A Case For Banning

Jim Burroway

January 12th, 2008

David Roberts at Ex-Gay Watch has posted something of a manifesto, “A Case for Banning Reparative Therapy.” That is leading to a very good, contentious conversation in the discussion thread.

I can understand how certain specific therapies can be banned (Richard Cohen’s “holding therapy” springs to mind), but I really don’t see how one can ban an attempt to change one’s sexual orientation through simple conversations. That’s what the vast majority of methods consist of: conversations taking place either in therapists offices, prayer groups, pastors living rooms, etc. If one were to attempt to ban all forms of conversion therapy, or even a specific form of therapy such as “reparative” therapy, how would one enforce it? By what mechanism would you impose a gag order on what cannot be talked about in talk therapies?

Nevertheless, David puts together a very strong and logically laid out case for banning it anyway. I don’t see how it could be done, but I do believe some sort of restraint is in order on the more extreme examples. What do you think? Read it and join the discussion.

Suricou Raven

January 15th, 2008

I have a different suggestion: Just make sure that anyone offering it is liable for any damage it may cause, and that its not possible for a anyone to sign away this protection. Sooner or later one of their ex-patients will sue. They have more failures than successes, and plenty of those failures will be very bitter.


January 15th, 2008

Radical suggestion that I’m not sure is even possible:

Make it part of accepted, licensed counselling practice.

Continue to make it clear that this is counselling, not treatment for mental illness, since homosexuality isn’t an illness.

Make it illegal for anyone unlicensed to do it, like surgery.

Make the malpractice rules VEEEEERY stringent, about who can be considered “candidates”, the amount of informed consent necessary, acceptable techniques (i.e. talk-therapy only), reporting of results, follow-up, etc etc.

Then, the practice will simply die on its own.

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