Soulforce, TWO, APA, ACA & NASW to hold teleconference

Soulforce and Truth Wins Out plan to coordinate a teleconference including representatives of the American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association, and the National Association of Social Workers to discuss their view of how social conservatives misrepresent research. The teleconference will be held at 10:00am EST on Monday, February 26th and will be open only to credentialled media. Later in the day, audio will be available on the Soulforce site. I confirmed this with Cathy Renna of Renna Communications who is providing the teleconferencing services. I asked to listen in but was told there was not enough space.

The following panelists are slated to be involved: Dr. Judith Stacey, Department of Sociology, New York University Dr. Serena Volpp, Chair of the Committee on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues, American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Clinton Anderson, Director of the Office of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Concerns, American Psychological Association, Jean K. Quam, PhD, LICSW, Dean of the School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, NASW Board and Chair of the National Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues, Dr. Brian J. Dew, American Counseling Association, Jeff Lutes, Executive Director, Soulforce, Wayne Besen, Executive Director, Truth Wins Out.

How often does sexual orientation modification occur?

I wanted to clarify an earlier post about the experience of Nicholas Cummings at Kaiser-Permanente. This revised article suggests a 13.4% rate of change for homosexuals who sought sexual reorientation from Kaiser therapists in the 1960s-1980s.

Dr. Cummings estimates as many as 16,000 clients sought therapy due to dissatisfaction with their sexuality during that period and that 67% reached a good outcome (meaning they either achieved a heterosexual adjustment or affirmed a gay identity). Of those, 20% were assessed as having redirected their sexuality toward a heterosexual adaptation, yielding a figure of 13.4% for the entire group. There were many more homosexual clients who sought therapy for the usual reasons people do and these people are not included in the numbers above.

The article is still draft at this point but I thought it might make for some good discussion.

People magazine on Ted Haggard and reparative therapy

The February 26 issue of People magazine has a story on Ted Haggard and reparative therapy. The article references the comments or views of Rev. Haggard, his overseers, Richard Cohen, Joe Nicolosi, Bob Spitzer, Jack Drescher, Peterson Toscano, and Dan Gonzales.

As with most pieces on the subject, this one oversimplifies the intersection of faith and sexuality. I do note that psychiatrist Jack Drescher is getting more creative in his characterizations of change programs — “it’s a giant infomercial,” he says. But this article, like so many before it, comes down to the same opponents saying about the same thing: one side says change doesn’t work and the other side saying homosexuality is a reaction to being wounded in childhood, thus requiring lengthy therapy to undo. Sure seems like deja vu all over again.

It is sad and frustrating to me that this polarity is generally all that people in conflict ever hear about.