It’s pretty universally understood at this point that so called “conversion therapy” — the promise of being able to alter someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity through counseling — is a huge pile of steaming garbage.
And that’s not even fair to the huge piles of steaming garbage of the world, because some of them might actually decompose and improve the soil beneath them (assuming you’re composting), while there is no conceivable benefit to conversion therapy.
Now HRC is going after the publication/website Psychology Today for continuing to offer paid listings for conversion therapists. The gay rights organization claims the brand is “propping up a fraudulent industry” by giving conversion therapy a “veneer of credibility.”
In February, a staff member with HRC’s legal department noticed a listing in Psychology Today for a conversion therapist in Riverside, CA who claimed to have “helped men with unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA) reverse their attraction to men and increase their attraction to women.”
This prompted Fred Sainz, a spokesperson for HRC, to reach out to the publication, asking them to retract current advertisements for conversion therapy on their website and bar future practitioners from placing ads.
“There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, and it is abundantly clear that conversion therapy poses devastating health risks for LGBT young people,” Sainz wrote in a letter to Psychology Today’s chief executive and publisher. “Psychology Today has the opportunity to take a leadership role in protecting the public from these harmful and illegal practices by taking prompt action to limit this type of advertisement and creating awareness about the danger of conversion therapy.”
Charles Frank, who runs Psychology Today’s directory, told HuffPost that he has no intention of meeting the request.
Though Frank said Psychology Today is “not a fan” of conversion therapy, he wrote in an email, “We take care not to sit in judgement of others by allowing or denying individual participation.” The only metrics he uses to asses a potential advertiser are that they are “who they say they are,” licensed and are “under no sanction from their states (or countries) not to practice.”
“There are many reasons why one group of people take issue with another, especially around the sensitive subject of relationships and therapy,” he added. “The Therapy Directory cannot pick winners.”
Saiz sees this as a cop out. “They are simply not taking responsibility for their own actions,” he said. “What other discredited and dangerous therapies would they allow under that flawed rationale?”
Only a few states — California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. — have passed laws banning conversion therapy on minors. A federal effort is currently underway to ban the practice nationwide on minors and adults. It seems that until such a time, conversion therapists will be welcomed advertisers in Psychology Today.
Sorry HRC. While i agree with you totally. Psychology today also has a point As long as they are licensed to practice actually practicing aversion therapy is not illegal (YET). We always tread a very fine line on these things,and its hard for me being in the lgbtqqyia community to sit here and go oh well he is actually correct on this. Someone will probably step forward eventually with the truth about that so called therapy and reveal them to be scam but until that happens cant stop them from advertising (except to minors).
Psychology Today is indeed breaking California law (for example). They are breaking many state laws that prohibit “conversion therapy”. This “therapy” isn’t real therapy and discredits “Psychology Today”.
If gender is a social or mental construct, how can gender identity not be mutable?
“Conversion therapy” should indeed be banned for minors, but if adults want to spend their hard-earned money on snake oil, let them. We don’t ban any number of other quack treatments, from reflexology to iridology.
If we subjected all therapists to a rigid standard of scientific proof, I suspect very few would be left in practice. Except maybe Lucy from “Peanuts,” who charges exactly what the service is worth.
And I thought that “Psychology Today” was a professional magazine?! Just another paid off “National Psychology Inquirer!
And Psychology Today’s green money should be used to pay fines for false advertising.
@Raquel Santiago: Sorry, but yes, it is illegal to practice conversion therapy in CA.
So as the High Priest of Voodoo in Pennsylvania I can take an ad out for curses and spells?
I seent an e-mail to the President of Psychology today saying I am the High Priest of VooDoo in Pennsylvnia I want to buy an add selling curses and potions. I read your criteria for an ad on HuffPost. You knoww who I am and I am legally allowwed to ddo this in California while conversion therapy is illegal Dump the conversion therapy ads. I’m sure they will me both annoying and arrogant.
I’m using psychology on them trying to make them feel stupid for putting conversion therpy on there. This was said in jest. You only get 200 characters by the way. It’s someone named Jo.
I may call the advertising department and try and place the ad and see what they say. I have an MBA from a top 15 school in the world in Pittsburgh so I understand what the criteria is and as the High Priest of VooDoo in PA I qualify according to their own bullshit rules. VooDoo ads by the way are not illegal in California, but conversion therapy is illegal. I am going to place the ad in the next day or two. I think they will have to sell me ad space per their own requirements. Do you know what an ass it would make of them to have that add poosted on their web page and in the magazine?
excellent idea! You are very intelligent and creative. I know an attorrney from Pitt that may get to see if she will file a federal law suit for denying me my right of free speach. I meet the criteriia they can not arbitrarily say my ad isn’t true if they are runing ads on conversion therapy.
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