What is Conversion Therapy?
Conversion Therapy refers to various methods to 'cure' or change a person's sexual orientation and/or sexual identity including:
- Reparative therapy
- "Ex-gay" programs or counseling
- Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE)
- Religious counseling
- Religious exorcism
- Aversion therapy
- Male or female affirmation programs
- Self-help books or programs
Conversion Therapy is targeted at persons who have a homosexual or bisexual sexual orientation, have non-heterosexual attractions, are transgender, or do not conform to gender stereotypes.
Conversion Therapy includes many methods often in combination:
- One-on-one counseling by licensed professionals or unlicensed laymen
- Group counseling and accountability groups
- Seminars and weekend retreats
- Inpatient and outpatient treatment programs
- Self-help books and online programs and curriculum
- Psychotherapy performed by licensed therapists, unlicensed laymen, or self-directed
- Recovering repressed childhood memories
- Identifying the root causes ranging from bad parenting, childhood trauma or abuse, delayed development, etc.
- Religious counseling, laying of hands, exorcism, prayer, meditation, etc.
- Sexual celibacy including abstinence from masturbation and restricted thought life
- Aversion therapy including electroshock or other negative stimulus
- Exposure to heterosexual pornography
- Enforced gender role stereotypes including marital roles (e.g. leading husband, submissive wife) and masculine or feminine professions, clothing, speech, mannerisms, etc.
- Submitting to a same-gender heterosexual role model or mentor
Although none of the major health or science professions endorse treating homosexuality as an illness, Conversion Therapy promoters typically rely on pseudo-scientific sounding theories and often strive to appear science-based.