• Dr. Oz: Anti-gay or just anti-science?

    Dr Oz
    I want YOU to know I spout all sorts of bullshit!

    So, Dr. Oz is in yet another kerfuffle, this time over an episode in which he hosted people touting a therapy to take away your gay (otherwise known as “Reparative Therapy”). Not only is this sort of thing completely scientifically invalid, as all evidence shows that sexual preference is biological and not a choice, but it is roundly condemned by ethical mental health practitioners and even banned by the state of California. The official stance of the American Psychological Association is as follows –

    The American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation conducted a systematic review of the peer-reviewed journal literature on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) and concluded that efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm, contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates. Even though the research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality, regardless of sexual orientation identity, the task force concluded that the population that undergoes SOCE tends to have strongly conservative religious views that lead them to seek to change their sexual orientation. Thus, the appropriate application of affirmative therapeutic interventions for those who seek SOCE involves therapist acceptance, support, and understanding of clients and the facilitation of clients’ active coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, without imposing a specific sexual orientation identity outcome.

    Oz should, as has been asked of him by GLADD, follow in the footsteps of other medical professionals and apologize for this behavior and vicarious endorsement.

    I don’t really see that happening, though, based on his behavior towards scientists and science on his show. Given his long-standing endorsements of other quack therapies, from reiki to homeopathy, surely this one won’t cause him to backpedal.

    12/01/2012 UPDATE: Apparently, Dr. Oz is, well not exactly sorry, but is saying that:

    After listening to both sides of the issue and after reviewing the available medical data, I agree with the established medical consensus.  I have not found enough published data supporting positive results with gay reparative therapy, and I have concerns about the potentially dangerous effects when the therapy fails, especially when minors are forced into treatments.

    He never actually apologizes for bringing these people on, though. This seems to be the same sort of “fair and balanced” approach used in other sensationalistic reports, where both sides get to tell their story…even though one is blatantly wrong.

    Category: Mental HealthPseudosciencePsychology


    Article by: Caleb Lack

    Caleb Lack is the author of "Great Plains Skeptic" on SIN, as well as a clinical psychologist, professor, and researcher. His website contains many more exciting details, visit it at www.caleblack.com