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How Politics Guides Psychological Policy2 min read

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destructive_trends_in_mental_healthJust came across this post which reviews the new book, Destructive Trends In Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm.  The authors argue that, rather than being guided by science, groups like the APA are being guided by political pressures, among other things.  And while not from the conservative right, they seem to want to protect psychology from the undue political pressures, mostly from the left.  Here are some interesting quotes on my favorite subject, gay recovery therapy:

“In the current climate, it is inevitable that conflict arises among the various subgroups in the marketplace. For example, gay groups within the APA [American Psychological Association] have repeatedly tried to persuade the association to adopt ethical standards that prohibit therapists from offering psychotherapeutic services designed to ameliorate “gayness” on the basis that such efforts are unsuccessful and harmful to the consumer. Psychologists who do not agree are termed homophobic. Such efforts are especially troubling because they abrogate the patient’s right to therapist and determine therapeutic goals. They also deny the reality of data demonstrating that psychotherapy can be effective in changing sexual preferences in patients who have a desire to do so.” (From the introduction, page xxx, emphasis added).

“Although the APA is reluctant or unable to evaluate questionable practices and has thus avoided addressing the issue of best practices, this did not prevent its Council of Representatives in 2002 from stampeding into a motion to declare the treatment of homosexuality unethical. This was done with the intent of perpetuating homosexuality, even when the homosexual patient willingly and even eagerly seeks treatment…Vigorously pushed by the gay lobby, it was eventually seen by a sufficient number of Council members as runaway political correctness and was defeated by the narrowest of margins…Although the resolution was narrowly defeated, this has not stopped its proponents from deriding colleagues who provide such treatment to patients seeking it.” (From Chapter One, by Nick Cummings and William O’Donohue, pp. 17-18).

Be sure to read the entire review at