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Reparative Therapy

In my view, reparative or conversion therapy, is a vile abomination in the worst possible way.  Every time I read about someone who has been forced into one of those programs I am sickened. I have a great deal to say on this subject, but this is a placeholder for now. This will be a tough page to write simply because it makes me so angry that something that only causes great harm and sometimes irreparable damage is pushed by so many religious bigots.  I’d love to put them through one of these programs to try to teach them that they are wrong.

Conversion Therapies Cures for an Illness that Does Not Exist (Pan American Healthcare Organization)

Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation (American Psychological Association Task Force Report)

The Lies and Dangers of Reparative Therapy  The HRC assembled a wonderful collection of very useful resources on this issue entitled The Lies and Dangers of Reparative Therapy. This wonderful resource includes links to the public positions of many leading mental health organizations on the harm caused by any therapy whose aim is to change someone’s innate sexual orientation. We are born with our orientation in place and no “therapy” can change what was installed at birth.

The best summary of professional organization positions on this issue can be found at  The author of this blog has pulled together the statements and stands on reparative therapy from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, American Counseling Association, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychoanalytic Association, American Psychological Association, American School Counselors  Association, and the National Association of Social Workers.


California Bill to Ban Reparative Therapy

On May 30, 2012, the California State Senate approved a bill that would make California the first state to ban the use of conversion therapy among minors.  The bill, SB-1172, passed with a 23-13 vote and was forwarded to the State Assembly where it was approved by a vote of 52-22.  Following reconciliation of the bill, the final bill was forwarded to Governor Brown on August 30th for his signature.  Brown has until September 30th to decide if he will sign or veto the bill, although I think that the chances of a veto are rather slim. Brown also has option of neither signing nor vetoing the legislation, in which case the bill would become law and take effect on January 1, 2013.

California State Senator Ted Lieu said, “The entire medical community is opposed to these phony therapies.  These non-scientific efforts have led in some cases to patients later committing suicide, as well as severe mental and physical anguish.  It’s not just that people are wasting their time and money on these therapies that don’t work, it’s that these therapies are dangerous.”

Claudia Miles,  a Marin County psychotherapist reported, “It is extremely harmful to convince a child or teen that there is something fundamentally wrong with him when it is recognized and acknowledged that in fact, there is not.  The damage done in this equation is unimaginable.”

See the Wall Street Journal, “California Bill Bans Gay Conversion Therapy,”  for a good summary of the bill and its impact.