Health and Wellness

Does conversion therapy work? This group just paid for a study to prove it does.

Does conversion therapy work? This group just paid for a study to prove it does.

The Catholic Medical Association has just released a new study in which they claim that reparative therapy (also known as conversion therapy) works for “unwanted same-sex attraction.”

The study is titled, “Effects of Therapy on Religious Men Who Have Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction.” Authors Paul L. Santero, PhD, Neil E. Whitehead, PhD and Dolores Ballesteros, PhD, say it reveals the “overwhelming effectiveness of people receiving counseling to reduce or eliminate their unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or identity.”

Now The Liberty Counsel is touting the study as a success in proof that changing the homosexual narrative is possible.

“This recent study by Santero, Whitehead and Ballesteros again confirms that people struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors or identity benefit significantly from professional counseling,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

“Every person should have access to the counsel of their choice. No government has the authority to prohibit a form of counseling simply because it does not like the religious or moral beliefs of a particular counselor or client,” Staver said.

Liberty Counsel describes itself as “an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.”

Liberty Counsel has filed a suit against the City of Tampa “for its adoption of an ordinance that prohibits licensed counselors from providing and clients from receiving counsel to reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or identity. The ordinance imposes significant monetary fines on counselors who provide such counseling.”

The group also filed a suit in federal court against the City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County for their adoption of City Ordinance 5407 and County Ordinance 2017-046 which prohibit minors in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County from receiving voluntary counseling from licensed professionals to reduce or eliminate their unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or gender confusion.

The study claims in its abstract that “more than two-thirds of those who participated in group therapy or professional help had significant heterosexual shifts in sexual attraction, sexual identity, and behavior, and moderate-to-marked decreases in suicidality, depression, substance abuse, and increases in social functioning and self-esteem.”

It also touts “the study’s effectiveness rates for counseling people with unwanted same-sex attraction were comparable to the effectiveness rates of psychotherapy in general for any unwanted issue. Prevalence of help or hindrance, and effect size, were comparable with those for conventional psychotherapy for unrelated mental health issues.”

The American Psychological Association writes in their fact sheet, “Sexual orientation conversion therapy refers to counseling and psychotherapy to attempt to eliminate individuals’ sexual desires for members of their own sex. Ex-gay ministry refers to the religious groups that use religion to attempt to eliminate those desires.”

The APA adds, “Despite the general consensus of major medical, health and mental health professions that both heterosexuality and homosexuality are normal expressions of human sexuality, efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy have been adopted by some political and religious organizations and aggressively promoted to the public.”

However, such efforts have serious potential to harm young people because they present the view that the sexual orientation of lesbian, gay and bisexual youth is a mental illness or disorder, and they often frame the inability to change one’s sexual orientation as a personal and moral failure.

A number of medical, health and mental health professional organizations have issued public statements about the dangers of reparative therapy. They include: the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists and the National Association of Social Workers.

The aforementioned groups represent more than 480,000 mental health professionals who have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured.”

A gay conservative thinks that banning conversion therapy harms LGBTQ youth

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