Ultimate Conversion Therapy

One form of conversion therapy is being outlawed, while to even question the latter is to risk being professionally blacklisted.

One Comment for “Ultimate Conversion Therapy”

  1. posted by Jorge on

    Funny thing, the state also just passed a conversion therapy ban just days before the lawsuit, but it only applies to minors.

    David Schwartz has been a professional counselor for 40 years. He is also an Orthodox Jew who says some of his clients — also Orthodox Jews — have been helped by him to resist sexual desires they find incongruent with their faith.

    The city’s ban defines conversion therapy as “any services, offered or provided to consumers for a fee, that seek to change a person’s sexual orientation or seek to change a person’s gender identity to conform to the sex of such individual that was recorded at birth.”

    That doesn’t sound like conversion therapy to me at all.

    And anyway, what does “resist” mean in this context?

    Due to education and awareness, sexual harassment in the workplace has now become something that men and women are required not to do. If someone whom I have power over is hot, I must “resist” my sexual desires so that my conduct remains professional. And that is something I am very good at doing at work. But when I am not at work and I’m ruminating, it can take time for those thoughts to go away.

    This sort of channeling of ones sexual desires into appropriate social behavior does not sound like conversion therapy, but in practice it is hard to draw a line between the two. Men and women are still self-identifying sexual beings outside the workplace. Is the same true of an Orthodox Jewish gay man? Is he trying to suppress his sexual desires in all situations? Is that practice clinically wise? Unwise? Do we even know?

    This is the sort of question that needs to be resolved not through clinical research but through clinical practice–which are two slightly different things. Science does not create certainties so easily. There are exceptions, there are even whole rules that people do not initially conceive of. And that is why I think conversion therapy bans do a grave disservice to the gay community, even when they are done in our name.

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