APA on Reparative Therapy

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on the APA Council's Resolution on So-Called Reparative Therapy

APA Council of Representatives Passes Resolution on So-Called Reparative Therapy
Resolution on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation

APA Council of Representatives Passes Resolution on So-Called Reparative Therapy


Resolution Raises Ethical Concerns About Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation, Reaffirms Psychology's Opposition to Homophobia and Client's Rights to Unbiased Treatment

(Chicago, August 14, 1997). The Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association (APA) has passed a resolution affirming four basic principles with regard to treatments to alter sexual orientation, so-called conversion or reparative therapies.

These principles are:

The resolution further states that the APA "urges all mental health professionals to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual orientation."

Supporters of the resolution, which passed the APA Council overwhelmingly by a voice vote, believed that it was critical for the Association to make such a statement due to the questions of the ethics, efficacy and benefits of conversion therapy which are now being debated within the profession and within society as a whole.

"Our concern," stated Douglas Haldeman, Ph.D., President of APA's Society for the Psychological Study Of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Issues, "is that a person, especially a young person, who enters into therapy to deal with issues of sexual orientation should be able to have the expectation that such therapy would take place in a professionally neutral environment absent of any societal bias. Additionally, therapists should be providing clients with accurate information about same-sex sexual orientation. This resolution reasserts the profession's commitment to those two principles."

The APA Council of Representatives is the major legislative and policy-setting body of the organization. The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 151,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 50 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 58 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.
Source: psychology.ucdavis.edu/Rainbow/html/resolution97.html

Resolution on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation


Adopted by the American Psychological Association Council of Representatives, August 14, 1997

Whereas societal ignorance and prejudice about same-gender sexual orientation put some gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioning individuals at risk for presenting for "conversion" treatment due to family or social coercion and/or lack of information (Haldeman, 1994);

Whereas children and youth experience significant pressure to conform with sexual norms, particularly from their peers;

Whereas children and youth often lack adequate legal protection from coercive treatment;

Whereas some mental health professionals advocate treatments of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people based on the premise that homosexuality is a mental disorder (e.g., Socarides et al, 1997);

Whereas the ethics, efficacy, benefits, and potential for harm of therapies that seek to reduce or eliminate same-gender sexual orientation are under extensive debate in the professional literature and the popular media (Davison, 1991; Haldeman, 1994; Wall Street Journal, 1997);

Therefore be it resolved that APA affirms the following principles with regard to treatments to alter sexual orientation:

That homosexuality is not a mental disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 1973); and

That psychologists "do not knowingly participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices" (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, American Psychological Association, 1992, Principle D, p. 1600); and

That "in their work-related activities, psychologists do not engage in unfair discrimination based on...sexual orientation" (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, American Psychological Association, 1992, Standard 1.10, p. 1601); and

That "in their work-related activities, psychologists respect the rights of others to hold values, attitudes, and opinions that differ from their own." (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, American Psychological Association, 1992, Standard 1.09; p. 1601); and

That "psychologists...respect the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, self-determination and autonomy" (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, American Psychological Association, 1992, Principle D, p. 1599); and

That "psychologists are aware of cultural, individual and role differences, including those due to...sexual orientation" and "try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on [such] factors" (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, American Psychological Association, 1992, Principle D, pp. 1599-1600); and

That "where differences of...sexual orientation ...significantly affect psychologist's work concerning particular individuals or groups, psychologists obtain the training, experience, consultation, or supervision necessary to ensure the competence of their services, or they make appropriate referrals" (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, American Psychological Association, 1992, Standard 1.08, p. 1601); and

That "psychologists do not make false or deceptive statements concerning...the scientific or clinical basis for ... their services," (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, American Psychological Association, 1992, Standard 3.03(a), p. 1604); and

That "psychologists attempt to identify situations in which particular interventions...may not be applicable ...because of factors such as...sexual orientation" (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, American Psychological Association, 1992, Standard 2.04 (c), p. 1603); and

That "psychologists obtain appropriate informed consent to therapy or related procedures" [which] "generally implies that the [client or patient] (1) has the capacity to consent, (2) has been informed of significant information concerning the procedure, (3) has freely and without undue influence expressed consent, and (4) consent has been appropriately documented" (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, American Psychological Association, Standard 4.02(a), 1992, p. 1605); and

"When persons are legally incapable of giving informed consent, psychologists obtain informed permission from a legally authorized person, if such substitute consent is permitted by law" (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, American Psychological Association, 1992, Standard 4.02(b), p. 1605);.

That "psychologists (1) inform those persons who are legally incapable of giving informed consent about the proposed interventions in a manner commensurate with the persons' psychological capacities, (2) seek their assent to those interventions, and (3) consider such persons' preferences and best interests" (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, American Psychological Association, 1992, Standard 4.02(c), p. 1605); and

That the American Psychological Association "urges all mental health professionals to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual orientation" (Conger, 1975, p. 633); and

Therefore be it further resolved that the American Psychological Association opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation, and mental health, and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based in ignorance or unfounded beliefs about sexual orientation.

References American Psychiatric Association. (1973). Position Statement on Homosexuality and Civil Rights. American Journal of Psychiatry, 131 (4), 497.

American Psychological Association. (1992). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. American Psychologist, 47 (12), 1597-1611.

Conger, J.J. (1975). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the year 1974: Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council of Representatives. American Psychologist, 30, 620-651.

Haldeman, D.C. (1994). The Practice and Ethics of Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62 (2), 221-227.

Socarides, C., Kaufman, B., Nicolosi, J., Satinover, J., and Fitzgibbons, R. (1997, January 9). Don't forsake homosexuals who want help. Wall Street Journal.

Letters to the Editor. (1997, January 23). Wall Street Journal, p. A17.
Source: psychology.ucdavis.edu/Rainbow/html/resolution97_text.html

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