What Is Conversion Therapy And Its Effects
A note to readers
This article is in no way condoning or encouraging conversion therapy. I have clearly stated the facts based on research.
What is conversion therapy?
Conversion therapy is the administration of psychotherapy or pseudo scientific techniques administered to people of a certain persuasion in order to get them to change. This technique could be considered as brainwashing as well and it is usually administered to people of homosexual persuasion.
This treatment assumes that homosexuality is a mental disorder and that it is possible to change your sexual behavior. The American Psychiatric Association has disassociated itself from such form of therapy and are totally against the practice.
There have been quite a lot of controversy surrounding conversion therapy especially in children. Recently, a California Bill was passed banning the conversion therapy practice especially on minors. Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law on Saturday September 20, 2012.
Where is the proof?
As far as proof that homosexuality is a mental disorder, there is none. During the early 1900s psycho-analysts discussed whether homosexuality was pathological and in the 1920s it was decided that it was, and that it needed to be treated as such.
Even with no evidence that being gay was a mental disorder, treatment of patients proceeded with some cases deemed incurable. Such cases were labeled as homosexual perversion.
Sigmund Freud was one who believed that homosexuality could be cured by hypnotic suggestions. His theory was encouraged by Eugen Steinach, an endocrinologist who did testicular transplants. Implanting the testicles of straight men into those who were gay, believing that the procedure would cure them. This method was a complete failure as the immune system usually rejected the organs.
Is conversion therapy discimination?
It is my personal belief that conversion therapy is discrimination against the homosexual lifestyle. Note that the originators of this kind of psychiatric treatment were all straight men. These psychologists and psychiatrists were also anti gay activists or supporters of anti gay movements.
It was decades after the implementation of such therapy that studies were done to determine whether or not being gay was a genetic disorder or genetic at all. Prior to Freud's theory, no studies were done to give credence to his belief.
Not only is conversion therapy, otherwise known as reparative therapy, immoral but also unsubstantiated. It's like giving shock therapy to someone with mild depression symptoms without proving that they are depressed at all.
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Can Homosexuals change their orientation?
There have been some reports of people changing their sexual orientation through therapy, spiritual awareness and plain old choice.
According the the Family Research Council changing your sexual orientation is possible especially in those with unwanted same-sex attraction, whatever that means. I found this site to be biased in its beliefs and therefore place no value on their so called research.
Robert Spitzer, a psychiatrist, reported that 66% male and 44% female that sought therapy changed their orientation. His study concluded that there must be extenuating circumstances in order to facilitate this change. Such circumstances included:
- Being in a loving heterosexual relation for at least one year
- Complete satisfaction in regards to emotional relationship with the partner.
- Having heterosexual coitus with your partner at least a few times per month
- Must not think about homosexual sex more than 15% of the time during heterosexual sex
- Must achieve physical sexual satisfaction with your heterosexual partner
Spitzer found that the people who did change their orientation were people actively seeking change because they were not getting the emotional satisfaction they needed, religious confusion, being in a heterosexual marriage and wanted to remain there.
His studies were widely criticized as he was linked to anti-gay movements. Gay activists argued that should this study be credible it would undermine their rights for being gay and encourage such unethical methods of change.
In another study published in 2002, Ariel Shidlo and Michael Schroeder found that of 150 volunteers, 88% did not change their orientation and only 3% achieved sustained change to heterosexual lifestyle. The remaining 9% reported that they lost all their sex drive and wanted to remain celibate, this of course due to the course of therapy undertaken.
It was also reported that many of the people in the study suffered depression, attempted suicide, poor self esteem and many other psychological factors because of this kind of therapy. This is the total opposite of what Spitzer reported as he stated that no harm was done to his group.
So the controversy still remains as to whether or not homosexuals can change their orientation. Further to that is whether or not they can change with no psychological effect.
Contrary to popular belief
This is based on my own personal experience with persons I know who are of the homosexual persuasion. I cannot speak for all gay people.
- People who prefer people of the same sex are human beings like you and me
- They are some of the most talented and intelligent people I know
- They are caring and loving, sensitive to animals and absolutely adore children
- They care deeper than the average person
- When they like you you have a best friend for life
God made some people heterosexuals and some people homosexuals for a reason? Can we stop looking at homosexuality as a disease and see it as just the way it is? When will people stop over-analyzing sexuality?
I say, what is the big deal about sexuality be it be homo or hetero? Why are we more concerned about who is having sex with whom more than about each other's welfare? Aren't we more concerned about whether or not someone is "okay" in life? We pass people everyday who need a shoulder to lean on, they need shelter, a meal, emotional support and we don't even care. Yet we spend our energies worrying about someone's sexual orientation. When will we see the light?
A boy's personal experience
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