By Gudrun Schultz

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, August 29, 2006 ( –President of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Gerald P. Koocher, broke with the APA’s long-held stance against homosexual re-orientation therapy earlier this month, saying the organization would support psychological therapy for those experiencing unwanted homosexual attractions, the National Association for the Therapy and Treatment of Homosexuality (NARTH) reported.

Speaking with NARTH President Joseph Nicolosi at the APA’s annual convention in New Orleans, Dr. Koocher stated, “APA has no conflict with psychologists who help those distressed by unwanted homosexual attraction.” Dr. Koocher emphasized that so long as patient autonomy and choice were respected, the APA’s Code of Ethics would certainly encompass psychological treatment of those who wish to be free of homosexual attraction.

The APA has long been hostile toward the work of NARTH, saying attempts to alter the sexual inclinations of homosexual or lesbian persons amount to discrimination against homosexuality.

“This is a historic step for client autonomy and self-determination,” said NARTH psychologist Dr. Dean Byrd in the organization’s report. “Dr. Koocher’s statements were clear and unambiguous in support of the rights of those who are distressed by their unwanted homosexual attraction. In fact, the message conveyed by Dr. Koocher today is identical to NARTH’s mission statement. I hope that APA and NARTH can now begin a fruitful dialogue about this very important issue.”

Despite the groundbreaking statement by the APA’s president, there appears to be a lack of consensus among members on the organization’s official position on homosexual reversal therapy. Cybercast News Service reported today on a statement by an APA spokesperson who said the scientific validity of reparative therapy for homosexuals is unfounded and insupportable.

“The APA’s concern about the positions espoused by NARTH and so-called conversion therapy is that they are not supported by the science,” APA Public Affairs Manager Pamela Willenz wrote in response to questioning by CNS. “There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.”

Clinton Anderson, director of the APA Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns Office, told CNS there is “no evidence” that reparative therapies work, and said “they may in fact cause harm for many people.”

That “evidence” can be easily found, however, in the lives of those who have successfully undergone reparative or conversion therapies, said Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, to CNS. Exodus International is a coalition of Christian ministries that offer outreach to people with unwanted homosexual attraction.

“If they’ve done any kind of study that’s proven that reparative therapy [does not work] or that change isn’t possible, then they’ve obviously not interviewed those of us who have successfully overcome homosexuality.”

Chambers participated in a protest at the APA convention by ex-homosexuals and pro-family groups, seeking the APA’s recognition of the legitimacy of homosexual therapy.

The APA removed homosexuality from the list of recognized mental disorders (DSM) in 1973, a decision some suggest was motivated by pressure from homosexual advocacy groups without regard for accurate scientific research. See coverage:

See CNS coverage:
See previous LifeSiteNews coverage:

Ex-Gays Protest APA Claim that Homosexuality is Irreversible

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