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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently published a report stating that conversion therapy, which attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation, is ineffective, harmful, and inappropriate for children and adolescents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) (http://1.usa.gov/1MItoUV). The report includes a review of clinical consensus and evidence-based research regarding conversion therapy, as well as statements from an American Psychological Association expert panel convened in July 2015.
Julie A. Jacob, MA
The SAMHSA report includes information on supportive therapy for LGBTQ children and adolescents, such as helping LGBTQ youth explore their gender identity in a developmentally appropriate manner, reducing their stress, and facilitating family acceptance. The report highlights strategies for eliminating conversion therapy, including the development of professional association guidelines on treating LGBTQ children and adolescents and state and federal legislation prohibiting conversion therapy. In addition, the report includes a list of useful websites and publications for clinicians, families, and caregivers of LGBTQ youth.