• Source: Barb Watson/Flickr
  • Popular Psychology Magazine Refuses To Ban 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Ads

    Psychology Today is refusing to eliminate its advertising section for harmful and dangerous "conversion" therapy.

    For nearly 50 years Psychology Today has helped educate readers on a wide variety of psychological issues. Originally founded in 1967, it was once owned by the premiere psychological organization, the American Psychological Association. Now, it is endorsed by the National Board for Certified Counselors.

    That endorsement is now problematic for those who wish to advance the credibility of the scientific discipline known as psychology.

    Psychology Today is refusing to eliminate its listings for practitioners of so-called conversion therapy, also known as "ex-gay" therapy or reparative therapy. The magazine's former owner, the American Psychological Association, along with nearly every major medical organization in the U.S. and several around the world, have deemed conversion therapy, which claims to turn gay people straight, possibly harmful and dangerous.

    Two states and the District of Columbia now ban the practice for minors, and a New Jersey judge recently deemed conversion therapy a "fraud."

    The Human Rights Campaign has been in talks with Psychology Today, but has been unsuccessful in moving the magazine to remove the listings, and thus, its implicit stamp of approval, even if the listings are not intended to provide it.

    “There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, and it is abundantly clear that conversion therapy poses devastating health risks for LGBT young people,” Fred Sainz, HRC's vice president of communications and marketing, told Psychology Today’s chief executive and publisher last week. “Psychology Today has the opportunity to take a leadership role in protecting the public from these harmful and illegal practices by taking prompt action to limit this type of advertisement and creating awareness about the danger of conversion therapy.” 

    The Huffington Post reached out to Charles Frank, in charge of day-to-day operations at Psychology Today. Frank "told The Huffington Post he has no intention of removing health professionals who offer conversion therapy from the company’s listings."

    “We take care not to sit in judgement of others by allowing or denying individual participation” in the directory, he wrote in an email. The standard for inclusion, he said, is that practitioners are “who they say they are,” are licensed where relevant and are “under no sanction from their states (or countries) not to practice.” 

    Frank said that Psychology Today is not “a fan” of reparative therapy, and that PT occasionally publishes editorials criticizing the practice. But he said this wasn't enough of a reason to remove professional profiles from the directory. “There are many reasons why one group of people take issue with another, especially around the sensitive subject of relationships and therapy," he said. "The Therapy Directory cannot pick winners."


    Image by Barb Watson via Flickr and a CC license

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    • commented 2016-07-01 05:11:36 -0400
      Quite strange to know about Psychology Today is refusing to eliminate its advertising section for harmful and dangerous “conversion” therapy.

      Joseph @ http://www.afterpsychotherapy.com/online-psychotherapy

    • commented 2015-03-04 21:13:34 -0500
      Victory! Email in reply from Charles Frank yesterday:

      Hi Derek,

      In light of what we discovered I have removed his profile. I found 4 other people (out of the almost 80,000) that mentioned they do “reparative therapy” and I have removed them.

      We certainly do not endorse “reparative therapy” and have many articles critical of it.

      Please also see https://www.psychologytoday.com/statement


    • commented 2015-03-04 14:35:59 -0500
      Current Editor in Chief is Kaja Perina.

      This is her statement:
      “The question I’m most frequently asked is whether I have formal training in psychology. My stock reply was once: “Only if you count years of psychotherapy.” I now tell people simply, and no less honestly, that lifelong curiosity about human behavior is ample schooling. As to formal schooling, I hold degrees from Vassar College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.’

      As you can see,
      she is a fraud re: Psych…

    • commented 2015-03-04 14:07:10 -0500
      It’s not for nothing that PT has been known for years as "Psychology Yesterday’.

    • commented 2015-03-03 22:11:33 -0500
      Psychology Today has outlawed its usefulness as a magazine of scholarly intent. I was once a reader of PT for its articles on experimental psychology and the discussions surrounding new and experimental means of helping formerly ill people. Now this magazine is a shell of its former self and no longer worth the cover price for the blather they purport to be ppsycholigy.

    • commented 2015-03-03 14:38:32 -0500
      Psychology Today enjoys virtually no respect from the scientific community. Rather, it is a Pop Psych Gee Whiz Oh Wow Man Neato HeyDidYouHear EverybodyLetsGetStoned pulp fiction rag mag.

      Who gives a damn what policies that silly poseur enacts re: ANYthing!

    • commented 2015-03-03 12:16:19 -0500
      I sent them a tweet asking if they endorsed therapy for female “hysteria” too…didn’t get a reply. Go figure.

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