APA's stance another positive step for gays, Utah therapist says

Published August 5, 2009 6:37 pm

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The American Psychological Association's strengthened opposition to reparative therapy shows the issue of homosexuality is being "de-politicized," Salt Lake City therapist Jim Struve said Wednesday.

"It's one more step toward gays and lesbians being treated as human beings," said Struve, coordinator of the LGBTQ-Affirmative Therapist Guild of Utah.

Struve, a licensed clinical social worker, said the 4-year-old guild already has more than 100 members.

"As therapists, it's not our place to be changing people," Struve said, "it's our place to be responsive to the kind of life journeys that clients are on."

In his experience, gays and lesbians who seek treatment to change their sexual orientations end up living "unhappy" and "disturbed" lives.

Salt Lake City-based Evergreen International, a nonprofit that helps members of the LDS Church overcome "same-sex attraction," is not affected by the APA's announcement, Executive Director David Pruden said Wednesday.

"The doctrines and standards of the church don't change because of statements by quasi-political organizations," Pruden said.

Evergreen doesn't offer therapy, but provides referrals to those who are interested.

- Rosemary Winters