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Changing Sexual Orientation is Risky, Psychologists Say

posted by nsymmonds

(RNS) The American Psychological Association has announced that therapies aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation could be hazardous, but health professionals should respect the beliefs of patients who object to homosexuality on religious grounds.
Although the APA Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation concluded that “efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm,” the association also acknowledged that some people’s faith is strong enough to affect their sexual identity and behavior.
In the study released Wednesday (Aug. 5), the APA includes participants of conservative religious traditions whose beliefs conflict with same-sex attractions. Some participants who pursued practices to change their sexual orientation reported increased ability to control same-sex urges and reduced stress levels, according to the APA.
The report differentiates between sexual orientation and sexual orientation identity. While sexual orientation is unlikely to change, some participants who engaged in “reparative therapy” modified their sexual orientation identity — the group or label with which they identify — and their sexual behavior.
The APA report advises therapists to provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality “without imposing a specific sexual orientation identity outcome” and calls health professionals to recognize that homosexuality is not a mental illness or developmental disorder.
Exodus International, a Christian organization that promotes reparative therapy, released a statement that expressed gratitude to the APA for promoting respect for religion but said, “Exodus does not fully agree with the APA’s criticisms of clinical techniques such as reparative therapy and its view of sexual orientation change.”
By S.J. Velasquez
c. 2009 Religion News Service
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.



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cknuck

posted August 6, 2009 at 7:27 pm


I don’t blame Exodus for disagreeing the fact is that nobody knows what or why homosexual behavior exist or why it appears in some people. And there has been great success in “reparative therapy”. For those who have found reparative therapy a positive life changing fact in their lives it is undeniable. But many wish to deny facts such as these.



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Henrietta22

posted August 6, 2009 at 7:32 pm


If therapy change techniques can teach people who are attracted to the same sex, and at least are keeping them from acting on their natural desires, than why isn’t it being used on heterosexuals who have the wrong desires for children, and other heterosexuals? Or is it? and it doesn’t work.



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nnmns

posted August 6, 2009 at 7:49 pm


This is even worse than the typical RNS butchering of a story. Here’s the AP coverage.

n a resolution adopted by the APA’s governing council, and in an accompanying report, the association issued its most comprehensive repudiation of “reparative therapy” — a concept espoused by a small but persistent group of therapists, often allied with religious conservatives, who maintain gays can change.

No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the resolution, adopted by a 125-4 vote. The APA said some research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.

Instead of seeking such change, the APA urged therapists to consider multiple options — that could range from celibacy to switching churches — for helping clients live spiritually rewarding lives in instances where their sexual orientation and religious faith conflict.

I urge you to read the AP article. The RNS article is a bad joke.



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pagansister

posted August 6, 2009 at 7:52 pm


In other words, the “therapy” to change sexual orientation works for some and not for others. It really is a shame that some folks feel their “god” won’t accept them loving the same gender so they try and change who they are. Guess it appears to work if the person is scared enough of “sinning”. I wonder how long the “cured” person can actually last faking their newly found heterosexualism. Are they truly happy? My guess…no.



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pagansister

posted August 6, 2009 at 7:55 pm


Thanks, nnmns. The actual article you posted makes more sense. An alternative religion would certainly make sense, as one type of help.



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Chris

posted August 6, 2009 at 11:28 pm


Maybe the APA should help people who are sick of the disgusting abuse of religion regain their lives. I’m so sick of hearing some “Christians” tell me that I should pretend to love people of the opposite sex because a bronze-age book says I should. Do psychologists perform exorsizms (misspelled, I know) anymore? No, that died before sigmund freud. I wonder what the APA would think If I stoned my kids to death like the Bible says, for misbehaving? But people are free to keep sending thousands of gay teens to suicide each year because of their “beliefs”. Sad.



