© 2023 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Mental Health Professionals Request New Rules Outlawing Gay-Reparative Therapy

Mental health experts are asking that a Texas regulatory agency bans the use of so-called ‘reparative therapy’ for gays and lesbians, the request follows a major effort by some leading Republicans to leave the controversial therapy untouched.

Reparative therapists believe they can change a person’s sexual orientation through counseling. And this summer, during the Texas Republican Party Convention, a faction of the state party took that belief further, adding a resolution supporting reparative therapy as a plank in the party’s 2014 platform.

The move was criticized by Republican leaders, including state party chair, Steve Munisteri following the Dallas convention.

“And I just make the point to anyone who thinks that may be a possibility; do they think they can take a straight person to a psychologist and turn them gay?”,  Munisteri said

The State Board of Examiners for Psychologists already outlaws any treatment that cannot show proof of its results or that might pose any harm to the patient.

Central Texas clinical psychologist, Dr. Michael Cunningham is one of many that petitioned the State Mental Health Board to put in place rules that would cost a therapist their license for practicing conversion counseling.

“And I believe reparative therapy qualifies under both problems.”, Cunningham said.

He says one of the big problems is that a lot of children and teenagers get sent to the reparative therapist by their parents.

"They’re not really willing participants, they’re being told that the way that they think and feel is wrong, and that can be very damaging to the self-esteem,” said Cunningham.

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed the term same-sex orientation from its published list of, and for the treatment of, mental disorders.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.