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Petitioning Congressional Mental Health Caucus Congresswoman Grace Napolitano and 3 others

Reparative Therapy Hurts: Revoke the Licenses of Unethical Therapists

Individuals and mental health professionals are profoundly concerned about the practice of  Reparative/ Conversion Therapy in the United States. Every major medical and mental health organization in the United States has issued a statement condemning the practice of Reparative Therapy.  Behavioral Health Boards need to penalize those licensed* mental health professionals by revoking their professional license. 

The ethics guidelines of major mental health organizations in the United States vary from cautionary statements to recommendations that ethical practitioners refrain from practicing conversion therapy (American Psychiatric Association) or from referring patients to those who do (American Counseling Association).

Mainstream health organizations in the United States find that conversion therapy is potentially harmful, and that there has been no scientifically adequate demonstration of its efficacy in the last forty years. Anecdotal claims of cures are counterbalanced by assertions of harm, and the American Psychological Association, for example, cautions ethical practitioners under the Hippocratic oath to do no harm to refrain from attempts at conversion therapy. Mainstream medical bodies state that conversion therapy can be harmful because it may exploit guilt and anxiety, thereby damaging self-esteem and leading to depression and even suicide. There is also concern in the mental health community that the advancement of conversion therapy can cause social harm by disseminating inaccurate views about sexual orientation and the ability of gay and bisexual people to lead happy, healthy lives. 

In 2007, a task force of the American Psychological Association undertook a thorough review of the existing research on the efficacy of reparative therapy. Their report noted that there was very little methodologically sound research on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCEs) and that the "results of scientifically valid research indicate that it is unlikely that individuals will be able to reduce same-sex attractions or increase other-sex sexual attractions through SOCE." In addition, the task force found that "there are no methodologically sound studies of recent SOCE that would enable the task force to make a definitive statement about whether or not recent SOCE is safe or harmful and for whom."

In contrast, there is ample evidence that societal prejudice causes significant medical, psychological and other harms to LGBT people. For example, research on the issue of family acceptance of LGBT youth conducted at San Francisco State University found that "compared with LGBT young people who were not rejected or were only a little rejected by their parents and caregivers because of their gay or transgender identity, highly rejected LGBT young people were: 
More than 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide; 
Nearly 6 times as likely to report high levels of depression; 
More than 3 times as likely to use illegal drugs; 
More than 3 times as likely to be at high risk for HIV and STDs.

(Source: Human Rights Campaign, )



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