Thursday, December 06, 2012

Law infringes psychologist free speech

I mentioned before that California was banning certain psychotherapies, with the ban being challenged in court. Now AP reports:
SAN FRANCISCO—Two federal judges in California have arrived at opposite conclusions on whether the state's first-of-its-kind law prohibiting licensed psychotherapists from trying to change the sexual orientations of gay minors violates the Constitution. The measure remains clear to take effect on Jan.1.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller on Tuesday refused to block the law after concluding that opponents who have sued in her Sacramento court to overturn it were unlikely to prove the ban on "conversion" therapy unfairly tramples on their civil rights.

The opponents argued the law would make them liable for discipline if they merely recommended the therapy to patients or discuss it with them. Mueller said they didn't demonstrate that they were likely to win, so she wouldn't block the law.

Mueller issued her decision in a lawsuit filed by four counselors, two families, a professional organization for practitioners and a Christian therapists group. It came half a day after her colleague, U.S. District Judge William Shubb, handed down a somewhat competing ruling in a similar, but separate lawsuit.

Saying he found the First Amendment issues presented by the ban to be compelling, Shubb late Monday ordered the state to temporarily exempt three people named in the case before him—two mental health providers and a former patient who is studying to practice sexual orientation change therapy.
You can get the court rulings here.

I have no personal opinion about the safety or efficacy of this therapy. Nearly all psychotherapies do very poorly in clinical studies, and I accept that the studies say here. The APA is politically trying to ban gay therapies, and its task force said this pdf:
sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) ... involve some risk of harm ...

In all, we obtained and reviewed original publications of 83 studies. ... few studies on SOCE produced over the past 50 years of research rise to current scientific standards for demonstrating the efficacy of psychological interventions ... We thus concluded that there is little in the way of credible evidence that could clarify whether SOCE does or does not work in changing same-sex sexual attractions.
The APA also admits that all the other psychotherapies involve risk of harm, so there is no real evidence that SOCE is any worse than any other psychotherapy.

The underlying political issue is that leftists have decided that people would be more tolerant of homosexuality if they are persuauded that it is a response to an inborn unchangeable animalistic genetic craving.

Anyway, I hope these cases generate more discussion of quack psychotherapies. If all unscientific practices were banned, then child custody evaluations would also be banned. Psychologist Ken Perlmutter admitted under oath that he has no evidence that any of his 700 evaluations did any good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm... One wonders then how they can justify criminalizing those who take sexual gratification in children, and try "conversion" therapy and punishment for them. After all - if they have no control over this, shouldn't they be embraced and told that it's OK????

Let's see them try to weasel out of that... There were laws making sodomy illegal, just like there are laws making pedophilia illegal - why shouldn't those laws be changed too????