To: (Multiple email addresses may be specified by separating them with a comma)
BY Father Benedict Groeschel
As a member
of the American Psychological Association for 36 years, I am filled with
indignation at the recent statement of the APA that deems it “inappropriate”
for therapists to treat homosexual clients.
Such therapy is called reparative
therapy and has as its goal the establishment of a heterosexual orientation in
place of a homosexual one.
This statement of the APA has been
issued despite the fact that there are a number of outstanding members of that
organization, including two past presidents, who have strongly supported
Issued in August, “Appropriate
Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation” advises treatments that “increase
family and school support and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth.”
The report also states: “Some
difficulties arise because the professional psychological community considers
same-sex sexual attractions and behaviors to be a positive variant of human sexuality,
while some traditional faiths continue to consider it a sin, moral failing, or
disorder that needs to be changed. … We believe that licensed mental-health
providers are more likely to maximize their clients’ self-determination by
providing effective psychotherapy that increases a client’s abilities to cope,
understand, acknowledge, explore and integrate sexual-orientation concerns into
a self-chosen life in which the client determines the ultimate manner in which
he or she does or does not express sexual orientation.”
Unfortunately, a statement like this
issued by an organization like the APA automatically takes on a certain amount
of authority. In this case, however, that claim is fraudulent.
Those who made the statement —
really only a single APA committee — claim that there are at least 80 studies
indicating that reparative treatment is not helpful to people of homosexual
They do admit, however, that most of
these studies were actually made more than 30 years ago — and that the quality
of the research involved was not very high.
Nevertheless, this APA committee has
grabbed many headlines and, in the process, probably damaged many people who
have struggled to overcome same-sex attachment through psychotherapy. At least
some of them have likely given up on treatment that may have been greatly
Amazingly, the APA committee
actually says in their statement that the reparative therapists may be “hurting
On top of all that, in an almost
bizarre ignoring of the purposes of his own discipline, one of the members of
the task force that composed the report claimed that people who belong to
religions that expect celibacy from the unmarried and monogamy from the married
but find such expectations too difficult or onerous should simply change to a
religion which requires less of them.
Is this in any way a part of the
responsibilities of a psychological organization?
I am told by knowledgeable people
whom I trust that the committee behind all this is primarily composed of people
who also belong to a gay and lesbian division of the APA — a group that is
surely not entirely impartial in matters such as these.
The APA has certainly done good
things, but it has made its share of mistakes, as well. It does have a division
on religious issues (Division 36), but clearly it has neither the right to
interfere in people’s religious lives nor the competency to do so. Division
36’s task in no way involves telling religious people what they should or
The statement issued by the APA is
deeply flawed and is capable of doing much damage to many people. In my
opinion, there should be a protest throughout the United States by concerned
people of all sorts, including therapists who are not particularly identified
as religious therapists.
It is necessary to register a strong
objection to this recent statement. For valid and reasonable information I
suggest the writings of an outstanding researcher and therapist in this area,
Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, who has long been the inspiration behind the National
Association for Research and Therapy for Homosexuality.
Recently, he was quoted in this
newspaper pointing out that research used by homosexual activists shows that
public opinion regarding homosexuality will change if people believe it is
genetic. “To the extent people are not responsible,” said Nicolosi, “their
behavior will be tolerated.” (See “Scientists Outing ‘Gay Gene’ Myth,” July
More information regarding NARTH and
Nicolosi’s work can be found at NARTH.com and JosephNicolosi.com.
I would strongly suggest that
Register readers register their protest with the American Psychological
Association for what amounts to an abuse of research and demand that the APA
distance itself from this pseudoscientific presentation. For those interested,
the website for the APA is APA.org.
Franciscan Friar of the
Father Benedict Groeschel
is host of
EWTN’s “Sunday Night Live.”