The Australian Psychological Society (APS) is likely to review its stance on gay reparative -˜therapies’, after an American Psychological Association report disparaging attempts to change people’s sexuality.
The APA passed a resolution to deter mental health professionals from promoting therapies or treatments to change people’s sexuality. The decision was based on a taskforce review of literature and 83 studies on attempts to change sexual orientation.
Much of the research in the area of sexual orientation change contains serious design flaws, said taskforce chair Dr Judith Glassgold.
There are no methodologically sound studies of recent Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) that would enable the taskforce to make a definitive statement about whether or not recent SOCE is safe or harmful… Without such information, psychologists cannot predict the impact of these treatments and need to be very cautious.
A spokeswoman for the APS said a review of Australian policies would be likely to occur in the coming months to ensure they are in line with international thinking.
The APS’ current position statement points to the lack of credible research backing up claims that sexual orientation can be -˜cured’. This statement is not binding on registered psychologists and does not fall under the APS’ code of ethics.
Openly gay psychologist and author of The Cass Theory of Gay and Lesbian Identity Formation Dr Vivienne Cass sees this as an opportune time for Australia to adopt a stronger stance.
It would seem that the American one now is different because it sounds to me like it’s going to be binding on the members of the APA, but that doesn’t apply to the Australian one at this point, she said. adding that the move to re-brand practices as Sexual Orientation Change Efforts was an equally important step to discredit the movement.
I think we should be encouraging the APS to make a similar stance and I believe with the American one coming out, this will be picked up by the [gay and lesbian] interest group within the Society and encouraged.
Will they adopt it? I don’t think so -” there are still a number of older psychologists who are closet homophobes, though one would hope that times have changed -” but even if there is some discussion … then that would be worthwhile.
If you shut down a part of you that seems so innate that you can’t even picture yourself without it, that leaves a big, blank space, an emptiness.   … [T]he whole experience of trying to change from being homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual can leave psychological problems -” depression, feeling conflicted, anxiety.
The president of the world’s largest SOCE organisation, Exodus International, has reportedly already expressed his dissatisfaction with the APA’s findings.
The Asia Pacific branch of Exodus will hold an expo and conference for its ministries in Melbourne on September 18-19.

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