Despite the retraction of the Spitzer study of conversion therapy, and the finding of other studies that conversion therapies are misguided and counterproductive, a small minority of therapists refuse to learn from this wealth of knowledge and persist in trying to cure homosexuals. (Cure them of what exactly, and make them what, you ask? These therapists can’t give a straight answer.)
One such therapist may be Nicholas Cummings, whose ongoing activism is reviewed in a new article in LifeSiteNews. Cummings was president of the American Psychological Association from 1979 to 1980. According to LifeSiteNews, Cummings also served as Chief of Mental Health for health-maintenance organization Kaiser Permanente, where he oversaw policies that included compensation to ex-gay therapists for their largely fruitless efforts to cure homosexuals. Cummings no longer serves in that capacity.
Cummings is quoted by LifeSiteNews as characterizing the majority of his fellow therapists as “ultraliberal” — an odd observation, since “liberal” in this context is a relative term and if one person views everyone else as liberal, chances are the observer is ultraconservative. But anyway. While studies have concluded that ex-gay therapy is harmful, Cummings wants to reopen APA debate about the gay “cure.” Cummings criticizes the APA for allegedly cherry-picking research results — but it appears that Cummings is the one who is cherry-picking, rejecting each new round of evidence of abuse and depression prompted by the ex-gay movement and each new account of recovery by ex-gay movement survivors.
Cummings dismisses all ex-gay survivors as a class with one word: Recidivist. In his view, they are failures — not human beings who were injured by his efforts:
“It’s a difficult therapy, and it’s not huge in terms of numbers, but yes we [at Kaiser Permanente] have seen success, and this is why the stance that ‘you can never change’—Ronald Reagan said ‘never say never’—it’s absurd. All you have to do is find one exception and it knocks down the ‘never.’ But yes, I’ve experienced more than one exception,” said Cummings.
Admittedly we had failures. The recidivism along the way with some would be intense, but we experience the same thing with treating substance abuse and alcoholism. Falling off the wagon is part of the treatment.
Cummings continues to lobby politically on behalf of the ex-gay think tank NARTH. In the following video uploaded to YouTube by NARTH founder Joseph Nicolosi, Cummings projects that organization’s political agenda onto its opponents who seek to professionalize the treatment of sexual-minority clients by calling out clinically unsupported ex-gay stereotypes, fraud and abuse.
Note that NARTH does not permit YouTube commenters to refute the video’s claims. Feel free to refute them here at TWO instead.
Hat tip: Inkblot