The American Psychological Association (APA) announced yesterday that psychologists should not advise gay clients that therapy can help them become straight. A six-member task force completed two years of research on 83 studies of sexual orientation conducted since 1960 and found no evidence that therapy can change an individual's sexual orientation. The APA governing council voted 125-4 at its annual meeting this weekend to endorse the report, according to the Associated Press.
The research concluded that therapeutic attempts to change patients' sexual preferences are not only unsuccessful, but can also be harmful by causing depression or suicidal thoughts, reports the DC Examiner. The study advises therapists to affirm that homosexuality is not a mental disorder with patients. "Practitioners can assist clients through therapies that do not attempt to change sexual orientation, but rather involve acceptance, support and identity exploration and development without imposing a specific identity," says the report.
For individuals whose sexuality conflicts with his or her religious beliefs, the study says that therapists should encourage celibacy rather than attempt heterosexuality, according to the Wall Street Journal. Additionally, the study recommends that these individuals seek a new faith that accepts homosexuality.
Media Resources: Associated Press 8/5/09; DC Examiner 8/5/09; Wall Street Journal 8/6/09