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Professional care for unwanted same-sex attraction: What does the research say?

Research paper by Philip M PM Sutton

Indexed on: 22 Mar '16Published on: 22 Mar '16Published in: The Linacre quarterly



Abstract

In recent years, national and international medical and mental-health associations typically have emphasized the potential harmfulness of professional care for unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA or homosexuality) and behavior. State legislatures in the US and legislative bodies in other countries either have passed or are considering passing laws which would penalize professionals who provide professional care for unwanted SSA-to minors and/or adults-including the loss of the license to practice. This paper was written as a response to the present situation in the UK. The paper reviews the universal ethics of all medical and mental-health professionals to avoid harm and do good (non-maleficence/non-malfeasance and beneficence); discusses the documented potential for harm when using every mental-health treatment for every presenting problem; clarifies steps taken by the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity (Alliance), its clinical and research divisions, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality Institute (NARTH Institute) and its international division, the International Federation for Therapeutic Choice (IFTC), to promote ethical professional care for unwanted SSA; clarifies the injustice and presumed ideological biases of the medical and mental-health associations' warning about the potential for harm for psychotherapy only for unwanted SSA and not all psychotherapy approaches; and documents that the research purporting to show this harmfulness, in the research authors own words, does not do so. Recommendations to promote scientific integrity in the conduct and reporting of relevant research are offered. Lay Summary: There has been a lot of controversy about the potential harmfulness of professional care for unwanted same-sex attraction and behavior (SSA or homosexuality). This paper reviews the ethics of all medical and mental health professionals to avoid harm and do good; discusses the known potential for harm when using any mental health treatment for any problem; clarifies steps taken to promote ethical professional care for unwanted SSA; notes the injustice and possible biases of those who warn about the potential for harm of psychotherapy for unwanted SSA; and documents that the research said to show this harmfulness, in the research authors own words, does not do so.