PFLAG reaction to the Chicago Trib article

PFLAG president John Cepek today posted a particularly vigorous reaction on the Chicago Tribune’s blog regarding the June 11 Tribune article about sexual identity therapy.

In one sense, I can understand that he lumps me in with reparative therapists. The article was not particularly clear on that point. I made it a point to differentiate myself from reparative or conversion therapists. I referred to ACT as a therapeutic foundation for my work. These distinctions were not reported or were edited out.

Troubling though was Mr. Cepek’s reference to Shidlo and Schroeder’s 2002 study as follows:

The outcome that alleged Jeff had flies in the face of the peer-reviewed assessments of the practice. A 2002 study interviewed 202 participants in such treatments. Only 26 reported success – and of those, only eight reported not having “slips” into homosexuality. Even more disturbing were the reports from those who said that the treatment failed. Of the 176 who did not change, 155 had long-term harm from conversion – ranging from the physical effects of shock therapy to inability to maintain relationships with family and friends, to a loss of their faith.

I have written about the misuse of Shidlo and Schroeder before in relation to its reference on the Montel Williams Show by Alicia Salzer.

4 thoughts on “PFLAG reaction to the Chicago Trib article”

  1. OK. I think I see your point.

    I’m a bit inclined to credit Cepek for not going down the “this doesn’t work for anyone” route. Instead he credited 8 of the 202 who reported success without “slips”.

    But I can see how his language surrounding the S&S study was slanted in an anti-reorientation direction.

  2. My problem with his use of the study is that he calls it “a peer reviewed assessment of the practice.” Well, it was peer reviewed (as was my review of the practices in the same issue), but to call it an assessment of the practice without offering other peer reviewed assessments of the practice is pure spin.

    It would be akin to the correct objections to the use of Spitzer to say “the practice” is uniformly helpful. If Cepek had said, good for this guy but I want to caution readers that for some it can be harmful, then fine. As I have been calling social conservatives to be more complete and tentative in their statements I would call PFLAG to the same position.

  3. Warren,

    I can see how Salzer misused Shidlo and Schroeder.

    But did Cepak misquote or misstate the study?

    I am aware of some of its flaws, particularly that it isn’t representative – though considering that Spitzer had such a hard time finding participants, finding 26 successes may not have been that underrepresentative. I tend not to rely too heavily on S&S.

    It does look like some of our buddies commented there. I think Swissalps was there calling himself “Critic of PFLAG”, unless there’s someone else out there who uses the term “H&L”.

    And can Viva – who calls for quarantine – be Phillips, I wonder?

  4. I wonder if all those groups who jump on Exodus will now jump on PFLAG for misuse of research. If Shidlo and Schroeder is all they got, then they don’t have much.

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