Conversion Therapy and Pseudoscience

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When I Googled "list of topics characterized as pseudoscience" a large list came up ranging from Astrology to Feng Shui. One of these topics, conversion therapy, really interested me. According to the American Psychological Association, conversion therapy is a type of therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation. Conversion therapy's practices are based on the assumption that homosexuality is a mental condition. Through various techniques, such as electric shock to the hands and genitals, administration of nausea- inducing drugs in conjunction with homoerotic stimulation, social skills training, prayer, and group support, patients attempt to rid themselves of their homosexual attractions. Although this is practiced throughout many religious organizations, medical professionals and scientists agree that conversion therapy is virtually useless as well as potentially harmful. It is now considered pseudoscientific by most. According to a column written by Damon Suden, "The potential risks of 'conversion therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient."

The idea that conversion therapy is a pseudoscience is strengthened by the fact that it is very reliant on anecdotal claims, lacks review and replication, and does not connect to other research. For example, it is widely accepted that homosexuality is not a mental condition and cannot be scientifically proven to be one.


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This page contains a single entry by kehne004 published on September 30, 2011 7:50 PM.

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