from Clinical/Therapeutic Issues
The recent decision by the British Medical Association (BMA) to repudiate psychological care for clients with unwanted homosexual attractions is both unscientific and unethical. The research reveals that homosexuality is not invariably fixed in all people and that some people can and do change. Even the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation (though a biased group made up only of members opposed to sexual orientation change efforts) recently concluded that there is not enough evidence to prove that efforts to change sexual orientation are effective or ineffective, nor is there enough evidence to prove that such efforts are safe or harmful. Lack of evidence means there is a need for more research. To repudiate a type of treatment without scientific evidence is at best premature; at worst it is another example of professional associations being led by politics and worldview rather that science.
Furthermore, to deny services to clients who are distressed about their unwanted attractions is counter to all therapeutic ethical codes which state that clients have the right to self-determination. In other words, it is the client who chooses his or her own life-goals, not the therapist.
NARTH hopes that members of BMA who are opposed to their trade organization taking such political positions which interfere with the therapist-patient relationship would seek legal remedies, if needed, to protect the rights of clients to seek care and the rights of therapists to provide that care. Certainly such overtures on the part of a professional organization like the BMA could be considered restraint of trade. Yet, more importantly, such positions are a violation of client self-determination, a violation of basic human rights.