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NARTH Builds An Echo Chamber

Jim Burroway

May 1st, 2008

The April 2008 edition of the pay-to-publish vanity journal Psychological Reports features a new report from NARTH. Written by NARTH president A. Dean Byrd, past president Joseph Nicolosi, and Richard W. Potts, the report carries the unwieldy but self-descriptive title, “Clients perceptions of how reorientation therapy and self-help can promote changes in sexual orientation.” While the title describes what the authors meant to show — how clients describe the benefits of reparative therapy — the report itself actually illustrates something very different: the ex-gay movement’s ability to instill an almost robot-like parroting of ex-gay rhetoric among their clients.

In ordinary surveys in the real world, there are always respondents whose answers don’t fit the authors’ hypothesis. In Stanton and Jones’ recent ex-gay study for example, there were those who claimed to have changed and those who didn’t (i.e. the “failures”). Both were represented in the paper because that’s just how the real world works. Absolute and total conformity to any hypothesis is virtually impossible.

But NARTH doesn’t operate in the real world. Not one of the 142 responses in the 26-page article deviated even slightly from the NARTH party line. The only responses appearing in this paper fully supported NARTH’s therapeutic framework.

Perfect outcomes like this may be found in the world of politically repressive regimes where dictators win “elections” by near-unanimous votes. But it is absolutely unheard of in scientific literature. Did the authors discard the responses that didn’t fit their preconceived theories? Or was their echo chamber so fully sealed that no dissent could even enter?

You can read more about it in our latest report, “Repeat After Me”: The Reparative Therapy Echo Chamber.

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