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J Med Regul. 2016;102(2):7-12.

The Growing Regulation of Conversion Therapy.

Author information

1
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, New York Medical College, and Adjunct Professor, New York University.
2
Supervisor of Psychotherapy, William Alanson White Institute, New York.
3
Medical Director of Admissions, Rockland Psychiatric Center-Office of Mental Health, and Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry, Columbia University.
4
Head, Adult Gender Identity Clinic, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and Assistant Professor, University of Toronto.
5
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar, David Geffen School of Medicine of the University of California, Los Angeles.
6
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry-Clinician/Educator Track, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York.
7
Clinical Director, Rockland Psychiatric Center-Office of Mental Health, and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
8
Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Faculty, New York Psychoanalytic Institute.
9
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Morehouse School of Medicine.
10
Medical Director, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic, Harlem Hospital, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University Department of Psychiatry.
11
Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College.
12
Interim Chair and Residency Training Director, Psychiatry, Maimonides Medical Center, and Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, New York Medical College.
13
Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
14
Associate Clinical Professor, University of California, Los Angeles.
15
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Abstract

Conversion therapies are any treatments, including individual talk therapy, behavioral (e.g. aversive stimuli), group therapy or milieu (e.g. "retreats or inpatient treatments" relying on all of the above methods) treatments, which attempt to change an individual's sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. However these practices have been repudiated by major mental health organizations because of increasing evidence that they are ineffective and may cause harm to patients and their families who fail to change. At present, California, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Washington, DC, and the Canadian Province of Ontario have passed legislation banning conversion therapy for minors and an increasing number of US States are considering similar bans. In April 2015, the Obama administration also called for a ban on conversion therapies for minors. The growing trend toward banning conversion therapies creates challenges for licensing boards and ethics committees, most of which are unfamiliar with the issues raised by complaints against conversion therapists. This paper reviews the history of conversion therapy practices as well as clinical, ethical and research issues they raise. With this information, state licensing boards, ethics committees and other regulatory bodies will be better able to adjudicate complaints from members of the public who have been exposed to conversion therapies.

KEYWORDS:

LGBT; conversion therapy; ethics; gay; homosexuality; legislative bans; lesbian; licensing; psychiatry; psychotherapy; reparative therapy; sexual orientation; sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE); state policies

PMID:
27754500
PMCID:
PMC5040471

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