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cknuck

posted August 7, 2009 at 12:53 am


beliefs on both sides are extreme, there are folk that have found their way out of homosexuality and are happy. People who are so bend on homosexual promotions would rather that not be true, well too bad it is true live with it the therapy works



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Mordred08

posted August 7, 2009 at 2:27 am


The whole ex-gay thing is ridiculously arrogant. “I thought I was homosexual, but it turns out it was a choice. I was confused and so are you, no matter how much you think otherwise. If you disagree with me, you’re in denial, which is just further proof that I’m right and you’re wrong.”
My sexual orientation is not a threat to anything except certain people’s fragile perception of reality. Even if therapy or drugs or some other crap could change it, no one has shown me a good reason why I should. Your claim that it offends your invisible friend does not count as a good reason.



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Husband

posted August 7, 2009 at 9:29 am


” And there has been great success in “reparative therapy”.
If there was such “success”, shurely the fambly associations could produce evidence of it.
Waiting …



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Rev. Debra Haffner

posted August 7, 2009 at 9:35 am


I do hope that the report advises psychologists to refer such clients to religious leaders who affirm sexual and gender diversity as part of God’s blessings, who can help them explore alternative understandings of seemingly homophobic sacred texts, and to understand that there are religious communities where they would be fully welcome and included. I work with people struggling with these issues all the time, and it often takes only a few sessions with a clergy person for people to feel affirmed and welcome. There have been many times where simply telling someone that I know that God loves them just the way they are…and that there are many denominations and religious leaders who feel that way…helps them reach self-acceptance.
No one should ever have to choose between their sexuality and their religion — or vice versa. I hope the final APA report says that as well.
Rev. Debra Haffner
http://debrahaffner.blogspot.com



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Husband

posted August 7, 2009 at 9:39 am


“beliefs on both sides are extreme”
No, ckm they’re not. Our side simply says homosexuality exists and is neutral morally. Your side says we all are going to hell. Threats of hell and damnation are extremes; accepting one’s self as one was created is simply reality, hardly “extreme”.
“there are folk that have found their way out of homosexuality and are happy.”
Then they should come out and prove to the world they actually are no longer attracted to the same sex instead of merely being able to function sexually with someone of the opposite sex. Any lesbian can just lie there for a man. Her desires have in no way ‘changed’. Her happiness doesn’t matter to fundacrazicals. Likewise, most gay men can fantasize about men in order to be sexually aroused. As to their innate desires – they haven’t changed at all.
“People who are so bend on homosexual promotions”
Show us where the homosexual recrutiment centres are, ck. They simply do not exist except in your mind. Now, the radical ‘religious’ ‘right’ – they are the ones that are etting up ‘treatment’ (i.e electrical shocks to the genitals) centres. Seems it’s your side that is bent on ‘promoting’.
“would rather that not be true”
It isn’t true. Otherwise your side could have proved that decades ago.
“well too bad it is true live with it the therapy works”
We’re still waiting for even one verifiable case. Remember, bearing false witness is a sin.



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Tom

posted August 7, 2009 at 11:50 am


Then they should come out and prove to the world they actually are no longer attracted to the same sex instead of merely being able to function sexually with someone of the opposite sex. Any lesbian can just lie there for a man. Her desires have in no way ‘changed’. Her happiness doesn’t matter to fundacrazicals. Likewise, most gay men can fantasize about men in order to be sexually aroused. As to their innate desires – they haven’t changed at all.
Just how do you propose they “prove this to the world”, Huz?  Be strapped into a chair with hookups to their unmentionables, mapping out electric pulses on a machine while having Chip’n'Dales paraded in front of them (along with Victoria’s Secret models), siting which group stimulates more arousal?
But then what’s good for the goose is good for the, er, goose, isn’t it?  Or is it gander and gander?  Any ex-lesbian can just lie there for a woman.  Her desires may very well have changed, meaning she may experience attraction towards men even though all attraction for women hasn’t been completely vanished.  Perhaps those who claim no change should have to “prove to the world” that they haven’t changed, electrodes and all.  Doesn’t this sound assonine?  Then likewise it should with those who claim to have changed.  We’re not in a position to know innately whether they’re fantasizing or who they’re fantasizing about, or should we break out the pollygraph as well?



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Thelemite

posted August 7, 2009 at 11:56 am


I’m not surprised by the APA’s findings. It’s no secret that with the right psychological manipulation an individual can drastically change their attitudes & perceptions. It’s no shock, however, that they found that the effects of the manipulation needed to change something as significant as one’s sexual orientation can be disasterous for many individuals.



