Find a CBT Therapist
Search through our directory of local clinicians.
A Message From Our President
I am writing to you today to make sure that all our members are aware of the events that followed ABCT’s apology for Behavior Therapy’s contributions to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Change Efforts (or “Conversion Therapy”; hereafter, SOGIECEs).
After we issued the apology, ABCT’s Board of Directors, like many of you, began discussing what to do next to minimize future harms related to the practice and dissemination of SOGIECEs. Our focus has been on identifying meaningful actions that would have a real impact. One concern about future harms that we found particularly compelling came to us though our member feedback portal https://services.abct.org/i4a/forms/index.cfm?id=33; this was the concern that the publications in ABCT journals could still be used today in court cases defending the ongoing use of SOGIECEs unless they were retracted. To address this concern we consulted with Elsevier, our publisher, and we worked to familiarize ourselves with the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines on retraction. We also worked with Elsevier to submit a hypothetical version of our case to COPE to get their feedback.
We are currently working with the Publications Committee to draft a policy on retractions that will guide our journal editors here and in the future. The draft policy will be posted for public comment for 60 days before it is taken up by the Board. You will be receiving notice about how to access the draft policy and how to submit feedback shortly.
Dr. Carolyn Becker (who serves as the Board liaison to the Membership Issues Committees, including the Sexual and Gender Minority SIG) and I also consulted with several attorneys on all aspects of this important issue. We found out that some publishers bring retracted articles out from behind the paywall to make the retraction notice more available. Additionally, we learned that retractions would have no impact on the admissibility of study findings in court. Thus, we continue to investigate the retraction issue and have turned our focus more broadly to additional ways that we could have meaningful impact here.
To date, this has included investigating several options, including disclaimers that would make clear the harms that result from the use of SOGIECEs, the development of a white paper and/or clinical guidelines that could be used by attorneys and others who are also trying to limit harms to the LGBTQ community, and working with our Publications Committee to consider a special issue in one of our journals to document (a) the consequences of SOGIECEs and (b) the limitations of the research that SOGIECEs proponents continue to use.
We have also reached out to the American Psychological Association and the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology to discuss collaborations to amplify our voice. I am pleased to announce that we will proceed with the development of the Inter-organizational Scientific Task Force on the Iatrogenic Effects of SOGIECEs. The members of this task force will be charged with conducting, and submitting for peer-review, a systematic literature review on psychosocial outcomes of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression change efforts, including recommendations and future directions for providing inclusive and affirmative care. The task force report will be published by these authors, and each association will be able to use the finished product in whatever ways help advance their goals. ABCT will be appointing two members to the task force. We will be sending out additional details, including how to apply, shortly.
There are also other collaborative initiatives being considered and we will keep you informed as we make more progress in this area.
I will finish by emphasizing that our work remains ongoing, and you can still be part of these discussions. I personally read every comment that comes through our portal: https://services.abct.org/i4a/forms/index.cfm?id=33 and I encourage you to keep the lines of communication open by continuing to submit your thoughts and by spreading the word about the anonymous feedback portal. We would like to hear from as many of you as possible. Together, I believe we can forge a path that addresses our history and leads us to a better future.
Laura Seligman, ABCT President