from Social Issues
May 7, 2007 - NARTH President Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D., has issued a statement of protest to Alicia Salzer, M.D., a psychiatrist who serves as the After Care Coordinator for the Montel Williams Show.
During the March 15 Montel show, which featured a carefully orchestrated attack against reparative therapy and the ex-gay movement, Dr. Salzer claimed that "science shows that 96% cannot change" their sexual orientation.
Dr. Salzer is also the producer of the new film, "Abomination: Homosexuality and the Ex-Gay Movement," for the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists, and has been exhibiting the film at professional conferences.
As Dr. Nicolosi pointed out in his letter to Dr. Salzer, the Montel Williams show dealt with faith-based counseling, not reparative therapy, and her presentation misled the audience about the differences between the two. "Her film also wrongly portrays shock treatments as if they were a part of reparative therapy," he explained.
The study used by Dr. Salzer as the basis for her "96% cannot change" figure was never intended to assess success rates or change therapy, Nicolosi said. To obtain subjects, the authors of that study -- Shidlo and Schroeder--advertised in gay publications with the following appeal: "Help Us Document the Damage of Homophobic Therapies!"
"There is no published study that has ever sought a random population of reorientation therapy clients to assess treatment success rates," Dr. Nicolosi said.
"However, we have plenty of supportive, anecdotal reports -- including the Spitzer study, which found 200 men and women who had changed orientation; a body of older research, now largely forgotten in the current political climate; and my own, more recent research, co-authored with Byrd and Potts and published in the peer-reviewed journal Psychological Reports. This study found over 850 people who reported substantial success in changing the unwanted attractions that do not, they believe, represent 'who they really are.'"
"Many people believe that we cannot 'construct' -- assemble or disassemble -- a new reality in which gender and sexual identity are out of synchrony with biology," Nicolosi said. "We are here to support those people who share our worldview. But when other clinicians distort the evidence -- presenting activism as science-- they unfairly skew the professional debate."