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Heretic_for_Christ

posted August 7, 2009 at 1:43 pm


We’ve clearly come a long way from the days when homosexuality was included as a clinical disorder in psychiatry. However, the APA recommendation that “health professionals should respect the beliefs of patients who object to homosexuality on religious grounds” speaks volumes about the failure of the clinical community to confront the religious community in America. I was trained to approach clinical science as just that–an evidence-based scientific discipline. If a religious person tells me that homosexuality is evidence of demonic possession, I will NOT respect that belief any more than I would respect some Bible-besotted crank who insists that the Earth is flat and/or fixed in space based on whatever religious doctrines have drowned out his rationality. Science should speak the truth–not with gratuitous contempt or antagonism toward anti-scientific individuals, but certainly not with unearned respect, either.



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Henrietta22

posted August 7, 2009 at 7:52 pm


The Advocate.com had the entire article of what the APA has stated. It reads differently than this one. This is trying to keep both sides content.



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cknuck

posted August 7, 2009 at 10:15 pm


H4C quote, “speaks volumes about the failure of the clinical community to confront the religious community”
crossing swords? Don’t be silly many clinicians are religious and there are more world views than just one they vary as humans vary. I happen to know many homosexuals who have not been happy until they sought out “reparative therapy”. And it works for them. Do you mean to tell the world their reality is not valid? The only phobia here is the fear that reparative therapy works for some people. What lengths will you go to quite their voices.



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Mordred08

posted August 8, 2009 at 12:46 am


Did anyone notice the news this week about the LGBT support group in Tel Aviv getting attacked? 2 people dead, one just 16 years old. Just another reminder that while groups like Exodus try to “cure” homosexuality, the real threat is being ignored.



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Heretic_for_Christ

posted August 8, 2009 at 1:41 am


cknuck,
Yes, of course, many clinicians are religious (and not just the members of the Christian Medical Association). LIkewise, many scientists are religious. No surprise–America is a nation where religion permeates almost everything. Most of the time, it doesn’t matter. Belief in science and belief in God do not conflict with each other–but belief in science DOES conflict with a literalist interpretation of the Bible, and that is when we see intellectual travesties like the flat-Earth and fixed-Earth fanatics. Well, very few people think the world is flat or fixed in space, but lots of people believe in creationism including the young-Earth variety of this belief–and it is based on scriptural literalism, just like the flat-Earth and fixed-Earth beliefs. Same book, same belief in literal interpretation, wildly different conclusions.
But to the topic at hand, re-orientation of sexuality: In the professional literature the classic study on this topic was a 2003 survey by R.L. Spitzer, who interviewed 200 people (about 3/4 were men) who claimed to have made a change from homosexuality to heterosexuality. Spitzer found that some were clearly deceiving themselves but many did seem to have made a change that had lasted for a number of years. However, his sample was self-selected as having made the change successfully, so we know nothing about individuals who remained homosexual. In addition, there is no way to know how many of the following might have applied:
1. The gay person is still gay, but decides to live in celibacy.
2. The gay person forces himself/herself to engage in heterosexual activity and does so for awhile–and then reverts.
3. The gay person is actually bisexual and lives in a heterosexual manner for some time.
4. The gay person is a teenager who is uncertain of his/her sexuality (not that uncommon) and FEARS being homosexual but eventually realizes that he/she actually is heterosexual… and would have realized that with or without “conditioning.”
and the classic study on this topic was a 2003 survey by R.L. Spitzer, who interviewed 200 people (about 3/4 were men) who claimed to have made a change from homosexuality to heterosexuality. Spitzer found that some were clearly deceiving themselves but many did seem to have made a change that had lasted for a number of years.



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cknuck

posted August 8, 2009 at 1:15 pm


H4C for RL a person can only opinionate or speculate about another person for you your information is opinion or speculation that cannot replace a person’s reality. Speculation is usually colored by agendas, prejudices or personal desires. I have seen and spoke to both types of homosexuals both who desired change and those who have not both of their realities are their own.



