:According to the APA – American Psychological Association, as of Dec 2011 there are no scientific findings that a person is born homosexual. “No findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.”
Excerpt: “There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.”
Fact 2: The 1973 APA – American Psychiatric Association’s decision to remove homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses (DSM) was not based on any new scientific or psychological findings regarding homosexuality. In addition the APA acknowledged that “a significant proportion of homosexuals” can “change their sexual orientation.”
The following are excerpts from the official policy document on homosexuality approved by APA Assembly and Board of Trustees. “These are position statements that define APA official policy on specific subjects.”
“Modern methods of treatment enable a significant proportion of homosexuals who wish to change their sexual orientation to do so.”
“…We acknowledge that by itself [homosexuality] does not meet the requirements for a psychiatric disorder. Similarly, by no longer listing it as a psychiatric disorder we are not saying that it is ‘normal’ or as valuable as heterosexuality.”
“…Psychiatrists… will continue to try to help homosexuals who suffer from what we can now refer to as Sexual orientation disturbance, helping the patient accept or live with his current sexual orientation, or if he desires, helping him to change it.”
“…No doubt, homosexual activist groups will claim that psychiatry has at last recognized that homosexuality is as ‘normal’ as heterosexuality. They will be wrong. In removing homosexuality per se from the nomenclature we are only recognizing that by itself homosexuality does not meet the criteria for being considered a psychiatric disorder. We will in no way be aligning ourselves with any particular viewpoint regarding the etiology or desirability of homosexual behavior.”
“…Therefore, this change should in no way interfere with or embarrass those dedicated psychiatrists and psychoanalysts who have devoted themselves to understanding and treating those homosexuals who have been unhappy with their lot. They, and others in our field, will continue to try to help homosexuals who suffer from what we can now refer to as Sexual orientation disturbance, helping the patient accept or live with his current sexual orientation, or if he desires, helping him to change it.”
2010 peer reviewed study published in The Journal of Men’s Studies found that men experiencing unwanted homosexual attractions seeking sexual orientation change experienced “a decrease in homosexual feelings and behavior, an increase in heterosexual feelings and behavior, and a positive change in psychological functioning.”
NARTH Summary of a Newly Published Study on Sexual Orientation Change Efforts Summary Written by Benjamin Erwin, Ph.D.
Karten, E. Y., & Wade, J. C. (2010). Sexual orientation change efforts in men: A client perspective. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 18, 84-102.
March 1st, 2010 - Dr. Elan Y. Karten and Dr. Jay C. Wade authored a study published in the Journal of Men’s Studies investigating the social and psychological characteristics of men experiencing unwanted homosexual attractions seeking sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE). This study was based on Dr. Karten’s doctoral dissertation at Fordham University, New York, under the direction of Dr. Jay Wade.
Karten and Wade make both timely and significant contributions to the body of evidence understanding SOCE. They investigated self-reported change, which factors were statistically associated with change, and which treatment interventions and techniques were perceived by clients to be most helpful. The authors specifically investigated whether male identity, sexual identity, high religiosity, psychological relatedness to other men, gender role conflict regarding affection between men, and marital status would be related to self-reported change in sexual and psychological functioning.
Karten & Wade found that overall clients experienced “a decrease in homosexual feelings and behavior, an increase in heterosexual feelings and behavior, and a positive change in psychological functioning.” The researchers discovered that the most significant factors correlating to successful SOCE were reduced conflict in expressing nonsexual affection with other men, being married, and feeling disconnected with men prior to treatment.
This study provides significant empirical evidence to factors related to SOCE. Although several meta-analysis reviews have shown the efficacy of SOCE (e.g. Byrd & Nicolosi, 2002; Jones & Yarhouse, 2000), Karten and Wade provide insight into which factors play a significant role in the change process. Such factors, like reduced conflict in expressing nonsexual affection with men, provide valuable empirical evidence that homosexual thoughts and feelings are greatly influenced by social and psychological factors. Such factors include one’s sense of gender identity and relatedness to other men. Daryl Bem’s theory, that the “Exotic Becomes Erotic,” is another way to summarize this social constructive viewpoint. This suggests that the absence/presence of healthy male relationships plays a critical role in the development/treatment of homosexuality.
