Lies of the American Psychological Association

change Feb 25, 2019

There is an incredible amount of social pressure to say that change is not possible and change has not happened for me. I have had a general sense of it, and have also had good friends make that argument to me directly. But the truth remains that I have experienced change. The American Psychological Association has caved to the same social pressures.

In their summary of a 2009 report of a task force on therapy for sexual orientation they say:

The task force conducted a systematic review of the peer-reviewed journal literature on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) and concluded that efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm, contrary to the claims of SOCE [Sexual Orientation Change Efforts] practitioners and advocates.

I spent quite a bit of time reading the underlying report when I first started therapy for my same-sex attractions. They spent a number of pages outlining all of the problems with the existing literature on therapy, and on page 43, I found this statement:

Given the limited amount of methodologically sound research, we cannot draw a conclusion regarding whether recent forms of SOCE are or are not effective.

In other words, they claim in their summary that change efforts are "unlikely to be successful" yet they admit in their own report that they "cannot draw a conclusion" as to whether they are effective or not.

A recent study also noted that the APA's task force completely ignored the fact that studies on affirmative therapies also have the same deficiencies as studies on change efforts:

In a brief introduction to SOCE history, the authors note the irony in the 2009 American Psychological Association report advising against change therapy due to an alleged lack of methodologically rigorous research proving it safe or effective, that then recommended gay-affirmative therapy, which lacks the same validation of safety and efficacy. They added that the “research community ignores all the positive study results from the dozens of SOCE studies done over the past several decades,” while giving a pass to gay-affirmative therapy with the same deficiencies.

At best, the APA was not being careful in how they summarized their study. At worst, it was a deliberate effort to mislead. Given the large life consequences to individuals who experience same-sex attraction, it is irresponsible of the APA to not be precise in what is actually known about sexual orientation change efforts.


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