Skip to comments.New Study: Sexual Orientation Can Be Changed
Posted on 07/07/2009 8:57:48 AM PDT by DesertRenegade
A new report in this month's issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Human Sexuality finds that sexual orientation can be changed and that psychological care for individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions is generally beneficial and that research has not found significant risk of harm.
The study, conducted by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), examined more than 100 years of professional and scientific literature from 600-plus studies and reports from clinicians, researchers and former clients principally published in professional and peer-reviewed journals.
"This research is a significant milestone when it comes to the scientific debate over the issue of homosexuality," NARTH President Dr. Julie Hamilton said. "It also confirms what we have seen evidenced in hundreds of individuals who have benefited from the help of NARTH therapists.
"We believe that every person should have the right to independently determine their own course in life, and for many that involves seeking counseling options that affirm their personal beliefs."
The survey, titled What Research Shows: NARTH's Response to the American Psychological Association's Claims on Homosexuality, was assembled over 18 months by three of the leading academics and therapists in the field and under the direction of the NARTH Scientific Advisory Committee. It confirms the results of a 2007 longitudinal study conducted by researchers Stanton L. Jones and Mark Yarhouse that found that religiously mediated sexual orientation change is possible for some individuals and does not cause psychological harm on average.
The last finding is important, because it directly refutes unsubstantiated claims made by some factions of the American Psychological Association (APA) and several other professional mental health organizations that it is unethical for therapists to assist patients to overcome unwanted same-sex attractions.
"The APA's own Code of Ethics supports every client's rights to autonomy and self-determination in therapy and mandates that therapists either respect a client's practice of religion and sexual orientation or refer the client to a professional who will offer such respect," NARTH explains in the report. "Clients who are not distressed about their sexual orientation should not be directed to change by mental-health professionals. Conversely, clients who seek sexual reorientation deserve properly informed and competent psychological care from therapists who use interventions that have been scientifically demonstrated as helpful for achieving this goal."
Nicholas Cummings, a past APA president and author of Destructive Trends in Mental Health, concurred.
"This is a basic tenant of psychotherapy, that religion for most people is an anchor," he told CitizenLink. "To pull that out from under them is an egregious thing to do."
In finding that there is substantial evidence that sexual orientation may be changed through therapy, the study also found that treatment success for clients seeking to change unwanted homosexuality and develop their heterosexual potential has been documented in the professional and research literature since the late 19th century.
"We acknowledge that change in sexual orientation may be difficult to attain," NARTH says in the report. "As with other difficult challenges and behavioral patterns such as low-self-esteem, abuse of alcohol, social phobias, eating disorders, or borderline personality disorder, as well as sexual compulsions and addictions change through therapy does not come easily. Relapses to old forms of thinking and behaving are as is the case with most forms of psychotherapy for most psychological conditions not uncommon."
Nonetheless, the report continues, "we conclude that the documented benefits of reorientation therapy and the lack of its documented general harmfulness support its continued availability to clients who exercise their right of therapeutic autonomy and self-determination through ethically informed consent."
A third major finding of the study is that there is significantly greater medical, psychological and relational pathology in the homosexual population than the general population.
"Overall, many of these problematic behaviors and psychological dysfunctions are experienced among homosexuals at about three times the prevalence found in the general population and sometimes much more," the report states. "Investigators using modern, state-of-the-art research methods have documented that many different pathological traits are more prevalent in homosexual than in heterosexual groups. We believe that no other group of comparable size in society experiences such intense and widespread pathology."
Among the scientific findings cited in the study:
Despite knowing the AIDS risk, homosexuals repeatedly and pathologically continue to indulge in unsafe sex practices.
Homosexuals represent the highest number of STD cases.
Many homosexual sex practices are medically dangerous, with or without "protection."
More than one-third of homosexual men and women are substance abusers.
Forty percent of homosexual adolescents report suicidal histories.
Homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to have mental-health concerns, such as eating disorders, personality disorders, paranoia, depression and anxiety.
Homosexual relationships are more violent than heterosexual relationships.
Societal bias and discrimination do not, in and of themselves, contribute to the majority of increased health risks for homosexuals.
Jeff Johnston, gender issue analyst for Focus on the Family, said these findings should have an impact on "those who claim to have the best interests of the gay community at heart."
"True social justice, compassion, concern and intellectual honesty," he explained, "dictate that men and women who want to pursue freedom from homosexuality whether because of their faith or because of the health risks associated with homosexuality should be afforded that opportunity by the mental health industry, including its associations and educational institutions."
GSWarrior: “Would you be pleased if your daughter married an ex-homosexual?”
No more than if my daughter married someone who had been treated for schizophrenia. If someone grew up in the Mafia and committed a lot of crimes, but later in life renounced that - would you want your daughter to marry him? If not, does that mean you accept being in the Mafia as a genetic condition to be embraced?
Talk show host Roy Masters has a great article on the causes of homosexuality: http://www.fhu.com/articles/gays_in_society.html
TomOnTheRun: “I believe that people will increasingly treat it simply as a viable alternative orientation.”
