An Exploration of Family Therapists' Beliefs about the Ethics of Conversion Therapy: The Influence of Negative Beliefs and Clinical Competence With Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients

Authors


  • Christi R. McGeorge, PhD is a faculty member in the Human Development and Family Science Department at North Dakota State University; Thomas Stone Carlson, PhD is a faculty member in the Human Development and Family Science Department at North Dakota State University; Russell B. Toomey, PhD is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Prevention Research Center at Arizona State University.

Abstract

The majority of the literature on conversion therapy has focused on clients' experiences and rationales for seeking such therapy. This study sought to explore differences in the beliefs and clinical competence of therapists who practice and believe in the ethics of conversion therapy and those who do not. The sample for this study included 762 family therapists who were members of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. Data were collected using electronic surveys that assessed participants' negative beliefs about and perceived clinical competence with lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals. Results indicate that those who believe in the ethics of and/or practice conversion therapy report statistically higher levels of negative beliefs about LGB individuals and lower levels of clinical competence working with LGB clients. Implications for clinical practice and organizational policy are discussed.

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