Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's About Time!

In a 138-page report released on Wednesday, August 5th, the American Psychological Association said that there is little evidence to suggest that efforts to change a person's sexual orientation from gay or lesbian to heterosexual are successful. In fact, such efforts can cause harm. The findings of the American Psychological Association Task Force of Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation indicate that efforts to switch a person's sexual orientation through psychological interventions can lead to loss of sexual feeling, suicidality, depression, and anxiety.

The task force reviewed the literature on 87 studies that were undertaken from 1960 through 2007. They found serious methodological problems with the majority of the studies. The few studies that were methodologically strong showed that lasting change was rare. Judith M. Glassgold, chair of the task force said that "contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation...."

At the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, the Council of Representatives passed a resolution that urges mental health professionals not to recommend change of sexual orientation through therapy or any other methods. Homosexuality was removed from DSM in 1973.

What is your experience in working with the gay, lesbian, and transgendered population? Should the American Psychiatric Association be producing a similar review of treatment with this population?

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