Retrospective self-reports of changes in homosexual orientation: a consumer survey of conversion therapy clients

Psychol Rep. 2000 Jun;86(3 Pt 2):1071-88. doi: 10.2466/pr0.2000.86.3c.1071.

Abstract

We present the results of a survey of 882 dissatisfied homosexual people whom we queried about their beliefs regarding conversion therapy and the possibility of change in sexual orientation. There were 70 closed-ended questions on the survey and 5 open-ended ones. Of the 882 participants, 726 of them reported that they had received conversion therapy from a professional therapist or a pastoral counselor. Of the participants 779 or 89.7% viewed themselves as "more homosexual than heterosexual," "almost exclusively homosexual," or "exclusively homosexual" in their orientation before receiving conversion therapy or making self-help efforts to change. After receiving therapy or engaging in self-help, 305 (35.1%) of the participants continued to view their orientation in this manner. As a group, the participants reported large and statistically significant reductions in the frequency of their homosexual thoughts and fantasies that they attributed to conversion therapy or self-help. They also reported large improvements in their psychological, interpersonal, and spiritual well-being. These responses cannot, for several reasons, be generalized beyond the present sample, but the attitudes and ideas are useful in developing testable hypotheses for further research.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Homosexuality / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Self Disclosure
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Treatment Outcome