Nicholas Cummings
Former Therapist Claims Ex-Gay Therapy Worked for Hundreds

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com July 31 2013 1:41 PM ET

USA Today published an op-ed Tuesday defending ex-gay therapy, written by Nicholas Cummings, who provided so-called reparative therapy from 1959-1979 as the chief psychologist for Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco.

Cummings estimates that under his watch, he and his staff tended to 18,000 LGBT patients, most of whom came "to grips with their gay identity," through therapy. However, hundreds, he said, were able to learn how to curb homosexual instincts.

"The majority were able to attain a happier and more stable homosexual lifestyle," he wrote. "Of the patients I oversaw who sought to change their orientation, hundreds were successful. I believe that our rate of success with reorientation was relatively high because we were selective in recommending therapeutic change efforts only to those who identified themselves as highly motivated and were clinically assessed as having a high probability of success."

Cummings was also the president of the American Psychological Association from 1979-1980, only a few years after the APA declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder, a resolution he supported as a member.

Cummings specifically comes to the defense of JONAH International, an organization that provides ex-gay therapy using Jewish theology. That organization is currently being sued in New Jersey by the Southern Poverty Law Center under consumer fraud.

"Whatever the situation at an individual clinic," he wrote, "accusing professionals from across the country who provide treatment for fully informed persons seeking to change their sexual orientation of perpetrating a fraud serves only to stigmatize the professional and shame the patient."

As Media Matters points out, Cummings' view on ex-gay therapy is different from the APA, which has come out in strong opposition to the practice.