Physician Assistants group decides policy on reparative therapy

Today in Philadelphia, the American Academy of Physician Assistants debated and then decided a policy on reparative therapy. The AAPA’s Committee on Diversity originally proposed the following concise but inclusive statement:

The American Academy of Physician Assistants opposes the practice of treatments intended to alter sexual orientation.

This statement was an aspect of a resolution that I reported on over a month ago. The statement was so inclusive that it could have included even those who seek therapy to pursue behavioral change. A substitute resolution was offered that opposed coercive treatments but affirmed religious diversity.

After debate, the AAPA delegates voted 110 to 107 not to refer the matter to a study committee but instead affirmed the following policy:

The AAPA opposes, the use of “reparative” or “conversion” therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.

Those in the know will recognize this language as being the same as the American Medical Association’s policy. The Committee on Diversity was handed a setback in the sense that all treatments were not opposed but rather those which are coercive and/or based on homosexuality being a mental disorder.

I hope to have more on this tomorrow.

7 thoughts on “Physician Assistants group decides policy on reparative therapy”

  1. I hate to keep picking at this, but there is a difference in how NARTH sees my sexuality and how you may see my eating habits. I understand that you may not consider my sexuality a pathology.

    But when I attended Love Won Out and heard Nicolosi speak, I got it straight from his mouth to my ears. “Homosexuality as pathology” was a major theme, and it was not a subject that he caveated around just “some people with issues.” He was pretty clear and and very adament with his blanket statement. He was speaking of homosexuality as a disorder and as a pathology. I cannot imagine anybody at that conference mistaking his talk for anything else.

    I understand it you don’t want to take my word for it. All I can do is relay what I heard. I suppose I could also look in the handouts to see if that link is made there, although the handouts were rather skimpy. Meanwhile, NARTH’s own web site provides ample evidence to illustrate their collective thinking on this.

  2. Eating take out food excessively in this country is a pathology of our poor dieting but it is not considered a disorder.

    And yes, I would consider my sexuality a pathology of other things – your may not be. Don’t seek change – would be my advice to you.

  3. “Impressions” aside, it is a fact that NARTH persists in describing homosexuality as “pathological” and equates it to a mental disorder. I have heard it straight from Nicolosi himself, and there are plenty of examples on NARTH’s web site. This, of course, runs against the APA’s position statement that says that treatments must not be made on such a priori assumptions.

    Sure, it is “left to the individual to decide/decline/accept.” We still live in a free country. But as long as NARTH continues to advocate public policies that have as their effect making the lives of gays and lesbians as difficult as possible, and as long as NARTH’s own position is that homosexuality is a priori a pathological condition in direct contravention of the APA’s position, then we have a very serious situation that health professionals are obligated to address.

  4. That is not the impression I get from NARTH. They may see it a developmental issue but that that is left to the indivdual decide/decline/accept.

  5. includes people who do not see homosexuality per se as a disorder

    Yes, true. But from what I’ve read, I think every member of NARTH does have “the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.”

  6. Yes, that seems right. NARTH includes people who do not see homosexuality per se as a disorder so to be more precise, it would seem to apply to those approaches that view all homosexuality as steming from developmental problems.

  7. Warren,

    As I read it, this would exclude NARTH and many of the Exodus programs but would allow for your values based behavioral ideas.

    Is that your take?

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