Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cementing my Bias against Psychology...

The Associated Press reports that the American Psychological Association has declared that psychologists should not treat people afflicted with homosexual desires. Here's a gem of a sentence:

Instead of seeking such change, the APA urged therapists to consider multiple options — that could range from celibacy to switching churches — for helping clients live spiritually rewarding lives in instances where their sexual orientation and religious faith conflict. [more...]

Apparently, it is no longer the job of psychologists to treat mental disorders, but it is their job to entice people away from their religions. Changing your sexual desires? That's too hard, and it might even be harmful! Let's change your entire view of reality instead--that's easy!

I cannot easily imagine changing my religion to pursue a sexual perversion, or for that matter, even a sexual non-perversion. Anyone who changes his religion for such a reason cannot possibly take religion seriously. I shudder to think what my turn at the Last Judgment would look like:

Jesus: So, after a few years of prayer and study, you became Catholic because you arrived at the the conclusion that the Catholic Church was the Church I had founded and in which I still resided. But then, after three years as a Catholic, you suddenly became Mennonite. Care to explain that?

Me: Well, you see, Jesus, there were these babes--

Yeesh. Whatever comes after that can't be very pleasant.

The same article includes a mention of Alan Chambers, former (yes, former) homosexual and president of Exodus International, which successfully treats homosexuality. I have here somewhere, unfortunately packed in a box, a document, replete with citations, by a collection of Catholic psychologists who claim a review of the literature indicates not only that changing homosexuals is possible, but that psychologists who work in that field report a 30% success rate, which they consider high. It will be interesting in the near future to see how the two sides of this issue clash over each other's research. These paragraphs in the news article are telling:

Yarhouse and a colleague, Professor Stanton Jones of Wheaton College, will be releasing findings at the APA meeting Friday from their six-year study of people who went through Exodus programs. More than half of 61 subjects either converted to heterosexuality or "disidentified" with homosexuality while embracing chastity, their study said.

To Jones and Yarhouse, their findings prove change is possible for some people, and on average the attempt to change will not be harmful.

The APA [American Psychological Association] task force took as a starting point the belief that homosexuality is a normal variant of human sexuality, not a disorder, and that it nonetheless remains stigmatized in ways that can have negative consequences. [more...]

If that last, loaded sentence is accurate, the APA's report can hardly be considered the product of unbiased scientific research. It appears that the APA's real message to homosexuals is, sorry guys, it's just not fashionable to help you.

Meanwhile, you can read here that, as the American Psychiatric Association prepares the DSM-5 (that is the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), which will include a new, updated list of sexual deviations, the psychologists and psychiatrists involved find themselves in a conundrum: having, with their approval of sodomy and their outright advocacy of masturbation, divorced sexuality from decency and reason, they find they just don't know how to define "normal sex." Some are even suggesting all the paraphelias be removed from the DSM (note that the article makes a qualification of that, but frankly, I don't buy it). Though the advocates of perversion will probably lose that battle this time around, it must be hard to argue with them. Once you claim that sexual desire for a member of the same sex, with whom it is impossible to actually have sex, is normal, it becomes difficult to call anything else abnormal.
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