from Ethical Issues
From NARTH President, Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D.
Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D.
As psychologists, all of us need to listen, and listen respectfully, to men and women who turn to us for understanding, support, and professional assistance in their effort to diminish their unwanted attractions and to develop their heterosexual potential.
Who are these people? What are their stories? What are they seeking for themselves? How can we help them?
To simply tell them; "Abandon your hope for change; your biology is your destiny!" or "Keep working on getting rid of your internalized homophobia!" is not only uncompassionate, but scientifically unsupportable. We can no longer reduce the important issues of worldview differences and client self-determination to that glib phrase "homophobia."
We need to be frank with ourselves as scientists: a gay lifestyle is not for everyone with same-sex attraction. "One size does not fit all."
I invite you to speak to the any one of the protesters you see here today at the APA Convention. All of them are men and women who have changed their sexual identity. Find out how complicated--also fascinating, and even inspiring--their personal stories are.
I would like to offer three quotes from prominent clinicians:
"The individual has the right to choose whether he or she will accept a gay identity. It is his or her choice, not that of an ideologically driven interest group. To discourage a psychotherapist from undertaking a client wishing to convert is anti-research, anti-scholarship, and antithetical to the quest for truth."
-------------Spoken at the 2004 NARTH Conference by Robert Perloff, Ph.D., past-President of the American Psychological Association
"I remain fiercely dedicated to freedom of choice for all people, and especially in their right to choose the goals for their own individual psychotherapy."
-------------Nicholas Cummings, Ph.D., past-President of the American Psychological Association, at the 2005 NARTH Conference
"We refuse most emphatically to turn a patient... into our private property, to decide his fate for him, to force our own ideals upon him...in the service of a particular philosophy. In my opinion, this is...to use violence [upon the patient]."
-------------Sigmund Freud, M.D., 1918
From the above quotes--said during the very beginning of our profession, all the way to the most recent times--we see a continual tradition of honoring client self-determination.
Today, at the 2006 APA Annual Convention, we ask APA to uphold the spirit of true liberalism. Tolerance and diversity includes those men and women who seek sexual orientation change.