The American Psychological Association has issued a call for nominations titled: Call for Nominations for the Board of Director’s Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation. The charge of the Task Force is threefold:
(1) To revise and update the APA resolution Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation (1997);
(2) To generate a report that includes the following:
(a) The appropriate application of affirmative therapeutic interventions for children and adolescents who present a desire to change either their sexual orientation or their behavioral expression of their sexual orientation, or both, or whose guardian expresses a desire for the minor to change;
(b) The appropriate application of affirmative therapeutic interventions for adults who present a desire to change their sexual orientation or their behavioral expression of their sexual orientation, or both;
(c) The presence of adolescent inpatient facilities that offer coercive treatment designed to change sexual orientation or the behavioral expression of sexual orientation;
(d) Education, training, and research issues as they pertain to such therapeutic interventions;
(e) Recommendations regarding treatment protocols that promote stereotyped gender normative behavior to mitigate behaviors that are perceived to be indicators that a child will develop a homosexual orientation in adolescence and adulthood;
(3) To inform the Association’s response to groups that promote treatments to change sexual orientation or its behavioral expression and to support public policy that furthers affirmative therapeutic interventions.
Why convene a task force?
The call for nominations refers to a need to revise the APA guidelines on therapeutic responses and to “research and scholarship” relating to conversion therapy. What I think is amazing is this lenghty sentence:
Several external organizations have recommended that APA update its policy, because of their concerns about the continued visibility of reparative therapy practitioners and treatment facilities and about the role of advocacy for reparative theory in attempts to shape public opinion about the nature of sexual orientation and to support an anti-gay activist role in legislative and judicial arenas.
I wonder which extermal organizations did the recommending? I wonder what they want the APA to say?
I know of several individuals that have asked the APA to consider the need for guidelines when religion and sexuality conflict. However, I do not see this issue in the call for nominations. I hope there will not be a move to prohibit sexual identity therapy.
UPDATE: 2/23/07 – Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink interviewed APA’s Clinton Anderson who identified PFLAG and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force as two groups who recommended that the APA review their policies. This was a short report and so I understand my concerns over sexual identity therapy could not be fully articulated. As any regular reader of this blog will know, I am not an apologist for reparative therapy but I am concerned that advocacy groups can move the APA to form a task force to craft scientific policy for political use.