Thursday, October 04, 2012

California bans psychotherapies

I mentioned before an effort to ban certain psychotherapy, and now it has become law (effective at year-end). The San Francisco California newspaper reports:
California has become the first state in the country to ban controversial therapy practices that attempt to change the sexual orientation of minors after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to outlaw them Saturday.

The bill, SB1172 by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance (Los Angeles County), bars mental health practitioners from performing so-called reparative therapy, which professional psychological organizations have said may cause harm. Gay rights groups have labeled them dangerous and abusive.

"This bill bans non-scientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery," Brown said in a statement to The Chronicle.
I am all in favor of delicensing quacks using unscientific practices. Then Ken Perlmutter, Bret Johnson, and Faren Akins would lose their licenses.

These psychologists do not just give bad advice. They use the authority of the court to cut off kids from their parents, and they use completely bogus justifications. Perlmutter admitted under oath that he was not following generally accepted knowledge and practices, but only applying his personal bigoted prejudices.

Here is the actual text of SB-1172:
SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming. The major professional associations of mental health practitioners and researchers in the United States have recognized this fact for nearly 40 years.

(b) The American Psychological Association convened a Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation. The task force conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed journal literature on sexual orientation change efforts, and issued a report in 2009. The task force concluded that sexual orientation change efforts can pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, including confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, ...

(b) (1) “Sexual orientation change efforts” means any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.

(2) “Sexual orientation change efforts” does not include psychotherapies that: (A) provide acceptance, support, and understanding of clients or the facilitation of clients’ coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices; and (B) do not seek to change sexual orientation.

Under no circumstances shall a mental health provider engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a patient under 18 years of age.

Any sexual orientation change efforts attempted on a patient under 18 years of age by a mental health provider shall be considered unprofessional conduct and shall subject a mental health provider to discipline by the licensing entity for that mental health provider.
This is crazy. Saying that being gay is not a disorder was not based on any fact-finding by those professional associations, but merely a political vote of the members.

The task force did say that certain therapies can cause risks, but they say that about all therapies. There is no evidence that the gay therapies are any riskier than any others.

Note tha the law does not just ban efforts to change an orientation; it also bans efforts to "change behaviors or gender expressions". So if your boy sometimes dresses up as a girl, and you take him to a shrink, then the shrink will not do anything to discourage such behavior.

Do not take your kid to a licensed shrink in California.

Update: A lawsuit challenges the new law:
A college student who claims he once had same-sex attractions but became heterosexual after conversion therapy has filed a lawsuit against California, which has enacted a law that bans so-called "gay cures" for minors.

The lawsuit, also joined as plaintiffs by two therapists who have used the treatments with patients, alleges that the law banning the therapy intrudes on First Amendment protections of free speech, privacy and freedom of religion. ...

The bill's sponsor, California state Sen. Ted Lieu, said the therapy -- called "conversion therapy," "sexual orientation therapy," "reparative therapy" or "sexual orientation change efforts" -- amounts to "psychological child abuse."

"I read the lawsuit and, as a matter of fiction, it is a good read," Lieu said in a prepared statement after the suit was filed. "But from any reasonable legal standard, the lawsuit is frivolous. Under the plaintiffs' argument, the First Amendment would shield therapists and psychiatrists from medical malpractice and psychological abuse claims simply because they use speech in practicing their medicine. That is a novel and frivolous view of the First Amendment."
No, even without this law, psychotherapists were subject to malpractice claims. This law restricts professional from expressing legitimate opinions, and in doing therapies that are not considered malpractice.


Anonymous said...

I don't think psycholtherapists should be dong ANY kind of therapy with minors (under 18), anyway, unless the parents are either with them in the session, or the minor has a written statement from the parent allowing the minor to go to the therapist. (If I were the parent, I would at the very least be in the waiting room while the kid was in therapy!) Barbara

George said...

The new law bans the psychotherapy, even if the parents are present or give permission.