Gay Conversion Therapy Works, Says Christian Group Relying on Fake “Research” August 17, 2018

Gay Conversion Therapy Works, Says Christian Group Relying on Fake “Research”

The anti-gay Christian group Liberty Counsel made a surprising announcement yesterday: New research shows that conversion therapy is actually effective! (At the very least, it’s not harmful.)

Take that, victims who say it’s cruel and mainstream psychiatric groups who believe you can’t change your sexual orientation!

In this study, more than two-thirds of those who participated in group or professional help had significant heterosexual shifts in sexual attraction, sexual identity, and behavior, and moderate-to-marked decreases in suicidality, depression, substance abuse, and increases in social functioning and self-esteem. The study’s effectiveness rates for counseling people with unwanted same-sex attraction were comparable to the effectiveness rates of psychotherapy in general for any unwanted issue. Prevalence of help or hindrance, and effect size, were comparable with those for conventional psychotherapy for unrelated mental health issues…

This current research also strongly refutes claims the American Psychological Association and other organizations have made aimed at discouraging counsel to change unwanted same-sex attractions, behavior, and identity.

“This recent study by Santero, Whitehead and Ballesteros again confirms that people struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors or identity benefit significantly from professional counseling,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Every person should have access to the counsel of their choice. No government has the authority to prohibit a form of counseling simply because it does not like the religious or moral beliefs of a particular counselor or client,” said Staver.

Liberty Counsel loves this because they’ve fought against conversion therapy bans, currently in place in 14 states and counting. They believe gay people can turn straight, and this research suggests such therapy isn’t torture at all.

So… is there any truth to it? It’s strange, really, that Liberty Counsel never mentions where the research was published or what the researchers’ credentials are.

Good thing those questions are very easy to answer.

Where was the research published?

The Linacre Quarterly.

What is that? It’s the official journal of the Catholic Medical Association.

What is that? A makeshift society whose mission includes “steadfast fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church,” not fidelity to the facts. This is literally a journal for a religion that believes homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”

It’s biased. That’s what I’m saying. It’s not a publication that therapy professionals read to stay up to date on the latest research.

What are the researchers’ credentials?

We find out at the very end of the paper:

Dolores Ballesteros, PhD, is a retired educational academic at Southern California Seminary.” An educator at a seminary. Not a professional in the field of therapy.

Neil E. Whitehead, PhD, is a semi-retired earth scientist at Whitehead Associates.” An earth scientist! Not a professional in the field of therapy. He’s like an art student publishing a supposedly groundbreaking physics paper. Your first and only response should be “Huh?”

Paul L. Santero, PhD, is a therapist at Thomas Aquinas Clinic, Encino, California.” Okay, that’s something. Santero is a therapist. Maybe he actually knows something. But what is the Thomas Aquinas Clinic? Turns out it’s a tiny clinic founded by Joseph Nicolosi, the man who is literally known as the father of gay conversion therapy (and who died last year).

So let’s recap: This paper was written by three people, only one of whom works in the field, and even that guy worked for the man whose career was all about promoting gay conversion therapy.

Talk about a conflict of interest…

They even mention Nicolosi in the Acknowledgments:

We thankfully acknowledge the late Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, our main contact for all of the therapists/counselors who advertised the survey to individuals who had gone through therapy for their unwanted same sex attraction.

Wait a minute. So the participants for this research were all people who “wanted help with their unwanted same-sex attractions” That’s not a random sample. That’s a sampling of people who think you provide good service. It’s like a restaurant owner asking her regular customers to leave a review on Yelp — of course it’s going to be positive; that doesn’t mean everyone feels that way.

This is the equivalent of going to a fortune teller, chatting with her regular customers, then telling the world, “See? Psychics are effective because these people felt better after their session.”

It’s absolutely shoddy research that would never get published in a legitimate journal because it’s so flawed.

No wonder Liberty Counsel didn’t mention any of these details to their gullible followers. Even they know this is bullshit. But selling bullshit to Christians is what Mat Staver does best. [See: Davis, Kim.]

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Joseph for the link)

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