I’m curious what your specific opposition to polygamy is then. Isn’t that also an alternative lifestyle as well as many others?
I find it particularly galling that liberal psychologists will never encourage/treat an unhappy homosexual toward heterosexuality, but will gladly assist someone who is unhappy with his/her gender “assignment” toward a new gender.
Just don’t pass the smell test.
Percy Dovetonsils (as played by Ernie Kovacs).
One of his famous odes:
Leslie the Mean Animal Trainer:
Leslie worked in a circus
he worked in a great big cage.
He smacked the lions
and beat the bears
and put them all in a rage.
He kicked the lions with iron sneakers
and rolled up army cots.
He put cleaning fluid on all the leopards
and sneered when they lost their spots.
But a chimpanzee got even with him...
Leslie got killed by some smells,
when he stuck his head the lion's mouth
He had liver smeared on his lapels.
I remember asking my Dad when I was probably 6yo what was wrong with him (Liberace)? LOL That’s funny I had forgot that.
Nothing about this article had anything remotely to do with compelling such therapy, so why repeat yourself? No one has even suggested it. Traditional family advocates are not playing an offensive game with the gay lobby, but a defensive one. They want to destroy us, not the other way around. Are we clear on that?
The reason this article is needed is not because anyone wants to force them to do anything, but because the gay lobby has tried:
to deny that recovery is possible,
to prevent recovery events from taking place, and
to exclude the testimony of ex-gays from any policy decisions.
You are absolutely correct. The “counselors” that “specialize” with LGTB issues will give a very cursory “let’s explore why you feel this way” and then it’s off to the races. It’s all about making sure the person getting therapy can affirm and justify their “alternative orientation”. Big time agendas in place.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, friends who went to marriage counselors complained of the same thing -- all the "support" was given to the one who wanted to break up the home, not the one who wanted to save the marriage.
Up is down. In is out. Bad is good. Good is bad.....
Wasn’t this a theme in Clockwork Orange? They tried to change the sado-masochistic sexual tendencies and fantasies of the main character through aversive therapy. Of course, that’s not what really happened, and in the end he was “cured.”
(And yes, I’ve seen the last chapter in the book, which gives a somewhat different slant on things).
I know the exact moment a biological switch clicked over, and that I was aware of my hetrosexual orientation, and I was suddenly and vividly aware of the mysterious attraction of the opposite sex - it was not something that "grew" in me gradually, it was a strong biological propensity that expressed itself dramatically and without previous evidence.
Some gays and lesbians I know report a similar experience of instantaneous and vivid experience of attraction to members of the same sex, and I've no reason to suspect that their experience was any less "authentic" than my own.
Your claim is just a tautology, by your definition anyone who makes the discovery that their desire is heterosexual is "normally developed", anyone who discovers the opposite is abnormal because you define normal are "unerringly heterosexual". But that's just your definition, and I doubt it would be remotely convincing to anyone who's made the discovery that they are "unerringly homosexual".
I think there are some “tweeners” that can, in fact, be changed, or whatever. On the other hand, I have know some gays who were simply gay from childhood. Physically even, as if it were some hormonal imbalance. As someone else said, I would not “trust” a former gay guy, a real swisher, to become straight, ESPECIALLY if that “Straightness” were religiously motivated, to be with my daughter. Some gays are just gays, more like transsexuals really. Just my opinion.
This is not like the choice of a Mazda vs a Honda. The things the state is on the fence about denying are special rights for GLBTs that trump the rights of citizens in general, such as the hate crimes proposals, making punishments for crimes against them more severe than for crimes against the elderly, pregnant women, children, or other much more culturally significant groups. Another of their special demands is marriage, even if it is motivated primarily by wanting to qualify for benefits funds, while having no intention of fidelity. And, the aforementioned shoehorning into all schools explicit instructions for how to live the way they do, paid for by the taxpayer, with no opt-outs allowed.
Other special rights are wanting to make it illegal for churches to read the Biblical warnings against homosexual conduct, and to fine and imprison pastors who do so, as their counterparts in Europe have already done. They want to be hired as workers and as teachers in religious organizations and then prevent "discriminatory" language at churches. They have shut down the Catholic adoption agency already in Massachusetts, because there, gay marriage is legal, but Catholics will not place children for gay adoption.
Their purpose in campaigning for marriage is not so much about marriage as it is for wanting the state to grant them an official stamp of approval for their behavior; and next on the list, as evidenced by lawsuits and journal articles, is to lower the age of sexual consent to 12, or to abolish it ocmpletely, giving them full access to sex with infants and children. Unchecked, their movement will destroy society, and any natural rights of pregnant women, natural mothers and natural fathers, just as the birth control movement disguised its true agenda: fascist eugenics.
I do follow your points and understand your worries but I wasn’t attempting to address those issues or worries in my original comment. I could be wrong but I believe we have been speaking at cross-purposes here.