Thursday, March 26, 2009

Findings Maybe Not As Bad As They Sound

MSNBC has one of those articles that you read through and then you get to the end and realize maybe it didn't say what you thought it said. Check this out:
LONDON - A sixth of British therapists said they had tried to help gay, bisexual and lesbian patients become heterosexual, even though evidence suggests such therapies can be harmful, according to a survey released on Thursday.

Michael King of University College London, who published his findings in the journal BMC Pyschiatry, said the number of therapists who said they had tried to help a person change their sexual orientation was surprising.

"There is very little evidence to show that attempting to treat a person's homosexual feelings is effective and in fact it can actually be harmful," King said in a telephone interview. Such an approach could provoke greater anxiety and confusion.

The survey showed that 17 percent of therapists and psychiatrists working in Britain had sought to help their patients reduce "gay or lesbian feelings" through therapy, the researchers said. Gay ‘cure’ still sought by some therapists

That is some disappointing news. Maybe there was a time when psychotherapists thought they could change someone's sexual orientation, but you'd think those days are long gone. From this article, you would think not.
Treating homosexuality as a mental illness was more common in the United States and Britain during the 1970s and 1980s, when so-called "aversion" therapy was in vogue, he added.

These treatments involved tactics such as pairing homosexual imagery with electric shocks to induce feelings of revulsion, King said.

We have talked to people who have been through that. It's terrible, and it doesn't work. I'm sorry, but there are some things you just won't change. Sexual orientation is one of them.

Ah, but watch this.
King's study showed that some therapists now use more subtle strategies aimed at getting patients to "control" their homosexual feelings, and eventually change their sexual orientation.

King and colleagues asked more than 1,400 therapists if they would try to change a patient's sexual orientation if asked to do so.

Only 4 percent declared that they would. However, in response to further questions, one in six said that they had already tried to help patients control or change their sexual orientation through a range of therapies.

I think this is a misleading headline, the study didn't find that a "gay cure" is "still sought" by therapists, at least not by many. These shrinks didn't say they currently try to change anyone's sexual orientation. The article says that back in the 70s and 80s that kind of therapy was common. Could it be that one sixth of British psychotherapists practiced their craft back in the day when such a treatment was considered workable?

The finding seems to be this: seventeen percent of British shrinks have tried to help someone change their sexual orientation in the past. Four percent would do that now.

Ninety-six percent of British psychiatrists would not try to change someone's sexual orientation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The finding seems to be this: seventeen percent of British shrinks have tried to help someone change their sexual orientation in the past. Four percent would do that now."

Of course it doesn't ask why. Perhaps only 4% are brave enough to buck the establishment.

Still, 4% are plenty. TTF used to spout the propaganda that no reputable psychs would do such a thing. Because, of course, then they wouldn't be reasonable. It's circular of the type that TTFers excel in.

Truth is, there are plenty of rational reasons why homosexuality is harmful to an individual and if they can't control their behavior and have no choice but to do dangerous things, they have a mental problem.

There are qualified professionals brave enough to say that.

March 26, 2009 5:03 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, people who "can't control their behavior and have no choice but to do dangerous things" should seek counseling. This article isn't about that. It's about sexual orientation.


March 26, 2009 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the desire to do dangerous things is a problem too

if someone wants to work on eliminating this desire, the gay agenda should back off

March 26, 2009 5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And, "Anonymous" - just whom have you consulted about your unusual - some would say repulsive - proclivities?

March 26, 2009 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good article, Jim. I think this summarises the information extremely well. On, the breaking of the "psychiatry" story caused some consternation amongst users, but I tend to agree with your analysis: in a commercial world where psychiatric journals need to make news to sell, the controversial headline is slightly misleading, but has already generated much attention on the report. However, as you point out, the truth is that it largely relates to past practice.

No British mental health organisation has advocated "reparative therapy" for more than 30 years. In 1991, the then Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Major, apologised to the gay community for the abuses of the past by state funded mental health bodies. Despite large scale financing, the religionist "Ex-Gay" movement has never taken off in the United Kingdom. The only group of any size, Courage ( lived up to its name in 2003, when its founder revealed that "ex-gay" ministries had never worked and began working to help people reconcile their sexuality and faith.

It is fascinating to note that the anti-gay commentators to your blog have already begun to indulge in wishful thinking, claiming that 4% is a large number. It isn't given the UK's number of psychiatrists. The vast majority of UK residents will come across psychiatrists by way of the National Health Service (a concept which smacks far too much of communism for the US right wing), where 'reparative therapy' is not offered - indeed not permitted. In addition the Royal College of Psychiatrists has firm views about the fallacy of sexual re-orientation and does not sanction any such practice by its members. (The same is true of other bodies in related fields of mental health, such the British Psychological Association).

This leaves a gaggle of older psychiatrists in private practice. Even here, we have no indication of what the study truly reveals: 4% might offer "reparative therapy" but only to individuals who deliberately seek it, and then after much discussion.

For the anti-gay activists, the fact that mental health organisations do not subscribe to their "gay is sick" ideology has led to a dramatic change in tactic in recent decades. They have turned on the professions from which they once begged tricks, and all of a sudden mental health services are being controlled by an international homosexual conspiracy, which must be suppressing the non-existant evidence that gays are insane. Like the anti-semitic conspiracy theory, the lack of evidence for their position is explained away as a consequence of the deviousness of the gay hegemony. This anti-gay delusion in itself, might provide hours of interesting study for psychiatrists.

March 29, 2009 11:04 PM  

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