Developed as a helpful tool for people attracted by individuals of their own gender that want to overcome their condition, the gay conversion therapy rapidly became a very controversial type of “treatment.”
The main reproaches it attracted referred to homosexuality not being a disease, therefore not needing to be treated, Live Science reports.
Psychologists say the therapy won't do the “patients” any good, but rather harm them, increasing their sense of social maladjustment.
There are several things scientists say we definitely need to know before making judgments about what the gay therapy is, how it works or whether it is useful or not.
The first of them refers to the problem's position in the courts. There are two principal trials initiated about the conversion therapy: one of them in New Jersey and the other in California.
While in the first case, the therapy is blamed by former patients as totally inefficient, very expensive and emotionally harmful, the second case presents the banning of the therapy for minors as a violation of human freedom.
The second thing to know is exactly how the general mechanism of the therapy works. The therapy is not a mainstream psychological one, and at its beginnings there were harsh practices involved, such as shocking patients or having them take nausea-inducing drugs.
Other methods imply talk therapy, psychoanalysis, or estrogen treatment to lower men's libido. In time, patients have issued strong complaints about most of the therapy's methods.
The third thing to know is the reason that makes psychologists say the therapy doesn't work. They say that homosexuality is not a mental dysfunction and that society's pressure is what really makes gay ill.
As for the origins of such a therapy, the next thing to know is that they go way back to 1920s, when a lesbian's father asked Sigmund Freud to cure her daughter. In response, Freud declared the thing was not only very difficult, but also not recommended, since it “is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation; it cannot be classified as an illness.”
The last thing refers to a study that shows the given therapy does work, and which is the single major support in the pro-therapy people's work.
A paper written in 2003 by psychiatrist Robert Spitzer reports his interviews with conversion therapy patients, suggesting the thing is possible.
However, after further research, Spitzer came to agree with his numerous critics and deny his previous affirmations.
“I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy,” Spitzer declared.