Shrinks To Take on Reparative Therapy

There’s no shortage of criticism for reparative therapy: the so-called conversion therapy employed by ex-gayers in their efforts to cleanse the world of the homosexual scourge. While a number of psychologists have come out against the controversial treatment – the same treatment used on Ted Haggard – the American Psychological Association’s upping the ante by establishing a five-person task force to examine the method’s potentially hazardous repercussions.

Though the head-shrinking group’s yet to select members for this task force, they are considering including at least one person who claims to have been successfully transformed. One doctor, Grove City College’s Dr. Warren Throckmorton worries that if the APA comes out against reparative therapy, “homosexuals who are discontented with their lifestyle will have fewer options,” according to The Christian Post. Throckmorton tells them:

What we’re talking about is the right of clients who are unhappy with their feeling (of same-sex attraction). Those people have the right to seek therapy to help them live the way they want to live – the way they value.

Well, yes, they have the right to seek therapy, but do therapists have the right to pursue methods that have been called harmful and, even worse, ineffective? We think not…

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  • werdna

    Just to put in a word for Dr. Throckmorton, he’s actually a very reasonable and thoughtful fellow. His blog ( has fascinating discussions of issues around sexual orientation and psychology. Pace queerty’s insinuation, he doesn’t practice (or support) “reparative therapy” (read about it here: His concern about the APA panel has to do with the fact that the committee appears to have a political motivation rather than a purely scientific one. Frankly, I agree with his concern (generally) about science being (mis)used for political ends, we ignore data that challenges our assumptions at our own peril. In the case of this panel it’s too early to tell what exactly is up (the charge given in the call for nominations seems fine to me) but he’s raising what he feels are valid concerns.

    It’s taken me a while to get a handle on where Dr. Throckmorton is coming from (I thought he was a kook at first) but he’s a smart guy who’s interested in looking at facts seriously and critically. He’s not anti-gay (check out the materials here for instance) but at the same time he is interested in helping people who have same-sex attractions reconcile themselves with their religious beliefs. For some people this means ultimately not pursuing same-sex relationships. Yeah, those folks are kind of fucked up, but hey, why else would they be in therapy? I’m willing to believe that some people can successfully repress their sexual desires and that it may be what makes them happy in the long run. Sad crazy religious people, maybe, but real people nonetheless…

  • Wendy

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