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GodsCountry

posted August 9, 2009 at 9:52 pm


Those here who dispute God’s existence really have no basis upon which to interpret what God has revealed.
There is only one way to reap God’s truth and that is through faith and furthermore allowing the Spirit to guide and interpret what is true and good.
It is clearly and absolutely true that homosexual activity is not what God allows for man.
Those who deny God have no say in this.
Politicians who belong to God are free to legislate according to God’s truth, as are faithful psychologists free to turn folks from unfaithful, self-destructive ways.
And, there are many here who are free to attempt misleading as many as possible.
Follow this, it is not misleading but instead is absolute truth:
God is love, God’s word is true, there is no condemnation for following God’s ways.
Heaven is for those who believe this.



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GodsCountry

posted August 9, 2009 at 9:54 pm


…Hell is for those who don’t.



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pagansister

posted August 10, 2009 at 3:36 pm


Hell is for those who don’t. GC
Oh! Please! You really expect everyone to believe that stuff?? Fortunately not everyone is gullible.



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Usama3

posted August 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm


The crust of H4C’s claims are that homosexual desires and lifestyle are predominant and superior to heterosexual.
The man married to a woman but after 20 years of marriage engages in a gay sexual affair, to the gay advocate, the man was always gay and the marriage of 20 years was a sham.
But H4C’s claims and these are ideological claims. The gay movement has propagated these so even heterosexuals who experience homosexual desires later in life are made to think or are convinced that they were always gay. This article didn’t address this. Neither do gays admit that men who are encouraged or who have a desire to engage gay sex, do so, and then regret it to the point of suicide because they weren’t gay in the first place. Rather, they were experimenting, or seduced, or merely had a desire.
These are tendencies of the male which are not normally recognized- that men are not all entirely singularly straight or gay. Thus, God’s command to engage in sex only in marriage with one’s spouse of the opposite sex is applicable to all people.



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pagansister

posted August 10, 2009 at 7:23 pm


“Thus,God’s command to engage in sex only in marriage with one’s spouse of the opposite sex is applicable to all people.” Usama3
“to all people”? Hardly think so.
Not everyone would agree with your “conclusion”, Usama3. Those who don’t would include those men and women who have been with same gender partners for 20 to 30 years….or those who are just starting out with a partner. BTW, where do you get all this knowledge about male tendencies…that they aren’t all straight or gay?? Are you as knowledgable on women and their tendencies too?
How do you expain the Christian gay and lesbians who KNOW their God is their creator and that he/she accepts them just the way they are?
Also the religions who understand and accept everyone into the “fold” because they know God is their dad/mom too. I suppose in your eyes those folks aren’t really Christians.



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Mordred08

posted August 10, 2009 at 8:44 pm


Usama3:
“The crust of H4C’s claims are that homosexual desires and lifestyle are predominant and superior to heterosexual.”
What’s the point of debating you people if you’re just going to make crap up?



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GodsCountry

posted August 10, 2009 at 9:26 pm


“How do you expain the Christian gay and lesbians who KNOW their God is their creator and that he/she accepts them just the way they are?”
Explained the same way as the following;
“Voices told me those women were evil and deserved to die. I knew they were right.”
“I didn’t set out to rape her, she was dressed to kill. I knew she wanted it.”
“I knew that pizza was way too hot, but I just had to have a bite.”
There is no debate here.
Only truth and misguided rhetoric.
God loves everyone. If anyone loves God back, they follow God’s ways.
Homosexual behavior is not God’s way and it must not be man’s way.



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pagansister

posted August 10, 2009 at 9:35 pm


GC, as always, your opinion. And there is always room for debate…as to the reality of a divne being…



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GodsCountry

posted August 10, 2009 at 11:24 pm


God is.
No debate possible.



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Mordred08

posted August 11, 2009 at 1:39 am


pagansister: “How do you expain the Christian gay and lesbians who KNOW their God is their creator and that he/she accepts them just the way they are?”
GodsCountry: Explained the same way as the following;
“Voices told me those women were evil and deserved to die. I knew they were right.”
“I didn’t set out to rape her, she was dressed to kill. I knew she wanted it.”
“I knew that pizza was way too hot, but I just had to have a bite.”
Me: That makes no sense. You can’t debate, so you just attack people.



