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American Psychological Association Announced Committee To Review Position On Ex-Gay Therapy

Daniel Gonzales

May 22nd, 2007

Given how Focus on the Family bungled initially “reporting” on the APA’s announcement of the nomination process I can’t wait to see “coverage” of how committee members were finally selected.  Here’s how committee members were actually selected:

Task Force members were selected after an open nominations process. All nominations were reviewed by the APA Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns (CLGBTC) which forwarded the complete list of nominations and a suggested slate of nominees to the APA Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest (BAPPI) for review.  The CLGBTC and BAPPI recommendations as well as the full list of nominations were then sent to the APA President who made the final appointments to the task force in consultation with the APA Board of Directors.

Here’s the list of committee members, all of whom appear to be gay-affirming:

 Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD – Dr. Glassgold is a clinician, researcher and visiting faculty at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University. She sits on the editorial boards of Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy, Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy and PsycCritiques. Much of her work focuses on ethical issues in psychotherapy including the interplay of psychology and religion. Dr. Glassgold will serve as the Task Force Chairperson.

Lee Beckstead, PhD – Dr. Beckstead is a counseling psychologist who has focused his research and clinical work on helping gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people with strong religious affiliations. He works full-time in private practice and is a staff associate in the University of Utah’s Counseling Center.

Jack Drescher, MD – Dr. Drescher is a psychiatrist in clinical practice. His academic appointments include that of Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor in the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New York Medical College. He also serves as the editor of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy.

Beverly Greene, PhD – Dr. Greene is a Professor of Psychology at St. John’s University and a practicing clinical psychologist. She has published extensively in the psychological literature on multi-minority identities and the interplay between multiple identity status, coping with social marginalization and psychotherapy. She was a founding co-editor of the APA Division 44 series Psychological Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Issues.

Robin Lin Miller, PhD – Dr. Miller is a community psychologist and an associate professor at Michigan State University. She is currently the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Evaluation. She was appointed to the Task Force to provide specific expertise in research and evaluation methods.

Roger L. Worthington, PhD – Dr. Worthington is the interim Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Missouri-Columbia and an Associate Professor in the university’s Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology. Dr. Worthington is on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education and on the editorial board of the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. His research interests include multicultural counseling, heterosexual identity, sexual prejudice, and lesbian, gay and bisexual issues.

I can’t wait to see Focus get it’s panties in a bind over this.

Comments

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Timothy Kincaid
May 22nd, 2007 | LINK

While Lee Beckstead is properly classified as gay-affirming, he does advocate values based therapy similar to Warren Throckmorton. Beckstead has discussed in the past the benefits to some same-sex attracted persons of persuing a life consistent with their values. And while he has not seen any change in orientation in his research, he advocates for a therapy that is beneficial to those who seek to remain married while recognizing their same-sex attracion.

In other words, Beckstead is not an enemy of those who seek values based therapy – though he is critical of the traditional reorientation methods.

Liadan
May 22nd, 2007 | LINK

Focus on the Family will not be getting its panties in a bind, because Focus does NOT wear panties, and CERTAINLY would not employ them as bondage paraphernalia even if– IF!– it did. Focus wears properly fitting white cotton briefs, like any normal, red-blooded, thoroughly heterosexual, masculine, macho, manly family values organization, as God intended.

Concerned Women for America might be a different story.

Andy
May 22nd, 2007 | LINK

Concerned Women for America might be a different story.

Matt Barber always seems to have his panties in a bunch.

Also, it has occurred to me that groups like Focus on the Family will always accuse the members of these sorts of panels of being “gay activists.” People who have actually been involved with GLBT issues and done real research aren’t going to meet FotF’s standards for bigotry because, as we see over and over again, people who actually know gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered people tend to be supportive and accepting.

In a way, Focus’s perspective is self-reinforcing, since the only “gay” people they would hire is someone who says they’re ex-gay, they’ll continue to keep healthy and happy GLBT people out of their organization, and therefore continue to see them as “outsiders” and have no qualms with disparaging them at every turn.

Linda
May 17th, 2008 | LINK

I was very disappointmented with the APA’s appointments to the Committee To Review the APA’s Position On Ex-Gay Therapy. This should have been a much broader based committee. It seems very biased already. One can almost predict the final findings of this committee.
Not enough scientific research has been done to really come up with a definitive answer on this question.

Every one is ignoring the most important element. The individual who without any outside pressures desires to change their sexual orientation to heterosexual.I feel you have to take into consideration the actual desire of the individual to wants the help in his or her choice to change. The APA is ignoring their need. I feel the APA needs to address this issue.

Jason D
May 18th, 2008 | LINK

“Every one is ignoring the most important element. The individual who without any outside pressures desires to change their sexual orientation to heterosexual.”

I don’t truly believe such a person exists. Linda we don’t live in a vaccum, there is no area of the country that does not have sort of opinion, pro or con on the issue of homosexuality.

Come on now, we all know there is the perception that things would just be so much easier for ANY gay person if they were straight. And I think YOU’RE ignoring how that pervasive that perception is. Anyone who is motivated to “change” doesn’t arrive at that point in a vacuum.

“I feel you have to take into consideration the actual desire of the individual to wants the help in his or her choice to change. The APA is ignoring their need. I feel the APA needs to address this issue.”

I don’t think they do, as patient desire is a bad area to get wrapped up in. There are patients out there, I’m sure, who wish they weren’t 4’5″ tall, but no amount of therapy is going to make them 6′ tall. It is far easier, and far healthier for the patient to accept themselves for who they are, and integrate that into their life and value system than it is to change who they are to fit their values. Am I the only one who gets this? People change religions every day, why does no one think it makes more sense to change the thing that absolutely, unambiguously, obviously CAN be changed. Despite countless studies, many of them reviewed here, there has been nothing that shows that anyone has ever actually changed their sexual orientation — only their reaction to it.

Timothy Kincaid
May 18th, 2008 | LINK

Linda,

The question is not just whether such a person exists. I suspect there are plenty of persons who want to change their orientation for whatever reason.

The real question, Linda, is whether this change is possible or likely, and whether there is anything that a therapist can do to assist.

So far we have not identified any therapy that assists in changing sexual orientation. Those efforts that have been assessed come up short. For example, the Jones and Yarhouse study revealed that little if any change in sexual attraction resulted from a study of very determined persons.

If, Linda, a therapist cannot assist in changing orientation, is it ethical to present therapy as though it can? Would not better therapy be a way to come to some reconciliation between their sexual attractions and their values and wants?

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