August 6, 2009
For further information contact:
David Pruden, M.S. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
NARTH, Vice-President of Operations 888-364-4744
As a scientific and professional organization the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) welcomes all responsible discussion and investigation into the important psychological factors surrounding homosexuality. The gay and lesbian task force report just released at the American Psychological Association (APA) convention in Toronto suggests no change in the clearly established APA policy that client self-determination is the crowning principle of all ethical mental health treatment. Respect for religious diversity demands that psychologists and mental health professionals give as much weight to belief as they do to sexual identity.
NARTH appreciates that the APA stressed the importance of faith and religious diversity. Unfortunately, however, the report reflects a very strong confirmation bias; that is, the task force reflected virtually no ideological diversity. No APA member who offers reorientation therapy was allowed to join the task force. In fact, one can make the case that every member of the task force can be classified as an activist. They selected and interpreted studies that fit within their innate and immutable view. For example, they omitted the Jones and Yarhouse study, the Karten study, and only gave cursory attention to the Spitzer study. Had the task force been more neutral in their approach, they could have arrived at only one conclusion: homosexuality is not invariable fixed in all people, and some people can and do change, not just in terms of behavior and identity but in core features of sexual orientation such as fantasy and attractions.
With regard to possible negative effects of therapy, as in all provisions of psychological care, the possibility exists that the client may not be happy with the outcome. We believe the report indirectly supports the findings published in the current Journal of Human Sexuality that reveal no significant ill-effects of therapy. Further, if some clients are dissatisfied with the therapeutic outcome, as in therapy for other issues, the possibility for dissatisfaction appears to be outweighed by the potential gains. The possibility of dissatisfaction also seems insignificant when compared to the substantial medical, emotional, and physical risks associated with homosexual behavior.
NARTH would suggest that these medical and emotional risks, along with the incongruity of homosexual behavior with the personal and religious values of many people will continue to be the motivation for some individuals to seek assistance for their unwanted homosexual attraction.