Ethics

Davison, G. C. (1978). Not can but ought: The treatment of homosexuality. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 46,170-172.
Responds to E. T. Sturgis and H. E. Adams's critique of the present author's proposals to terminate change-of-orientation programs for homosexuals. The author notes that his earlier proposals rest on moral not empirical grounds, and suggests that arguments based on whether therapists can or cannot alter sexual preferences are irrelevent. Therapists, moreover, have no abstract responsibility to accede to requests from clients for certain types of treatment; they work within a host of personal, conceptual, and even legal constraints. It is suggested that (a) therapists are characterized better as secular priests than as professionals applying ethically neutral techniques, (b) therapists should attend to large-scale social and political factors in their clients' lives as conscientiously as they attend to intrapsychic and interpersonal variables, and (c) their students should study philosophy and politics as well as learning theory and research design. To urge that therapists desist from sex reorientation programs is not tantamount to exhorting them not to see homosexuals in therapy; indeed, renouncing these widely used programs can help professionals focus on the problems homosexuals (and others) have, rather than on the so-called problem of homosexuality.

Garnets, L., Hancock, K. A., Cochran, S. D., Goodchilds, J., & Peplau, L. A. (1991). Issues in psychotherapy with lesbians and gay men: A survey of psychologists. American Psychologist, 46, 964-972.
In 1984, a task force of the American Psychological Association (APA) Committee on Lesbian and Gay Concerns was charged with investigating bias in psychotherapy with lesbians and gay men. The task force surveyed a large and diverse sample of psychologists (2,544 of whom completed a questionnaire) to elicit information about specific instances of respondent-defined biased and sensitive psychotherapy practice. Open-ended responses were used to separately identify major themes of biased and sensitive practice and to illustrate each with concrete examples. Results suggest that psychologists vary widely in their adherence to a standard of unbiased practice with gay men and lesbians. To bring individual practice into accord with APA policy will require continued and expanded efforts to educate practitioners about sexual orientation.

Haldeman, D. C. (2002). Gay rights, patient rights: The implications of sexual orientation conversion therapy. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33, 260–264.
Therapies designed to change sexual orientation have come under increasing scrutiny from the profession and the public. The proposition that sexual orientation can be changed therapeutically is widely questioned, and there is concern that such therapies reinforce social devaluation of homosexuality and bisexuality. At the same time, conservative religious individuals wish to seek treatment appropriate to them, which may include attempting to change or control sexual orientation. The ethical questions and clinical and social implications of this complex issue are discussed. Guidance to practitioners interested in this issue is offered, including references to policies of the American Psychological Association.

Schneider, M.S., Brown, L. S., & Glassgold, J. M. (2002). Implementing the resolution on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation: A guide for the perplexed. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33, 265–276.
This article provides background information and concrete examples to assist practitioners in the implementation of the American Psychological Association's Resolution on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation. It provides some general information about psychosocial aspects of lesbian, gay, or bisexual identities. It examines the issues surrounding the assertion that sexual orientation can be changed and the implications for practice. Vignettes, based on actual case studies, are used to illustrate how practitioners might respond appropriately to clients who are struggling with issues surrounding their sexual orientation.

Shidlo, A., & Schroeder, M. (2002). Changing sexual orientation: A consumers' report. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33, 249–259.
What motivates individuals to pursue conversion therapy and ex-gay groups? How do they perceive its harmfulness and helpfulness? In this study, 202 consumers of sexual orientation conversion interventions were interviewed to answer these questions. The results indicated that a majority failed to change sexual orientation, and many reported that they associated harm with conversion interventions. A minority reported feeling helped, although not necessarily with their original goal of changing sexual orientation. A developmental model that describes the various pathways of individuals who attempt to change their sexual orientation is presented.

Sobocinski, M. R. (1990). Ethical principles in the counseling of gay and lesbian adolescents: Issues of autonomy, competence, and confidentiality. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 21, 240-247.
Ethical dilemmas in counseling gay and lesbian adolescents are analyzed according to underlying ethical principles. Developmental issues and their relevance to therapy are emphasized. Conflicts among client autonomy, claims of paternalism, and limits of confidentiality are examined. Competence to enter therapy for issues of sexual identity is assessed. The author concludes that adolescents are generally competent to explore issues of sexual identity.

 

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AFFIRM Network, c/o Marvin Goldfried | Psychology Department, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794-2500 | marvin.goldfried @stonybrook.edu