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Heretic_for_Christ

posted August 11, 2009 at 12:28 pm


usama,
Where did you get the notion that I consider homosexuality to be superior to heterosexuality? For the record, I consider sexual orientation to be a hard-wired aspect of personality. (Those who would argue this point are cordially invited to describe in detail the exact moment when they considered homosexuality and heterosexuality, rationally weighed the pros and cons of each, and then made the conscious decision to be attracted by the opposite sex rather than by their own.) The main point is that it is none of my business what type of wiring different individuals may possess. With all the vast problems facing the world today, it is mind-boggling to me that anyone would spend even an instant making judgments about what other adults willingly choose to do in private.



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pagansister

posted August 11, 2009 at 7:07 pm


Exactly…debate is ALWAYS possible even on the existance of some divine being. The statement “God is” is an opinion, not a proven fact. IMO anyhow, GC.
Agree, Mordred08, those statements made no sense….pizza hot, ate anyway, as well as the other strange statements and the existance of god? connection please from source of statements? There is none.



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GodsCountry

posted August 11, 2009 at 9:51 pm


When the darkness is pierced by light, some are blinded.
But, some see much better all that was once hidden in the dark.
I know for a fact that truth changes people in the same way.
Attacking truth with rhetoric is absurd.
Attacking the messenger is much more effective.
Your attacks help bring truth to life.
But it is something akin to gouging out your eyes when the light shines in.
God exists.
God is light.



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pagansister

posted August 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm


God exists. God is light. GC
Who are you trying to convince, GC?



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pagansister

posted August 11, 2009 at 10:29 pm


I thought this article was about “curing” homosexuals…seems to be off topic with all the discussion about the “appropriateness of homosexuality in the eyes of divine being”.



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Husband

posted August 19, 2009 at 4:49 pm


Tom,
“Just how do you propose they “prove this to the world”, Huz? Be strapped into a chair with hookups to their unmentionables, mapping out electric pulses on a machine while having Chip’n'Dales paraded in front of them (along with Victoria’s Secret models), siting which group stimulates more arousal?”
Tom, ironically you’ve pretty much just described exactly what happens in electro-shock therapy (except, of course, they use pictures instead of live people). And, of course, when they do show arousal to the same-sex, they jolt gay people with electricity. Sounds yummy, sorta like Abu Ghraib.
“Any ex-lesbian can just lie there for a woman.”
Tom, actual ‘ex-lesbians’ don’t lie with women at all. A lesbian trapped in a false marriage would, in fact (and of necessity) lie there with her husband. People who are ‘ex-gay’ no longer seek out lieing with others of the same sex. Surely you can do better than this? Oh wait, it’s been how many millenia and your side hasn’t done any better at all.
“Her desires may very well have changed, meaning she may experience attraction towards men even though all attraction for women hasn’t been completely vanished.”
Which is it, Tom? Have her desires changed or not? If the same-sex attraction is still there, at the very least she’s bisexual. But the claim that gay or lesbian people actually have changed is bunkum. A pure and utter lie from the pit of he11.
“Perhaps those who claim no change should have to “prove to the world” that they haven’t changed, electrodes and all.”
Sorry, Tom, but you don’t need to course electricity through a person’s body to prove it; if that person is, um, acting on their unchanged desires, they’d know pretty darn quick if they were no longer attracted to others of the same sex.
“Doesn’t this sound assonine [sic]?”
Yes, utterly. Which is why I said it is bunkum. You’ll have to come up with a non-assinine argument to be believed.



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Husband

posted August 19, 2009 at 4:59 pm


“men who … have a desire to engage gay sex, do so, … they weren’t gay in the first place”
Was there ever a more delusional piece of claptrap ever typed on the web?



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GodsCountry

posted August 22, 2009 at 10:09 pm


“”…Was there ever a more delusional piece of claptrap ever typed on the web?…”"
Yes. When someone first said Homosexuality and it’s practice was not utter sin.



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