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How ABCT is Addressing So-Called Conversion Therapy Articles and Research Causing Harm to Sexual and Gender Minority Individuals

Yesterday, the ABCT Publications Committee unanimously approved a number of options to be considered by Editors related to reducing harms from articles related to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts (SOGICEs). Approved actions reflect the Publications Committee’s commitment to scientific principles and harm prevention. This unanimous vote followed Elsevier informing the Committee that ABCT may not take actions on articles inconsistent with Elsevier policy. Elsevier strictly adheres to COPE guidelines, and articles on SOGICEs do not qualify for retraction consideration per Elsevier policy. Thus, Elsevier will not consider retraction of articles related to SOGICEs in our journals. In light of this, ABCT is removing the retraction policy previously open for comment. We know this is not the outcome that all members wanted.

ABCT denounces the practice of SOGICEs and is committed to the work of reducing the harms from these articles. The Board is actively outlining proactive steps to guide and energize our systematic efforts in this area. The vote yesterday from the Publications Committee supports the editorial teams of all ABCT journals in using several options to appropriately flag content related to harmful practices in its journals and link to corrective information. We will be sharing examples of corrective actions in the near future. But, in the meantime, it was important for us to share this update to keep things as transparent as possible.

What Is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of treatment that is based firmly on research findings.  It places emphasis on changing your cognitions (thoughts) or behaviors (actions) in order to effect change in how you feel. These approaches help people in achieving specific changes or goals.

Changes or goals might involve:

A way of acting: like smoking less or being more outgoing;
A way of feeling: like helping a person to be less scared, less depressed, or less anxious;
A way of thinking: like learning to problem-solve or get rid of self-defeating thoughts;
A way of dealing with physical or medical problems: like reducing back pain or helping a person stick to a doctor’s suggestions.

Cognitive behavioral therapists usually focus more on the current situation and its solution, rather than the past. They concentrate on a person’s views and beliefs about their life. CBT is an effective treatment for individuals, parents, children, couples, and families. The goal of CBT is to help people improve and gain more control over their lives by changing behaviors that don’t work well to ones that do.

How to Get Help

If you are looking for help, either for yourself or someone else, you may be tempted to call someone who advertises in a local publication or who comes up from a search of the Internet. You may, or may not, find a competent therapist in this manner. It is wise to check on the credentials of a psychotherapist. It is expected that competent therapists hold advanced academic degrees. They should be listed as members of professional organizations, such as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or the American Psychological Association. Of course, they should be licensed to practice in your state. You can find competent specialists who are affiliated with local universities or mental health facilities or who are listed on the websites of professional organizations. You may, of course, visit our website ( and click on “Find a CBT Therapist”

The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) is an interdisciplinary organization committed to the advancement of a scientific approach to the understanding and amelioration of problems of the human condition. These aims are achieved through the investigation and application of behavioral, cognitive, and other evidence-based principles to assessment, prevention, and treatment.