Therapists and the “treatment” of homosexuality

The BBC reports on a new survey that sheds some light on how far out on the psychotherapeutic right wing the ex-gay movement, endorsed by many of the leaders of the schismatic movement in the Episcopal Church really is. A grand total of 4 percent of therapists in the study believe it is possible to change someone’s sexual orientation.

However, 17 percent said they would help curb homosexual feelings.

“Of course it’s incumbent on a professional to assist a client who wants help, but this should be done using evidence-based therapies – exploring their distress and helping them to adjust to their situation,” said Professor Michael King of University College London.

“We know now that efforts to change people’s sexual orientation result in very little change and can cause immense harm.

“We found it very worrying that there was a significant minority who appeared to ignore this – even if they had all the right intentions.”

Immense harm.

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  1. If the study is representative of the entire population of UK mental health professionals, it is deeply disturbing. Are as many as 17% of UK MH professionals opposed to homosexuality? Perhaps these therapists should be required to operate under a parallel but separate license – that way the public can know who’s a quack and who isn’t at one glance.

  2. jdbassett

    So if only 4 percent believe this kind of therapy will work, but 17 percent are willing to attempt it, that means that 13 percent of therapists are willing to take a patient’s money to do something they do not believe will work. That seems appalling cynical to me.

  3. Bill Ghrist

    Be careful not to misread what the report says. “Curbing homosexual feelings” is not prima facie the same thing as “changing someone’s sexual orientation.” Of course the BBC report could be confusing what the survey says, but I could well believe that there are some homosexual individuals who accept their orientation as a given, but wish to refrain from actively expressing it, preferring to remain asexual in practice. These people may understandably wish to curb their sexual feelings, which happen to be homosexual, not to change their sexual feelings to a heterosexual orientation. Whether or not that is possible through therapy is not addressed by anything in the report.

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