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In 2003, Robert Spitzer, while at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, published a paper in Archives of Sexual Behavior concluding that "reparative" therapy – which can include aversive conditioning and spiritual intervention – could change sexual orientation.
Position statements of the major mental health organizations in the United States state that there is no scientific evidence that a homosexual sexual orientation can be changed by psychotherapy, often referred to as "reparative therapy." This study tested the hypothesis that some individuals whose sexual orientation is predominantly homosexual can, with some form of reparative therapy, become predominantly heterosexual. The participants were 200 self-selected individuals (143 males, 57 females) who reported at least some minimal change from homosexual to heterosexual orientation that lasted at least 5 years. They were interviewed by telephone, using a structured interview that assessed same sex attraction, fantasy, yearning, and overt homosexual behavior. On all measures, the year prior to the therapy was compared to the year before the interview. The majority of participants gave reports of change from a predominantly or exclusively homosexual orientation before therapy to a predominantly or exclusively heterosexual orientation in the past year. Reports of complete change were uncommon. Female participants reported significantly more change than did male participants. Either some gay men and lesbians, following reparative therapy, actually change their predominantly homosexual orientation to a predominantly heterosexual orientation or some gay men and women construct elaborate self-deceptive narratives (or even lie) in which they claim to have changed their sexual orientation, or both. For many reasons, it is concluded that the participants' self-reports were, by-and-large, credible and that few elaborated self-deceptive narratives or lied. Thus, there is evidence that change in sexual orientation following some form of reparative therapy does occur in some gay men and lesbians.
In a letter published in the same journal this week, Spitzer speaks of the "fatal flaw" in his study: the impossibility of telling whether his interviewees had genuinely changed sexual orientation.
"I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy," he writes.
Originally posted by smyleegrl
Obviously flawed study, but that's not the most interesting news here.
Why is the doctor admitting to the flaws NOW?
I wonder if perhaps a family member or close friend (or even himself) has announced their homosexuality. That would be an interesting twist.
Or perhaps he simply realized the flaw and is genuinely apologetic. If so, kudos to have the nerve to admit it.