Psychology Today No Longer Accepting Ads for Gay Conversion Therapy

Barbara Hollingsworth | March 10, 2015 | 3:02pm EDT
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( – Psychology Today announced last week that it will no longer accept ads from therapists who offer “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy” to gays who want to leave the homosexual lifestyle.

The magazine has also deleted any medical practitioners who provide such treatment from its professional listings.

Psychology Today does not endorse or publish ads for reparative therapy in print, online or in professionals’ profiles,” Charles Frank, who runs the magazine’s Therapy Directory, said in a March 3 statement.

“The Therapy Directory has removed the individual whose profile included a discussion of conversion therapy. We have informed all Directory professionals that those whose profiles offer conversion therapy will be delisted.”

The announcement came less than four hours after Frank emailed The Huffington Post saying that “we take care not to sit in judgment of others by allowing or denying individual participation” in the directory.

On February 23, Fred Sainz, vice president of communications and marketing for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a gay rights group, wrote a letter to the magazine’s CEO and publisher stating that “by offering a venue for these medically debunked practices, Psychology Today is lending them a veneer of credibility – propping up a fraudulent industry that takes advantage of vulnerable individuals, including children and families….

“These practices are based on the false idea that being LGBT is a mental illness than needs to be cured, an ideal that has been rejected by every major mental health group for decades,” Sainz wrote.

Gay conversion therapy for minors has been banned in New Jersey, California and the District of Columbia. A bill outlawing it passed the Colorado House on Monday.

The HRC letter specifically mentioned a therapist in California who provides gay conversion therapy as part of his practice.

On February 14, 2015, HRC became aware that licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Thomas Schmierer was advertising conversion therapy services through the Psychology Today website,” the letter stated.

“Mr. Schmierer is based in California and the group therapy sessions offered are based in Riverside, California. While California law makes clear that these practices may not be offered to minors, the advertisement does not clarify that minors may not participate in the advertised sessions,” the letter said.

But Schmierer says he has broken no laws and has had “a lot of success” treating patients with unwanted same-sex attraction.

“What I’m doing is legal,” he told in an email. “I have a state license to do it. I basically sit in a room with my clients and I talk and listen, mostly listen. I care for my client’s with a fatherly love. They feel that love and ultimately feel loved and lovable. This process is transformational.  

“I have a lot of success in treating those with unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA). At this point in my career, I actually expect my therapy to work as long as the client is willing to put in the work.

“Most of my clients with unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA) desire to be married to a woman and to have children with her. They want to decrease their same-sex feelings and increase their opposite-sex feelings. I accept my clients as they are. I don’t tell them what they should or should not believe. I affirm them,” Schmierer said. 

Psychology Today and the so-called Human Rights Campaign (HRC) do not accept my clients for who they are as individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction. They seem to want to rigidly force my clients to change so that they will hold the same beliefs as them, that one must embrace one’s homosexuality.

“I can’t do that. I’m not that rigid. I respect freedom and individuality too much,” Schmierer told

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) is urging the magazine to reconsider its decision, citing studies of twins on three continents that found that most identical co-twins did not share their siblings’ same-sex attractions.

“If an identical twin has same-sex attraction, the chances the co-twin has it are only about 11 percent for men and 14 percent for women. Because they have identical DNA, it ought to be 100 percent,” said Dr. Neil Whitehead, a biochemist and statistician from New Zealand.

“The predominant things that create homosexuality in one identical twin and not in the other have to be post-birth factors... Sexual orientation is not set in concrete,” he said.

We are deeply disappointed that Psychology Today’s leadership chose to cave to the pressure of the pro-homosexual lobby rather than continue to offer individuals access to information that can help them in their journey towards overcoming unwanted same-sex attraction and gender confusion,” PFOX’s executive director, Regina Griggs, said in a statement.

“PFOX supports the right of every person to obtain the type of help that best meets their personal needs, and this includes the right to talk therapy. We urge Psychology Today to reconsider its decision and support the opportunity for individuals to access the help they decide is best for them.” 

In a July 2013 oped published in USA Today, Nicholas Cummings, a former president of the American Psychological Association (APA) who sponsored the APA’s 1975 resolution that declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder, wrote that “contending that all same-sex attraction is immutable is a distortion of reality.

“Attempting to characterize all sexual reorientation therapy as ‘unethical’ violates patient choice and gives an outside party a veto over patients’ goals for their own treatment. A political agenda shouldn’t prevent gays and lesbians who desire to change from making their own decisions,” Cummings wrote.

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