Washington Post article on reparative therapy

I will comment more on this later, but this morning’s Washington Post has a lengthy article on reparative therapy. Despite my frequent requests of the reporter not to do so, she still referred to me as a reparative therapist.

I am going to add to this post as I have time today.

The article quotes APA’s Jack Drescher as follows: “Many people who try this treatment tend to be desperate, very unhappy and don’t know other gay people,” said Drescher, who has treated about a dozen men who previously underwent conversion therapy. (Men are far more likely than women to receive the treatment.)

A dozen!? That’s all? He is an expert on conversion therapy after treating a dozen people who didn’t like it? This may be one of the most telling admissions I have ever seen. How can the APA’s lead point person on this issue make dogmatic statements with an N of 12?

27 thoughts on “Washington Post article on reparative therapy”

  1. Warren, you just tried to wave away forty years of “Ex-Gay” therapy with a wave of your hand and a deftly executed “I’m just talking about these 176 people” tap dance.

    That’s cherry picking.

    As for the line about “no one has shown that the objective itself is intrinsically harmful,” no one has ever shown there’s even a valid objective — again after 40 years…. hell, more… of research.

    I find it unethical and wrong to peddle snake-oil. Then again, that’s just me.

  2. Those approaches were used for all sorts of problems and reasons people came to see counselors. They are not used today for anything. You are comparing apples and oranges. The only study of harm goes back to include reports of people who experienced those methods and it took 5 years to find 176 people. I have never denied that there are things done in the name of reorientation that can be harmful but no one has shown that the objective itself is intrinsically harmful.

  3. Electroshock therapy, induced vomiting, deep cold treatments and the like, stretching back to Bieber and Socarides, in the 60s and 50s, all based on a paradigm that has no empirical support — that’s the evidence he spoke from.

  4. I would like to see this evidence. I see one study demonstrating harm and one study demonstrating benefit. I have my own research on this issue coming out in December that shows benefit for some people. If you have research that you think I have not seen, produce it.

  5. He is an expert on conversion therapy after treating a dozen people who didn’t like it?

    I think it has a bit more to do with the sum total of research on the subject, the statements of the APA and AMA, and his personal clinical experience.

    The evidence is on his side, Warren.

  6. Circular Reasoning,

    Being gay would therefore mean
    ex gays do not exist!

    Maybe the truth is in the middle

    Both exist!

  7. Warren,

    OK, thanks for some base info. I’m trying to establish some numbers around this from all who intersect on the subject; hence remembering the 13/600 — but I’m surely not using Chamber’s “hundreds of thousands, whatever that means :-). If it’s OK, perhaps it’d be best if I put this into a standard format and sent it via email to all. And don’t I just love databases…

    I guess — on the question of dogmatic — you may have an opinion about putting up a large billboard that simply declared:

    “Ex-Gays prove that change is possible”

    Ex-Gay means?
    Change means?
    Possible? (for whom, and how often)

  8. Well, not exactly. I do not support reparative therapy as an approach. I know some people who have benefitted from it but it isn’t what I do. The author used the term as an umbrella term which is not accurate.

  9. Dr. Throckmorton,

    I believe the journalist referred to you as “a supporter of reparative therpay” rather than a reparative therapist. The two are quite different, and as the article stands, the label she used appears to be accurate.

  10. It is very important topay attention to this fact. Many of us, Christians of good will live happy lives as Gay and Lesbians, and we can offer an alternative for all those trying to “change sexual orientation. God made us gay, and the signs of times are showing that… why fighting it?

  11. PS – I am stating these numbers not having gone back through 25 years of therapy, only the most recent 7 were given to researching this issue. I reserve the right to revise these estimates 🙂

  12. To be clear, 12 people can seem like a lot and one can make statements based on these experiences. However, he is dogmatic in his criticism where I do not believe dogmatism is warranted. I have seen or interviewed nearly 200 people who have either been through or sought reorientation counseling. I have interviewed or seen about 40 people who are unhappy with their experiences in reorientation who currently identify as gay. These numbers grow as I continue to research and see new clients. I do not think this is an adequate number to make dogmatic statements either. I can only say what I have seen and try to avoid generalizations where they are not warranted.

    No one has adequate research to be so polarized but here we are.

  13. Warren, given that Reparative Therapy really can’t present a valid “N,” “X^2” or “P,” you really don’t have much to complain about…

  14. PS who is that anonymous pest???

    Are they the one causing all the “comments removed” elsewhere.

    Maybe “saltnlight” is now stalking you!

  15. Well, the article says Drescher has personally treated 12 men after reparative therpy and for that very reason.

    Why do you assume his views are formed only by what he knows of them? That’s presumptuous at best, as I’ll explain.

    It also mentioned that he has worked with “hundreds” of gay men. Previously you have announced that only 13 out of 600 engagements for sexuality issues by gay men involved attempts at reorientation therapy. Presumeably not all are reparative therapy (and I do realise you’ve been at pains to distinguish the two. The ratio “feels” about right too.)

    On my reckoning, that means Drescher has seen a higher than expected number of clients as a result of their previous treatment. If half were harmed by RT sufficient to require corrective therapy, to pluck a number, Drescher should have personally only seen 3 or 4 such clients during his entire working life.

    You are also neglecting to mention that Drescher heads the APA group that has examined this issue. I think it would reasonable to think that these people have reviewed rather more cases than the 12 that Drescher was personally involved in.

    (And in many many ways it would actually be best if a professional grouping never examined cases that they had been personally engaged on. That is a standard practice for any independent examination.)

    Of course, a sword has two edges.

    For the article, Nicolosi is the given expert for reparative therapy. He point-blank refuses to work with the overwhelming majority of gay men who attend therapy (about 98% from your 13/600). And that’s not even counting the majority of gay men who never attend a therapist, for any reason.

    (I think it would again be safe to presume that Nicolosi counts no gay men as personal friends, let alone a gay couple.)

    Yet on that score, Nicolosi claims to be an expert not just on his brand of reparative therapy but about homosexuality as a whole???

    The ghost of Bieber lives on….


    On that particular matter — I’d wanted to ask before, but it’s a blog and the moment hasn’t arisen.

    Perhaps I could ask for a breakdown of your own client group. No need for exactness but an indication of N, and % for where your “GLBTQIBoX” (yes that extraordinary acronyn again!) clients are derived.

    An indication of whether or not you personally have more than passing acquaintance with gay couples would also be helpful. (ie “do you have a gay couple as friends, ones you’ve invited over for dinner” etc).

    I did ask at XGW but it was buried in a pile of posts, so don;t know if you saw it. And if you think that’s off topic the the blog, we can be emailed.

  16. It seems like this group the National Gay Lesbian Journalist
    has a lot of power over the media!

    Notice its mission statment http://www.nlgja.org/about/about.html

    Also notice the pictures of the people who attend and have gotten awards from them!

    Pictures of Famous reporters from FOX, and CNN all at a pro gay activist group



    Any time any Reporter writes about ex gay issues or anti family isses
    We need to do a check on them!
    GOOGEL there first and last name..put” ” between the name
    and search! Add gay in the search engine!
    Also check out Wikipedia for Biography’s
    or go to the Companies Site

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