no detrimental effect on psychological functioning. This position is supported by all other major health and mental health organizations.
CT attempts to separate these persons' needs from their behavior, a harmful form of psychological dis-integration. This leaves the person less able to function satisfactorily. This is the antithesis of legitimate psychotherapies, which work toward personality integration which produces a person who is more able to function successfully in society.
The idea that being gay is a sin or some mental disorder and CT is a viable treatment, is based on religious belief, not science. As such the idea that being gay is other than the natural way some people are, or that there is something wrong with being gay, or that sexual orientation is something that a person can and should change, cannot be presented in our public school system or promoted by other government agencies where the intrusion of religious beliefs is not permitted. As the Dept. of Education has stated, gays are students too, and deserve a safe environment where learning is possible.
Since CT leads to mental disorganization and can result in great harm, including suicide, it should not be recommended by anyone serving in a professional capacity for liability reasons as well.
The best way to treat those who realize they are gay, both in school and otherwise, is to follow the guidelines set forth by the major health, mental health and education organizations as endorsed by their
nearly half million members, by the AFT, the NEA, mainstream religious groups and others.
Treating gays as second class citizens is not an option.