Following action by the Human Rights Campaign, Psychology Today has agreed to stop accepting ads from counselors who offer “ex-gay” therapy, also known as “conversion” or “reparative therapy.”
HRC wrote a letter to the publication’s management this week after discovering an online listing for a California practitioner who offers such therapy, which has been discredited as ineffective and harmful by all major mental health organizations.
In response, Psychology Today posted a statement on its website yesterday saying, “Psychology Today does not endorse or publish ads for reparative therapy in print, online or in professionals’ profiles. The Therapy Directory has removed the individual whose profile included a discussion of conversion therapy. We have informed all Directory professionals that those whose profiles offer conversion therapy will be delisted.”
HRC officials welcomed the move. “So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is a dangerous and discredited practice that puts vulnerable people, including children, at terrible risk,” said Fred Sainz, HRC vice president for communications and marketing, in a press release today. ”Not only is there no evidence that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression can be ‘cured,’ but research also shows that attempting to do so can lead to depression and even suicidal thoughts, particularly in young people.”
“Psychology Today’s decision to reject purveyors of such medically invalid practices is a welcome and much-needed step in the right direction,” Sainz added.
California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia have all barred licensed therapists from subjecting minors to the practice, and some other states are considering such legislation.