For clinicians and clients currently involved with SOCE, this study highlights the importance of developing appropriate nonsexual male relationships. Participants perceived the most helpful interventions to be a men’s weekend/retreat, a psychologist, and a mentoring relationship. Considering the above findings regarding the significance of male identity and nonsexual affectionate relationships with other men, it is notable that at least two of these interventions involve healthy relationship development with men. In addition, participants perceived the two most helpful techniques to be understanding better the causes of one’s homosexuality and one’s emotional needs and issues and developing nonsexual relationships with other men.
Karten and Wade also found that SOCE actually helped psychological functioning. This is in direct contradiction to the APA’s executive summary from Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation that states “there was some evidence to indicate that individuals experienced harm from SOCE” (pg. 3). Any psychological intervention or technique has the risk to produce uncomfortable feelings and harm. Ethical guidelines dictate that informed consent statements disclose this fact to clients. However, it is a double standard to assume that SOCE produces any significantly different effects for clients than any other form of psychotherapy or counseling. Karten & Wade provide valuable evidence that SOCE is not contraindicated, but in fact helps psychological functioning.
This study reflects that mainstream literature is beginning to give voice to scientific research and empirical inquiry regarding SOCE. Although such research may not be considered politically correct, Karten and Wade should be praised for their courage to investigate such issues, and Fordham University should be lauded for sponsoring it. Karten and Wade have followed similar pioneers such as Dean Byrd who asserts “though such research into sexual reorientation may be viewed as politically incorrect, no longer can it be ignored. Sociopolitical concerns must not interfere with the scientist’s freedom to research any reasonable hypothesis, or to explore the efficacy of any reasonable treatment.” While some would encourage practitioners to provide “affirmative” treatments but “not to aim to alter sexual orientation” (APA’s executive summary, pg. 6), SOCE seeks to honor client self-determination. It is ironic that as society promotes self determination and autonomy, efforts to restrict the research and practice of SOCE actually discriminate against the self determination and autonomy of those with unwanted homosexual attractions. The Journal of Men’s Studies should be commended for their integrity in publishing honest research regardless of popular political sentiment. Perhaps other journals and scholarly publications will follow suit.
The political correctness of the APAs and their loss of scientific objectivity.
Past APA President, Dr. Nicholas Cummings, testifying how the “APA is politically based rather than scientifically based” as well as “confirming the research that reports that change is possible.” “In a rousing address, American Psychological Association Past-President Dr. Nicholas Cummings shared his experience from his 60-year career as a psychologist and clinician. Dr. Cummings said that he has always been a champion of gay rights, and during his many years of leadership within the American Psychological Association, he influenced the organization to support many causes, including gay issues.
However, as a scientist, he began to have serious concerns over the direction the APA eventually was taking in becoming more influenced by politics than by science. He began to write extensively on the ways that the APA is politically based rather than scientifically based, describing one of his recent books, “Eleven Blunders that Cripple Psychotherapy in America” (Routledge, 2008).
He described his own experience in treating homosexuals for various issues, including men and women who were troubled with unwanted homosexual attractions. Dr. Cummings says he personally worked with homosexual clients who went on to marry and live heterosexual lives, confirming the research that reports that change is possible.”
Dr. Jeffrey Satinover M.D., Ph.D in his book titled: Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, expands upon how the APA was “driven by politics, not science.”
Excerpt from page 32: “The APA (American Psychiatric Association) vote to normalize homosexuality was driven by politics, not science. Even sympathizers acknowledged this. Ronald Bayer was then a Fellow at the Hastings Institute in New York. He reported how in 1970 the leadership of a homosexual faction within the APA planned a “systematic effort to disrupt the annual meetings of the American Psychiatric Association.”(3) They defended this method of ‘influence’ on the grounds that the APA represented “psychiatry as a social institution” rather than a scientific body or professional guild.”
