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Another Researcher Denounces Nicolosi’s Misuse of Research

Jim Burroway

February 15th, 2013

BTB reader Jack Flanagan is freelance writer living in London, who writes about LGBT issues from a psychological and clinical perspective, and also on classical music and the London scene. He is voluntary press officer for the UK Gender and Sexual Diversity organisation Pink Therapy. A few weeks ago, he contacted me  with the news that another researcher had learned that NARTH founder Joseph Nicolosi was misusing his research in a recent book. In this guest post, Flanagan describes what he learned since then.

Reparative therapy advocate and founder of NARTH (National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality), Joseph Nicolosi, has made false claims that well-respected scientists are on his side, supporting the idea that homosexuality is a disorder.

The mistake was discovered in late 2012 by therapist, Dominic Davies, of the UK sexual and gender diversity organization Pink Therapy. He was alarmed to find Allan Schore’s named referenced in Nicolosi’s book, Shame and Attachment Loss: The Practical Work of Reparative Therapy. Within the book, Nicolosi states “I would also like to express my deep gratitude for the assistance of Alan Schore, Ph.D.”, and references Schore throughout the book.

In response to an email, Schore replied that he was “disturbed” by Nicolosi’s incorrect interpretation of the research, and there is “no neuropsychological research” that justifies the book, or what Nicolosi is doing.

Dr. Allan Schore

“All kinds of people are using my work for various reasons, including bolstering their own theories, and there is nothing I can do about that. In the pages you sent Nicolosi is grafting my shame and attachment models on to gender identity disorders, something I have never even written about.”

In a press release (PDF: 117KB/2 pages) from Pink Therapy, Dominic Davies said “This is a most odious cosying up by Nicolosi, who has sunk to new depths in distorting the work of one of the world’s most respected neuropsychologists in furthering NARTH’s agenda to pathologise gay people and it’s attempt to cure them. It is important to Pink Therapy to clear the name of Dr Schore, whose work may have been contaminated by this erroneous assertion.”

This is the latest in a series of attempts Nicolosi and his associates have made to justify Reparative therapy, or in the insistence that homosexuality is a disease. Lisa Diamond, who appeared on the Respect my Research website, also saw her research in sexual fluidity entirely corrupted in order to insist that homosexuality was in some way pathological (despite her best attempts to prevent it).

Schore also responded that he didn’t consider the book an issue, given that it was unlikely to sell. However, the danger of research like this is that it may convince people who are not scientifically literate that there is research that suggest being gay is ‘wrong’. In fact, informal reviews of the book (for example, on Amazon) are in many places written by earnest teenagers desperate to change their sexuality. Books like these, and the work of Nicolosi, convince them that that is, not only a option, but is recommended.

There is no major psychological institution in the world that considers homosexuality to be a disorder: the APA and the main British psychological institutions openly oppose reparative therapy (although this has been a development as recent as January, for the British Psychological Society). Despite this strong insistence that homosexuality is not a disorder, however, many clinicians will offer to treat or refer patients who want to change their sexuality.

So while it’s true that, mostly, Nicolosi’s new book and tainted research will fly under the radar, it shouldn’t be allowed to do so unmolested. What should be made clear to clinicians, parents and children, is what the science says: there is nothing wrong with homosexuals.

Update by Jim B.: Dr. Allan Schore is on the clinical faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, and at the UCLA Center for Culture, Brain, and Development. He is the author of Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self, which was first published in 1994 and is now in its eleventh printing. He also wrote Affect Dysregulation and Disorders of the Self and Affect Regulation and the Repair of the Self, a two-volume set published in 2003. He is also either a reviewer or on the editorial staff of twenty-seven journals.



F Young
February 15th, 2013 | LINK

This is the correct link to the Pink Therapy news release:

February 15th, 2013 | LINK

Not only do no major scientific organizations consider homosexuality a disorder, there has never been AFAIK a documented case of sexual orientation change. By that I mean documentation of a physiological change as a result of “change therapy.”

Priya Lynn
February 15th, 2013 | LINK

Mr. Schore’s first name is spelled “Allan”, not “Alan” – Nicolosi misspelled it in his book.

Jim Burroway
February 15th, 2013 | LINK

I’ve corrected the spelling and added some additional biographical information.

Regan DuCasse
February 15th, 2013 | LINK

Is ANY of this ILLEGAL? Nicolosi and his cohorts go all over the world. It’s understandable if laws of plagiarism or misrepresentation of legitimate and established information are different in different countries.
But Nicolosi uses all of this to frighten vulnerable people into ill advised, unsupported and UNNECESSARY therapy.
Which is exclusively aimed at homosexuality, right?
James Dobson, who published an article in TIME magazine, did the same thing with the work of psychological researchers on the subject of researchers.
They were unaware that he’d distorted their work.
Once they found out, and put out cease and desist and demanded retraction, Dobson refused. He ignored them outright.
TIME magazine at least should have put in some kind of disclaimer about that. Otherwise, aren’t they leaving themselves open to some kind of liability?
Nicolosi has ZERO credibility. He’s a liability to his own profession, and to vulnerable families that think he’s legitimate and can help them.

Regan DuCasse
February 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sorry, error: I meant that Dobson did this on the subject of homosexuality.

February 15th, 2013 | LINK

Nicolosi will lie about anything, anytime to save his cash cow and sinking ship NARTH. He is a blatant opportunist and a charlatan.

February 15th, 2013 | LINK

I shudder at the thought of seeing one more book by Nicolosi sold in the Psychology section of some of the biggest Bulgarian bookshop chains, in a very good translation.

I have no idea how much harm it can really do in my country, but deceiving even one gay teenager’s family is too much for me. We already have enough ignorance to struggle against without him.

February 16th, 2013 | LINK

The best way to expose the misuse of research is when researchers make YouTube videos. They are easy to watch and use for anybody in the press.

I wish Dr. Schore would make a YouTube video.

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