June 20, 2005
"Love In Action" Holds Damage Control Press Conference
As protests continued in front of the site of "Love In Action" over the
forced participation of unwilling gay teens, it's director, John Smid,
called a press conference designed to rebut criticisms that the program,
based on reparative therapy models widely discredited and opposed by
mental health care professionals, amounted to child abuse.
Smid presented only one staff health care professional, Steven Rice, who
appeared before reporters wearing a lab coat. Rice, an investigator with
Clinical Neuroscience Solutions, Inc. of Memphis lists among other
professional organizations, membership in the American Psychiatric
Association, a group which, in December of 1998, rejected reparative therapy
as ineffective and potentially destructive.
The APA statement said in part:
"The potential risks of 'reparative 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."
"Many patients who have undergone 'reparative therapy' relate that they were
inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never
achieve acceptance or satisfaction."
"The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying
interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are
alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization
"Therefore, the American Psychiatric Association opposes any psychiatric
treatment, such as 'reparative' or 'conversion' therapy which is based upon
the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon a
prior assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual
The protests began after a teenager named Zach posted desperate messages to
his blog, telling friends that after coming out to his parents, he was being
forced into the program. In one post, the teenager discussed thoughts of
Love In Action's involuntary teen program, called Refuge, lists as staff many
former clients who sought treatment for a variety of sexual, emotional and
substance abuse problems. Currently there are no laws regulating such
organizations, and no independent oversight of their treatment of minors.
Copyright © June 20, 2005 by Bruce Garrett
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