Part of the chorus of dissent bringing down the recent APA symposium was an April 24 article in the Gay City News, called “Junk Science on Stage.” In that article, some false claims were made about sexual identity therapy and my work. I addessed themhere on the blog recently.
Generally, “junk science” is a phrase used by advocates when they want to discredit views with which they disagree. The tobacco industry used the term to describe the research on second hand smoke and generally the term is little more than an ad hominem attack. Such was the case in the GCN report.
So I am glad that Paul Schindler, editor of GCN and author of the article in question, allowed me to make the record clear about the SIT framework. At the end of the letter, he acknowledges the error.
UNDERSTANDING SEXUAL IDENTITY THERAPY
To the Editor:
In “Junk Science on Stage” (by Paul Schindler, Apr. 24-30), a claim was made about the Sexual Identity Therapy framework. The SIT framework was to be presented at the cancelled May 5 American Psychiatric Association symposium on religion, therapy, and homosexuality.
Gay City News described SIT this way: “‘Sexual Identity Therapy,’ which [Throckmorton] says he has successfully applied to help patients ‘alter homosexual feelings or behaviors’ and live their lives ‘heterosexually’ with ‘only very few weak instances of homosexual attraction.'”
This is false. The article attributes to me claims about SIT I have never made. In fact, the SIT framework says this: “Prior to outlining the recommendations, let us define what they are not. They are not sexual reorientation therapy protocols in disguise.”
The SIT framework, first contemplated formally in 2005, does not provide any means to do what the Gay City article references – “alter homosexual feelings…” etc. These quotes are taken out of context from a 1999 speech. Putting these phrases in quotes makes it appear that I was interviewed for the article and quoted in reference to SIT, which is not true.
Endorsed by Robert Spitzer, the former editor of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and former American Psychological Association president Nicholas Cummings, the SIT framework provides guidance for therapists who work with clients experiencing sexual identity conflicts but does not prescribe beliefs about homosexuality or religion. The SIT framework specifically discourages several practices conducted by reparative therapists and so it is disappointing that the Gay City News wrongly suggested that my presentation would somehow support their work.
Warren Throckmorton, PhD
EDITOR’S NOTE: Paul Schindler acknowledges Dr. Warren Throckmorton’s advisory that he made the statements about the results of his therapeutic work, quoted in Schindler’s article, prior to the development of his Sexual Identity Therapy framework.
Note my statement about reparative therapy. You cannot be in compliance with the SIT framework and tell clients that you (the therapist) know why people are homosexual. Explaining a theory and helping clients find themselves in it is not the way we believe this work should be done. We likewise do not promote a view of same-sex attraction that views it as a disorder to be cured or grow out of. The GCN article created a false picture of what the symposium would discuss and falsely attacked me for trying to promote views I do not hold.