The Trauma of Conversion Therapy Hasn't Ended

People subjected to conversion therapy in their youth suffer years of trauma.  In a story published in the Daily Beast, judges in Florida decided that banning conversion therapy violates freedom of speech for therapists.  Conversion therapy, which may be disguised by using other names such as "sexual orientation change efforts" (SOCE), has been banned by 107 state laws.  Survivors of conversion therapy have frequently reported that their experiences scarred them, leaving them anxious, depressed, angry, hopeless, and questioning their faith tradition if they had one. 

APA President Sandra L. Shullman, PhD, in response to the ruling, stated, “The conclusion that talk therapy is merely a viewpoint expression denigrates psychotherapy and ignores the fact that licensed practicing psychologists base their professional activities on scientific evidence,” Shullman said. “This ruling is wrong-headed and may well result in harm to patients, especially minors who are often subjected to this type of therapy against their will.”

It is the responsibility of all therapists to understand how to foster mental, emotional, and sexual health in people identified as sexual and gender minorities (S/GM).  Even therapists who work within faith-based agencies that LGBTQ+ people may not frequent may interact with clients who have relatives--sons and daughters--who come out as gay. 

An article entitled "Therapists Helpful and Unhelpful Situations with LGBT Clients: An Exploratory Study" offers useful suggestions for practicing ethically with S/GM clients and is available here.
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