APA Reiterates Strong Opposition to Conversion Therapy

Washington, D.C. – In the wake of recent popular entertainment portrayals of conversion therapy, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) today reiterates its long-standing opposition to the practice. APA made clear with its 1998 position statement that “APA opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as “reparative” or “conversion” therapy, that is based on the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or is based on the a priori assumption that the patient should change his or her homosexual orientation.”

APA expanded on that position with a statement in 2013: “The American Psychiatric Association does not believe that same-sex orientation should or needs to be changed, and efforts to do so represent a significant risk of harm by subjecting individuals to forms of treatment which have not been scientifically validated and by undermining self-esteem when sexual orientation fails to change. No credible evidence exists that any mental health intervention can reliably and safely change sexual orientation; nor, from a mental health perspective does sexual orientation need to be changed.”

Conversion therapy is banned in 14 states as well as the District of Columbia. The APA calls upon other lawmakers to ban the harmful and discriminatory practice.

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,800 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information please visit www.psychiatry.org.

Media Contacts

Glenn O'Neal, 202-459-9732
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Erin Connors, 202-609-7113
econnors@psych.org