APAs’ political bias on reparative or change therapy is blatant. They cite no scientific studies of harm. Rather, they use terms such as “expressed concerns” “no scientifically adequate research to show that therapy is safe or effective.” “it seems likely promotion of change therapies reinforces stereotypes.”
“All major national mental health organizations have officially expressed concerns about therapies promoted to modify sexual orientation. To date, there has been no scientifically adequate research to show that therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation (sometimes called reparative or conversion therapy) is safe or effective. Furthermore, it seems likely that the promotion of change therapies reinforces stereotypes and contributes to a negative climate for lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons.”
Dr. A. Dean Byrd, Ph.D., MBA, MPH reviews a book titled: Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm. (Edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings, 2005.) The book exemplifies how “The APA has chosen ideology over science.”
Excerpt from the review:
“…The authors condemn the APA for providing forums only for their preferred worldviews. They particularly note how psychology is undermined when APA makes resolutions and public policy statements on issues for which there is little or inadequate science. Such prostitution of psychology by activist groups within APA is contributing, they say, to the profession’s demise as a scientific organization. “Psychology and mental health,” Cummings says, “have veered away from scientific integrity and open inquiry, as well as from compassionate practice in which the welfare of the patient is paramount” (p. xiii).
Cummings and Wright note that “psychology, psychiatry, and social work have been captured by an ultraliberal agenda” (p. xiii) with which they personally agree regarding quite a few aspects, as private citizens. However, they express alarm at the damage that such an agenda is wreaking on psychology as a science and a practice, and the damage that is being done to the credibility of psychologists as professionals.
They reference a principle enunciated by former APA president Leona Tyler, where the advocacy of APA as an organization should be based upon “scientific data and demonstrable professional experience,” (p. xiv) leaving individual psychologists or groups of psychologists to advocate as concerned, private citizens. But they decry the “agenda-driven ideologues” in APA who erode psychology as a science. As they note, “The APA has chosen ideology over science, and thus has diminished its influence on the decision-makers in our society” (p. xiv).
…Gay Activism in APA
The issue of homosexuality is illustrative of how political correctness and a narrow definition of “diversity” have dominated APA. Wright notes: In the current climate, it is inevitable that conflict arises among the various subgroups in the marketplace. For example, gay groups within the APA have repeatedly tried to persuade the association to adopt ethical standards that prohibit therapists from offering psychotherapeutic services designed to ameliorate ‘gayness,’ on the basis that such efforts are unsuccessful and harmful to the consumer. Psychologists who do not agree with this premise are termed homophobic.
Such efforts are especially troubling because they abrogate the patient’s right to choose the therapist and determine the therapeutic goals. They also deny the reality of data demonstrating that psychotherapy can be effective in changing sexual preferences in patients who have a desire to do so (pp. xxx).
…The author’s view of the 1973 and 1974 decisions reclassifying homosexuality is worthy of quoting here: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association yielded suddenly and completely to political pressure when in 1973 it removed homosexuality as a treatable aberrant condition. A political firestorm had been created by gay activists within psychiatry, with intense opposition to normalizing homosexuality coming from a few outspoken psychiatrists who were demonized and even threatened, rather than scientifically refuted.
Psychiatry’s House of Delegates sidestepped the conflict by putting the matter to a vote of the membership, marking the first time in the history of healthcare that a diagnosis or lack of diagnosis was decided by popular vote rather than scientific evidence (p. 9).
The authors do not complain about what was done, but rather, how it was done. The co-author (Cummings) of the chapter not only agrees with the outcome, but in 1974 introduced the successful resolution declaring that homosexuality was not a psychiatric condition. However, the resolution carried with it a “proscription that appropriate and needed research would be conducted to substantiate these decisions.” Cummings “watched with dismay as there was no effort on the part of APA to promote or even encourage such required research” (p. 9).
Unfortunately, both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association had established precedents “forever that medical and psychological diagnoses are subject to political fiat” (p. 9). As a result, the authors note, “Diagnosis today in psychology and psychiatry is cluttered with politically correct verbiage, which seemingly has taken precedence over sound professional experience and scientific validation” (p. 9).”