Last updated on: 6/23/2008 | Author:

What Is Reparative or Conversion Therapy?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

The American Psychological Association stated in its 2005 website article, “Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation & Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators and School Personnel”:

“The term ‘reparative therapy’ refers to psychotherapy aimed at eliminating homosexual desires and is used by people who do not think homosexuality is one variation within human sexual orientation, but rather still believe homosexuality is a mental disorder.”


Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance included the following entry on its website (accessed Mar. 10, 2006):

“The term ‘reparative therapy’ has multiple definitions. Some define it as a specific secular counseling technique. It involves helping a gay or lesbian bond in a close, intimate but non-sexual relationship with an adult member of the same gender. This is supposed to substitute for the bond between the client and their same-sex parent which therapists allege did not properly form during childhood.

Others define the term ‘reparative therapy’ more inclusively to be any formal attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation — typically from homosexual to heterosexual. It thus includes attempts by conservative Christian ‘transformational ministries’ to use prayer, religious conversion, one-on-one and group counseling, etc. to change a person’s sexual orientation.

The term ‘conversion therapy’ is sometimes used as a synonym for reparative therapy.”

Mar. 10, 2006

Warren Throckmorton, PhD, Director of Counseling at Grove City College, included this description on his website (accessed Mar. 10, 2006):

“Reparative therapy is a term describing a counseling approach to sexual reorientation… Reparative therapy takes its name from the basic idea of the approach: Homosexual arousal and identification are efforts on the part of the person to repair a damaged bond with the same-sex parent…

The therapy attempts to re-direct the reparative drive toward healthy nonsexual relationships with same sex peers via the therapist, group counseling, and support groups. A major aspect of this effort is to generate or support gender identification… The belief is that if people have a solid sense of gender identification, then they will experience sexual attractions consistent with heterosexuality.

While this approach is fairly popular in conservative and even Christian circles, it is important to understand that the principles are derived from psychoanalytic psychology.”

Mar. 10, 2006

GLBTQ, an online encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer culture, stated in its entry on “reparative therapy” (accessed Mar. 10, 2006):

“Reparative therapy is often defined as any formal attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. It includes the attempts of Christian transformational ministries to use prayer, religious conversion, individual therapy sessions, and group counseling, to change a person’s sexual orientation, as well as attempts by secular psychologists and psychotherapists to ‘cure’ homosexuality.”

Mar. 10, 2006