Conservapedia:Reparative Therapy of Homosexuality

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Quotemines-R-Us: A point-by-point analysis of the Conservapedia article on "Reparative Therapy".[edit]

See reparative therapy for our main page on this issue.

This article concerns a subsection of the Conservapedia

Conservlogo late april.png
For those living in an alternate reality, Conservapedia has an "article" about Reparative Therapy of Homosexuality

article as it existed circa July 2007,[1] and discusses psychotherapy aimed at "curing" homosexuality.

Text of section at Conservapedia

RationalWiki Response


Reparative therapy is a technique of trying to talk people out of homosexuality (see psychotherapy).


This statement appears to be true, but let us emphasize that trying part. Reparative therapy has no recognition as a legitimate psychiatric technique from any medical authority.


Dr. Nicolosi argues that, at its root, homosexuality is not a sexual problem – it is a gender-identity problem. Normal stages of emotional development have been interrupted, and this can lead to same sex bonding in order to attain affirmation. These relationships tend to implode, leaving the homosexual hurt and confused. Furthermore, Nicolosi claims that there is no such thing as a homosexual, but only heterosexuals that have a homosexual problem. This may sound like splitting hairs, but it actually opens the door for the dissatisfied homosexual oriented person to change, because such people can begin viewing themselves as fundamentally heterosexual. This approach has had a great deal of success. [1]


First, "Dr. Nicolosi" refers to Joseph Nicolosi,Wikipedia Ph.D., author of Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A Clinical Approach[2] This book was excerpted on the website of "NARTH", the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, which pretty clearly has a dog in this particular fight.[3] Among the rave reviews offered, Elaine Siegel, Ph.D. gets to give two "votes". Classy.

Second, Nicolosi, far from denying that homosexuality exists, says that "each individual falls somewhere along the heterosexual-homosexual continuum, possibly moving from one direction to the other during different life stages." Interestingly, this surprisingly Kinseyan concept seems to actually require the existence of bisexuality (at least as a transitional state or a general term for those who don't exist right at either end of the spectrum), something which CP vehemently denies, and has in fact deleted the page on it following some rather heated exchanges. Further, the fact that this concept mirrors Kinsey's 1-6 scale so closely is worth noting, given CP's assessment of Kinsey's work as worthless and little more than pornography.

"These relationships tend to implode" implies as well that this is somehow unique to the homosexual community. Given that about 40%-50% of all heterosexual marriages in the United States[4] end in divorce, one might conclude that implosion of relationships is an American thing, not a gay thing.


Despite research in the 1960s by psychologists like Martin Seligman and Charles Socarides, the Stonewall riots prompted the APA to de-classify homosexuality as a mental disorder. Gay rights supporters sometimes cite this declassification as proof that homosexuality is normal, but it was based on a vote — not on scientific reasoning or scientific evidence.


In fact, there is no evidence that the Stonewall Riots and the APA declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder are directly related. The declassification occurred for a variety of complex reasons, including the activity of the nascent gay rights movement. Also, the APA continues to recognize a more nuanced evaluation of sexual orientation. "Ego-dystonic" sexual urges (meaning, sexual attraction that causes distress) is considered an explicit disorder in an old edition of the DSM (DSM-III), and is addressed in the current edition under "Sexual Disorders, NOS" (Not Otherwise Specified).

The passage also implies that Seligman's research suggests that homosexuality is a mental disorder, which is misleading at best. In brief, Seligman initially found that about 50% of a sample of gay men stopped acting on homosexual urges after being treated with aversion therapy. In fact, as Seligman himself later discussed, it later became clear that most of the men who had stopped were best classified as bisexual, and that a much smaller proportion of the gay men in the sample stopped "acting on" these urges.[5]


The APA says that it opposes reparative therapy because (1) the therapy is influenced by those opposed to the gay rights agenda; (2) there is no proof that the therapy works, and just anecdotal reports of cures and psychological harm; and (3) the therapy stigmatizes homosexuality. The APA favors more research on the benefits and risks of reparative therapy.[2]


This is a bit of a quote mine. The actual statement,[6][7] which I encourage you to read, takes a decidedly negative tone that reparative therapy is unproven. It does say that more research into possible harms or benefits is needed. It does say that "a therapist should not determine the goal of treatment either coercively or through subtle influence…" and that the "…APA recommends that ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals' sexual orientation, keeping in mind the medical dictum to first, do no harm."[7]


  1. Homosexuality Conservapedia (archived copy from July 17, 2007).
  2. Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A Clinical Approach by Joseph Nicolosi (1991). Jason Aronson. ISBN 0765701421.
  3. Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality NARTH Institute (archived copy from 4 Jan 2013 08:18:02 UTC).
  4. Marriage & divorce American Psychological Association
  5. What You Can Change and What You Can't: The Complete Guide to Self-Improvement by Martin E. P. Seligman (1993). Knopf. ISBN 0679410244.
  6. Reparative Therapy: Statements By Professional Associations And Their Leaders
  7. 7.0 7.1 COPP Position Statement on Therapies Focused on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation (Reparative or Conversion Therapies) American Psychological Association (archived copy from 23 Feb 2013 19:04:46 UTC).