Do efforts to change sexual orientation (‘conversion therapy’) cause harm?

Feb 4, 2022 by

by Ian Paul, Psephizo:

The UK Government has been holding a consultation on the possibility of making illegal ‘conversion therapy’, a provocative term for what is more widely known (in the literature) as SOCE (sexual orientation change efforts), which ends tonight (4th February 2022). Because the term is poorly defined, and explicitly includes ‘talking therapies’ which could include pastoral conversation, several thousand Christian ministers from across churches and traditions have signed a letter to the Home Secretary which you can read here.

There have also been serious questions raised about the methodology involved in framing the questions in the consultation itself, for example issues around the definition of terms, the language used, and the research based, posed by Dr Vincent Harinam of the Cambridge Centre for Evidence-based Policing.

I was therefore very interested when I came across this new research evidence, published two days ago, on the overall harm of SOCE amongst those for whom it has not had the desired effect. The paper concluded:

Despite higher exposure to factors predicting behavioral harm—minority stress, childhood adversity, and lower socioeconomic background—sexual minority persons who had undergone failed SOCE therapy did not suffer higher psychological or social harm. Concerns to restrict or ban SOCE due to elevated harm are unfounded. Further study is needed to clarify the reasons for the absence of harm from SOCE.

Since this appears to be such a sharp contrast to anecdotal accounts of stress and harm from SOCE, I was grateful to be able to ask the author, Dr Paul Sullins, about his research.

Read here


Related Posts


Share This