Weighing the Evidence: Empirical Assessment and Ethical Implications of Conversion Therapy
Cramer, Robert J.
Golom, Frank D.
LoPresto, Charles T.
Kirkley, Shalene M.
Ethics and Behavior 2008 January-March; 18(1): 93-114
The American Psychological Association's (APA's) as well as other professional organizations' (e.g., American Psychiatric Association) removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder represented a paradigmatic shift in thinking about sexual orientation. Since then, APA (2000) disseminated guidelines for working with lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) clients, and a variety of scholars and researchers alike have advocated affirmative therapeutic interventions with LGB individuals. Despite these efforts, the controversy over treating individuals with LGB orientations using nonaffirmative techniques continues. In this discussion, the limited evidence regarding the efficacy and effects of conversion therapy is surveyed, particularly in the context of empirically supported treatment criteria summarized by Division 12 (clinical psychology) of the APA. Authors then consider the resulting ethical considerations in performing conversion therapy and propose alternative uses of affirmative therapy on the basis of ethical standards defined by APA. Finally, options for treating LGB individuals who are coming to terms with their sexual orientations are discussed.
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