The only psychologists practicing reparative therapy are, frankly, quacks. Like most competent scientists on earth, there’s industry-wide agreement that humans are causing global warming. And like most competent psychologists, there’s industry-wide agreement that sexuality is not a choice, and no amount of couch sitting or hand holding is going to get someone to change their orientation. So why are British shrinks — a full one in sex — trying to do it?
A study of more than 1,400 psychiatrists and therapists in BMC Psychiatry found that 222 (17 per cent) said they had treated at least one client to alter their homosexual feelings at some point. The researchers expected the cases to be concentrated in the past, but the 400 to 500 cases recorded were distributed evenly across the decades. “It is happening up to the present moment,” Professor King said. It might only be the “tip of the iceberg”.
Why such strong numbers? Not pressure from the psychiatric community, it seems, but clients who want those same-sex urges to stop.
Many therapists seemed uncomfortable with giving treatment, or admitting to it. When asked if they would attempt to change someone’s sexual orientation if requested, only one in 25 (4 per cent) said they would – far fewer than the one in six who reported actually doing so. Pressure from clients demanding help because of bullying or discrimination or family pressures may have pushed the therapists into delivering it, the professor said.