One of the most prominent faces of modern day psychiatry, Robert Spitzer, said sorry to gay community and to anybody who wasted their time undergoing these therapies only because he said that “they’d work”.
“I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy. I also apologize to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works with some “highly motivated” individuals,” he said in a letter to Dr. Ken Zucker, editor of Archives of Sexual Behavior.
His study created media frenzy in 2001 when he reported that reparative therapy could cure homosexuals. The theory had flaws though, because it relied on self-reports of 200 participants; half of whom who had never even underwent any therapy.
Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, formerly of Columbia University, has said that his study never showed that these conversion therapies work.
“Traditionally, efforts to curtail this scam have focused on decreasing demand. Vividly highlighting the shattered lives and crushing heartbreak that results when people try to live a lie has helped keep some gay people out of such clinics,” Wayne Besen, Founding Executive Director of Truth Wins Out wrote in LGBTQ Nation.
“Reparative therapists should be stripped of their college degrees, expelled from professional associations, and banned from practicing,” he said.
Reactions from the readers have varied from calling Spitzer’s admission as “gold standard integrity” to accusing him of fraud. Some reactions are more intense especially by people who were made to undergo these therapies to cure them of homosexuality and how their failure to get “treated” cut them off from their families forever.
Wayne says it these therapies affected the spouses of men who were treated of homosexuality more than anybody else.
“These unfortunate individuals marry so-called “ex-gays” who mistakenly think they have been converted – but later find that their “progress” was a mirage brought on by wishful thinking and pressure from their therapist,” he said.
Many reports ( in 2001) had said that Spitzer’s study was based on a very small number and that Spitzer himself said that for a vast majority of homosexuals’ sexual orientation change is not possible.
Before his study reparative therapy, he had worked for 30 years to remove homosexuality as a mental disorder from DSM.